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TV Review: Please Love the Useless Me Episode 03

Year: 2016
Episode: Episode 3/10 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

We are now up to the third episode of the rather adorable Please Love the Useless Me. I know that it has been a few weeks since I watched the second episode but I figured that it was time to get stuck into the show again. Yes, I will attempt to watch some more Asian drama series in upcoming weeks. This will likely cut into time that I would have spent watching anime. However, I think that it will be worth the effort, especially given that anime and live-action tend to make use of different storytelling techniques. Yes, this will likely include both Love O2O and Goblin.

In the third episode, Michiko Shibata (Kyoko Fukada) goes out on a date with Daichi Mogami (Shohei Muira). She also purchases her first bit of lingerie at a shop where Kurosawa’s ex Akira Ikushima (Maho Nonami) is manager after Ayumu Kurosawa (Dean Fujioka) comments on the granny panties that he saw hanging up to dry in her room. Michiko’s coworker Yuki Kadoma (Hinako Sano) gets stuck into her about not chastising Misaki Nakajima (Risa Naito) for slacking off and shifting her work onto other people. Michiko finally puts her foot down after a pep-talk from Kurosawa the night before. During their second date, Mogami asks Shibata to go out with him from now on with the intent to marry.

This series continues to hit all of the right notes for me and I have to admit that I like it a lot more than Something About One Percent. We see the odd friendship between Ikushima and Shibata, with Akira willingly taking on the role of “big sis”. I really like the rapport between these two characters as I did in the manga, along with how the live-action adaptation continues to deal with some of the other relationships from the manga.

There is not much to add beyond what I have said already. Seriously, if you are looking to watch a cute comedic drama then you really should consider giving this series a watch. It is freaking adorable. While you are at it, feel free to check out the manga.

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TV Review: Something About One Percent Episode 11

Episodes: episode 10/16 of English subbed KDrama series
Something About 1 Percent Online: MyDramaList, DramaFeverIMDBAsianWiki
Genre: Romantic Comedy

It is that time of the week again, where I go over the next episode of the weekly Asian Drama. I know that it is a day late. Oh, well. I’ll blame it on the numerous adorable animal videos that I watched yesterday.

In this week’s episode, Kim Da-Hyun (Jeon So-Min) tortures the idiotic Lee Jae-In (Ha Seok-Jin) over the lie that was revealed at the end of the last episode. Whilst short-lived, it at least dealt with that. Min Tae-Ha (Kim Hyung Min) discusses it with his dad Min Hyuk-Ju (Kim Min-Sang) who is none too pleased that his plan hit a roadblock. However, Tae-Ha has his own reasons for not wanting Jae-In together with Da-Hyun. Da-Hyun finally gets Jae-In to set up a meeting with his grandfather Lee Kyoo Cheol’s (Joo Jin Mo), who agrees so long as it is at an annual meeting that Tae-Ha hasn’t attended in years. And in the midst of this, Jae-In’s ex-fiancee Han Joo-Hee (Seo Eun-Chae) is still trying to mess with the blossoming relationship between our main characters.

Not a lot happened in terms of intrigue compared to last week, but the story seems to be moving noticeably forward nonetheless. We see Da-Hyun now more aware of what the will contains and Jae-In having to step up a bit more into the role of heir-apparent. We also see the perplexing character of Tae-Ha, who it appears has a separate agenda from that of his father. The story seems to be lining things up nicely. On a good note, the annoying song stings from episode ten were nowhere to be heard this week. Thank goodness for that.

Things that we learnt this week:

  • Deputy Han’s father owns a butcher shop
  • Balloons fix everything
  • Whenever a ladder is involved, somebody is destined to fall off
  • Dress-ups are fun
  • It seems that all of the wildlife has long since evacuated the city. I’ll blame it on that dog that Da-Hyun tried to save a few episodes ago. It was clearly evil

With only a few episodes left, one wonders how the last few threads of existing conflict will play out. I am kind of looking forward to it, and don’t have the same level of separation anxiety as I do with the manga Love So Life. I have my theories but I will keep them to myself for now.

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TV Review: Something About One Percent Episode 10

Episodes: episode 10/16 of English subbed KDrama series
Something About 1 Percent Online: MyDramaList, DramaFeverIMDBAsianWiki
Genre: Romantic Comedy

I am back for another review of my current weekly Asian drama. I did try to get it posted earlier, but I had to deal with the weekly manga that I wasn’t able to post yesterday because I wasn’t feeling well. In any case, here it is.

In this instalment of the series, we see Kim Da-Hyun (Jeon So-Min) meet with bitchy Aunt Whats-her-name, get harassed by Lee Jae-In’s (Ha Seok-Jin) ex-fiancee Han Joo-Hee (Seo Eun-Chae) at Hyun Yin’s (Im Do Yoon) boutique, and has numerous pleasant run-ins with Min Tae-Ha (Kim Hyung Min). Tae-Ha is growing more and more suspicious of his father Min Hyuk-Ju’s (Kim Min-Sang) business dealings with Chairman Han. Things get even more complicated for Da-Hyun and Jae-In when somebody leaks a false story about Jae-In and Joo-Hee being engaged, affecting stock prices and potentially hurting Da-Hyun’s trust in Jae-In in the process. Finally, we see Tae-Ha drop Da-Hyun off at her place and we end with a potential run-in with Jae-In who was waiting for Da-Hyun to get back from her moral support of Ji Su at an orphanage gig.

This episode had a lot going on in it. It is finally at a point where Da-Hyun will learn about that other piece of his grandfather’s will that he conveniently left out when discussing it with Da-Hyun earlier in the series. This lie-by-omission will likely create friction between our two lead characters over the next few episodes.
The episode also brings us closer to Jae-In and several other players discovering with Hyuk-Ju and Chairman Han are up to. This is a somewhat curious arc, but it certainly does gives us room to learn about the character of some of the other figures in the series and what they are willing to do to get what they want. Tae-Ha’s own arc is somewhat interesting in of itself. This particular character really does seem torn between his family and some semblance of ethics. However, he still doesn’t have confirmation of what his dad and Chairman Han are up to yet, which means that we have to wait for at least a few more episodes to see how his own character arc plays out.
My main complaint in this episode was some of the audio stings used for some of the dramatic moments. It was a weird cross between old Charlie Angels stings and something one would expect from the Six Million Dollar Man. It seemed oddly out of place compared to some of the other music used in the series so far. It was used minimally last episode, which was bearable. However, the frequency in which it was used in this episode was highly irritating and took me out of the moment somewhat.
So, what did we learn in this episode?

  1. Ji Su only seems to know one song
  2. Han Joo-Hee is a bit of a bitch and somewhat territorial when it comes to Jae-In
  3. Chairman Han may very well be just as dodgy as Min Hyuk-Ju
  4. Kim Da-Hyun likes to torture Lee Jae-In

With six episodes left, I am somewhat curious as to how the various arcs will resolve and how each of the characters that I have come to appreciate will find their own piece of happiness. I will be royally pissed if this series has one of those bittersweet endings as it really wouldn’t fit with the vibe of the series thus far. In any case, I have six episodes to see how it all plays out. Until next time!

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TV Review: Something About One Percent Episode 9

Episodes: episode 9/16 of English subbed KDrama series
Something About 1 Percent Online: MyDramaList, DramaFeverIMDBAsianWiki
Genre: Romantic Comedy

This review was slightly delayed, but I tried to make sure that I didn’t leave it too long. In any case, I apologise for the delay and will attempt to make it up to you over the next few days. I have no clue as to when I will have the next anime series review out. So, no promises on that front.
I may attempt to track down an earlier TV adaptation of this series after I finish this version as folks that have watched both seem to enjoy the other version from 2003 a lot more. I am somewhat curious about how different the two shows are from each other. I do find it interesting to also note just how many adaptations that a lot of Asian shows and manga have. An example can be seen in the various TV and film adaptations for the manga series Itazura na Kiss beyond the anime adaptation that I finished and reviewed a few weeks ago. The current offering in the more recent film franchise has a second and third part coming out later this year. As long as it is entertaining and tries to hold somewhat close to the source material, I will likely take the time to watch the franchise.

Episode 9 follows the morning after Kim Da-Hyun (Jeon So-Min) spent the night over at Lee Jae-In’s  (Ha Seok-Jin) apartment. In lieu of his fridge not having food in it, they eat at the hotel and Jae-In is accosted by his ex-fiancee Han Joo-Hee (Seo Eun-Chae) after he chats to Kang Sa Hee (Lee Kan Hee) about the file that his new mother gave him concerning recent stock fluctuations. Da-Hyun goes back to her apartment and Lee is concerned enough to leave work early in order to spend time with her. However, this is not before they learn that the dating contract that they co-signed was out of place even for a break-in. They go grocery shopping, eat a home-cooked meal prepared by Kim and he goes over some more paperwork while her apartment is being renovated. (FTI, he also just purchased her apartment along with the rest of the building.)
Min Tae-Ha (Kim Hyung Min) meets with his douchebag father Min Hyuk-Ju (Kim Min-Sang) who informs him of the change in his grandfather Lee Kyoo Cheol’s (Joo Jin Mo) will and tells him to run interference in order to have a shot at the inheritance. Tae-Ha is hesitant because he seems to have a sense of morals, unlike his dad. He is also sceptical as to whether his dad acquired information about the will legally.
Da-Hyun and Jae-In go to the bar at the hotel to meet Park Hyung-Joon ( Kim Sun-Hyuk). Queue ogling from yours truly. Joo-Hee shows up unexpectedly and tries to make Da-Hyun doubt a relationship to Jae-In, not just because of jealousy. (Let’s just face it, he has a shitty track record with relationships.)  Da-Hyun is upset all the way back to Jae-In’s apartment and he stuns her with what would have to be the most uncomfortable-looking and adorable kiss. He takes her back to her apartment which now has a kick-ass security system. They spend the first night away from each other since her apartment was broken into.

A bit more happened this episode compared to episode eight. We see evidence building up in regards to Min Hyuk-Ju’s business and legal activities, which will no doubt be uncovered by other characters soon enough. It also puts forward a moral quandary for Min Tae-Ha. Is he willing to date a woman just for money? Does he like Da-Hyun enough from their brief dealings to even consider her girlfriend material? These questions will be a point of internal conflict for the character over the next few episodes.
As for the growing relationship between Kim Da-Hyun and Lee Jae-In, we see their own view of their relationship at a point now where it isn’t simply business anymore. This is beautifully played out, but this also creates a point of conflict for Da-Hyun. As for Jae-In, it has been and continues to be a means for positive character development.
So, what did we learn from this episode?

  1. It was implied previously, but we know that Lee Jae-In is willing to throw ample amounts of cash to fix a problem. However, it is even better if that money is a good investment
  2. Han Joo-Hee still has a lot of misconceptions about Lee Jae-In, and is a little gropey
  3. Opinion: Min Tae-In may very well be one of the better characters in the show because his own morals are constantly tested by that of his parents
  4. Longsuffering Team Leader Kang Sa Hee remains one of the more adorable characters in the series. That man deserves a Coke, maybe several. The actor that plays him is also cute, but his attractiveness is played down by the body language of his character in this show

Now that we are officially past the half-way point in the series, I feel really good about the various points of conflict already in play. It’s been a really fun ride so far, and I look forward to ogling Kim Sun-Hyuk even more as we move ever closer to the conclusion of the series. This show, in spite of its flaws, remains highly entertaining to watch.

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TV Review: Goblin Episode 01

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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TV Review: Love O2O Episode 02

Year: 2016
Episode: 2/30 of completed CDrama series (English sub)
Other Names: A Smile is Very Beautiful; WeiWei’s Beautiful Smile, Just One Smile is Very Alluring
Online: Wikipedia [1] & [2], MyDramaList, IMDB, DramaFever
Genre: Drama, Romantic Comedy (light)

Aha! I am back again with my impressions of the second episode of Love O2O.

After Xiao Nai (Yang Yang) asks Bei Wei Wei (Zheng Shuang) to couple in-game at the end of the last episode ahead of a financially lucrative competition, the two arrange for the official ceremony a few days later. We get to meet Xiao Nai’s roommates, who become very interested in his new game wife. On the day of the game wedding, Xiao Nai and his friends attend a game convention in order to garner interest for a game app that they’ve created. Bei Wei Wei gets to meet his roommates in-game ahead of the wedding parade and the pair starts the parade. They then perform some wedding-related quests in order to finalise their marriage ritual. Not long after that, a series of photos with Bei Wei Wei getting out of a sports car are posted online, leading to gossip on campus. Whilst Bei Wei Wei tracks down the Language Arts student that posted the images in order to clear up the misunderstanding. She leaves him information about the woman that owns the car. Meanwhile, Xiao Nai sees the post online and recognises the bag the student in the photos is holding and recalls the girl at the internet cafe. He now knows who she is. Later, he arranges to meet with her avatar, where the two punish a douchebag that was dissing Bei Wei Wei’s avatar during the wedding parade.

Well, this episode was slightly slower than the previous one, but that is not necessarily a bad thing given what the episode contributed to the overall progression of the storyline. It introduced some new characters and also expanded on one of the side characters that we saw in the first episode. We also see multiple points of conflict both in the MMORPG life of our two leads as well as in the real life. A few of the things brought up in this episode will likely be relevant a few episodes down the track as well. Er Xi (Mao Xiao Tong) stays consistently adorable and funny to watch, but I can’t help but think that we need something more for her character to do. She seems like an underutilised resource at present.
There is something that has been bugging me since the beginning, though. The intro and outro credits are way too long and seem to cut down on a certain amount of mystery for the series. It seems like something that could have been easily remedied during production. That being said, I have seen a lot worse.

In any case, I will continue watching this series because there is a charm to what I have seen so far. I am genuinely interested in the characters and wonder what stumbling blocks that the main couple will contend with over the remaining 28 episodes. There is also the question of the upcoming competition that Xiao Nai and Bei Wei Wei will be competing in. i suppose that we will have to wait to see how it all pans out.

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TV Review: Please Love the Useless Me Episode 02

Year: 2016
Episode: Episode 2/10 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 am back with my review of the second episode in the Please Love the Useless Me live-action TV adaptation.

After Ayumu Kurosawa (Dean Fujioka) mistakenly kissed Michiko Shibata (Kyoko Fukada) while drunk at the end of the last episode, our heroine wonders about the woman that he whispered the name out in his groggy state. Encouraged by Ayumu who is completely unaware that he kissed her, Michiko begins to push forward with her job-hunting and lands an office position. Though she falls back into some self-destructive people-pleasing habits, Michiko manages to gain the attention of a young man that she’s met by chance several times before, Daichi Mogami (Shohei Muira).

This episode might have changed a few scenes here and there, but we see it staying close enough to the manga to hold the charm and adorableness of the original. I was happy to see some more iconic scenes from the series also be added to the script for the live-action. Then again, most readers of the series would have got upset if they’d been dumped.
I have been waiting for the meat pillow not-a-date sequence since I first discovered this adaptation existed, and I wasn’t disappointed with how it played out in this second episode. It is one of those sequences in the manga that sums up the characters of Ayumu and Michiko so well. It is that energy and a seemingly simple act of kindness that also shows what the two characters offer each other as human beings and friends. Ever since I read the sequence in the manga, I’ve wanted one of those damned meat cushions as well. I might have to convince my hubby to get one.
To Mogami, it was evident from the first episode who he was. Shohei Miura does an awesome job of capturing his youthful enthusiasm and naivety as well as his openness about his feelings for Michiko, an appropriate opposite for Dean Fujioka’s Kurosawa. We know from the start that his relationship with Michiko is not going to work out, but we still root for him because the character is a nice, hardworking guy.
We get to see more of Ayumu’s ex-girlfriend Akira Ikushima (Maho Nonami) again. She was a staple in the manga as well, and it is really nice seeing how well Maho Nonami portrays her character. The more that I see of her acting, the more inclined that I am to check out more of her roles. In this episode, we see her friendship with Michiko developing nicely. Michiko’s own life also puts her own into perspective, making their friendship make a lot of sense from a psychological point of view.
We got to see more of the two friends that Michiko had back when she was Ayumu’s subordinate. Aki Yoneda (Kinako Kobayashi) and Erika Fujimoto (Izumi Fujimoto) are such wonderful, supportive characters that offer a lot of insight into Michiko’s past. Without them, we wouldn’t get to see more of Michiko’s life beyond her dealings with Ayumu.

This episode did a good job of reaching important milestones in the life of our heroine. Whilst it might deviate ever so slightly from the manga, such as change of setting seen in the drunk kiss sequence, it still manages to hold true to the original. As such, I will be happily continuing this series.