Bidding Farewell to the Hoi-Hoi Couple

I laughed with the best of them, and cried with the worst of them. The last episode nearly had me catatonic on the floor, I couldn’t stop sobbing all throughout the entire hour. This drama was perfect to marathon because it’s zany, zippy, so adorably sweet it gave me a toothache that worsened with each episode, but inflicted a pain upon me that felt oh-so-good. It’s been weeks since I finished wiping away my tears of joy at Mi Ho and Dae Woong’s happy ending, but I still remember the drama with a boatload of fondness and judging by the sheer number of screencaps I took while watching this sucker (700 of them! I still can’t believe it.), My Girlfriend is a Gumiho has earned a place on my list of top ten favorite feel-good dramas. I’ll be continuing this review after the jump for those of y’all who haven’t seen it yet (What are you waiting for?!). And just a warning, I’m including MAJOR picspam because of the ridiculous number of screencaps I took, mostly of Shin Min Ah‘s Gu Mi Ho because I developed a major girl-crush on the character. What?

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The Meaning of Love: A Review of Alone in Love

After I finished watching the last moments of Alone in Love fade away from my laptop screen, I brushed tears of happiness away from my face with warmth in my heart. Rarely do I ever get the chance to see a k-drama so true to life, so realistic in its interactions that somehow convey such deeply rooted feelings of love, that I truly wanted to hug screenwriter Park Yeon Seon for creating such a wonderful, wonderful drama. For those of you who haven’t seen AiL yet, I’ll continue my review after the jump to avoid revealing any spoilers, because there will be some. You have been forewarned.

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A Newbie Reviews: Dramas of 2010

As the year 2010 comes to a close, I feel a little shell-shocked at how quickly time has passed by. Pretty soon, I’ll reach one year since I first become a fansubber/translator and since I started this very blog. By extension, this is the first year-end review I’m writing so please bear with me as I try to be as objective and impartial as possible. Not only will I be reviewing dramas that aired this year that I watched, but a few that I watched for the first time this year although they aired in previous years. Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one.

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Taoist Wizard Jeon Woo Chi

“Is this a dream?” Asks Im Soo Jung‘s character Seo In Kyung as she’s carried by Kang Dong Won‘s Jeon Woo Chi through mid-air and gently placed on the ground. “Life is but a long battle dream says I, Taoist Wizard Jeon Woo Chi.” Declares Jeon Woo Chi with his trademark smirk, knowing that mere seconds later he will be killed. At least temporarily, but he isn’t aware of that. After a long journey, Jeon Woo Chi has finally realized what his teacher meant when he said he had to empty himself of emotions in order to learn how to become a true wizard and he decided to apply all of this wisdom and knowledge in allowing his archenemy Hwa Dam (played by a marvelously unrelenting Kim Yoon Seok) to end his life, and this sacrifice is precisely what gives Jeon Woo Chi the power of a full-fledged wizard.

After a long period of it just sitting on my hard drive waiting for me, I began Jeon Woo Chi in anticipation, knowing it was going to be a fun watch but not expecting to be thoroughly impressed. Let’s start with the gushing. Kang Dong Won was absolutely superb as Jeon Woo Chi. When I saw him give interviews, he’s a mild-spoken, quiet type of guy who seems a bit awkward but has bursts of witty humor shine through. But during his first scene, he impersonates a heavenly prince or angel of some sort and has the entire court down on their knees in reverance, and had me cracking up as he carelessly dropped priceless vases and spoke in a boastful, proud voice while stuffing valuable artifacts into the folds of his clothes. There was no trace of Kang Dong Won in Jeon Woo Chi. He had completely transformed into the troublemaker wizard and I loved every second of it. He looked amazing as he twirled his staff and bent into his fighting pose as he waited for the yo-gye (the monsters) to attack. He made flying through the air on a cord and pulley look effortless although he stated in an interview that he was scared for his life at the great heights he was being yanked through. I had never seen Kang Dong Won in anything before (although I have had Temptation of Wolves waiting to be watched as well) and I immediately fell for him in Jeon Woo Chi because of how dang hot he was.

Im Soo Jung gave him a run for his money though as Seo In Kyung. I’ve only seen her in …ing so far but I’ve always thought she was one of the most talented and beautiful actresses in Korea of any generation. She makes every character come to life and she’s so versatile that you can find no remnants of past characters in her acting of new ones. She was no different in Jeon Woo Chi, and she had great chemistry with Kang Dong Won, as well as Kim Yoon Seok.

Kim Yoon Seok was so deliciously evil as Hwa Dam that it was almost sexy. He gave off such a dark, sensual vibe in everything he did that his portrayal earned him a place on my favorite villians list. The fight scenes between him and Kang Dong Won were perfectly executed, and Kim Yoon Seok was flawless in making Hwa Dam an incredibly cold, calculating person/yo-gye/whatever the heck he was.

It was nice being able to watch the Korean entertainment industry veer away from the norm and produce such a creative flick (although it took almost ten years to complete the entire process). I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and wanted to say more, but held back for the sake of y’all who haven’t seen it yet. Please do, the entire cast was great and the story was engaging, so much so that although the movie’s more than two hours long, it doesn’t seem that way when you’re watching it. The supporting actors/actresses (Baek Yoon Shik, Yoo Hae Jin) were all wonderful as well. Overall, watching Jeon Woo Chi was a fun ride and I enjoyed it all the way. Until next time!

Beauty in the Broken

During the two and a half months I’ve been a translator for WITHS2, I’ve met lots of new people and been exposed to many new dramas that I would’ve never thought to watch before. One of the dramas that got consistent raves from every single person I heard from was Conspiracy in the Court, most counting it among their top favorites. When thunderbolt put up the download links on her lovely blog, I downloaded them and saved them onto my external hard drive, thinking that one day, I might just give CitC a try.

I knew very little about it except for the fact that it was a sageuk that was watched by precious few when it aired, and that relatively unknown actors/actresses took on the lead roles, one of them being Lee Cheon Hee whom I’ve adored ever since Family Outing. The thought of him starring in a sageuk was a bit odd to me because I was used to seeing him as Chunderella, awkward and silly, but that side of him appealed to me so I wasn’t opposed to seeing him in a more serious role. As for the other actor and actress, I caught the first episode of Who Are You? and dropped it because Go Ara annoyed the heck out of me with her shrillness, and I was aware that Jin Yi Han was the supporting actor in that drama. Other than that, he was a fresh face to me as well. Kim Ha Eun was even less familiar to me because I knew she was acting in Chuno, but I wasn’t watching it so I had no idea what her acting was like.

Knowing that CitC was a sageuk, I downloaded the subs that wonderful MisterX translated for WITHS2 because although my Korean isn’t bad, I knew I didn’t know enough to fully understand the Korean of old. And so, for a few weeks, I had the eight episodes of CitC and the subs for them sitting on my hard drive, just waiting to be watched. Because of all the raves that I heard about it, I was almost afraid to start watching it, because I knew it’d be an intense, almost otherworldly ride. I wanted to mentally prepare myself before I dipped my toe into the rich, sensuous experience of watching CitC.

One night, I think it was a few weeks ago, I sat myself down having finished all my homework and translating duties and not having anything else to do, I thought to myself, Why not watch it now? There’s no reason to keep putting it off. And so I plugged in my hard drive, sat back, and began Episode 1. As the opening credits began, I found myself being swept away in the fast-paced scenes that were flashing before my eyes, and I almost felt like holding my breath, afraid I was going to miss something if I blinked or looked away for just a moment.

As I watched the first episode, I gasped, laughed, covered my eyes, and just reveled in the beauty that was unfolding in front of me on my laptop screen. Lee Cheon Hee was transformed into someone I almost couldn’t recognize. Fire and passion blazed in his eyes and on his face, and he radiated an intensity that I could never have imagined from Chunderella. Kim Ha Eun left me in awe, wondering how she could act out so perfectly a character who has such a tough shell on the exterior but is perpetually crying on the inside, her heart bottomless with sorrow. And Jin Yi Han… he embodies his character so well that he’s not acting, but living out Park Sang Gyu’s resentment toward his father, bitterness at being stuck in a position he doesn’t want, and longing for his lost love.

The montage of scenes that was shown in Episode 2 of Sang Gyu and Na Young’s past reduced me to a sobbing, squealing mess, and Na Young’s unendurable, excruciatingly painful suffering after her father is accused of treason made my heart constrict for her. I can’t remember when I last felt so deeply while watching a drama. CitC is masterful at making its viewers feel a myriad of emotions almost on a personal level, that’s how profoundly I wish its characters happiness, but the fact that I know they won’t get it hurts me more than words can express.

I’m only on Episode 3 so far, and yet CitC has already left an impression on me that I know will be everlasting. Thinking about the drama brings tears to my eyes, and listening to the songs of the OST make my heart thump as if I was watching its glorious scenes. I can’t watch more than one episode in a certain period of time (I’ve been giving it a week in between watching each episode) because I want to give myself time to savor and reflect on what I had just seen. Some people devoured the whole drama all at once, but for me, I can’t even fathom doing that. There’s so much intensity and sorrow that if I were to watch the episodes in a whole chunk like that, I’d be depressed for weeks, maybe even months after I finished watching its last moments.

I’m so grateful for MisterX’s impeccable subs because if it weren’t for him, despite the raves of my fellow WITHS2ers, I probably wouldn’t have began watching this absolute gem because I wouldn’t have been able to understand everything. CitC is a raw, hard-hitting, emotional roller coaster that I’m not even halfway through with, but I’m in it for the whole ride. I’ll write another entry when I’m done watching the drama because I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about when it’s over. See you then~ 🙂