Thursday, January 2, 2014

[Kdrama Review] Master's Sun (2013)

Yes. A million times YES. This is me. After finishing the last episode of Master's Sun. This 2013 drama is hands down one of the best series I have had the exquisite pleasure of watching in a while. The Hong Sisters have written a masterpiece. Let's discuss, shall we?

(MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS, though I try my best to limit it as much as I can!)

The Basics:

Title: Master's Sun
Year: 2013
Episodes: 17
Network: SBS
Genre: Romance, Horror
Lead Actors: So Ji Sub, Gong Hyo Jin, Seo In-guk, and Kim Yoo-ri

The Story:

Tae Gong-shil (played by Gong Hyo Jin of Pasta and The Greatest Love) is a sweet, pretty woman who happens to see ghosts. One dark and stormy night, she meets the CEO of Kingdom (mall/department store and hotel conglomerate, the stingy, greedy Joo Joong-won (played by So Ji Sub). And the fun begins as she quickly draws him into her world of chasing ghosts and solving mysteries. Remember, my review of Spellbound? And how impressed I was at the horror-romance genre? That's what first attracted me to Master's Sun and I was NOT disappointed. The series beautiful blends the supernatural elements of the story line with that of the romance. The Hong Sisters do not hold back in the writing of this series. I was completely impressed at the subtly dropped hints, at the sophisticated overlapping of several story-lines.

The Characters:

It's rare to find a series in which all of the main characters are likable, but Master's Sun is just that series. The lead couple, Gong-shil and Joong-won, are really great. Their characters were authentic and endearing. Gong-shil was adorable and puppy-like with no sense of boundaries or embarrassment when it came to Joong-won. That is until she begins crushing on him! Also, Gong-shil's giving nature and her conversations/reactions to the ghosts were just too cute. Joon-won starts off as a selfish, but still lovable, jerk whose only concern is how much money something or something can make him. However, that quickly changes when he meets Gong-shil and begins joining her in the ghost-busting! What I enjoyed and what impressed me the most about Master's Sun is the depth of the character development. Gong-shil and Joong-won both change drastically over the course of the series to become well-rounded characters.

Most of the supporting characters were nearly as round as the leading characters and served as fodder for comic relief and a great sotry. Secretary Kim was my absolute favorite character after the leads. It's the first time I've seen a secretary play such a lighthearted role, one in which a secretary actually cares for his boss. What made Secretary Kim even more endearing was how obviously he rooted for Gong-shil and Joong-won since the beginning and the way he subtly pushed them together by manipulating Joong-won. 

Kang Woo. Oh Kang Woo. As the head of security at Kingdom and Gong-shil's neighbor, Kang Woo gave me serious second-lead syndrome. In the end, I managed to resist succumbing completely, but it was hard. Kang Woo was sweet and gentle and attractive and protective. He was perfect, except he wasn't Joong-woo and he was keeping secrets! However, he remained a very good support and friend to Gong-shil (and without him, we couldn't have enjoyed a jealous Joong-won). Also, his eventual relationship with Yi-Ryeong was really cute to watch. Speaking of Yi-Ryeong, I found her pretty annoying at first, but as a kdrama villain, she kind of failed. She was just too cute while she was crushing on Kang Woo! And plus, the real villain appears and can we say PLOT TWIST!

Smaller Supporting Characters:

Gong-shil's sister and her talkative boo who's also a member of the Kingdom security team, Joong-won's silly uncle, and the little kids at Gong-shil apartment building were all great sources of hilarity. 

Additionally, the dialogue between all of the characters is pure gold and is what I love most about the Hong Sisters' writing style: always the most perfect one-liners ever.

The Romance/Chemistry:

The chemistry between Gong-shil and Joong-won was off the charts. I've seen that there is some upset among fans that the two of them didn't win the best couple award at the SBS Drama Awards. While I haven't Heirs (though I plan to) to make an informed decision about the best couple, Gong-shil and Joong-won had a beautiful relationship on Master's Sun. They were cute and playful; they were sweet and loving; they were angry and upset. When they get together completely at the end of the series, it's done in a way that is perfectly naturally for the two of them. I think because the two characters were portrayed so naturally, their relationship was also portrayed naturally, making it 100% believable.

The Pacing:

The pacing of the story and episodes was extremely well done. Not ONCE did I fast forward or even feel anything other than completely engaged and captivated. Things moved quickly when they needed to and slowed down where appropriate. Really amazing writing here.

The Soundtrack:

Pretty good. While I'm not running out to buy the OST, the music/lyrics fit the scenes and moods of the drama perfectly.

The Ending:

A perfect series with a perfect end. As I approached episode 17, I had a gut-wrenching fear that this amazing drama would be completely ruined by a rushed or illogical or otherwise unsatisfactory ending. However, I'm happy to say that I had nothing at all to worry about. Not only did the ending make perfect sense, but it was perfectly suited to the characters and mood of the entire series. The ending left viewers with plenty of warm, fuzzy feelings and a huge smile on our faces. I couldn't stop smiling, chuckling, and shaking my head for about an hour after finishing the series.

Final Verdict:

Watch. this. series. NOW! The end.

With that "GGUH JYUH!" *accompanied by hand wave in front of face*,

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