The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Moonlight Drawn By Clouds

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

Well-written, well-cast, and well-handled, Moonlight Drawn By Clouds is a fun fusion youthy sageuk with a boatload of heart. Show not only knows how to bring out the best in its story and its characters, it knows how to engage the heart and bring on the feels too.

The main cast is excellent and our lead couple is exceedingly cute together, but this show’s standout is definitely Park Bo Gum, who is simply wonderful as Crown Prince Yeong. There’s a spot of drag in the latter episodes, but it doesn’t last for too long. Importantly, Show never loses it’s emotional core, and is quite cracky-delicious the rest of the time, to boot.

This show makes me smile, period.

These two make me smile too. ❤

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds OST – 영의 왈츠

THE LONG VERDICT:

I have to just come right out and blurt it out: I really, really like this one, you guys.

Seriously, in a landscape where I’ve been feeling more underwhelmed than excited by the drama offerings available, this one stands out as a drama that reminds me all over again why I fell in love with dramas to begin with. This show wasted no time in grabbing my heart, and deftly held onto it for (very close to) the entirety of its 18-episode run.

After almost 10 years of intense drama-watching, and many moments of bemusement where I questioned whether I was finally over dramas in general (gasp! The horror!), this is a Big Statement to make about a show indeed, and I’m standing by it, unabashedly. ❤

STUFF I LOVE

I’m also gonna come right out and say that this section is gonna be the much longer list. There are very few things that didn’t work for me in this show, and that makes me very happy indeed.

It’s just so well-made

One the first things that comes to mind when I think of Moonlight – aside from the fact that Park Bo Gum is adorable and wonderful – is that this show is really, really well-made. From writing to execution to delivery, everything comes together seamlessly and organically to make Show come alive in all its light, easy-breezy fusion glory.

The writing feels assured, and the characters, fleshed out. Plus, it sure doesn’t hurt that there’s so much Pretty in this. Kim Yoo Jung is cute as a button, and Park Bo Gum, Jin Young and Kwak Dong Yun are all so very purty.

1. It’s well-written

I just love how deft and confident the writing is, and how it sets up each episode’s conflict and resolution. I’m consistently carried along in the tension, and most of the time, I can’t actually foresee how the conflict will be resolved. Show feels smart, and that in itself is a very satisfying thing indeed.

[SPOILER] In episode 4, I had no idea what Yeong (Park Bo Gum) meant to do, except that it had to do with the king’s (Kim Seung Soo) birthday celebration, and it was going to be something about using music to kill Premier Kim (Chun Ho Jin) with honey. That statement felt completely obtuse to me at first, but on hindsight, everything made perfect sense, and I found Yeong’s plan very smart and very effective. That’s good writing, and I love it. [END SPOILER]

2. It balances the light and heartfelt so well

One of my favorite things about the show, is how it manages to balance its breezy, light tone with an emotional throughline that feels real and heartfelt. Things are never purely silly and fluffy; even in the midst of its fun vibe, we get glimpses into more poignant layers with our characters. I found my heart getting properly engaged with these characters very early in the show, and that is a very good thing indeed.

[SPOILER] In episode 3, Show does a really nice job of giving us enough of a glimpse into Yeong’s relationship with his father, and his own angst around it, without allowing it to drag for too long or weigh the show down. Yet, we’re able to appreciate a bit of the misunderstanding that’s been feeding Yeong’s anger, and the realization that turns him around to want to help share his father’s burden. I found this a very nice beat indeed. [END SPOILER]

3. Polished execution

Show is beautiful and polished, no doubt about it. From the quality costuming (such pretty hanboks!), to the beautiful sageuk speak, everything comes together to create a drama world that feels real and immersive.

4. It’s in the details

Show pays attention to its details, and this totally makes it feel like it’s a cut above the average drama. Best of all, it feels comprehensively thought-out, and well ahead of time too.

[SPOILER] One of my favorite examples of this is in episode 5, when Yeong sees only the top half of Ra On’s face (Kim Yoo Jung), thus igniting his thoughts that Ra On is the dancing girl. I mean, this is the kind of thing I’d totally expect, coz Show needs Yeong to see Ra On differently, after all.

What I really like though, is that the moments feel organic to our story, and not like they were randomly shoved in there just to get us to that point. Like the way Yeong sees Ra On’s eyes only, because the rest of her face is partially obscured by the lantern. That’s totally logical, because of their significant height difference. How clever of Show, to utilize that in order to create one of those moments. The other moment, when she sneezes, feels organic to the story too, since Ra On had been sick earlier in the episode, and the cold had gotten worse after her tumble into the water. Really nicely done. [END SPOILER]

5. Confident pacing

One of the things that impressed me from the get-go, is how quickly Show moves. From set-up, to OTP meet-cute, to blossoming feelings and other milestones, everything moves at a brisk and confident pace, and Show doesn’t tend to linger too long on any single plot point. This makes for a pretty exhilarating ride, and I hafta say, I found myself chomping at the bit for more, very early on with this show.

It’s true that there’s some drag in the later episodes, but we can talk about that later. 😉

It’s well-cast

It really feels like where casting is concerned, the stars lined up juust right for this show. I enjoyed so many main and supporting characters in this show, and found them so well-cast that it felt almost magical, to me.

Here’s the perhaps-not-so-quick spotlight on my favorites.

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds OST – 녹는다

Park Bo Gum as Yeong

…And of course, I just have to begin with Park Bo Gum, who basically – and very capably – steals the show as Crown Prince Yeong. I mean, the other actors are good too, but Park Bo Gum, for me, is definitely the emotional center of the show.

He’s just so good, seriously. He’s perfectly balanced; he hams it up in the comic moments a bit, so that we can totally tell he’s having a good time with it, and yet, he also provides serious depth in the more emotional moments.

In the scenes where Yeong is sad, I fully, completely buy that this is Yeong being sad. In the scenes where Yeong is angry, I fully and completely believe him too. I even find myself wondering how Park Bo Gum pulls up the entire range of emotion that the role demands, and where it all comes from.

Park Bo Gum’s immersion in the character, in the moment, is gloriously, wonderfully 3D. [SPOILER] Like that scene where Yeong asks for permission to hug Consort Park (Jun Mi Sun), to return the favor from when his mother had died; I could literally feel Yeong’s well of emotion overflow into the tears that I could tell he was shedding, just from the way his lips tightened. Love it. Love him. So much. [END SPOILER]

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Park Bo Gum is his ability to morph his expression. There’s a magical fluidity in how his expression changes, sometimes from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, and often, in a matter of literal seconds. It’s quite extraordinary, and rather surreal to behold.

[SPOILER] There are honestly a gazillion examples in this show, of Park Bo Gum’s morphing micro-expressions, but my favorite has to be the opening scene in episode 8, where Yeong stumbles on the fact that Ra On is a girl.

All the microexpressions that morph one into another, are crystal clear, to the extent that I almost feel like they are literally narrating his inner thoughts. When he spies Ra On, his expression goes from shock, to waitaminute puzzlement, to stunned realization as he pieces everything together, to anger at the deception, to relief-amusement at the new possibilities before him, to satisfaction as he walks away, a new decision made.

THUD. SO, SO GOOD. [END SPOILER]

All series long, Park Bo Gum consistently knocks it out of the ballpark with his range and depth of emotion. I never tire of watching him emote, it just always feels like he’s feeling things to the maximum. Such a pleasure to watch, whether he’s being cheeky, sad or livid-angry.

Speaking of which, I love-love-love his cheeky face. Every time Yeong flashed his cheeky face, I flailed in response to the adorable.

Squee!

On the other end of the spectrum, I can’t deny that broody / angry / determined Yeong was also very compelling:

He didn’t even have to say anything; all he had to do was look like this, and I felt like I could see all of his angst and anger laid out eloquently before me.

Of course, there’s also the fact that Park Bo Gum is undeniably beautiful to look at, which just ups the awesome. Add on the dreamy bedroom eyes that he sometimes wore when looking at Ra On, and I was – understandably, completely and utterly – mesmerized.

Sigh. Swoon. Puddle.

As if all of that isn’t enough, I was amazed to see that Park Bo Gum is not only very graceful with the swimming (and is able to emote while swimming!), he also seems adept at the sword and the bow & arrow too.

I just couldn’t help but swoon, you guys. And melt. And flail. Ahem.

[SPOILER ALERT]

My favorite Yeong moments

Given that Yeong was my favorite character in the show (heh, could you tell?), there are way more Yeong moments that I love than is possible to list in this review. So here’re just a couple of my top picks.

1. Confession & kiss scene, E7.

The way Yeong approaches the confession and kiss scene in episode 7 had me flailing in a big melty puddle.

The serious look in his eyes, with tears burgeoning; the earnest determination; the poignant vulnerability; the amused affection when he sees that Ra On has squeezed her eyes shut; the manly decisiveness as he leans in to kiss her.

Augh. I swoon. This boy makes my heart wobble, seriously.

2. “A very beautiful woman,” E8.

Yeong’s intent, the-rest-of-the-world-doesn’t-exist smitten gaze in episode 8, trained unabashedly at Ra On, is quite possibly the best thing ever. The way he revels in the thrill of her closeness as she dresses him, is also uber adorable.

My favorite bit in the episode, though, is the deliberate, quietly joyful way Yeong pronounces, “Right now. A very beautiful woman,” while thinking of Ra On. Swoon, even though she completely misunderstands him.

My other favorite bit is later in the episode, when Yeong clarifies to Ra On, “I told you there was one – the woman I love right now. Right in front of me.” Eeee!!!  I LOVE HIM. He clears the misunderstanding right up, while informing Ra On, matter-of-factly and deliberately, with tears sheening in his eyes, that she is the beautiful woman that he loves. 

Love.

3. Reuniting Ra On & Mom, E11.

One of the most appealing things about Yeong is his sense of what is right, and how he aligns his love for Ra On to this.

In episode 11, Da San (Ahn Nae Sang) informs Yeong that Ra On reuniting with her mother (Kim Yeo Jin) would be dangerous to him. Yet, the next thing we see, is Yeong orchestrating that very reunion, and welling up with grateful, poignant joy as he witnesses mother and daughter embracing.

He’s so awesome.

On a related tangent, I just want to say that I love Yeong’s resilience and stubborn strength. I love that he consistently remains unintimidated and resolute in his determination to do what he feels is right, never mind what anyone else says. Gotta love such a ballsy Crown Prince. ❤

4. “I will never forgive you,” E14.

In episode 14, when Yeong comes face to face with Ra On in the appointed secret meeting place, he states intently, “I will never forgive you,” before walking purposefully towards Ra On and taking her in his arms. Eee!!!

I never thought those words could sound romantic, but they are romantic, in this moment, from Yeong’s lips. That intensity of his emotion, the deliberate way he states it, and the resolute way he strides over to Ra On, to hold her like he will never let her go, ever again.

Just, so very swoony. Guh.

[END SPOILERS]

Kim Yoo Jung as Ra On

In comparison to my effusive Park Bo Gum love, it might look like I don’t appreciate Kim Yoo Jung, but that’s not true, I swears. So let me just state for the record: Kim Yoo Jung is very, very good in this.

I like Kim Yoo Jung as Ra On. She comes across very naturally, and there’s a simplicity, warmth and cheer to how she plays Ra On. She’s earnest, but not overly so. Kim Yoo Jung also handles the comic beats nicely; I find Ra On’s journey quite amusing, and she’s funny without looking like she’s trying hard.

Importantly, Kim Yoo Jung injects Ra On with some lovely layers, which add depth to the character. As early as episode 1, which introduces us to Ra On as a character who’s cute, smart and resourceful, there’s an underlying pathos to how Kim Yoo Jung portrays her.

Best of all, Kim Yoo Jung consistently looks like she’s just being herself, which helps make Ra On feel very natural and believable as a character, in spite of her highly unusual circumstances.

[SPOILER] One of my favorite Ra On moments is in episode 12, when Ra On comes back to Yeong in the palace. Even after being confronted by the truth (and from Mom’s lips no less), despite how conflicted it must have made her feel, she chooses to go back to Yeong. Such a demonstration of strength, loyalty and love. I found that very lovely indeed. [END SPOILER]

Special Shout-outs:

Jin Young as Yoon Sung

Even though I consider Yoon Sung a fairly typical second male lead, in that he’s nice and kind, and basically doomed to pine for the girl, I thought Jin Young did very well in the role. I found Yoon Sung likable and felt sorry for him, for being stuck in a difficult situation.

It also doesn’t hurt that Jin Young looks very pretty in a hanbok, heh.

Kwak Dong Yun as Byung Yeon

Let me just say that Kwak Dong Yun really captured my attention as Byung Yeon. Not only does he channel dark and mysterious very well, he cuts a fine figure in his bodyguard garb, and looks amazing with the mane of glory. Seriously, guys. This is #hairgoals.

Byung Yeon often didn’t have much to say, being more the strong, silent type, but Kwak Dong Yun’s dark brand of broody smolder spoke volumes, and I often found myself quite mesmerized by Yeong’s bodyguard bestie.

On a slight tangent, how is Kwak Dong Yun only 19?!? He looks way manlier than the average 19-year-old. Just sayin’. *cough*

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds OST – 내 사람 (Park Bo Gum)

 

MY FAVORITE RELATIONSHIPS

It speaks to Show’s likability that I find most of the main relationships – and several of the secondary ones, too – so endearing.

1. Yeong’s bromance with Byung Yeon

I’ve got a major, major soft spot for Yeong’s bromantic connection with his bodyguard bestie Byung Yeon. At first, their friendship is mostly showcased through lighter comic beats, but as the show progresses, we get some serious bromance between them, and that’s something that I dig very much.

[MINOR SPOILER] A smallish beat that I really enjoyed was in episode 8, during the street fight where Yeong and Byung Yeon take on the attackers together. They don’t even need words, and yet fight side by side in perfect coordination, as if they have done this a million times before. Their synergy is so, so good, and says so much about how well these boys know each other, and how much they trust each other. I love it. [END SPOILER]

[MAJOR SPOILERS] 

With Byung Yeon being part of the rebels, it’s inevitable that their bromance is put to the test. These were the most heart-rending moments between these star-crossed brothers.

In episode 12, the moment that really resonated with pathos, was when Yeong’s about to be cut down by an attacker, and he asks, “Byung Yeon-ah, is that you?” Oof. So full of poignancy, vulnerability and fear. Heart. Break.

And then there’s the moment in episode 17, when Byung Yeon withdraws his sword from Yeong’s neck. Everything about this scene was heart-wrenching. Byung Yeon’s choice, knowing that he would die; Yeong’s reaction, so full of heartfelt emotion; Byung Yeon’s sadness, as he turned to meet his fate; Yeong’s last words to Byung Yeon, that he still trusts him; Yeong’s full-on grief as Byung Yeon closed his eyes.

Augh. I could hardly breathe.

Of course, I was so very relieved when Byung Yeon survived. Phew. And I loved that Yeong and Byung Yeon got to reunite, and that Yeong thanked him instead of berating him. I admit I totally loved Show extra, for bringing Byung Yeon back.

[END SPOILERS]

2. The boys’ reluctant three-way bromance

The three-way friendship between Yeong, Yoon Sung and Byung Yeon is a more muted arc than some of the other relationships, but there was something bittersweet and poignant about this threesome that lingered with me.

The fact that their present-day circumstances prevent them from being the carefree friends that they used to be when they were kids is a poignant undercurrent that runs through all of their interactions. What I love, though, is that when push comes to shove, these boys choose friendship and loyalty over political boundaries. Every time these boys demonstrated a preference for brotherhood over diplomatic alliance, my heart cheered.

[SPOILERS] Like the time in episode 6, when the 3 friends work together to rescue Ra On. I love that their care for Ra On easily supersedes court-dictated boundaries and duties, and brings them together to be on the same side all over again.

Most memorable for me, is the moment in episode 12, when Yoon Sung blocks the sword from making impact on Yeong, with his bare hands. That’s so bold, brave and selfless, and so demonstrative of his care for Yeong, even though they stand on different political sides. I loved the sense of friendship conquering all, and was completely moved by how deeply Yoon Sung cares for Yeong, despite years of accumulated family and political baggage. [END SPOILERS]

3. The other 3-way friendship

The other 3-way friendship that I found very endearing, is that shared by Yeong, Byung Yeon and Ra On.

I love how Ra On’s guileless warmth draws the boys out of their otherwise gruff shells, and basically changes the way they interact with each other. Every time the 3 of them spent time together, more often than not, I found myself smiling in response. Which I consider to be a very good thing indeed. ❤

4. The OTP

You know how in some dramas, you root for the OTP not because you really believe in the OTP, but simply for the sake of the one half of the OTP that you like, coz s/he so dearly loves the other person? This is not one of those times, and that makes me very happy indeed.

Even though my attention was evidently biased in Park Bo Gum’s favor, I was delighted to find that this OTP felt balanced and true. I believed equally in Yeong’s love for Ra On, and Ra On’s love for him, and I found myself genuinely wanting a happy-ever-after for this pair of adorable lovebirds. Of course, it totally helped that Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung share a sweet, sparky chemistry that I found very appealing.

I love that Show stays true to the OTP’s youthfulness in tone and execution, and yet also manages to imbue their interactions and relationship with a depth of emotion that feels compelling and immersive. That’s a fine line to dance on, and Show does an excellent job of it.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Here are just a few of my favorite OTP highlights.

1. “Lee Young. That is my name.”

I totally enjoyed all the hijinks that ensued from Yeong working to keep his Crown Prince identity from Ra On, but beneath it all, I liked even more, that his reason for not wanting to reveal his identity to Ra On, isn’t actually about wanting to prank her, but all about how much he values the freedom she has in interacting with him, without the weight of his identity bearing down on her.

In the end, I love the fact that Yeong chooses to reveal his identity to Ra On. He doesn’t let her discover it by chance, but chooses to reveal himself. I love the thoughtfully deliberate way he approaches it, and how that deliberateness shows in his entire body; from the look in his eyes, to the way he paces his steps to match hers, to the way his jaw tightens with determination, to the way he strides with certainty to face her in his full princely garb, to the way he speaks the words with a gentle, warm, slight smile, “Lee Yeong. That is my name.”

Love.

2. Dressing time

I really love the fact that Ra On becomes Yeong’s personal eunuch and has to dress him. Accidental skinship, amped up hyperawareness, and adorable cheeky are all par for the course, and I lapped it up, every single time. It’s completely within the range of what one can expect from a sageuk gender-bender, but somehow the way Show presents it, I didn’t find it clichéd. Instead, I found myself happily giddy from all the cute – a state that I enjoyed very much indeed.

In particular, I love the scene in episode 4, where he banters with her while nonchalantly letting her dress him, and then cheekily stands on tiptoe, so that it’s even harder for tiny her to put his hat. The accidental skinship that occurs when she falls against his chest, and the moment of hyperawareness that that results in, for her, is all delicious, cracky icing on our OTP cake.

3. Underwater rescue

As Yeong and Ra On become closer, I loved watching the increasing care that Yeong shows towards Ra On. In episode 5, when Ra On falls into the water, I love how Yeong jumps into the water to save her without hesitation, and even moves to give her his own dry cloak. Even better, Yeong doesn’t stop there, and even undercover-nurses her when she’s sick.

It’s so swoony, that he’d go and sit with her all night, at this moment, when he doesn’t even know that she’s a girl. It’s pure friendship that’s driving his caring behavior and I dig it very much indeed. ❤

4. “So stay by my side.”

I love how bold and unhesitating Yeong is – even to the point of risking his reputation and very crown – when it comes to protecting his favorite eunuch and best friend.

In episode 6, it doesn’t even faze him when it comes to kicking down a door and putting a sword to the Chinese ambassador’s neck. The political implications and how this could come back to bite him doesn’t affect him in the least, and the fire in his eyes is just ALL about protecting Ra On. Such swoony stuff!!!

There are quite a few moments in the same episode, where the moment is so loaded with tension that I practically hear the crackling in the air. Like the scene where Yeong visits Ra On in prison, and during a pause in their conversation, he just looks at her. That, combined with the honest, thoughtful way he says that he does get angry when he looks at her, but that it’s because of him. Guh. I love the burgeoning emotions, slowly rising to the surface and getting articulated.

Even more than that, I love the scene where Yeong frees Ra On. There is such a tangible sense of not just gentleness, but tenderness, in the way he undoes the ropes. So much emotion, in the way Ra On admits she was scared she’d really be taken to Qing, and how Yeong admits that he was afraid that they would be too late. That emotion feels so real on both sides; Ra On’s fear of being taken away; Yeong’s fear, that the ambassador would have had Ra On killed before they got to her.

And then there’s how he puts her foot into the stirrup, gently, before easily mounting behind her. And the words he says! After mock-reprimanding her for breaking her promise to him and promising to punish her properly, Ra On asks if it’s ok for her to continue in his service since looking at her makes him angry.

Quietly, firmly, with just the tiniest hint of uncertainty in his otherwise strong gaze, Yeong tells her, “Looking at you, I get angry. But it won’t do. Not seeing you – that makes me angrier, like I’ll go crazy. So stay by my side.”

Eeeeee!!!! So close to an actual confession, and he doesn’t even know yet, that she’s a girl. I love it.

5. “I will never let go of this hand.”

In episode 12, after Yeong is seriously injured by assassins, I love the scene where Ra On goes to see Yeong. After she tearfully requests outside his door, that he not to let go of her hand, and promises not to let go either, I love how Yeong appears behind her, pale from his injuries, but still strong and still comforting.

I love that soothing aura he presents, where he isn’t scared nor cowed by the attack, but is there to reassure Ra On. Love.

To top it all off, the scene itself is so beautiful and quietly tender. Gorgeous.

[END SPOILERS]

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds OST – 구르미 그린 달빛

 

Special Shout-outs:

Princess Myung Eun’s loveline with Master Jung

I also really enjoyed the loveline between Princess Myung Eun (Jung Hye Sung) and Master Jung (Ahn Se Ha). Even though it’s mostly played for comedy, there’s an earnest quality about their romance that I really liked.

[SPOILER] One of my favorite things about this romance, is how Princess Myung Eun had completely misunderstood, and thought that Master Jung had written her love letters thinking she was her slimmer companion. It’s just so sweet that the truth is that Master Jung had loved Princess Myung Eun even when she had been plump and round. His heartbreak and dismay at the new, slimmer and snarkier Princess, is just too, too cute. [END SPOILER]

The Eunuch Friendships

Another on-going feature of our story that I liked a lot, is the friendships that Ra On forms with the other eunuchs. It’s mostly shown in little almost throwaway moments, but the genuine care and loyalty that they have for one another is unmistakeable. I especially love this little moment when Ra On’s buddies Do Gi (Tae Hang Ho) and Sung Yul (Oh Ui Shik) literally carry her on their shoulders, so that she won’t have to put weight on her sprained ankle.

Adorbs.

STUFF THAT WAS LESS THAN GREAT

Sad, but true; there is no such thing as a perfect drama, and Moonlight has its flaws too. Here’s a quick list, for the sake of a bit of balance, as well as to keep things in perspective.

1. A spot of drag

Like I mentioned earlier in this review, Moonlight does have a relatively short stretch of drag in its later episodes. As the backstory and political machinations ramp up in episodes 15 & 16, I found that the watch felt slow and relatively less engaging than previous episodes.

On the upside, the political content is at least relevant to our main story, and the episodes are solid, even if they lean on the uninspiring side of things. It’s unfortunate that Show never recaptures its initial cracky flavor, but another upside is that things do pick up in the final 2 episodes.

2. A couple of minor-ish logic slips/stretches

On the whole, Moonlight is well thought-out and well-written, but there were just a couple of occasions where suspension of disbelief was required in extra large servings.

[SPOILER] The biggest one, is the question of how Ra On’s dad (Jung Hae Kyun), being a commoner, had managed to find an ally in Head Eunuch Han (Jang Kwang). It’s not like Eunuch Han could have decided to plant himself in the palace, after joining the rebels. Looking at his age and station, it’s just not possible.

A smaller offender is the type of logic stretch that minor-level interferes with story logic and therefore dramatic tension. Like the time in episode 16, when Premier Kim insists that Yeong cut off Ra On’s head, to prove that he hasn’t been plotting treason with her. That honestly made no sense to me. Yeong being willing to cut off Ra On’s head wouldn’t prove anything, really, and it bugged me that all the characters seemed to buy into the warped logic. [END SPOILER]

3. The OTT Queen

This isn’t exactly a major thing, but I did find Han Soo Yun’s delivery of Queen Kim quite overdone and theatrical. In a drama world where most of the main characters were delivered with more control and restraint, I did find the OTT Queen a little distracting.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

All in all, I’d hafta say that I enjoyed Show’s ending, albeit in a more muted fashion than how I flat-out loved its beginning.

Justice is served, names are cleared, and we end our story on a note where Yeong gets to be the kind of king that he’s always wanted to be, while being free to love Ra On. Ha Yeon (Chae Soo Bin) is freed from her obligations as Crown Princess, and (almost) everyone who matters gets an open-ended happy-ever-after.

I felt most sorry for Yoon Sung, who died what felt like an obligatory, rather pointless death. I mean, the set-up for his death seemed flimsy at best, and the scene, extremely clumsy in execution. I get that Show wanted to let him demonstrate his love for Ra On, and allow him to die protecting the one who mattered most to him, but surely Show could’ve found a more elegant, meaningful way to do it? This just felt like a huge waste, in the end. Sigh.

Still, I do love that Yeong got to be a great king, since I thought he was a pretty awesome Crown Prince. Of course, I do wish that we’d gotten more OTP closure than just soft-focus pastel-hued kisses, but perhaps Show was attempting at least a tiny measure of historical accuracy?

Honestly, though. If you’re going to let Yeong be king, which is already completely historically inaccurate anyway, why couldn’t we have had a more solid happy-ever-after for our OTP? A soft-focus pastel-hued outdoor royal wedding, maybe? Coz, why not, right? 😉

I’m sure this cheeky guy’d be up for it.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Less cracky at the end than in the beginning, but overall, an excellent, refreshing all-rounder that confidently & totally brings the feels. ❤

FINAL GRADE: A

TEASERS:

MVs:

Last but not least, here’s Bogummy lending his voice to the OST. I love that he sings this well! So much feeling and expression, on top of the vocal control. There is very little that Bogummy cannot do indeed. ❤

Author: kfangurl

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

50 thoughts on “Review: Moonlight Drawn By Clouds

  1. OMG Bogummie 💖💖💖💖💖

    Like

    • This review reads like a love letter to PBG, but I am not complaining! I’m rejoicing!!! 💖💖💖

      Like

    • OK I just finished reading it, and I went OMG I felt it too, 15&16 was so draggy! The first half of the review is totally how I would write it, a total squee-fest 😂😂😂 I legit squeed along with you, to be honest. Who are they kidding, MDBC is a total PBG adoration drama… I’m pretty sure everyone on set squeed at PBG a little at the start of every working day. Even when the rest of the cast get interviewed or go on variety shows, they always get asked about Bogummie. I almost feel sorry for them (not), but they really seem to enjoy talking about him too.

      What can I say, PBG totally nailed his first sageuk. What with the gorgeous hanboks, crazy-good acting, and amazing chemistry with Kim Yoo Jung, I found myself rewinding so many scenes that Viu crashed. My favorite scene was the library scene when he revealed himself as Crown Prince. It’s like he bared his soul when he said that line 💖 His radiance, his acting even overwhelmed KYJ a little. She was great, but PBG had so many more memorable scenes. It’s hard to believe he had problems while shooting the first few episodes, and had to reshoot the first two. It seems he embodied Lee Yeong to the point that I feel it was written for him. Even his sword-fighting scenes felt believable, although he said he’s not very athletic and even a klutz IRL.

      Gat Byung Yeon! I had a hard time believing Kwak Dong Yeon is only 19 too. He has this manly aura that even some older actors don’t have (can you imagine Ahn Jae Hyun in that role? He’s so girly!). And Yoon Sung too, he broke my heart with his (so many) sad lines. He made cheesy lines believeable!

      Last but not least, Kim Yoo Jong. Wow! She practically grew up on TV in everybody’s livingroom, and what a wonderful way to become a woman in her first adult role. She nailed Ra On like nobody else can. I loved her sad scenes more, because she can shed tears on autocue, and such pretty tears! She’s never had a single ugly cry in her entire career. I remember thinking, only she can play Ra On and not be overshadowed by Bogum’s beauty.

      I personally would give this show A+ but probably only because it was such a stark contrast to Scarlet Heart Ryeo which was airing at the same time. These two are a lesson in how to do a drama well, and how NOT to.

      Great review as always!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Glad you enjoyed the review, neve!! You totally made me giggle when you christened it a squee-fest! 😉 But, like you said, MDBC is such a glorious showcase of Bogummy Awesome, that it’s really hard not to squee at him, y’know? 😍

        I would’ve never guessed just by watching him in this, that this was PBG’s first sageuk. Honestly, he nails it, in every way. The regal posture; the effortless and melodious way he spoke his sageuk lines; the perfect emoting; I loved it all. He was just SO GOOD. And yes, I loved the library scene too, where he told her his name. The way he spoke it, with that slight smile and open expression was perfect. He conveyed Yeong’s hopefulness so well, without needing words for it. ❤

        I am very pleasantly taken with kwak Dong Yeon’s brand of manly too – he doesn’t look like a typical pretty boy, and I mean that in the best way possible. He definitely stands out with his manly aura. I now want him to wear that mane of glory, always. I think he’d look amazing with that exact hairstyle, paired with a sharp suit. Guh. How awesome would that look, seriously? 😍

        If Show hadn’t slowed down in its latter episodes, and if I’d felt more solidly satisfied with the ending, I would’ve totally given this show an A+ or even an A++. But a solid A is nothing to sniff at either. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes well when it comes to Bogummie squee-fest, I’m all in! I hope he does something soon, I don’t think I can wait too long for a dose of PBG magic. He seems to be busy with MCing so many award shows, and fanmeetings. Please dramagods, make him do another drama! I only have Cantabile Tomorrow left to watch, and I’m saving it for the Bogummie drought 😦

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  2. I simply love MDBC! My saving light after all the horror and misplaced expectations from moonlovers.

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    • Lol. I deliberately refrained from making any comparisons to Moon Lovers in this review, to be fair to both shows. But I absolutely know what you mean – this Moon show worked in all the ways that the other Moon show unfortunately didn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Newly Taken With: Park Bo Gum | The Fangirl Verdict

  4. Yay! It’s an A and i can totally agree why! I haven’t read all the review, i just randomly read on the casts’ character playing. I am happy that i share the same view with Jin Young and Kwak DoYeong. They’re good and i love how they blended well with Bogummy’s exellent performance. After watching this drama, it left a big smile on my face and Bogummy as Yeong lingers in my mind. I will always remember him as one of the actors who contributed a happy hormone in my system!lololol!😍😘😀

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    • It totally is an A, Evez, I really did love this show. ❤ If not for the latter-episode drag and the slightly muted ending, I would’ve happily given this show an A+ or even an A++! 😉 I’m totally with you on this show; it makes me smile, and Bogummy makes me smile too. 😍

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mmmhhmmm…tbh, e15 and e16 is quite slow for me too, but i let it slide coz I see so much of Bogummy’s face! How can i complain when the lead guy is so good to be true? With every frame of the scenes he was in, i felt it all. I grin a lot when he’s happy, I feel tickled when he’s doing aegyo. I feel him when he’s livid, I adore his mischievousness. I feel his sense of being straight and impartiality as a Prince. And y’know i love ogling on his face when he’s confessing and being true to Ra On! One of favorite scenes as well was when he introduced himself to Ra On, revealing his real identity. At that instance you can feel his sincerity not only as a Prince but as a man with moral values. Y’know this feeling? When you’re being moved because the actor was so good? And Bogummy is that kind of actor! Full of nuances, you feel him in every variety of characters that he’s imparting. So the draggy episodes for me didn’t matter anymore because the male lead had already carried on the flaws with so much more!😘💖💋💐👍👌👌👋. How can I complain? I just love this boy!😉

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        • Mmmhhmmm…tbh, e15 and e16 is quite slow for me too, but i let it slide coz I see so much of Bogummy’s face! How can i complain when the lead guy is so good to be true? With every frame of the scenes he was in, i felt it all. I grin a lot when he’s happy, I feel tickled when he’s doing aegyo. I feel him when he’s livid, I adore his mischievousness. I feel his sense of being straight and impartiality as a Prince. And y’know i love ogling on his face when he’s confessing and being true to Ra On! One of favorite scenes as well was when he introduced himself to Ra On, revealing his real identity. At that instance you can feel his sincerity not only as a Prince but as a man with moral values. Y’know this feeling? When you’re being moved because the actor was so good? And Bogummy is that kind of actor! Full of nuances, you feel him in every variety of characters that he’s imparting. So the draggy episodes for me didn’t matter anymore because the male lead had already carried on the flaws with so much more!😘💖💋💐👍👌👌👋. How can I complain? I just love this boy!😉

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          • I totally agree on the Bogummy awesome, Evez! He really sucked me in, and I felt like I could feel his journey right along with him. ❤ I loved that scene too, where he told Ra On his name. The lines were simple, but his delivery was so heartfelt and layered, I loved it. It was tentative yet strong, determined yet hopeful. Augh. So much awesome. 😍 He totally made up for whatever flaws this show had indeed!

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  5. I seriously love this show … so…so…damn..much. I love the beautiful cinematography (the king’s birthday, the dance scene, the lantern scene.. and so so many more), the beautiful, luxurious hanboks (I bet they spent a looooot to for the materials), the casts (oooooooooooooh, my Bogummie…. you’re so cool and yummy), the bromance , the OTP, the OSTs…… gosh… so much love really for this show.

    But I’m the happiest to say that Bogum has definitely graduated from this show with flying colors. He nailed his first sageuk drama, and boy.. his ability to showcase the millions of microexpression please me to no end. Thumbs up, Bogum-ah.

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    • Oh yes, this show spared no effort in its cinematography, costuming, choreography, OST.. everything is just so beautiful and perfect. Apparently they had a special designer for Yeong’s hanboks – which Park Bo Gum wore beautifully. 😍

      I would’ve never guessed that Bogummy had never done sageuk before, his delivery of all the difficult sageuk lines was seriously, magnificently flawless. He never sounded like he was tripping over his syllables, and emoted so naturally, while speaking his lines. He truly is talented. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you; I loved it, and so did the family. I wish they made more like this. I enjoy “Joseon” or historical shows with good endings.

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  6. Yes! to everything you wrote. 🙂

    This is such a solid show in every way, despite of that little dip at the end. These days it’s really hard to find a drama that has everything from writing, directing, acting to overall execution working for it. This made me a truly happy camper.

    Park Bogum is a treasure and I’m looking forward to what he’ll take up next. I was also quite glad to see Kwak Dong Yeon do good in his first sageuk, it really is hard to believe he’s just 19yrs. I’ve been keeping tabs on the boy ever since ‘Adolescence Medley’. 😀

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    • Indeed, this is such a solid show in every way! It felt so refreshing, to just be able to enjoy a show and admire all the finesse that it displays, in almost every area. It may look like a fluffy show, but boy, it’s clear that a whole lot of thought, effort and preparation went into making this show, for which I am very grateful indeed. ❤ I only wish more dramas felt this wholistic and organic.

      I am more convinced than ever that Park Bo Gum is a treasure indeed, and I’ve high hopes for his future projects! To be honest, though, I’d be perfectly happy to see him play Yeong again, he’s just so perfect in this. 😍 I had no idea that Kwak Dong Yeon is in Adolescence Medley! That one’s been on my list for a long time; perhaps it’s high time I check it out. Just for Kwak Dong Yeon, hee. 😉

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      • Oh, you are in for a treat! KDY is the lead in Adolescence Medley and very different from his Byung Yeon persona. Boy has impeccable comic timing. 😀 You’ll see several other familiar faces as well. Yup, it’s a lovely little drama.

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        • You’ve just bumped up Adolescence Medley on my list, Timescout!! It’s been on my list for seemingly forever, but there was always a reason to put it off, for something newer and shinier. And now, thanks to you, I think I’ll be checking it out sooner than later. For the Kwak Dong Yun exposure, heh. 😉

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          • Heh, I like to promote the boy, he’s way too underappreciated for such a talented young’un. I just watched Entertainment Weekly interview with him and felt kinda sad when he told he was unemployed before Moonlight came along.

            Btw, did you know KDY was a band trainee originally but that fell through so he decided to consentrate on acting? A good move, I’d say. He can sing though as this YT vid from 2014 shows https://youtu.be/jYdbivejdKc 🙂

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            • Omona, he plays the guitar, and very nicely too!! 😍😍 I dig his guitaring more than his singing, but I put his slightly wobbly singing down to nerves. Poor boy does look nervous in the clip; makes me want to pat him and soothe the nerves away. 😉😂 And now that I’ve seen him in a leather jacket, I’ve got a new ask of dramaland – I wanna see Kwak Dong Yun in a role where he gets to rock the mane of glory AND wear rugged leather jackets! That would be so awesome! 😍😍 Crossing my fingers for him, for bigger and better things, now that Moonlight’s put him quite firmly on the radar!

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  7. I’m totally going to watch this now that I’ve read your review! I’ve been watching dramas constantly for as long as you have kfangurl, and during the past few months I’ve started to question whether I’m over dramas because not much has been grabbing my attention like it used to. Although I’ve just started watching One More Happy Ending, and so far so good, even though I didn’t expect much from it (although Jang Nara is adorable in everything, so I think that’s part of why I’m liking it). But Moonlight Drawn By Clouds sounds like just the thing to get me excited about dramas again!! 🙂

    Will you be watching Legend of the Blue Sea? I’d love to read your review of that when it’s all over. I started watching it because I love everything mermaid, but I’m kind of confused by it so far. I’m hoping it will get better. I’m also crossing my fingers that Gong Yoo’s Goblin and Shin Min Ah’s Tomorrow With You will be as good as they sound. I love love love Choi Ji Woo, but I’m not loving Woman With a Suitcase so far 😦

    So I’m off to watch Moonlight Drawn By Clouds!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I have high hopes that you’ll enjoy this one, Lora!! I totally feel ya; of late, the drama offerings have been less inspiring than I’d like, and sometimes I do wonder if I’m just too jaded to appreciate dramas now. But no – a gem like Moonlight comes along, and I realize all over again, that it’s not me, it’s dramaland. 😉

      I didn’t love OMHE, even though I enjoy both leads in general. It started out super cute, but became quite draggy and heavy in later episodes. I do plan to check out Legend of the Blue Sea, but I’m feeling less than excited because ever since Heirs I’ve felt rather allergic to Lee Min Ho. I’ve also heard mixed reactions to this one so far, but I will check it out regardless – for science! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for the nice review & rating you gave the drama coz i too really liked it so much considering that the historical plot is unfamiliar to me. But i think you over rated the main character & completely ignoring the other cast. Let us not forget that park bo gum cannot do it all along without the help of his co stars share of good acting ability .

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    • Sorry, but i don’t think Kfangurl overrated the male lead. I believe Kwang Dong Yeon and Jin Young were and some characters of the drama were as well commended for their respective role playing. It’s true that without the side characters the drama can not be completed. It is just Park Bo Gum’s character as Prince Lee Yeong was especially recognized because of his excellent performance for his role playing. Hope you enjoy reading the whole review.😉

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    • Aw. I do admit I had a giant Park Bo Gum bias in writing this! As you can see in the review though, I did give credit to other actors too, but I suppose you could say I wasn’t terribly balanced about it. 😉 Thanks for enjoying the review in spite of my Bogummy partiality! 😉

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  9. As you and others have mentioned, this is one solid drama. Moonlight does not have the epic love story, but it made up for it with one hell of an execution. The drama managed to evoke more complicated emotions to a rather simple story of a prince and his eunuch. I love the director for choosing to simply linger the camera more on his actors, by letting them provide viewers multitude of expressions. I felt their love, their sadness, their longing, and their happiness just by absorbing a simple twitch on the actor’s face. I would also give the director credit for choosing not to have background music on certain scenes. Two such moments were when Ra-on dressed as a girl in front of the prince and the time the prince find out who Ra-on was. I can re-watch those scenes and still be amazed by them each time.

    Thanks for a wonderful review. It is always a happy feeling to reminisce moments of a drama done well weeks after it aired.

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    • Glad you enjoyed this review, Drawde! 🙂 This truly is a heartfelt, feel-good drama – I just couldn’t get enough of it. And you are so right, this PD really knew how to evoke the feels and help us engage with the characters. That’s so often overlooked, really. As an audience, most of us just want to feel connected to our story and engaged with our characters; we mostly don’t need the complicated machinations and plot twists, if we can feel with the characters. And this show did it superbly. The music was lovely, and handled with a very keen eye and ear as well. Every track was applied masterfully to amplify the scenes, and, as you mentioned, withheld artfully, for the same purpose. So much to love with this show, truly. ❤

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  10. I really enjoyed this show, and it made my abiding love for Park Bo Gum even deeper. But as the episodes went on, I found myself getting more and more frustrated with Ra On. Kim Yoo Jung’s delivery of Ra On was great, but it was how she was written that upset me. Wouldn’t a woman who spent most of her life as a boy have learned a touch of self-defense? How to throw a punch, maybe? They made her cowering and impotent whenever there was trouble, and that angered me. I wanted her actions to be as awesome and scrappy as her personality. I wanted her to defend her prince like Byung-Yeon did, and not resort to noble idiocy to protect him.

    So overall, the impression I’m left with is warm and glowing, but maybe just a touch empty like the writers left Ra On’s character.

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    • Thinking on it even more, wouldn’t it have been great if they used the skills Ra On DID have (her excellent writing skills) in the story more? I mean, it got her into trouble in the beginning, and she wrote in the new world that had been neatly set up for her by the prince, but what if she could have been of some actual use in the meantime with her writing skills?

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      • What a great point, buckdawna! I do think I would’ve loved the show even more if they’d made Ra On tougher, and if they’d made use of her skills more. I did feel the “damsel in distress” vibe too, as the show progressed. Perhaps it was to remind us of her girlhood, or to amplify Yeong’s “strong hero” persona, I’m not sure. But I definitely like your ideas of making her scrappier. I would’ve loved to have seen her literally save Yeong using some kick-punch-lightning reflexes. That would’ve been so cool. I would’ve loved to see Yeong’s reaction faces to that! 😂

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  11. thank you again for an insightful review kfangurl!

    totally agree with your points; I honestly would’ve wanted 20 episodes for this show like a typical sageuk, but it seems 18 was enough (because as you mentioned the draggy episodes)…maybe they could’ve expounded on the palace intrigue with the 2 extra episodes? what I didn’t like is how they repeated scenes as part of the flashbacks (queen mom’s funeral, rain dance, the rebellion nightmares etc.) when they could’ve just shown the audience something new, like wrap up the little princess’ issues and its connection to the whole conflict, so we can get more kissy scenes or something 😛

    I’m maybe in the minority here when I say that I appreciate Bo-Gum’s superb performance but it was Jin Young who truly caught my attention (2nd male lead syndrome or he’s just prettier in hanbok?) the cast to me is a younger generation whom I’m hardly acquainted with because I thrived in Kdrama during the glory days of Bae Yong-Joon, Won Bin, and Song Il-Gook, and Arang was probably the last sageuk I truly enjoyed in recent years, so this cast surprised me in many ways, but Jin Young has the better wardrobe. the author of MDBC said so herself he’s like Yoon Sung personified 😀

    about the gray areas of the palace conflicts, I understand that the show didn’t follow history, but it couldn’t hurt if they had included more scenes with people in the past like Hong Gyeong Nae in action. I wondered why they only showed his face during the last few episodes. I think they mentioned he worked in the palace for a while, which is why the King was paranoid because the rebellion started from the inside, thanks to the Kims, who’ve been plotting to usurp the throne for a long time. that’s probably the biggest flaw for me, though hardly noticeable because the central plot is about Ra On and Yeong’s love. basically, Hong Gyeong Nae wasn’t the enemy, it was the Kims. and in the end Bo-Gum can convince anyone that love and leadership comes in different forms, even a piece of chicken leg 😀 😀

    MLDBC was one of the newer dramas that made me stay up late making gifs: http://doramanogominoshito.tumblr.com/tagged/moonlight+drawn+by+clouds shout out to Eunuch Jang because he’s my favorite subject lol

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    • Glad you enjoyed the review, Kao! 😀 This show really was quite lovely, in spite of its flaws, and I’d be tempted to say yes to 20 episodes, IF the writers could’ve done a good job of integrating them into the story. As it is, I didn’t enjoy E15 & 16 as much as I would’ve liked, and would’ve preferred to see your version of events on my screen than what got served up. Expounding more on the little princess and more backstory on Hong Gyeong Nae could’ve possibly made the story feel more robust. But like you said, with the focus on the loveline between Yeong and Ra On, it wasn’t hard to overlook these weaknesses in the narrative. Coz the OTP moments were so well-done, I could’ve just lapped up more OTP cute anytime, never mind the political backstory! 😍

      Ah, it’s great that you found yourself getting acquainted with the new generation of actors via this show. We got some lovely talents in this one, and I personally am quite taken with Kwan Dong Yun, beyond the Bogummy love. I’m curious to see more of him, and will be checking out Adolescence Medley for him. And yes, Eunuch Jang’s reaction faces were priceless – it’s no wonder he was a favorite gif subject! 😂

      A rather underrated sageuk that you might enjoy is King’s Daughter Soo Baek Hyang. Have you seen that one? It’s longer than most, but the episodes are only about 30 minutes each, and I found it a solid, rather enjoyable watch. You can check out my review here, if that helps. 🙂

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  12. I absolutely loved MDBC too!❤❤ It was so fun and fresh and at the same time emotionally engaging, couldn’t help but be sucked into its fabulous world😊 And of course I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said about Bogummy😁😍 It’s utterly mind boggling how one person can possess so much talent!! the rest of the cast was awesome too, and I must admit I have a tiny crush on kwak dong yeon as a result of this drama😂 I can’t believe he’s only 19 tho like WHAT??!😱😱
    thanks for the great review!!

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    • Glad you enjoyed the review, cinnamonxspice!! YAY that we feel so similarly about this show – it really is so engaging, while managing to feel fun and fresh and youthy. ❤ I couldn't get enough of Bogummy, honestly. I thought I loved him as Taek, but I love him even more as Yeong. 😍😍😍 So swoony, and so, SO well delivered. He really is super talented, and I can't wait to see more projects from him! Well, and Kwak Dong Yun too – preferably still wearing the mane of glory. He looks AMAZING with it, and should just wear his hair like that, FOREVER. 😍

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  13. hey !

    so funny story, i was on vacation when your review was posted and i happened to have internet at that moment and i couldn’t finish reading it cause my phone browser somehow kept on crashing (and i tried like a 100 times) , ah well,
    i loved the show for affirming my love for PBG (especially since i feel like his acting is more like an actor than the puppy persona in AM1988), and further introducing me to a score of actors i hadn’t seen much of, this show reminds me why i love asian drama’s so much, for me it comes close to nirvana in fire, (if it weren’t for the last few episodes), it’s all in the details and as you said the director knows how to ‘linger’ on scenes, i loved the heartfelt fluff , not so much the political action, mostly cause it was sorta thrown in there without having the background fleshed out like Hong Gyeong Nae and the head eunuch’s story, or why teacher Dasan helped Ra On and her mother out when they were being hunted, it would have made it perhaps as good as the firs 12-14 episodes,
    what i also disliked was the sorta pointless death of Yoon Sung, honestly him dying cause of his pure love for Ra On was one trope that was unnecessary , i would have preferred him to be at Yeong’s side , helping and advising,
    what i wished we would have seen, was the reunion between Byung-Yeon, Yeong and Ra On having drinks in the hall as part of the ending,
    despite all, i would totally re-watch it (perhaps just skip the draggy parts) , and recommend it to someone else in a heartbeat.

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    • Hi there Sia!! I’m sorry my review kept crashing your phone browser, lol! The photo gallery posts tend to do that, but I didn’t think this one would, since it’s not as picture-heavy. Maybe it was just the power of Bogummy? 😝

      I’m so pleased you loved this one too; it really is so heartfelt, in spite of its latter-episode drag. And yes, I do love that it showcased the talents of some actors that we don’t see so much of. Like Kwak Dong Yun – I’ve totally got my eye on him now. 😉 I also think that he should wear the mane of glory, always. Even in modern shows. It’d look great paired with a sharp suit. SOMEBODY PLEASE MAKE THAT DRAMA!! 😍😍

      YES, Yoon Sung’s death really seemed shoe-horned in there just because. It was so clumsily inserted, and so weirdly executed, I cringed through the whole scene. I much prefer your version of events, where he’d get to be by Yeong’s side, finding a new way to honor their friendship and their nation. Still, like you, I’d totally recommend this one, in spite of its missteps. Coz in spite of them, this one was largely ❤❤❤

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      • let’s just blame it on the power of Bogummy 🙂 (allthough it’s more likely my phone browser doing weird things again),

        KDY and his mane of glory is just so … i am really speechless, and yes him in a sharp suit is a nice image, allthough i would love him in a leather jacket/rocker type aswell 🙂 he is definitely on my list of actors to watch out for,
        honestly, this series had so many amazing actors/actresses that i’m glad for the introduction,

        despite all the minor flaws, i agree this one is one of my alltime favorites (funny how last year it was hello monster which starred PBG aswell ), and a lot ❤ ❤ <3*gazillion 🙂
        i'm really glad i picked it up, between all drama's that disappointed me, this one is a rare gem where everything just flowed well together,

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  14. Hi! I thought I had exhausted all information on Moonlight Drawn By Clouds and anything else associated with it until your review popped up in my google search. I just love love how spot on and comprehensive your review is. (I’ve bookmarked it to read again when I’m in the mood to revisit MDBC and now I’m your IG follower. Haha!) Your “It’s just so well-made” section makes every point crystal clear. About the pacing, I find myself intending to show a specific scene to someone but after that scene I would say, “Oh, and this next scene is great/funny too…” [continue to watch] then repeat the same thing after the second scene passes. It’s like little nuggets of gold one after another until you hit the end of the episode.

    The way you sectioned off your review to really expand on Park Bo Gum’s acting chops is just so perfect. Through other websites and videos, I learned that PBG in real life is a very private, shy, and humble person. To some extent, he’s kinda dorky in a fun way too. Then when I see him on screen, especially in MDBC, it’s like looking at a completely different person. Not just a completely different person but someone with depth and emotions…and I’m just watching a fictional character in a drama too. That transition from actor to character just blows my mind away! I’m so glad you include lots and lots of pictures in your review to make your point. The variety of his acting in just the one character makes the Prince so entertaining. In private with RaOn, Prince wears his heart on his sleeves. When confronted by others, he maintains his princely composure. I was rewatching Ep 11 where the Queen called his bluff for RaOn to do as the Queen says and undress to disspell rumors. Boy, he would have lost the bluff had Eunuch Han not appeared in time. Prince kept a straight face except for a little crack in his composure with just a slight lowering of his eyelids while Queen tears at RaOn’s buttons. I had to rewatch it to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. He’s that good. Once Eunuch Han explains the Queen’s inappropriate behavior, Prince seems to realize that he has an ace card and doubled down on his bluff. Am I seeing too much into this? I read that only in his body language. LOL! Upon rewatching, I find myself replaying scenes just to see how he acts out a line to make sure I don’t miss anything. As much as the Yeong/RaOn scenes tug at the heart, I loved seeing Yeong interact with the secondary characters to show how much more cunning, courageous, and caring than his father King. The fight scenes are just so slick too. Is that enough about PBG’s acting? RaOn is just lovely. At first, I didn’t care for complaints about her not wearing feminine clothes since she is disguised as a man after all but once the show ended, OMG, I do wish she did have more time as a female. (Heck, I wish we got a couple more episodes than 18!) As for the other characters, everyone was pretty to look at. The political scenes did not turn me off. They added to the plot line. I must say that even the ministers are actually prettier than the ministers in other sageuks that I tried to watch (but failed) – less scruffy in MDBC. Putting them in beautiful hanboks and sprinkling Yoonsung and Byung Hyung among them really helped!

    I do wish I understood the difference between sageuk speak vs modern day Korean. That would surely give me another level of appreciation for his effort to portray the prince in this way for the first time. (Obviously, I don’t speak the language. Heehee!) Also, the music is just gorgeous to listen too. So full of emotions, I can picture MDBC scenes when listening to them. The OST package is so well-done too! Whoever oversaw this project did a really good job to make sure every little detail was equally beautiful. I think I’ve gushed enough. Thank you so much for your awesome review. It lead me to your “Taken by PBG” post. It was great to see different facets of PBG all in one place.

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    • Hi there Incog! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the show, AND my review of Moonlight! 🙂

      You’re so right about PBG.. he seems like such a different person when he’s not in character. So innocent and sweet, and almost naive, I wanna say. But then, the moment he’s in character, it’s like he’s flipped a switch inside himself, and he just expands to fill the screen with his charisma and presence. And, his incredible ability to pull all sort of emotions out, when he logically shouldn’t have enough life experience to draw on, is just nothing short of amazing. Add on the multiple layers and nuances like the one you described, and I’m quite convinced that he’s a legit acting savant. 😄

      About sageuk-speak, it’s hard to tell at first, for someone who doesn’t speak the language, but I believe if you gave yourself time to accumulate more kdrama miles and then came back to this, that you’d be able to sense the difference between modern Korean and sageuk speak. Sageuk speak, especially the language they speak in the royal court, consists of longer sentences, more syllables, and is even more melodious than modern Korean. Many actors struggle with sageuk speak, since it’s harder to roll off the tongue, but Park Bo Gum makes it look so effortless (even though he confessed to struggling with it as well), and he’s even able to emote so wonderfully while having the difficult lines leave his lips so easily. I was super impressed by that!

      PS: Yay that you enjoyed my PBG post as well – I thoroughly enjoyed researching that one! 😍

      Like

  15. Your review has convinced me to give this another chance in the future. The speed with which the relationship developed (with almost no angst from the prince about falling for a boy-except for the mention in the letter) actually turned me off.I kept thinking how well this was handled in Coffee Prince (which I watched just last month)
    And then I found out the lead actress was 16 at the time of filming! Somehow all the cute scene with Bo Gum and her had a neon 16 flashing over them for me! Maybe I am overreacting and need to just turn off my brain to enjoy Bogummy’s awesomeness 🙂 I literally giggles everytime he smiled!

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    • Oh, I hope you enjoyed Moonlight the second time around, Ven! *peeks nervously* Did it work out better for you? I sure hope so, coz I loved it, and really want other people to love it too! And the Bogummy awesome is nothing to sniff at. He is so, so wonderful in this. 😍

      Like

  16. I am really glad I found your site. The reviews I read from you so far are all on point and it looks to me we have similar preference in what to watch for in a KDrama.

    As a KDrama noob, this is the first time for me to watch a historical piece. And there is one big pro and con to this. Pro, I really am glad I watched this first. I never thought I could enjoy watching Korean historical pieces because my first impression was that they are corny (sorry!). This show paved the way for me into watching more in the future. Con, because of the show’s awesomeness, it pretty much ruined all other historical drama for me. This show was near perfect that the industry needs to up their game to come up with something at least equally epic than Lover.

    But the biggest point of all is Bo-Gum. He is such a talented actor. And you have captured everything in your review on point. His ability to invoke emotion or convey his thoughts with just his facial expression is just pure talent. For his age where being a flower boy is the norm, I am glad that he is so self-assured and passionate about what he wants for his career that he seems to focus more on showcasing his talent rather than catering to the commercial aspect of the industry.

    (That Boombastic video though! I almost swooned!)

    But going back to the show, it completely mesmerized me every time I watch it. Yes, I watched this 3 times already with the 3 months since I first watched it. The story, the script, the actors, the director, the cinematography and even down to the costumes and the littlelest detail was well thought of and executed perfectly that it created the feeling of being totally immersed in the drama while watching. It did have aspects that it can improve on but given the overall performance of the show, they were really insignificant and can be shrugged off as an endearing flaw.

    I would just like to give the biggest shout out to the 4 main casts that despite their age, they have perfectly executed their roles and provided so much depth to their characters that everything felt so natural. And to the support cast, they gave the show the dimension and maturity to balance out the cuteness overload happening in the foreground.

    And can I just say, Hye-Sung was just a joy to watch! I find her very pretty but her lack of vanity in portraying her character that is shamelessly bratty but adorable at the same time made me want a little sister like her. I can’t wait to for her to star in her own drama.

    I can’t wait to read more of your reviews!

    Like

    • I’m stoked that you’re enjoying the site this much, boink! I’m glad you found me too! 😄 And Moonlight truly is a great first sageuk for a newbie! It’s the perfect, well-made light sageuk that makes it easier to digest and appreciate. Another light sageuk that I consider a great sageuk entryway is Sungkyunkwan Scandal. If you ever feel like dipping your toes into another youthy fusion sageuk, that’s definitely one to consider!

      And yes. Park Bo Gum is just magic. He’s like some kind of acting savant, he’s just so, so good, and he makes it all look so natural. He says that he struggled with the sageuk-speak, but honestly, it really sounds so lovely and natural rolling off his lips. Just 😍. He’s so unassuming in his own skin, but oh my goodness, SO assured when he steps into character. I swooned multiple times during my watch of Moonlight – the first time was during that Bombastic video, of course. 😉 Gah. So much bone-deep rhythm, and so much cheeky sass. I love him. ❤

      This truly was a well-made drama, and I wish more dramas aspired to this attention to detail and this same spirit of excellence. There are others out there too, and I’ve written the reviews to prove it, but y’know, I guess I’m just being greedy. 😉 Sungkyunkwan Scandal’s pretty good all-around, so I think you would probably enjoy it. 😊

      Like

  17. Pingback: Year In Review: 2016 | The Fangirl Verdict

  18. I ABSOLUTELY agree with everything you just said. It’s like you read my mind (all the details!) Thanks for this great review. 😀

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  19. I’ve been on hiatus watching kdramas and came across a few clips of this drama while searching for DOST(well it generated a buzz here in my country so I was curious) but I have to say that this one gave me the feels. Park Bo Gum is brilliant but Kwak Dong Yeon(I hope I spelled his name correctly) as Byeong Yeon really got my attention. I can’t believe he’s just 19. I hope to see him soon and see what else he can offer. 😄

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