Category Archives: Dramas

Thoughts on Ojakgyo Brothers

Ojakgyo Brothers poster

With Ojakgyo Brothers (오작교 형제들) already past 30 episodes, I have to say I’m really late in the game. The upside of that is that I don’t have to wait so long to get to the next episode since I’ve got 34 episodes waiting for me–that’s double the length of a 16-episode miniseries!

Let’s get one thing straight first: these few past years of drama watching, I look through the list of airing and/or upcoming dramas to see which ones I’m going to try. Aside from currently airing shows like Tree with Deep Roots, A Thousand Days’ Promise, and Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, I had a line-up of older sageuk dramas and other shows I wanted to watch (see list)–Ojakgyo Brothers wasn’t even on my radar of interesting shows.

Then I saw this clip.

*squeals*

Yes, I got interested after seeing a cute Joo Won clip, not some meaty, tear-inducing scene about character struggle. I’m shallow, I know. ^^ Continue reading

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Thoughts on Tree with Deep Roots

Damn. This show is something. I initially watched this without really giving much thought to the plot–heck, Jang Hyuk is the protagonist, it’s sageuk, and to top it off, Song Joong Ki has a short (but AWESOME) role in it–that’s enough to make me want to watch, right? But boy oh boy do I enjoy this drama.

Song Joong Ki definitely improved on his acting. I first watched him in Triple, a disappointing drama that I still somewhat enjoyed. There I saw he’s got potential. A small role in Will it Snow at Christmas?, then Sungkyunkwan Scandal (I haven’t seen Obstetrics and Gynecology Doctors…yet). It was in his role as Gu Yong Ha that Song Joong Ki really showed quite an acting range. He flaunted, pranced, sneaked, schemed, laughed and cried his way on to becoming a solid actor in that role, but nothing prepared me for this revelation. Song Joong Ki was amazing as the young Lee Do. I felt each bit of fear, despair, frustration, weakness, and growing strength in every frame and every scene that had Joong Ki in it. It’s a shame that he only had a few episodes in the drama, but he acted with such ferocity that it feels as if young Lee Do were the protagonist in the entire story. Not a lot of actors can manage that.

 

One of my biggest misgivings about dramas where a character’s past is shown is when the younger and older version of a character don’t seem like one single entity with the very same personality. I felt that with East of Eden‘s Lee Dong Chul (played by Kim Bum and Song Seung Heon)–Kim Bum played Lee Dong Chul with a lot of rawness and brilliance, but Song Seung Heon’s Lee Dong Chul was different and well, different. I couldn’t really convince myself that he was playing the same character that Kim Bum did. The same thing happened with the main characters in The Duo: by the time the adult versions of the characters appeared in the story, Chun Doong was no longer Chun Doong and Gwi Dong no longer Gwi Dong. The transition from the younger to the older character must be seamless in order for the drama to work. As one of the audience, I should be able to reconcile the younger character with the older character and see them as the very same person, only older. The curious thing about Tree‘s Lee Do/King Sejong is that I actually felt that Song Joong Ki’s Lee Do grew to become Han Suk Kyu’s Lee Do. The way Han Suk Kyu spoke in certain scenes, the way he walked, even the way he felt despair and frustration in the latest episode was reminiscent of Song Joong Ki’s Lee Do. Now that is excellent acting right there. And while I admittedly haven’t watched Han Suk Kyu in anything, I swear I’ll get around to watching his dramas (and one film) once I can get my hands on it, especially Eyes of Dawn.

Oh, and Jang Hyuk! My reason for watching this drama. I love how his character bumbles in front of Muhyul and Lee Do, whereas his real tenacity shows whenever he’s alone or he’s investigating. Some people might say that his role is a little too alike his previous role in Chuno as the vengeful nobleman-turned-slave hunter Lee Dae Gil, but I say otherwise. Kang Chae Yoon may have some baggage just as Dae Gil had, but Chae Yoon went up the ranks instead of going down. He’s a lot more calculating than Dae Gil–instead of being all about brawns, Chae Yoon hides his strength and intelligence in the guise of a regular investigator. Oh, and while Dae Gil wants revenge for his family and for being betrayed by the girl he loved, Chae Yoon wants to avenge his father’s death by killing the man he thought was the reason for his father’s death, the King himself (!).

Initially, I thought the visuals of Tree was lacking, but after watching a few more episodes I think my initial remark was wrong. I began to appreciate the vibrant and rich tones and colors in each scene. The sets are also to die for, especially the ones in the palace. So are the costumes. (Meh, I am always in love with sageuk costumes.) The plot is outstanding, with twists and turns that gets the watchers thinking about what’s going to happen and wondering which character is plotting what. While I normally go for more romance in the dramas I watch (hence watching The Princess’ Man, which, despite also being about the politics after King Sejong’s reign, is centered on the love story of two people from warring families), Tree doesn’t have a lot of it (yet). It’s an action-packed thriller more than anything, and yes, I love it. I do hope Tree carries on with its brilliant start, because I am loving every bit of it.

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2011 Dramas

(Copied from parent journal, [info]ice_cobalt)

2011년에 내가 본 드라마들

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그여자 – Secret Garden OST

Note: This was originally posted in my other journal, , on November 23, 2010.

I admit I still suck at translating anything, but this song is so haunting and beautiful that I had to give it a shot. :D

그여자 – 백지영

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드라마하고 책하고 외국어

Note: This was posted in my other journal, [info]ice_cobalt, last November 2, 2010. I figured I should post it here as well, to sort of revive this little language blog of mine.

DRAMAS

성균관 스캔들 (Sungkyunkwan Scandal) is ending tomorrow. Although I love this drama to bits, I felt that my excitement for each episode dwindled slightly through the end, much like how I felt when I watched 내 여자친구는 구미호 (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho). Still, it’s one of my favorite dramas of the year.

And speaking of favorite dramas of the year, what are my 2010 favorites? There’s 추노 (Chuno/Slave Hunter), of course, 내 여자친구는 구미호 (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho), 아직도 결혼호고 싶은 여자 (The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry), and 성균관 스캔들 (Sungkyunkwan Scandal). I would have thought Rain’s 도망자 (Fugitive) would be included since the Writer-Director tandem responsible for 추노 (Chuno/Slave Hunter) made this one as well, but I…couldn’t love it no matter how much I tried and have stopped watching it. Then there’s 파스타 (Pasta), which was cute–but had nothing special to offer, 신데렐라 언니 (Cinderella’s Sister), which had an excellent start but dragged on til the end. 개인의 취향 (Personal Taste) was okay, but it wasn’t one of the best that I watched. I had high expectations for 로드 넘버원 (Road Number One) since 윤계상 (Yoon Kye Sang) and 소지섭 (So Ji Sub) were there, but meh…I couldn’t watch it.

…AND I still have yet to watch the entirety of 동이 (Dong Yi), 제빵왕 김탁구 (King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo), 장난스런 키스 (Playful Kiss), and 산부인과 (OB/GYN). And then there are dramas that have yet to air, such as 시크릿 가든 (Secret Garden–I LOL at the Korean spelling, which, when romanized, is sikeurit gadeun) and 메리는 외박중 (Mary Stayed Out All Night). :D

WHEW, TONS OF DRAMAS.

BOOKS


the SNU Korean textbooks and workbooks

Just last Friday my sister ordered a huge list of Korean textbooks online and, owing to excellent customer service (and perhaps because the package comes only from LA, LOL), we already have the books today!!! :DD So now we have Seoul National University’s 4 Korean textbooks plus workbooks, two Korean Grammar books, and the Yonsei University reading books I’ve lusted over for months now. :D All in all, 15 books. They’re obviously quite expensive, but not to the extent of Yonsei University’s pretty, pretty textbooks, which are loads more expensive.

In any case, I’m happy even though the textbooks aren’t mine. :D Why? Cause I get to use them as well ㅋㅋㅋ.

FOREIGN LANGUAGES

I’ve had…*counts* four language blogs–1 Japanese, 1 Korean, 1 Tagalog/Filipino (yeah, it’s not foreign to me, but I’ll include it in anyway), and 1 smorgasbord-ish blog–all of which are now idle and have not been updated in a long while. Yeah, making blogs are easy; maintaining is hard. SOOO I figured I should just put my foreign language thoughts in this blog instead. It makes perfect sense to me since I don’t update LJ that often anymore (there’s nothing really fun or exciting going on in my life that needs to be recorded, meh D:) yet I still visit it every single day for Omona and other communities, mostly for Omona. XD

So I will be posting in Korean (and sometimes in Japanese–I hope) and will record my progress here. Not sure how this plan will go, but I’ll be a positive thinker for once and hope that I’ll be constantly updating this and see some progress in my Korean (and Japanese?). :D

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Updates…?

Japanese

Went to Sanseido today with and she got me the Genki II as a sorta belated birthday gift (for last year, LOL). So now I have both Genki books, the Elementary Japanese books, Japanese for Everyone, plus two Kodansha dictionaries, not to mention tons of podcasts I got back when I had a premium subscription at JapanesePod101. In other words: I’ve got the goods to study. Whether I can make full use of the material I have to really study Japanese or not…well, that’s the question.

D: See? I have yet to even try making a Japanese post. Where was that little journal suggestion I had? Nowhere. D: BAH.

And and I saw a few Doraemon dictionaries and bilingual mangas–thank God I had my sister there and had not one cent on me, or else I might have tried to buy every single Doraemon thing I saw there. T-T

Korean

I watched episode 6 of 내 여자친구는 구미호 without subs because I was really itching to watch it. I managed to understand some dialogue–BUT I can’t really know if what I understood is absolutely spot on or not until I actually read the subs tonight. EEP.

For some reason, I feel like my brain comprehends more Korean than Japanese, even though I’ve been exposed to 日本語 far longer than 한국어. Maybe it’s because I seriously studied Korean and had a freaking schedule to study Korean in between studying for my real tests–yeah, I was that serious.  is thinking of buying a few more Korean textbooks (YAY)–this time the SNU textbooks, so I guess I’ll be able to mooch some knowledge off of the books. WHEEE.

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Do they still use these?

First off, I’m addicted to an ongoing fusion sageuk drama, Chuno (추노). It has got to be, hands down, one of the best Korean dramas I’ve seen—and I’ve watched more than my share of Korean dramas. :D

Anyway, because the setting for Chuno is during the Joseon dynasty, some (or maybe a lot; I’m not exactly sure) of the words and expressions used in the drama are olden and may not exactly be heard in today’s Korean language. A good proof of this are snippets of information being shown when an ancient word is used in the dialogue, like the one below:

Chuno introduced me to some new terms that I don’t think people actually use today, like:

  • 오라버니 – used by women to refer to older men; possibly the equivalent of today’s 오빠 (but according to Wiki, 어라버니 is the honorific equivalent of 오빠, so perhaps people somewhere still use it…?)
  • 나으리 – used by commoners during the Joseon dynasty to refer to people of higher status, but below 대감 (His Excellency)
  • 서방(님) – used to refer to one’s conjugal partner, but I’ve only heard this used by women in Chuno, so this could probably be used only to refer to a husband
  • 성 (? I’m not sure how it’s spelled) – a southwestern version of 형
  • 언니 being used to refer to an older male

I was also made aware of the hierarchical status during the Joseon dynasty through watching Chuno. I recall learning a bit about Korean history through Asian History in my sophomore year in high school, but because it was a very broad subject, we never really got into the finer details of life during that time (not to mention the fact that we were too busy memorizing the Chinese dynasties in order and the significant contributions of each to Asian civilization). Now I know a wee bit more about 양반, 노비, and about Korean history during the Joseon dynasty in general. I’d like to know a bit more but my only resource for now is the internet.

Apart from that, it was fun to hear the dialogues being spoken in varying degrees of politeness. The nobles speak to each other using very formal Korean, whereas the commoners speak to one another in informal form. Hearing the characters speak in the 하오-form makes me happy (eg. Wangson saying ‘나 다시 가오’ or one of Cheon Jiho’s men saying ‘언니, 사랑하오’). ^^

(And no, this is not a pimp post for Chuno, although I bet that’s what it sounds like. ^^)

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