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Nirvana in Fire
159 people found this review helpful
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Nov 13, 2015
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
This is such a phenomenal drama, it is truly one of a kind. If you're left unsatisfied after finishing dramas, thinking to yourself if only the writers made better choices, or if only the characters were better developed … then you should give this drama a try. Everything about this drama is AMAZING; it has a mind-blowing screenplay with incredible characters, not to mention its great directing and cinematography. (the action in read more this drama is top-notch, and the war in the later episodes was impressive beyond imagination!)

At First glance, this might look like another revenge drama, but it is much more than that. The goal of the main characters is not to infect pain and suffering on the ones who have done them wrong, and it's not to simply right the wrongs, but to do so while making the ones who've committed the wrong realize the gravity of their actions. In a sense, this is the hardest route to take for correcting what has been wronged, people don’t want to be reminded of their dark past, and even more to accept their faults. Nevertheless, the reason why I love this drama so much is exactly this, the main characters, although they’ve literally been through hell, are not out there for revenge nor to make themselves feel better, but they’re trying to reveal the truth.

The plot is complicated and very intelligently written. There are 54 episodes, but I have to say there is no dull moment. The story has many layers and builds up on its episodes, becoming more and more intense as the episodes go by; we watch the characters execute their plans and try to overcome all the foreseen and un-foreseen obstacles in the most magnificent way possible.

In my opinion there are two main characters, Mei Chang Su and Prince Jing.
Mei Chang Su is the most intelligent character that I’ve ever came across in a drama. For achieving his goals, he uses his knowledge to manipulate people to do exactly what he wants them to do, without them even realizing his involvement! Despite his ingenious and composed personality, he carries the deepest sadness inside him, and that is what gives him the greatest determination for concluding his goals.
Prince Jing is the moral barometer of the story. He is bold and true to himself, he values his loved ones more than anything, and he’s willing to do anything to protect them. That said, he would never go against his moral code, he is a constant reminder for Mei Chang Su (and us the audience) that they should never be untrue to themselves. His bold and strong character attracts capable people to him enabling him to have true leadership characteristic.

This duo is the best I’ve ever seen anywhere, their relationship is so endearing to watch and their personalities compliment each other so well. Just having them both on screen was enough to make me give up everything I was planning to do for the rest of the day and give my undivided attention to this drama.

Another thing that I really like about this drama is that the other characters are all intelligent as well, which makes us understand why they were in power to begin with and why they’ve been successful so far. This point makes watching the main character manipulate these smart and sneaky characters much more enjoyable

This drama is for the intelligent, for the ones who are willing to sit through long conversations and enjoy putting the pieces of the puzzle together, for the ones who understand that sometimes no matter the cost one has to fight for what is right. (sorry for the long review! if you made it this far, that means you're interested!! give it a try, you won't be disappointed!)
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The Devil
32 people found this review helpful
See all 15 user reviews
Sep 14, 2014
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
I'm writing this for one reason only and that is to urge more people to watch this masterpiece. This is a rare gem, a phenomenal drama that deserves much more attention than it's getting. Well, to be honest, I think even a 10/10 ranking is not enough to do this drama justice!!

It has one of the most intelligently written plots that one can ever come across. It's psychologically heavy and demands read more a mature audience. The drama chooses to look at its theme in a very philosophical manner; it chooses to take its audience to the core of a damaged human soul, and then slowly analyzes its each and every layers. As each layer unfolds, the audience learns more and more of the truth.

To put it simply, this drama is about mistakes. However, what it focuses on is not the act of making a mistake itself, but rather its effects on both the person who's made the mistake, and the people who've been hurt by it. This might seem very simple, but in actuality it is profoundly complex.
We watch the characters suffer as they fight their inner battles, the battles between love and hate, good and evil, right and wrong. We watch them as they crumble and still try to find their footing. Even though at times it seems futile, we still hope as hard as we can that they will survive this, that somehow everything would turn out to be ok. And I have to add this: what was very impressive was how in the midst of all this, the most humane feeling started to shine ... love; not necessary a romantic love, but the love that one can have for oneself, for the people around him/her, and for the life itself.

The music was simply AMAZING, I cannot think of a better choice of music. Moreover, the acting was outstanding, specially the leads. Before this drama I didn't know any of the male leads, so their breathtaking acting took me off guard. There were times that the slightest change in their expression would make my tears drop or my heart to skip a beat.

I recommend this drama to people who like to dwell in psychological mysteries. People who enjoy brilliantly written stories with meat to chew on, the ones that will leave you thinking not only for hours, but for days and months to come.
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Secret Love Affair
48 people found this review helpful
See all 23 user reviews
Jun 18, 2014
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Imagine all the negative prejudices possible that one can have against a drama, and then add a little more negative biases; that's exactly how I felt before watching this drama. I hate love affairs, so I thought I could never ever bring myself to watch this. Watching the first episode was a momentary insanity for me, and guess what? I was blown away by the brilliance of this drama!! The majestic combination read more of perfect acting and breathtaking portrayal of their passion, the amazing directing and cinematography, and most of all the phenomenal choice of classical music got me hooked.

I think this drama is severely underrated and in my opinion mainly because of its poor choice of title "Love affair" brings out the notion of betraying romantic emotions of someone and their trust at the deepest level. It's a dirty and unforgivable act. However, this story is about anything but love affair. Granted the female lead is married, but in this scenario, considering her marriage and how the relationship is, I don't think anyone who will watch this would think that this was a love affair, it simply doesn't fit the category!

This is not your average light and bubbly love; it's dark, complex, passionate, bitter-sweet, and even sometimes torturous. It's a battle where we'll cheer as hard as we can for love to win against all odds. It's a story of growth and maturing oneself through experiencing love, a story of how easily one can lose oneself if s/he is chasing the wrong goals, and how they can still go back to true happiness regardless of their past/bad choices. It’s a story to show how love can change one for better or the worse.

Before analyzing the rest of the drama, I just have to say that I LOVED the music in this drama!!!!! They played so many beautiful pieces that were very well integrated within the flow of the story. Also, unlike your average drama, the music actually added meaning and depth to the drama. Most of the pieces were classical music played by the main leads (and let me tell you, I still cannot believe that they are actors not professional pianists!!!) There was one song that was not classical music, and it fitted the drama better than Cinderella's glass shoe fitted her. Anyone who has any appreciation for classical music is going to enjoy this drama enormously. And I'm not overselling it by stating that it's through the music that we can truly understand their passion, their fears and their love.

The pacing is slow, but surprisingly it didn't bother me at all. I loved that I could take my time and savor their every single gaze, touch, and emotion. The slow pace allowed me to synchronize my emotions with them; to not only understand, but also feel how they felt for one another. I guess the only negative point of the drama is the business part of it, but trust me; this one is not as bad as the others out there. It’s not the strongest part of the drama and the writers try not to get very technical with it. But I think it wasn’t that poorly written/executed. In the scale of the drama as a whole, it didn’t bother me at all!

The characters are complex, and it takes time to truly understand them. There were times that I was very annoyed with the main actress because I didn't really understand her. Nevertheless, as the drama progressed, my understanding of the characters deepened and I start too feel their pain, their hope and most of all their passion. It had been a very long time that I had felt such complex emotions with such intensity. It was almost like I was one of them.

Well I can go on and on, but I want to keep this review at a semi-reasonable length to allow ppl to read it. So if you're a fan of classical music, or if you want to go on a very emotional and bittersweet journey of love, fear and loss, I would recommend you to definitely give this a chance.
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Reply 1997
17 people found this review helpful
See all 101 user reviews
Sep 12, 2014
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 6.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
I pushed back watching this, cause I don't like immature stories/characters. But then I thought to myself, there must be a reason for all the hype, lets give this a try ... oh well, it was both good and bad, so let's get to it:

I'll write about the good parts first ( so that no one would get too angry at me! ^^) The first half of the drama was pretty read more good; it was very youthful, and quite unique. It's not easy to create youth, it usually has too much elements or too little, but this drama nailed it. It made me remember my high school, skipping classes, hating some subject/teachers and loving the others, obsessing over things, not worrying about time/health/future, and thinking that everything is possible, that I can become anything if I set my mind into it. The times that I didn't have to think too srsly nor had to take that much responsibility, since my parents were there to take care of it all. However, I liked it even more, because it wasn't all fun and games; it had some darker, deeper elements into it. The writers managed to explore these deeper part of the plot through the older characters i.e. the parents. I loved them so much, they were a joy to watch.

But then half way through the drama, as if the magic was gone, the characters lost their charisma and started to become flat. There was no character development anymore, and the plot itself became one dimensional, boring and in times very very annoying. Remember the darker, deeper parts of the plot that I was writing about in the previous paragraph ... well the writers decided to forget about it, which created a huge problem.

It was as if the writers didn't understand human psychology. They didn't put any effort into changing the characters- which was necessary due to the darker,deeper parts of the plot -. Let me elaborate here: if someone has a problem within themselves that is stoping them from achieving something they want, they have to first recognize that there is a problem and then solve it in order to be able to achieve what they desire. However, in this drama, the writers decided to skip the step of one looking deeper within oneself, pondering, changing and maturing. They went straight to the achieving part !!!!!! Yes, that's all fun and nice ... BUT the thing is, in real life, this couldn't have happened, they had to mature. - side note: maturing is not a bad thing, it's a natural process for humans to survive, and it doesn't mean one cannot keep their inner child, nor that they will be a completely different person -
So yeah, I had a problem with this drama being so unrealistic... and trust me the writers had more than enough time to manage and show some character development, I mean from 1997 to 2012 is not a short period of time.

The acting was very good, I really liked the cast - even though I didn't like half of the characters, I still enjoyed watching it because of their awesome acting & chemistry. Well, if you want to watch something youthful, and give a break to the realistic part of your brain, start watching this right now! You'll have lots of laughter and maybe some tears! enjoy!
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Cruel City
31 people found this review helpful
See all 76 user reviews
Jan 12, 2014
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Ahh, this one, this one is the definition of Masterpiece! I mean if you lookup the definition of "Masterpiece", all its synonyms combined would not give the justice of how amazing this drama is!!

If you can stomach the dark ruthless reality that we tend to ignore, I strongly recommend you to watch this.

There is no filtering the truth here, no flowery feeling that K-dramas usually give. This drama is dark read more & brutally real. You know how there are usually some politics/not interesting subplot in dramas that you just want to skip, well this one doesn't have that. The story is flawless and well balanced, there is no stupid mistake, no plot hole, nothing that made me flinch for a second.

The characters are complex and well developed. They are not perfect little imaginary ppl; they are real with depth and dimensions. Their pasts and their hopes for future enable us to understand their present and their actions. There aren't any filler characters, no one that you feel he's just there to fill the space/time/episode. Every one of them serves a purpose, and adds something to the story.

What I love about this drama is that it doesn't tell you everything; it gives you enough information and leaves you to be the judge. I'm not talking about one scene or one episode, but rather throughout the entire drama. It never tries to make its audience feel in a certain way ... it just tells you the facts and leaves it up to you to interpret it and to understand the characters/story.

Cruel City is like a good wine, the more time passes from watching it, the more you realize how amazing it truly is. It is a drama that makes its audience ponder upon life, good, evil and the gray between them. I'm sure I will watch this again and again and for this it gets 10 for rewatchability from me.

The choice of music in this drama is phenomenal! I loved all the musics that were used specially the OST, I mean even the music makes me think deeply!!

I don't think I can ever compare this to any other drama or any TV shows in general - well I haven't watched breaking bad, but other than that I've watched all the famous TV shows you can think of, and Cruel City not only doesn't lack in any aspect, but it rather makes the others lose face in comparison. It has created its own space on top of my drama/TV Shows/movie list.
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16 people found this review helpful
See all 42 user reviews
Dec 9, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
I'm a HUGE fan of the manga! and I can say I absolutely loved this drama! It stayed very true to the manga, and for that I am very grateful!

Obviously, I love the story. It has everything, interesting and unique characters with very complex pasts/personalities, amazing character development, and a great ending that leaves the audience not only satisfied but also inspired!

The only annoying part is the fact that for read more some strange reason they tried to make the characters 2-3 years older! which creates huge inconsistencies, since the whole story would only make sense if they were underage! so yeah, I basically ignored the whole college-grad school references and thought of them being in high-school, going to college!

The acting was good and the main characters had good chemistry!
I would say other than the stupid age shift, this drama had two other problems: bad cinematography and excessive repeat of the music! The lighting in many scenes was off, and the song, even though I LOVED it, was repeated so many times that it kind of annoyed me!

Let me just say this one more time, the story is AMAZING! It has many deep psychological elements to it that makes it one a kind! Although at a first glance it might seem like every other drama, but it's very unique. Give it a shot, I promise you won't regret it!
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Arang and the Magistrate
14 people found this review helpful
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Dec 30, 2013
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
At the beginning I thought this will be an amazing drama! I really enjoyed the fantasy elements of it from the beginning, the actors/actresses were very talented, there was a good chemistry going on, and the story seemed very interesting! I was storming through the episodes and I was congratulating myself for deciding to watch this ...

However, the drama soon lost its magic for me; they made the horrible mistake of read more letting us know the whole freaking story half way through the drama!! The main characters were trying to unravel the mystery, but I already knew what the big secret is!! So it was very hard for me to make myself continue finishing each episode! Even the other mysteries/sub plots that they were trying to solve were either not interesting or very predictable! Imagine u knowing the answer and u're watching ppl trying to solve the puzzle ... It's pretty boring!

The ending was cute, and even though I got very bored during the second half of the drama, I don't regret watching it! I loved the characters and their love stories ( both the main and supporting characters)

ps: I have an interesting point about the music that I really want to mention! Obviously, this is a historical drama. Yet, for some strange reason they've decided to put a rap song in it!! Yes, you heard me right, a rap song!! I don't know about you, but it's very bizarre for me to listen to rap music when watching ppl in traditional clothing fight!!! To be honest the first time I thought the rap music/singing is coming from one of my other pages!!! then I realized that nope it was from the movie O.O!!!
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14 people found this review helpful
See all 80 user reviews
Aug 14, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
This drama is awesome!!!! I LOVE it so much (* ^ *) !! yes, it has some plot holes, but the emotions and the great acting make up for it!! I loved Choi Young with Yoo Eun-Soo! I fell in love with them and started rooting for them so much! All in all this an amazing drama, don't let the negative comments affect you!
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12 people found this review helpful
See all 33 user reviews
Sep 7, 2013
  • Overall 5.0
  • Story 4.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 1.0
If you're looking for the most overrated kdrama look no further! keep reading to know why it is so!

Ok before going to the cons let me talk about the pros.
Even though it is a historical drama, it's not just focused on the king/palace/important ppl. It opens up a window to the daily lives of normal citizens which makes this unique on its own.
Also it is blessed with a great read more cast! The lead actors and actresses are very talented and make watching every episode worthwhile!

However, one needs great story behind great acting to complement each other, which obviously was not the case here!

It had so many plot holes that it is impossible for anyone not to notice them. I don't mean the usual one small plot hole that gives u a bitter aftertaste in an otherwise perfect drama. What I mean is a constant appearance of plot holes! There were so many of them that I lost count of! Not to mention the occasional sudden urge of some characters to do the most stupid and out of character acts ever!!
This kind of killed the drama for me. There were times that we were supposed to be crying/touched but all I could think about was "REALLY!!! R U KIDDING ME!!" Oh and the last episode was such an epic fail, almost everything that there was in it was a plot hole !

Moreover, the story - where it was empty of plot holes- was too slow and kind of boring. Considering the great potential that this drama had with its great cast, it is kind of sad how bad it turned out to be!

So if you're so bored and cannot find anything to watch & if you want to enjoy some good acting + action while giving a rest to the logical part of your brain then this would be the great choice for you!
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The Girl Who Sees Scents
1 people found this review helpful
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May 29, 2016
  • Overall 6.0
  • Story 4.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 5.5
  • Rewatch Value 1.0
Ok, let me just first say this, I actually did enjoy watching this drama (well most of it) but still it was such a disaster :D lol!!! Let's talk about "the good" first. I loved the main couple, they are both talented actors (especially Park Yoo Chun he's such an amazing actor!) they had a great chemistry and a very nice storyline. I also liked the twist that she could see smells! read more It was quite unique although I don't think the writers took full advantage of her ability, still it was refreshing!

Now to the disaster part: Well basically the story and the writing were horrifyingly bad ... this was supposed to be a crime drama, but it was as if a child (not even a teen) was trying to write a crime story and was hoping to put twists to the plot but failed miserably each time. The end result was me rolling my eyes and shouting 10 different ways that the whole plot could have been solved. on top of that it was 16 episodes ... like really why this long ...

obviously when the story lacks, the characters have to be weak as well. Hence the detectives were extremely unqualified and simply put very very very bad at their jobs. They were dreadful ...

There was no character development, no nothing, the story was just bland and flat. The only redeeming feature was the main couple's relationship, they were very cute together, bringing light fluffy feelings to the drama. Yeah, it's hilarious how through all this horribleness I still managed to enjoy myself! lol! I guess if you're in mood for some cute adorable love story and not caring much about anything other than couple's relationship give this a try :D !!

As for me, I would love to watch Park Yoo Chun in something well written next! :D
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