Sunday, February 23, 2014

Exciting Additions to "Planning to Watch" List

Below are some new additions to my Planning to Watch list that I'm most excited about! 

 My Love from Another Star


Queen In-Hyun's Man


Incarnation of Money

Emergency Couple


I Need Romance

Monday, February 17, 2014

[Kdrama Review] Flower Boy Next Door (2013)

File:My Flower Boy Neighbor-poster.jpg

What's it about:

Flower Boy Next Door is an early 2013 romantic comedy that aired from January 7th to February 26th and is based on a webtoon called "I Steal Peeks At Him Every Day." It has Park Shin Hye as Dok Mi, a young woman who has hidden herself away from the world. A past hurt has made her unwilling to interact with the outside world and other people and she spends her time editing manuscripts and peeping at her neighbor across the street. One day, her neighbor's cousin--Enrique Geum of Spain (played by Yoon Shi Yoon) catches her, while eating a Popsicle and wearing boxers and a panda-hat! That is the beginning of their weird relationship that results in her coming out of her shell and finding love. (Intrigued?)

What I thought about it:

Flower Boy Next Door is a gem of a drama that hasn't received as much attention as it deserves, overlooked probably by its early release date. However, it's a definite must watch.

At first glance, this seems like a fluffy, lighthearted drama, but the hilarity and weirdness hides a deeper plot that is engaging and draws viewers completely in. The core of that powerful draw is with the eclectic group of characters and the sweet storyline. Dok Mi is horribly lonely and separated from the world. Her neighbor Ji Rak is working on a webtoon that is based on the one-sided love that Ji Rak has for Dok Mi and her developing relationship with Que-Geum. There is also Ji Rak's roommate and assistant Doon Hoon and Watanabe who is in Korea from Japan to learn Korean cuisine. Each of the characters are unique and entertaining, real and wacky. However, they're not just funny. There is depth to each character, a history and a past that makes them who they are. The reveal of each character's past is what makes viewers fall for them and keeps viewers hooked on the drama. The secondary characters are also pretty unique and my fave character is the crazy editor.

More things that I loved about this drama:

  • The love confession was refreshingly direct. Actually, the entire drama is refreshingly direct. It's a simply story about a woman who is drawn back into the world of the living by love. But it is that simplicity that makes this drama a gem. Even without sudden amnesia, evil ex's or mothers, rich chaebols, servitude or separation, there wasn't a single part of the series that was BORING or less than interesting. There also weren't any of the typical Kdrama misunderstandins that last several episodes either. I really did enjoy the directness of the characters in Flower Boy Next Door.
  • The male characters were really in touch with their emotions and not afraid to cry. There were a lot of excellent, heartfelt tear scenes. 
  • Another drama that showcases crazy fans. This seems to be a thing in Korean dramas lately.
  • The ending episode was a really great wrap-up and left viewers with a lot of feel-good feels. I was smiling so much throughout the entire episode that my cheeks hurt.
  • I almost couldn't take how cute Dok Mi and Que Geum were together. I nearly died from cuteness overload! And Ji Rak's was freaking freaking adorable as well! It was sooo hard to choose who I wanted her with.
  • Best lines in any drama. Ever! (in episode 9): (The English major in me grins and agrees wholeheartedly.)
Doon Hoo: Ji Rak's phone 
Editor: Is the phone talking?! You should say 'This is Doon Hoon askwering Ji Rak's Phone'! Why doesn't anyone use proper grammar?!

Other related comments:

  •  I've always heard such harsh comments about Park Shin Hye's acting ability, especially in connection to Heirs. While I've yet to watch Heirs, I felt that Shin Hye's acting in this drama was pretty good. She was well-suited to the role of Dok Mi. Was she absolutely amazing? Not particularly, but certainly not horrible. I think she's definitely growing as an actress And plus, she was Go Mi Nam in You're Beautiful and Lee Gyu Won in Heartstrings--two dramas that I really enjoyed
  • I was surprised at my feelings of wanting to immediately rewatch Flower Boy Next Door. I've never rewatched a drama. While other kdrama fans rewatch their fave dramas 10, 20, even 30 times, I cannot compel myself to spend time rewatching a series that could be time spent watching a new amazing drama. With that being said, I think I have to watch Flower Boy Next Door again one day and that's certainly saying something about how much I enjoyed it.

Last words:

Go. Watch. This. Drama. Now!
Watch it over on Viki:
Or if DramaFever is more your style:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

[Anime Review] Antique Bakery (2011)

After watching the Korean movie, Antique Bakery, I watched the anime series of the same title to see how it compares. Overall, it's pretty good. The movie and the anime series follow the same storyline pretty closely and are almost identical to one another. The additional hour of watch time that the anime gives you allows viewers to enjoy some additional story fillers that are pretty amusing. I found that the anime series was funnier for some reason (loved the exaggerated facial expressions). I especially enjoyed Chikage's character in the anime series. However, the Korean versions of the other characters were more enjoyable for me. While the anime series is nearly as good, I liked the Korean movie version just a little bit more.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

[J-Movie Review] Rurouni Kenshin (2011)


Rurouni Kenshin is based on the manga series by Nobuhiro Watsuki and follows the story of Himura Kenshin, former assassin turned wandering protector. In an effort to begin repenting for all of the lives he has taken, Kenshin takes a vow to never kill, even carrying a reverse sword that doesn't cut. When he arrives in Tokyo during the new Meiji era, he meets Kaoru, the owner of a swordsmanship school that's good name is being ruined by someone killing in the name of "Hitokiri Battōsai." Kenshin remains in Tokyo in order to protect Kaoru and the town.

That's the basic storyline, but this series and this movie is so much more. I've always been a fan of the Rurouni Kenshin series. Though I've never read the manga, I loved the anime series as a kid. (Rurouni Kenshin along with Inuyasha were my two big anime obsessions at the time.) And when I discovered that there was a live action movie, I was beyond excited. I was positively GIDDY. Now, that I've watched this, I'm even more excited about the sequels coming in 2014.

This movie was everything I expected and even more. The acting and representation of all of my fave characters from the series was excellent. The portrayal of a small part of the story was as compelling as in the anime. And the fight scenes, oh lordy, they were so bad -and exciting! I was sitting on the edge of my seat, barely breathing, during the big showdown at the end. Also, I think I've developed a major crush on the actor who plays Kenshin, Takeru Satoh. He was perfect for the role. The perfect mix of polite, boyish charm and scary ex-assassin. I also enjoyed the developing relationship between the new friends just as the movie was ending. And this is the issue with movies versus drama series. I always feel the need for more in a movie, especially when based on a much longer series. I hope one day, someone decides to produce not only a movie series based on Rurouni Kenshin, but a drama series--one at least 50 episodes long! A girl can certainly dream. Overall, this movie is a must watch for all Rurouni Kenshin fans and lovers of samurai/action movies.

One last thing, I just had to share: The ending credits song to the movie is so darn good. Take a listen below. I watched until the very end of the credits because I couldn't bear to stop the song. And now, I am listening to it on repeat! Lastly, I may have found a new favorite j-rock band. *flails!*

Friday, February 7, 2014

[K-Movie Review] Antique Bakery (2008)

I want to begin by saying that I have been wanting to watch this movie for FIVE years. Not kidding. I can't even begin to explain why I waited so long. It's even harder to explain how upset I am at myself for waiting so long!

Antique Bakery is a well-written story about four completely different (but all very handsome) men who are brought together by chance to run a bakery together. The movie portrays the heartwarming, growing friendship between the four men--playboy owner Jin Hyuk, openly gay Seon Woo, young, abrasive, ex-boxer Ki Beom, and adorably clumby oaf Soo Yeong--as they work together to build a successful breaking. In addition to the great acting, likeable characters, interesting story, what I liked the most about Antique Bakery is that is not really the light, fluffy, lighthearted movie it first appears to me. Viewers soon learn that each of the four men have a painful history and their friendship with one another helps them overcome their pain. That's what makes this not only a fun movie, but an extremely touching one as well. I only wish that we could have spent more time seeing the reveal of the characters pasts. For that reason, I look forward to watching the anime series of Antique Bakery as well.

Don't follow my example and wait five years, watch Antique Bakery now. It's a must-watch as far as I concerned.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Break from K-Dramas: It's MOVIE time!

After watching Master's Sun, Reply 1997, and Reply 1994 in a row, I think I'm ready for a break. I mean, that was about 60 hours of intense drama watching!

So, the plan is to watching a few Korean movies and then watch a few Taiwanese dramas that have been on my list.

Possible titles to watch in the next few days:


  • Antique Bakery (watched 2/7/2014)
  • Werewolf Boy
  • Postcard from Heaven
  • Rorouni Kenshin (watched 2/8/2014)
  • The Face Reader
  • Unstoppable Marriage
  • Why Did You Come to My House


  • Love Around
  • Just You
  • The Rose

[K-Drama Review] Reply/Anwer Me 1994 (2013)


Reply/Answer Me 1994 follows the same basic storyline as 1997. It follows the relationships between a group of friends in the 90s. There are some key differences though: the characters are college students and that bit of maturity was one I could appreciate; they lived together in a boarding house, which made for a lot of fun, heartwarming scenes between the kids; the who's-the-husband game was a lot more intense in 1994 (It wasn't until the very last episode that you knew for sure. The writers did a great job of keeping both prospects in the running as actual competitors.); the story had a more serious and dramatic air to it as the maturity of the characters meant that they dealt with slightly more serious issues than the high school students in 1997. Regardless, what I loved about 1994 was the raw portrayal of life as a 20-year-old in the 90s. Like the 1997 serious, viewers can easily connect to the characters by remembering their own college days and their own lives when they were 20. Being at the tender age of 22, I'm experiencing many of the feelings that Na Jeong and her gang experience and I couldn't help but feel connected to their plights. Reply/Answer Me 1994 is a tender coming-of-age story about friendship, love, family, and finding one's place in this crazy, crazy world.


The characters in 1994 were just as loveable, if not more so, than those in 1997. I appreciated the maturity of college students instead of high school students. However, they were just as quirky and endearing. Sometimes they were absolutely aggravating, but I fell in love with them anyway. It was a joy and a honor watching the budding relationships (both friendships and romance) of this ragtag bunch of boarding house kids. Na Jeong's parents (the same set from 1997, but with slightly different mannerism) were great supporting characters. This method of having a cast of main characters, instead of just two (or sometimes four) is refreshing. I enjoyed being able to learn each character's background equally.


The pacing of the series was my biggest issue with this drama. I felt that 21 episodes that were each 75-90 minutes long was too much. As a result, the story dragged and it was kind of painful. I fast-forwarded through a lot of the episodes in the second half. I had to take a few days off as a break from the drama. And there were a few moments where I seriously considered putting 1994 on hold for a bit because I just wanted it to end.


It's rare these days to find a drama with a bad soundtrack as the k-drama industry seems to have gotten really great at choosing perfect OSTs. Reply/Answer Me 1994 is no exception. The soundtrack is just as good as 1997, with songs perfectly suited to the characters, mood, and era of the drama. However, it's not one I'm compelled to download for myself, nor did any particular songs stick out for me as ones that I love. (P.S. Viki subbers do an amazing job of subbing the song lyrics through the series.)


The last episode was a great way to wrap up the series. It's a replay of all of the 2002 wedding scenes with the groom's face finally exposed. However, it didn't feel repetitive. Instead, it felt heartwarming to finally put a face to all of the endearing wedding moments. The ending of Reply/Answer Me 1994 leaves viewers with a content, warm feeling of seeing dear friends mature and knowing that despite whatever struggles they may face in the future, they'll be just fine.

Final Verdict: 

Reply/Answer Me 1994 is a great drama. It has a great cast with excellent acting ability to portray loveable characters. The storyline is masterfully written and is engaging and enjoyable to watch. The pacing of the series is the only thing that makes this drama less than perfect. It drags quite a bit, but you can't contemplate stopping because it's so good. So you may take a few days off or fast forward, but you'll definitely come back to finish and will love it in the end.