Emperor of the Sea

Emperor of the Sea (2004)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 466 users
Reviews: 3 users

Jang Bo Go was a slave from Shilla (a Korean dynasty that lasted from 57 B.C. until 935 A.D.) He was sold in China during the Tang Dynasty, where he was trained as a gladiator-slave. Through hardwork and perseverance, he made it back to Shilla and became a successful sea merchant. The sea passage at the time was plagued by pirates and Jang Bo Go went head to head with them in read morebattles and managed to keep the pirates at bay. This epic drama tells the story of a historical figure blending it with intrigue and battle of wit to make it into a successful drama of all times.

  • Native title:

    해신
  • Also Known as:

    Sea God; God of the Sea; Hae Shin;

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wonhwa
14 people found this review helpful
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Mar 14, 2014
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 6.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 5.0
In a beauty pageant, Emperor of the Sea/Sea God would win hands-down. From sweeping vistas of windy cliffs to carefully composed interiors to torch-lit ships fanning out across the darkened sea, it is one of the most beautifully filmed k-dramas that I’ve watched. It also features an intriguing central triangle anchored by a break-through performance by a dynamic, dangerous Song Il-Guk. Unfortunately, the directing, acting and cinematography can’t make up for the read more weaknesses in the writing. As long as the screenwriters are dealing with the characters’ early lives where few historical facts are available, things clip along fairly well. The writing is solid if not exceptional, and the show’s other strengths outweigh the script’s drawbacks. However, once the characters collide with reasonably well documented historical facts in the final third of the show, things start to go awry. Character motivations change inexplicably and the narrative becomes confused and repetitive. The writers seem unable to fit the characters they’ve created to the actions that, at least according to extant sources, they actually commit. Lots of stuff, much of it bad, happens, but it often feels arbitrary, robbing the climatic scenes of the feeling of inevitability needed for maximum dramatic impact. It’s as if you’ve spent 50 hours with a set of characters only to watch them get randomly flattened by a meteor at the end. It may be spectacular but it’s not especially satisfying.
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WanderingRonin
5 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 13, 2013
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
Sea God/Emperor of the Sea is an amazing lengthy drama. We follow the life of Goong Bok (later named Jang Bo Go) who is a slave at a shipyard and wishes to escape the horrible life of slavery with his close friend Jung Nyeon who is somewhat a stereotypical side-kick character (the I'll-die-for-you-and-follow-you-wherever-you-go type). They are pleaded guilty for crimes they are innocent of, learn martial arts together, go through many near read more death experiences and later advance through ranks to become important people.

The story starts a little slow but is still interesting right from the first episode. Its the kind of drama you could marathon but personally I didn't because although it gets really interesting, it was never so addictive that I couldn't stop watching (guess thats a good thing? Hehe). There are many unpredictables in the drama all around. Things that you'd usually want to happen in dramas but never happen will happen here and things you'd probably not want to happen will happen as well. You might like it because it feels fresh tries to avoid the stereotypical stuff rampant in dramas but you might also detest it and curse the writers for not allowing things to go the way you want. This might especially apply in the romance department, it never really goes in the direction the romance lovers would want it to (especially the way it ends).

Some nitpicks for this drama (why it doesn't get 10/10) would be for one, I couldn't agree with actress Chae Si Ra being cast as madam Jami (the main female antagonist). According to the drama madam Jami is supposedly beautiful, seductive, intimidating and at times, scary. When the drama tries to give you any of these impressions from the actress, it just falls flat. Also, I found some of the fight scenes hilarious with all the unnecessary jumping and funny sound effects but overall they are actually very well done (also considering the year it was done, the experience the cast had at the time with fight choreography and just the overall fact that Korea has never been on par with China when it comes to martial arts in films or dramas). Anyways the hilarious parts are few. The ost in the drama are ok. Sounds like typical stuff if you're a k-drama veteran. You either like the ost or dont really care.

As a whole this drama has amazing production, excellent actors, deals heavily with themes of dirty politics, merchants & trade, pirate battles, country wars and is highly recommended to all k-drama lovers especially those who like the historical & martial arts blend and the rise of an underdog.

POSSIBLE SPOLIER BELOW:
The ending is why a lot of people might rate this drama poorly and I'd have to agree that it was a bit bad. Not anything I couldn't swallow so it didn't weigh heavily on me like the ending of Queen Seon Duk did (maybe because Ive seen worse or maybe because it seemed ridiculous). You could say the ending is similar to Bad Guy with a little extra. It sort of makes sense but if the writers wanted to, they could've made it happier.
POSSIBLE SPOLIER END
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both about a slave who has ambition to be free and put his name in the history.
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Comments (9)

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    LPA Sep 28, 2016 - edited

    Held my interest throughout even though the two female leads were way too quiet and overall boring by the end of the drama. Actor Choi Soo Jong (Jang Bogok) was perfect in his role and I also liked Yeom-Moon (Song Il Gook) and other actors (:
    The female antagonist was ok but a bit over dramatic. I was really hoping for an amazing ending even up to the last half of the final episode (51). How can a drama end like this--not just sad, but so dissapointing! From now on I'm only going to watch very long dramas if they have a super high rating. I could not watch this again --too bad. I wanted to like it more! The makings were there! I gave it a rating of 7.5

  • Reply
    SamuraiSx Aug 14, 2015

    I just can say a couple of words about this drama to not spoil anything *o*.
    This drama is in all aspects: AMAZING! from the actors, sceneries, costumes, music <3, story, plotwist... it was far beyond good historical Korean drama. I enjoyed every episode of it! But still ending was really really harsh. It shows how human nature can be stupid going around circles without listening right words and teachings, and when realising how big mistake was made, it's too late.. This drama greatly represents various characters and their circumanities, their way of life, way of thinking and their actions, their goals or their despair. This should be good historical drama for everyone to learn something and to watch themself from another angle. Humanity still does the same mistakes even after so many years.
    and now about drama - BATLLES are EPIC! martial arts are shown on really high level and I just can prize million times for greatly done scenes of fight. *o*
    also romance wasn't boring, girls were great also like guys, various but with good reason behind their behaviours and decisions.
    all in all, for those who want one good good goood historical drama with much going on in it, with good characters and good plot, with much ups and downs (when it comes to emotions), this is for you. :) and beside, that I think this can watch everyone and enjoy or learn somthing new~

  • Reply
    Kdramalover Jun 17, 2015

    i love this drama so much but endding was really sad

  • Reply
    Sweety May 17, 2014 - edited

    This is a great drama and kept my interest in all watched episodes. It is inspiring to watch two friends preserver and overcome adversities to become successful people. My favorite and most complex character was Yeom-Moon (great acting by Song Il-Gook). Song Il Gook is in any of his dramas / movies still one of my all time best historical acting actor - real HERO! <3 And my high rate is for Song Il Gook. (y) I feel that the success of this drama is tied with Song Il Gooks master acting - he is the only MAIN-MAIN-MAIN Role actor in this drama. and i am sure that many of us are watching it with hope that the winner will be Yeom-Moon (Song Il Gook). <3

    • Reply
      DimpledGangster May 31, 2014 - edited

      lol. So much Song Il Gook love in your post :D But I find the man divine myself. But Choi Su Jong is an excellent actor, and an effortless entertainer who enjoys acting a lot so I would be watching it to see how his character fares as well. Choi Su Jong vs Song Il Gook must make for an interesting watch.

    • Reply
      Sweety May 31, 2014

      that is your choice. but there, where are to show martial arts and great hidden and intelligence love, than Song Il Gook is the BEST. For me only Lee Joon Gi can be compared with him in martial arts.

    • Reply
      DimpledGangster May 31, 2014 - edited

      Dramas are not martial arts contests. But yes, whatever floats your boat. I do share your opinion of SIG in large part, though.

    • Reply
      SamuraiSx Aug 14, 2015

      sorry but Yoom Moon just did too many bad things and awful things and destroyed too many lifes to be forgiven, even for me I was hoping for him all the time still. But no at the end he proved that he was just stupid. Gooong Bok was faraway more mature than Yeom-Moon till the end. I like both actors but Yum Moon really disappointed me deeply >_<

  • Reply
    cvcvcv Mar 3, 2014
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Syrus23 Nov 8, 2013

    Now you can watch it on gooddrama.net :)

  • Reply
    Ginger Nov 22, 2012

    it was great

  • Reply
    Lucian_Silver Mar 28, 2011

    <333333333333333333333

Details

  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

    Drama
  • Episodes:

    51
  • Aired:

    Nov 24, 2004 to May 25, 2005
  • Aired On:

    Wednesday
  • Network:

    KBS2
  • Duration:

    1 hr. 5 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    7.9 (scored by 466 users)
  • Ranked:

    #829
  • Popularity:

    #1406

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