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TV Review: Goblin Episode 01

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Year: 2016 – 2017
Episode: 1/16 completed KDrama series (English sub)
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: Wikipedia, MyDramaList,  HanCinema, KoreanDrama, AsianWiki, DramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

I’ve been holding off watching this series for the last few months for several reasons. The first reason is that I usually read a lot of urban fantasy and wanted to move out of my comfort zone. The second is that I really expected to like based on the synopsis and various reviews that I have been reading ever since the series began. As for the third, I am fully aware that I didn’t exactly know how much time I would be able to put into my blog before I became stir crazy. But here I am, having just finished the first episode. Wow, it far surpassed my expectations.

Th story revolves around a Kim Shin (Goon Yoo) the Goblin trying to find a wife in order to cease being immortal. However, the task is not that simple. The wife in question has to be able to see the spiritual sword that is the tool for his immortality and promptly removed it from his chest.
He also has to deal with an ongoing feud with a Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook), who he is now forced to live with because his idiot servant is a moron that can’t handle money. The Grim Reaper is currently dealing with trying to recover a soul that he wasn’t able to move on many years ago. However, the task is a lot trickier seeing as she is marked as the Goblin’s bride.
As for the wife-to-be, Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), she just turned eighteen but has been able to see ghosts since she was little… but not the sword. An orphan for the past ten years, she has to deal with her aunt and her shitty family. And all the while, she is considered an outcast by her peers at school for her supernatural ability.
When Kim is accidentally called by Eun Tak when makes three wishes while blowing out candles on her birthday cake, he begrudgingly offers to grant the wishes. Eun Tak quickly learns some tricks for summoning him in future. Kim Shin is astonished when he learns that she can touch him and also hijack his doorway travelling ability.

To start with, this series begins in a rather epic fashion. The large battle sequences play out as chaotically and bloodily as one would expect from a large coordinated battle. The martial arts sections look functional rather than flashy, which works for me. Also, we see some saddening points about feudal hierarchies.
I really like the world-building aspects for this series so far. Though it is barely touched on in the first show, we do see that there are multiple worlds running in parallel. The mortal realm is typically separate from the spiritual realm. However, the spiritual realm is never far away from the mortal realm and regularly interacts with it. We also see a few entities that are subject to those spiritual laws through Eun Tak’s interactions with ghosts as well as the powers of Kim Shin and the Grim Reaper. As for the telekinesis of the two characters, it seems fitting given the prevalence of telekinesis in popular culture and mythology.
As for the cast, it is the first time that I have seen Goon Yoo, Lee Don Wook or Kim Go Eun in anything due to only recently taking an interest in Korean Drama. I am quite impressed with their acting so far. The scenes with Goon Yoo and Kim Go Eun are really fun to watch. Goon Yoo exudes badassery in his action and supernatural scenes, contrasted well with the scenes of kindness. As for Lee Doon Wook, I really dig the determined posture as his character goes about his business, the trademark hat and suit making his presence that much more ominous.
To the story covered in the first episode, I really like the set up so far. We gain some insight into what motivates Kim Shin and Ji Eun Tak, including some background. However, our resident Grim Reaper is deliberately left out. I am sure that this will be explained in some detail in future episodes. All in all, this first episode does a good job of showing not telling.

In conclusion, I really like this series so far. It just moved up to my number one beside Please Love the Useless Me. Yes, I also like Love O2O, but it moved down to number two on the list with the last episode that I watched. In any case, I recommend this series to anyone that enjoys urban fantasy with an ample amount of romantic drama thrown in.

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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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