Friday, July 31, 2015

K-Con Day 1: I Have Found My People

Alright so I have had the awesome opportunity to attend K-Con this year, and it is really so much more than anything I had ever expected it to be. A few months ago I was out to lunch with my very good friend Maren, who I had successful converted to dramaland, fittingly we were at a local Korean restaurant. I had known that K-Con was happening but I never thought that I would actually commit to go because I didn't really have anyone to go with. In passing I mentioned the convention and immediately she convinced me we must go.  So we bought our tickets and waited patiently for July 31st to come. And it's finally here and I thought it would be great to talk about everything that has happened and all the crazy things that go on at this certain con. 

Before we got to the convention we drove to K-Town and stopped at Okrumong, a great patbingsu spot. Patbingsu is a Korean dessert that is basically shaved ice with a sweet red bean topping. It is honestly one of my favorite things to eat on a hot day. We went ahead and shared a green tea bowl and it perfectly hit the spot. 

So day 1 was today and I am completely exhausted. We got to the convention about a half hour before it opened and let me tell you I haven't seen so many crazy K-pop fans in one place ever... I don't think I would classify myself as a crazy fan of K-pop, yes I really like it but I don't necessarily exclusively listen to it so I feel a little out of my league. The one thing I do know is that I can hold my own when discussing dramas so I was really looking forward to a lot of the panels about dramaland. 

Once we got inside we went around the expo looking at all the booths, and I was a little intimidated at first, there is a lot to see and do. But the first thing I did was stop at the IOPE booth and they were having people spin a wheel and you could win an IOPE air cushion, which I have been thinking about buying for the past few months. So obviously we were off to a brilliant start. 

There are tons of people here and so maneuvering around took some talent but we made it around and we made mental notes of what we wanted to maybe buy in the next couple of days. Our first panel we attended was Shower Scenes to Wrist Grabs: The Best and Worst K-Drama Tropes. I think I went into the panel expecting something a little different then how it was set up but they showed a series of clips from all sorts of dramas detailing certain dramaland tropes. Overall the panel was a little disappointing because I don't think there was really any meat to the questions being asked and it was all things I have discussed with others before. But it was fun and there were some great laughs throughout. Basically we can all agree that amnesia is a bad trope that should just go away forever.

We left this panel a little early and got in line for a skin care workshop with Sokoglam's Charlotte Cho. I am a huge makeup enthusiasti and I have been doing a Korean skin care routine for about a year now so I have visited quite a bit in my time and I was really looking forward to this workshop to hear from Charlotte herself about some of her favorite skin products. There was a pretty long line but we got in and on our seats were some great gift bags full of product samples, basically the best thing in the world. Charlotte started her presentation and asked for volunteers and I knew I had to be picked. Luckily I have very long arms and I was lucky enough to get picked. I got to go up and show off a face mask which was great and because I volunteered I got a Missha M Magic Cushion, which is basically the same thing as the IOPE product I had gotten earlier. I am so excited to have both of the compacts and can't wait to give them both a try. I have been so interested in Korean beauty and to get both these products has already made this whole trip for me. I would totally recommend everyone check out and see what Korean skin care is really all about, it's a whole new world of magical things that everyone should try.

We went straight from the skin care workshop to another panel entitled Dramabeans: Hallyu in Academia. This panel featured Hae Joo Kim, Bonnie Tilland, and Regina Young Lee and was moderated by Javabeans and Girlfriday. This was probably the highlight of the day for both Maren and I because we both tend to lean toward the academic side of analyzing things and I actually wrote a research paper for my dramatic literature theory class about the representation of LGBTQ+ theory in Korean dramas. So I knew a little about Bonnie Tilland and Regina Young Lee before going into the panel. It was fascinating to see these women talk about dramas and K-pop in an academic setting and to see that these dramas hold a lot more in them than just their entertainment value. I just wish I attended a university that offered a class that let me watch dramas for credit. I learned a lot in this panel and I was honored to be in the small amount of people there. It was also great to see Javabeans and Girlfriday because I am an avid reader of Dramabeans and they have created a great community to talk about dramas and they had some really great questions for the panelists that kept me in the panel all the way to the end. It really was great!

It was the perfect way to start off this three day adventure. I didn't really know what to expect and that is really a good thing because it is all blowing my mind! I seriously can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Series Review: My Love Eun Dong

My Love Eun Dong had a lot of good things about it, and while it wasn't the perfect drama it was still a nice simple watch that didn't cause me too much anxiety. But that also means that this wasn't a drama I had to watch right when it aired, and it wasn't one that I was super excited to watch each week. It definitely has the feel of an old school romance drama, it wasn't trying to do anything radical or different. The drama just wanted to tell the story of these two lovers and I think they did a pretty good job. 

First off I think the acting was really well done. Joo Jin Mo was pretty amazing as this love sick actor who was searching for the woman he loved. What I most appreciate is that you could see the same person through the three actors who played Park Hyun Soo. His personality didn't take a radical turn and you could still see the 17 year old kid in the 37 year old. I also enjoyed Kim Sa Rang as Eun Dong. I think her adult self did change quite a bit from her younger versions but that's because she was living as a completely different person for 10 years. She was a lot more mature than Hyun Soo because she had a lot more to take into consideration than just the fact that they love each other. 

The hardest part of the drama was the last two episodes. I feel like the first 14 episodes had a really good rythm and then it all kind of stopped with episode 15. Eun Dong had to live a life that wasn't hers because of her adoptive father and her husband. The most disappointing thing for me was that there was no punishment for these men that ruined a loving relationship and took away the chance for Hyun Soo to raise his son. Yes there was a "happy" ending but we didn't really get all the closure I wanted with all the characters.

One of the characters that I ended up being really disappointed in was Choi Jae Ho,  Eun Dong's husband. He did horrible things to Eun Dong in the past and whats disappointing is that he just did the same things again to ensure that she wouldn't leave him. He basically kidnapped her and got into a car accident and then lied about being the father of the baby she was carrying and then brainwashed her into thinking they were in love their whole lives. He stripped away her life and when she finally starts to regain what she had lost he tries to kill himself, which I think that was the most frustrating plot development in the entire drama. It's hard because you could see that he truly did love Ra Il but that doesn't make everything he did suddenly okay. Deciding to kill himself was the most selfish thing he could have done, instead of taking responsibility he ran away. Then I feel like that was the end of the conflict. He got to continue to raise Ra Il and move on with life. Eun Dong's adoptive father is literally the worst character and it just a horrible person. He was an abusive bastard to used his daughter to get ahead in work and when she didn't do what he wanted he just beat her into submission. I don't feel like there was any closure with his character either, he just kind of went away, which I don't mind, but I feel like there should be some kind of cosmic justice to make him pay for what he did. 

It's interesting that Ra Il who was the result of Eun Dong and Hyun Soo's love for each other ended up being the thing that really kept them apart at the end. Eun Dong knew that she could not turn this boys world upside down, it wasn't fair to him to suddenly throw the only father he knew away and try to force him to love a stranger. I really liked that she put her son first and knew it would take time, while Hyun Soo was ready to jump in there and take his son away with him. And it is so sad that he didn't get to raise his son which was just unfair, because he would have been a great father if he had been given the chance. I was sad that Ra Il never got to meet Hyun Soo at the end of the drama, I think that was what was missing from the ending. 

Overall the drama was pretty easy to watch and while it did get stressful in the last few episodes, it ended on a positive note and told a great love story. I think that the ending had a lot of more realistic developments than a lot of dramas, it didn't just end with a happily ever after with the bad guys getting what they deserved, even though that was a little disappointing. I would suggest this drama to anyone just looking for a good and simple love story. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

First Impression: Oh My Ghostess

Oh My Ghostess
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Fantasy
Episodes: 16
Broadcast Network: tvN
Air Time: Friday/Saturday
Broadcast Period: July 3, 2015 - August 22, 2015

Main Cast:
Park Bo Young as Na Bong Sun
Jo Jung Suk as Kang Sun Woo
Im Ju Hwan as Choi Sung Jae
Kim Seul Gi as Shin Soon Ae

Na Bong Sun has an extremely timid personality and low self-esteem, doesn't have any close friends, and is constantly getting reprimanded at her job as a restaurant sous chef. She also occasionally sees ghosts, thanks to a shaman grandmother. One day, Bong Sun gets possessed by a lustful virgin ghost named Shin Soo Ae. To make up for the lack of romance in her short life, Soon Ae is determined to seduce as many men as she can by possessing various women, and she find the perfect vessel in Bong Sun. Bong Sun's boss is arrogant star chef Kang Sun Woo whom she secretly has a crush on. Sun Woo still hasn't gotten over an old girlfriend, but when Bong Sun seemingly gets rid of her shyness and suddenly changes into a confident, dynamic woman, she finally catches his eye. 

Oh man, I have been looking forward to this drama for a while now and I'm so glad that it is finally airing! I think a lot of people are drawn to this drama because it has such a hilarious concept. Having a virgin ghost possessing someone and chasing around guys sounds golden and sets up a really interesting and entertaining drama. After the first two episodes I am enjoying the show a lot but it isn't quite what I was anticipating. I was expecting a full on comedy that would constantly have me rolling on the floor with laughter, but the first episode actually took on a more somber tone and was a lot more serious than I was prepared for. The second episode picked up on the humor side of things but there were still moments that definitely weren't funny. The second episode actually had a really nice balance and if the rest of the show follows suite we are in for a hilarious but poignant drama.

The casting was done so perfectly, everyone has embraced their roles and it is really great to not worry about any of the actors ability to portray their roles. Jo Jung Suk is one good looking guy who is doing a great job playing a arrogant narcissist. I have only seen him in The King2Hearts where he plays the nicest guy so it is different seeing him turn to the typical Kdrama male lead. But what I find so impressive so far with the drama is that the audience has already been shown that this seemingly jerky guy has things in his past that have seriously affected him and have made him lonely. I look forward to seeing his past explored and pulling the nice guy out of him, because we all know that it is there. 

Kim Seul Gi is basically perfect and I haven't seen her in a drama that she hasn't been absolutely hilarious in. She is actually one of my favorite actresses right now and I am so glad that she is playing this role because she doesn't just deliver the ghost shenanigans just for the laughs. In the first episode you get a real sense of how lonely this girl is and that she has been wandering aimlessly for three years trying to figure out who she is and why she is stuck with the living. That has got to be hard and it would take it's toll on anyone and I love that we get to see that come through this character. I know that for the most part Kim Seul Gi's character is possessing another body but I hope we still get to see a lot from her.

And I think our female lead is going to be amazing to watch. Park Bo Young has a very tough job of having to be two different characters but I think she has done a fine job so far and it's only going to get better. I do think it is an interesting choice to have Na Bong Sun pushed to the back burner so soon in the drama. Right now it seems that Soon Ae is the lead character, I mean she is a very interesting character and does have a lot of backstory that the audience needs to see, but I also want to know more about Bong Sun and what happened to her to make her so timid. I hope that both characters get an equal amount of development and that they can start to help each other achieve their goals.

Having the ghost possession so permanent right now has made me a little worried as far as romance is concerned. I know a lot of people have expressed this same concern but I really don't want to watch this drama and be confused about who the OTP is. at this point I believe it is supposed to be Sun Woo with Bong Sun but if he is going to fall in love with this girl it has to actually be her, not a ghost possessing her body. This is literally my only concern at this point, I don't want him to fall in love with this ghost and then when she inevitable has to move on and leave Bong Sun's body, he magically realizes that he was actually in love with the real Bong Sun because of..... reasons. This is sitting in te back of my mind right now but since I am determined to be optimistic and not focus all my energy on this potential problem. I'm trusting you writers! Please don't let that trust be in vain!

After the first two episodes of this drama I am really looking forward to seeing more. It wasn't quite what I was expecting but I like what I am seeing so far. I like all of these actors and I don't think I have to worry about any of the acting. Right now this drama feels like a cross between Master's Sun and Pasta which are two shows that I enjoyed immensely so why not mesh them together! Can't wait to see where the story goes but hopefully it will continue to be thoughtful and hilarious!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Series Review: Warm and Cozy

Thank goodness this drama is finally over. I will be completely honest and say that it was painful getting through this one, which is a shame because I was really looking forward to it. I haven't watched all of the Hong sister's dramas but I loved Master's Sun and I was hoping that this drama would have the same humor and fast paced plot that made that drama so great. But unfortunately we are given a slow paced show with  virtually no plot that just goes in circles for 16 episodes. 

I think the most painful part of this drama was our "hero" who I just wanted to slap every episode. I hated him, and I didn't want Jung Joo to end up with him in the end. Even with his so-called redeeming moments, he was still a complete jack-ass all the way till the end and it was so frustrating to watch him. His brother was the same way, neither one of our romantic leads were remotely worth rooting for. Yoon Yeon Seok who played Gun Woo did a fine job with the role but even though he tried to breath life into the character, the writing just killed it. Kang So Ra did a great job with her character as well and the two leads had great chemistry together but we never really got to see the full potential of their relationship because the writers kept them apart until the very last second. It's frustrating to watch these two good actors struggle throughout the drama because they weren't really given anything to work with. 

I just don't really know what to say about the rest of the drama because I just was bored and mad the entire time. Even with the occasional cute moment between our leads I found myself anticipating the next idiotic thing they would do next that would make me hate them again. This isn't the worst drama I have ever watched but I didn't like watching it. I think I kept with this drama because I wanted to see where the Hong sister's were going to take everything and now that it is over it basically went no where. I am being really harsh on the drama and that may not be completely fair but in the end this is one of my least favorite dramas I have watched to date. The best part of the drama was So Ji Sub and he was only in like 1 minute of the drama. So it was definitely a rough ride to get through the drama, with plot lines that go absolutely no where and characters that were just easier to hate then try to like, it isn't a drama I would recommend to anyone.