Tag Archives: Korean 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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Learning Korean NOT through textbooks

I haven’t been studying a lot of Korean these days, textbook-wise. The Integrated Korean book I borrowed from my sister is now back to its hiding place, as I haven’t touched it since school started–now that I remember it, I actually did, and I even brought it to school. Alas, I never read it; I just slept inside the library (I do it all the time now T-T).

Textbook studying aside, I am doing some sort of studying…if we count drama watching (heh, can it really be counted?) and comic reading. I’m still learning stuff, although it’s a different sort of learning. Comics give me new words and the casual kind of speaking style people use in everyday stuff; the bad thing with reading comics is that sometimes the artist doesn’t really use the correct spelling and instead write out the dialogs the way they’re said (e.g. 용 at the end of a speech instead of 요 to make it cuter, etc.).

As for dramas, I know some people don’t think one would learn anything in dramas, but there is something there. If you try to not just watch a drama for the sake of watching and try to catch whatever a character is saying, your brain gets to try and decipher the sentences as you watch it! Of course watching dramas tends to be easier than having to listen to all Korean podcasts like the 이야기 series of Talk to Me in Korean (which I love listening to) because there’s clues you get from seeing what they’re doing or knowing what the plot is, but you get some kind of practice nonetheless.

And culture points! Culture points! I once did a culture/language post while watching 추노 (Slave Hunters), dealing with the Joseon-era speaking style (more deference, less casual style). Now, while watching 공주의 남자 (The Princess’ Man–a short digression here, but isn’t the Anglicized title a little…weird-sounding? To me it’s not as fluid as the Korean title…), I noticed that unmarried women style their hair in long braids, whereas once they get married they switch to low buns with that hairpin decorating their hair. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that before, but I do now!

Here’s the change, from when Princess Kyeong Hye is still single

to when she’s already married.

See? I’m actually learning stuff! XD Not huge stuff, but it’s still fascinating to see these things.

A few more things I learned:

소자 = means I, me, myself, used when speaking to parents. Naver’s English dictionary doesn’t say whether this term is explicitly for sons or if it can be used by daughters, but I’ve only ever heard the male characters say this in 공주의 남자. The daughters use 소녀 when speaking about themselves to their parents, mostly–at least, from what I’ve understood from watching.

송구하옵니다 = I didn’t find the right term in Naver Dictionary (only found 송구스럽다, which is kind of the same, I guess, but not really) but as I searched through the web I found that someone out there wants to know what this means (just like me!), and asked this question at Nate 지식, which is kind of similar to Yahoo! Answers. Someone gave this answer:

송구는 두려울 송(悚), 두려워할 구(懼)를 사용해 ‘두려워서 마음이 몹시 거북하다’는 뜻입니다.

미안하다, 죄송하다란 뜻이죠.

Hmm…what else? I kept a list of them somewhere but it seems I’ve lost it. D:

Anyway, yay! I updated! I was feeling a little disappointed with myself for not updating this after I said I’d move to WordPress. I’m glad I did.

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