by ParkChohwa, February 17, 2015

Currently Watching

Shine or Go Crazy

Even though I’m on a sageuk hiatus, I will still recommend watching this drama since the heartbreaking events haven’t started yet – I can see them in the horizon though. On the contrary, the drama is light, cute, funny but loaded.


The events take place in Goryeo where Prince Wang So (Jang Hyuk) is an outcast in the royal family due to a prophecy claiming that he’d bring bloodshed to his family and the country. After being abandoned as a child, he lives alone in the mountains until his father, King Wang Geon (Nam Kyung Eup) calls him back. The same prophecy claims that one of the two princesses would be able to change Wang So’s fate. In different circumstances Wang So ends up meeting the two princess: Princess Yeo Won (Lee Ha Nui) and Princess Shin Yool (Oh Yeon Seo). Who’s fated to save him and the country and who’s fated to ruin both?!


Jang Hyuk is back with his insane laughter. Wang So on the outside is a careless, talentless, ill-mannered and shallow prince fooling around hiding his identity and escaping his responsibilities. But on the inside, he’s scarred, insecure, talented, caring and determined. He works secretly to achieve what he cannot if his identity is revealed. On his journey a door opens to him. That door is none but Princess Shin Yool.


Not everyone likes Jang Hyuk’s hysterical laugh – I do. Well, I don’t really know him well having only watched a few works by him but he’s portraying the role perfectly, at least in my opinion. A mix of the dark Ddol Bok (A Tree with Deep Roots) and care-free Lee Gun (Fated to Love You). Though he’s showing more of the latter so far.


Princess Shin Yool was saved as a baby from a murder attempt due to another prophecy stating that she’d bring the light and happiness to the world but not to her country. She grows up in a trading family and becomes a brilliant and famous merchant. Though her body becomes fragile after the childhood incident, Shin Yool never allows it to limit her. High-spirited, open-minded, kind, considerate, ambitious and trusting, the Princess lives every day with a smile and helps others smile as well.


Oh Yeon Seo has found her calling, I dare say. If I were to bring Medical Top Team to the surface, she’s matured amazingly.

Princess Hwang Bo Yeo Won is a royal beauty who believes that her fate is to help whom her clan chooses ascend the throne. She’s cold, aspirant, meticulous, shrewd and powerful.

The role is supposed to be charming. And I can tell Lee Ha Nui is immersed into it but there’s no screen time for her. I haven’t really seen her yet.


Prince Wang Wook (Im Joo Hwan) harbours hatred against the royal family and the nobles because of a painful experience, and he aims for the throne to be able to change the unjust rules. But he walks a dangerous and merciless road towards his goal.


He’s supposed to be the second lead but, just like Lee Han Nui, he’s not given the chance. I’m not complaining honestly. I’d want to see more of LHN but I don’t mind having Jang Hyuk on the screen the whole time!


People responsible for the fun in the drama are the forever hilarious Heo Jeong Min playing Shin Yool’s half brother, Kim Sun Young, playing Shin Yool’s  nanny and closest friend Baek Myo, and the ever-shining Ahn Kil Kang playing Gang Myeong, Shin Yool’s caring ahjussi. The three bring so much fun the drama is nothing without them. Not to mention the new eye-candy Gyeong (Jung Woo Shik) -  not sure if I can call a 31-year man an eye-candy but you know!


The drama balances politics and romance. The era depicted is everywhere but at the same time doesn’t make you feel its weight. The cross-gender scenes are so adorable and realistic. I like how they emphasise that she definitely doesn’t look like a boy. The costumes are elegant, elaborate and resplendent. The music is wonderfully embedded, and the OSTs are awesome. 


The drama tackles many deep and universal issues. What we believe a coincidence and turns out to be fate! How fate is not a fixed thing but you can change it. Equality between genders, races, and social status. What people can do if only brought to hope that they can change their circumstances by their effort. No matter how oppressed we are, we need that door that makes it possible for us to hope against hope. Someone out there must be dreaming our dreams. Someone out there must be holding their hand to us. We only need to stretch it.