The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: Find Yourself [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A show that’s light, breezy and really rather slurpable, with a nice handful of thoughtful nuggets thrown in for good measure, Find Yourself might not be the kind of Amazing Drama that shifts the world under your feet, but it just might be the comfort food marathon that you need.

With a rather charming noona romance at its center, and endearing friends and family to round it out, this drama world feels a little bit like a family drama with romcom leanings. Our noona romance starts off pretty heady and cracky, but eventually gives way to an emphasis on soul-searching and finding your own truth. In the end, this gives us a story that feels nicely balanced, I think.

Even though the fangirl in me would’ve loved to have stayed in heady, cracky territory, the comparatively more muted later stretch, allowing our characters space to figure themselves out, is what makes this story and our characters feel more real than fairytale. And, who doesn’t need a down-to-earth fairytale right now, right?

PS: Did I mention there are cute pups in this show? And that they make repeated appearances? ❤

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111 Comments

Review: Crash Landing On You

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show really is everything that many of us have come to love in kdrama. It’s gorgeous to look at, our actors are pretty darn capable all-around, our characters are mostly endearing, there’s amped-up, epic romance to be had between an OTP that shares solid, sparky chemistry, and, well, Hyun Bin is appealing in this, to a rather staggering degree. Flail. As a bonus, Show possesses a cheeky sense of humor around drama tropes, even as it revels in them. In addition, the glimpse into North Korean life feels fresh and novel as well, and is a major highlight.

On the downside, there’s a bit of drag in the mid-to-late episodes, which is compounded by rather heavy-handed narrative angst, and Show’s long episodes. That can feel a bit or a lot hard-going, depending on your appetite for angst.

Overall, though, Show does a great job bringing the feels, and is well worth the watch.

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Flash Review: Nemureru Mori no Jukujo [Sleeping Jukujo] [Japan]

It’s been a hot minute and a half, since I last watched a Japanese drama, not because I dislike them or anything, but because my drama plate’s been overflowing, just with Korean and Chinese dramas alone. When my dear friend Timescout mentioned this one to me, though, my interest was immediately piqued – enough to entice me to check it out quite quickly even, which is a Rather Big Deal, since my watch list is neverending, and my good intentions towards dramas often remain just that.

The topic of a mature woman restarting her life and finding her lost mojo is one that is near and dear to me, and I have a big ol’ soft spot for dramas that shine the spotlight on this particular female experience. I loved both C-drama The First Half Of My Life and kdrama Romance Is A Bonus Book, and I was immediately intrigued to acquaint myself with a Japanese take on a similar story.

In short, the J-treatment is unique in its own way, and.. I rather liked it.

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81 Comments

Review: Hotel Del Luna

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is easy on the eyes, with high production values that bring a creatively conceptualized fantasy world to life, a fabulously rich wardrobe for female lead IU, and several handsome leading men to top it all off.

IU delivers a strong performance, and her character’s personal journey fittingly forms the backbone of this story. On the downside, I did not enjoy the OTP connection between her and Yeo Jin Goo, and I also felt the writing weaknesses quite keenly. ‘Twas still worth the while, though, for various endearing characters whom I became quite fond of.

A pleasant enough watch, if you’re able to look past Show’s shortcomings.

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56 Comments

Dear kfangurl: Which dramas have strong, interesting female characters?

Reka writes:

Dear kfangurl,
I love you blog! Your reviews are very interesting!
I started watching kdramas last year, and haven’t stopped since xD
I was wondering, can you recommend me any kdramas with good, compelling, interesting female characters? Because I find this aspect kind of lacking D:

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67 Comments

Dear kfangurl: What makes a kdrama addictively re-watchable?

Healer: so cracky, for so many reasons.

shorterthanparkboyoung writes:

Dear kfangurl, what makes a kdrama addicting enough that I want to rewatch at least 10 times?
I’m kinda in the middle of a tough transition period at the moment and I found myself going back to rewatching all my favourite dramas – Healer, My Love From Another Star, Because This Is My First Life, Fight For My Way and Suspicious Partner, but with the FF button when it came to the “evil chaebol” or “bad guy” bits. But when I decided to try a drama that I hadn’t watched but was on my list, I kept dropping them half way. What is it in the above dramas, which I believe you loved as well after reading your reviews (which were amazing btw), or any general drama that makes me come back to these again and again?

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39 Comments

Flash Review: When The Camellia Blooms

Y’know, I’d gotten to the point where I was so tired of serial killers and murders being mixed with romance (what is up with that, Dramaland?), that I was ready to give this show a hard, blind pass, just for having the audacity to mix murder with romance, again.

But, the overwhelming positive buzz around this show piqued my interest, as did the high ratings, and the glowing, persuasive comments that a number of you left me, which is how I ended up checking out this show, in spite of myself.

With 20/20 hindsight, now that I’ve emerged on the other side, do I still think Show didn’t need a serial killer murder arc? BIG YES. Did I manage to enjoy this one, despite my by-now-very-firm serial killer drama allergy? Also, yes. I guess that means Show wins, overall?

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Flash Review: VIP

This is honestly the show that I didn’t think I’d be interested in, like, at all, when it was first announced, but which ended up sucking me in literally right away, with its mix of emo angst and mystery.

Much thanks to my Twitter pals who gushed about this show’s cracky quality, because that’s honestly the only thing that piqued my interest enough to get me to check this one out. I mean, the synopsis “a couple whose lives fall apart while they work at a department store on the VIP Management Team” just didn’t sound all that interesting to me, y’know?

And so color me very surprised and very pleased, when I quickly found myself slurping this one up as a priority drama among the other dramas on my plate, sometimes even watching episodes back-to-back, which I rarely ever do anymore. What. An. Excellent. Surprise.

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23 Comments

Dear kfangurl: Why do I still fall for drama tropes?

This is me: kinda-sorta falling, but not quite. 😉

diti writes:

Hi kfangirl it’s me again, I found that your last post reply to my question was very helpful and very well explained so thank you very much and I’m here with another question (sorry). Basically I was wondering why is it that so many dramas employ the same, sometimes very cringeworthy tropes (wrist grabs, accidental kisses, chaebol family drama etc) and viewers like me, who have seen them so many times before, still continue to lap them up? That was a very long winded question sorry, and adding to that why is it that writers continue to add in these tropes. I became interested in this when I began watching Crash Landing on You thanks to my undying Hyun Bin love ever since I watched secret garden. The show definitely has a lot of these tropes and yet I still continue to get sucked in. Am I the only one?

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24 Comments

Dropped: Graceful Family

If you checked out my 2019 Year In Review, you’d probably remember that I was in two minds about this rather popular show. I wanted to like it, and hoped to like it, mostly because so many other drama fans seemed to enjoy this show, but.. I never truly liked it, unfortunately.

I got 8 minutes and 43 seconds into episode 8 (yes, I checked, ha), before I realized that I really didn’t want to spend any more of my time on this drama. For the record, Show’s not terrible.. Like I said, lots of folks like this one (and you might, too). I just feel like this show wasn’t quite living up to its potential.

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