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TV Review: Noble, My Love

Year: 2015
Episodes: 20 (English sub of South Korean web drama)
Online: Wikipedia, MDL, DramaFever
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Drama

After finishing up Something About One Percent the other day, I decided to check out the offerings at MDL and stumbled upon the series Noble, My Love. Each episode of this web drama is a little over fifteen minutes in length.

When down on her luck vet Cha Yoon Seo (Kim Jae Kyung) treats a wounded man that she finds near her clinic during a thunderstorm, her life quickly becomes complicated. He is none other than Lee Kang Hoon (Sung Hoon), the CEO for the Korean branch of D.O.L., one of the largest companies in the world.

To begin with, I had no clue what to expect from this series going in but I’d seen it mentioned on a few websites that I frequent. About as much as I knew was that it was a Korean Romantic Drama. That is often enough to give you some idea of the usual cliches but this series turned out to be oddly addictive. I ended up binge-watching the entire series in one day.
The story has a simple premise but manages to do an excellent job of evoking a manhwa aesthetic. It brings all of those cheesy romantic comedy and drama cliches together in a satisfying way. It doesn’t take itself seriously either. The casting worked well, even if some reviewers were critical about the chemistry between Kim Jae Kyung and Sung Hoon’s characters.
I liked the characters in this series. Sure, they are often cliched but this show never presents itself as anything other than a simple romantic comedy with dramatic elements. It is also easy to care about their situation. The characters also stay somewhat consistent throughout the series, making their arcs more realistic and compelling.
Much in all as I loved this show, I still have some issues. The first is the overuse of flashbacks. On average, each episode spends around two minutes on flashbacks and recaps. When the episode is already short then this takes up a noticeable chunk of each episode. It is also unnecessary a lot of the time.
My second issue is more of a complaint about how security is dealt with in a lot of drama series. If it is so easy to kidnap and kill all of these rich people, why aren’t they either dead or tied up in somebody’s basement? This simple attention to detail ups the stakes and makes the situation more exciting for readers and/or viewers. It isn’t like I am asking for The K2 levels of badassery here. I just want the bad guys to work for it, dammit!

In conclusion, I really liked this series. It might have a few flaws but it is still quite addictive. I recommend this series to anyone that enjoys KDrama and romantic comedies. It works well as an entry into KDrama as well. Be sure to check it out!

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TV Review: Something About One Percent

Episodes: episode 16 of English subbed KDrama series
Something About 1 Percent Online: MyDramaListDramaFeverIMDBAsianWiki
Genre: Romantic Drama

No Spoilers Edition!

After many months, I just finished Something About One Percent, a remake of a series made nearly a decade ago. Quite a few people that watched both series have spoken of liking the early series more. As I’ve only watched this recent iteration, I can’t really comment. What I will say is that Something About One Percent is an adorable yet flawed series.
The casting was spot on but I felt time and time again that the actors and actresses were let down by some odd choices. Sure, the plot was a little contrived but it was meant to be silly. However, the music seemed out of place at times. We see a bizarre image of what people view as the lifestyles of the rich. Some of the sets also seem a bit mundane.
As for the characters, I found it rather easy to watch their story unfold. The drama wasn’t unnecessarily drawn out either, though I found that some characters vanish when their arc is over. This latter feature resulted in me feeling little in the way of gratification but is common in some drama series. There was the occasional bit of foreshadowing but I found one of two events in the last couple of episodes could have been foreshadowed because it would have allowed them to make more sense.
In spite of the numerous flaws in Something About One Percent, I came back episode after episode. The fact is that I tend to weigh character more heavily than plot as a general rule. Sure, the plot is important, but the most basic component of any story is the character. If you fail at having characters that the viewer or reader can identify with and/or care about then the storyteller has failed.

In conclusion, whilst this series is flawed in some respects the characters are likeable. If you are looking for a romantic drama with some comedic elements then you should give this series a watch. However, isn’t necessarily a good entry point for KDrama.


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TV Review: Something About One Percent Episode 15

Episodes: episode 15/16 of English subbed KDrama series
Something About 1 Percent Online: MyDramaListDramaFeverIMDBAsianWiki
Genre: Romantic Comedy

After a long hiatus, I have returned to finish the remaining two episodes of Something About One Percent. Today, I will be discussing the fifteenth episode of this series and will try to finish up next week.

After Kim Da-Hyun (Jeon So-Min) and Lee Jae-In (Ha Seok-Jin) finished up their contractual dating period in episode fourteen, we see them dealing with the emotional fallout of no longer being together. With some mild deception, Min Tae-Ha (Kim Hyung Min) is blackmailed by Dada’s best friend Hyun Yin (Im Do Yoon) into getting Lee to address his feelings for Kim Da-Hyun who happens to be showing a brave front but is actually quite depressed. It also leads to a decision on Lee Jae-In’s part.

Episode fifteen spends a lot of time showing us what Kim Da-Hyun and Lee Jae-In internal musings via flashbacks. We also see Dada falling prey to misunderstandings of how Lee Jae-In was dealing with their separation. All the while, Lee has been set up on various dating interviews. It finally comes to a head with Lee’s decision.
This latter part also avoids the “last minute dash”, wherein the story tries to finalize the main arc and every single loose thread in the final episode. It appears that our couple’s own relationship status has been acknowledged on the part of both of the main characters. How the remaining threads play out is predictable, but I am looking forward to seeing a happy ending for Kim Da-Hyun and Lee Jae-In.

Until next week!


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TV Review: Something About One Percent Episode 14

Episodes: episode 14/16 of English subbed KDrama series
Something About 1 Percent Online: MyDramaList, DramaFeverIMDBAsianWiki
Genre: Romantic Comedy

*slides in from the left* Hello, again! I am back with a review of the fourteenth episode of the weekly TV series.

Kim Da-Hyun (Jeon So-Min) and Lee Jae-In (Ha Seok-Jin) share a few more dates before the end of their dating contract but both appear to be grieving the time when they won’t be together anymore. The day of their last date, Jae-In’s grandfather collapses and is rushed to the hospital for that nasty medical problem that has been “hinted” at for the past few episodes. Now acting as Executive Director of the SH Group, Jae-In feels himself slipping in a cycle of misery again and misses Da-Hyun greatly. The feeling is mutual. Da-Hyun has her own medical emergency and is helped by her best friend Hyun Yin (Im Do Yoon) who enlists aid from her brother Jung Sun Woo (Choi Sung Jae). When Hyun Yin goes to confront Jae-In about Da-Hyun, she mistakes his cousin that he just retrieved from a dancing audition for a new girlfriend. More feels ensue.

This is what one can easily view as a “feels” episode. It does this by also making good use of flashbacks. However, there was not anywhere near enough Attorney Park Hyung-Joon (Kim Sun-Hyuk) in it. In any case, we now have two episodes left in the series to give our main couple the happiness that we want for them. I am curious as to how cheesy they will make it.
At least the writers have pointed out what living with a director of a big company such as SH Group will mean for their spouse. Yes, it does sound like a crap experience and one that I am tackling with a fiction series that I am currently plotting. Living with somebody with money has a cost in time, privacy and security. This will no doubt impact the level of happiness of such a coupling. So, is there a way to make it work?

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you guys again for the final reviews of the series over the next fortnight.


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TV Review: Goblin Episode 02

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

*waves* I finally got around to watching the second episode of Goblin. Yes, I did take a few weeks to get to it along with some other stuff. Sorry for the delay.

The second episode follows the events after Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) follows Kim Shin the Goblin (Goon Yoo) through the door to Canada. After spending a day in Quebec, Ji Eun Tak is returned to Korea where she has to put up with her crappy relatives. Our resident Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook) discusses the task of retrieving several missing souls with another reaper, then gets into a pissing contest with Kim Shin after the Goblin keeps him up all night trying to think of the most trendy way to look when summoned next. Ji Eun Tak gets a job at the least busy Chicken restaurant in the city where she works for the most deliberately disinterested and pretty manager. Our heroine is also watched over by a transformed version of that old spirit-seer that her mother used to know, the one that stood up for the girl during the Grim Reaper’s delayed retrieval of her mother’s soul. After her horrible aunt is visited by nefarious loan sharks, they kidnap the girl for the bankbook for the girl’s insurance money from her mother’s death. In lieu of the young woman being in danger, Kim Shin and Grim Reaper’s telekinetic fight at the dinner table is disrupted and they come to her aid.

Though this show isn’t necessarily a comedy, it had large amounts of funny moments. We still get the feeling that Ji Eun Tak’s aunt’s family are a bit like Harry Potter’s horrible relatives but we also learn how much her family rely on her insurance money. As for the Kim Shin and Grim Reaper, the two show themselves to be more than willing to behave like children when competing with each other. We aren’t given much information about their long-term feud but one gets the feeling that their history will be elaborated on in future episodes. In any case, the episode was highly enjoyable and a good fit for watching in tandem with Dame wa Watashi ni Koshite Kudasai. I will definitely be continuing this highly entertaining series.


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TV Review: Please Love the Useless Me Episode 05

Year: 2016
Episode: Episode 5/10 of completed JDrama series adapted from a Josei manga series (English sub version)
Other Names: Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai
Online: Wikipedia (Re: Manga), MyDramaList, AsianWikiIMDB, KissAsian, DramaCool
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Drama

I decided to watch another episode of Dame na Watashi ni Koshite Kudasai this evening because it has been a while since I watched the show and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face whenever I watch it. We are now around the halfway point in the series and I am also somewhat curious as to how the live-action adaptation will deviate from the source material. Up until this point, the major deviation has been in the older brother of our male lead being deceased for several years which has no doubt changed the dynamic between Ayumu and his brother’s widow Haruko.

The fifth episode saw Michiko Shibata (Kyoko Fukada) share her first Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend Daichi Mogami (Shohei Muira) after getting some cooking tips from Ayumu Kurosawa (Dean Fujioka). The Valentine’s Day date scene played out wonderfully but it also foreshadowed something that will no doubt play out in future episodes. (I have my suspicions based on the manga but the live-action may deviate slightly.) We saw some adorable interactions between Shibata and Haruko leading to Shibata wanting to help Kurosawa with his romantic attachment to Haruko; as well as some wonderful moments with Akira Ikushima (Maho Nonami) as Akira continues to offer Shibata relationship advice as self-appointed “Big Sis”. However, we also see some lingering doubt on the part of Mogami over Shibata’s relationship with Kurosawa in spite of her denying anything romantic between the two.

I continue to look forward to each new episode of this series and cannot help but wonder why I haven’t simply binge-watched the entire show already. Shibata and Mogami’s relationship is very cute but is somewhat complicated by her own inexperience and subtle questions about how she feels for Kurosawa. We also see her learning a lot about the various characters, especially Kurosawa, through her meals with other people. However, we still see the appropriate amount of doubt from Mogami over her relationship with Kurosawa. Though the scenes played out slightly different from the manga, we see the spirit of the manga intact. To me, this series remains one of the better live-action adaptations of a manga that I have seen to date.

I will return with another review of the show soon.


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TV Review: Something About One Percent Episode 13

Episodes: episode 13/16 of English subbed KDrama series
Something About 1 Percent Online: MyDramaList, DramaFeverIMDBAsianWiki
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Hello again! Sorry about missing last week. You guys probably already know why I had a brief hiatus from blog last week. So, I won’t rehash the details. What I do have is a review for the next episode of my weekly TV show.

In the aftermath of Kim Da-Hyun (Jeon So-Min) being kidnapped by nefarious people employed by Han Joo-Hee (Seo Eun-Chae), Lee Jae-In (Ha Seok-Jin) and Min Tae-Ha (Kim Hyung Min) begin to get their houses in order leading to investigations into the business dealings between Tae-Ha and HanJoo Chemicals. Da-Hyun has her own issues as she deals with her own trauma at being kidnapped. Joo-Hee tries to get Da-Hyun to forgive her in order to avoid blowback from the crap that she did. We also see Ji Su meet up with Jae-In’s female cousin, the one that attended the event at SH Mall with Da-Hyun a few episodes ago. There seems to be some chemistry there. Da-Hyun and Jae-In later enjoy some lovey-dovey time in the park with a picnic.

Well, we are well and truly into the final stretch of the show now with three more episodes left after this. Some of the ongoing side arcs are now being addressed in a meaningful manner. I don’t mind this aspect but I am guessing that some folks might be annoyed with games of business.
There are still a few technical things that I had to ignore but these don’t impact heavily on my enjoyment of the series. However, those weird sound stingers made more of an appearance again this episode, irking me a bit in the process. Seriously, they don’t match the overall feel of the series and feel like they were purchased at the last minute rather than with careful consideration as to the content.

In any case, I will continue watching the show until it is finished. I will have to consider which of the other longer-run series to put as my weekly watch, however. I suppose that this will be addressed in a week or two. In any case, feel free to post any recommendations that you have. I will consider each one based on the synopsis initially and then available sources to watch it online.