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Recommendations: Favorite Korean Dramas

Feb. 19th, 2017 | 01:45 pm

My list of watched Korean Dramas is pretty short. 24 dramas, not counting the other 10 dramas I dropped or didn't complete. The list, however is mostly romcoms. But that's the thing about this genre, it is plague with romance. Unless the viewer decides to expand, she/he will forever be stuck inside a box of cuteness and fluff. There are other dramas that deserve attention. Cruel, mysterious, and heartwretching, stories that stir your emotions and mind. But doesn't mean you have to limit yourself to masterpieces. Slowly expand your horizons, your taste, and you'll be surprise in what Korean dramas can offer.

The recommendation list, however, is a combination of both. There are dramas here that left a different impression and made me happy with what it offered. And there are the one that sticks and can never be shaken off.

Ex-Girlfriend Club. A crazy treat. Watch this for funny cat fights and Byun Yo-han.

She Was Pretty. Most satisfying finale that I have witnessed. A heroine you can root for and a romance that sizzles.

You From Another Star. A nice refresher to the world of Korean dramas. Quirky and funny. Jun Ji-hyun’s Cheong Song-yi is iconic.

I Remember You. A spunky heroine and an intriguing psychopath. Light on the romance but heavy on the mystery. Seo In-guk and Park Bo-gum’s bromance is the highlight of this show.

Splash Splash Love. A little dose of heaven. Two episodes of a light, funny, and satisfying story. Beats every 16-episode romantic drama out there.

Signal. Unbeatable in every aspect. Mind-numbing and heart-pounding. So great, you crave for more. (AFJ)

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Withdrawal Symptoms and Drama Finales

Feb. 7th, 2017 | 09:57 am

I honestly don't often get withdrawal symptoms from good dramas anymore. It's the almost good ones that make me suffer. I have to make sense of what the drama has given me and justify all the feelings I have. I have to reassure myself if I'm hating it logically. Am I just reaching too much? Was I just blind? It's a time consuming and frustrating process. I once thought about W for one whole day, just thinking of all the possible theories. I just needed to be satisfied.

But I never experienced withdrawal symptoms with great dramas like Signal. Even as I watched the finale, I never felt I was losing something. Rather, I was happy to witness such a great show get its conclusion. Was it what I was expecting? No. Was I disappointed? A little, but it was the experience of being thrilled even in the last minute that made me come to terms with its finale.

Nowadays, dramas like Signal are rare in the kdrama world so I never expect something as good as it to show up anytime soon.  But there are dramas like She was Pretty that made me wish for dramas like it. Dramas that made me happy from beginning to end. I know, it had flaws but I was truly satisfied with its finale. It was my first time. I have never felt that way. Ever. And so I craved for that feeling.

But unsatisfactory finales are so common, I have already prepared myself to be disappointed once I watch the last episode.Yet there's a tiny piece of me that wishes for something neat. That wishes for something logical. That makes sense.

When a drama disappoints me, I'm angry and crushed. It felt like I wasted so much time and effort just to be given such an ending. I knew this was coming, that this was possible so why do I keep doing this myself?

But I crave to be satisfied. I crave to have proper closure. So I look for it. I tune in to a new drama and the cycle repeats. (AFJ)

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Signal, setting the bar high in Korean dramas

Jan. 13th, 2017 | 04:44 pm

It's hard not to label tvN's Signal as my favorite drama. Gut-punching, mind bending, emotionally traumatizing - the show had all the elements I wanted - story, acting, and technical wise. Though it relied in the procedural detective series formula, the added element of solving crime in two different timelines with the price of changing someone's fate made it so much better. It continuously played with my emotions and mind, keeping me guessing what will happen next. I was a wreck and an emotional mess every time the show gave deaths and suspense. But I was also fist-pumping and jumping when the Cold Case Team solved their cases.

I was in awe with the story and it wouldn't be possible without the amazing cast. Many have praised Cho Jin-wong's performance and though I agree with them, I was more mesmirized by Kim Hye-soo's.  Her character had contrasting personality in the different timelines: kind-hearted and naive in the past, a spunky bad-ass cop in the present. She didn't make it like they were two different characters, rather she showed how Cha So-hyun developed into a strong and confident cop. How being expose to death and crimes mold her to become such. It was amazing to see the difference every time the drama switched from past to present So-hyun. From the body language, to the expression on her face, to the tone of her voice, Kim delivered a stellar performance I can never forget.

Yet Signal was not without flaw. And unfortunately, it was its ending. The writer gave us an open-ended cliffhanger in the last minute, leaving an unsatisfactory feeling in the finale. I was expecting for all the loose ends to be wrapped up neatly, instead it ended with an introduction to a possible next thrilling chapter of the story. It was clear that the writer planned it to be an opening for a sequel but in an industry where sequels are a rare occurrence, it was frustrating to watch the last few seconds tick past as we slowly found out that there's more to Detective Lee Jae-han's story.

Still, it hit a chord. Signal provided us one last thing to ponder about. Making us crave and ask for more of that emotional roller coaster we went through for 16 episodes. The bitterness of the last few minute fades, leaving a delectable taste of undoubtedly an amazing mixture of mystery, suspense, and emotional pang. (AFJ)

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Squeezing some book time

Dec. 1st, 2016 | 01:49 am
mood: thinking

Apparently, I have time to watch dramas but no time for books. What's up? You've got 15 books on your to read shelf. Pick one already!

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[Drama Watch] Korean Drama Watch List

Nov. 17th, 2016 | 09:20 am

Before you say that this is starting to look like an LJ dedicated for korean dramas, hear me out. Kdramas have invaded my life like how books did. It has become a source of entertainment and joy in my somewhat sad life. I can't help it but share this warm feeling (or the deep regret) I have whenever I watch them.

Now with new shows airing, the anticipation for another squealing fest is slowly mounting. The line-up for November-December 2016 dramas looks promising with excellent set of cast and intriguing story lines. Here are my to watch picks.

Legend of the Blue Sea (Nov. 16)

There are a couple of things in the drama that make me want to watch it. One, it stars the legendary Jun Ji-hyun who rarely does dramas in her career. Two, it comes from the same writer of You From Another Star/My Love From A Star which hooked me into kdramas. Three, the plot looks like YFAS 2.0: Mermaid edition.

With JJH as an immortal mermaid and Lee Min-ho as the reincarnation of the soldier who saved her in the past, it's hard to say that it doesn't look similar. Yet there's a little part of me that is hoping for something different in the story, that the execution will differ from YFAS, and will hopefully have a satisfying finale.

The teasers though have been amazing. JJH is not only beautiful but the cinematography looks visually stunning that I just can't wait to watch this.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo (Nov. 16)

Replacing Shopping King Louis is this youth/coming of youth drama. Set in a school were athletes train and study, the drama gives a more light and fresh feel than the rough and edgy vibe that I would expect from a drama that focuses on athletes.

This could be because of the teasers. The color and tone provided a youthful aura that doesn't spell angst and drama. It's a great follow-up to something like SKL which was breezy and adorable. And it would not hurt to add something light to my watch list.

Goblin (December 2)

This wasn't suppose to be on the list. After watching Heirs, I tend to stay away from watching Kim Eun-sook's dramas. She has this way of making something grand and cringy that sometimes feel isn't relevant or logical to the plot. I know she's good in giving us those big, dramatic, squeal-worthy moments but other than that, the plot feels less grand. Romance is good. Some angst is good but a nice flow of plot and development of characters would be better.

With that said, I'm just here to see Kim Go-eun who I adored in Cheese in the Trap (despite what happened to it) and Yoo In-na who needs to have more lead roles in dramas. I both admire these two acting and it's one of those moments that I can let the writer slide.

Though I also have issues about the story like why the hell is KGE's character a high school student while the other characters are like in "30s", the teasers have peaked my interest and I'm willing to watch it.

So that's my list. There are still other dramas that will air next year that I'm anticipating but that's for another post. For now, I'll be looking for new Japanese drama that I could add to my to watch list.

Any suggestions?

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[Off Topic] US Elections

Nov. 9th, 2016 | 11:56 am

Well, this was unexpected.

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[Visual Pleasure] Yong-pal: Let's eat lunch

Nov. 6th, 2016 | 03:13 pm
mood: hungryhungry

I decided to start this Visual Pleasure series. Movies and series are not just about entertaining or thought provoking stories. It's also about capturing your eyes. That one scene, that one moment where catch your breath, stop, and say, "wow that's beautiful".

So let's begin.

Yong-pal. Such a bittersweet memory. I remember swallowing all those crazy makjang twists like a hungry kid and accepted it without thinking about it too much. But by the time the drama hit episode 8 and decided to rush the romance, the drama began to loose its touch and I stop watching.

Yet there's this one scene that I would never forget. It's funny though. It's not about the main leads nor does it show anything interesting about the story. It's just someone eating lunch.

The scene was just beautifully captured. The attention to the food, to the movement, and the excellent composition. . .the whole scene was such a treat to the eyes. It was one of those rare moments where Yong-pal decided to be stunning. If only the rest of the show was just as good.

Disclaimer: Asian Drama Junkie, @ilovekyo143, and A Fiction Junkie are all run by the same person. GIFs are mine so don't look for me.

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What's in the name. . .

Nov. 4th, 2016 | 11:54 am
mood: accomplished

Fiction rule my world.

My life has been all about reading books, watching movies and tv series, and fangirling over the latest fictional character I've encountered.

It's not that reality sucks. The world of fiction just pulls me into believing possibilities and fantasies. A book can tickle my imagination. A movie scene can captivate my emotion. It's a different kind of experience that captures me visually and emotionally.

Even the creation of this account was because of the need to get my fictional fix.

It's a necessity. An obsession. To be part of a world that doesn't exist.

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