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Nagareboshi
30 people found this review helpful
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Oct 26, 2011
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Touching. Romantic. Lovely. Addicting in a slow, pensive way. This drama is a little wonder, one I fell in love with without a clear reason: it's not sparkling, the action is reduced to the bare minimum, and so are words. But there's an intensity in the long silences which makes the unspoken a lot louder than whatever is being said.

Most of it is due to the excellent cast. I knew Ueto read more Aya from Attention Please and loved her there: she was the reason why I watched that drama and the only reason why I completed it. There she was feisty and entertaining, here she plays the role of a disillusioned young woman, wary of men - who can blame her? - and in desperate need of warmth and a sense of belonging. Her acting is outstanding, one can't help falling in love with her fragility, her courage and beauty.
Takenouchi Yutaka is just as awesome. His character is that of an honest man who leads a simple life but is ready to go to any length in order to save his sister. He's so sedate throughout the whole drama, I expected him to burst out at some point. But he didn't, and I realize now this is what makes him into such an endearing character. He expresses a world of meaning via glances and silences: I loved it.
The encounter between Risa and Kengo is poignant and their interaction from that point on is always defined by a sedate fire. Nobody shouts, or desperately cries or have fits of anger, and yet the chemistry is powerful.
I don't think it's accidental that Matsuda Shota speaks in a very sedate and calm way too through the whole show. This is the imprint of Nagareboshi. Just like the beautiful jellyfishes that float around in the aquarium. I never thought I could come to consider jellyfishes such beautiful creatures.
The side cast is just as brilliant, mostly the women.

The photography deserves a mention too. There are some truly outstanding sceneries of Japan shown in this drama. I was captivated by the colours and the general atmosphere. I love it that Japanese can produce wonderful dramas without the pomp and the shine we have been accustomed to with the usual super stars sporting gorgeous outfits or your average hero under the shower. This is a simple yet complicated love story between two very average people. It could be us.

The music is beautiful, although not my genre. I usually prefer instrumental pieces in dramas, so I don't really care much for songs. But it suits the pace and the feel of the drama perfectly.

If you like well acted, slow developing stories without love triangles or squares, played on style more than actual happenings, this drama is for you. I suppose it's for mature viewers - and I'm not referring to age.
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Warrior Baek Dong Soo
28 people found this review helpful
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Apr 11, 2015
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
It seems this drama has literally divided the audience into two groups: the passionate lovers and the just as passionate haters. I believe the reason resides in the gulf between the story and the plot, in other words between what the drama is about and the way it was written to convey it. I belong to the group of the lovers for 28 hours and 50 minutes and to the haters for read more the last 10.

The plot is a hot mess. Very hot on the eyes and the heart and very much a mess for the intellect. But, frankly, I was more than willing to overlook every plot-hole, every unrealistic twist, every narrative ingenuity while watching, because the emotions portrayed were so strong, so moving and beautiful, it was like swimming in self-inflicted, desired pain. This is a story of friendship, and this aspect is wonderful. I rejoiced in every scene which would bring the friends/rivals together on screen and not surprisingly those scenes are the best shot ones too, with some stunning choreography and mesmerizing music. I could have watched 29 hours of sword fights or friends silently sitting next to each other without complain. This is what the story is about and as I said it's incredibly beautiful.

On the other hand, the plot, or, if you prefer, the writing, goes everywhere and nowhere. Aliens could have landed in Joseon and killed them all with laser beams and it would have gone almost unnoticed in the circus. I'm not saying the politics didn't count, but I simply didn't care. What I cared about were the characters and their bond.
First, the kids: they enchanted me. Because this drama is totally devoid of mother figures – the only living one having refused to be such for 20 years – I suppose my very latent mother instinct came to the surface with a vengeance. The acting by both Yeo Jin Goo and Park Gun Tae was amazing and I'm kind of indignant they are listed as "guest roles" here. In less than 4 episodes they managed to make me love the characters and die to see how they'd connect to one another. The young Wun in particular must be the most harrowing character I've come across in a long while. My desire to kill that father of his with my own hands reached unexpected and disquieting heights.
Then, there's the older generation of friends/foes, mainly Chun the Sky Lord and Gwan Taek, who share a weird bond based on rivalry and grumpy respect shown with swords. I won't spend too many words on the two actors, they are simply brilliant and the director seemed to share my opinion since the best camera works are dedicated to them. I mostly appreciated Choi Min Soo's rendition of his character, which could have easily come out of a Sergio Leone's film.
This drama is based on a manwha and this is particularly obvious in all the main characters who are clear cut and distinctive like drawings.

Not so the adult Dong Soo And Yeo Wun, who mature and change, making this into a coming-of-age drama. As single individuals they are very different, one light the other dark, one goofy the other somber, one stubborn the other easy to manipulate, but together they shine. I loved the acting of both Ji Chang Wook and Yo Seung Ho; the first because he enters the character in a way that makes you instantly forget whatever role you may have seen him in before: here, he's Dong Soo. There's a lot of physicality in his acting, which makes his performance totally believable. Seung Ho has such expressive eyes he steals the screen by a single, all-telling glance. His character is all played on subtlety, which makes it extremely powerful. As I said, separately they do great, but together they are unforgettable. It helps that they are both so smouldering handsome; in a drama based so much upon visuals, this isn't a secondary aspect at all.

Also, I must be the only living creature who liked Shin Hyun Bin here. What everybody described as a wooden performance I found to be delicate and very fitting to her role. What that role was, is another story entirely: the romance is so secondary it's almost non-existent here. This in the most common sense of the word, since the drama is profoundly romantic in the classical definition of sentimental and tumultuous.

I invested a lot of feeling in this drama, this is why the very last minutes infuriated me. I can condone many faults of this script, but I will never, ever forgive the writer for not honouring a particular character the way he deserved, for cutting short on a farewell I had been kind of expecting (and dreading) since the beginning. Many tears welled in my eyes but never had the time to come out, leaving me frustrated and empty. I suppose I should thank the production for hastening my healing process this way, for reminding me life goes on, or I'd be still suffering now. I'm not sure it's fair to lower the overall score of a drama due to the last 10 minutes, but for a show that expects you to leave the brain aside and only watch with the heart it feels like cheating.

The music is a different story. To put it short, this is the best drama Ost I've heard so far. It contributes so much to the feeling I believe it is mainly responsible for my loving the drama and overlooking its faults. Honorable mention to BMK's powerful "Yanoy", to its harrowing acoustic version by Eun Tae Park and to the haunting "Stagnant" by Shin Sung Woo. If you have the chance, give a look at the lyrics too, as they are beautifully poetic.

I don't think I'll watch the entire drama again. I will definitely re-watch single scenes though, just for the wonderful aesthetic of them. On the other hand though, I've watched a disgustingly high number of MVs and fan videos only for the sake of Dong Soo and Yeo Wun. Given how many are to be found, it seems I'm not the only one.
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Love Shuffle
63 people found this review helpful
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Apr 30, 2011
  • Overall 10
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
I stumbled upon this little jewel of a drama while following the filmography of Hiroshi Tamaki, the actor who basically introduced me to Asian dramas. Soon enough, I found myself forgetting about Tamaki-san, caught in the whirlwind of this surprising, thrilling, daring plot.

This is usually referred to as a romantic comedy, but the definition is not really accurate. It is romantic inasmuch as it deals with love, but it's neither cute read more nor lacy/flowery/traditionally romantic. And although it has numerous comedic situations and dialogues, it touches serious issues, leaving their final verdict suspended, making the viewer be the judge.

The cast is brilliant. Every character comes to life and has a wonderful screen presence. None is either completely good or bad, though. They're over the top, at times obnoxious, often surreal, always human. And because the game they are involved with requires them to interact with one another in turn, each time a different side to each character is unveiled.

It's an adult drama. Not because it shows anything improper, but because it deals with adult feelings, failures, expectations and needs.
The music serves its purpose brilliantly, moving at the same rhythm with the plot.

Definitely a must see, in my book.
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Go
40 people found this review helpful
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May 18, 2011
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
"This is my love story".

The movie opens up with this declaration, uttered in background narration by the main character while he's scorned and targeted by a players-filled basketball court. And it isn't only the rival team watching him with contempt: his own teammates are shouting the loudest.

"This is my love story", repeats Sugihara while he escapes from the police or is beaten by his father.

The read more contrast between the narration and the scene shown on screen gives us the key to the reading of the whole film, which is about finding ones place between love and hate, belonging and distancing, caring and detachment.

It's the story of a young man who has to show the world he doesn't give a dime while inside he's yearning for a sense of belonging.



GO is a wonderfully dramatic movie, one that deals with a cruel reality of discrimination. It's the journey of a guy who struggles to find his place on the planet. But don't be fooled by the surface: the director highlights the Japanese prejudices and the Korean stubborn obtuseness in equal measure. To each their own share.

And in the middle of this, there's Sugihara, who looks like a Japanese, talks like a Japanese, was born in Japan and is not recognized as one. His part is superbly acted: Yosuke Kubozuka is so convincing one can't help falling for him despite his murderous glances and his rebellious spirit.



So how is this a love story?

It is such on multiple levels: there's love for the friends, love for a father shown with fists, love for a country - or 2 - and love for a girl.

The music fits the pace beautifully, never overpowering the scenes.



Overall an emotion-filled movie, superb in acting, direction, plot and photography.

To be avoided if you're looking for a light watch. A must if you like thought-provoking films.
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Soratobu Kouhoushitsu
39 people found this review helpful
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Jun 27, 2013
  • Overall 10
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
I have been debating for a while if I should give this drama an overall 9 or give in to the impulse of bestowing it a 10. The "masterpiece" definition always sounds a little awkward to me, it seems to require I were ready to offer defensible reasons for my choices.

But I'm hair-splitting. Soratobu Kouhoushitsu is a terrific drama, one that starts without any pomp or expectations and slowly sneaks into read more the heart and under your skin. It does so in such a gradual, delicate and suave way the effect is powerful and lasting. By the end, I was so sad to see these characters go I couldn't bring myself to watch the last 15 minutes.
When I begin to feel nostalgic about something that isn't even over yet, it means I'm seriously in love. This is why I am not at all sure I'll be able to convey the feeling with my review, or convince any of you to watch this little jewel of a drama. This is not a rom-com, it's not melo, it's not a thriller, nor a simple life drama; it doesn't rely on plot twists, nor on sexy heroes... and yet my heart has stopped many times while watching.

Perhaps the main reason is in the acting, which is wonderful. I never needed confirmation of Aragaki Yui's acting skill, since I've loved her in everything she's acted in. This role however has sealed the issue. I loved everything about Ina-pyon, from her stubborn and passionate honesty at the beginning, to her compassion and better understanding she grows into. And I adored the chemistry she shared on screen with an outstanding Ayano Go, whom I have every intention of becoming a stalker to.
Honourable mention to Shibata Kohei, the most lovable, unforgettable and adorable chief ever appeared on screen. I'm almost offended that the actor isn't even mentioned in the cast. He was awesome here, the kind of character everyone would like to have as a father, or a superior at work.
Hats off to everyone else, from a gorgeous Renn Kiriyama to a hilarious Mizuno Miki, from a surprising Katsuhisa Namase to a sweetly idiotic Jun Kaname.

I can't possibly not mention the cinematography. Stunning. While watching I had to stop the screen every other minute to get a screenshot. Beautiful colours, terrific attention to little details, masterful use of camera angles. Truly lovely.

The same could be said about the music. Not too many pieces are used, but the few have the ability to enhance the scene and play with the viewer's feelings, just what an Ost should do.

I am well aware that I haven't said much about the main subjects of this drama. You may be wondering at this point: what it is about?
Please, bear with me. If my experience is anything to go by, this is a drama better approached without expectations or prejudice. Let its charm work on you as it did on me, by surprise.
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Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru
58 people found this review helpful
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Aug 18, 2012
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
I watched this movie more than 2 years ago.
The reason why I suddenly feel the need to write a review is because I believe it has been wronged in more than one respect. First, the badly written synopsis which focuses on irrelevant details and gives the impression this were a depraved movie of some sort - which is not.
Second, because I have a very hard time understanding why anyone should read more watch a movie well knowing it deals with incest and then complain about the fact that it portrays such a delicate and offending issue. It's like eating at a sushi bar and then refusing to pay because one doesn't like raw fish.

The main theme of this movie is two biological siblings loving each other. This is not a spoiler, as it is clearly stated in the synopsis. If you think you can't face the issue and are disgusted by the idea, I suggest you simply don't watch it.
On the other hand, if you can confront the matter of an adolescent being obsessed with his sister, this movie deals with it in a delicate, far from vulgar way. It is very well acted and stresses upon the internal - we may call it infernal too - struggle of the male lead to overcome his obsession.
It's a slow film which doesn't play on events as much as it tries to depict the battle between reason and passion. It is not a romantic movie by any means either, and yet there's a sweetness surrounding some of the scenes which goes beyond the mere issue of this being a wrong sort of love.

I can't remember the music, hence the non-committal mark.

Among all the movies I like to rewatch, this is certainly not on the top of my list. However, it is a brave movie which I believe deserves at least some fair mentioning.
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Scent of a Woman
65 people found this review helpful
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Sep 13, 2011
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
I loved this drama to bits, but not for the reasons I was meant to.
Imagine you are sold a book with the cover of a travel guide and on reading discover that in fact it contains a romantic novel. You are captivated by the story and read it to the end, but you'll have to go out again to buy that travel book you didn't get in the first place.
That's read more exactly what happens when you start watching Scent of a Woman. You prepare yourself for a romantic comedy and find out that there isn't even a hint of comedy. The scenes which are meant to elicit a laugh range from painfully embarrassing to bitter-sweet.

But I loved it nonetheless. If the definition existed, I'd call this drama an "urgent passion". Urgency is the undercurrent of the whole show, to the point as a viewer I found myself praying for more time along the main female character. And passion for life is the glue that keeps all plot lines together.
The actors are amazing. All of them. I can safely say this is the best acted drama I've seen in a while. If you want to feel true empathy, cry, smile, grit your teeth or fall in love, watch this. The chemistry between the leads is tangible, and it grows so subtly and gradually it becomes a natural process in their story. I understood why they loved each other and not because the writer wanted me to, but because they were so incredibly believable.
The same applies to all the secondary characters. You'll grow to love them or hate them, they are not bi-dimensional people. They stay consistent to their nature and when/if they change they do so without pomp or unbelievable u-turns.
And I love that the message of this show is not a simple "live your life to the fullest". There's so much more. As I see it, the main theme of Scent of a Woman is: we are not alone here; everything we do, and the way we do it, effects the lives of those around us in a huge domino effect.
Message subtly told and beautifully executed.

Photography and attention to details are spotless.
I didn't really care for the music, but this is just me. It was chosen with sense and I appreciated the fact that it was in line with the show: elegant. I'm glad they didn't go for any lalala pop song, which would have ruined the mood.

Without spoiling the end of it, I need to say the last episode was simply perfect and beautiful, one of the reasons why I'm giving the drama a full 10.
Therefore, I'm going out now to buy that travel guide book I wanted, but I'll keep this beautiful love story bought by mistake on my shelf, for future re-reading/watching.
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King2Hearts
107 people found this review helpful
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May 24, 2012
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
I apologize in advance for the length of what follows.
This drama hit me like a tsunami of emotions and has left me bruised in so many places I'm in dire need of a strong tonic
I had promised myself to never say this, but rules are made to be broken: King 2 Hearts is the best drama I have ever watched. It is so because it fully responds to what I read more ask a work of fiction: not just to entertain me, but to make me feel. Deeply.

I suppose it's not for everyone though. It raises issues which require a level of maturity, as well as a huge dose of emotional strength. It plays on prejudices and the rotten nature of politics, sparing no one: the arrogance of the western world, the obtuseness of military regimes, the cowardice of politicians, the corruptive power of money no matter where. But it highlights the best virtues too: loyalty, friendship, courage, honesty, responsibility towards the people we love. This story is the growth of a group of people, from biased to understanding, and most of all is the birth of a king worth of this name.
It's obviously a love story too, but I'm glad this is only partly the focus of the drama. Don't expect a rom-com, or you'll be disappointed. The comedy is there, mainly in the beginning, and it is a clever sort of fun, but it's devoid of the usual comedic tropes, and it always has a black undertone - which I personally adore.
So to me this is a truly romantic drama, in the classical sense of the word, full of awe, suspense and heartbreak. There isn't even an ounce of fluff: if this is what you're looking for, King 2 Hearts is not for you.

Two words about script and direction: the first is one of the most consistent I've come across, never deviating from reality even when the setting is fictional. I am aware some of the scenarios are controversial to say the least, but if you give a look at the way international politics works, you'll see that - alas - it's a lot more plausible than we would like to admit. This said, the writers managed to create an ensemble of wonderful characters who touch the heart, and always thought-provoking dialogues. Direction is splendid, very film-like, playing on grand-angle and close-up shots, on colours, light and dark. The action scenes are believable and thrilling.

Standing ovation for the performance of the entire cast. Everyone has done such a brilliant job, I'm in awe.
Ha Ji Won is wonderful, to say the least. I've read some arguing that a north Korean soldier can't be so girly and trusting in the matters of the heart, but her multiple layers are what make Hang A the incredibly believable character I fell in love with, and Ha Ji Won the awesome actress she is. Besides her doing most of her stunts, she studied the North dialect, voice intonation and poses. The result is a charming mixture of vulnerability and strength which is profoundly feminine.
I'm glad I've really got to know Lee Seung Gi with this drama, because this young man has done an amazing step forward in terms of acting. His performance as the shallow, prejudiced playboy he's in the beginning slowly growing to be a king to be proud of, is mind-blowing. I truly felt all his suffering, doubts, uncertainties, fear… stress. He has gained a loyal fan for his professionalism and for the courage to accept a controversial part which more mature actors had refused before him.
Jo Jung Suk and Lee Yoon Ji have been an incredible revelation for me, both acted so naturally it's almost unbelievable.
Hat off to all the other actors. I was just as involved in their fates as I was in that of the main couple. They all made me laugh, weep (buckets, really), be proud or exhilarated.
Yes, even the villain. It won't be easy for the actor to shrug off the image. He embodies evil in its most horrific, unadulterated form: gratuitous cruelty, the pleasure to see others suffer, vanity and megalomania, all highlighted by a child-like behaviour which is as disquieting as it reduces him to the sub-human this character actually is.

Oh, the music!
A good soundtrack explains the scenes with the notes. When he wrote the score for the 1993 film "The Piano", Michael Nyman said he needed some piano pieces which could speak for Ada, who is mute, and work as a substitute to her voice.
That's what the music in King 2 Hearts does: if you close your eyes and listen to it (I have it all on my i-pod) the music will speak for the scene, and will keep on speaking to you when the show is over. The instrumental pieces are simply perfect and aching. "Two Hearts" begins with the pound of two hearts, hence explaining in a second a title whose meaning I had been pining over for weeks.
Simply beautiful.

I have already re-watched half of the drama and am going through a second (third?) complete marathon. If I gave this a lower re-watch value I'd be a hypocrite. And, believe it or not, it improves on second watching.
There's so much more I'd like to say about it, but I fear I've been wordy enough. I feel a last word of… warning is needed though: be prepared to feel strongly. If what you ask a drama is to entertain you or divert you, don't watch King 2 Hearts; only approach it if you're ready to grow so much attached to these characters, seeing them go will give you an almost physical pain.
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Coffee Prince
88 people found this review helpful
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Oct 30, 2011
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
I'm so much in agreement with every word written in Jeanie's review that I had to go back and change most of mine in order not to write a useless review full of repetitions of what had already been expressed so well.



On my part, I can say Coffee Prince made me reconcile with Korean dramas. If I have to tell the whole, bitter truth, for some time I read more thought Korean could only produce melodramas, with round eyes girls pouting and arrogant dudes raising perfectly trimmed eyebrows. Until I landed on this drama.

Everything about it felt so real, by the middle I wasn't a simple viewer anymore: I was part of that group of friends. The kind of alchemy they created on screen is rarely found in dramas, because in most cases one is reminded that these people are acting. But Coffee Prince feels like they are having fun together. It reminded me of a dinner with my friends, or camping out with them.

There's a delicious special at the end of the drama, which shows some behind the scene bloopers and interviews. And it's amazing, because either the special looks like integral part of the drama, or the whole drama is like a behind the scene: the interaction between the actors stays the same. Even the make up and clothes are everyday things, not a catwalk display.



And I absolutely loved the way the issue homosexuality was treated. I loved that Han Gyul was tormented by the thought of being gay, but that he was even more so in finding out that she was a woman. Because love, betrayal and trust are universal feelings and have no connection whatsoever with gender.



The music deserves a mention too. Coffee Prince has an outstanding OST, very unusual and difficult to put into a precise musical category. Some pieces have a jazz undertone which I personally loved.



I've read some people complaining about the pace of this drama, saying nothing major happens. But a work of art, be it a movie, a drama, a novel or a cartoon isn't made only of events. It's made of style too, of images, silences, scenery, words. Thousands of love stories have been written and shown in dramas. What makes this one a delightful watch, is the ability of actors and direction to make us connect and "live" this sweet love story with the characters.

Therefore, I'm ready to recommend this show to everyone.
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Autumn's Concerto
71 people found this review helpful
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Jul 17, 2011
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Autumn Concerto is... a classic.
Not in the negative sense of the word, just the opposite. Watching it feels like reading a novel from centuries past, with all the tragic, the heart-wrench, the twist, the suspense and the sweetness of the most classic romantic literature. A friend compared it to a novel by Judith McNaught, and I tend to agree with her.

One of the things I appreciated the most about this read more drama is the speed with which the plot is set in motion and the pace established. By the end of episode 1, I was fatally hooked. This is not a show which promises the viewer something, only to drag unnecessary by the middle or loosing consistency and cohesion at some point. If you like the dishes you are presented with at first sight, you will love the whole meal to the end. And a truly romantic meal at that, full of passion and not the usual luke-warm, lovey-dovey chirping.

The acting performances are outstanding as a whole. I have read many complaining about Vanness Wu's broken accent, but since I don't speak Mandarin I didn't notice anything amiss. On the contrary, I felt with his character a lot more than any other in the show, possibly because he has to outshine the delivering with intense facial expressions. Ady An's character can stretch one's patience at times, but this only adds to the actress's skill to make it so. And the chemistry is palpable.
The child is a wonder, no addition needed.

My only complain lies in the editing. This is a general problem I have with Taiwanese dramas: too frequent commercial cuts, filled with those brief reprises in which flashes of scenes to come are shown over and over. Once the viewer is forewarned, I guess it can be overlooked, although I personally find it terribly annoying. The music falls under the same curse: it's very good, but played too often and at times it overpowers the dialogues. If I hadn't liked this story so much, I would have gone insane.

Overall, this is a drama I'm ready to recommend to everyone in search of true romance. It's a timeless story, which does not rely on trend, or shiny, perfectly made-up actors and glamorous outfits. Does it have cliches? Yes it has, quite a few even, but they are well blended into a solid script and a plot which will never get truly old.
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Ikemen Desu Ne
75 people found this review helpful
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Sep 29, 2011
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
This is a lovely drama.

I would very much like to review it in its own right, i.e. without comparing it to the original Korean version, but I found out it's impossible for more than one reason. First, because the majority of those who loved You're Beautiful were biased towards this remake from the look of the actors alone and didn't even give it a chance; second, because ironically my read more having watched the original made me appreciate this version a lot more. Therefore, I'll set my usual policy aside and write a comparative review.



I liked Ikemen Desu Ne more than You're Beautiful in many respects.

Despite having kept the plot almost untouched, the Japanese made some subtle changes to this drama which results in a completely different feel to it. This version has a younger look; although the Korean actors were in the same age range as the Japanese when You're Beautiful aired, the first looked somehow older. The aftereffect is that while Ikemen feels like kids playing kids, You're Beautiful is about adults being childish.



Because the Japanese remake lasts half the time as the Korean, they had to condense the original story and cut a good number of scenes. As it seems, they decided on cutting mostly on comedic scenes and secondary characters. I have missed some truly hilarious parts of the original, but at the same time I'm happy they skipped some and didn't linger on aunts, fans, managers and the like.



But what really made it for me is the female lead character. Mio is a sweet, generous girl out of her element, dealing with her firsts: first experience on stage, first friendship, first love. While in the beginning she unwittingly makes mistakes, she shows strength of will and some pride, which makes it easy to connect with her. Go Mi Nam was a über-humble klutz in the beginning and remained such till the very end, a trait which I personally found irritating to say the least. The fact that the biggest part of the comedy in YaB derived from Go Mi Nam's nth mishap made me very happy the Japanese decided to show a girl a little less frustrating and hen-pecked.

This leads me to the male lead. The difference is quite notable too. Ren starts as haughty and impatient, but shows his true colours very soon. He's a softie. The tormented relationship with his mother is stressed upon in this version, so that his yearning for affection and eventually falling for Mio comes out as very natural. Tae Kyung, on the other hand, is an arrogant young man who learns to think about others too. But we have to wait until the very last to see his transformation and even then he can't do without a couple of bravados or two.

This is why I loved Mio & Ren as a couple, while I barely tolerated Mi Nam and Tae Kyung.



The other "angels" grew on me. They may not be as good-looking as the Korean, but I believe they played their roles well and I refuse to start a debate on the most undebatable issue on earth: taste. As a group, the Japanese A.N.Jell look more like friends than their Korean counterparts. The relationship between Ren and Shu (Tae Kyung and Shin Woo in YaB) is better explored in IDN and I truly liked to watch them fight for the love of Mio.



I have a hard time rating the music. Some songs are the same as in the original, but in Japanese. I didn't care much for them and I think the Korean sang and executed them much better. On the other hand, I truly loved the instrumental music played in between songs. The piano piece is lovely, and used in just the right scenes.



This review has been long enough. I felt the need to write it because I think it's unfair to judge it without watching it to the end and I always get fired up when I read commentaries like "they are ugly" or "they can't compare". If you think you're an unbiased watcher and you like young dramas, give Ikemen Desu Ne a try. You may end up liking it more than expected.
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5-ji Kara 9-ji Made
31 people found this review helpful
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May 13, 2016
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 8.5
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
From 5 to 9 is surprisingly funny and - at times - just as surprisingly moving.

I had my reservations before beginning this show, since I'm no fan of religiously oriented stories. Should you hesistate for the same reason, rest assured that, aside from the beautiful temple that plays as a setting and a few sutras read in the background, the monk hero is less religious than me - if possible.
In read more fact, here's one of those rare examples in rom-coms where the leads have physical desires. That a monk has to take more icy showers than your average CEO to suppress his wordly lust is an entertaining concept. Not to mention that, if you're a fan of Yamapi you may find this habit of his very pleasing.

As I said, there's a lot to laugh about while watching. Indeed, I'd say this is a rom-COM, where the comedic aspect wins over the romance. The romantic aspect, on the other hand, is seesawing, and I found myself laughing at the couple, hating the couple, loving the couple, re-hating it and re-loving it. There are in all respect more couples to enjoy here, even though I personally loved the side characters as a whole, not paired, if that makes any sense.

Don't expect some deep characterization because, in perfect from-manga-to-live-action style, the stress is on the characters' present actions, rather than how they came to this point. Hints, however, are given now and again, and I personally found those touching and well played out.

Out of the lot, I found the best acting performance to be that of Satomi Ishihara, solid, elegant and believable. A pity her character undergoes a few unwatchable tests that made me cringe on my womanly seat, but that's the plot and the actress won the challenge whether she had to be spunky or sad.
Yamashita's character requires him to be hilariously robotic, something he does very well, since he manages to convey quite a lot through his eyes. I appreciate this trait of him and loved it here. This monk can stretch your patience to its limits, but it turns out he's truly endearing and I'm very happy at his decision by the end - and I'm not referring to the very end.

Music? Nothing to talk about.

I think I'll rewatch this one day, either because I'm a rewatcher by nature or simply because it managed to draw me out of a slump with some welcomed laugh and a deserved (?) Yamapi fix.
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Long Love Letter
31 people found this review helpful
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May 10, 2011
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Where to begin?
This is possibly the weirdest and most surprising dorama I've ever come across. Nothing is what is expected, or what it seems.
It's just as hard to define its genre, because while it could be listed as a science fiction drama, the fantasy part is just a device to make a very human, touching and very present message come across: are we really capable of cherishing our lives? Do read more we truly appreciate all the little and big things thrown onto our path or do we give them for granted?


Were I to base the overall rating only on how much I liked it, I would give it a 10. But it's undeniable that it doesn't deserve it on the cinematographic level: the shooting quality is average at best, it reminded me of those catastrophe movies from the 70ies, like Poseidon, or Empire of the Ants, often naive, with some ludicrous special effects. And it certainly does not shine for its photography.
The music goes from ordinary to completely random.

But characterization, dialogues and acting make up in heaps for whatever flaw. If you have read The Lord of The Flies by William Golding, this drama may remind you of it. Mix it with the most classical concept of Carpe Diem - seize the day - and you have Long Love Letter.
Kubozuka Yousuke is adorable here, at times childishly clumsy, at others emotionally intense. But it's Takako Tokiwa who really steals the screen, her character being the epitome of strength of will, sweetness and courage.
In fact, this drama is acutely feminine, like mother Earth herself.
The kids play their part very well, one ends up liking a quite stony Yamashita Tomohisa too.

I adored the ending. It makes this into one of those dramas one is emotionally compelled to talk about with someone, share opinions and questions. Like it or not, it doesn't leave you untouched.

So, by now you have 2 choices: decide that both the drama and the reviewer are deranged and leave it be, or watch it.
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Apr 23, 2011
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
This drama follows the Japanese "older woman-younger guy" trend. It seems as though every Japanese idol has to pass this test at least once in his acting career.



Despite the premises though, there is something about this drama which made it into one of my favourites in its genre.

Perhaps because on further analysis it doesn't deal with falling in love with someone, but with learning to read more love oneself and appreciate the little, daily things one gives for granted.



Esumi Makiko is so beautiful here, one soon forgets the age gap. The story revolves around her, her internal struggle, her doubts, her self-esteem. Yamashita Tomohisa plays his part very well too, portraying a young man in that fragile phase between adolescence and adulthood in a very believable way.



Overall, a delightful, suave drama.
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Tatta Hitotsu no Koi
39 people found this review helpful
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Apr 26, 2011
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
This is a very simple, almost mundane love story between a rich, spoiled girl and a poor but principled boy. Nothing new under the sun.
And yet, it's a little story not easily forgotten, one I fell in love with at first sight and rewatched with equal pleasure. To me, Nao and Hiroto are an assumption, one of those couples I have stored away like a cameo.

The progression of their love read more story is narrated with sweet candour, acted beautifully and without needless exaggerations. It's the first role I saw Kamenashi Kazuya working in and even though in the meantime he's matured, I still consider this to be his best interpretation. Ayase Haruka is so believable in her whimsical pouting one can't help becoming extremely fond of her too.
And although the plot may seem ordinary, the small details of their interaction, the friendship, Hiroto's narration in first person, their young enthusiasm and depth of emotions are memorable.

The music by Ike Yoshihiro is wonderful. Possibly the best drama original soundtrack ever.

I recommend this dorama to those who still remember their first love and will relate to it, and to those who have forgotten it, as a mean to recall its bitter-sweet flavour.
I have watched this drama... 4 times: no need to explain why I gave it a high re-watch mark.
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