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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Two Korean Dramas worth looking at

I know I'm stepping away from Japanese stuff and telling you about Korean things but I'm doing this because I think it's really that worth it. The first of which is:

Yi San is about the life of King Jeongjo, the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty. He's famous in history for being a king who sympathized with the common man and tried to help life for all despite having such a proper upbringing. It starts off with him as a child and follows his life as the crown prince and later king during one of the most hectic times in history.
It's one hour per episode for 77 episodes. I'm not usually keen on historical dramas but this one was really well done. There are parts where the pace gets sluggish and resorts to filler, but overall this was a really great show. The cast is decorated with a handful of famous actors as well as actors from a previous drama known as Dae Jang Geum which took place in the same dynasty 200 years before Yi san. This makes familiar faces mix with different roles and so viewers of both shows can see how well the acting is.

This show does deviate from the actual historical records, but it follows the general line of history well which is interesting. There were something that viewers were worried about in terms of historical precision as some parts are really vague but it was handled delicately and worked nicely. The actors fit their role really well. My main problem is how many females express their surprise in erratic heavy breathing which annoys me beyond belief, but that's a personal thing. Another annoyance is how flashbacks occur as it usually references something that just happened... I guess it's really just the style of direction and I can't really do anything about it.

Wanna know something else that rocked? I watched the entire show on cable with professional subtitles (that needed a type checker) with a single day delay. If only anime came out like that we wouldn't have so many piracy issues.

Soulmate is about 4 couples who are trying to look for their one "true" love, or the missing half of themselves. Some settle with marriages in which they thought they loved, while others are playboys who don't really believe in such a concept. In general, this is actually a very generic drama with a typical story. What's great about it is how it's done well. It's one thing to use a very typical idea, but putting that in a great execution deserves praise. The humor is quick and precise and each character has a very distinct personality that works well when mingling with the other mains.

It's one thing to have a show with a plotline everyone can guess. Because that show normally comes out as a generic run-of-the-mill, low production value show. But when someone steps it up a notch, adds better direction, adds production value, suddenly that show becomes really good. You no longer care if some pairings were typical, the fact is: Effort pays off. The more effort you put into something, the better the result will be regardless of material.
It's broken into 2 seasons each with 12 episodes. The first season is kind of an ice breaker with a twist, while the 2nd season is where the pace picks up and you get a lot of information at once almost emulating life.

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