The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: I Hear Your Voice

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

A noona romance that reminds me all over again why I love kdrama.

There are a good number of reasons to love this drama: a good story, robust themes, a brisk pace that’s well-kept for the most part, engaging characters that are well-written and well-acted, heartwarming relationships all-around (well, almost all-around), a very enjoyable OST, and a fantasy, superpower bent that gives rise to related hijinks, many of the romantic variety. Yes, Omo!

My top reason for loving this show, though, can be summed in this character still right here. Everything about this boy-man, from how he’s written to how he’s portrayed, floats my boat. Melt, melt and melt.

I Hear Your Voice OST – 에코

THE LONG VERDICT:

Oh, this show. Just so, so many feels.

Before starting on this show, I’d heard all the raves about how cracky and addictive it is. Even with that fair warning, though, I was surprised by how much I liked it. Let’s just say that this show wasted no time in stealing my heart, and I couldn’t quite stop myself from squealing out loud. *cough* Y’know, just.. at times.

This isn’t a perfect show by any means, and the flaws aren’t even that hard to pick out. But this show hits all the right notes where it matters the most: it’s got oodles and oodles of heart, and isn’t afraid to show it.

And at the heart of the matter, isn’t that why we love our dramas?

CINEMATOGRAPHY & OST

I really liked that fact that the cinematography and OST never feels obtrusive in this show, yet in their understated-ness, together, they manage to create a world that feels just that little bit surreal, like a sort of hyper-reality.

My favorite, favorite thing – ok, my two favorite things – about the cinematography is the predominantly warm, bright, happy, intense Spring palette, combined with wonderful, loving, skillful lighting. Together, these things made magic on my screen, I tell ya.

Case in point: Park Soo Ha (Lee Jong Suk), bathed in warm, beautiful, glorious light. That gorgeous lighting, with that fabulously warm Spring palette makes Soo Ha look stunningly surreal. You almost want to ask: Is this boy real?

On a random side note, I was so taken with this first screenshot that it’s made it to header duty on the blog. Have you spotted it yet? 😉

Yes, sometimes the color palette desaturates a little, and hints of cool creep onto our screens, and I love that it’s used not only sparingly, but meaningfully.

Like here, when Soo Ha himself feels tired out and drained, our color palette is suitably slightly desaturated as well. Like the warmth, energy and life has drained out of him, just a little:

Or here, when the scene’s content leans towards the more foreboding, the color palette is starkly cool.

I’d just like to mention that not all night scenes are painted in cool colors, and the show chooses to stay in warmer tones even during most of its night scenes, thus retaining its general tone of warm and cozy very effectively through its deliberate choice of palette.

Here’s a warm scene taken at night, just for comparison:

Gorgeous. And I’m not even talking about Lee Jong Suk at this point, heh.

I love that the show manages to give us that strong sense of warmth, even in night scenes, which can easily lean cool.

There is a little bit of fancy in the camera-work at times, but those are always light touches that add nuance without being distracting.

Here, we get a little bit of slo-mo glass shattering, and it’s skillfully employed to deepen our experience of the moment, without disturbing the flow of the scene.

Here, I love the subtlety in the camera angle that makes Soo Ha’s leg look superhumanly long.

It doesn’t distract from the loving frame created by the warm palette and the gorgeous lighting, but for those who notice the detail, it adds to the surreality of Soo Ha’s character and the world in which he lives. And I love that.

Like the cinematography, the OST is predominantly warm and light too, with a number of lovely feel-good tracks that I never tire of hearing.

At the same time, there is a smattering of more wistful songs and some suitably suspenseful tracks for the more tense stretches of our show.

I really enjoyed the OST, and found it helped to heighten the viewing experience without being overwhelming.

Very nice indeed.

CHARACTERS

One of the strengths of this show, is how the characters are all written with facets such that each character feels like a real person. There are no cookie-cutter characters except for a tiny handful among the supporting cast. There is no Candy, and no cold chaebol prince.

Everyone is flawed yet likable, and just overwhelmingly normal.. Well ok, except for the part where Soo Ha can hear other people’s thoughts. That’s a little less normal.

I love that everyone has their own backstory and motivations, which we come to appreciate. Even baddies get to have their backstories told, and I really appreciate that about the writing. There isn’t a single character that is evil for evil’s sake.

All our characters are well-delivered to varying degrees, with some truly stand-out performances among our cast.

Lee Bo Young as Jang Hye Sung

I hafta say that Lee Bo Young completely surpassed my expectations in her turn as Hye Sung, and effectively changed my mind about her as an actress.

Prior to this show, I’d been consistently underwhelmed by each of the roles in which I’d seen Lee Bo Young, from Save Your Last Dance For Me (2004), to Hooray for Love (2011), to The Equator Man (2012). I just couldn’t get into any of her roles, try as I might. The impression I had of her was a pretty meh actress whose acting felt rather flat most of the time. I’d found her serviceable at best.

Imagine my happy surprise, to find that Lee Bo Young does such a fine job of playing Hye Sung. Ok, so she didn’t quite pull a Jung Ryu Won on me, where my feelings for Jung Ryu Wong went from super-meh to super-love with her single performance in History of the Salaryman. But going from intense meh to substantial like is very impressive too, and that’s what Lee Bo Young accomplished in my mind with IHYV.

As a character, Hye Sung is very flawed: she’s self-centered, vain, petty, proud, stubborn and often rude. All not very likable traits, to be sure. The big chink in her armor, though, is that we get to see that most of her bravado is largely empty bluster, and that on the inside, she does care what people think, she does have a sense of justice, and she is (much) more easily embarrassed than she’d like the rest of the world to think. That access to Hye Sung’s inner workings, essentially, is what makes prickly Hye Sung a relatable protagonist.

And I love that Lee Bo Young is so gung-ho in tackling even the less glamorous aspects of Hye Sung as a character. I mean, just look at her here:

She wears the ridiculous with attitude, and that just makes her not only highly amusing, but extremely endearing as well.

[SPOILER ALERT]

This screencap here is a great sum-up of Hye Sung’s way of facing the world: she channels her false bravado into this hard outer shell with glints of steel in her eyes and a bit of a smile about her lips. Ok, so she’s not always smiling and is sometimes downright sullen. But you get the idea.

And it’s while riding that bravado that she confronts people and situations head-on, like this:

But in the privacy of her own home, she often squirms with embarrassment and self-doubt:

And sometimes even gives in to tears:

When at work, I love that Hye Sung uses the very public revolving door as her thinking place and safe haven.

There’s something just so interesting and ironic about that, that she finds solitude, quiet and safety in a place so public and so open to the world. Might this be a metaphor for her character’s transparent nature, perhaps?

In episode 8, it is after one such spin in her revolving door that Hye Sung swallows her pride and goes to beg Do Yeon (Lee Da Hee) for help in putting away her mother’s killer, and even goes down on her knees to do so, despite the fact that they have a contentious, checkered history between them.

This is one of the interesting things I noticed about Hye Sung. That even though she does possess a fierce sense of right and wrong (also mentioned in an early episode by her mother, played by Kim Hae Sook), her sense of care and loyalty to those who matter to her, is even stronger; strong enough to overrule her moral compass if need be.

Here, she fights her conscience to admit a wrong she never did commit, because she simply cannot bear the thought that her mother’s killer may go free if she does nothing.

Later, we see this trait surface again in episode 18, where Soo Ha receives a subpoena for attempted murder, and Hye Sung, panicked and worried, urges him to lie so that his life won’t be ruined.

There’s just something so human and so vulnerable about Hye Sung’s struggle between her moral compass and her loyalties to her loved ones that we can’t help but identify with her.

There are many scenes in which I thought Lee Bo Young did admirably, but the one that sticks with me the most is this one in episode 9, after Min Joon Gook (Jung Woong In) is acquitted for her mother’s murder.

After the verdict, Hye Sung silently walks into her revolving door, and once there, she breaks down in gulping, heartbreaking sobs.

Lee Bo Young blew me away in this scene, with her all-in, no vanity crying. I felt Hye Sung’s pain, grief and helplessness in this moment, and a lot of the credit goes to Lee Bo Young’s excellent delivery.

There is a lot more to say about Hye Sung as a character, which we’ll get to, when we talk about her various relationships with other characters.

[END SPOILER]

I Hear Your Voice OST – 에코(Acoustic Ver.)

Lee Jong Suk as Park Soo Ha

Man, oh man. Y’know, I’d thought that Lee Jong Suk had stolen my heart in his role as Go Nam Soon in School 2013, but he manages to make me love him even more in this show. That’s some skills, I tell ya.

Credit goes to both the writing and Lee Jong Suk’s delivery.

As a character, Soo Ha is very appealing, even before we take Lee Jong Suk’s delivery into account.

Soo Ha is earnest, kind, caring, smart, and very serious about keeping his promises. Add on the fact that he nurses a ginormous noona crush, and that his levels of happy shoot through the roof when he’s feeling good about said noona crush, and all noonas the world over are toast.

Now take one Lee Jong Suk, and insert his sincere, nuanced, and completely believable portrayal of Soo Ha, and we get melted puddles of toast. Lots of melted puddles of toast.

Honestly, Lee Jong Suk as Park Soo Ha had me squeeing at my screen way early in this show. Every time he smiled (see above), it felt like my screen was exploding with rainbows and unicorns. And raining kittens and puppies and sparkles and cupcakes too.

I was smitten with his Soo Ha right from episode 1. When Soo Ha smiled or laughed, I practically wanted to explode from the cute. And when Soo Ha cried, man, my heart basically broke for him.

That level of engagement is largely to do with Lee Jong Suk. He has this way of sucking you into his character and holding you there, with his sensitive, unreserved, vulnerable delivery. You not only start to root for him real fast, you start to intensely, badly, with-all-your-heart-and-from-the-bottom-of-your-belly want Puppy to be unhurt, safe and happy.

So. SO. Good.

[SPOILER ALERT]

From the moment that we meet Soo Ha in episode 1, you sorta can’t help but like him right away, the way he saves a classmate from a set of traps set by bullies. Coz not only does he save her, he doesn’t take any credit for it whatsoever, and simply pretends to walk into the traps himself, passing off everything as an accident. Talk about being a superhero under cover, right?

Not only that, we learn real fast how Soo Ha came to hear people’s thoughts, which is just so, so sad. You start to feel for him right away too, that he went through something so traumatic when he was just 8 years old.

We also see how little Soo Ha’s first words after the accident are to young Hye Sung; a sweetly stuttered promise, “I’ll protect you.”

Aw.

And then we realize that 10 years on, 18-year-old Soo Ha hasn’t forgotten that promise, and continues to write in his diary to Hye Sung, “I haven’t forgotten you. When I see you again, I will protect you. I will protect you.” Just, how sweet is that?

Plus, that he writes that amid all the judo practice, which is basically to prepare himself to protect her? Aw. So melt-worthy. So determined. So committed.

And also. Such a Pure. Noona. Slayer.

We do get many cute scenes of Soo Ha, such as this one, where he nervously and excitedly primps and rehearses in front of a mirror in school, oblivious to his classmates’ staring, only conscious of the thought of possibly meeting Hye Sung again, after 10 long years.

A-dor-able.

At the same time, we get to see Soo Ha being a hero.

Early on, we see Soo Ha use his superpower several times to save others, with selfless spontaneity, such as this scene in episode 2 where he saves despondent classmate Sung Bin (Kim Ga Eun) from throwing herself in front of an oncoming train:

And again in episode 3, when he saves Hye Sung from a group of bullies:

What strikes me the most, though, is that at the heart of it all, after peeling away the layers of his superhero abilities and outward strength, Soo Ha really is all alone in the world.

He has no family around him, nor any friends who truly know and understand him. Scenes of Soo Ha, alone, are sprinkled through the episodes, and the sight of him waiting, pondering and just being alone are heartbreakingly poignant.

In the end, Soo Ha’s story isn’t just about growing up, although he does a good bit of that too.

More than that, I feel that his story is about the journey of him going from being alone and companionless, to finding someone, having someone and having the assurance that he’s not alone in the world anymore. And that is just such poignant, wonderful stuff.

Through it all, Lee Jong Suk’s delivery is fabulously engaging, faceted and natural.

Notably, there were several difficult scenes where he literally gave me goosebumps with his all-in, unrestrained expression.

Like here, in episode 4, where Soo Ha rages at Min Joon Gook and beats him up in a fury:

Soo Ha bites through gritted teeth, “If [Hye Sung] hadn’t been there ten years ago, I would’ve died in your hands. So my life… I’ll count my life as already being lost… and I’m going to protect her.” … “Do you hear me? I’m going to hang my life on protecting her. So don’t even think about doing anything, because then I’m going to kill you.” Aw.

And Lee Jong Suk plays the moment all-in, with fire blazing from his eyes too. Wow.

Another notable scene is in episode 10, when Soo Ha is quietly confused and frightened while being detained in a cell overnight:

So subtly yet so sensitively portrayed.

And then there’s this scene, in episode 12, where Soo Ha regains his lost memories in a cloud of intense pain, confusion and horrified grief:

I literally couldn’t breathe for the duration of this scene; my heart was in my throat the whole time, choking me up and breaking and quivering all at once.

And last but not least, there’s the totally gut-wrenching scene in episode 16, where Soo Ha has a meltdown of epic proportions, almost driven mad with fear and worry at the thought of Hye Sung being kidnapped by Min Joon Gook.

Oof. My heart. The fear and terror in Soo Ha’s eyes, upon knowing that Joon Gook’s got Hye Sung, masterfully delivered by Lee Jong Suk, is so heartbreaking. And so, so good.

Lee Jong Suk totally shot up my mental list of brilliant k-actors with this role. Kudos. And respect.

[END SPOILER]

Yoon Sang Hyun as Cha Kwan Woo

Yoon Sang Hyun does a pretty wonderful job portraying Cha Kwan Woo, a character who is equal parts adorable, hilarious derp, and earnest, upstanding moral compass.

Although he appears to be positioned as the second lead in the traditional kdrama love triangle, he.. really isn’t. His character does nurse a crush on Hye Sung, but he is so much more than the token second lead.

Over and above his place in our story as second lead, he’s the quirky, oddball, slightly bumbling lawyer with a ton of heart and naivete to spare, who needs to learn how to apply his faith in people in a more discerning manner, as much as the people around him need to learn how to have more of his kind of firm belief in others.

Yoon Sang Hyun is pretty fantastic in the role, playing Kwan Woo’s awkward ways with endearingly ungainly charm, while managing to imbue his character with pathos and gravitas in the weightier moments.

[SPOILER ALERT]

When we first meet Kwan Woo, Yoon Sang Hyun plays him as so socially awkward that it’s half second-hand embarrassing to watch, and half awesome. Of course, this quickly becomes mostly awesome, as we get used to his brand of humor and charm.

While we get a lot of derpy like this:

I love that Kwan Woo’s cheery and spunky, and just really, really hard to get down. His positive, never-say-die attitude is endearing and quite infectious.

At the same time, I love that Kwan Woo is fully capable of more serious moments, and one that sticks in my mind is here in episode 12, when Kwan Woo sees Hye Sung’s memories of the past play out in his mind’s eye.

As he thinks on Hye Sung’s memories of testifying against Min Joon Gook, Kwan Woo sees himself in the courtroom with her and Soo Ha, watching the events play out among them as he sits by as an onlooker.

Yoon Sang Hyun plays the moment with a yearning sort of melancholic compassion which is at once touching and quite heartwrenching.

So subtly played, and yet so affecting.

Perhaps one of my favorite Kwan Woo scenes is in episode 16.

Kwan Woo is the only one who notices that Lawyer Shin (Yoon Joo Sang) is feeling despondent and uncertain of his abilities as a lawyer after their victory in court, which is thanks to Hye Sung’s closing comments.

Spotting Lawyer Shin drinking alone at the pojangmacha, Kwan Woo joins him and starts to make a hilariously roundabout confession about how he was the one who had thrown poop all over Lawyer Shin’s car 7 years ago as an angry policeman, after Lawyer Shin had gotten a suspect that he’d worked super hard to nail, acquitted from lack of evidence.

Kwan Woo confesses that Lawyer Shin had been right, and that the actual culprit had then been subsequently captured. He finishes earnestly:

“Attorney Shin saved two people’s lives. You saved the life of Red Socks who could’ve been unjustly locked up behind bars and you saved the life of a cop who almost could’ve sent a person away to jail unjustly. So, I quit the police that very same day to start studying to become a lawyer. To become a public defense attorney just like you. You gave me my new beginning. So, please stop blaming yourself like that and keep staying just where you are. While nagging us all the time… and yelling and scolding us all the time. Just continue to remain there.”

Moved, Lawyer Shin pulls him in for a big ol’ bear hug, but not before squeezing in a good hair-pull for the poop-throwing. Ha! And aw.

I love how Kwan Woo’s confession gives Lawyer Shin his self-confidence back. It’s sweet and completely heartwarming, which really, is the essence of Kwan Woo’s character.

And the moment explains so much, in terms of why Kwan Woo so doggedly wants to be a public defender, why he instinctively overcompensates with the trusting of his clients, and why he looks up to Lawyer Shin as his role model. Excellent stuff.

We get to see more of the stuff that Kwan Woo is made of, in his relationships with other characters, which we’ll get to touch on later in this review.

[END SPOILER]

Lee Da Hee as Seo Do Yeon

Considering how Do Yeon begins the drama being Hye Sung’s antagonistic frenemy, it’s quite surprising and utterly satisfying to see that Do Yeon is much more than the token non-friend.

Over the course of the drama, Do Yeon’s personal arc gets nicely fleshed out, and we get to see much more than her cold, hard, aloof outer shell. Not only do we become privy to her backstory, we get to witness an actual journey of growth, which is extra gratifying because we pretty much don’t see it coming.

Lee Da Hee delivers a decently robust performance as Do Yeon, and even has a few outstanding moments in the later episodes.

On a tangent, I hafta say, I found Lee Da Hee distractingly skinny. Did anyone else feel like she was going to snap in half at any given point in time? I did. A lot. Quick, somebody feed the woman something, anything!

[SPOILER ALERT]

Do Yeon as a character is easy to hate at first.

First of all, she’s a cold, hard-nosed prosecutor who sees the law as something aloof, impersonal and clinical and treats defendants who cross her path with that same detached indifference. We see her wield the law with unflinching resolve against all her defendants, whether they are young and frightened or old and feeble, and we wonder how someone can be so unfeeling and cruel.

On top of that, Do Yeon has that checkered past that she shares with Hye Sung, where she had deliberately singled out Hye Sung as the girl who had caused her eye injury, even though it wasn’t true. The fact that we see her sticking to her story even at the expense of Hye Sung’s mother’s job, and Hye Sung’s expulsion from school, and at the cost of mother and daughter literally losing the roof over their heads, seals her in our minds as a terribly selfish, ruthless person. Which of course, makes it all the easier to dislike Do Yeon as a character.

As the show progresses, however, we begin to understand more of Do Yeon’s backstory, and we begin to see how desperately Do Yeon tries – and fails – to live up to the expectations of her father (Judge Seo, played by Jung Dong Hwan).

Over time, we see how her quest for his approval is invariably futile no matter how well she does, nor how hard she tries, and we also begin to see how fragile her confidence really is.

When Hye Sung first drops the bombshell on Do Yeon, that her biological father is prison inmate Hwang Dal Joong (Kim Byung Ok) instead of Judge Seo, is the moment that I really started to feel sorry for Do Yeon.

Later, Do Yeon gingerly tests the waters with “Dad” by casually mentioning Hye Sung’s “ridiculous” claims, only to have “Dad” confirm the truth by asking pointedly if she’d agreed to take the DNA test.

The brief scene afterwards, where Do Yeon silently seeks refuge on her cheerfully oblivious mother’s lap while trying to hold back her tears, really tugged at my heartstrings.

My heart went out to Do Yeon even more in the scenes following.

What really made me feel for her, is the condition that she lays down to Hye Sung for taking the DNA test: that Hye Sung ensure Judge Seo is unharmed through the entire proceeding.

Aw. Ugh. And wow. That Do Yeon would try so hard, and put herself through so much pain, just to protect the adoptive father who had never shown her any kind of acceptance, let alone affection? That just made my head spin.

Do Yeon’s private breakdowns and tears throughout this period really made me feel for her. And Lee Da Hee did an excellent job expressing Do Yeon’s confusion, pain and pent-up feelings of rejection.

As Do Yeon works through her emotions and pushes herself to carry on with the terrible process of prosecuting her own father, she becomes more and more of a sympathetic character.

To be stuck in a place where you’re conflicted about your loyalties to two fathers is an awful place to be, and Lee Da Hee expressed that inner conflict with heartbreaking realism that stays true to her character.

Eventually, when Do Yeon accepts and acknowledges Hwang Dal Joong as her father, it is gratifying not only because we get to see their cute interactions as father and daughter, but also because we get to see Do Yeon finally receive the fatherly affection and acceptance that she’s longed for her whole life.

Because Hwang Dal Joong is terminally ill, these father-daughter scenes are truly bittersweet, because as lovely as it is to see them together, it’s sobering and saddening to know that this season is going to be a brief one. Sniff.

By the end of the show, the scene that seals for me the extent of Do Yeon’s growth as a character, is in episode 17, after Min Joon Gook has been captured.

Speaking with Kwan Woo outside the hospital, Do Yeon asks urgently, “Is Hye Sung okay?”

When Kwan Woo assures her that Hye Sung is alright, Do Yeon heaves a sigh, “That’s such a relief.” She then presses, “Park Soo Ha’s safe too, right? He didn’t do anything reckless, did he?”

In this moment, Do Yeon’s entire demeanor betrays her genuine worry and care for both Hye Sung and Soo Ha.

When she is assured that they are both fine and that Min Joon Gook has been taken into custody, Do Yeon says with the kind of “you-mess-with-them-and-you-mess-with-me” resolve of an upset friend:

“There’s no way that Min Joon Gook is going to get away with it this time. Starting with murder, threats, retaliation and aggravated assault… I’m going to throw everything in the book at him and indict him of all those charges.” … “we need to make sure that someone like him disappears from this society forever.”

Aw. I love that cold, aloof Do Yeon is pretty much gone, and in her place is someone who actually has people that she cares for, and isn’t afraid to show it, just a little.

[END SPOILER]

Jung Woong In as Min Joon Gook

Jung Woong In is pitch perfect as resident baddie Min Joon Gook, making him effectively creepy, unnerving and sometimes, downright scary.

Without being spoilery, let me just say that I’m impressed with the way Min Joon Gook is written as a character. Given the premise, it would’ve been way too easy to make Min Joon Gook evil for evil’s sake. Y’know, just Pure Unadulterated Evil, that we can all hate unreservedly, and curse thoroughly.

Instead, the writers give Min Joon Gook an entire backstory, and over time, we come to understand his motivations and the forces that drive him. And in that, we begin to see him no longer as monster, but as human.  Which is such an impressive accomplishment, really.

Kudos to the thoughtful characterization by the writers, and the effective delivery by Jung Woong In.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I’ll be the first to admit that I disliked Min Joon Gook’s character from the very beginning. I mean, there was just so much to dislike, really.

A murderer who kills a boy’s father in front of him, and then moves to kill the boy too? And who threatens teenage witnesses with death if they dare to tell anyone what they saw? And who then seeks out the kids after his release, to make good on his promise of killing them? And then starts to kill other people too?

So many awful, horrific misdeeds, and that’s not even counting taunting and stalking Hye Sung, and sending creepy messages.

Given that context, I’d say it’s really no easy task, to then make this same character at all sympathetic to the audience. And yet, by the end of the show, I did have some sympathy for Min Joon Gook.

One of the key turning points, for me, is the flashback scene that we see of Min Joon Gook confronting Soo Ha by the fishing pond.

Min Joon Gook screams at Soo Ha that it was Soo Ha’s father who’d started it all, that Soo Ha’s father had killed his wife.

As they scuffle, Min Joon Gook dares Soo Ha, “Kill me. Go ahead. Kill me. What makes you different from me eleven years ago?” And it is that desperation in his voice that gives us the first hint to Min Joon Gook’s ultimate quest: to prove that he’s not a monster, that someone else in his position would have done the same.

When Soo Ha doesn’t kill him, Min Joon Gook’s stunned expression says so much, as he processes the fact that perhaps not everyone would’ve done the same.

In Min Joon Gook’s final confrontation with Soo Ha in episode 17, after a second, carefully-orchestrated attempt to test his theory fails yet again, the disoriented, lost, defeated look on his face is so poignant. It’s like he can’t quite believe the outcome of his experiment, yet has no choice but to believe it. And along with that, comes the realization that perhaps he is a monster. And, that he didn’t have to become one.

Certainly, afterwards, we see that Min Joon Gook still harbors blame towards Soo Ha’s father for what he did. In that, though, I find his characterization realistic. Most people need time to process and come to terms with big realizations like this.

Big props to the writers, for putting enough care into writing Min Joon Gook’s character and backstory, to the extent that we can even feel some measure of sympathy for a murderer.

[END SPOILER]

Kim Hae Sook as Hye Sung’s Mom

Kim Hae Sook is simply my favorite kdrama mother of all time. I mean, there is a reason that she is known as Korea’s Mother. And that reason is: she just rawks.

I simply love everything about Hye Sung’s mom in this show. From the way she’s written, to the way she’s portrayed; as a character on her own, and in the way she relates to people, Hye Sung’s mom is just layer upon layer of Pure Awesome. And Kim Hae Sook brings her endearingly, adorably, awesomely to life.

Love.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Hye Sung’s mom is an awesome mom, there’s no doubt about it. And while we’ll talk more about that in the Relationships section of this review, I just wanted to pay tribute to her as the wonderfully strong, awesome person that she is.

Have I mentioned that she’s awesome?

I love that Mom is as humorous as she is practical, and I particularly love this screenshot of her, matter-of-factly peeling onions while wearing a snorkeling mask. How cute is she?!?

Practically every scene with Mom in it is an example of her awesomeness.

One of my favorite Mom scenes is in episode 3, when Hye Sung calls her while walking over to Mom’s shop, to tell her that she’s won her first case as public defender.

Mom stifles her excitement, and gruffly covers it up saying “Whatever, why should I be proud when you’re just doing your job?”

Completely unaware that Hye Sung can see her every move, Mom totally practically explodes from the excitement, kissing her phone and breaking into the most adorable dance, right there on the street.

Didn’t I say she’s awesome???

I LUFF MOM!! ❤

On a much more sober note, Mom shows exactly the stuff that she’s made of in episode 7, when Min Joon Gook has her hostage and her life is in real danger.

When this scene happened, my first reaction was “Oh no. Not Mom!”

But how strong and badass is she? She refuses to lure Hye Sung by saying anything about Joon Gook over the phone.

Instead, her parting words to Hye Sung: “Promise me.” … “don’t waste your life by filling it with hate for someone else. You only live once… so you should live your life loving those that are around you.”

After getting beaten bloody and under threat of death, in response to Joon Gook’s question if she’s scared, Mum answers, “No, I’m not scared. I just find you… pathetic and I feel sorry for you.” … “You spent all your life hating and resenting someone else. What a hell your life must have been.”

Joon Gook spits back angrily, “Is that right? Then I guess now your daughter will be living in the same hell I’ve been living in. While hating me for the rest of her life for killing her mom… with her teeth gritted and planning my revenge. Isn’t that right?”

With eyes blazing, Mum actually smiles, saying, “She won’t live her life that way. I didn’t raise her to be pathetic as you.”

Bad. Ass.

And so, SO awesome. ❤

[END SPOILER]

I Hear Your Voice OST – 왜 이제야 왔니

RELATIONSHIPS

Like the characters, the relationships in this show are just as lovingly drawn. While romance is a big part of the show, the writers don’t neglect other sorts of relationships either. We get to experience a nice mix of relationships during the course of the drama, ranging from between parent and child, to between friends, to between lovers.

Each relationship is fleshed out with care, and has its own development arc, and I liked that a lot.

Here, I’m just going to talk about some of my favorite relationships in the show.

Soo Ha & Hye Sung

There is so much cute between these two, that the cute alone could probably carry the show. Thankfully, though, we get something much more substantial than just cute.

I love the fact that the relationship between Soo Ha and Hye Sung is thoughtfully written so that it progresses in a believable fashion and each character affects the other in meaningful, growth-resulting ways, yet is peppered with enough cute, squee and swoon to float any fangirl’s boat.

While Lee Bo Young does a decent job selling this pairing, I hafta say, Lee Jong Suk sells it way, wayy better. It’s his earnest, heart-on-his-sleeve, all-in interpretation of Soo Ha’s growing feelings and emotions, that truly melts my knees. It’s more his love for her that gets me, than their love for each other (although that’s sweet too). And that totally works for me, coz when Puppy’s happy, I’m happy.

Over and above the thoughtful relationship development and delivery, though, lies a theme – an idea – that gets me Right. In. The. Heart. And it is this theme (which I shan’t unveil until we get to spoilers, for the benefit of those who don’t want to be spoiled) that literally trumps ALL for me, in making this OTP – heck, possibly this entire show – Pure Unblemished Gold.

[SPOILER ALERT]

That Theme

So I thought about being a tease, and talking about that theme later in this spoiler section, but I decided that this is big enough, and important enough, and well, amazing enough, that I kinda want to talk about it right away.

First, let’s revisit a scene that sums up that theme succinctly.

In episode 15, Hye Sung is upset with Soo Ha and huffily wears a Darth Vader-like visor in order to shield her eyes and prevent him from reading her thoughts.

She wears the visor all the way to work, and basically refuses to talk very much with Soo Ha at all.

Soo Ha waits for her to get off work, and finally corners her so that he can talk to her. And when he does get her reluctant attention, this is what he says, eyes full of earnest emotion, hands clasping hers:

“If you’re mad at me, then tell me instead of hiding it. I won’t get hurt no matter what you’re thinking. I understood when my own uncle abandoned me. Even when you called me an ankle grabbing gum shoe… and even when you told me that it was your fault that your mother passed away… I just accepted your thoughts and just let it all go. And I’m going to continue to do so. I’ve heard the worst that you could think of me, and have accepted them all. And I’ve also seen the worst of you, and accepted them all. No matter what you say to me in the future and what you show me… I’ll never be disappointed in you. So… don’t use this to hide your face.”

Hye Sung refuses, “No, don’t look.”

Soo Ha insists, “I just told you. No matter what it is that you’re thinking, you can’t hurt me.” And he lifts the visor away from her face, just in time to hear Hye Sung squeaking in her thoughts, “What should I do? Why won’t my heart stop racing?”

HAHAHA. Oopsie?

Even though the scene ends on an amusing note, it is the heart of Soo Ha’s assurance to Hye Sung that is so swoony. Those words, “I will accept you anyway” … “I will never be disappointed in you, no matter what” – isn’t that what we all long to hear?

And yes, there are some of us who’ve had the wondrous pleasure of hearing those precious words from a loved one. But the key difference here, is that Soo Ha can hear every. single. thought. of Hye Sung’s. He literally sees the worst of her that there is to see, down to the smallest, darkest, worst bad thought she could ever think. And. He loves her anyway.

Thud.

Seriously. How mind-bogglingly amazing is that?

This, I believe, is what we all want, as human beings. To be loved as ourselves, rather than a manufactured version of ourselves. Coz when we can be loved as ourselves, warts and all, then we are truly loved.

So often, we do our best to present our best selves to others, and we try hard, to curtail our tongues from giving voice to hurtful words and inappropriate thoughts.

But as mere human beings, the best we can do is manage the thoughts that we give voice to; the thoughts themselves, we can’t quite get a full hold of. And there are many among us who feel, deep down, that if the people around us actually knew the kinds of thoughts that go through our minds sometimes, that they probably wouldn’t like us very much at all. Or, at the very least, wouldn’t like or love us as much, as if they didn’t know.

Yet, here, we have Soo Ha, who can’t help but hear each and every petty, selfish, embarrassing thought that passes through the deepest, darkest corners of Hye Sung’s very soul. And he loves her anyway.

Wow.

That is the purest form of love, isn’t it? To know every bad about the other, down to the tiniest, minutest detail, and be able to accept, forgive and love anyway?

Even without the cute, this is more than enough to grab me, completely and unrelentingly, by the heart.

That the writers manage to distill this idea and serve it up over the course of the show with such heartfelt, earnest sincerity, just trumps everything.

Yes, there are no mind-reading Soo Ha’s in Real Life. But to have presented something so profound, that it connects us, as an audience, to such a fundamental, core desire of our being, is just so powerful, potent, and amazing. I love it.

Ok, now I need a moment. This is just such intense, wonderful, heart-grabby stuff that I need to process that all over again.

Growth & Healing

In my mind, one of the most meaningful aspects in Soo Ha’s and Hye Sung’s relationship, is how they not only help each other to grow, but also, in how they help each other to heal.

In this respect, their story is more than a noona romance; it’s about two broken people healing each other. And that is just moving, uplifting, gratifying stuff.

Hye Sung for Soo Ha:

Hye Sung is to Soo Ha the family that he’s been yearning to have all these years.

In episode 6, when Soo Ha is suspected for taking Bumbling Cop’s lost gun, Hye Sung cuts short her date with Kwan Woo and rushes home to cover for Soo Ha. She hilariously douses her hair in water and throws a towel on it, so that she can plausibly “verify” that Soo Ha isn’t at home, and that he’s a good kid who wouldn’t do something like steal a cop’s gun.

Soo Ha overhears the whole thing, and afterwards thinks to himself, “…I’ve now found someone who’s concerned about my welfare.” Aw.

How poignant, not only that Soo Ha is finding comfort in her concern for him, but also that he’s so unused to the sensation of having someone worry for him, having been alone for most of his life. Sniff.

And I love that just having someone worry for him, is a healing process for him. Aw. My heart. It’s gone melty. ❤

In a scene shortly after, while Hye Sung and Soo Ha are folding laundry, they talk about the gun incident, and Hye Sung grabs Soo Ha’s face to drive home a point.

Intently, she instructs him not to ever kill Min Joon Gook, no matter how badly he wants to. Hye Sung tells Soo Ha, “If you do, then all the reasons disappear – what a terrible person Min Joon Gook is, why we hated him – those things disappear. The moment we kill him, we cease to be victims, and just become murderers.”

Hye Sung’s little instructions like these, are part of how she helps Soo Ha to grow up fully, from boy to man. And I love that he takes her words very much to heart.

It is the memory of these same words that stops Soo Ha from killing Min Joon Gook in the critical moment by the fishing pond.

And related to this lesson, is the lesson that throwing his life away for someone else isn’t the better outcome. All along, Soo Ha had counted his life as lost, and was ever-ready to die if it meant he could protect Hye Sung. But it is her teaching and her instructions, and the promises that she asks of him, that finally drive home that lesson, that the greater, better thing, is to live.

In episode 17, when faced with Hye Sung’s kidnap, I love that Soo Ha calls Kwan Woo and asks for help. I love that the reason Soo Ha doesn’t want to die, is because it would scar Hye Sung. His choice to live, to ask for help, is for her. Tears.

I love that in being there for him, and worrying for him, and in teaching him, Hye Sung helps Soo Ha to not only make the full transition from boy to man, but also to heal, from broken to whole.

Soo Ha for Hye Sung:

Despite being younger than Hye Sung, Soo Ha is actually more mature than Hye Sung in a good number of ways, and he helps her to grow as much as she does for him. This is one of the key things that balances out the power dynamic in this noona relationship, and makes it feel surprisingly natural, despite the significant age gap.

One of the things that I love about Soo Ha’s love for Hye Sung, is that it is, and has always been, a decision. It’s not based on something as volatile as feelings and emotions. Rather, the foundation of his love for her, has been of more resilient, robust stuff, like resolve and choice.

From the moment that 8-year-old Soo Ha declared that he would protect Hye Sung, he’s stood by that decision, learning judo and constantly searching for her, so that he can make good on that promise.

Certainly, there were moments where Soo Ha wavered, but even in those moments, in the end, he consistently chose to stand by his decision to love and protect her.

We see an example of this in episode 2, where 18-year-old Soo Ha speaks with Hye Sung for the first time in 10 years, outside the courthouse.

Soo Ha’s efforts to reason with a jaded Hye Sung about Sung Bin’s innocence bring him up against a brick wall, and Hye Sung’s parting shot to him – “You don’t win the truth in court. Whatever wins in court is the truth.” – seems to be the nail in the coffin.

Completely disillusioned with Hye Sung, whom he’d always believed to be a person who stands for truth and justice, Soo Ha throws in the trash the diary where he’d kept his “letters” to Hye Sung.

Moments later, Soo Ha picks the diary back up. And the thought that he thinks as he does so, is, “I will protect you”

I love that. I love that despite Hye Sung’s unsavory behavior, Soo Ha is choosing to protect her. And as it turns out, that protection is not only from the possible threat of Min Joon Gook, but also from herself, and from the dark side of jadedness and apathy.

The very same episode, Soo Ha’s words give Hye Sung enough pause for thought that she decides to plead “not guilty” on Sung Bin’s case.

I love the look on Soo Ha’s face in the moment.

It’s clear as day how proud he is of her. Aw. He’s protecting her by dragging her over to the good side, of justice and truth; protecting her by making her grow, even if it’s against her will.

Love it.

When Hye Sung’s mom dies and her world falls apart, I love that Soo Ha’s presence becomes her healing.

Like here, in the hospital, when Hye Sung first collapses on hearing the news:

And here, when he cries with her at her mom’s funeral:

In the days following her mom’s death, it is also Soo Ha’s presence that supports her.

Like here, when Soo Ha puts his arm around Hye Sung to go into the courtroom, coz she’s scared. Aw.

When anger consumes Hye Sung as she processes her mom’s death, I LOVE that Soo Ha refuses to leave Hye Sung’s side, even when she insists that he do just that. Even though she threatens that she doesn’t know what she’ll end up saying to him, he doesn’t budge.

She finally spits out, “I blame you thousands, tens of thousands of times a day. That this is because I testified for you in that courtroom ten years ago… and that this is all your fault! Why? Want to hear even more?”

Quietly, Soo Ha answers, “Go ahead. I’ll listen to it all. Say it. You can swear at me, too. I’ll stay by your side and listen to it all.”

I LOVE that he returns gentleness and acceptance for her angry lashing.

He knows more about love than most adults, really.

Later that same episode, I love that little moment, where Soo Ha reaches to wipe away Hye Sung’s angry, helpless tears as she stomps on the blankets.

And I love too, that Soo Ha takes over the nagging, asking her to come out and eat when she holes herself up in her room.

In spirit and in practice, I love that Soo Ha effectively becomes Hye Sung’s family, helping to heal her by filling in the gap left by her mother’s death.

I love that this motif, of Soo Ha being Hye Sung’s family is kept up even in later episodes, like this little moment in episode 15 where Soo Ha gets all huffy after Hye Sung gets slapped by an upset Do Yeon:

So sweetly adorable.

As much as Hye Sung brings growth and healing to Soo Ha’s life, he does the same for her. That these growth and healing steps take place right in the midst of the ordinariness of sharing the same living space and being around each other, I find just extra meaningful, and quite profound.

Understated Swoon

While there are many swoony moments between our OTP over the course of the show, I realize that some of my favorite scenes actually are the more understated ones. Here, I’m just going to highlight a few of those moments.

One of my favorite moments of understated swoon is in episode 5, when Hye Sung dresses Soo Ha’s injured thumb while he sleeps.

The way Hye Sung puts Soo Ha’s hand on her knee looks so casually cozy that it brought on an Omo!

Even better than that, though, is the way Soo Ha wakes up halfway and just lies there watching her with sleepy, thoughtful eyes. Swoon.

As a huge bonus, we can totally see how it both amuses him and gives him a lot of pleasure – or should I say, fulfillment. Not so much in a romantic sense, but in the sense that he never had anyone do these things for him growing up, after he lost his father and was abandoned by his uncle. This touches him in a very meaningful way, and you can see it in his eyes, the contentment. Aw. ❤

Another one of my favorite OTP moments is in episode 7, when Hye Sung’s throat is sore from shouting all day trying to communicate with a defendant who’s hard of hearing.

It’s super cute that Soo Ha tells Hye Sung to just think at him, since her throat hurts.

Hye Sung does just that, and it’s adorable how they communicate like that, her thinking at him, face expressive and hands gesticulating, while he smiles, listening.

What totally gets me, though, is the affectionate look in Soo Ha’s eyes.. Eeee!! So swoony!!

I also love how comfortable Soo Ha and Hye Sung are with each other.. There’s a rhythm of familiarity and closeness to their interactions which I really like.

I enjoy the little off-the-cuff moments, when Hye Sung can’t reach an item on a high shelf, or open a bottle, and Soo Ha offhandedly does it for her without missing a beat.

I love even more, that in episode 7, when Soo Ha’s arm is hurt, that the rhythm reverses itself, and Hye Sung does the opening of the bottle thing for him instead. How cute, that they have this thing between them, which is so much a second-nature thing that it doesn’t even require any spoken communication.

Flat-out Swoon

I love that this show doesn’t stinge on the awesome and the swoony when it comes to our OTP. And I love that they manage to serve up all the squee without compromising on other important things like character and relationship development.

Here, I’m just going to revisit some of the more swoony moments with our OTP that may have elicited more than a simple Omo! from me.

Intent Backhug:

In episode 12, when Soo Ha finally regains his memories, he sits contemplatively outside the courthouse, pensively wondering, “What should I do? If you knew this, you’d hate me more. And if you knew that Min Joon Gook was still alive, how scared would you be?”

Just as Soo Ha’s chewing on that thought, Hye Sung exits the building, calling Soo Ha on his cellphone, all excited about Min Joon Gook being alive, because it means that the charges against Soo Ha will have to be dropped.

Soo Ha stares at Hye Sung intently for a moment, overwhelmed with emotion, then walks towards Hye Sung with complete focus and intensity, straight into a completely swoony, long-arms-wrapping-around-small-waist backhug.

Omo. The loping, intent way he just zooms in so deliberately, with Hye Sung as his one and only focal point, and beelines towards her like she is the only thing that matters in the world.. Swoon.Swoon.Swoon.Swoon.Swoon.

As tears fall from his eyes, Soo Ha manages to choke out, “…Your life is in danger again. How does my innocence come first? How?”

Gently, Hye Sung answers,  “Thanks. For keeping your promise.” and she puts up her hand to pat him comfortingly on the head.

Aw. So much sweet. And so much swoon. Love. It.

Most Awesome Confession, Possibly Ever:

In episode 14, Soo Ha stands despondently outside Hye Sung’s closed door as she reels from the realization that Soo Ha had lied to her about not recovering his memories.

Outside Hye Sung’s door, he offers hesitantly, “I won’t ever look at your eyes again, ever. You can just use my eyes in court. And if… you don’t want that either… if you never want to see me again… I’ll do that too. Just let me stay by your side until Min Joon Gook is caught.”

Despite not getting an answer from Hye Sung except stony silence, Soo Ha makes good on the promise and escorts Hye Sung to work by trailing behind her all the way to the courthouse, all nervous and sad, averting his gaze at the drop of a hat.

After Hye Sung sends him off, she pauses, then turns towards him. Soo Ha hurriedly turns his back, which is so sad yet so adorable, that he’s trying so hard even though it hurts him to.

Hye Sung walks up to him and when Soo Ha turns around thinking she’s gone, he’s stunned to see her there, quickly averts his eyes, and says in the most heartbreakingly remorseful voice, “I didn’t look. Honest.” Aw, you sweet, poor, contrite boy.

Taking a deep breath, Hye Sung gently and resolutely takes his face in her hands, which, melt. 

She then begins to make the most awesome confession, possibly in all of dramaland, “I like you, Soo Ha. As a brother. As a friend. And also… as a man.” Eeee!!

Hye Sung lets go of Soo Ha’s face, but looks him steadily in the eye and continues, “Ever since I started liking you..  I’ve come to hate and fear your ability. Because I’m starting to have so many thoughts that I don’t want you to know about… Every time you catch me during one of my moments… I feel like I’m going to come to resent you. When I think about those resentments could end up hurting you… it rips my heart into pieces. And even outside of that… there are so many other reasons why we can’t be together. That’s why I believe that we have to put an end to our feelings.”

Soo Ha begins, “That’s..” But Hye Sung cuts him off, saying, “But even in spite of all that, I still like you. A lot. So… let’s not waste the time we have together by thinking about the end. Let’s look at each other in the face, and laugh when things are funny and always be honest with everything that we talk about. Let’s spend our time that way. Okay?”

Soo Ha smiles adorably and nods slightly, “Mm.”

Hye Sung, satisfied, sends him off, “Okay, go on then.” And Soo Ha walks off, wearing the happiest, most adorable grin, ever.

AHHHH!!! When Soo Ha is happy, and gives that little bite-his-lip smile, my screen explodes with rainbows and unicorns. Seriously. SQUEEEE!!!

Soo Ha is now practically bursting with joy, and he runs back to Hye Sung, and picks her up until she’s towering over him, then reaches up and plants a kiss on her.

He beams, “Thanks. Thank you so much.”

And then he skips off grinning widely, turning back every couple of steps to look at Hye Sung.

Melt melt melt. I think Lee Jong Suk’s smitten face is a serious competitor for Gong Yoo’s smitten faces in Coffee Prince for the title of Most Adorable Smitten Face. And that’s saying a lot.

Soo Ha’s just adorably about to burst from all the surprised delight, and, watching him, I felt like I was about to burst from all the happy.

Coz happy Puppy makes me happy, and that’s the truth ❤

Hospital Reunion:

The hospital reunion scene in episode 17 is played almost wordlessly, yet is one of the most powerful OTP scenes of the entire show, I feel.

After Min Joon Gook is captured, both Soo Ha and Hye Sung are rushed to the hospital, each thinking the other quite possibly dead.

Soo Ha runs around the hospital like a mad man, breaking away from any and all staffers trying to get him treated, unable to focus on anything except to look wildly for Hye Sung.

The moment that he sees her, Soo Ha is overcome. You can practically see the waves of relief, emotion and tears just gush through him. He makes a beeline for Hye Sung, and they embrace, each just so very grateful that the other is alive. Tears.

Afterwards, Soo Ha and Hye Sung lie together on the hospital bed, talking, and the way Soo Ha looks at Hye Sung, with such loving, sweet wonder in his eyes, just turns my knees to mush.

I love too, how Soo Ha then pulls Hye Sung towards him and holds her close. The look of contentment on his face is quite priceless. All I can say is, awwww.

The Serious Kiss:

For all the awesome swoony that we get in this show, The Serious Kiss in episode 18 is, for me, pretty high up there on the swoon scale.

After Hye Sung’s blurted out her “I will wait for you” confession on the stairs, our OTP shares a few moments of cute, with little pecks on the lips and eskimo kisses and smiles.

And then, the look in Soo Ha’s eyes changes as he looks at her, and I’m a helpless puddle on the floor.

Such bedroomy eyes. Swooonn~~

And then he moves in for The Serious Kiss. Thunk.

Lots and Lots of Cute

I suppose it’s a happy problem that there is so much that’s squee-worthy in this show that I can’t possibly cover it all. But I’m gonna try to at least give a quick spotlight to some of my favorite bits of cute.

Such as this one, in episode 2, where Soo Ha rides the bus with Hye Sung, trying to suppress how pleased he is, and his glee, wonder & excitement. Ahhh!! I about exploded from the cute!

I love that Soo Ha fixed the light for Hye Sung, coz she was afraid of walking in the dark. How adorable and sweet is he?!? I LUFF THIS BOY. ❤

And then here, I love the way Soo Ha simply PICKS HER UP and PUTS HER OVER HIS SHOULDER. Just like that, so matter-of-factly.

Also, this is the point where I first noticed the hint of man that’s crept in there, in Lee Jong Suk, practically overnight. Eeee!! When did that happen? Coz I likey.

Another thing I found adorable was all the cute hand signals and secret looks in the court room. So cute!

I also loved all the little grabby scenes peppered through the show, and there were many, many of those. Bless your heart, Show.

Here’s one, where Soo Ha’s trying to grab his report card back from Hye Sung:

And here’s another, when Hye Sung jumps Soo Ha, thinking she saw a cockroach, which turns out to be watermelon seeds:

And here’s another one, where Soo Ha’s trying to grab his application to the police force out of Hye Sung’s hands:

In a skimpy tank-top baring nice broad shoulders too, no less. Very, very nice.

I also found this scene in episode 18 equal parts squee and cute.

When Hye Sung  remarks that after Min Joon Gook’s capture, they now have no justification to live together, I love how Soo Ha leans in meaningfully towards her with a naughty glint in his eyes, saying, “There is justification..”

Oh, rawr..

But Hye Sung stops his advances in their tracks with a foot to his chest. Ha. And aw.

Like I said, equal parts squee and cute.

And I love that the show manages to keep that balance quite excellently through most of the show.

[END SPOILER]

I Hear Your Voice OST – 달콤하게 랄랄라

Hye Sung & Mom

Hye Sung’s relationship with Mom is seriously one of my favorite relationships in the entire show.

On the surface, their relationship is all petty bickering and squabbling, but beneath the crotchety, gruff veneer that they adopt with each other, their faith and belief in each other runs intense and deep.

It’s moving, profound stuff, and their relationship is, at its heart, one of the most endearing mother-daughter relationships I’ve had the pleasure of coming across in all of dramaland.

All the cute, funny scenes of their aggravated affection, taking the form of peeved nagging and disgruntled whining, are just icing on the cake.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Pretty much right away, in episode 1, we get a sense of the strong sense of belief between mother and daughter.

When everyone believes Do Yeon’s accusation that Hye Sung was the one who injured her eye, Hye Sung cries to Mom and insists she didn’t do it.

Mom listens intently, and then pretty much immediately starts to defend Hye Sung to Judge Seo, despite the risk of losing both her job and the roof over their heads. Awesome Mom.

When Judge Seo’s chauffeur offers Mom an envelope of money, Mom hesitates, then takes it despite pleas from Hye Sung not to.

Upset, Hye Sung accuses Mom of not having any pride.

As it turns out though, Mom uses the money to buy a stack of a book written by Judge Seo, and proceeds to burn it all in front of his house.

Not only that, to his protests, Mom tells him right off, informing him that her daughter did nothing wrong. Awesome, awesome Mom.

It’s only after walking around the corner, out of sight, that Mom’s knees give way, betraying how nervous she had been the whole time.

Awesome, awesome, awesome Mom.

And from the tears in Hye Sung’s eyes as she hugs Mom, she knows that too. Aw. ❤

Ten years later, Hye Sung’s and Mom’s relationship is still as much cute as it is sweet.

There’s a little moment in episode 2, where Mom calls Hye Sung after Hye Sung’s had a troubling day at work. I love that even though Hye Sung doesn’t say anything, Mom just knows there’s something wrong, just from her voice. Aw.

I loved every Hye Sung-Mom scene, from Hye Sung telling Mom she now doesn’t want to get married, coz she’s the hidden gem in the legal field (heh), to Mom lying through her teeth, trying her darndest to set Hye Sung up on a blind date with Kwan Woo, to Mom getting mad with Hye Sung, then calming herself down, then yelling anyway, and over and over again. Hee.

The scenes that I found most moving, though, were scenes after Mom’s passing (Tears).

In episode 8, Hye Sung continues to wrestle with her conscience over having asked Do Yeon to put away Min Joon Gook for her mother’s murder, and to fabricate evidence if necessary.

Hye Sung puts her forehead to Mom’s while holding Mom’s picture close. She pleads with Mom, “I’m right this time too, right? Tell me that I am.”

Aw. Hye Sung’s wrestling so hard with her conscience. And we see in this moment, just how much Mom represents that sense of right and wrong, for her.

Shortly afterwards, Hye Sung hugs Mom’s picture to her chest, as she recalls Mum likening her to Bill Gates and Picasso whenever she does something remotely good.

Aw. How sweet is Mom? ❤ And how tragically poignant, that Hye Sung pines for her so?

What strikes me the most, about Hye Sung’s relationship with Mom, is how she carries on her relationship with Mom even long after Mom’s passing.

Like in episode 9, where we realize that Hye Sung still texts Mom on a regular basis, talking to her about all manner of things, from telling her about her cases, to updating her about the drama that Mom used to watch, to asking for advice and moping about having a cold and missing Mom’s kimchi.

Aw. How heartbreakingly sweet is that?

Perhaps one of the most bittersweet moments after Mom’s passing, is this moment in episode 14, when Hye Sung does her victorious strut after putting Judge Seo in his place.

As Hye Sung brightly puts the swag in her step, she thinks, “Jang Hye Sung, daebak. Mom, did you see that? Isn’t my charisma the best?”

Aw. How sweet is that, that Mom is the first person that Hye Sung turns to?

And yes, Mom would be proud.

[END SPOILER]

Hye Sung & Do Yeon

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the frenemy-ship between Hye Sung and Do Yeon.

Their interactions, though often barbed, never truly feel malicious. Rather, their run-ins often have a harmless, petty schoolgirl rivalry sort of flavor to them that is more amusing than worrisome.

Although not one of the show’s major relationships, I enjoyed watching the show tease out the threads of friendship between Hye Sung and Do Yeon, from the checkered fabric of their baggage-full relationship.

[SPOILER ALERT]

When I consider the relationship between Hye Sung and Do Yeon, I’m actually a little surprised, that the show manages to take us from this kind of contentious competitiveness:

To this scene, of Do Yeon practically begging, “Hye-sung-ah, I-I-I feel like I’m going to die. Save me. Save my dad, please.”

And manages to make that transition feel not only unsurprising, but quite gratifying.

That’s pretty skillful and thoughtful writing right there, coz the relationship between Hye Sung and Do Yeon is a secondary arc in the drama, yet feels well-developed and faceted.

The most thought-provoking Hye Sung-Do Yeon scene, for me, is in episode 12, when the two women reluctantly drink together at a pojangmacha with Judge Kim (Kim Kwang Gyu) and Lawyer Shin.

Both tipsy from way too much soju, it’s only here, that we get to hear them say what’s really on their minds. And what a reveal it turns out to be: that Hye Sung had in fact lied in court all those years ago, and the fact that Do Yeon regretted that moment.

I found Do Yeon’s reason for hating Hye Sung tragically poignant: “Because you’re the witness to the most cowardly moment of my life. Because every time I see you… I’m reminded of that damned moment.”

Do Yeon continues, “Ever since that day… I gave up on my art, and cut off all my friends… and studied nonstop to become a prosecutor. Because I wanted to show you and my father. I wanted to show both of you… that it wasn’t me at that moment. That it was a mistake. That’s how I’ve… done everything I could to justify that moment in my life.”

Wow. That certainly puts Do Yeon in a different light.

In fact, I find this scene completely mind-bending AND believable.

Kudos, Show, for taking my understanding of both women, and turning both concepts completely on their heads in one swift motion. All while remaining extremely plausible and conceivable. Respect.

I love that thereafter, the two women inch towards a place of actual friendship, all while retaining the petty schoolgirl flavor in their interactions.

Even in episode 18, in the way they unite to talk over and ignore Judge Kim in the elevator, they are still petty schoolgirls at heart.

It’s pretty great how they essentially don’t change, even while they evolve their relationship into a very different sort of beast.

[END SPOILER]

Hye Sung & Kwan Woo

Given that Kwan Woo is our second lead, his relationship with Hye Sung could have been written as way more two-dimensional, but the show chooses instead, to flesh it out to something meaningful, even amid the often amusing and comic bent of their interactions.

I enjoy the fact that Hye Sung and Kwan Woo interface not only as potential lovers, but as lawyers, each with very different approaches and methods. And as the show progresses, so does each person’s impact on the other.

We sorta always know that Kwan Woo’s never going to get the girl (this really isn’t a spoiler, if you’ve watched enough drama), but he gets to her in ways that she never expects him to. And that’s pretty cool.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Some of the interactions between Hye Sung and Kwan Woo are LOL-funny, and one of my favorites is this scene in episode 4, where Hye Sung starts to find Kwan Woo attractive after one drunken night.

The next day, when Kwan Woo asks if he still looks like a flower boy, Hye Sung snaps at him, “Get it together! Are you still drunk?”

But in the privacy of the bathroom, she thinks to herself, “I’ve gone crazy. My eyes have certainly gone crazy. Even though I’m now sober… and even though he’s wearing his glasses, he still looks handsome.” HA.

Her unconscious, puzzled attraction to Kwan Woo continues to be a bit of running gag in episode 5.

While in a discussion, Kwan Woo makes a reference which Hye Sung would ordinarily be upset about. She wonders to herself, “Why am I not angry? After my eyes went crazy, has my head gone crazy too?” And she reaches out to touch him on the cheek.

BWAHAHA! I love that Hye Sung gets so lost in her own thoughts that her actions start before her mind catches on. Kwan Woo’s shocked expression: priceless.

Hye Sung manages a save by turning the caress into a cheek pinch. And unsuspecting, trusting Kwan Woo completely buys it. Hur. He would.

I also found their jaunty good spirits in preparing for their (failed) first date pretty cute. I really liked how both Yoon Sang Hyun and Lee Bo Young preened for this with a distinctly comic touch.

After Kwan Woo gets Min Joon Gook acquitted for Hye Sung’s mother’s murder, however, their blossoming, quite textbook courtship never does recover from the blow.

When I say their romance is rather textbook, I mean it in the almost blind date sense. I feel like Kwan Woo appeared attractive to Hye Sung for all the textbook reasons: he’s the right age, single, has a stable job, and is of good character. Good husband material, at least on paper.

Which is probably why their blossoming courtship never stood a chance. Not against the blow of Kwan Woo getting her mother’s killer acquitted, and not against Hye Sung’s growing feelings for Soo Ha.

I do really like the direction that their relationship took thereafter, though.

I liked how they became reluctant partners in defending Soo Ha in episode 10 (well, she was reluctant anyway):

When a sore Do Yeon questions Hye Sung on how Mom would’ve felt about Hye Sung using her own mother’s murder to defend Soo Ha, Hye Sung puts on a brave front, but breaks down in tears in the bathroom, crying, “Mom, I was right, right? I did a good job, right?”

I found it touching, that Kwan Woo says nothing, but silently cries just as heartbreakingly outside.

I found it touching too, when in episode 12, Kwan Woo is strong and cheery for Hye Sung’s sake, agreeing to defend Soo Ha, then deflates on his own in his office, muttering to himself, “This is killing me.” Aw. Poor guy.

I am moved by just how much he puts himself out there, for Hye Sung’s sake. And in so doing, I feel like he teaches Hye Sung to be a better person and a better lawyer, by leading by example.

In episode 13, we witness both Hye Sung and Kwan Woo professing to other people that they have learned from each other. Hye Sung, to have more compassion, and Kwan Woo, not to rely simply on blind faith. It’s a meaningful inter-impact, albeit delivered in a way that feels a little pat and cheesy.

Perhaps one of the more significant moments between Hye Sung and Kwan Woo, is the moment in episode 14 when Hye Sung asks Kwan Woo if he had any conflicting thoughts about his decision to turn down the chance to work in a cushy private job in favor of being a public defense lawyer.

Kwan Woo smiles in response, “No, not at all. Because I always make my decision towards the side that I think is at least one percent more right than the other side of the decision.”

Hye Sung asks if he doesn’t regret the decision at all, and Kwan Woo answers readily, “That’s why that one percent is so important. Because if I had made the opposite decision, I’d be regretting it 1% more right now.”

And that’s when Hye Sung has an aha moment, “One percent is what’s important.’

As she takes a spin in her revolving door, Hye Sung thinks, “Just like Attorney Cha… I have been making my decision towards the direction that I thought to be 1% more right. And I have always regretted my decisions. I still regret having opened that door to the courtroom. Because if I hadn’t opened that door, none of this misery would’ve started. But…”

As Hye Sung remembers So Yeon’s deep regret for not testifying that day, Hye Sung realizes, “This is the first time that I’ve thought of it this way. If I had made the other decision at that moment… then perhaps I’d be regretting that even more right now. Maybe one percent more.”

And that evening, when Soo Ha lets go of Hye Sung’s hand thinking that she wouldn’t like the trailing detectives to see them holding hands, she says, “Not anymore. I’ve decided not to hate it anymore. You’re one percent more in the right direction.” Aw!!

Yes, it is rather cheesy and quite pat, but I forgive the writers, for the emotional satisfaction that this 1% theory brings us.

Not only does Kwan Woo help Hye Sung to finally see her past decision that she’s regretted a thousand times in a positive light, he helps her to see her present and her future in a different light too. And I like that.

Hye Sung returns the favor in episode 18, when she defends Kwan Woo’s decision to defend Min Joon Gook yet again, even before Kwan Woo has a chance to explain his rationale to her.

I just love the look of affectionate gratitude on Kwan Woo’s face. (And doesn’t Yoon Sang Hyun look quite swoony in this screencap?)

By the time we leave Hye Sung and Kwan Woo at the end of the show, they have finally settled into a friendship where they eagerly bond over their excitement and anxiety over going to court, and it’s cute and affirming and quite satisfying to behold.

[END SPOILER]

Soo Ha & Kwan Woo

As love rivals, Soo Ha and Kwan Woo get into jealousy hijinks that range from the amusing to the heartwrenching.

As with so many of the relationships in this show, this relationship also evolves in heartwarming ways. Yes, at times, it can seem a little cheesy, but the payoff is so satisfying that I willingly overlook the cheese.

[SPOILER ALERT]

From the early episodes of the show, one might get the idea that Kwan Woo’s presence in the show is simply to make Soo Ha jealous, coz we get the cute scenes like this one in episode 7, where Soo Ha is repulsed and mortified while watching the flirtations between Hye Sung and Kwan Woo:

When Lawyer Cha comments that he and Hye Sung are wearing matching clothes, Soo Ha mutters to himself, “Maybe I should’ve worn something else instead of my school uniform.”

And then Soo Ha actually ditches his school uniform the next day. Hilarious! And very cute!

We also get the angsty jealousy scenes like this one, where Soo Ha realizes how much it hurts to see Hye Sung with another man:

Oof. Those kinds of moments really hurt to watch. But in a good way.

Even though it’s funny how Soo Ha gets all annoyed and snarky whenever Kwan Woo appears, and never speaks to Kwan Woo in jondae-mal, we soon see that Soo Ha genuinely feels threatened by Kwan Woo, or at least, troubled by his presence.

We see Soo Ha desperately trying to match up to Kwan Woo’s grown-up-ness in episode 12, when Soo Ha meets Kwan Woo in a suit and insists on paying Kwan Woo’s retainer fee, so that Hye Sung won’t have a reason to feel indebted to Kwan Woo. Aw.

Declining to accept Soo Ha’s offer, Kwan Woo tells him, “Wearing a suit doesn’t make you an adult. You’re a high school dropout, a murder suspect with no memory, no future. That’s why Hye Sung is taking you in. Don’t mistake that for something else.”

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, and even Kwan Woo himself regrets saying the words, but these issues continue to weigh on Soo Ha’s mind.

When Kwan Woo offers to help cover up the truth about Soo Ha’s dad in episode 15, Soo Ha retaliates with an outburst, “Just why are you doing this for me?… I know that you like Attorney Jang, too. So, why do you keep helping me? Are you trying to show off to me right now? That you’re a good person, with a good job, parents and an adult who has everything? Are you showing off and trying to tell me that I can’t even compare to you?”

Kwan Woo decks Soo Ha in the jaw, and responds, “Park Soo Ha. Get your head on straight. Because the more you act out like that, the more pathetic that makes me seem. Attorney Jang didn’t even give me a chance, and she chose you. So, stop being so anxious and show me why she chose you. Because based on the way you’re acting right now… I can’t understand why she chose you.”

Oof. Another hard lesson. But Soo Ha takes it to heart, and throws himself into investigating the letters that Min Joon Gook keeps sending.

Instead of fighting with Kwan Woo, Soo Ha speaks civilly and calmly, telling Kwan Woo, “I have to know what Min Joon Gook is planning so I can protect her.”

Aw. What good progress, that he’s able to put aside his own pride in order to protect Hye Sung.

I particularly love the moment in episode 18 when Soo Ha says to Kwan Woo: “Thank you.”

Kwan Woo blinks, “For what?”

Soo Ha continues, “For everything. I know how much you like Attorney Jang. I know that all the help you’re giving me is all for Attorney Jang’s sake. I know that you’re a man of amazing character that I can’t even dream to match up to. Even though it irks me, I’ll acknowledge it. You’re a very good man. Enough for me to feel bad that Attorney Jang chose me over you.”

And Soo Ha’s even using jondae-mal. Aw.

I love how Kwan Woo effectively helps Soo Ha to become a bigger man, despite them both loving the same woman. Kwan Woo’s really like the hyung that Soo Ha never had, in that sense. And I love that the writers took us there.

[END SPOILER]

Lawyer Shin & Hwang Dal Joong

Although one of the secondary relationships in the show, I actually found myself having a soft spot for the friendship between Lawyer Shin and Hwang Dal Joong.

I love that their friendship spans a wide range of emotion: from casual banter over kpop Bingo, to deep thoughts about the meaning of life.

I found some of the moments between these two men completely moving.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The moment that stands out the most for me, is in episode 16, after Hwang Dal Joong has been acquitted.

Standing in the hallway of the courthouse, Lawyer Shin asks Hwang Dal Joong if he isn’t angry, and Dal Joong answers that he’s already forgiven Judge Seo.

Dal Joong explains, “I don’t have much time left to live. I don’t want to spend what little time I have left to live on hating someone. The very last emotion that I feel before I die… I don’t want it to be such an ugly emotion such as that. That’s why I forgave him. I’m not forgiving Judge Seo Dae Suk because I think he’s a great person.”

The truth, dat. That forgiving someone heals the self more than the forgiven.

Wordlessly, Lawyer Shin puts his forehead to Hwang Dal Joong’s, and just holds their heads together, for that moment.

So poignant. And such a profound and powerful moment, really. Chills.

[END SPOILER]

I Hear Your Voice OST – Echo Arp.

THE WRITING

Just coz we could always do with more cute ❤

In a nutshell, there were things that the writers did really, really well in this show, and then there were things that were really, really lame.

The Good

So what did the writers do well? By far, it was the development of characters and relationships. Written by the same writer as Dream High (I love Dream High!), we can see the same loving touch treating the large cast of characters in both shows.

What’s interesting to me, is that Dream High has an ensemble cast, and in IHYV, we have more of a love triangle sort of set-up. While most writers would choose to focus most of their energies on developing the central characters in a typical love triangle set-up, I find that the way the character development is treated here, is akin to how an ensemble cast is treated.

As with Dream High, so many of the characters in IHYV get fleshed out and are given meaningful arcs and backstories.

And it’s all skillfully done too. The character development arcs are woven seamlessly into our narrative such that it never feels jarring, and yet, without even really realizing it, we come to know our characters as people, and come to actually care about them.

Kudos indeed.

The Not Good

Often, a LOT of suspension of disbelief is needed from the viewer in order to continue enjoying the show.

Some moments are outright head-scratchers, and a large chunk of that has to do with the cartoonish law that seems to be practiced in this world.

A lot of things that wouldn’t fly in the real world become critical pivot points for our narrative, so that as an audience, we have no choice but to grit our teeth and swallow it all, if we want to continue to enjoy the story. And we do want to enjoy the story, for the sake of our very well-drawn characters.

And that’s why it often felt frustrating and, well, dumb, considering the kinds of things we were expected to believe.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There were so many instances where I went Huh? while watching this show.

But I will highlight just one. And that is how Soo Ha gets prosecuted for Min Joon Gook’s murder when there is no evidence of a body.

I mean, the accusation that he mutilated the body, just coz there’s a hand? Um. Have these people never seen pirates before? Or, y’know, yakuza? Those are proof that you can be perfectly alive even with just the one hand.

The logic of this case doesn’t sound right to me, and I’m not even in the legal profession. How do the police determine the time window of the supposed murder when there is no body???

And THEN. The Big Reveal – that the defense believes that Min Joon Gook is alive! – which is done so dramatically, is just really, really, really lame. DUH. Of COURSE Min Joon Gook could still  be alive. Coz there never was a body. To have spent a whole episode pretending to ignore the ginormous pink elephant in the room feels like a huge waste of time, and worse, an insult to the intelligence of ALL the characters AND us as viewers.

Gah.

[END SPOILER]

Despite the weaknesses, though, I have to say that there were many instances of thoughtful writing in IHYV, and the emotional engagement we experience with the characters is truly impressive.

The show is moving and satisfying in so many moments. And the show itself is tied up in an uplifting way that doesn’t focus completely on the romance, but gives the spotlight to personal character and growth, and that feels good.

There is just so much heart oozing out of this show, that one can’t help but forgive the weaknesses, glaring as some of them may be.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Not only cracktastic in some of the best ways, but it gets you, right in the heart. And then won’t let go.

Squeeing out loud required.

FINAL GRADE: A+

VISUAL TREATS:

For those who haven’t seen the show, here’s the non-spoilery teaser:

And here’s a slightly longer fan-made trailer, which gives a slightly clearer peek at our characters and some of the cute, while managing to remain non-spoilery:

For those who’ve seen the show, here are some great tracks from the OST to relive the awesome. Spoilery all-around, with lots of OTP goodness.

My favorite track from the OST, hands-down. It manages to be gentle, breezy and sexy all at once. Love. It.

Another of my favorite tracks; an acoustic, slightly wistful, slower version of its faster, peppier cousin. Lovely.

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

179 thoughts on “Review: I Hear Your Voice

  1. YES!!! So glad you enjoyed this one.. and I really, really enjoyed your review – it was nice to relive it since it’s been awhile since I finished it – also, you brought to attention details about the cinematography that I unknowingly appreciated but didn’t actually pick up on 🙂 On the money as always… and thanks for reminding me WHICH episode I have to go to see the kiss… hehehe.. I always forget and end up wasting time looking for which episodes the kiss is in…

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    • Aw, thanks lyricalpeach!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the review!! This one took way longer to write than expected, thanks to RL interfering, and WP failing on me *gives WP the side-eye* BUT! I’m so happy that it’s now done, and that you enjoyed the read! ^^

      Yes, the cinematography is quite lovely in its own way, isn’t it?? I had to pause to squee at all the Pretty on my screen. Well. That was mostly Lee Jong Suk bathed in glorious, loving light. But, Pretty is pretty, can’t argue with that! ;D And Mmm. That Kiss. You’re welcome ^.~

      Like

  2. I liked IHYV a lot…..all the characters and their camaraderie….also the idealistic approach. Lee Jong Suk is adorable beyond words.

    But I never got invested in the romance part of Soo ha and Hye Sung’s relationship….I would have been okay even if they remained just friends….my heart never felt excited or giddy in their love story ……but yeah, they were cute.

    All in all, a great show but I never got addicted to it……

    Like

    • Y’know, the thing about the romance, for me, is that I was riding Lee Jong Suk’s selling of it. I didn’t feel it as much from Lee Bo Young, and that sometimes messed with the OTP chemistry a little, but Lee Jong Suk’s adorable, bleeding-heart, completely believable smitten-puppy delivery sold it so much, that I was just happy when Soo Ha was happy. And when Soo Ha was giddy with happiness, I was giddy with happiness. That’s what made it work for me, all in all ^^

      And YES. Lee Jong Suk is just ADORABLE beyond words. How is he so lovable??? There were so many times that I just wanted to squish him!! Uunnngh!! 😀

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      • I felt similarly about Soo Ha and Hye Sung’s romance. I could have taken it or left it. But as you said, LJS was so adorable, and tried so hard to sell it, that I had to buy. It did put a big smile on my face whenever he smiled. I felt a little bad for Lawyer Cha, only because to me he was just as earnest and adorable (and I love Yoon Sang Hyun) but in the end, I was glad he didn’t end up with HS either, there was too much ‘bad blood’ between them. And I was upset how she treated him too even before that. Soo Ha had an edge because he could read her mind. And had that unconditional love.

        The case with her mother really left a gap in Lawyer Cha and HS’s relationship even though they came out as friends. So I couldn’t see them as lovers either.

        I was hoping they threw him a bone at the end, but I felt they hinted at it with Do Yeon. But it wasn’t satisfying. I guess his happiness came from becoming the lawyer he always wanted to be. With his looks and goodness, etc. He’d eventually find someone.

        I was rooting for a random girl to steal his heart. Something quick. I had a complete scene in my imagination. I’m thinking of writing a short story. lol. Just a ending snippet for him. Because I had a simple idea, cliched, but it’s my favorite favorite cliche of all in k-drama. haha. If I do I will post it for you. 😀

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        • Right!! LJS sells it so well that you just gotta buy! 😀 And I completely agree – that the case with Hye Sung’s mother would’ve been a major obstacle to overcome in a potential relationship between Hye Sung and Kwan Woo. Thinking about it, I also think that Kwan Woo fell for an idealized idea of Hye Sung.. and even though he did get to know her better, it was always Soo Ha that knew her best.

          Yeah, the show did hint at more with Do Yeon, and I kinda like the idea of those 2 dating.. He’d infuriate her, but she’d roll her eyes and give in to his affection anyway. Hahaha.. And Kwan Woo’s never-say-die, hard-to-get-down cheery sort of attitude is just the thing to melt the ice princess in Do Yeon 😉

          And yes! If you do write a short story for Kwan Woo’s epilogue, you MUST let me know!! ^^

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  3. ..:) ..aha!..so finally did it!…i just randomly read your review, i did not read the whole part yet…and that noona romance thing is always excite me… currently i’m on e11 and i do agree that cinematography of this drama is awesome..i guess i have to savor LJS to the max for the remaining episodes i have before reading your whole reviews….<3

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    • Aw, you read some of the review in the end! 😀 Yes, Lee Jong Suk is just so melty in this show – you hafta savor as much as you can.. I simply love his delivery here in IHYV.. He just becomes Soo Ha, and you feel it 100%. You never feel like this is LJS in character. You just feel like this IS Soo Ha – adorable, lovable, squishable Soo Ha ❤

      Definitely, come on back to read the rest only after you’re done watching.. I think that’d be more fun for you! And then we can squee some more together ^^

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  4. I’m in the middle of watching (and LOVING) this drama right now, so I have to admit that I really didn’t read this post, for fear of finding out too much. Still, I wanted to drop of comment of enthusiastic fangirling. (!!!!! ^^ !!!!!) I’m really enjoying the fleshed-out characters and their relationships with one another. Also- this show gets intense at times! The background music, the cinematography… I’m at episode ten and I think this show has snuck into my “favorites” category. ^^

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    • Oh yes, the character and relationship development really are the strengths of this show!! And of course, Lee Jong Suk’s fantastic delivery. He really stood out for me – such a nuanced, sensitive portrayal, and so, SO full-on believable!! Definitely on my re-watch list!! ^^

      Cool that you’re just over halfway through the show – Savor the awesome, Joni!! We can always squee together later, after you’re done! ^.~

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  5. kfangurl, this is so cute…. “exploding with rainbows and unicorns. And raining kittens and puppies and sparkles and cupcakes too.”

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    • Hee. I’m glad you like it – it’s the closest I could come to articulating the exploding squee erupting from me every time LJS smiled on my screen. ESPECIALLY the bite-my-lip smile. Squeeee!!

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      • True! There’s really something about that smile. As well as in that fierce look too in ep 4. I was really taken by that scene. He was so believable. I think he would do great as a fearsome psycho killer on the loose or something like that.

        There is something about him that bothers me though. The air around him seemed surreal but I couldn’t figure out why. But then as I was reading this post and looking at your screen caps, it dawned on me that he seems to glow. Is that beautiful glowing skin for real?! I’m so envious!

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        • Hehe.. I believe that surreal glowing skin is part actual good skin, part good makeup, and part good lighting. That lighting is just gorgeous – I couldn’t stop staring at LJS bathed in that beautiful, beautiful light!

          Y’know, at this point, I feel like LJS could probably play anything, and do it well. He went to so many extremes just here in IHYV: extreme adorable, extreme fierce, extreme fear, extreme vulnerability. He just blew me away. He’d be way less adorable as a psycho killer, but I bet he’d be awesome at it 😉

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          • I agree. He’s really really good in all those extremes. I could really feel his blliss, his rage, and oh that terror! Just awesome! He’s definitely to watch for. Hope he gets projects such as this that challenges his acting prowess.

            And, that you consider him as a serious competitor of Gong Yoo for the title of Most Adorable Smitten Face really says a lot. Gong Yoo, beware! But that’s good news. How about considering each as the Most Adorable Smitten Face of their generation? I’m afraid we’ll not be seeing much of Gong Yoo’s smitten face considering his preference now… I do hope not.

            Love, love, love your review!

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            • Aw, thanks kaiaraia!! I’m super happy that you enjoyed this review!! Despite all the roadblocks I came up against, I had fun putting this together, and it makes me happy to know that other people enjoy reading it 😀

              I feel like Lee Jong Suk’s got a real gift – he’s able to just consume you with his character, no matter where his character is emotionally. There’s just something about him that leaps off the screen and grabs hold of you, so that you’re experiencing the emotion right along with him. And THAT, is an amazing thing for an actor to be able to do. He’s big on my radar now, for sure!

              Good point, about Most Adorable Smitten Face for their generation.. Lee Jong Suk and Gong Yoo play in different leagues for sure. And yes, GY’s acting choices now seem to lean anywhere but rom-com, even though he did do Big.. Let’s hope Big hasn’t turned him off rom-coms for good. I mean, he’s awesome at all his roles, but we all just really want to swoon at him being a leading man, don’t we? ;D

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              • You’re welcome. The pleasure is mine.

                LJS is gifted, that’s right. I thought he moves so lightly and fluidly so I checked. The guy holds a black belt in Taekwondo, 4-dan at that! Talk about talent! As you say it, RESPECT.

                I really hope they give GY a project at par with Coffee Prince so we can swoon to our hearts content. hahaha

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                • Wow. I didn’t know about the Taekwondo! And 4-dan too?!? That’s just really impressive! So all that fighting he’s done in School 2013 and that Judo scene in IHYV was rooted in actual martial arts? My head. It’s trying to wrap itself around this, and it’s spinning, just a little bit.

                  I also just found out that he plays the piano too, which is SUCH a different skill than Taekwondo that my mind is just that much more boggled by it. This is one talented guy, that’s for sure! LJS, I’ve got my eye on you ^.~

                  Oh yes, I’d love to see GY in another great rom-com. He’s adorable and so swoony as the romantic lead ❤ Y’know, I JUST found out that GY’s having a fan-meet here in Tokyo (HERE, in Tokyo!) BUT. Tickets are already sold out. Plus, the first day (there’re 2 days) is smack on the day I’m scheduled to leave Tokyo anyway. So close. Yet so far.. I tell ya, thank goodness we’re not talking about Woobie, or I’d be way, wayyy more upset! XD

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                  • Yep, I’ve read that too. He said he actually prefers the piano but that his dad forced him more into Taekwondo. My brother says 4-dan is good enough to enter the Olympics. He’s that good!? I wonder if he plays the piano well too….

                    I noticed GY always have fan meets in Japan everytime he has a project. He must really have a lot of fans there. That you could not catch him…what a bummer! Uh oh! Why is it that you’ll be more upset if it’s Woobie? Sounds like he is now holding the number 1 spot in your biggest k loves!

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                    • Wow, good enough to enter the Olympics??? O.O! That’s super impressive!! At the moment, I feel like Lee Jong Suk is the kind of guy who excels at pretty much everything he sets his mind to – modeling, then acting.. Taekwondo – so probably he’d be pretty impressive on the piano too. At least, that’s what I imagine ^^

                      I’m not surprised GY has lots of Japanese fans.. Japanese fans are an ardent, faithful bunch.. And I bet Coffee Prince was a huge hit among the Japanese too. No wonder they’re welcoming him with open arms! All tix sold out!

                      But yes, Woobie’s managed to sneak his way into the #1 spot in my k-loving heart.. He’s like a typhoon, I tell ya.. He crept up on me out of nowhere and blew me away. Before I even knew it, he’d swept me off my feet ❤❤❤

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  6. All I can say is..awwwwwwww! Your enthusiasm for LJS is reason enough to check this one out! Also loved the “And raining kittens and puppies and sparkles and cupcakes too.” LOVE it! ^.^ Another fine review in the books! I jumped through most of the spoilers but had to read the theme one…..could.not.resist. Just had to do it….but feel it will not alter my watch and will most likely keep me more attuned to it. ❤

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    • Giggle. I hafta say, LJS himself IS reason enough to check out this show. He is, objectively speaking, just amazing. And as a fabulous bonus, completely wonderful at the smitten faces. And you KNOW how I feel about a good smitten face. Melt. Melt melt melt. ❤

      And that theme. I tell ya. It blew my mind. And I only distilled the thought WHILE writing the review, so that about warrants a re-watch right there, on its own! ^^

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  7. Congratulations at getting this done! And with so many obstacles to overcome while doing so! I think you’ve definitely earned your super-power ring. 😀

    Lovely, lovely review as always. Almost like re-watching the show…. and now I want to re-watch the show. If only for the puppy-shots. 😉

    And I’ll leave it at that. For now!! *mwahaha* 😀

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    • Woot! And I wear that super-power ring proudly. It’s been way harder to get this finished than I ever expected, so I’m just so, SO glad that it’s now done and released into the world. My new “baby”… Heh.

      I totally feel like a re-watch too, not least because of new ideas that hit only while writing the review. And the puppy shots too, of course. Never underestimate the power of the puppy shots ^.~

      I like your fake-evil laughter, Truffle Betsy (fake coz you’re too sweet to actually pull off evil, hee) – it makes me think that we’re gonna have *lots* of fun on this one! ;D

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  8. dear kfangirl, THIS SHOW (and you) are amazing! after i saw this show, i started hunting for lee jong suk everywhere! and then i found him with kim woo bin in School 2013. Lawd knows how much i wanted to pluck out my eyes to stop myself from seeing so much goodness!!! Great post!

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    • Aw thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the review, wonder woman! And yes, Lee Jong Suk in this, is simply amazing. And I totally know what you mean, about drowning in the goodness of all the LJS-KWB bromance in School 2013. I couldn’t get enough myself! A rewatch of School 2013 is somewhere in my future, that’s for sure! ^^

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  9. You really caught the sense of all the colors and cinematography!! I agree. And the warm night tones also brings out the red of the blood. :shudder: But all in all, IHYV really has the most beautiful palette.

    Soo Ha reminds me of a manga hero, with his powers and long legs and forthright personality. Though I don’t get this way about Lee Jong Suk, I loved your comment: “Every time he smiled it felt like my screen was exploding with rainbows and unicorns. And raining kittens and puppies and sparkles and cupcakes too.”

    He does have an adorable smile and his acting talent is off the charts. Seriously. I look forward to watching him in more dramas.

    Hye Sung irked me, probably because of all her ‘mean’ qualities that really lasted to the end. I tried my hardest to find her likable, and it was a big struggle, compared to the 2 princes who were both head over heels for her. But I appreciate that she was layered, and does use it more as empty bravado than anything. Prickly is the perfect word for her. It’s almost like the writers wanted you to have a love-hate relationship with her. For every good deed or word she gave, she than went back to acting well…”witchy.” And back and forth. She really forced Soo Ha to man up and you know will continue to do so as their relationship continues to grow. He’s her tower, but she definitely wears the pants. They had beautiful swoony moments. I liked how she held his face in her hands. That was so sweet. The hospital scene gaze just melted me too. I was reminded of Hyun Bin in Secret Garden, staring at the girl in the firelight. woooow.

    But, a big BUT, I did find their kisses awkward. Like the actress really hesitated and kept pulling back. And that was supposed to be the ‘serious’ kiss. Don’t get me wrong, Lee Jong Suk gave it his most beautiful all, and she fell flat. At least to me.

    I really loved your thoughts and expressions on the love theme. “Soo Ha can hear every. single. thought. of Hye Sung’s. He literally sees the worst of her that there is to see, down to the smallest, darkest, worst bad thought she could ever think. And. He loves her anyway.”

    That to me is amazing. And his speech made me swoon. Of course my world weary, still single, frame of mind crept in and I think- Only in drama lala land can this be!! But it’s nice to know that such love can exist, it takes work, and patience, but it can. That’s why Hye Sung’s cold indifference throughout always ticked me off. Actually, it saddened me more than anything.

    But reading your theory I can conclude from my beliefs that Soo Ha’s love echoes the scriptures 1Corinthians 13: 4-8. Particularly verse 7. “It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” And then the first sentence in 8. Love Never fails.

    To me, Soo Ha felt love in its purest form. And it probably scared her since she herself is so world weary. And even with that final remark at the end she was still unsure. While irritating, it’s understandable. She felt so exposed and naked to him. He could be privy to her every thought. How could she live up to that? Hopefully as Soo Ha grows older his love stays just as firm. I still think he’s so young, but he’s very mature and seems to know exactly what he wants for his life and hers. In that ways he’s very much a man.

    In contrast, and surprising to me, I loved the character growth and transformation of her nemesis Do Yeon. I mean, I cried for Hye Sung’s mom, and the latter guilt she felt, especially when they flash backed, I couldn’t take that anymore. The final phone call. The revolving door breakdown. Hospital, funeral…bathroom…So so sad. But the scene in the bathroom when Do Yeon breaks down on her knees and begs just floored me too. And in the background they played a melancholy, orchestrated version of the opening song ‘Echo.’ I wish it could have been on the soundtrack. The scenes with her real father, etc. were so touching. And I was hoping the drama might have hinted a bit at a relationship developing between lawyer Cha. In my drama imagination there will be, he’s just too good a guy not to have someone in his life. And I saw a bit of chemistry there. LOL. Or he’ll find someone completely sweet and lovable like he deserves.

    I love what you wrote about Lawyer Cha. I agree to everything! I just love Yoon Sang Hyun period. He’s equal parts hilarious, dorky, and endearing. But serious and manly when he had to be. And the hard lessons he gave Soo Ha were awesome. ”Park Soo Ha. Get your head on straight. Because the more you act out like that, the more pathetic that makes me seem. Attorney Jang didn’t even give me a chance, and she chose you. So, stop being so anxious and show me why she chose you. Because based on the way you’re acting right now… I can’t understand why she chose you.” Pow! But in the end, they developed a sort of brotherly bond.

    And Jung Woong…no words. He amazes me! When I was watching this drama, I started to watch another great drama called “Last Scandal” in which he’s a really good guy, just so I can differentiate that he’s ACTING. The layers upon layers he gives Joon Gook is amazing to the end. And then the layers that Lawyer Cha has, in coming to his defense…wow. He really dug deep to try and find some empathy for the cold blooded killer and in turn, compels the audience to do the same.

    I felt the cops as usual for drama standards, were depicted as lazy and dumb. And I agree, that whole episode based on the HAND, was way too much. Really ridiculous. And though it’s understandable, I think Lee Jong Suk went a little hammy and over the top at the end when they took Hye Sung to the hospital. He saw for himself that she was unharmed, but he went crazy as all get out. LOL

    One thing, although they were minor characters, you didn’t mention Soo Ha’s friends and their relationships. I totally LOVED them!! Choong-Ki the bully really grew on me. haha. He was awesome and cute. And what about the adorableness of Choi Sung-joon as Yoo Chang, the Lawyer clerk? His big, soulful eyes got me every time. He was funny too.

    The OST to this drama is slamming! I only wished Yoon Sang Hyun sang. His voice makes me weak. I seriously need to buy his albums soon. Whenever I want to get chores done I play the song ‘Why did you come now?’ It’s wonderfully jazzy, folky, lazy days, and just has this eighties feel I love. Breezy, as you put it! And omg, I didn’t have the acoustic version!! Thanks for that final video! Can you tell me exactly how many songs are on the soundtrack? I want to make sure I have them all. 😀

    Thanks for taking the time to break IHYV down and share your lovely thoughts with us. It also helps us view things from a different perspective. It did soften my view of Hye Sung too. As always, great work!

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    • Aw, I’m SO glad that you enjoyed the review, Lady G! 😀 And YAY for your epic comment, coz it’s always a pleasure to talk drama with you!! ❤

      Yes, isn’t the color palette just gorgeous?!?? That’s something that I really, really loved in this show.. Everything just looked so PRETTY. And the lighting just enhanced it all even more, and I would’ve been happy to just soak in the lovely palette, backed with the lovely breezy OST! ❤ Together they just make this world so, SO appealing, and that’s before we even add in our lovely boy-man Soo Ha into the equation! ❤

      And I LOVED Lee Jong Suk as Soo Ha!! I don’t actually have a thing for LJS (you KNOW how I feel about his bestie! ❤), but he just managed to drag me into his psyche and the emotional center of his character. I just found him all kinds of adorbs, and seeing him happy just made ME happy. And, you’re so right about him looking like a manga hero, Lady G! I hadn’t noticed it before, but his sharp and slightly exaggerated features (those lips! and those cheekbones!) do actually spell manga.. Which adds all the more, to the surreality of his character and his world, and that just rawks 🙂

      Yes, he IS a talented actor, isn’t he?? I love how he just draws you into his character. There isn’t any sense that he’s holding back.. You just don’t feel a barrier between yourself and his character, and I love that! When you get around to checking out School 2013, LJS will get another chance to blow you away.. He is excellent in that show too. Before I was even through with the first episode, I was already feeling compassion and empathy for his character. Great stuff 🙂

      I admit Hye Sung isn’t a heroine that draws you in right away, but I appreciate how layered and flawed the writers made her.. Which kinda almost makes you feel like, if someone as flawed as her could have a swoony boy-man that smitten over her, well, so could I, right? And I do quite love that idea 😉

      As far as the romance went, though, I completely agree with you that I felt Lee Bo Young held back. Especially with the kissing. That’s an issue with many Korean actresses though.. I believe it’s to do with them being concerned about protecting their “pure” image. As a result of that, they often do what I think of as dead-fish-lips, and that’s often such a let-down to watch. Ha Ji Won in Secret Garden did the fish lips too, which ruined the dance kiss for me, and all other kisses in that show, for that matter. There’re a few actresses who don’t do the fish lips, but Lee Bo Young isn’t one of them. In fact, I feel like she’s ENDURING the kisses more than anything (that’s how it appeared to me in Hooray for Love too).

      But. I was very, very taken with Soo Ha’s smitten faces, and HIS selling of the romance. If HE swooned, I swooned. So it was the way HE looked at her, and reacted to her, and kissed her, that got me right in the knees. The kiss on the stairway – the Serious one – it was all about how HE played it, that made me feel melty. LBY did hold back, but LJS didn’t, and that was quite enough for me. I guess this is a case where I was taken enough with one half of the OTP, to buy the entire romance. And that’s testament to LJS’s awesome acting chops, to have managed to sell it enough for the both of them.

      And absolutely, that theme resonates completely with scripture. Coz no human can really love that unconditionally. Soo Ha doesn’t count, since he doesn’t actually exist, heh. That theme resonates all the more with me, because it is scriptural. Only Perfect Love is able to see through all our outward defenses, down to our deepest darkest thoughts, and love us anyway. At a very fundamental level, that’s what we as humans all crave – to be loved and accepted, despite our deepest darkest secrets and thoughts. And this show manages to speak to that core desire in a very tangible way, and I love, love, LOVE that ❤ For being able to do that, I willingly overlook all the flaws in this show – even the ridiculous mickey mouse law that is practiced in their courts ;D

      Back to our OTP, I absolutely agree with you that Soo Ha’s the one who seems more sure about their future. I suppose it’s partly his youthful idealism powering that, as opposed to Hye Sung’s world-weariness. At the same time, I feel like it’s the nature of his love. It’s never been determined by emotions. For him, it’s always been a decision. Whether he was 8 or 18, Soo Ha simply DECIDED to love and protect Hye Sung. And I believe that he’s the kind of person who’d still decide, at 28, 38, 58 & beyond, to keep on loving her. And that’s another core concept that we don’t often see in kdramaland.. Where love is a decision, not an emotion. Perhaps that’s another part of why I love Soo Ha’s character so much. His love is dependable and strong, and won’t waver with the winds of volatile emotion.

      As for Do Yeon, I was blown away by the bathroom scene too. I thought the way Lee Da Hee played it was heartbreakingly real. She made Do Yeon’s pain so real, yet managed to keep the reaction believable in the context of what we’d seen prior, of Do Yeon’s character. Her struggle with all that she’d believed before the revelation of her adoption, with the new and confusing emotions, was so well played. Major props to Lee Da Hee indeed.

      As for the version of Echo that played in the background, I don’t think the exact version is available on the OST, but there’s a pretty good alternative. Track 9 Echo Strings is slow, meditative and just a touch melancholic – dya have that? Also, to answer your question, there are 17 tracks on the compilation OST. They released several singles, but the final compilation OST pretty much has all the singles on it and then some. Oh, and yes, the acoustic version of Echo is on there too ^^

      Yes, Yoon Sang Hyun did great as Kwan Woo! I kinda loved that his character wasn’t defined so much by whether his crush on Hye Sung was going well. Rather, there were other bigger, more important things driving him: his ideals, his beliefs, his desire to make a positive difference in the world. Because his character is written this way, I never feel like he got shortchanged in our narrative. He grew as a lawyer and as a person, and emerged at the end of our story a better, wiser man. Love that.

      And yes, Jung Woong In.. He was excellent as Min Joon Gook. He made him suitably scary at all the right times, and then, made him look so believably lost in the later episodes. Respect. No wonder he won an award for this role. You’ll also be pleased to know that he’s in Ojakgyo Brothers, playing a very different sort of role! 😉

      Argh those cops – they were another aspect of this world that I felt the need to suspend disbelief about. Like, how could any cops be this incompetent??? >.<

      For the hospital scene, I thought Soo Ha *didn't* know Hye Sung was ok? As in, he never saw her on the rooftop face-off, and when he landed at the bottom, all he saw was her being carried off, eyes shut, bleeding from the head. As far as I could tell, it was pretty plausible that he believed she was dead.. Or did I miss something? 😛

      Oh yes, the minor characters! I didn't include them in the review coz I thought it was already supremely long (more than 14,000 words! lol) but I did think Choong Ki was funny.. Especially his manicures and his lame excuses to explain them away. Also loved the scenes where he helped an amnestic Soo Ha. That was really quite sweet ^^

      Also. Yoo Chang – somewhere in the second half, I started to wonder at the subtle and not-so-subtle hints that Yoo Chang nursed a crush on Kwan Woo.. Did you feel that too? All the slo-mo failed hugs, and then Yoo Chang pouting that Kwan Woo's bones would take longer to heal because of his age.. At first I thought it was just random cute, but when these little moments kept getting repeated, I started to get a homoerotic sort of flavor off these scenes.. I wonder if that was intentional on the part of the writers?

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      • Wow, thank you for the epic reply! Thanks for the info on the soundtrack, I was missing 8 tracks! I guess because it was released in parts. But I got it now. It makes me wonder if I’m missing more than half the songs on most of my other soundtracks. :p And I probably wasn’t thinking much about Yoo Chang, but now that you mention it, it could have been deliberate on the writer’s part. I do remember Kwan Woo always having to shove him away and getting all flustered and annoyed. :p

        And now you’ve really sold me on Soo Ha! You could seriously take all you’ve written about him and make a huge post for the character alone. He’s got to be one of the best K-Drama characters in history. I know he’s on my list.

        “At a very fundamental level, that’s what we as humans all crave – to be loved and accepted, despite our deepest darkest secrets and thoughts. And this show manages to speak to that core desire in a very tangible way, and I love, love, LOVE that ❤”

        I totally agree with you! The only way we’d be able to love so perfectly is if we had Soo Ha’s power. Which in essence, is a little like God’s power. And then Soo Ha had it, and he picked a most ‘flawed’ prickly woman to be in love with. lol. The writers surely knew that. You could almost say that Soo Ha is the best lover in K-drama land!

        As for those kisses, again, totally agree. It IS all about him. Beautiful kissable lips. 😀 She kept trying to ‘get away’ and that annoyed me. But it also in a sense, fit with her character and indecisions about him. Still, I noticed the ‘holding back’ in ‘Faith’ and a ton of others. I don’t know if the director tells the actress to be that way, or not. Because there are actresses like Yoon Eun-hye and Kim Sun Ah who go for it! I noticed the same locked lips in ‘Secret Garden’ too! And Won Bin is so great at kissing scenes. What a shame. And it’s all the more funny because while protecting the pure image, LBY gets married a month after in real life to the actor she dated for years. I once read that if a K-drama actress is already married, they tend to have very lame kissing scenes. Don’t know how true that is. Because I saw some young actresses with that same tense, eyes squeezed shut, mouth in a firm line like a mail slot kiss too. Sigh. It’s acting, people. Opportunities for great scenes wasted. Like the final kiss in Cyrano Dating Agency. Then the actress had the gall to later sort of complain about it. At least it sounded that way. Saying it was weird. If you can’t handle it then go back to acting school. I get that she’s much younger than her co-star. So of course actor Lee Jong Hyuk stole that scene too.

        I must have missed something on that tense rooftop scene. I though she ran up there after Kwan Woo freed her. Unless she did and he didn’t see her all that time. And even if he did ‘overreact’ he was under tremendous stress at the moment and he’s still young! lol.

        Anyway, I’m gonna be late for work! So I have to cut my reply short, but thanks again. Loved this review in all it’s parts. 😀

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      • Echo Strings #9! That was it! That’s the one I’m sure played for Do Yeon’s scene and various other scenes with Hye Sung’s mother, etc. It’s sooo beautiful.

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        • Aw. Epic comment deserves epic reply! That’s where all the fun is – chatting up a storm about a drama that we love ❤ While listening to its lovely OST, of course! ;D

          Yay that you managed to get all the OST tracks that you were missing, coz there really are some lovely ones in there. I managed to embed some of my favorites throughout the review, like ‘Why did you come now?’ and the acoustic version of Echo (love that!) and a few others, but of course, there are other worthy tracks that I didn’t manage to share – like Echo Strings – so yay that you got everything ^^

          If Yoo Chang was written deliberately as having a crush on Kwan Woo, then color me really tickled, coz Yoon Sang Hyun was a second lead who was the object of Lee Jong Suk’s one sided love in Secret Garden, and then here in IHYV, he’s the object of Yoo Chang’s one-sided love??? While being second lead again?? Hahaha!!! That’s quite hilarious! XD Is there a writer conspiracy out there, to point out Yoon Sang Hyun’s swoon factor by having him receive SOME kind of love and affection even though he doesn’t get to get the girl? Lol.

          Yay that you’re sold on Soo Ha, coz he’s just awesome and completely melty. ❤ And yes, I do count Soo Ha as one of the most awesome male leads in a kdrama, ever. Another contender is Ji Hyun Woo’s character in Queen In-hyun’s Man. That’s another awesome male lead who’s head and shoulders above possibly all other male leads in a kdrama. So many viewers felt ruined by his character, coz after him, all other male leads paled in comparison. It took me a while to move on after QIHM too, lol.

          As for k-actresses and kissing, I don’t think that’s only for the married actresses. I’ve seen it across the board, with a few exceptions like Yoon Eun Hye and Kim Sun Ah (love them!). With that kind of protect-the-pure-image mindset so prevalent, there’s extra burden on the male leads to sell the kiss, and it’s not always successful. I thought LJS did a very decent, valiant job here in IHYV.. even better than Hyun Bin in Secret Garden, in terms of making up for the actress’ fish lips. If memory serves, Lee Seung Gi did well in K2H too. The #1 spot though, as far as my viewing experience goes, for making a kiss work despite working with pursed lips, is firmly held by Lee Byung Hun in Beautiful Days, who managed to burn up the screen even with Choi Ji Woo’s pursed lips. It’s quite astounding how hot he made the kisses, despite it. I feel like it warrants a whole study, so that all other male leads can learn the art of working with pursed lips, HAHA! XD

          Yeah, I’m pretty sure Soo Ha didn’t notice Hye Sung on the rooftop during the face-off scene.. She was pretty far away (held back by the police from rushing forward), and his attention was fully held by Min Joon Gook. So I totally bought his crazed reaction at the thought that she might have died. Poor Soo Ha. My heart lurched for him during the scene following, where he just went ballistic thinking that the woman he loved was possibly/probably dead. Aw. Poor baby. But perhaps partly due to that, the reunion scene felt all the more gratifying, and the look of wonder in his eyes, all the more swoony and lovely and all-around melty. ❤

          PS. I hope you made it to work ok! 😛

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          • Hallo! I did make it to work and back okay. Thanks for asking. lol. You are probably absolutely right about the roof scene. It was just so tense I didn’t catch on quick enough. I do that sometimes in K-drama and in the end i’m like, wha? wait? Did he just DIE? Lol. Or something like that.

            Thank you for opening that perspective on the kissing scenes for me. Let’s leave it to the guys to ‘sell it’ as it were. 😀 Now that I think about it, I’m sure the directors and writers know the money and fandom is comprised more of stark crazy women!! haha. (Of course i realize there are male fans of all stripes too and vice versa, but you get my drift.)

            I recently watched Queen of Housewives with Yoon Sang Hyun. I had put that one off for a long time surprisingly even though my ‘honey’ Oh Ji Ho was in it. I really thought I’d hate it. But the combination of him, YSH and the other leading male was pure comedy gold along with the cartoonish ridiculous women. I loved it! In my mind YSH dodged a big bullet NOT getting the female lead in this, but they had terrific chemistry. I just really want to see him get a lead role again like in ‘Take care of the Young lady.’ and ‘Can’t Lose.’ What bothers me a little is that a lot of fan comments say, “I’m sorry, but I can ONLY see him as Oskar!” That’s not fair and it diminishes his talents big time. I’m sooo sooo glad I didn’t watch him in Secret Garden first. I saw him as a lead Butler Seo first, then Can’t Lose. Oskar was a great character, and he really played well against LJS too. But to me he doesn’t define YSH. He was a big caricature.

            As for LJS, I really hope to see him play his real age. It’s time for him to break the High School mold too. I can’t imagine Soo Ha being much different at 25, vs. 18/19 because he was forced into maturity. Today I was thinking about the situations in this drama and they are so unique! You don’t see any copycats like you do with time travel, ghosts, etc. etc. these days. But if they are going to make another ‘mind reading’ drama then I can only imagine what JANG HYUK would do in a role like that! Woo woo!

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            • Tee hee! I know that feeling, of “Wha? Did I just miss something??” so you’re not alone! I guess that’s one of the reasons I enjoy well-written recaps.. They help to fill in the gaps, which can sometimes be pretty crucial. Especially if subs are sub-par. On a tangent, I find that one of the big pluses of picking up Korean while watching kdrama is being less dependent on subs and being able to pick up nuances that don’t get translated. Sometimes that makes such a huge difference!

              Oh yes, it’s definitely true that most of the viewership of kdramas is made up of eager women.. I guess there’s a reason it’s practically a prerequisite for a male lead to buff up and get sculpted in the gym.. And a reason why romance is such a staple in every facet of the Hallyu wave. From love stories to love songs to dreamy male leads.. we fangirls are just ready to lap it all up 😛 It’s heartening, though, that more dramas are branching out and trying new things, and there are more male fans in our midst now (Patrik_k on the thread below being one prime example ^^).. I’m getting one of my guy friends to watch School 2013 as well, so yay ^^v

              I remember Yoon Sang Hyun in QOH! That was a fun watch, though not as high on my favorites list as, say, Coffee Prince. I hafta agree with you on Yoon Sang Hyun dodging a bullet not getting the girl in QOH though. The one who made the deepest impression on me in QOH was, ironically, Lee Hye Young, who played Bong Soon. I loved how uninhibited she was, getting uglified and bitchified for the role. That takes a gutsy gung-ho kind of actress, and she did it with aplomb. I did love Yoon Sang Hyun as Oska.. He was such a hoot, yet had enough pathos about him to make him vulnerable. No wonder it’s turned out to be such an iconic role for him. Looking at Yoon Sang Hyun’s track record though, it seems like he’s been alternating between 1st and 2nd lead in the last few dramas: QOH, then Take Care of the Young Lady, then Secret Garden, then Can’t Lose, then IHYV.. So maybe you’ll get your wish of seeing him play lead in his next drama? ;D

              Lee Jong Suk is definitely ready to move beyond playing teenagers.. There’s a hint of man about him which is only going to get more pronounced (Mm. Lovely!).. Soon, he won’t look the part anymore. Like Kim Soo Hyun.. He used to look just right to play high school teens, but nowadays, he’s gotten all manly and wouldn’t be able to look the part anymore. It can only be a good stretch, having LJS move on to playing a young adult instead. He’s such an interesting actor, that at this point, I’d watch him in anything. I’m definitely keeping my eye on his new movie “No Breathing” ^^

              And Jang Hyuk playing a mind-reader? Naise.. Can we make him badass and Dae-Gil-esque too? Coz that’s my favorite version of JH.. hot, sweaty, smirky and totally cool. A mind-reading kickass hero who smirks and shrugs off the credit? And swoops in to save the lady? My imagination. It’s gone into overdrive, heh. XD

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              • “…one of the big pluses of picking up Korean while watching kdrama is being less dependent on subs and being able to pick up nuances that don’t get translated…”
                I feel the same way now. Though I just knowing smatterings of words and phrases here and there, I’m learning, and sometimes I even catch when the subber puts in something completely different. Like harsh curses when that’s not the proper word. Netflix is very guilty of that.

                I’m glad K-dramas are paying attention to world trends…or rather, ‘American’ trends and trying new things. It makes for interesting and quirky dramas that aren’t all candy and sugar coated fluff. And I really see how some can appeal to the guys now too. Not necessarily with the female actresses, but the story line and action. Two Weeks is a good example. I really have to finish that. I’m so close to the end but I started getting annoyed with it somehow. lol. It happens. Now it’s time for Ryu Soo Young to get a lead role after enduring the 2nd lead in that one. 😀

                I didn’t think about that trend with Yoon Sang Hyun’s dramas. And you are so right. Here’s hoping his next will be a lead! 😀 I’d love to see him play a cute dad with a little child. I love the little children in dramas. I’m watching Birth Secret right now and the little girl just melts my heart. I’d cast her as his daughter. lol. I really think he would have been a better choice in the drama Birth Secret. But that actor did well enough, he just went over the top sometimes. I guess cuz he was supposed to be all loud and uneducated, but a very kind and loving father.

                In QOH, Bong Soon really grew on me. I felt bad for her, hated her, sorta felt bad for her again, and in the end, she was okay. lol. It was so funny when she and her husband finally realized they loved each other. haha.

                I’m one who likes to “Hyukify” almost every role! It’s like a personal “What would Jang Hyuk do?” And you so know he can’t be anything but – “hot, sweaty, smirky and totally cool. A mind-reading kickass hero who smirks and shrugs off the credit? And swoops in to save the lady!” YAY!

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                • Oops, I mean to say I’m watching ‘Suspicious Housekeeper’ right now. But you know what, the little girl in Birth Secret melted my heart too! My heart can’t take all this adorableness from the K-drama children. lol

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                  • Right?!? Understanding the nuances of what’s actually said, versus what actually gets translated, can make SUCH a huge difference to the viewing experience! I first watched Winter Sonata when I didn’t understand a word of Korean. When I rewatched it some years later, after reaching the point of being able to pick up quite a few nuances, it felt like I was watching a whole new drama. SO many scenes took on alternative, layered meanings. It was a real eye-opening experience for sure! Good subs are SO important. Getting some Korean under your belt, just as important too! 😉

                    Yes, I really like that kdramas are experimenting more, with different ideas and formats. The cable channels are doing a good job adding variety to the drama offerings.. Vampire Prosecutor is one of those dramas that really made me sit up. It felt so different, watching a crime procedural in Korean. Especially one with a broody vampire twist! I definitely have Two Weeks on my radar.. I enjoy Lee Jun Ki very much, plus the format sounds quite novel in the kdrama landscape ^^

                    Yoon Sang Hyun playing a cute dad with a cute kid would be awesome. I think that’d be a nice addition to his existing range of roles.. And yes, those child actors are often downright awesome. One of my favorites is Kim Yoo Bin.. She’s in Mandate of Heaven, which I definitely plan to check out.. She stole my heart in The Princess’ Man. Have you seen that one? It’s an excellent drama, and uses the same gorgeous Red One camera from Chuno. A very worthy watch for when you’re in the mood for intense.

                    How is Suspicious Housekeeper? I’ve got one eye on it, but haven’t made up my mind whether to check it out.

                    And! “Hyukify” is a great word! And not a bad practice either.. It triggers all those creative juices to come up with new and very juicy scenarios featuring lots of smirky badassery. That’s ALWAYS a good thing, eh? ^.~

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                    • I started watching the Princess Man, but got sidestracked by episode 3. It is good though! Two weeks is very different, it’s action packed, makes great use of flashbacks and plot twists. I should finish it soon. I also started Mandate of Heaven and got sidetracked after first 2 episodes. :p But yet it’s one I want to watch. I like actor Lee Dong Wook.

                      Suspicious Housekeeper is really quirky, dark, at times funny and very mysterious. Almost fantasy like. I don’t know if you saw Queen of the Office, but picture Miss Kim as a Housekeeper. lol.
                      It might take some patience, because some of the characters who are supposed to be ‘good’ are very flawed. But that’s the fun of it that a lot of fans are missing, you want to see these flawed, dysfunctional characters (including the children!) pick up the pieces of their life and glue them back together. And that means watching it through. I enjoy it! It keeps me guessing and wondering what this housekeeper is going to do next.
                      “Hyukify” was the only word that popped into my head to explain my weird desire to see Jang Hyuk play every K-Drama lead ever written. hahaha. Glad you like it!

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                    • Giggle. I love how you keep getting sidetracked while trying on dramas, Lady G! Kinda like a kid in a candy store.. Too many goodies, only one mouth XD

                      TPM is pretty excellent all the way through, so I hope you get around to giving it some love sometime! I am definitely on board for checking out Two Weeks and Mandate of Heaven.. Those 2 shows sound intriguingly similar in concept, but set in SUCH different contexts and timelines. I’m sure it’d be a fascinating thing to compare and contrast the two ^^

                      Suspicious Housekeeper sounds interesting.. for when I’m in the right mood for quirky. I’m realizing that mood is SUCH a important factor when it comes to dramas.. Good drama + wrong mood = meh watch. Sometimes when I’m not loving a drama, I have to wonder if it’s the drama or my mood that’s off 😛

                      LOL at the kissing posts by Orion! I recognize each and every one of those kisses XD I think each one in moderation can work well in its context.. But when we get a Type repeated too often across dramas and actors, then it becomes more caricature and trope than an actual organic part of the story, and that can be very distracting.

                      Happily, there ARE actual kisses worthy of the replay button in kdramaland.. Hopefully as the dramaverse evolves, so will the kisses.. to more organic, true-to-character and true-to-narrative types of kisses. THAT would make me a happy camper. Downside (upside?): it will only fuel our drama addiction all the more 😛

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                    • I was reminded of “That Theme” so I went back here. There’s been a lot since I last came here. Watching and reading you two, Kfangirl and Lady G., exchange your thoughts and ideas, is just so compelling. Hence, I can’t help but wade into the water.

                      The Serious Kiss. When I first saw it, it did not matter to me that LBY was holding back. My eyes were all set, 100%, on LJS. And he was enough for me to make that kiss an enjoyable watch. But now that you two have nitpicked on it, I came to this realization. What about the male viewers? Are they not supposed to have as much fun as us ladies? Pure and innocent image? For married ones, I’d understand but for single ladies, I don’t get it. After all they are actors, right? Well, if the character calls for it, like its her first kiss, it’s understandable. But, that’s not the case with Hye Sung, right? YEH and KSA, now those two are commendable. Real actors, I should say. Oh wait… these two are my hubby’s favorites… I actually found Gong Yoo because of his love for KSA. Aha… so they are his favorites not only because he finds them voloptuous but probably, moreso, because they kiss so well… fanboys dreaming… right, Patrik_k? By the way, welcome to kfangirl’s blog… it’s nice to hear a male’s view of things…

                      Soo Ha really did not see Hye Sung on the rooftop. He only had a glimpse of her as she was being wheeled to the ambulance unconscious. That’s why Soo Ha was hysterical.

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                    • Hee! You’ve discovered us, kaiaraia!! Lady G is awesome & I LOVE our conversations, which span so much breadth and depth. ❤

                      I completely agree that female actresses who flow with their characters and the story and allow themselves to kiss their male leads back are worthy of our respect. The k-landscape is such that the expectation is for them to preserve their chaste & pure images & it takes serious guts to buck such a deep-seated trend, imo. KSA & YEH – I salute you! I wish more actresses would dare to do the same.

                      And!! kaiaraia, your hubs watches kdrama too?!?? How awesome is that?!??? Most kdrama fans’ husbands don’t get the k-passion at all, and to think that you discovered GY because of your husband’s KSA fandom?? I need a moment to wrap my mind around this awesomeness.

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                    • @kfangirl: The only drama hubby watched is Jumong. He’s more into kmovies–romcom, action, and most especially war movies. That’s the reason he watched Jumong in the first place. He’s seen almost every movie about the North-South Korean war and know details of places and dates. Yep, he does. It’ll really be wonderful if The Suspect will be shown in Manila, I’m sure he’ll gladly tag along.

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                    • Oh yes, I can totally see The Suspect appealing to guys, it’s got all that adrenaline-pumping action and spy stuff going for it.. Plus it’s got the whole North-South divide too.. I think your hubs would be up for it! ^^

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                    • I am really trying to get through Jumong. I’m at episode 30. LOL. Only cuz I love SIG so much, I think 24 is still my episode limit for a drama. I think the first half was so good, when his father was still alive and he was getting his training, etc. It’s getting a bit draggy, but I’m sure it will pick up once that war he’s preparing for gets started.

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  10. I can only agree that this was a fun drama too watch. Actually, my very first kdrama I saw and that opened up the door for more kdramas was “Birth of the Rich” with Lee Bo Young in the female lead, so this was the second time I saw her in a drama. A lot of the kdramas that are about single women in their 30-ties or late 20-ties are fun to watch, I don’t know why, maybe those dramas have a more mature vibe and it’s easy the feel sympathy for the charters.

    The only problem I had with this drama is that Soo-ga looks really young and boyish, and it feels a bit creepy when he is together with Hye-sung. I would prefer if they had an other actor playing Soo-ha, even if Jong-suk was good, he just look so much as a young teenage boy.

    This drama convinced my of one thing that I already suspected, I really like Lee Da Hee. I first saw her in a minor role in “Spy Myung Wol” and that put her on my mind. Now after this drama I believe she will have a good future as an actress, she is a real beauty in my eyes. This drama was probably more important for her career than for any of the other actors in the drama, at least that is my guess.

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    • Oh yes, Patrik_k, this WAS a fun drama to watch! ^^ A pretty good one to unite viewers with various preferences; whether you like dramas focusing on single women in their late twenties, or high school dramas, or noona romances, there’s a little something for everyone, in a way? 😉 I haven’t checked out Birth of the Rich myself, but I do know the feeling of having a soft spot for one’s very first kdrama. Mine was Goong.. Probably way too teenybopper-ish for your taste, but it’ll always have a special place in my k-loving heart ❤

      I actually think Lee Jong Suk was well-cast for the role of Soo Ha.. I mean, Soo Ha IS supposed to be only 18/19 in our story, so it wouldn’t make sense to cast someone who doesn’t look at least somewhat teenager-y.. I think LJS manages to toe the line between boy and man very well.. Some actors can’t quite pull that off anymore, despite being around the same age as LJS. Kim Soo Hyun now has too much man about him to pull off playing a 18- or 19-year-old, whereas LJS still has enough boy about him to be convincing, and enough man about him to make him tantalizing. In this case, perhaps it’s the story itself that bothers you? Coz some people don’t prefer noona romances, and a 10 year age gap between our lead couple could be uncomfortable for some 🙂

      Lee Da Hee did establish herself on my radar very well in this show.. It’s the first show I’ve seen her in, and she had some pretty brilliant moments in this.. The bathroom scene where she cried – wow. She gave me chills. Excellently done, I thought ^^

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      • No, it’s not the story itself, but I think he looks more like 15 than 19…. but, maybe that is just me. I actually like dramas with older girls/younger guys like this and “The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry”, they are cute. It’s just he looked even younger than he was. 🙂

        Yeah, Lee Da Hee will be interesting to follow, she has a main role in “Secret Love” right now, have not seen it yet, but what I have read the drama have pretty high viewers ratings.

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        • Hm, yeah.. I think there is definitely some subjectivity where perceived age is concerned.. I find that many Western teens look much more mature than Asian teens of the same age, maybe that’s where some of the disconnect comes from.. Coz LJS would definitely not pass for 15 where I come from.. All the Asian 15-year-olds I know look more like little boys than little men, hee ^^

          Oh yes, I’ve read some raves about Secret.. Everyone seems pleasantly surprised by how cracky and addictive it is. If you’re a Lee Da Hee fan, this must be happy news 😀

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          • I totally agree with you kfangirl! We Asians think Westerners look older than their age while Westerners find Asians younger than their age. Probably because Westerners mature earlier than their Asian counterparts as the former prefer living independently at a young age while the latter love living with extended families. I’m not sure, but I think its that cultural thing.

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            • Yes, agreed. There’s the cultural aspect, and there’s the genetic effect on top of that. Physically, Westerners mature much sooner than Asians in general, and that adds to the perceived maturity of Western teens. In contrast, a twenty-something – or even thirty-something!! – Asian can look like a teenager.

              On a somewhat related tangent, I remember once seeing a comic of the aging cycle of a typical Chinese woman. Through her teens, 20, 30s, & 40s, the cartoon Chinese woman essentially looks the same. And then, BAM! menopause hits, and the woman suddenly puts on weight and has wrinkles. HAHA! I had to giggle at that, coz it’s true for a lot of Chinese women ^^

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              • Had to jump in and say that was one of the funniest little comics I’ve ever seen. Every time I see it or think of it I get the giggles. (As I rapidly age with my Spanish, Puerto Rican, Native American, White across the Celtic lands and Europe self!!)

                I agree with what you say, genes play a role. But I think definitely lifestyle and quality of life – I think about the crud we eat here in America, sugars (as addictive as crack, and I can’t break the habit!), vs. all the fresh foods, the amount and portions we eat, our mobility and reliance on cars and technology, pollution, It’s probably enough to kill elephants. I’ve read so much info that I have to believe that every time the Western way of living and eating is introduced to a foreign land, all of a sudden there is a surge of bad health, obesity, and more than likely aging and sicknesses that group rarely had before. :p

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                • Ooh, good point, Lady G!! Lifestyle & diet play a huge part, and that’s also cultural/geographical. I know that in the US, most people drive almost everywhere, and that is one big factor, since most folks don’t get the built-in exercise from walking from place to place. After spending a couple of weeks here in Tokyo, I realize there’s a huge bicycle culture, where folks cycle instead of drive. And most people have to do a fair bit of walking to bus-stops and train stations on a regular basis. Add the general Japanese diet of small portions of food, high on the fresh and low on the oil, and it’s no wonder that Japanese people are known for their health and longevity! Comparing that to Singapore where I’m from, where people mostly have a sedentary-ish lifestyle and embrace ALL kinds of food, often high on the fat and oil, and I can totally see your point, about lifestyle choices adding to things like obesity and disease. (Man, I’m comforted to be sipping on a green smoothie as I type this! XD)

                  Getting off of that tangent, I just wanna say, Wow, don’t you have a varied and colorful genetic makeup!! 😀 I bet you look absolutely exotic in real life, Lady G!! And of course, your inner fangirl is as youthful and ageless as the rest of us inner fangirls 😉 Hee!

                  PS: Here’s a motivator to cut down on the sugar: It causes (eek) wrinkles!! I kid you not. I can’t remember the specifics of it, but something in the sugar leads to wrinkle-formation. Stiffens collagen fibers or something like that. Yikes.

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                  • Very good points, I agree to all. I WISH I were exotic looking. 😀 I’m a big girl myself, always working on it. :p curly brown hair and dark eyes, light olive complexion. Most people peg me for all Spanish as that comes through the most. My mom is pretty light skin and my dad is dark and used to be mistaken for Indian. lol. I’m 33 years young, and I find being a fan-girl really does keep me youthful! haha!

                    I recently read about sugar causing wrinkles too. Wow. Why does have to be sooo tasty?? lol

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                    • Yes, the food. Reminds me of Fermentation Family. Yum! Thanks goodness, I’m no sweet tooth. And I think tea, which Asia can’t live without, contributes to that young look too!

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                    • Tea! Yeah. That helps. I’m not much of a tea drinker. Only when I’m sick or it gets cold. I LOVED Fermentation Family. It was almost like a perfect little world with that restaurant. Song Il Guk is one of my big three K-Drama loves. (Although I have many.) Oh Ji Ho, Jang Hyuk, and Song Il Guk. 😀

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                    • Well. Exotic is in the eye of the beholder, I’d say.. YOU may not feel you’re exotic looking, but hey, if you were here in Tokyo, I bet many people would consider you exotic looking! ;D And psssh, 33 IS young, that’s not just being internally young!! Here’s something I always tell my friends, who often look at themselves (and have been, for years!) and say, “Wow, aren’t we getting old?” Here’s what I always tell them: You’ll never be this young again. In 10 years, you’ll look back at this moment and think, wow, how young I was then! So, why waste this moment thinking you’re old, when you’re just going to change your mind about it anyway?? ;D

                      Funny thing about tastebuds.. Once you train yourself to eat less salty and less sugary, your tastebuds get used to it, and start to prefer the blander, gentler flavors.. So, it does get easier since your tastebuds will start to accommodate.. In the meantime, use wrinkle-avoidance as your motivating force? ^.~

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                    • Yes, very true on all points. We are our own worst enemies. NY is a melting pot, but most people blend in. But going to a place like Tokyo, yeah, I think I would get stared at! lol. And K-dramas are so good for wrinkle avoidance, 😉 I feel totally relaxed and stress-free watching them. I can zone out. Of course until some character acts up! haha. But that’s part of the fun.

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                    • Ah, NY.. no wonder you don’t think of yourself as particularly exotic looking! It’s hard to stand out when you’re part of such a colorful melting pot. You’d totally have stood out today, if you’d been walking around Tokyo with me! ;D

                      Oh yes, kdramas are such a great way to escape into a completely different world.. A friend of mine once told me he loves movies coz they allow him to escape into another world for 2 hours. Well, dramas top THAT, and easily!! Another reason to love our dramas.. besides the *cough* hot male leads ^.~

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                    • It’s funny I never thought that way about NYC until just now. Everyone looks so different, so nobody really stands out. LOL. Dramas are like 16+ hours of non-stop otherworldliness! 😀 I tend to think the male leads make the biggest impression on the viewer. If they stink, the whole drama is usually a fail. Because cut down to the bone, it’s boy meets girl in drama world and the men are like the glue that holds it together. Although lately there have been a fair share of strong female leads.

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                    • True! And since the viewership is largely female, a lot hinges on the swoony appeal of the male lead and the ability of the OTP to sell their pairing. And since we’ve agreed that most female leads leave a lot of the work to the male leads *cough*kissing scenes*cough* – A LOT does rest on the awesomeness of our male leads.

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                    • Hang in there Lady G. For an 81 episode drama, Jumong has lots of ups and downs. I love SIG too!

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  11. 🙂 hello kfangirl..so how is it going for a new aunt this day?…enjoyable isn’t it?..tending to a little cutie gives you a therapeutic benefit and the feeling is always that lovely!..<3<3.<…

    ..the most enjoyable part?….watching Soo Ha doing romance with Hye Sung…imagine…for 11 years Soo Ha keeps his love for his noona and as time passes, it grows deeper…..*deep sigh*….my heart is quivering each time Soo Ha render a kiss to Hye Sung….as if i'm the one he kisses….LOL!…*wishful thinking* of a fangirl…..LJS never fails in portraying his role here and i admired him more deeply..*sw00n*…<3 😉

    ….as for the spoilers?…oh, never mind!…i don't care…i just let it slide.. anyway, i'm just a regular drama watcher and not a critic… a regular fangirl that can easily be astounded with array of K-HUNKS!….^.~..<3

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  12. …kidding aside…i love this drama because it not only focus on the story between the main characters,,,but it tackled the relationship between family/friends/colleagues…a wholesome drama that anybody can relate to..a drama with a heart….

    ..all the main characters did good as well as the extended cast…i remember asked you about Lee Bo Young’s MDSY before…honestly, she is quite new to me and surprisingly, i am somewhat amaze to see how good she is in IHVY portraying the role of Hye Sung, a lawyer and a noona who deeply fell in love with Soo Ha….and Lee Jong Suk as Soo Ha captivates my attention…him becoming a man and has a firm stand to find justice for the killing of his father and for keeping his promise to protect his noona… this noona-romance thing in a drama is always magical!…isn’t it?..

    ,,OST has enliven my passion in a drama once more…imagine a drama without it?….>.< it can be so much boring no matter how good the drama is…<3<3<3

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    • Thanks evez.. My nephew IS a total cutie, especially when he’s either (a) blissfully asleep, or (b) awake but not crying. Those times, he’s completely angelic. But when he’s crying, man, he can really holler. I’m still getting the hang of holding him, but have managed to cuddle him successfully several times without him screaming bloody murder, so.. improvement! Lol.

      Have you finished watching IHYV now?? I completely agree that it’s Soo Ha’s love for Hye Sung that really gets me weak in the knees.. The way he looks at her, swoons at her, kisses her, cares for her, and commits to loving her.. It’s all just such swoony, swoony stuff. Love it! ❤

      And yes, I definitely agree that this show has lots and lots of heart. It may not have very good legal logic (ha!), but it’s got tons of heart and I love how this show wears its heart on its sleeve. It doesn’t try to be the cool kid, all posturing and distant. Instead, it embraces its heartfelt themes and digs deep into its warmth and accompanying fuzzies. It’s one of those rare trendies that manages to recreate the feel-good factor of a good family drama, just without the high episode count.

      The IHYV OST is pretty fantastic, I’d have to agree. My favorite track, hands-down, is “Why Did You Come Now?” It’s so breezy and sexy, I can listen to it on repeat indefinitely and not feel tired of it.

      As for noona romances, I have a definite soft spot for those.. Watching those almost always make me feel like I’d like to be pursued by a hot young man too, lol. Preferably with a fantastically breezy, sexy OST playing in the background at the same time, heh. ;D

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      • …i did finish the last 6 episodes of IHVY last Sunday from 10:00 am til 12:30 mn…hahaha….and i love it sooooo much!…now i understand why this drama payed well in ratings, aside from good story-line and of course the adorable LJS, there are no other eye candy in the castings…though everyone in IHVY played their parts so well.. .you see?…a drama doesn’t need to overkill with good looking artists when it is this good…

        ..and i’m giving you thumbs up for being a good aunt .. 😉 now that you get the feel of it you’re now ready when you have your own soon!? ….LOL!…

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        • Woot! IHYV mini marathon! Leading into the finale, no less! Sounds like heaps of fun! Yay that you enjoyed it! ^^

          Well now, in terms of eye candy, Yoon Sang Hyun had his moments too, I thought 😉 Although really, it WAS LJS who stole my heart and refused to give it back! Sweet, sweet boy-man who was also so very swoony. ❤ And yes, everyone in the cast did well.. Even secondary characters were nicely written and well-portrayed. Loved that.

          A kid of my own, evez?!? First, I need to meet my One True Love. Maybe he’ll be a young hottie and I’ll get to live out my own noona romance? ;D Hee!

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          • 🙂 ….uh!,,,Woobie?…hahaha!….go for it girl!..we’ll be here supporting you all the way!..<3<3<3

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            • Omo. The thought just makes me grin and spazz, all at once. ❤ Sadly, he isn’t quite available at the moment, so I shall have to make do with my dreamscape, where Woobie is still all mine 😉

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              • I concur with you gals, the OST’s pretty wonderful.

                @evez…10:00am to 12:30 mn… I can truly relate. After all, this drama holds the record of The Shortest Time Spent to Finish a Drama in my book. Gulped it all in 2 days! Thank you holidays!

                To enjoy this drama to the fullest, I let the legalities, which are dumber than dumb, slide and made it a part of the fantasy. After I’ve done that, it became a perfect 10 for me. hahaha

                Aunthood vs. Motherhood! Now, you’ve got to be totally prepared for that. I have had to take
                a hiatus from kdrama because of that. Woobie & Kfangirl… Woogirl… or Kbie… 🙂

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                • You watched this drama in TWO DAYS, kaiaraia?!?? O.O! Wow. That’s quite a marathon alright!! And you have a husband? And kid(s)?!! Color me impressed, girl. You definitely have a way of bending space and time. 😛

                  I have to giggle at you two.. pairing me with GY on one thread, and then Woobie on another. Very fair to both, I suppose.. And I have no complaints, since I love, love, love ’em both! ❤

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  13. Thank you for such a great, extensive review! Reading this was like revisiting what has been the best drama I watched all summer, so seriously thank you! 😀 I pretty much agree with you on all points. Great catch with the cinematography and color palette. That stuff flew over my head while I was watching; the only pretty I actively registered was Lee Jong Suk. I adore Sooha to bits and pieces, so it’s great to see someone else talk about him with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old who’s just been told unicorns are real. I too think that LJS sold the romance better than LBY did, but that actually worked for me within the story, because Sooha was supposed to wear his heart on his sleeves and love a little too fiercely, while Hyesung, with her older age and cynicism, was supposed to fight any romantic inclination she felt towards him. I don’t know how much of this imbalance was intentional on LBY’s part and how much of it was just plain, great writing, but for me Sooha and Hyesung were perfect together, just the way they were. I will join you guys in complaining about LBY’s kissing though. He went for it, and she did not. Ugh, what can you do? It was still better than about 90% of the kdrama kisses I’ve seen.

    I also agree with all the comments about LJS’ acting. Though he caught my attention in High Kick, I never really took him too seriously until School happened. He’d been a diamond in the rough up till IHYV, always winning and charming in his roles, but never really truly standing out. But here, here he embodies Sooha in a way that gives you pause by actually taking your breath away. Sooha is the type of character who would fling himself in front of a bus for the one he loves, and I think LJS did such a fantastic job of personifying that beautiful combination of selflessness and recklessness. He also got to demonstrate an impressive range in this drama. From innocent puppy dog in love, to swoony mr. broad shoulders, to ‘crazy eyes-i’m-going-to-corner-you-in-a-dark-alley-and-destroy-everything-you-hold-dear’, he just gave /so/ much to Sooha and I loved every single bit of it.

    I think I might actually legitimately have fallen in love with LJS. His real life personality doesn’t help either. Awkward, dorky, surprisingly candid, and often saying the “wrong” thing (as opposed to pulling from the set of “right” answers your PR manager hands you) and making interviewers uncomfortable, he’s just such a lovable piece of shit. But my favorite thing about him is definitely his passion for acting. Have you read any of his interviews? It’s both so beautiful and tragic when he talks about what acting means to him. Ahhh, this boy, he makes my heart hurt.

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    • Aw, thanks Asmi!! I’m super chuffed that you enjoyed the review, especially since you’re a serious IHYV/LJS lover!! 😀

      Soo Ha is absolutely worth gushing over.. I was completely taken with him, right away, from E1, and I kept on gushing, all the way till we got to the end of E18! XD SUCH a wonderful character, brought to such swoony life by Lee Jong Suk, who was just flat-out amazing in this show! You just get the sense that he isn’t holding back even an iota of himself; that he’s poured himself into Soo Ha’s character, down to the very last drop. SO engaging in his up-close-and-personal vulnerability that I often felt like we were being given access to Soo Ha’s very soul. So, so good.

      LJS did excellently with the kissing, considering how LBY held back, and also considering the pressure he must’ve been under, kissing a much more experienced actress/sunbae, who was engaged at the time, no less, and so might have had a potentially jealous fiance lurking in the wings! XD Despite LBY keeping her lips stiff throughout, LJS managed to make me all melty with that kiss. Starting with those swoony, swoony bedroomy eyes, down to the sensuous, gentle, sexy open mouth. Ahhhh!!! And! Squee!!

      Ooh, love the 2 traits you singled out as Soo Ha’s main ones: selflessness and recklessness!! You’ve hit the nail on the head, Asmi! Soo Ha IS selfless with reckless abandon, and is ALSO sometimes just pure reckless: in the name of keeping his promises, and in the name of protecting the one he loves, and also simply, in the name of love. And yes, LJS got to delve into SUCH a wide range of emotions in this role. I was so taken with every single facet of those emotions that he explored.. He dove in with barefaced boldness and made Soo Ha come to glorious, three-dimensional life, and I was completely smitten. With BOTH Soo Ha AND Jong Suk ❤

      I freaking LOVE when an actor speaks candidly in interviews, with none of that pre-manufactured politically correct textbook dribble. I hate those kinds of interviews with a passion, and love candid ones with an equal passion. I’d mostly only seen Jong Suk’s co-interviews with KWB, thanks to School 2013. On your recommendation though, I checked out a couple of LJS’s interviews, and I like what I see!! So candidly thoughtful and interesting! So much like KWB, whom I adore!

      I’d love to read more of LJS’s interviews, particularly about acting – you really piqued my interest there, Asmi! – dya have any you could point me to?? “Beautiful and tragic” – I’m chomping at the bit to know more!! 😀

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      • Ah, I agree with everything you said about Sooha. 🙂 And it’s funny how you said you felt like you were given access to his soul by Jongsuk’s performance. That actually creates an interesting dichotomy; here we have a character who’s able to read minds, and yet he’s the one who’s an open book, whose good intentions are so resolute and transparent, whose devotion to Hyesung is spelled out in the contours of his face for all world to see, who doesn’t say what’s on his mind, but still his actions speak volumes. I just… ugh, Sooha is such a beautiful, complex character, even though he does harbor a child-like simplicity at the core of his being.

        I’m a big fan of how this writer writes her male leads. First there was Song Sam Dong, and now Park Sooha. I actually think they have quite a lot in common, and one day, when I find the time (after a Dream High re-watch), I really want to write about the parallels between them. Come to think of it, Hyesung and Hye Mi share some key traits too.

        OMG those bedroomy eyes you speak of legitimately made me feel weak in the knees the first time I watched that scene. It’s so cute and innocent between them when they’re kissing all eskimo-style, and then you can actually pin point the moment when the air changes between them, and he takes a deep breath and looks at her like he can’t believe it’s real life and like he’s thanking every God known to man because the woman he’s loved for over ten years finally loves him back, and just like /I WANT TO BE LOOKED AT LIKE THAT/. Preferably by Lee Jong Suk. lol.

        I think he definitely felt some pressure from LBY being an experienced and older actress. Moreover, they had a very warm noona-dongsaeng relationship on-set, so that has got to have added to the awkwardness of it all. But still, the script asked for an “adult” kiss between them, and it’s really a shame that the more experienced and seasoned actress did not comply. But, I’m honestly not even that bummed about it, because LBY was, otherwise, absolutely fantastic as Jang Hyesung.

        Haha, your love for Woo Bin is not a well kept secret around these parts, so I know how much you adore him. (Have you watched Vampire Idol btw?) Their joint interviews back from School days are absolute gems! It’s like they’re in sync with one another, completing each other’s sentences and what not. But, I do think Jongsuk is noticeably more open and comfortable in print interviews. Here are some of my favorite interviews from him, and they’re all pretty recent too!

        http://hitoritabi.tumblr.com/post/61619288225/lee-jong-suk-for-ceci-oct-2013-part-1

        http://hitoritabi.tumblr.com/post/61736952247/lee-jong-suk-for-ceci-oct-2013-part-2

        http://hitoritabi.tumblr.com/post/61800820913/lee-jong-suk-for-ceci-oct-2013-part-3

        http://hitoritabi.tumblr.com/post/58557581284/high-cut-interview-lee-jong-suk-aug-2013

        hitoritabi is a great translator and a must follow for all Jongsuk fans btw! You can just browse through her translations tag and find many other interesting interviews and tidbits about him. I hope you get a sense of what I meant by beautiful and tragic from reading these. I’ll hold on elaborating till I hear what you think of them. Happy reading! 🙂

        Also, if you have the time, his Hwasin appearance made me love him that much more. It’s a pretty messy interview, and the interviewers constantly poke fun at him for being so, for a lack of a better word, unusual, but he speaks very candidly, and some of the things he says (and does) are actually laugh out loud funny. It should be available on dramafever, but if you’re not a premium member the video quality will be pretty shitty, so here are some alternatives:

        http://withljongsuk.tumblr.com/post/52223416506/links-strong-heart-2-hwasin-incarnation

        It’s a IHYV special, so Jongsuk is accompanied by LBY and YSH!

        Sorry for the monster post. I often get carried away when talking about Jongsuk. lol.

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        • Don’t apologize, Asmi! Monster comments are my favoritest kind! 😀 Kinda like how monster reviews seem to be my favorite kind too, LOL! I guess brevity is not a major player on my site! XD

          What a great insight into the dichotomy of Soo Ha’s character, Asmi!! I mean, even though the thought left my fingers, I didn’t connect the dots till you just pointed it out, that we ironically get to see SO much of Soo Ha’s soul, when he’s the one who’s always keeping his thoughts to himself while having access to the thoughts of the people around him. I love that about him, that he is so transparent that we don’t actually NEED a mind-reading superpower to see, know, and feel what he’s feeling and thinking. And that makes him so accessible and relatable as a character; we can’t HELP but get to know and love him, we are given so much access! And I LOVE your juxtaposition of Soo Ha’s beauty and complexity, with his simplicity. There is wisdom in his simplicity too, which I love. Would that make this “beauty and complexity, built on the foundation of wisdom in simplicity”?? Coz I do love the sound of that!

          I LOVED Dream High, and Song Sam Dong with it! And you’re so right, there ARE similarities between our Dream High OTP and our IHYV OTP.. Both male leads are simple, wise, and wear their love on their sleeves, always at the ready to support and put first their lady loves. Both female leads are prickly and not immediately lovable, and not immediately in touch with their feelings either. But their feelings creep up on them, and they realize belatedly that they are in lurve. 😉 Much as I’m tickled by these similarities, I do hope writer-nim serves up something different in her next project.. Otherwise it’ll start to become predictable, and we don’t want THAT! ^^

          LOL that the script actually called for an “adult” kiss – coz that’s exactly how I felt when I watched it; that the air between them had distinctly changed, and it had EVERYTHING to do with the shift in Soo Ha’s gaze. He LOOKED at her differently. You can practically distill the exact moment that he went from looking at her like a boy crushing on his noona, to looking at her as a man looks at a woman that he’s about to kiss Very Seriously. SUCH BEDROOMY EYES!!! Eeee!!! LJS totally KILLED it with all the tender gazes filled with love, gratitude and wonder. Ahhh!!!

          Hee. Yessiree, my Woobie love really isn’t much of a secret around here.. In fact, I’m starting to feel like the entire blogosphere knows about it, with all my lovely friends tweeting me Woobie goodies, just coz it’s Woobie! Perks of wearing my fangirl love on my sleeve? ;D And yes, I’m watching Vampire Idol! I’m going super slow on this one, so that I’ll have fresh Woobie on hand for as long as possible.

          And man, I LOVED all the joint interviews that KWB and LJS did for School 2013. Pure. Gold. I could feel their bromantic chemistry all the way through. Both of them are the thoughtfully candid sort, and they clearly each made the other feel all the more relaxed, thus giving us glorious access to their real-life bromantic camaraderie.

          THANK YOU for the interview links, Asmi!! 😀 After reading through it, I hafta agree that Jong Suk is more open than Woo Bin. Woobie tends to be more measured, even in his candidness. Jong Suk, on the other hand, is wonderfully open and lets his thoughts just flow out of his mouth, almost in a stream of consciousness way, EXCEPT, unlike most people’s stream of consciousness, there isn’t an ounce of self-pride in his words.. He’s always humble, giving others credit instead of basking in his own. Aw.

          And I do get a sense of what you mean by beautiful and tragic, Asmi! He is so hard on himself, and expects so much of himself, and drives himself so hard, that it’s painful to watch. But, the way he pours himself into his roles, the way he gets better from role to role, the way he loves acting, the way he strives to hone his art, even if it means hardship for himself; it’s all so pure and beautiful. Such a lovely boy.

          I’m SO stoked that he’s besties with Woobie.. They’re both thoughtfully candid, and full of substance, so I can totally see them hanging out and having deep philosophical conversations amid the kidding and horsing around. And I love that amid the similarities, there are distinct differences, which means that they can only help to grow each other. Ahhh.. I love these two together, seriously.

          I haven’t checked out the Hwasin ep yet, but am torrenting it as I type this. Thanks for pointing me to it! I don’t watch much variety, coz I prefer dramas, but I LOVE checking out variety eps featuring actors that I find interesting, so this TOTALLY fits the bill! I will definitely watch it soon, and then we can talk ALL about it!! 😀

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          • Sorry this is coming in super late, but I was traveling the last few days so I couldn’t write back any sooner. ;__;

            “beauty and complexity, built on the foundation of wisdom in simplicity”, awww, that sounds like the Park Sooha I know and love. And yes, I’m getting the sense that this writer is a big fan of the “devoted” hero, the one who wears his heart on his sleeves and puts his lady love first, like you said. I love it as a trope, and though I think she managed to bring freshness to Sooha despite him bearing a lot of similarities to Sam Dong, I too hope that she will switch things up a little bit next time around. And omg, don’t even get me started on how much I couldn’t stand Hye Mi in the first couple of episodes. It was kind of a surreal experience for me, because it was the first time I’d actually despised a female lead and it totally disoriented me, but as the show progressed and we got to see Hye Mi grow and change, the emotional payoffs were that much greater. In a weird way, it even made me more self-aware about how almost all kdrama heroines are some variation of the poor, hardworking, and idealistic “candy”. The writer is not afraid to challenge conventions, which is a big part of why I love her works so much. I’d watched and loved many female leads before Hye Mi, but she’s one of the only few who I still love as much as I did the day I finished the drama. I’m sure Hyesung will stand the tests of time in a similar manner.

            I burned through all the subbed episodes of Vampire Idol recently, so I’m actually a little envious to hear that you’re taking it slow in hopes of savoring it. GAH, why didn’t I think of that?! I want more Gabri, and I want it now. ;___;

            LJS and KWB are actually the cutest together. You know, I am always very skeptical when actors/actresses say/act like they are close in real life, especially if they’re playing an OTP (or two “unlucky” friends in this case) since it could just very well be a marketing ploy, but you can tell with these two that they are friends for real. They are very comfortable around each other and just overall supportive of one another’s career, which is just all sorts of love.

            From what I’ve seen of Woobin, he does seem more composed and diplomatic than Jongsuk, but he also has this astute air about him that suggests genuinity. He almost sounds like someone who’s been in the industry for a long time, but minus the cockiness and/or disenchantment. Jongsuk’s appeal is different, because he has no filter over his mouth. I think that’s why he hesitates and stumbles on his speech a lot in video interviews. And I love your observation about how his thoughts read like stream of consciousness in print interviews. Everything he says sounds so unpolished and raw, like it’d be something I’d hear when I have a conversation with a friend, and I just appreciate that honesty so much, you know.

            He IS too freaking hard on himself. Reading that Ceci Interview where he’s down because he thinks he wasn’t on par with the rest of the cast was especially hard for me, because you can just FEEL his heartbreak and his disappointment through his words. And guess what? I watched The Face Reader this past week, and I have no idea WHY he was upset, because he did a wonderful job in the movie. Though his character is very thinly developed and has no more than 10 minutes of total screen time, I still felt so much for him, and that is mostly thanks to the frail humanity Jongsuk gave him. I just, ugh this boy, WHY. IS. HE. SO. HARD. ON. HIMSELF?! He still has some way to go before he truly becomes a great actor, but he’s already so good now. I just wish I could meet him so I could slap him across the face with that fact. And yes, this is why it’s so beautiful and tragic to know what acting means to Lee Jong Suk. You put it perfectly, “the way he pours himself into his roles, the way he gets better from role to role, the way he loves acting, the way he strives to hone his art, even if it means hardship for himself; it’s all so pure and beautiful.” 🙂

            And agreed about Woobin and Jongsuk being vastly different personalities, but still meshing together so well. I hope both of them reach their full potential, and become a power best friend twosome one day! 😀

            I know you’ve had quite an eventful past few days (GONG YOO OMG /SCREAMS INTERNALLY/), but have maybe had a chance to watch that Hwasin episode yet? 🙂

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            • No worries about a lag in reply, Asmi!! The conversations on the blog mostly ebb and flow to various rhythms depending on how busy everyone is in Real Life. Sometimes the pace is rapid-fire when we’re online at similar times and reply almost in real-time, and sometimes there’s a longish lag between replies. But the great thing is that people come back when they can, and the conversations among us just keep going like there never was a break. That’s one of my favorite things about how the blog has evolved, so feel free to flow with a rhythm that works for you! 🙂

              Y’know, thinking on the treatment of the male and female lead characters in both DH and IHYV, I realize that part of the freshness is the flipping of the jerky, prickly male lead and the earnest, good female lead so that we get earnest, good male lead with jerky, prickly female lead. Nice way of turning a trope on its head, and not having it be too obvious. I’m definitely curious to see what writer-nim serves up next. She’s got a talent for fleshing out characters and their development and relationships, and we end up with a drama that’s full of good ol’ heart, which is the very thing that sucks me into a drama. When a show can’t engage me emotionally, it’s just not as addictive, and I’m just not as invested, even if it’s excellent in many other ways. These are also the dramas that go on the re-watch list.. coz the heart wants what it wants, and those are the ones where the characters linger with you and stand the test of time. I know I still love Sam Dong, and it’s been a while since DH. ^^

              Aw. You’re out of subbed eps of Vampire Idol? Well.. There’re always raw vids, if you understand at least some Korean.. Or else, there’s always the option to re-watch 😉 For Woobie’s sake, I’d take on raw eps, despite my still very imperfect grasp of Korean.. Thankfully, though, I don’t have to. I found an app that streams the eps with Chinese subs. My fluency in Chinese isn’t fantastic, so sometimes I can’t actually read some words in the subs. Happily, sometimes when that happens, I can understand the actual Korean dialogue, and that’s how I’m making it through the show. Do you happen to be able to read Chinese, Asmi? Coz if you can, I’ll point you to the app and you can get fresh eps of Gabri 😉

              I completely agree that KWB’s and LJS’s friendship is so real and so very sweet and adorable. I remember Woobie was asked if he felt jealous of Jong Suk when IHYV was on and sweeping the ratings, while he didn’t have a project on the air. Woobie answered that no, he didn’t feel jealous at all, and in fact, he is happy when Jong Suk’s projects do well. AW!!! How sweet and supportive is that?!??? ❤❤❤ I LOVE that about their friendship, that they cheer each other on, and are happy for each other when the other is doing well. That feels so PURE, for lack of a better word.. The purity of their affection for each other, untainted by jealousy, envy or a need to compete. It also shows a sense of self-assuredness in both of them.. The knowledge that they each have a unique place in the collective consciousness of the k-ent industry, and there’s really no need to try to outshine each other.

              YES!! Woobie’s got a thoughtful, studied air about him in interviews, even as he tackles the questions head-on and gives in-depth answers that don’t sound like they’re taken from a textbook. I feel like it shows he’s thought about all these things before, and drawn his own conclusions already, and is just sincerely and honestly sharing those conclusions. As for him sounding like he’s been in the industry for a long time, I AM actually blown away by how savvy he appears to be in his very substantial answers, yet still manages to retain the fresh, appreciative, youthful vibrance of a rookie in his humility and respectfulness. It just makes me feel like he’s naturally full of substance and that makes me melt and swoon and spazz all the more. ❤

              Jong Suk is adorable in his own way too – that unpolished, raw, transparent quality about his responses is so engaging. There’s no sense of his answers being manufactured, and everything just feels so organic and real. I’m a little surprised that his agency doesn’t appear to rein him in to fit in with all the other more politically correct artists in the industry, but I am SO glad that they seem happy to let him do his own thing and be himself. Because it’s precisely why he’s so appealing and adorable. And as for his acting skills, really, you just want to give him a hug and tell him he’s doing awesomely, eh? At the same time, I appreciate that it’s this very hunger to do better that will propel him to great heights. He’s been insanely awesome in each role that I’ve seen him in, and I can just imagine how well he managed his role in The Face Reader. There is no doubt in my mind that he will never get complacent and will instead wow us with new levels of awesome with each stride in his career. I can’t wait to see him in No Breathing!

              And! YES, I managed to watch the Hwasin ep!! With all of the excitement over the last few days (GONG! YOO! IN PERSON!!! Ahhhh!!!!), I haven’t managed to even catch up on Heirs yet, but I watched the Hwasin ep before the GY madness, and loved it! I wished they’d given more attention to Jong Suk, even though he sweated buckets of bullets every time they turned their focus to him. I wonder if he was instructed to watch his words on this appearance, and maybe that’s why he was extra nervous? Coz he doesn’t know how to filter himself? XD He was ADORBS, in his unique, slightly awkward, slightly gawky, completely honest and completely forthright way. Like how he talked about not wanting to dress up or act cute while co-hosting with IU, yet couldn’t stop the gig coz “they” had decided amongst themselves. OMGG, so politically incorrect, yet you can’t help but love him for being so upfront and honest. Gah. Even though the bits with Lee Bo Young and Yoon Sang Hyun were amusing too, I wanted more of Lee Jong Suk. MOAR. More adorable, slightly clueless, blushing-like-crazy, sweaty-like-crazy Lee Jong Suk. A-dor-able. Seriously. ❤

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              • Gosh, I know you’re a Woobin girl through and through, but I’m SO happy you love Jong Suk too. This whole conversation thread has made me realize that I hadn’t actually gotten a chance to talk about Jong Suk to anyone like this before, so THANK YOU! 😀

                Also, it’s good to know that I don’t have to stress about writing back. Sounds like you have a good system in place, and in this comment section alone, I’ve seen a lot of great conversations going. Congrats on all your blogging milestones btw! I have no doubts your blog will continue to grow in the coming days. I’m really curious about how you manage to not only post but remain active in the comment sections so consistently though. I’m a recent grad, currently scouring the job market, so I don’t really have all that much going on, but even so I cannot imagine running a fairly active blog. How do you do it, kfangurl!?

                Ah, yes, great catch with how the tropes were turned! Part of the charm of watching kdramas is the familiarity of the been-there, done-that tropes, but it’s so damn refreshing when those very same tropes are dropped for something new. But it really bothers me, to this day, to not know for certain if the writer jumped ship because of Kim Soo Hyun’s popularity, or if she’d meant for Sam Dong/Hye Mi to be endgame all along. Same with Sooha and Hyesung. Sooha was a central character from the very first episode, even more so than Hyesung in some sense, but till about half-way through, I was pretty convinced he was set for complete and utter heart break. The experience was probably different for you coz you marathoned it, and were probably spoiled (correct me if I’m wrong!), but man, the first half of the drama, watching Sooha be all puppy-dog precious in love and being certain that he wasn’t gonna get the girl, was a source of great pain for me. In fact, for the longest time I was convinced Sooha was going to die at the end! 😦

                Unfortunately, I do not understand Chinese. I’ll just sit here and cry until further episodes are subbed in English. How far along are you?

                Awww, did Woobin really say that? That’s so sweet, and I can totally believe that he actually meant it. Woobin recently went to the “No Breathing” VIP premiere to support Jongsuk (Jongsuk told him he wouldn’t go to the Friend 2 premiere if Woobin didn’t show up for his premiere lol). There’s a fan report swimming around that says when Jongsuk was onstage doing introductions before the movie, he saw Woobin sitting in the audience and waved at him like an excited, little kid. I’ll give you a moment to process the cute. 😀 Jongsuk has also said that Woobin is the friend he turns to when he’s feeling down. And the fact that these two boys have basically been pitted against each other by the media, but still they continue to support each other is just so touching. It’s hilarious how they get competitive about silly things like whose taller, or whose face is smaller. They’re just so many shades of awesome and precious, I absolutely cannot with them both.

                You can totally tell by the way Woobin talks that he’s one smart guy. I was not surprised at all when I found out he used to be a top student back in school. But he’s also playful, boyish, and oh so silly. There’s just so much to love about this guy. I’ll just throw my favorite thing about him out there, because I want to. It’s his smile. When he’s smiling unabashedly, and his eyes are squished, and his mouth hangs open… I swear to God, it’s like the warmth of the first rays of morning sunshine hitting your face. It’s really a shame that he’s starting to get typecast as a bad boy, which, I will, begrudgingly, admit is understandable, because he does badass and plain bad really well, but I’d still take Gabri over Young Do anyyy day.

                I’m sure Jongsuk’s agency does try to school him on what’s appropriate to say and what’s not, but I think he’s physically incapable of putting on a facade when he’s not acting. A fan recently asked him why he hadn’t been updating his me2day, and he said that he’d been having a lot of tumultuous thoughts lately, and he was afraid he’d say the “wrong” thing, so he just opted to not say anything. He would rather stay silent than lie for the sake of appearances. Ah, this man, he slays my heart. And, I absolutely agree that he’s going to be one of those actors who never rest, and are always looking to hone their craft. His humility is one of his most endearing and winning traits, but I just wish he’d give himself a wee bit more credit.

                Ugh, agreed that they needed to focus a little bit more on Jongsuk. But, I love love love what we did get. He LITERALLY squirms when the spotlight is on him, sweats like a pig when he’s nervous, constantly puts his foot in his mouth when trying to answer questions, and is, just like, so imperfectly perfect. Sigh. I almost fell off my chair laughing when he said “I wanted to die” in a deadpan manner, when they asked him about his Troublemaker performance. And, the fact that his friends call him an old man, and the way he starts saying something to promote IHYV at the end, but decides against it almost immediately, and throws the responsibility at LBY, and how he talked about his love of TV and dramas, gosh, I could seriously just go on and on, but I’ll spare you since you’ve already witnessed it all. I really hope he comes back to our laptop screens soon. I really want to see him play a cold, mafia boss next (a la Jung Kyung Ho in Cruel City).

                Oh btw, what are your thoughts on Heirs so far?

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                • You haven’t had a chance to talk about Jong Suk like this?? Gosh, how much pent-up gushing and adoration there still must be, in there!! Bring it on, Asmi! 😀 Coz in my experience, only one fangirl can truly understand another.. Plus, Jong Suk is so perfect with Woobie, we can combine the awesome in our squee-fest, just like how those 2 combine the awesome in joint interviews! XD

                  As for blogging.. I think I might be a very different blogger from lots of other bloggers.. For one thing, you’ll notice that my posts are awfully infrequent 😛 There’s usually an average of about 2 weeks’ lag between posts, which is kinda bucking the trend in a landscape where k-bloggers update several times a week, or even everyday. I used to feel the pressure to post more frequently, and I did try, in my early weeks of blogging. One time, I managed 4 short-ish reviews in a week, and felt soo stressed by the time I was done that I decided I shouldn’t have to suffer in order to have a blog, and decided to post at my own pace. That frees me up somewhat, to catch up on drama-watching, and responding to comments, since I’m not busy writing up new posts all the time. It also helps that I have a flexible work schedule. ^^

                  Oh yes! Talking about turning tropes over on their heads!! In Dream High, I TOTALLY thought it was Taecyeon who would get the girl. I mean, ALL the classic signs were there. We meet him first, before Sam Dong, plus he had the childhood connection, the shirtless scenes, and he even got to kiss the girl!! ALL signs that he’s our male lead, right? So when Kim Soo Hyun was revealed as male lead, my mind was completely blown. I was like, wha..?? B-but, Taec had ALL the symptoms!! How could they let the 2nd lead kiss the girl? Have the shirtless scene?? Have the childhood connection?? HAHA. Writer-nim really messed with us right there, I thought. But it sorts of supports the theory that writer-nim might’ve jumped ship partway to let Sam Dong get the girl.. But then again, one does not cast Kim Soo Hyun lightly, even at that stage in his career. And when Sam Dong was introduced at the end of one of the early-ish eps, there WAS an air of uber-cool hinted about him, despite the country bumpkin fittings. We were clearly to think that he was a force to be reckoned with, although we weren’t given more details. So.. maybe it was meant to be Sam Dong all along??

                  In terms of IHYV, you’re right, I went into it already having heard that it was a noona romance, so it was easy to deduce that Soo Ha got the girl. When casting news first came out, though, I was convinced that Jong Suk was to play 2nd lead. I guess the perceived age gap between Jong Suk and Lee Bo Young was big enough that it just didn’t cross my mind that the writers would let it happen, or that it would look at all believable or feasible onscreen. So I WAS very pleasantly surprised when I heard on the grapevine that LJS was our male lead after all. And that poster – also rather misleading! With LBY standing close to YSH, and LJS on his own to the side. Was LJS always meant to be our male lead? And the poster was just messing with us? Coz if that’s the case, then this could also be a writer quirk in both DH and IHYV: mess with the audience so they don’t realize who’s your male lead until you do a big reveal. Hmmm.. Food for thought??

                  Bummer that you can’t read Chinese, Asmi.. Otherwise it could’ve been a solution to your Vampire Idol woes.. Maybe it’s time to invest in some Korean lessons then..? 😉 It’s my hope to one day be able to watch my dramas without subs. But I’m resisting lessons coz I get such a thrill from learning it off my dramas. I’m just 17 eps into Vampire Idol, and am currently taking a break from it, since I get fresh Woobie every week with Heirs. I’m saving VI for after Heirs is done and I’m chomping at the bit for fresh Woobie on my screen, heh.

                  And OMGGGG THE CUTE!!! Ahhhh!!! I can just imagine Jong Suk waving at Woo Bin excitedly from the stage!!! Gah. I’m practically exploding from the imagined squishy-too-cute-for-words adorableness of the moment!! Jong Suk beaming from ear to ear, gawkily waving at his bestie in the crowd, while Woobie grins adorkably in response. Oh my. I NEED TO BOTTLE UP THE CUTE THAT THESE TWO ARE. Seriously!! I totally need a moment! XD

                  TOTALLY agree with you on Woobie’s dorky smile!! It’s ADORABLE and I can’t get over the dichotomy of adorkable Woobie and fierce Woobie. Coz he does BOTH so freaking well that it really messes with your mind. Like, how can such a fierce rebel type onscreen be so affectionate and adorable and thoughtful and dorky and shy in real life??? It continues to blow my mind and I love it. ❤

                  Aw. I love how genuine Jong Suk is!! And I think it’s really wise, to just not say anything when you’re uncertain, than lie and hide behind a facade. I know many stars probably do present a manufactured version of themselves for the sake of fanning their image, but Jong Suk clearly doesn’t do that. He doesn’t strike me as the media-savvy sort (duh! I wanted to die??!?? XD NOT quite what the PR folks had in mind, I’m sure!), BUT he is so very endearing in his earnest honesty. There is no hint of guile about him, only a sense that what you see is what you get. And THAT is precisely his appeal. And Omigosh YES I thought he was adorably hysterical in the bits that we did get of him in Hwasin!! I can just imagine his agency people doing facepalm after facepalm during the ep, with all the inappropriate stuff that slipped out of Jong Suk’s mouth! XD I bet the only thing that prevents them from actually strangling him afterwards, is the obvious evidence that people love him for who he is. Gotta love how he’s bucking trends and rules left, right and center, without actually even trying to be a rebel! XD

                  Oh, and Heirs! I’m enjoying it in a very mild sort of way right now.. 6 eps in, I feel like we’ve been in set-up all this while, so I’m just waiting for stuff to actually happen. Woobie is way charismatic, magnetic and intense onscreen, which suits the character. I would like to see more dimension in the writing, though, which we’re not quite getting so far. And Woobie might be TOO good in character.. some people seem to be getting confused between Woobie the adorable and Young Do the psycho XD

                  Like

    • Hi Asmi! You expressing your love for Soo Ha and LJS is just sooooooo cute!

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  14. I don’t have to read… just reliving IHYV squee memories through all the screenshots enough to make me squees and swoons over LJS all over again…!!! This is by far, the best rom-com drama this summer. I love LJS. From a trouble student in School 2013 to a genius in IHYV, he continuously to prove us that he is ready for a bigger challenge. One thing I notice the similarity of him between S2013 and IHYV, they keep pushing him as a caring, kind hearted person. Perhaps they are gearing him up to a more challenging male lead role in future. I’m just thinking (you know I hardly put so much thought) and speculating his future… yes, i have a magic ball next to me hehehe Anyway, thanks for this awesome review… even though I didn’t read it much 😛

    Btw, I updated my blog url just in case you were wondering, i’m not MIA 😉 It is mymyooz.wordpress.com

    Like

    • Woah.. the power of screenshots? You make me think that I shouldn’t bother writing these epic reviews, Nelly.. Just toss out a big ol’ bunch of beautiful screenshots, and – ta da! – done! XD I kid, I kid.. I probably would write epic reviews anyway, even if you didn’t read ’em! ^^

      Lee Jong Suk has definitely impressed me from drama to drama.. I thought he was excellent in School 2013, and then he outdid himself here in IHYV.. I’m now pretty sold on the idea that he’d probably be able to pull off just about any kind of character, and do it really well. I’m sure he’ll surprise us all again, as he picks new and different projects to stretch himself. I’ve got my eye on you, Jong Suk.. My very appreciative eye 😉

      Thanks for the heads-up on your blog url.. I’ve updated the link on my blogroll! ^^v

      Like

  15. Wow! You have such a way with words. You perfectly summed up all the emotions I felt watching this drama, and relieving it all over again. I grinned and squealed like a little girl while looking at the screenshots and remembering all the cute OTP moments. They will forevermore be one of my favorite dramaland couples. Thank you for such a beautiful and touching review. :))

    Like

    • Aw, thanks Tiffany!! And welcome to the blog! 😀 I’m so glad you enjoyed the review, coz IHYV is definitely a show that’s worth reliving and revisiting, in ALL of its forms.. recaps, reviews, and actual re-watches (it’s on my list!). Yes, bless the writers, there ARE so many swoony cute moments to relive in this show! And Soo Ha’s facial expressions play a huge role in making those moment so memorable. Soo Ha is definitely way up there in my mind as one of the most melty male leads written for a kdrama, and he’s brought to such vulnerable, poignant, accessible life by Lee Jong Suk. Soo Ha & Jong Suk.. you can’t help but love them both, in this show ❤

      Like

  16. @Kfangirl & Asmi: Your PASSIONATE exchange of thoughts had me pushing aside Heirs and Medical Top Team this morning. Epic as they may be, I still was absorbed. I really hoped wordpress allows readers to highlight a sentence and mark it LIKE.

    Okay so here are some your thought trails I SUPER LIKEY!

    1. …I just… ugh, Sooha is such a beautiful, complex character, even though he does harbor a child-like simplicity at the core of his being…. Would that make this “beauty and complexity, built on the foundation of wisdom in simplicity” – this profound yet concrete analysis of a character makes me want to meet a real living Soo Ha in my life…

    2. But the great thing is that people come back when they can, and the conversations among us just keep going like there never was a break. That’s one of my favorite things about how the blog has evolved, so feel free to flow with a rhythm that works for you! – And my favorite too. See I just came back to this post after being reminded of That Theme in another discussion with Kfangirl.

    3. The purity of their affection for each other, untainted by jealousy, envy or a need to compete. It also shows a sense of self-assuredness in both of them.. The knowledge that they each have a unique place in the collective consciousness of the k-ent industry, and there’s really no need to try to outshine each other. – I pray this real life bromance stay strong.. They are an inspiration. I love how you two compare and contrast them. I do agree with what each of you have said about their personalities. LJS is of the honest, spontaneous kind while KWB is of the refined, intellectual one, while being both true to themselves.

    4. This whole conversation thread has made me realize that I hadn’t actually gotten a chance to talk about Jong Suk to anyone like this before, so THANK YOU! – So that’s where all those passion is coming from… hehehe.. Talk away, dear gal, kfangirl is THAT indulgent.

    5. I swear to God, it’s like the warmth of the first rays of morning sunshine hitting your face. – I so love this! Quite poetic, really!

    6. A fan recently asked him why he hadn’t been updating his me2day, and he said that he’d been having a lot of tumultuous thoughts lately, and he was afraid he’d say the “wrong” thing, so he just opted to not say anything. He would rather stay silent than lie for the sake of appearances. – LJS, as genuine as he can get. Sounds like Gong Yoo, doesn’t he? Will he become reclusive too? I hope not. I feel sad too that his overly critical of himself. I an interview where he was being praised for his stellar performance in IHYV, he was sort of remorseful why he had not done so in his previous dramas. I want to slap him awake to and say Hey you man, there’s such as thing as growth… hehehe… It gets me excited though to see how well he’ll be in the future.

    7. I really want to see him play a cold, mafia boss next (a la Jung Kyung Ho in Cruel City). – In my movie he’ll a cold blooded psycho much like Min Joon Gook.

    @Asmi: Hope to see you around hanging out here just like us.

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    • Wow.. the conversation between me and Asmi had you putting aside Heirs & Medical Top Team?? Giggle. I feel so honored, that we actually outranked actual kdrama!! XD Woot!

      Yes, don’t we all want our own Soo Ha’s.. someone who’ll see us for who we are, down to the dirtiest, baddest thought we could possibly think, and love us anyway, and swoon at us, and beam at us, and be good to us, in his simple, down-to-earth wisdom..? All, “I see it all, I accept it all, I love it all.” Melt.

      And totally!! Conversations on the blog don’t actually stop unless we want them to.. Otherwise, they just go on pause for another day and another time, and it’s all good ^^ I super love that this has become a place to hang out and chat about our various k-passions ❤

      I do love the fangirl comparisons between Woobie & Jong Suk too! It’s so cool, that we’ve got one big head-over-heels for Woobie fangirl in the room, with another big head-over-heels for Jong Suk fangirl, and we’re able to expound at length what’s so awesome about these boys together as well as on their own, and see and agree with each other’s points of view, and add on to those points of view, even.. I just realized how special that makes the conversation. Cool points x a million!! 😀 😀 😀

      Aw. I can totally imagine Jong Suk feeling remorseful for his previous projects, when thinking of current success.. That’s the mark of a purist.. And while it is natural, to progress from excellence to excellence, and therefore just think of it as growth, I can sort of understand his thought. I mean, on a much smaller scale. Like, when I look at my recent reviews, I feel proud of them, coz I feel like I’ve grown and the reviews are getting meatier and more interesting.. And when I look at my earlier reviews, I feel bad, coz I didn’t do as good a job. I didn’t do those shows justice, in a way. I don’t have the bandwidth to go back and redo them, and I’ve decided to just keep looking forwards, and just keep polishing what’s before me. But it doesn’t stop me from feeling sorry towards my past reviews and the shows they were about. So in that small way, I get where Jong Suk is coming from..

      I definitely do see Jong Suk expanding his range of roles to include twisty and dark at some point, and I do think he’ll do an awesome job, whether it’s a psycho or cold mafia boss.. or both! Jong Suk, fighting!! ^^

      Like

      • Purist… why is it that the more I learn about LJS, I see quite a number of similarities between him and GY?… hmmm..

        We all love Park Soo Ha as his love is the unconditional one… to love INSPITE OF… *mind went blank*

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        • Tee hee! Yes, the magnitude of the awesome, from the very idea of that unconditional love, is definitely enough to overwhelm and cause some mind-blanking! 😉 I had to take a long moment after writing the section on That Theme, it was just so amazing ❤

          I like the similarity between LJS & GY, of being purists.. GY’s way savvier with the media though. He always comes across as very candid and honest, yet very much in control. LJS still has that super fresh, I-don’t-quite-know-whether-what-I’m-saying-is-gonna-get-me-in-trouble-but-oops-too-late-I-already-said-it quality about him, which, giggle. It’s just too cute! XD

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          • ” I-don’t-quite-know-whether-what-I’m-saying-is-gonna-get-me-in-trouble-but-oops-too-late-I-already-said-it ” That just totally cracked me up for five minutes. I think Gong Yoo is definitely in control of himself and making his own choices now. He admits that the ‘twenties’ were a very hard time for him too. I think it is for everybody to some degree.

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            • Giggle. Isn’t that just classic Lee Jong Suk, though?? I bet that’s the thought going through his head at any given point during appearances and interviews, adorkable cutie-pie that he is! XD

              That is true, about GY & his 20s.. I love that he’s so candid & honest when talking about those years, without trying to gloss them over or anything. And I suppose Lee Jong Suk might one day be as in control as GY.. though I do hope he always retains a little bit of that oops-there-goes-my-stream-of-consciousness-again sort of quality about him. It’s just so charmingly transparent ^^

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  17. Wow I can’t even keep up with all the comments here now. They’re great though. Love all the insights. But let me just stir the pot!

    Muwhahahaha! :runs away!:

    http://www.hancinema.net/kim-woo-bin-or-lee-jong-suk–62247.html

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    • Noooo!!! Don’t goooo…!!! I miss ya, Lady G!! ❤

      And what is this? Who’s sexier, Kim Woo Bin or Lee Jong Suk??? HAHA. I can so predict the outcome here. I’m gonna root for Woobie, of course. And Asmi’s gonna root for Lee Jong Suk. Impasse, here we come XD Or, can’t we have them both??? Ala School 2013?? Bromance is way sexy, especially when it’s made up of these 2 sexy boys! ^^

      Like

      • I’m always lurking. I can’t help but subscribe to comments on your posts. There’s always something juicy to discuss. 😀 ❤ Haha, I knew you’d like that little article. If I may add, I do have to go with Woo Bin just based on that photo they used. But they both have some great qualities that stand out. Apples and oranges, both delicious and so different! I feel bad that I don’t really like ‘Heirs’ but Woobie is such a compelling character in it. I do sneak peeks to watch his scenes. One day I’ll watch it all.

        Kaiaraia Brought up a good point about the male viewers. K-drama is definitely dominated by the female population, but come one K-actresses, throw them a bone! They are so intent with giving us representations about how the man is supposed to behave and treat his woman, but what about the woman? I’m a very old fashioned gal, I have no problem with the wrist grabbing, leading the girl around provided it’s done in the right context and there’s a balance of respect and love.

        But what about how the women treat the men? I find the over use of the Aeygo repulsive, (But I think K-drama caught up to that and mocks it anyway, LOL *See City Hall* lol) nor do i like the pouty, naggy, witchy faced women who constantly screech and slap, and there are some so-called leading heroines guilty of that. And men are supposed to be attracted to that and we the viewer have to root for her and all her dreams to come true? Then when given the glorious opportunity with the man she supposedly loves (though she slapped the crap out of him for 13 episodes) she stands there like a goldfish on its last breath when he goes in to kiss her!! Ughhh! infuriating. I highly doubt the male audience is gonna get all shocked if they give more than that in a kiss. They aren’t going to weep and wail because the so called ‘purity’ of their favorite actress is ruined. It’s ACTING! lol.

        I recently finished watching a fabulous ‘old’ drama- All about Eve, from 2000. and I was thunderstruck. It’s so refreshing to see a drama without all the over-dramatic pauses, stares, and stilted dialogue and miscommunications. People actually talk to each other and work out their problems, and the story flows. They touch and hug right away w/o waiting for an hour with shaking hands or swelling music. Life happens realistically. Some consider this the best Korean drama. What happened in 13 years since? No drunken leading ladies, they stayed true, well dressed, and professional women the entire time. (They graduated to news anchors.) But it didn’t feel fake. No piggy back rides, and every other trope you’d find. Okay, a little flu, and the very end when they stand in the crosswalk and a major plot twist where I held my head and said, IT Starts! But there has to be some cliche. lol. It started somewhere.

        I somehow feel cheated. Robbed. Now I know that K-dramas are constantly manipulating our emotions to the hilt with all these deliberate camera shots of shaking hands going in for a hug, holding hands, the trickery used just to show a kiss that the leading lady ruins, the excessive use of soundtrack (cuz the music biz must make money too!) It’s almost like Fans no longer care about the quality of the story, script, etc. (Not the gals here, but just saying!) all that they want is the big kiss (which is often a fail!) The fans look for every moment of romance and cuteness without considering the plot. etc. I’m a guilty party of course, it’s fun. But after watching this I feel sad that a drama can’t have all of the normalcy AND a good kiss, soundtrack, etc.

        I’m Sorry, I’m ranting off the rails!! Let me get back on track- IHYV, now that I think of it, showed elements of that old drama, which is why it came out so good and not ‘manufactured’.

        Like

        • To be fair, I think with All about Eve, we were seeing the beginning of the usual K-drama tropes and cliches. They didn’t become tongue in cheek or ironic. That’s what I found refreshing.

          Like

          • Yay that you’re following the comment threads Lady G, even if you can’t join in all the time. I do love our chats, but as always, Real Life priorities must come first!

            Heirs isn’t as cracky as I’d hoped, for sure.. It’s turned into a pretty languid, easy sort of watch for me.. I don’t hate it, but it’s not earning many points from me at the moment for sure. I love how intense KWB is in character, but I don’t love the writing right now. If they don’t hurry up and give Young Do’s character more dimension quickly, I’m gonna be kinda upset, that’s for sure! You don’t cast KWB then make him a one-note bully!

            Another beef I have with Heirs is related to your point about female characters in dramas.. Park Shin Hye’s character is currently (at eps 8 & 9) being wrist-grabbed and pushed around to an excess, and there’s no proper balance of respect, care and concern, never mind about love. It drives me batty, and I can’t feel supportive of the OTP, the way things are right now. But I’m stickin’ in there, for Woobie’s sake, but let’s just say that I’m not very pleased with the writer at the moment. >.<

            HAHAHA!! Your rant about female characters in kdramas made me chuckle, Lady G!! I think the bitchy female protagonist is a recent evolution, with the jerky to-be-reformed male lead and Candy female lead being a staple of earlier dramas.. I do agree that some female leads are just impossible to root for, and there is no way to understand why the male lead would want to be with her. Like I Need Romance 2012. I had serious issues with our female protagonist, who was mean-spirited, petty and selfish all the way through, and failed to understand why sweet-puppy 2nd male lead Kim Jin Suk was so smitten with her. Silver lining on THAT dark cloud, though, was at least the kisses were decently delivered all the way through.

            I feel like the kdrama landscape is shifting even as we speak, with more celebs dating opening than ever before (have you read the latest? Kim Bum & Moon Geun Young are dating!!), so hopefully this will translate into more realistic portrayals of our onscreen couples and their kisses.

            All About Eve!! It's a classic which I've parked on my watch list and haven't gotten around to, with the plethora of newer, shinier dramas also inhabiting that list! Hearing your raves about it does propel it up higher that neverending list! I do agree that kdramas are a lot about manipulating mood and atmosphere, and in principle, I've nothing against that. I mean, that's what ALL movies and dramas do, regardless of country of origin. It's all artifice, in the end. But HOW it gets executed is where the difference lies. I need my kdrama tropes to be executed with purpose, context and heart, otherwise it becomes meaningless posturing on my screen, and we all don't want THAT.

            I blame the insane live-shoot system for the patchy quality that's getting served up from drama to drama. It's already such a delicate balance between science and art, to make a good drama, without having crazy time crunches, severe sleep depravation and all kinds of production pressures to complicate matters. It's no wonder that some shows end up going cheap & easy, serving up cute with no plot or context (Lie To Me, I'm lookin' at you!).. At the same time, I'd hate to give up on my dramas.. I love 'em too much, and the ones that DO end up being truly good, are gems indeed. IHYV is definitely one such gem.. So full of heart, swoon and squee, with robust themes and stories to boot. (I choose to ignore your mickey mouse law that makes no sense.)

            Like

            • You’re right, all movies, shows, etc, manipulate the viewers. Some more extreme than others. And there has been an upswing in the cold-hearted female, vs. the jerky men these days. Ice queens just always rubbed me the wrong way even in real life. But there’s always a reason for that icy exterior and the dramas come up with excellent plots and character development with them.

              You know I didn’t even think about the Live Shoot system contributing to the quality. You are right. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the shiny new dramas, but with AAE, it just struck me as so simple and sweet and all-around natural. The leading man-yum! Jang Dong Gun where has he been all my life! Love his handsome round face and huge expressive eyes, and his character was never a jerk either. Plus Chae Rim is my favorite K-Drama actress, she’s simply adorable. Very talented. IHYV definitely had every aspect of what makes a drama great, and all in a good balance. 🙂

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              • I don’t enjoy the upswing of the cold-hearted female per se, coz that can be really tricky to pull off. We need to see the female lead’s bad traits and yet still like her, that takes some clever writing and skillful execution.. Not every actress would manage to make us love-hate her, I suspect. So, props to LBY for doing a great job in IHYV!

                Also! I really should look into checking out AAE.. Sounds like a very worthy retro watch. I think I’m gonna put that into the mix for nightcap drama. I’d been meaning to check out an early Jang Dong Gun drama and AAE is THE ticket! I’ve only seen him in A Gentleman’s Dignity, and even though I did dig the smoldery stares that he delivered so excellently, he did strike me as having a bit of a drug-addict-esque sort of unhealthy pallor. I wanted to know the Jang Dong Gun whom Korea first fell in love with, and that’s why I parked AAE on my list. And I do enjoy Chae Rim and Kim So Yeon, so seeing them in an early work should be fun ^^

                Like

                • AAE for a night cap drama sounds good. For me a ‘marathon’ is 3 days. I finished it in 3 days I loved it that much. I have Gentleman’s Dignity on my list too. But I can see the big difference. I think it also has to do with the changing men’s styles. It seemed like then, it was okay for the male leads to be softer, chunkier, etc. Probably up until 2006. There wasn’t this obsession with the ‘chocolate abs’ and chiseled jaws like today. But I hate it when I see my favorite K-actors become crack addict thin. It’s happened a few times. :p It looks really unhealthy. Sometimes you can see that happen during the progression of a drama, because of the shooting stress and all I’m sure.

                  Like

                • Oh, one more thing about AAE, the main love song is a total ear worm! You will be humming and singing it for days. I was disappointed the soundtrack didn’t have the instrumental version as played in the show at times. It lends itself beautifully to a classical style.

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                  • You marathoned AAE in 3 days?!?? Wow. It MUST be pretty cracky! Which I do love.. except, with a cracky drama as a nightcap, will I actually get to sleep? XD Lol. I do love a cracky show, though. Especially one with a good OST, and AAE sounds very promising!

                    Yes, male leads can lose weight visibly during live shoots.. Lee Dong Wook talked about struggling to keep his weight ON during the shooting of Scent of a Woman. He looked lovely in the shirtless scenes even though he leaned lean (hur), but later, the PD would tell him to stop losing weight, and that’d stress LDW out, coz he wasn’t actually TRYING to lose weight but it was melting off him anyway. Those live shoots can be murder, seriously! >.<

                    The industry definitely used to be way more forgiving. I remember Lee Byung Hun was rather chunky in Beautiful Days, but that didn't stop him from melting our screens and scooping the girl out from under the original male lead's nose! XD

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                    • I think the crackiest thing about AAE was the 2nd lead girl and her relationship! LOL. Not to mention all the ‘Witch’ slapping! haha. The rest to me was sweet, I guess formulaic, but because I really liked all the actors I just couldn’t stop watching.

                      Like

                    • Ah, ok, that kind of cracky means I SHOULD still be able to get some sleep, with this as a night-cap! Sleep is important, y’know, especially for a k-dreamer like me. I need me some sleep time so that I can also dream of GY. Or Woobie 😉

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                    • LOL. Oh yeah, you will not have that sense of urgency where you can’t sleep. AAE goes down real smooth for the most part. And I’m glad to know I’m not the only K-Dreamer. When you all but give up American television and movies, you’re bound to start dreaming in and of all things Korean. haha.

                      Like

                    • Woot, k-dreamers unite!! 😀 I’ve had many a k-dream, & it’s such fun, seriously!! Besides the obvious k-hotties, sometimes I have the most random dreams. I once dreamt of Eonnyeon from Chuno, and she was backed by the actual Chuno OST in my dream.. Very lovely, actually! ^^

                      Like

                    • That sounds really nice. And it doesn’t help when you fall asleep with an OST playing in your ear. haha. I love to fall asleep listening to ‘Faith’, Robbers, IHYV, and Chuno sometimes.

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                    • I haven’t seen Faith, but I do love the soundtracks of all the other 3. The Chuno soundtrack is especially immersive. It catapults me right back into the show; all the grandeur, all the beauty, all the sexy.. Giggle. After all, the sexy is a huge part of the show’s appeal 😉

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                    • Well, Chuno’s appeal sure ain’t the dirt covered slave scenes. :p LOL. Nor the doofy innkeeper scenes, I wonder what it could be? haha.

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                    • I’d venture to say that a lot of the appeal has to do with Jang Hyuk and his swagger.. and all accompanying muscle & sinew around him as the boys posture and fight and get all sweaty together, in glorious, gorgeous slo-mo HD ^^ Backed by that lovely OST, of course 😉

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                    • Oh that swagger is…it just IS. LOL. Fill in the blank. The action scenes were staged brilliantly. For plenty of eye candy and rock em/sock em effect!

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                    • Fillin’ in the blanks: that swagger is.. languid, effortless, sexy, schmexy, walking testosterone. And completely flammable. ;D

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  18. Is that a poll on who’s sexier? Sorry Asmi but I find that X-factor around Woobie sexy!

    All About Eve… I’ve seen that drama a long long time ago. I don’t remember much about it except that I hated that envious, greedy orphan so much. Grrrrrrrr!!! With that said, I think she’s a very effective actress.

    I, too, am not very pleased with Heirs. Why make a drama that’s so BOF-ish? I’m looking at whether it will have its own identity. I’m hoping so… Thank goodness I chanced upon Basketball. I’m totally loving that show. Anybody here watching that?

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    • Hey now.. You know I will NEVER argue with anyone who declares that Woobie is sexy! 😉 But I’m completely biased that way, so.. *shrugs*

      I wish more from Heirs too, kaiaraia.. It promised to be so cracky, and now it’s just a ho-hum pleasant watch when I’m not being too picky about too much wrist-grabbing and male posturing. Those things really bugged me in E8, & I’m just waiting to see if the show will self-calibrate, coz all the “romantic” moments are totally falling flat for me right now. And that is NOT a result of my Woobie-bias either! 😛

      Like

      • With what little I watched of Heirs, I’m having a hard time believing that most of these kids are High School, well, because they aren’t, and at this stage they don’t look like they are either. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s some kind of disconnect with Lee Min Ho this time around. Like he’s just going through the motions of being in the drama. I feel like he’s phoning it in. Maybe he realized he made a poor drama choice. Because how can you go back to High School after you’ve done such great roles like City Hunter, a time traveling sword master with epic lightning powers, and the adult-themed role in Personal Taste?

        Woo Bin on the other hand is doing a great job of being a High School monster. You can see he’s totally loving and making the best of his character!

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        • I do get what you mean about LMH in Heirs.. There’s a distant, disengaged sort of air about him, as if he’s not QUITE fully in character. I suspect it’s a deliberate acting choice by him, towards creating a more subtle interpretation of his character. He does manage a good amount of nuance in his gazes, so it’s not all bad. But I do want to see him do better, and do more. I think the writing’s partly to blame, in that his character – and others too – don’t feel well fleshed out. I’ve seen better from LMH – I thought he was pretty fantastic in City Hunter – so I hope he steps it up in the coming eps.

          Woobie’s being one heckuva scary high school monster, and while he’s bringing it so well that some people are misplacing their dislike for Young Do onto Woobie, I do want the writing to allow Young Do more dimension as well. So far we’ve only gotten tiny hints at more being under the surface, but it’s not balancing out nicely at the moment. Everything feels kind of uneven at the moment, and I’m just waiting with crossed fingers that it starts to come together properly soon. I mean, I won’t drop the show, for Woobie’s sake, but I’d sure like to ENJOY it while I’m at it…! 😛

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          • One thing I know LMH is strong with, is those subtle, longing, loving, deep gazes. They’re beautiful.

            Hmm, perhaps this is a new thing writers are trying, enough with the good-hearted 2nd male leads that we all mourn for because they don’t get the girl. If they make him really bad, by the end, nobody will care when he doesn’t. hmm…While I don’t think the 2nd leads should be ‘evil’, (Woobie looks downright psychopathic in some scenes!) I feel bad when he’s such a good guy and gets the shaft at the end. I also noticed that 2nd lead guys who are nice, are starting to get their own nice girls by the end. To the point where I don’t care if they don’t get the lead girl. Sometimes, as we discussed, she’s not worth all the tug-of-war. lol. I’m watching Marry him if you dare, and I’m equally engaged with all 4 leads and don’t feel the need to ship one or the other. I want the 2nd leads to wind up together.

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            • Giggle. Those LMH gazes ARE beautiful.. until they’re used to an excess, which is when it starts toe-dipping into eye-rolling territory. Heirs is dancing on that line quite dangerously, with LMH’s character not doing much else besides the manifold gazing, with a whole lotta wrist-grabbing & forced skinship suddenly thrown into the mix. If Show doesn’t resolve this properly, it – or HE – is going to come off bipolar, is what I’m thinking >.<

              Yes, more 2nd leads are breaking out of that so-nice-that-it-(has-to)-hurt sort of mold, and that's a good thing. In fact, those shows where 2nd leads end up together can be really cute too, as long as the writers find other effective ways to keep the dramatic tension from flagging. I feel like the 2nd lead is often shoved in there just to keep the dramatic tension going, and mostly, just comes off as lazy writing. After a couple of dramas, we see what you're doing, writers!

              I've been hearing good things about Marry Him If You Dare – better than I'd expected, really! So I'm planning to check it out when it's done. Basketball comes first though. THAT one looks awesome!! Plus, PD Kwak and his eye for beauty? *salivates*

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              • I can just see your review of Basketball now!! It’s terrific. The scenery LUSCIOUS and nostalgic.

                I find with Marry him if you dare, I like it, LOVE Lee Dong Gun in anything, but I can also take it or leave it and wait for it to be over to watch. There’s no urgency. The older Mi Rae and the younger are POLES apart, look nothing alike, act nothing alike, no matter how much life threw at her and she supposedly changed. But it is good. I find myself a little more engaged with the 2nd leads and look forward to their scenes. Yoon Eun-hye is cool, but she’s really just another badly permed spunky, sloppy heroine with no prospects that suddenly, magically, gets her dream job to become a writer at a big news station and two hotties are falling in love with her right off the bat. Riiiighhhhtt. No wonder the head writer there hated her guts at first, they all had to go through college, get degrees and work their buns off to get where they are. lol. But I like it enough to watch every week and the time travel angle is always cool to me.

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          • I hate when fans and viewers start believing the actor is really like their character. Actually, let me take that back, when the character is pure awesomeness and good and has lovely qualities, then yes, we would HOPE it’s a reflection of the actor. But when they are so bad, you don’t want to imagine they are bad too. But some fans take it to extreme with all the disparaging comments that reflect off the actor personally and not the role. That’s a shame. It seems like there are way too many story lines going on in heirs. I get a headache with dramas like that. It’s hard for me to enjoy them because there may be only 1 or 2 I like and the rest are junk or boring. :p

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            • Omigosh, I am SO looking forward to a Basketball marathon!! I saw the trailers, and from what I’ve seen, the cinematography looks gorgeous and textured, and the editing very, very sharp and slick. Can’t wait to sink my teeth in and get a proper taste! 😀

              Marry Him If You Dare sounds a touch formulaic but in a harmless sort of way.. I think. I don’t particularly love badly styled, sloppy heroines.. even if they have a good amount of spunk. It’s just.. we’re supposed to believe that both male leads are drawn to bad perms and sloppiness? It’s hard to buy. But then, I suppose it’s part of the fantasy: no matter how sloppy *I’VE* gotten from too many hours of drama, my prince will come too? Lol.

              Yes, comments on Heirs have been very mixed, with a large chunk of netizens going for intense snark of the excessive variety. I don’t think it’s great, but it’s definitely not so bad that it deserves all the derision either. I mean, I’ve seen dramas WAY worse get better receptions. BOF was a MUCH bigger mess, and yet people lapped it up with pleasure. Thankfully, even in the midst of the snark and some of the hate comments on Young Do/Woobie, there’re still a good number of viewers who acknowledge Woobie’s intense screen presence and accompanying hawtness. Crossin’ my fingers for Woobie that Friend 2 will be super awesome, to balance out the mixed response to Heirs.

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              • I suppose it’s all about the ‘heart’ of the girl, plus this is time-travel Korea style, a lot to do with fate and how they were meant to be and originally were together in the first time-line. But even then, she was still a sloppy permed and dressed overly spunky heroine. It’s just so unreal. LOL But I wish it were for me too. haha

                I’m amazed at how many consider BOF the BEST drama ever. Seriously? I couldn’t get past 6 episodes. The lead girl is not a good actress (I read she’s more behind the scenes now making movies, art etc. and they are very successful) and the story got disjointed along the way. Yes, the guys were hot and played their roles well, but I don’t know, I liked the cracky Japanese version best. But I never got through the first season much less the 2nd one. High School dramas don’t have a big appeal for me. Even when I was really in High School and everyone was raving over Beverly Hills 90210 and My So called life, I never liked those types of shows! LOL. I was into action and superheroes and mysteries, SCI-FI, etc.

                I’m sure Woobie will be great in his movie. It sounds like an intense gangster plot. And I’m glad there are some that can use logic and realize he’s simply playing a bad guy role.

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                • Oh my, BOF is such a hot mess, seriously. I watched it riding on the buzz of the live watch, and swooned with everyone else at Kim Hyung Joon even though part of my brain did register that it was a sub-par drama. When I tried to rewatch it last year, though, it was truly awful. I didn’t even find Kim Hyung Joon cute in the role anymore. And Gu Hye Sun is terrible in the show, just terrible. I’m sure she’s capable of better, but overacting seemed to be the direction she was given, coz she did that. A LOT. >.< I MUCH prefer the J-version of the story; I loved that so much that I watched the sequel AND the movie, even though neither lived up to the fun of the first.

                  I enjoy high school dramas done well, though maybe less so now than before kdramas came along. I still have a soft spot for them, and there are some like School 2013 which have a universal sort of appeal (yep, I snuck that in there! Hee :P)

                  I'm so cheering for Woobie to rock everyone's socks off in Friend 2! I know it's a lot of pressure, being in a sequel of such a respected & popular movie, and among veterans, at that.. but he's shown that he can really bring it, so I'm waiting with bated breath to see the kind of awesome that he's delivering in Friend 2. Woobie, fighting!! ^^

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                  • I really want to get back to the J-version of the story. One day when my drama plate is almost clear. LOL. Like that will ever happen. :O I won’t pan every High School thing ever. If I had to pick, my absolute favorite High School movie was a little sleeper film from 1980 called ‘My Bodyguard.’ I fell in love with Hunky actor Adam Baldwin and am still a fan of his ever since. But you know all those high school offerings of the nineties, etc,Clueless, etc. I just never liked. Maybe because I couldn’t wait to get out of High School in real life. LOL Or I just didn’t get the satire then. My Bodyguard was gritty and real, and I enjoyed the story and wow, that was almost like a ‘bromance’ before the word ever existed.

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                    • If there’s one thing I’ve found out, Lady G, it’s that the ol’ drama plate never, ever gets anywhere near cleared! So your thought that it’ll never happen? I second that! XD But yeah, when you’re in the mood for campy, manga-based high school nonsensical fun, Hana Yori Dango should fit the bill quite nicely ^^

                      And definitely, personal context plays a huge role in influencing how we respond to a movie/drama. So I can totally see why you wouldn’t have enjoyed high school shows if you were actually chomping at the bit to get OUT of high school! I should keep an eye out for that My Bodyguard movie.. retro movies can be such fun, and with the promise of before-its-time bromance, it sounds like it’s worth checking out, at the very least! 🙂

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                    • LOL. Yes! I’m always refilling my drama plate! Because sometimes I’ll drop one for a while, then go back. It never ends.

                      My last year in High School I blossomed in a sense, that I got involved with school plays and became an editor for an Art Magazine. That was fun. But I struggled with certain subjects so I always had to focus on repeating those math and science classes every semester before that. Ughh. So much work. And the usual feeling out of place in school. etc.

                      ‘My Bodyguard’ is definitely worth the watch! It’s just a little film about a huge loner kid with a mysterious, bad reputation and the kid who needs his help to deal with bullies.

                      But seriously, check out the dvd cover-and the motorcycle photo-how much more 1980, American, bromance can you get?? LOL. I love the Motorcycle friendship bonding scene.

                      I’ve always loved this movie, I even made a video a few years ago too.If you don’t mind hints of a spoiler, maybe check it out. 🙂 I had to use a cover version of that song, when the one I had with the original was removed. :/ But it gave me a chance to revamp the video anyway.

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                    • Gah, I feel ya, Lady G.. Math & science subjects were the bane of my school life as well :/ I sucked at those subjects no matter how hard I tried. I dropped all the math-y and science-y subjects as quickly as I could, Lol!

                      Oh, this movie looks like so much retro goodness, with an underdog story complete with bromantic goodness; I’m gonna hafta track this down and give it a watch sometime.. *googles madly*

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                    • I couldn’t drop math until my last year. The teacher passed me out of pity because I tried so hard, took tutoring. And she didn’t want me held back from graduation. haha.

                      😀 YAY! Nobody ever regrets watching ‘My Bodyguard.’ lol. They usually love it. You’ll notice one of the actresses is a very young frizzy hair Joan Cusack, and in a classroom scene and some quick outdoor lunch scene you’ll see a very pretty, young and tan/frizzy haired Jennifer Beals. LOL.

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                    • I FOUND IT, Lady G!! It’s safely torrented and waiting for consumption now! ^^v Thanks for the heads-up on the cameos – LOVE those, coz it’s always such a novelty to see big stars in their earlier, less famous works. Hm.. Might be the perfect little watch for my flight back to Singapore ^.~

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    • Basketball is one of the most awesome new dramas out right now. I love it. And the newcomers in the leads are doing a fantastic job.

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      • I so so so agree with you Lady G. The cinematography, the script, the acting, SUPERB! It’s my new favorite! I hope it stays that way.

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        • @Kaiaria: I love the bait and switch going on in Basketball right now with the 2 male leads. The lead is going to have to go through some attitude adjustments throughout. I still feel bad for him. But I love both guys in this! And it’s one of the rare times I really like the female lead. lol. And I was confused with that grungy ‘kid.’ She claims she’s 14. I know the actress is 23, and very petite. And every one is calling her a little kid. I was already shipping her with the 2nd lead their story is so great. I felt like she was lying about her age. :narrows eyes:

          Anyway, lots of nice surprises in this one, like IHYV.

          However those cameos by the same actor are getting so irritating. It pulls you out of the drama and continually reminds you that you’re watching something fake. I don’t like that. Especially because this is not really a comedy at all.

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  19. Okay how’s this for a kick in the pants?? These pictures are GORGEOUS! Looks like Lee Jong Suk ‘stole’ Woobie’s “Heirs” girl Park Shin Hye. haha. Now those two really need to do a photo-shoot together. If these are smoking, then those would be in flames.

    http://crazy9drama.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/fashion-lee-jong-suk-and-park-shin-hye-in-jambangee-for-falls-and-winter-collections/

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    • I can already see writers and producers gears spinning on what drama to give to LJS and PSH. That would be awesome. I just read a quick article where LJS said he’s not an Aegyo machine like fans think, he considers himself pretty manly. ooooh. haha. Personally I never looked at him and thought ‘Aegyo.’ haha. There’s something very mysterious, intense AND manly about him, and IHYV really brought that out in him. Maybe because those fans watched him when he hosted that show. The one he said on Hwaisin that he pretty much hated doing and had to force himself to be all cutesy.

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      • Those pix are gorgeous, I hafta agree!! No matter how many times I’ve seen them, I still have to stop and slack-jaw a little, at the pure gorgeousness on my screen!! And YES I CAN SO IMAGINE WOOBIE & PARK SHIN HYE IN A SHOOT @.@ That would be off-the-charts sizzle, methinks!!

        Weird thing about PSH, she seems have a split personality when it comes to her drama personas vs her magazine spread personas. In her magazine spreads, she can be all sultry and sexy, but in her dramas, she’s all wide-eyed, stiff-lipped innocence. It’s a little disconcerting when you put them side by side, tbh. I’d like to see her take on a drama role that’s closer to her sultry, sexy side. Maybe play the sexy bitch in a drama for once. And then maybe have Lee Jong Suk – or Woobie! – come along and mess up her perfect life, while helping her discover her heart. I’d watch THAT drama!! ;D

        Funny about LJS and the aegyo remark.. I found him incredibly swoony and manly in IHYV, yet, I’ve always seen him as a bit of an aegyo boy, coz he totally gets that way around Woobie, and I’ve mostly seen him in joint interviews with Woobie. They bring out the aegyo in each other, I think, what with all the “boing-boing”..!! XD

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        • Maybe she should break that ‘cutesy’ mold for once, I think Woobie would be the stronger choice to mess her up. hahaha. So funny. And you have seen the interviews, so I guess LJS does have an Aegyo side to him after all. LOL.

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          • @kfangirl: You’re observation about PSH is right. I would love to see her all hot, sultry and sexy for once.

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            • Yes please!! Hot, sultry, too-cool-for-school Park Shin Hye, trading sparks with bad-boy Woobie who’s got a hidden marshmallow heart. Imagine all the bickering awesome between them, coupled with the bemused sputtering on both sides when not in each others’ presence? I’d watch that drama!! XD

              I think both LJS and Woobie have an aegyo side.. and while it may not come out much in solo interviews, LJS does tend to get more aegyo when with Woobie. I just read a quick article too, where Jong Suk talks about seeing himself as manly (not sure if it’s the same one you read, Lady G!), and I quote Woobie, “Jong Suk has a lot of aegyo. Although I’m the type to have a lot of aegyo as well, I’m nothing compared to Jong Suk.” HAHAHA!! Maybe bestie sees Jong Suk more clearly than Jong Suk sees himself? XD The full article’s here: http://www.allkpop.com/article/2013/03/actor-lee-jong-suk-reveals-hes-mistaken-as-a-flirt#axzz2jjNejXWp

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  20. …oh…i had miss a lot from this page…as i’m relaxing this afternoon..i suddenly played Jung YUp’s Why Did You Just Came nOw…i love this OST so light and breezy…after the madness over the pages of your k-loves it so nice to be relieved and listen to this kind of song…Jung Yup’s voice is really nice!..and as i’m listening i vividly visualize all the cute moments of Soo Ha with his noona..i’m planning to do a re-watch of this drama definitely!…<3.

    will Heirs be a part of your review?…or what about Marry Him if You Dare and Medical Top Team?..

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    • Oh yes, I love that song from the OST!! That one is my hands-down favorite! 😀 So breezy, carefree and sexy. I can listen to that on repeat indefinitely, seriously. And I definitely want to rewatch IHYV at some point.. So much sweet, swoony goodness, thanks to Lee Jong Suk & his lovely, lovely Soo Ha 🙂

      Yes I plan to review Heirs.. I was planning to check out Mirae’s Choice, but I’ve been hearing pretty disappointing things about it lately, so I may not check it out in the end.. So many other shows I’m curious about! Medical Top Team isn’t on that list tho.. Medical shows just aren’t my thing.. I’ll only check that out if I hear some amazing things about it – I’m always up for checking out a show with an amazing reputation even if it’s not my style, coz that’s how I discovered the awesomeness of Vampire Prosecutor & Gaksital. Awesome shows! If you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend them both! ^^

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      • Jung Yup made some nice k-drama OSTs and honestly speaking, when i saw him in a video singing with GY i instantly became a fan like with Ra.D…i have to wiki him and rooted some of his songs.

        …oh!..i would honestly say that the terms used in Medical Top Drama is killing me…y’know?…when you don’t know most Korean words you have to double up the reading in the English subbed…some medical terminologies are being included apart from the subbed and if it too fast and you miss the subs you have to hit the previous button to see the wordings again…but i managed to watch 8 episodes…i’ll stop for a while ‘coz i’m hook to Heirs…LOL!

        ..i think LJS latest movie ” No Breathing” with Seo In Guk has been released in Korea last Oct. 30.. i remember mentioning to you that some scenes from that movie was filmed here… i hope i’ll be able to catch that up on net…

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        • Aw, yay for discovering a new artist that makes good music while watching kdramas! Some OSTs really have nice music, so it’s a great way to find artists that make the kind of music you like! It’s kind of how I find out most of the artists I like, heh.

          Oh, I can imagine the kind of subs you’re dealing with, on Medical Top Team! Medical dramas aren’t my thing, so when I think about it, New Heart is probably the only medical kdrama I’ve watched. And the medical terms do make it really hard. I mean, even when you’re able to read the subs, it doesn’t mean you’re able to UNDERSTAND them! XD I feel your pain, evez!

          I’m looking forward to checking out No Breathing! I know the torrent is available now, but subs aren’t available at this point, so I guess we’ll all have to wait awhile. Unless you don’t care about subs and watch it raw..

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    • Thanks for sharing, kaiaraia!! 😀

      I find there’s just something quite entrancing about Lee Jong Suk. Especially when they style him the way they do in the vid.. He’s got such a soft sort of sensuous quality about him.. yet it’s not a feminine sort of vibe. Some of the shoots do push the envelope on that though. In any case, I find him fascinating ^^

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  21. I started watching IHYV because of a recommendation a while back. Like a lot of the stuff I end up liking, I was skeptical at first about the plot-line and whether I would actually enjoy watching it since I had been running through a lot of dramas and feeling disappointed for a while already. Needlessly to say, I felt silly for not watching it sooner. This is the only drama where I was glued to the screen within five minutes of the first episode just because of the main character’s acting. LJS is really an actor I look forward to watching grow even more in the future. If he can capture my eyes in just five minutes, I can’t even imagine what he’ll be able to do in ten years, oof.

    I loved how even though this drama technically is supernatural because of Soo Ha’s abilities, the characters in this drama were some of the most realistic portrayals of humans in real life that I have ever seen on television. Kudos to the amazing writers of this wonderful series.

    Park Soo Ha is definitely my favorite character here, hands down. Even though he hid a lot of his feelings from Hye Sung, it felt like his emotions were so raw and pure. Even when he was tormented by conflicting emotions, you could tell that sometimes they consumed him due to the sheer intensity of what he was feeling. And yet, he still managed to retain some of his composure around others, which I really admire. Park Soo Ha will grow to be one amazing man in the dramaverse.

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    • Oh yes, Lee Jong Suk totally KILLED it as Park Soo Ha. He was, hands-down, my favorite character in this show! He has such a great way of drawing you into his character, often without having to say anything. I was immediately intrigued by him, immediately on his side. There’s just something about Lee Jong Suk that bleeds into his characters that way. I felt the same way about his performance in School 2013. Have you seen that one yet, Tsuki? If you haven’t, it’s totally worth the watch. For Lee Jong Suk’s fantastic performance, his epic bromance with my personal favorite Kim Woo Bin, and a very well-written story on top of that.

      Soo Ha is possibly one of the best male leads ever, in the dramaverse. Well, Kim Boong Do in Queen In-hyun’s Man might just top Park Soo Ha, but Park Soo Ha is definitely way up there for me. The intense, selfless, unconditional way that he loves is just heartbreakingly moving. And Lee Jong Suk portrays it all so well, bringing Soo Ha to life so wonderfully.

      There were definite flaws in IHYV (not least the oversimplified legal system), but indeed, I loved the way the writer fleshed out all the characters and their relationships. Very well done indeed. Definitely one that I’d rewatch. I’m so glad you checked this out despite having initial misgivings! Recommendations rawk, don’t they? 😀

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  22. I just marathoned this. Oh.My. The show has definite weaknesses, as you say, but the character trajectories were so well-rounded and so complete, it was completely worth it. This writer is now on my to-watch list. I found myself enjoying all the side characters too, which really helped when the “is he a beast or not” theme got explored for the umpteenth time. Though I would have cringed the final exploration should have included more abuse of the Hye Sung character, to up the stakes. As it was, it just ended up bring a rehash of the previous test. Bloodthirsty I am 😛

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    • Heh. You are quite the bloodthirsty viewer, aren’t you? 😉 Maybe the reason they didn’t go in that direction was to show that he really wasn’t a beast, but a pretty regular normal man underneath it all.. And yes, the characters were so nicely developed, weren’t they?? I really enjoyed that about this show. 😀 It’s no wonder that I enjoyed Dream High so much, since the same writer wrote that. I found all the characters so very likable in Dream High. She also wrote Stranger Than Paradise, which I’ve heard good things about. Definitely a writer to keep on the ol’ radar. If only she’d get better at the workplace-related research. The mickey mouse law they featured in IHYV really provided many opportunities for eye-rolling. XD

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  23. It’s possible, although he’d already gone pretty far in service of proving his point (kidnapping and psychological torture). Probably it was more because of the timeslot. 😛
    I was trying to decide if the mickey mouse law was a good thing or a bad thing in this show, and I decided that it didn’t matter, from a popularity perspective. Give people something to love and they will forgive a LOT!

    Thanks for the review!

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    • Ah yes. Timeslot. That’s an excellent point. Kdramas airing on network never get overly gritty, unlike their cable cousins. That’s probably a big reason why they toned it down for IHYV. 🙂

      I have to agree with you about giving people something to love – I can forgive a heckuva lot if Show gives me something to love. In this case, I forgave the mickey mouse law. But seriously. Some of the legal stuff was comical in how illogical it was. *shakes head* But, if that’s the price I have to pay for well-developed character and relationship arcs, I’d gladly pay it! XD

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  29. I totally loved this one! It was one of my favorites.

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  30. I really liked this show :)! I watched it in two days, I think :)))). Good thing it’s weekend.
    You’re right. The characters are really well developed, to the point of actually feeling sorry for Min Joon Gook at the end of the show after hating him for the entire show. I felt his pain and Lawyer Cha was right. If Joon Gook would have had someone to protect, things would have probably been different.
    I have to admit that Lawyer Cha’s decision to just step aside in favor of Soo Ha didn’t feel all that real to me. I understood his point of view, I know he could not have pushed Hye Sung after defending with blind trust her mom’s killer. But still, from there to actually pushing Soo Ha towards her… I don’t know many people THAT selfless. But I really liked him and I have to admit that sometimes I thought he would be a way better match for Hye Sung.
    Of course I loved the main characters, but I cried my eyes out when Mom died. I was keeping my fingers crossed when Min Joon Gook was pondering whether to keep going the dark path or accept the light Mom was shining on him. When he chose to go through with his plan… that was the moment I actually started to hate him. I thought “What kind of a soul does this guy have to kill an angel?”. After Mom died I was happy that Hye Sung still thought of her and I could see her again, even if only for only a couple of seconds. I myself have a very good relationship with my mom, so I felt really sad for Hye Sung that lost the moral center of her world and for the Mom that never got to see her daughter being happy alongside the man that loves her the most.
    I’ll keep this comment short, but before that I have one HUGE question about one of the most important characters, if you ask me. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PUPPY?! The puppy the twins had. That puppy was one of the most important characters!!
    Anyway, at the end of the show, I wanted more OTP moments, but I felt almost “satisfied” with him in uniform hugging her :). That was really cute and it gave me the impression of “Happily ever after”.
    This time I read your review after watching the show, but the review helped me to understand a couple of things that felt misty to me :P.

    So again, keep up the good work, as always :D!

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    • I agree with you, I watched it a long time ago and have re-watched it twice; that is how much I like it. I love those happy closed type endings. I have not seen her in any other drama, yet I have seen him in many; wonder what projects she has going drama wise?

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      • Just butting in to say that Lee Bo Young’s taking a break from everything while she takes care of her new baby. I’ve heard good things about My Daughter Seo Young though. You could try that if you’re looking to see more from her 🙂

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    • Heyya Sabina!! It’s so great to know that you’re still inhaling those dramas AND loving ’em! 😀 TWO DAYS! That’s really fast work! 😉

      I thought the writers did a solid job of humanizing the monster, with Min Joon Gook. I started out truly hating him, and Show managed to make him a sympathetic character in spite of how horrible they’d made him out to be, in the earlier episodes. Despite not actually wanting to sympathize with him, I really couldn’t help it, by the end. That’s skillz, I say. That, even when he killed the best Mom in all of dramaland. I was so impressed with how fiery and strong Mom remained through to the very end though. She rocks, no question.

      No answers about the puppy, but I just recently stumbled on the fact that the twins were, in fact, twins! I mean, so often, shows create the appearance of twins with CGI, but in this case, they had bona fide twins play the roles. I was quite amused by this fact. 🙂

      Glad that the review helped to clear some stuff up for ya.. that does make me feel very useful indeed! ^^

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  31. I really enjoyed it too and I’ll have to rewatch it sometime soon because I jumped head on into another drama :))). Right now I’m watching Nine, the one with the time travel and it’s got me hypnotized :)))).
    I don’t usually follow actors, I choose dramas based on instinct. If I feel like it’s worth it, then I watch it. But I have to admit this is the third drama I’ve watched that has Lee Jong Suk in it and it wasn’t even my intention to do so. It just kind of happened :))). But I’ve gotta admit, he is a good actor. He really does go all out in his parts. I really want to see how he’ll evolve and I was actually thinking of watching his dramas in chronological order to see his development and improvements in his acting.
    As for Lee Da Hee… Well, I’m kinda new in Dramaland, so I can’t really say I’ve seen her anywhere else. But she did a great job in this drama. I felt her pain with her, felt embarrassed for her and felt happy with her. I liked Soo Ha’s character more, but she did a great job as Hye Sung.
    Thanks for replying 🙂 ! Hope to see you soon 😀 !

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    • Sorry, made a mistake. I meant Lee Bo-young. They’re both Lee’s, so please forgive my honest mistake :P.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nine is excellent! Yay that you’re enjoying it! 🙂 Also, have you watched School 2013??? It’s one of my faves, and Lee Jong Suk’s in it, and so is my lovely Kim Woo Bin, and they are the epitome of bromantic goodness in it. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it!

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      • I’ll definitely watch School 2013 too 😛 . I’m not a huge fan of Kim Woo Bin yet because the only drama I’ve seen him in so far is The Heirs. It started out strong, in America and stuff, but it didn’t end all that strong… It got lost on the way.
        Back to Kim Woo Bin, I’m not a huge fan of villains, so the first part I’ve seen him in didn’t really help me crush on him, so to speak 😛 . I don’t usually watch dramas because of the actors, but I’ll start doing so, first with Lee Jong Suk and then Kim Woo Bin. They seem to be at least good actors.
        Right now, Nine has me so hyped! I swear, it tangles my brain! I usually watch 3-4 episodes of any drama at once (usually more, but let’s leave it at that :))) ), but this one makes my brain work :)))) . I started watching it first and then, some 7 episodes in, I decided to read your review and the joint review you did with Betsy, if I’m not mistaken. So many themes and threads I did not pick on at first! Good thing I read it :))). i don’t mind spoilery, but I do mind not understanding a show 😛

        On a side note, Life really is nasty when you don’t want to do anything else other than watching drama :))))

        Anyway, thanks for the reply :* ! And, as always, keep up the excellent work 😀 !

        Like

        • Heirs is a pretty terrible show, I hafta say. I watched the entire thing for the love of Woob, but honestly, if I didn’t already love him, I would’ve dropped the show like a hot potato. 😛 School 2013, on the other hand, is objectively well-written and well-acted. I watched that before loving either Woob or Lee Jong Suk, and ended up LOVING them in it. So, do bump it up your list, if you can. It’s not romantic, but the emotional potency of their onscreen bromantic friendship (powered by their offscreen real-life bromantic friendship) is the stuff of legends. ❤ ❤ ❤ You will thank me later, I'm quite sure of it! 😉

          Nine is a twisty twisty creature, for sure. It's definitely the kind of show where you actually need to stop and just THINK. Which is great, if you like that kind of show. Not everyone loved Nine, but I definitely found it very interesting and thought-provoking. I'd love to know how you like it, when you're done! 🙂

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          • I sure will 😀 ! Just one thing I’d like to ask 😛 . I read a review of your at some point, but I just can’t remember which one and you mentioned the first drama that got you started. I think it was something about a royal family in modern days, or something like that and you said you watched it some six times and even after you gained some experience in the filed, you still loved it. Could you please tell me it’s name? I’ve been trying ever since to remember the name but my memory just isn’t working with me :))). I really want to check that one out too 😀 . I do remember a line in it, though. You said that now, after watching so many dramas you understand more korean than before and some of the meanings get lost in the subtitles. One of the lines was something like: “She’s my queen, of course I’d look for her.” and you said that the correct translation is “She is my wife before being my queen, that’s why I’m looking for her.”
            I think this helps :P. I remember all that, but not the name :)))) I hope I remembered the right thing though :)))

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            • And a couple of grammar mistakes, but whatever :))))

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            • You remembered a LOT of stuff about the show AND the review, Sabina! 😀 The drama is titled Goong, and is also known as Princess Hours. You can find the review again here. It’s still a worthy watch, despite its draggy stretches towards the end. I did genuinely enjoy it even on this most recent watch. 🙂

              And don’t worry about grammar mistakes, we all make ’em. Blame the fangirl squee. Can’t think straight when we’re giddy with feels, lol 😉

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              • Pff, indeed :)))) I was trying to type fast and write everything I remember, so I just forgot to write right, so to speak :)))). An edit button for the comment section would be so helpful, lol :))))
                Thank you sooo much! I’m so not getting out of Dramaland anytime soon :))))
                And something like Nine actually quite suits my taste, so again, thank you for the review cause I read your short verdict before deciding to start watching it and then, as I’ve mentioned before, I read the whole thing some 7-8 episodes in :P.
                Thanks for the quick reply! I’m sure it must be difficult to answer all comments 🙂

                Like

                • You’re very welcome, Sabina! 🙂 Nine is a pretty unique creature in dramaland, in that I can’t easily think of another drama that’s quite in the same vein. If it’s the twisty nature of the story that you like, though, you might like Heartless City. It’s dark, rather violent and sort of noir. Most viewers either loved it or didn’t manage to get into it. I was the odd duck that spent 14 of the show’s 20 episodes feeling rather ambivalent about the show, and then found myself actually coming to actually care properly for the characters in the final stretch. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it, but it’s definitely worth considering if you like dark & twisty with a side of bloodlust 😉

                  I enjoy answering comments on the blog coz it helps me get to know everyone, and I try to get to all comments in a reasonably timely fashion. Depending on Real Life demands, though, I can be really late to answering comments sometimes – just giving you a heads-up, for just in case! 😉

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  32. Pingback: Flash Review: My Daughter Seo Young | The Fangirl Verdict

  33. Pingback: Year In Review: 2013 | The Fangirl Verdict

  34. Wow, I stumbled upon your blog and enjoyed your reviews very much. Especially this review of IHYV that I love so much. Your review is very well-written & detailed, pretty much matches what I feel about the story, characterization, casts, deliveries, and even the soundtracks

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    • Thank you Inneke!! I’m so pleased that you enjoy the blog, and this review. I really loved IHYV, and in particular, that theme of unconditional acceptance and love moved me deeply. And the soundtrack is 😍😍😍. I still listen to it these days!

      Like

  35. Inneke; I agree with you. One of the main reasons I always check out the reviews here is that “Kfan” is so methodical in her reviews, that I enjoy reading first and watching next.

    Like

    • Aw Andy. You truly are so supportive and sweet. Thank you for the kind words! I’m extra stoked that you actually enjoy reading first then watching – that’s high praise indeed, which I am duly saving in the ol’ mental treasure box. ❤

      Like

  36. This is the best review I’ve ever read!!!!! Everything I love about this drama is written in your review so I just can’t stop smiling haha.

    Like

  37. I saw this drama a long time ago; however, it is one of my favorite. I’m glad people are still watching it and loving it.

    Like

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