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TV Review: Hwarang S01E01

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Hwarang Online: Wikipedia, MyDramaList, BoxAsian, DramaFever, AsianWiki
Genre: Comedy, History, Drama, Romance, Adventure

I stumbled across this English-subbed KDrama whilst recently updated series on the website. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but some of the comments suggested that the show had lots of eye candy. It seemed to have caused many a soiled panty from some of the viewers. Based on the loose premise and my own humour at these comments, I decided to give the first episode a watch. Note that each episode is over an hour long.

The first episode begins with a curious scene that introduces one of the main characters as he attempts to deal with a questionable trio of thugs from the same village. Given his focus on luck, he uses what appears to be a twelve-sided dice to determine what he does in certain situations. We are also introduced to his sidekick over the next few scenes and learn that both are somewhat unusual. In the case of our hero, he is known as “Dog-Bird” for good reason. After they return back to our hero’s home, we learn that he will be illegally entering the capital city in order to help his friend track down information about long-lost family members using a strange necklace. This will play a huge part in the rest of the first episode.
The next few scenes deal with several other characters: A True Bone (family member of tiered state official system) woman that tells lewd stories to visitors to her establishment and the mysterious man that likes to listen to her storytelling; the Queen Regent who sent her son away after her husband died eleven years ago and her loyal guard-slash-flunky; an advisor that the deceased king put in prison after an incident with one of the concubines; the returning prince; the morally-questionable manager of a teahouse; some thugs that like to cheat at a dice-based gambling game; two groups of True Bones that appear to dislike each other immensely; and some random militia.

To begin with, this show should not be taken seriously. It is entertainingly self-aware and doesn’t take itself too seriously. At the same time, the creators are mindful of aesthetics, with some really nice sets and costumes to be awed by. The music is also odd in that the soundtrack moves between modern and era-inspired tracks, but this seems to fit perfectly with the quirky nature of the show itself.
As for characterization, I found myself liking most of the characters on some level. Even the bad guys seem to have understandable motivations rather than simply be two-dimensional characters that are used purely for the sake of moving the plot forward. The show itself was careful not to reveal too much in the first episode as well, giving room for storytelling during the rest of the series.
To the eye candy… Yes, there is a lot of attractive people in this show. Most of these are men between the ages of 20 and 40. No, I didn’t have to change my underwear afterwards.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed the first episode and recommend it especially to viewers looking for a light historical comedic adventure with lots of eye candy. If you do check out the series, feel free to let me know what you thought of it. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Author: keikomushi

Reader, Writer, New Media Buff, Anime Fangirl, Gnome Hunter, Last Action Femme Fatale, Appreciator of Nature, Jack-of-all-trades.

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