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  • Last Online: Oct 2, 2023
  • Location: Sapporo, Hokkaido
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  • Awards Received: Flower Award1

dead lilies

Sapporo, Hokkaido

dead lilies

Sapporo, Hokkaido
Completed
Rewriting Destiny
18 people found this review helpful
May 25, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 8.0

Clichéd But Hilarious, Sweet and Delightful

This drama is by no means revolutionary or original, but having said that, it is also light-hearted, somewhat "modernised", and comforting. It's a given that the main leads would end up together, but despite knowing the obvious, I couldn't stop watching, plus the laughs and pinching heartaches I felt (in a good way) were incredibly addicting.

STORY
This is a story about a manhua character, Xia Yu Bing, changing the lives of other manhua characters in her world through maintaining high readership ratings and preventing the manhua from getting axed (thus preserving her own life). She does this by employing various familiar business models that are frequently used in the real, modern world. The manhua artist's initial story had a dark beginning, but as she made changes to her storyline, Xia Yu Bing also independently changed her fate in her world. Everything about the drama is riddled with traditional tropes - corny fall-and-catch shoujo moments, the obligatory rain scene (lots), show-your-love-through-cooking, including the initial dislike the main leads had for each other before eventually falling in love, and yet the joy encompassed is in all of these things. What is a romance drama without some villainous plot and angst? Other than romance and friendship (Xu Zi Yan and Ye Wen Zhao are best friends), I also love the dynamic Xu Zi Yan had with his father, Xu Guang Ling. The scenes of this father and son pair were definitely some of my favourite. Xu Senior is not only loving father to his son, but also to his daughter-in-law. Each time father and son bicker playfully with each other, knowing they both care deeply for the other gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Plot holes notwithstanding, all of that still makes for an entertaining watch and I could ignore the implausibility of certain parts in the script. Lastly, although the official Viki synopsis says the male lead was "determined to wipe her (female lead) out and conduct experiments on her body", this is grossly misleading and inaccurate.

MUSIC
I love the songs they selected for this drama. The non-vocal OP is upbeat, catchy and suits the overall theme of the drama. The ED theme, 人生一回合, translated as "One Round of Life" is sung by Ye Wen Zhao's actor in the drama, Xu Bing Chao. The other song used during interludes, the more romantic 落雨纷, translated as "The Scattering Falling Rain" is sung by Qing Sang. This song is my favourite.

ACTING
What I say may sound generic, but it's true. Everyone did a wonderful job in this drama. Dong Si Yi was wonderful to watch. She was funny, expressive, smart, girly, and cute as Xia Yu Bing. I especially love whenever she behaved coquettishly towards Xu Zi Yan. Watching him crumble under her charms was really rewarding for me. I can't imagine anyone but her in this role. I was quite surprised by Lee Ge Yang's performance, seeing that he's relatively green in the industry. While his character, Xu Zi Yan, didn't have much room for expressive navigations at first for being the cold, emotionless genius, he nevertheless performed quite well at portraying the desperation and despair Xu Zi Yan felt in the later half of the series.

OVERALL
I started this drama with zero expectations, as I only happened to see it aired on the day of its release. Suddenly, I found myself marathoning this throughout the night, and the next two days after. And after finishing the series, I looked up on videos and short interviews the main leads gave soon after the show. In one clip, when asked to describe their characters, Lee Ge Yang called Xu Zi Yan a medical genius who is a "wife-doting maniac", but Dong Si Yi responded, "He's okay..." in a slightly dead-panned manner lol. This exchange just made me feel they're really perfectly cast as the characters they played. The drama overall has left me with nothing but a lasting good impression - and I will surely watch this again for the comedy and romance.

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Completed
Reborn Rich
72 people found this review helpful
Dec 26, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 3.0
Story 2.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 1.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Logic is non-existent, let's be real, everyone is only watching it for Song Joong Ki

Reborn Rich, a drama based on a web novel, is yet another story that uses the "born again" concept. It introduced the main character of Yoon Hyeon Woo, who, despite his stellar results in high school, had to give up going to university because his family could not afford his tertiary education. In an era where full scholarships and bank study loans probably had not been established in South Korea, Hyeon Woo joined the mega-corporation Soonyang after leaving school and soon climbed the ranks to become a senior finance manager in rank, but super-manservant in practice. In spite of his hard work, he was betrayed and discarded by the very people he served, and subsequently found himself reliving the life of a young boy, Jin Do Jun, the youngest son of the youngest son of the founder of Soonyang.

Most of the above was already given to us in the synopsis, and from what I have seen, Song Joong Ki performed far better in his role as Hyeon Woo than in his role as Jin Do Jun. As Hyeon Woo, Joong Ki's expressions were more real - in moments of servitude, he was spontaneous, relenting, and in times of panic, his fear more raw, the helplessness he was supposed to feel more convincing. The reborn Do Jun, who had lived through all of the 2000s before, knowing what would happen when it comes to government politics, monetary policies, and global catastrophes, was the character in focus for much of the story, but even so, I couldn't feel the impact of this character the same way Joong Ki delivered Hyeon Woo.

The second time skip happened when Do Jun grew up, but we can assume he didn't finish his law studies or sat for the bar, because by that time he didn't need to - he just had to get really rich. Did he commit insider trading through his ability? Yes, of course - coming from the future, he already had information on what happened in the past, and utilised that information to earn a lot of money. But because of the supernatural circumstances in how he obtained the information, no one can prove that insider trading happened. This is the secret of the bulk of his success for most of the drama. Nevertheless, the first few episodes had a decent start and a reasonable flow of congruency.

The basis for this drama is how the rich and powerful Jin family operates their business. Whether one finds the business principles interesting or otherwise, with the most basic understanding of the subject, following the drama would not be a challenge. However, even with the most basic understanding of the subject, this is also where the flow of logic started to break, and repetitions set in. Every one or two episodes, a "twist" happens for the sake of providing some "shock value" to the viewers, but provides no progress in plot development. The ongoing crisis is merely dropped and waved away while another new trouble is brewing. And every one or two episodes, someone's office will be raided; they will be investigated for committing a business crime, but no worries, the cheap contrivances in attempting to produce anxiety rush in viewers peters off like a whiny balloon out of air when the climax ends. And so, for 14 episodes, the focus were placed on business operations, and the phenomenon of time reversal and soul-switching were not at all touched during all that time. How was this explained in the end? It's "redemption".

I never expected solid logic from fiction, but I was still hoping for some level of cogency. Reborn Rich quickly became boring and ridiculous to me as the episodes went on, and by Episode 8, the drama was a chore to watch. The human relationships in this drama also leave much to be desired, as no one is honest with one another. The closest thing to honesty was seen in the grandfather-grandson bond between Do Jun and Yang Cheol, but even then, the two exercised a moderate degree of caution against each other. The romance between Do Jun and Shin Hyun Bin's character Min Young was initiated early, but it was marred with doubts, mistrust and misunderstandings. Seong Jun's wife, who initially had a crush on Do Jun, was introduced as a highly intelligent and ambitious woman who eventually resigned to her fate as a marriage pawn to a less capable heir. She became a character who seemed to have a lot of cards on her hands only to be relegated to appearing once in a while, having all purposes stripped from her.

The final two episodes would only be a surprise if the viewer has gotten used to Do Jun's rich and comfortable lifestyle, thinking all would just end with him becoming the CEO of the whole Soonyang Group, marrying his lovely girlfriend whom he doesn't understand and who doesn't understand him, chugging along with a fat ass account loaded with money for the rest of his newfound identity. So maybe getting killed in the first place wasn't that bad after all - but nah. Off pops the bubble, the rose-tinted glasses shatters, 16 hours of a lifetime watching this drama gone, and comes the cries of despair of the ones heavily invested. No, I lied. It really wasn't that devastating. But Hyeon Woo did become better off - by becoming a new partner of Miracle Investment. And the way it transpired? No explanations required. Doesn't matter that a person currently under criminal investigation is not allowed by law to work in any business or finance-related capacity. It's okay, no one will look for this detail. When this happened, there were approximately 20 minutes left on the final episode, so the writers probably thought, eh, whatever, let's just wing it.

And of course the final nail in the coffin was a recorded phone conversation, which is the same like, way too many dramas out there. This wouldn't be absurd with today's technology, but we are talking about 2004 when people were still using the most basic flip phones. A majority of people still alive today have lived through this era with a flip phone. Phone conversations do not automatically get recorded. The phones in that era did not even have a recording function, what more to say a convo-recording function. Yes, this drama is fiction, but the idea of writing fiction is skillfully imbibing and presenting theories that the audience could not refute. It's usually either because the theory itself is a fact, or it is unproven and vague. To say a flip phone in 2004 automatically records conversations as soon as a call is made or answered is like saying carbonara tastes like chocolate, which it doesn't.

I will add that with all the flaws and absurdity typical of a Korean drama with a vengeance-agaisnt-a-rich-family setting, this was somewhat 2% better than Vincenzo and not as bad as Eve - which is arguably the worst drama of the year. Reborn Rich obtaining an 8.8 rating is not a testament to how good the drama is. Like many MDL ratings, it's a reflection of how many people have watched it and how many people love it. Correlation does not imply causation, so if Song Joong Ki's face is all you need to preoccupy yourself for a weekend binge sans sense and logic, by all means, watch it. But this isn't a good script by any definition of the word.

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Completed
Big Mouth
36 people found this review helpful
Sep 18, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 9
Overall 3.0
Story 3.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 1.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Meandering plot that leads to nowhere, unresolved subplots, ridiculous ending

The series started off decent enough. I was rating this a 7.0 at Episode 6. By Episode 10, I was completely disillusioned by the terrible writing that didn't really allow Lee Jong Suk, Im Yoon Ah and Kwak Dong Yeon to display a wider range of their acting skills. Surprisingly for me, Yoo Tae Joo is probably the best thing to emerge from this chaotic, confusing mess.

This series spent more than half of its episodes in the penitentiary. It wasted most of its time getting the audience trying to guess who Big Mouse is, who in the world is the "invincible" guy who managed to swindle something like 100 billion from crooks in the upper echelon of a shady corporation. The possible suspect moved from person to person, and this was how the drama dragged its feet from Episode 1 until Episode 10. The inanity.

The mayor, Choi Do Ha, turning out to be the big bad was no surprise, it was obvious from the point he sought out Park Chang Ho and got him involved in his quest to retrieve the ever so secretive "scientific paper". CDH's reasons to enlist PCH's help was superficial and illogical, it just didn't make sense to me. Right here and there is a big glaring plothole. There's no such thing as a "secretive scientific paper". Do the writers know that peer research papers go through a lengthy review process and is processed dozens of times before the final publication can be made? There's no way a paper that exposes the hazards of a radioactive substance of that magnitude can be kept secret for so long. It's just ridiculous writing.

Not to mention Hye Jin's murder was unnecessary, and to top it off, her death didn't even serve any purpose other than providing nonsensical shock value to the audience. She escaped to the US only to come back to get murdered. LOL. Why? If I were thousand of kilometres from my psychopathic ex, I wouldn't go back to where he was. Yeah, her ex-husband is worse than scum, and he didn't even get punished for her murder. Her body was never found! This subplot was completely dropped by the writers. For what? Yeah the mayor Choi Do Ha is also scum for helping him dump Hye Jin's body. Then it turned out Choi Do Ha wasn't even Choi Do Ha, he usurped the identity of a dead boy! What in the world. LMAO. Tell me how you do that as a kid. Who helped this kid changed his legal papers? This trope is tired and old, and honestly if people want to pull this in modern storylines, they need to provide a more viable and cogent explanation.

After all the twists and turns this drama flipped out, it was revealed that Big Mouse is really not a single entity. It's one guy, who's the head of some secret organisation, like Freemasonry, but mafia ala vigilante-style, with some dozens of members who abide by a set of organisational "code" - that also wasn't made clear to the watchers. Lmao I don't even know how to describe this circus house - this is the worst drama Lee Jong Suk has ever been in.

There was a scene where Park Chang Ho was tortured in a white chamber - why?! To extract information about the 100 billion dollars he siphoned off - allegedly. After he became Big Mouse, did PCH expend any energy to find this place he was held in, and did he bust it with his newly gained cronies of the Big Mouse organization so as to prevent future abductions and illegal imprisonment? No. And because of that, while we saw that the mayor truly "loved" his wife Joo Hee, in the end he nevertheless subjected her to the same white chamber torture after learning that she had betrayed him. It was just so inconsistent with their characterisations.

Holy crap, I still have so much to go on, but I'm trying to end this review quickly. The loving relationship Park Chang Ho had with his wife Ko Mi Ho was dealt a cruel blow after she was exposed to "radioactive" water. She quickly developed cancer, which progressed to Stage 4, within weeks of exposure. Like?? LOL, that's crazy. First of all, the drama told us NK9 is a highly toxic material that was found in the wastewater of their plant, but we weren't told how toxic it was. We just have to believe that it's super-super toxic, okay? I wonder if the writers came up with this idea from the time Japan announced dumping wastewater from the Fukushima plant into the ocean, which was met by protests and condemnations from Korea and China, but endorsed by the US. Anyway, in real life, allegedly, drinking water with radionuclides in it could take years for harmful effects to show, and yes, that includes an increased risk in cancer like leukemia. But the people in the drama who had contact with this radionuclides-filled water actually developed leukemia and died within weeks after its one and only exposure (Tak Kwang Yeon, Ko Mi Ho)! What's even more hilarious is that Choi Do Ha was eventually killed by the same radioactive water (that looked as clean and clear as your normal chlorinated pool water btw) on the same day he swam in it. Upon being told by Chang Ho that the water was radioactive, Do Ha then crashed into the pool like a plank. LMAO.

So what about the 100 billion that everyone was after in the first place? The 100 billion that placed Park Chang Ho in this predicament he said he didn't want to be in? Where is it? Gone, Soon Tae said. Someone stole it, and that was that. No mention of it ever again. What about the hospital that Joo Hee was serving director at, the hospital that had forced the next-of-kin of their dying patients to sign DNR agreements? Joo Hee had been serving at the hospital as a director, there's no way she was ignorant of all the criminal activities in the hospital. She's very much aware, and her last minute redemption by exposing everything her husband had done gave no closure on whether she was being held accountable for her actions as well. For a massive scandal like that, she would have been imprisoned IRL. I mean, really, what about the rushed cremations of the dead patients, what about the evil head nurse and all the other bitchy nurses who distributed life-threatening pills and injections, masquerading them as flu shots, medicine and vitamins? There was no comeuppance for them. Nothing. So really, what the hell did I just watch?

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Completed
Eve
151 people found this review helpful
Jul 22, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 45
Overall 1.5
Story 1.0
Acting/Cast 5.0
Music 1.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

a fashion show, a screaming wife and unnecessary sex scenes

Edit: Almost a year has passed since I wrote this review and I still get people bashing me for my score. Do you not know what a review is? If you don't like it, then write your own damn review and score your own drama as you wish. Because of people like these harassing me, I have readjusted my scoring. I have lowered the acting and music scores. From memory, I didn't think the villains even performed that well. It was cookie-cutter acting and the music - I can't even remember it. My overall? Still a 1.5. Harass me over my reviews and I will lower the scores further. Evidently I didn't score them low enough for these people to wake the eff up.

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I can't even describe how trashy this drama is, I was left disappointed and in shock over the whole thing. Honestly, I'm shocked at myself for having finished this discombobulated mess. It almost felt as if this "comeback" drama is a punishment that Seo Ye Ji had to endure before she would be given a more decent script to work on.

Where should I begin? The synopsis, maybe? This is how the synopsis goes: "Lee Ra El idolised her parents, a highly intelligent father and a strikingly beautiful mother." I was actually waiting for more snippets of her happy family life to be revealed, but none of that was given until late, where a meagre birthday celebration of 3 seconds was shown. How smart was his father? He was just described as "the Bill Gates of Korea." This was mentioned in passing in Ep 6 or so. How beautiful was her mother? Was she a walking fashion house, an elegant homemaker? The makeup and image artists for this drama did a disastrous job at dressing up her mother in the flashbacks. The mother was a typically ordinary housewife who apparently loved to dress like a countryside grandmother. They gave her granny floral blouses with straight cuttings, while Ra El gets to wear a different outfit in every scene! Ra El the fashion bombshell was the main focus. The synopsis goes on to say Ra El's goal is to bring down the fam using a USD1.6 billion divorce lawsuit. And yet halfway into the drama, we were told through another character's mouth (Moon Hee) that the original goal was to have the villains arrested using proper evidence and by way of the law. .....What divorce lawsuit? LMAO.

Nevermind that, who cares about what the synopsis says? The drama is nothing like what was advertised. Ra El should have been the glue that holds the story together. The plot centers around her revenge. But she too, changed her mind about only punishing the main culprit who killed her father midway into the drama. Her behaviour became more and more psychologically disturbed, as if she's trying to remind the audience of her past performance in It's Okay to Not Be Okay. Like, why? Wanting to exact vengeance on the person who ruined your life is one thing, but it's unnecessary to be psycho about it. You can still be human about it. There is hardly any need to portray every revenge-seeker as psychotic. Now Ra El, after finding out that Han So Ra murdered her mother, decided that she not only wanted to destroy the patriarch, but also everything in that family now. The target of her vengeance has expanded.

Alas. Despite learning who her mother's killer was, the writers of this drama still insisted on placing the man Ra El seduced, Yoon Geum, at the center of the story. They spent hours upon hours of episode time showing me the dynamics of the seduction. They kept bringing up Yoon Geum's feelings for Ra El, which started with nothing but pure lust. And suddenly, I found myself being shown Yoon Geum's miserable childhood. Do I care? What has his childhood got to do with Ra El's revenge? I know the scriptwriters were trying to say that So Ra losing Yoon Geum is an apt punishment for murdering Ra El's mother, and I'm feeling that the scriptwriters were trying to convince me that Yoon Geum is somehow a guy deserving of some level of sympathy. LOL. He was already steaming with lust the first time he laid his eyes on her. Why would I sympathise with a guy like this? LOL. Ra El uses sex as her weapon, and there's something grossly wrong about this in the year of 2022. Let us all throw a pity party for Yoon Geum, his tortured childhood, his deranged, spoilt wife, and his daughter who wasn't potty trained.

Frankly, I don't give a donkey's ass about this male lead.

The most infuriating thing that I soon realised is, when a man comes back for revenge, he gets to do things like deep researching, device-tracking, surveilling, espionage or military-style anti-reconnaisance without having to sacrifice his body or mental acuity. But when a woman comes back for revenge, she uses her body and sex to get what she wants. She goes through trauma and scarring, out-of-control situations where her mental judgement is impaired and subsequently, criticised, questioned, ridiculed. It always cheapens the female character, and this is unacceptable for me. The year is 2022, not 1972. This drama had set up the situation in such a way that the target is a bunch of fools whose intellectual processes occur in the lower half of their bodies.

The writers gave no information about Yoon Geum's father-in-law, Han Pan Ro, the main villain who gave orders to ruin Ra El's family until the end. Not much was also said about the crimes of his father-in-law's right-hand man either, Joon Cheol, who was directly responsible for Ra El's father's death. I want to know how these main two old crocs are going to get their comeuppance, chop chop. I want to know what Ra El was going to do to them and how she's going to set a trap them. But no. This drama insisted that the focus was placed on Ra El's load of chameleonish outfits, the seduction process, and the boring, lusty object of her seduction. Everything is all over the place. It's garbage.

I mean, don't we need to know, how Ra El gathered the specific evidence to nail the bad guys? Shouldn't I be learning about the villain's specific crimes? Shouldn't I be learning about why Moon Hee, the older woman she's collaborating with in her revenge scheme, and why does she also want Han Pan Ro's head? What's Moon Hee's backstory? But I got nothing. All I got up until Episode 9, was wasting 9 hours of my life watching useless catfights between Han So Ra (the guy's wife, also daughter of Han Pan Ro) and other wives of the upper class, Ra El waltzing and sashaying in different outfits to seduce the guy and finally had sex with him. I also had to watch Han So Ra have sex with a manservant. For what purpose was I shown this? What has So Ra's sex life got to do with Ra El's revenge plot? And I have to put up with scenes of failed attempts to gain entry into Yoon Geum's safe, in order for Ra El to obtain the ledger of her father's company 13 years ago, which is remarkably stupid.

No one keeps a 13-year old ledger of a company they usurped illegally from a man they killed. No one does this. They would sooner burn the ledger to get rid of the evidence. I'll quote a real life scenario: Weeks before Enron Corp officially went down, Arthur Andersen started shredding its audit documents related to Enron. So to think that Ra El and Moon Hee's aim was to retrieve a decade-old ledger (13 years lmao) with the assumption that it still exists, is all the more ridiculous. Additionally, what kind of huge company would contain its accounting info in just one thin ledger? Is this junior high accounting class? In the real world, companies in operation are allowed to destroy their documents after a minimum of 7 accounting periods have passed (7 years) by IFRS Standards, which the Korean Accounting Standards Board (KASB) adopts. It doesn't make an ounce of sense then, for the villains to have illegally acquired Ra El's semiconductor company and then still retains the documents detailing their crimes after 13 years. It's common sense that criminals would destroy evidence as soon as possible.

Again, this whole drama really doesn't bother to tell you the specifics of what really happened to Ra El's father or his company. It really only vaguely tells you that the father was accused of being an industrial spy, was forced to sign a confession which he refused, and had his life snuffed out of him and his shares of his company robbed. Which is again, dumb. There are laws which protect a director and his company shares. The script just wanted to use that cheap backstory to give Ra El a motive, and show the audience some fashion houses' outfits worn by Seo Ye Ji, show the audience some skin and sexy times. Oh, and scriptwriters had to make the seduced man's wife, Han So Ra, into a screaming, crazy mess, because it helps with raking up more sympathy points for Ra El. Imagine if So Ra was actually a good person!!! That is a no go for the scriptwriters. It would make Ra El invalid. So of course the wife had to be evil. And she had to be someone who also had a hand in Ra El's mother's death. This was only revealed in Ep 7, by the way, I guess it's the scriptwriters' way of saying, yeah, we know we're focusing way too much on the wife, but there's a reason!!! And still, that reason went to nought. Too many retroactive continuity in this trash.

The side character, Seo Eun Pyeong, the "clean" assemblyman who scorned the rich, who would never agree to meeting any of them for whatever reason, neither accepting a lunch invite nor a gift -- he was a convenient tool for Ra El in this drama. Eun Pyeong was usually so morally upright, that he was incorruptible. But of course, he easily agreed to rubbing his shoulders with Han Pan Ro for the sake of helping Ra El in her quest for revenge. What made this ridiculous was, Ra El was a mere 15-year old child he had helped some 13 years ago. She was a child he had sent to the USA to live a new life after her father's death. This dude was essentially sacrificing his entire career for her now. And the reason? Love! He decided that he loved her, and declared his love out of nowhere. This was after meeting the kid 13 years later and not even spending an inch of time to find out what her character is really like for him to fall in love with her. Nevermind, he fell in love after watching her erotic dance that one time in her studio, I guess that counts. Very logical! I swear this is one of the worst dramas I've ever seen this year.

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Completed
The Good Detective Season 2
14 people found this review helpful
Aug 23, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 7.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 6.5
This review may contain spoilers

flow of events mostly congruent with the plot, but bad finale spoils the show

I'll start by saying that I watched Season 1, and I did enjoy it, but the disappointment manifested in the last 5 episodes or so. My memory still holds the feelings of that time, but not the specific storyline. Since Season 1 was aired two years ago, I had completely forgotten what the main case was about. So when Season 2 was starting to air, I went back and restarted S1. And just from the first ep, most of the memories of the case came rushing back! I remember why I was disappointed with S1 in the first place.

Now in S2, Do Chang is now the guardian for Eun Hye, whose father they had wrongly convicted for a murder charge in S1, whom they eventually failed to save from death row. I was really pissed about that in S1. I guess that's somewhat realistic, but being part of the audience, I want some form of satisfying closure. S1 didn't provide that.

Nothing came out of the brief attraction Ji Hyuk had with Seo Kyung in S1. That was also disappointing. While I didn't care much for the couple either, I would have been happier if something happened between the two of them. A development of a new relationship, or something. Overall, S1 had a sense of discontent hanging all over it, although the thrill of the chase made it a pretty decent drama for me.

I wasn't expecting much from S2 because of the lassitude I was feeling from S1. But as I followed episode after episode, I was quite surprised to find myself easily absorbed into the story. S2 started off rather slow, but it gave a cogent follow-up on Ji Hyuk getting a transfer back to West Incheon with the same team and same partner. While in S1 he had faced various oppositions and "attitude" from existing members in the investigation team, he had smoothly cemented his place with the team with his return in S2. Do Chang's younger sister who was a mess from her divorce back in S1, now owns a fried chicken shop, and Eun Hye who Do Chang is raising, helps with the shop.

The plot for S2 began with the serial killings of several girls, which overlapped with the battery case of a woman by a son from a rich conglomerate. It felt straightforward at first glance, but it was soon revealed that one of the girls whom police initially suspected was the serial killer's victim was not in fact, murdered by him. So, as the story steadily gains momentum, it begins to present a new problem and revelation of a new mystery that requires digging into the core of an affluent but heartless and dyfunctional conglomerate family.

Most actors and actresses are well-trained -- and I'm actually a pretty easy person when it comes to grading acting skills. I usually don't have much complaint where acting is concerned, unless it's so bad that even my great-grandmother in a stupor would have been a better actress. That rarely happens. However, I'm extremely picky about the script and storyline. As such, there's nothing to complain about the acting, which I quite enjoyed, especially Kim Hyo Jin's performance. She's an amazing actress.

I wrote this review when I was 8 episodes into the drama. I gave this an 8.0 back then, but now that I have completed all 16 episodes, it is with much regret that I have to dock the rating down to a 7.0 and rewrite my review. I find the final three episodes of S2 underwhelming and nonsensical. The new developments that transpired, which I'm sure almost everyone could see coming, were handled badly. I mean, there are still wholesome humour injected in some scenes, which I thoroughly appreciate. The humour is what I love about the vibe of The Good Detective. This drama gives me a light and pleasant feeling while following the cases, compared to a dark investigative series. But that being said, I have issues to pick with some details in the writing of this show.

Now, it is clear by Episode 13 that Cheon Sang Woo was not the actual killer of Jung Hee Joo. Sang Woo, having been sentenced to 15 years for soliciting Hee Joo's murder, was suddenly deemed "innocent" and freed. This is where I have a big glaring issue with the writing. He's not at all innocent. He did order the killing, and although his solicitation of murder by hiring Ki Dong Jae to murder Hee Joo did not directly result in her death, he was nevertheless still very much guilty of hiring Dong Jae as a contract killer. This is just common sense, and a law in many countries. South Korea is not an exception. According to Statutes of the Republic of Korea (aka South Korean Criminal Law) under Chapter 24, Crimes of Homicide, which covers Article 255 in Preparations and Conspiracies, it was explicitly stated that, "A person who makes preparations or conspires with intent to commit the crimes of Articles 250 through 253, shall be punished by imprisonment with labor for not more than ten years." Articles 250 through 253 include Murder and Murder Upon Request. All these can be found on the Korea Legislation Research Institute website.

Even if Jung Hee Joo did not die by the hand of another person, it was still very much assured that she would be killed by the assassin Cheon Sang Woo has dispatched, aka Ki Dong Jae. So why should Sang Woo go free?!?? It doesn't make a shred of sense. Why would you release someone who had been proven to hire a killer with the intent to take another person's life!? The whole retrial bugged the shit out of me. Why would you need a retrial? No retrial should have been needed, Sang Woo is a scumbag who contracted a killer, he violated a law with the intent to take the life of another human being. He should have stayed in jail. The part where Kang Do Chang and Oh Ji Hyuk requested for Cheon Sung Dae's cooperation with their investigation was unnecessary, and looked really silly at execution. What was the point of Cheon Sung Dae asking for the help of 50 other old men at a villa dinner again? That bit was preposterous. It went nowhere.

Choi Yoon Geum committed a range of crimes. He accepted money to cover up a murder. Why was he free and walking about in Episode 15 and 16??! It was utterly ridiculous. All of these people have been caught red-handed on tape yet they are all released. Lmao. Hello? They were all involved in conspiracy to murder a poor girl. Again, even if she didn't die by Cheon Na Na 's hands, Cheon Sang Woo would still have her killed. He showed no remorse whatsoever even after he was caught hiring a killer on tape, was sent to trial, and put in prison. He acted like his own psychopathic self from start to finish. The final 3 episodes made zero sense.

Dude I really, really enjoyed this drama for 13 episodes and then this whole dumb "retrial, release Cheon Sang Woo" garbage happened. Ugh. Another issue that I have is the writer's treatment of female characters like Moon Bo Kyung. Girl was introduced as a mess in S2, but she grew as a character over time and honestly I have grown to love her too. She has a crush on Oh Ji Hyuk and how did the writer give her closure? Nothing. Space silence.

The really big plus about S2 of The Good Detective is that there are plenty of comedy and camaderie spirit abound compared to S1, and I personally feel it that way because I actually ran a concurrent rewatch of S1 up to Ep 7. Really, S1 wasn't terrible, but I'm ambivalent about it. S2 is definitely the better season for me, and that is very rarely the case with sequels. It almost never happens. Honestly, S2 would have been such an awesome sequel, had it not been for the disappointment in the finale.

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Love Like the Galaxy: Part 2
39 people found this review helpful
Aug 15, 2022
29 of 29 episodes seen
Completed 28
Overall 1.0
Story 1.0
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 1.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Rapid Regression in Character Development and Overworshipping of Certain Characters

Edited my rating and changed it from 2 to 1 because I'm fed up with insane fans who keep harassing me when they can't deal with difference in opinions. If you guys think that bullying people just because they dislike something you idolise so they would give in to you and cushion your fannies, you're in for a rude shock. Grow up and talk like a proper and decent person instead of lashing out. Raise your damn emotional quotient too while you're at it, if it's at all possible at your age.

----------

I wrote a review for Part 1 where I mentioned that, while I wasn't too enamoured with the story, I didn't think it was too bad. So I started Part 2 with the anticipation of growth and development across the main characters. However, I'm already halfway through Part 2 with just 14 episodes left and what I'm feeling right now is a ball of rage in the pit of my stomach.

I think the actress, Zhao Lu Si, is decent. Fresh from watching Who Rules The World, I was eager to watch her perform on screen again. However, it's the character of Niao Niao that I have problems with. Yes, it was repeatedly drilled into us, the viewers - that Niao Niao had been a much neglected child. She wasn't taught proper courtesy, she couldn't read at the level most girls of her social standing and family background could, and at her age, her penmanship was non-existent. Her code of conduct and sheer disrespect towards all the elders was abysmal. And because of this, we should be lenient with our judgement of her at all times. The elders were all terrible people anyways! I was fine with this -- at first. I get it completely. But to have her shortcomings in education define her character each and every time she has done something wrong, it became exhausting, and too much of a convenient excuse to dismiss her unlikable flaws. She was constantly portrayed as a martyr who could do no wrong. All of that is not just ridiculous, it's bad writing. And this was exactly what happened in Part 2 of this series.

I hate that the writing exerts that a 15-year old girl, with so much potential in her, does not need to change in any capacity, and that she doesn't need to grow or make herself better. She's just the way she is. She could just resort to petty tricks each time she was bullied - and this bullying happens A LOT. She's bullied for no other reason other than the fact that she received less education, and everyone else was jealous of her - even though he received less education. Make it make sense. In the meantime, she just wanted to get married! Even though she's immature, she should just do what she wants! So, just sit around and wait for someone like Zi Sheng to come and love her fully and unconditionally. All I can say is, it's a terrible story that sends horrible messages to all adolescent girls everywhere.

Part 2 is basically a continuation of the victimisation and martyrism of Niao Niao's character. This time, the victimisation continued not at her family home, but at the Imperial Palace, where Zi Sheng lived. The princesses were portrayed as dumb, uncultured, jealous broads next to Niao Niao. They targeted and bullied her relentlessly, yet when the opportunity came for Niao Niao to speak up about her grievances to Zi Sheng, she didn't say anything. It was beyond my comprehension that an outspoken girl like her who had constantly reminded everyone how blunt and outspoken she was, couldn't tell him what happened. She was perfectly alright with verbalising the injustices she suffered at home to her parents, but she couldn't do it now. The only reason I could come up with is that the author loved to victimise Niao Niao and took away her agency at that moment so that Zi Sheng could find out for himself just how much suffering she was going through and love her even more! So what's the point of all that suffering? It's all short-term and provided no basis for character growth. It's all a pity-party so that Zi Sheng could give her doeful looks when he realised just how much of a martyr his gurl was. LMAO. There was no personal growth and character development coming from the pain. Your prince will gallop to you on his stallion and show those bitches who is boss!

Seriously. Niao Niao repeatedly insisted she couldn't change her personality. She is who she is. "I was like this when you met me, I'm Cheng Shao Shang!" she declared to Zi Sheng. And yet when the Empress chided her for the very same mistake Zi Sheng got mad at her for, when the Empress told her that not confiding in the people close to her and taking matters into her own hands could end up distancing them, her response was, "I wish someone told me about this earlier."

My reaction to that was, LOL what?! Blaming others again instead of taking responsibility for once, aren't we? Would she have listened if someone told her "earlier"? She wouldn't. She would just say indignantly, "You keep telling me this and that, you keep telling me not to do this and that, you keep lecturing me, but is this really for my own good? I'm Cheng Shao Shang and I can't change!" She was unreceptive to advice. And yet she says this now.

I'll say this - Cheng Shao Shang is an unlikable, immature brat and an unlikable self-insert "Mary Sue" of the author.

I have been super patient and waited to see how the palace conspiracy would unfold since Episode 3 in Part 1, and now we're almost at the end of this dreadful drama, Niao Niao's family was suddenly implicated in the conspiracy and branded as rebels. I'm thoroughly amazed that the author had managed to victimise her main female character to such an extent. And yet again the suffering the author inflicted on Niao Niao up until now brought little to no character development. This overt martyrism is honestly disgusting and makes me retch.

Let's be real. What's the point of Niao Niao's stay at the palace? She was supposed to take lessons from the Empress, so she could learn about becoming a proper wife for Zi Sheng - kind of like a finishing school for noble ladies. That was the premise given to us. But as I continued to watch this whole mess, I realised that going to the palace and learning from the Empress is a fake out. The author's real intention was so that Niao Niao could be hurled into the royal family's politics and drama, so she could be bullied by everyone who automatically is jealous of her. These evil little bitches jealous of her would be dished back their own deserts, of course, and the three guys would just fall more in love with her. Tadaa, perfect setup to be made into a lovable victim. Let the martyring commence!

Why do I say there are no character improvement? Because it's a fact. There are very few scenes of Niao Niao achieving self-improvement. You get scenes of the Empress and the Emperor automatically loving whatever she cooked and baked, and automatically loving whatever BS that came tumbling out of her mouth. It doesn't matter how childish her lines were, everyone falls over themselves to praise her for her "insight" and "purity of mind". Give me a break. Niao Niao also thought she had the duty and holy right for some reason. She lectures everyone on life's grand lessons, including the emperor! And they should listen to her! (Refer to Crown Prince and Crown Princess Arc) but Niao Niao is born perfect in every way, you see, despite ~some~ flaws. Zi Sheng so said this. She's the best!! Despite never taking the time to understand what she's really like as a person. Nevermind, she doesn't need to listen to anyone. Everyone else is wrong to lecture her. She should just be ~~~~herself~~~~

What about Zi Sheng, the male lead of this show? Zi Sheng's characterisation also irritated me to high heavens. He was made out to be the perfect guy in every way. He's an accomplished general at the tender age of 21. He gives commands to guys triple his age, and he tortures and kills them because they deserved it. No one complained how he killed a guy in prison and used an excuse to cover up the crime.

His flaws were characterised as endearing by the author. For example? He laughed like a strangled duck. He couldn't tell a joke. He yelled at Niao Niao every single time she did something he didn't like - and the reason? He's only yelling because he loves her! He doesn't want her to get in danger! Every single time. Also, he gave in to his wild impulses to punish others in acts of transgression, angering the Emperor - usually because of his desire to avenge Niao Niao. All these traits weren't even flaws. Is he a Gary Stu? Zi Sheng is depicted as the perfect fantasy boyfriend who is all around handsome and could do no wrong. He's such an obvious fantasy of the author for her self-insert. He's boring.

There is also something I need to say about the characterisation of Niao Niao's mother. At the start of Part 2, it looked as if Yuan Yi and Niao Niao were on the road to reconciliation. Her mother was displaying a change of heart in some scenes, like when she started to show motherly care for Niao Niao by bringing her a blanket on a cold night, and when she defended Niao Niao at Lou Yao's family residence to break off the unfavourable engagement (end of Part 1). She was also feeling lonely after Niao Niao moved to the palace, and looked distinctively sad when the bridal jewellery she picked for Niao Niao were overlooked in favour of the Empress' choices. Then the accusation of rebellion happened. Mother Niao Niao was carted off to prison, and Niao Niao declared she wanted to follow suit, as well. The reaction was a swift slap to Niao Niao's face. Like, was that even necessary!? Couldn't she have communicated with her daughter properly?! What was that slap for? I was flabbergasted. No doubt, the slap was most likely used to arouse further sympathy from the viewers for Niao Niao.

I have no more hopes for the rest of this drama. That was the last straw of victimization I could take. An accusation of rebellion against the crown is the biggest stroke the author could deal and victimise Niao Niao. Love Like the Galaxy is not revolutionary. It's been quite a while since I've seen such an archetypal writing that portrays a martyr-like, annoying, "mary-sue" heroine with her equally annoying, boring, cardboard cut-out fiance. Easily the worst drama I've watched in 2022. In fact, it's the worst drama I've watched in a few years.



Edit: Nevermind, just read a summary of the novel and the actual full novel seems to be far worse and more convoluted (yet managed to maximise its use of all available tropes) than the drama itself.

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Love Like the Galaxy: Part 1
20 people found this review helpful
Jul 30, 2022
27 of 27 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 3.5
This review may contain spoilers

Roundabout Love Story and Bland Characters

This is a tale about a girl, Cheng Shao Shang (pet name Niao Niao) who was born to parents who were both generals. She was given to her paternal grandmother and aunt (wife of her uncle) to raise as her parents had to depart immediately for war after her birth (she also had an older twin brother). There was no bed-confinement rest for the mother. Her older brothers were taken elsewhere and raised differently, and for Niao Niao, whose vicious aunt wanted nothing more than to present her as an ill-bred child due to no one's fault but the poor girl's "unruly nature", her life growing up was full of loneliness and pain, save for the company of her servant girl. It didn't help that her own grandmother favoured sons and grandsons over daughters and granddaughters, and the result was a young girl who was largely neglected and ill-treated by her own relatives. When her parents returned to her side at the age of 15, she could not read beyond a few Chinese characters because of the poor education she received in her parents' absence.

All this backstory is to emphasise how pitiful Niao Niao is, and I have no doubt that her situation was not uncommon in old China. It is slightly unusual in the sense that Niao Niao was daughter to two generals with good reputation and standing in their county. Anyway, after following her life episode after episode, my displeasure with the characters around her only grew with time. There's not much to say about her vicious aunt - she was taken care of early in the drama, her punishment was swift and timely. Her grandmother, though, was a terrible woman whose childish antics continued to be so dreadful that I stopped taking her seriously.

Niao Niao had a female cousin who was staying with them, Yang Yang. Yang Yang was daughter to the vicious aunt and her meek husband (the second son in the house, Niao Niao's father's younger brother). Now Yang Yang, unlike Niao Niao, was educated and raised properly by her mother's family. She could read and write with utmost fluency and possessed a kind disposition like her father (thankfully she did not take after her bitchy mom). Comparisons entailed after Niao Niao's general mother, Xiao Yuan Yi, showed up after 15 whole years of absence from her own daughter's life.

I absolutely have no soft spot for Niao Niao's mother after watching 14 episodes of this drama. Niao Niao's mother knew that she lacked proper teaching and education for more than 15 years of her young life. Niao Niao is incomparable to Yang Yang, who was taught the proper etiquettes of a well-behaved young woman and had a proper education. Yet somehow, her mother expected Niao Niao to magically grow up well as a respectable lady and be the perfect daughter of her dreams as soon as she returned home from the war after 15 years. It was as if her mother just wanted to reap the benefits without sowing any hard work or love into her child. If I were a mother, the first thing after reuniting with my child is to shower them with love and try to understand them, not demand them to conform to what I want. Throughout the series (so far), her mother thought that discipline was what her own daughter needed, so she meted out punishments for ill behaviour, the most trivial slip of etiquette, childish schemes and pranks. To add insult to Niao Niao's injury, her mother constantly praised Yang Yang and showered her with affection in front of her own daughter. This kind of hurt is unfathomable. I do hope that they could reconcile, because while Niao Niao could be childish and immature, she was after all still a child who was bullied her whole life. Her perspective of the world was skewed by her own terrible experiences and starvation for love, hence she jumped into the first opportunity to get married even though she wasn't that into the guy (Lou Yao) when they met. Her mother did not recognise this - that her own daughter was yearning for more affection.

As for the romance part of this drama - I'm not feeling it too deeply. I just couldn't feel much chemistry between the main leads. There were funny moments and I did howl at some scenes, but something was still missing and I couldn't quite pin my finger on it. I'm not sure if it's Leo Wu's problem to connect with his female leads (all his other dramas with his female leads also felt somewhat flat to me) or if it's because of the way the romance was written in this story. He's only 22 and still growing as an actor, so I really don't have much to complain about him, as he can act pretty okay.

In the drama, he is Ling Bu Yi (courtesy name Zi Sheng). Niao Niao left a deep impression on Zi Sheng the first time they met after she sold out her own grand-uncle (her grandmother's younger brother) for committing a crime. Their subsequent meetings and interactions just weren't real enough or convincing for me, at least. He was also betrothed to Imperial Princess Yu Cheng, but he refused to acquiesce to the betrothal because, in his own words, he didn't want an arranged marriage. He wanted to find someone he really loved, and he wanted someone whom he knew would be the one - at first sight. I'm sorry but it's just so .... childish? There's also flaw in his thinking. He said, "I want the kind of love the moment I see it," but what about the princess? She could very well have thought he too, was the love she wanted the moment she saw him. But love itself is never that simple. It is about mutual acceptance, responsibility and the willingness to commit. I say that, but actually, I don't feel for the princess, she's a spoiled broad. Zi Sheng himself can be hypocritical in his world views, he talked big but he didn't know crap about love. All of Niao Niao's suitors annoy me. The bewildering thing about this story is, all the guys fell too hard and too fast (three of them) for the heroine and Zi Sheng is no exception.

Zi Sheng himself came from a complicated household. His mother lost her mind over an incident, and his biological father seemed like a villain. The emperor adopted Zi Sheng as his own son, was lenient to him and to most of his subjects, even criminals. The writer depicted the emperor as a soft-hearted man, whose actions reflect himself more as a modern family man than a mighty emperor. Zi Sheng could speak without restraint in the emperor's presence, he didn't have to do the things he didn't like to do, and the emperor seemed to care more about Zi Sheng's love life than his career as the general of a dynasty. This was weird, but nevertheless heartwarming, and I would have been more accepting of his portrayal had it not been for the glaring contrast of Niao Niao's strict, severe and unyielding mother. So while all the convoluted plots of stealing armaments from the imperial troops and acts of rebellions were going on in the background, with the main guy Zi Sheng having his hands full trying to close the case (I don't understand why he is also part of the investigation team, wasn't he a general? Why was he also the police?), the main girl was in a hurry to get married so she could finally "be free" from her toxic, unloving family. I just feel it's too much of a roundabout way to tell a love story. I have no interest in the first fiance, Lou Yao or his equally toxic family. I honestly don't understand why would Niao Niao, being as intelligent as she was, wanted to jump from one abusive family to the next. It just doesn't make sense. She wanted freedom, but marrying into Lou Yao's family is anything but obtaining freedom.

Around Episode 20, when Niao Niao was forced to break off her engagement with Lou Yao, she wailed and cried about her "unlucky" fate in the carriage with Zi Sheng. I understand that she simply wanted something that would go her way for once, and that she had never had anyone who showed their love for her like Lou Yao did. She was raised like a frog under a well, so I completely understand her ignorance in the first half of the series. I was eager to see how she would grow. Yet after the arc where she went through a harrowing ordeal chased by a band of deserting soldiers who turned bandits, where she had witnessed so many tragedies and deaths, the thing she said was, "Why am I always the unlucky one?" Like, girl, out of so many things you could have said, you chose the worst thing to say.

The bandit arc in Part 1 was supposed to show how Niao Niao grew as a person after observing how life outside her family home was much complicated and tragic than she assumed her life was in comparison. That was what I thought. But because of what Niao Niao said after all that, I realised I was wrong. That whole arc is nothing but to show us how Niao Niao is really already such a great and wonderful girl, and she doesn't need to change. That her actions in this arc were what made Zi Sheng fall more in love with her, that's it. He saw her being smart, being kind, he saw and heard her play the flute, and his heart ached with deep longing - what with the sombre background music and all - that he couldn't have her because she was engaged. It was a sympathy arc for Zi Sheng.

Personally, I still don't think it's a bad story altogether. I'm still entertained somewhat. But the plot surrounding the royal family and the investigation concerning the stolen troop armaments could have been written better. The romance could have been written better. The main characters annoy me every now and then and there were too many characters who don't really serve much purpose other than being distractions and obstacles between the main two leads. I just don't really like that kind of thing. I want a simple, straightforward story, and if you're also like me in this aspect - you won't find that here. Be prepared to get dragged around watching characters you don't care for, scenes you don't care for, and very few scenes between the two leads. But this is just Part 1, and I'm only finishing it. Honestly, I don't have much hopes for Part 2. But I'll finish that as well.

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Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung
5 people found this review helpful
Oct 3, 2022
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
This review may contain spoilers

"modern" historical drama with semi-realistic scenes and non-cloying romance

I binged this over the weekend, starting from a Friday night. And dude, why didn't I watch this drama earlier, back in 2019?!?!?! I had no idea. Oh wait, I know. It's because I wasn't watching too many Korean dramas back then, yet. I just didn't have the time to. Anyway, I just had to write something about this, because several episodes of this drama actually made me bawl like a baby.

I love this drama for its non-cloying romance, the natural progression of their love, and that they never once bring up their age difference, with the main female character being a whole 6 years older than the main male character. If you are looking to the couple making out deeply and having hot and heavy physical contact, you should give up on this drama and watch some Hollywood series instead, where people go to bed with each other after something like two episodes. This drama definitely won't be something you like. But, it's exactly what I love. I love that they don't need to express their love and longing for each other by constantly touching each other all over. The amount of moments they shared in the drama is just right for me.

The main female character, Goo Hae Ryung, is the eponymous heroine of the drama. She's straightforward, funny, always the initiator, and a girl whose knowledge about history, astronomy and science is far ahead of her time in that era. If she were real, she would have no doubt made significant contributions to mankind and left a mark in history. The main male character, Prince Dowon Yi Rim, introduced as the younger son of the king (he's later revealed to be the eldest and only son of the previous king), fell in love at first sight with her, but he was offended that she didn't think much of his skills as a romance novelist, nor was she impressed with the romance genre overall. Yi Rim is a sweet, soft-hearted guy, and yes, he's completely a romantic, which explained his affinity with writing romance, and yet nine out of ten times, it was Hae Ryung who stole kisses from him.

Shin Sae Kyeong was splendid in her role. To be honest, I've tried to get into many of her dramas before but the storylines were so horrible that I always ended up dropping those dramas. But, I've always been interested in watching her on screen, so I kept trying to find dramas with her in it whenever I could. I'm so glad I found this drama and managed to complete it. Every so often it's really not the fault of the actors or actresses that were signed up for a drama or film, but the characters that they were given to play and the story script that was written. She was perfect for the role of Goo Hae Ryung. I just love watching her antics and her character's chemistry with the prince. She's had some cute unforgettable scenes - like when she was watching guys at the waterfall, making finger heart gentures at them lmao, and when she's had her day off and lying on the floor with all her limbs out like a five-pointed star. She's so pretty, cute, smart, and special, no wonder the prince fell hard and fast for her!

I've never seen Cha Eun Woo on screen before this drama. Like many idol-actors before him, he didn't start out with acting as his forte, so comparing him to acting veterans in the show especially Sae Kyeong, who has been acting since she was a child, is unfair. Like Sae Kyeong for her role Hae Ryung, I think Eun Woo is perfect for the role of Prince Yi Rim. An intelligent boy with the gift of literature, he's a prince who wasn't allowed to study politics or even history, so his only outlet was in romance fiction. Eun Woo played the innocent and childish role pretty well, and he was also convincing in scenes that required him to express his pained and desperate love for Hae Ryung. All in all, he's actually a rather decent actor! He has plenty of room to grow.

That being said, I'm not sold on the premise that historians record every single activity of the royal family inside the palace, including private family disputes. It just seems ridiculous. Also, they claimed a historian is required to be present at all times when they were dispatched to record the princes' activities, but there had been times when the Crown Prince and Prince Dowon were completely alone in the daytime with no historians near them. I'm sure the show was just taking liberties with the writing to enable plot progression, but I just can't imagine the power historians actually held over the king in this show, and there had been many times when such a thing has happened. First the strike at the Office of Official Decrees, then it was the push for re-investigating the case of Seoraewon twenty years ago at the king's birthday banquet. Why do such things always transpire at the king's birthday banquets? Lmao I mean I'm just reminded of Nirvana in Fire, man. I mean I'm ok with the useless kings having their birthdays trashed, and I guess it's the easiest way to get yourself heard - or killed.

There were plenty of other characters to love in this drama, from the prince's caretaker, Eunuch Heo to the Crown Prince, even the Crown Princess - I actually hoped they could work things out and stay married - but that didn't happen, and I feel it's an outrage because what a waste of 10-15 years of a woman's life! The Crown Princess did not deserve that. The historians' office, was of course, filled with sexist and chauvinist pigs who couldn't accept women into the folds of the profession at first, and we had to see how hard the girls had to work to prove themselves. It was hard to watch and it's even harder to believe that this situation actually still exist today. I relate 100%.

The romance in this drama was actually balanced enough and right enough for me. When the prince was attacked during his traveling to the tomb of the previous king, he fell off his horse with arrows coming in all directions at him. Our heroine, desperate to get to her man, braved the arrows with a stool as a shield and went to his side, bringing him to safety before he was shot anyway - while protecting her! His beloved. Holy crap, I cried so much during this scene. I was a mess. UGH. Also, I love that during the time the prince was placed under house arrest, and was in danger of being assassinated any second, Hae Ryung came and saved him - they ran hand in hand with her leading the way out of the palace. I just love this so much. And in the morning after they slept together, it was the prince who sent her off to work, instead of the other way round. It's just such a lovely reverse in roles but it's not extreme, because they complement each other just right.

If anyone out there is anything like me, this drama would be a good watch. If you're nothing like me, then this drama would just be a disappointment.

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Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty
8 people found this review helpful
Oct 9, 2022
36 of 36 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 7.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This review may contain spoilers

Tang Dynasty Investigative Drama with Stipples of Fantasy

In history, Di Ren Jie was a chancellor during the Tang Dynasty and Wu Zhou Dynasty who was celebrated for his capacity in giving fair trials and judging cases. In fiction and popular culture, he's also depicted as a government official, and a highly intelligent detective with an acumen for solving difficult and bizarre cases. The drama's main protagonists are Su Wu Ming, protégé of Di Ren Jie, and Lu Ling Feng, a general of the Imperial Guards.

The story goes that both Su Wu Ming and Lu Ling Feng once vied to be the pupil of Di Ren Jie when they were younger, but Di only accepted one of them - Su Wu Ming. The result of this constantly became the underlying cause of Lu Ling Feng's grudge against Su Wu Ming for the first half of the drama. The reason that Su Wu Ming was picked was clear. The man was much shrewder, more cunning, intelligent, and he was not above himself to employ tricks of deception as his means for greater good. He presented himself as an awkward official, but beneath his deadpan face was a sharp-witted, eloquent, and possessed a humourous persona.

Lu Ling Feng's character was upfront, straightforward, reckless, and coming from a distinguished family, he puts himself on a high pedestal, sees himself as honourable, thus his exuberant arrogance. He was not as intelligent as Su Wu Ming, but he had show a level of simple-mindedness that was indirectly the cause of his own downfall. He was initially the favourite of the Crown Prince, being entrusted to investigate the case of the black tea which caused high addiction amongst its drinkers. The Chief General was apparently "jealous" of his vast achievements, so through scheming and slanders, he was eventually cast away. Lu Ling Feng's constant outbursts were honestly tiring to watch and he could get annoying over time, but he did have his moments that made up for the shortcomings of his character. He was overall, a good combination with Su Wu Ming as an investigative partner, and on some occasions as the rebellious patient of Chicken Master Fei, a skilled physician and an occupant of the "red district" Ghost Market.

The cases, which spanned four to five episodes each, were paced well and easy to follow. There were elements of magic that centered around witchcraft, giving viewers the CG effects of illusions of monstrous creatures and giant beings larger than humans. The first case led the two protagonists to solve the mystery of abducted and murdered brides together, but instead of being rewarded after solving the case, Lu Ling Feng was framed, stripped from his high ranking position and thrown out of the capital of Chang'an. Hence, the quest to reveal the person behind this scheme begins after this case.

Romance is not the center of the theme for this drama, that's the feeling one gets when watching this for the first five episodes or so. Nevertheless, we were introduced to Pei Xi Jun, daughter of Pei Jian, who was bethrothed to Lu Ling Feng's cousin, General Xiao when they were children. Before General Xiao was due to depart for the battlefield, Pei Xi Jun had held a banquet for this fiancé whom she only met once during childhood. But instead, Lu Ling Feng went to the banquet in his stead, causing Pei Xi Jun to mistake him for her fiance. She developed a deep crush and obsession with him thereafter. Of course, the story stipulated that he had feelings for her, too, so it's all mutual. All she wanted was to marry him, even when the imperial edict brought the announcement that he had died in battle. She threw tantrums at home, refused food, crying to her dad all day long, "I want to marry General Xiao! I want to go and look for him! I don't care!" And it was all because she met him once at the banquet she held, where they presumably had some shallow conversations about the sparrows in spring or water lilies in Suzhou. She was also willing to go as far as to enter in a "nether marriage" with him. Her role in the drama is to perpetually pine for Lu Ling Feng, and to be the eventual love ending for Lu Ling Feng. It didn't matter if her father, who had doted on her her whole life, broke his foot, or fell ill. She constantly whined about Lu Ling Feng. In a way, I think both of them deserved each other.

While I understand not every female character can be written to resemble Zhao Pan Er from A Dream of Splendour (2022), it is incomprehensible to me that some writers only tend to present female characters on extreme ends on the spectrum. They're either implausible, unconventional feminists in their era, or they're insufferable, whiny brats. They want what they want, and they want it now (which also reminds me of the unbearable female lead from My Roommate is a Detective). Some of these female characters are either accompanied by a superficial sob story that lacks in effort in giving them depth, or the female characters are over-victimised to the extent of "mary-sue" martyrism (which is the case for Cheng Shao Shang in Love Like the Galaxy). These are just a few mentions among many others.

I like this drama, and if it weren't for the superfluous character Pei Xi Jun, I would have rated it even higher. The second half of the series introduced us to a new female character named Li Ying Tao, who quickly became Su Wu Ming's love interest. She is adept at martial arts that rivals Lu Ling Feng's level, hot-headed, and definitely not a tsundere. While I don't mind the second coupling, I do find the age difference between her and Su Wu Ming a little unsettling. I know this was the Tang Dynasty, but my modern mind has been hardwired in such a way I find it hard to divorce the belief I held from the practice in that era. Su Wu Ming himself acknowledged that he's a bit older than Li Ying Tao, but his affections for her were clear. The male chauvinism and inflated male ego were also rampant in this drama, traits that honestly aren't uncommon 1500 years ago, but like I said, it doesn't mean it's right and it doesn't man my mind can embrace it.

In history, Emperor Xuanzong and his aunt, Princess Taiping were locked in a struggle for the throne upon the imminent abdication of Emperor Ruizong. Princess Taiping's followers were all swiftly dealt with before his ascension, and she was forced to take her own life. This drama, however, implemented an arc where the Princess' life was in jeopardy following her use of a toxic face "tonic". The Crown Prince was portrayed as someone who cared deeply for her. Because of traitorous subordinates and this and that, a fierce battle ensued where the Crown Prince received a sword injury. Both of aunt and nephew came to a compromise and began to repair their relationship thereafter. Soon, Lu Ling Feng was revealed as the Princess' long lost son, a plot twist that I didn't particularly like.

This had been an enjoyable drama, but I just couldn't warm up to Lu Ling Feng and Pei Xi Jun. I could barely tolerate Lu Ling Feng's attitude by the end of the series, and to me Pei Xi Jun's character is completely expendable.

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Extraordinary Attorney Woo
4 people found this review helpful
Aug 19, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 7.0
This review may contain spoilers

charming legal drama albeit with a few hiccups

I really enjoyed Extraordinary Attorney Woo. If it weren't for some of the later episodes, I would have rated this even higher.

Woo Young Woo (goodness knows why her father named her that) is a girl born with autism. She has had a difficult childhood because of that, and was bullied throughout her school years, including college. As all dramas and real life have taught us, bullies really don't grow up. They're bullies in their childhood and they're bullies after growing up and they're bullies as they enter society as working adults. Young Woo graduated at the top of her class at college and in law school but she was unable to find a job because workplaces, as we know it, are discriminatory against the disabled. Since society behaves like a bully - is it any surprise that their children grew up the same way?

Skipping all of that - Young Woo's obsession with whales reminds me somewhat of Han Geo Roo (Move to Heaven) and his obsession with the aquarium and sealife. But this drama is nothing as dark as Move To Heaven. This drama is light-hearted, bright, and honestly, considering all the dramas I've watched all year, Extraordinary Attorney Woo is a good story but it is nevertheless a diamond in the rough.

Because of Young Woo's autism, her colleagues and senior mentor initially doubted her ability to perform at her job. Young Woo very quickly proved them wrong with her first case, and the story took off from there. The pacing was perfect for the first ten episodes or so. Each episode heralds a new case (towards the later half of the series each case sometimes takes two episodes) and each case comes with a soul-touching and soul-searching lesson. What made this drama such an endearing watch is not just Young Woo herself, but all the characters that made up the legal team of the Hanbada Firm. There is nothing more uplifting than having someone supportive at work, and an understanding, generous superior like Attorney Jung plus a kind colleague like Choi Soo Yeon give the drama an overall positive feel.

Joo Jong Hyuk is a very convincing actor who played the role of the office jerk, Kwon Min Woo. Mr.Kwon is small-hearted, selfish, hateful, and he discriminated against Young Woo because of BOTH her disability AND intelligence. Yes, go figure. He first complained that she's incompetent at her job because of her disability, but later he complained that she's too much of a genius. She's actually winning some sort of imaginary competition in his head. Of course, it was all because he felt threatened that he might lose his position at work to Young Woo. I have a massive complaint about the development of his romance with Choi Soo Yeon in the final quarter of the drama. The entire thing was completely unconvincing and it ruined the drama for me a little. It was as if the writer is saying, "hey, he's got his little family circumstance so we can see why he's being such a jerk so let's be lenient towards him." Honestly IDGAF if you've got a situation going on but having treated Young Woo the way he did royally pissed me off and he never really properly apologised for his actions and wrongdoing. Society is already rage-inducing the way it is, when has it ever been lenient and forgiving towards disabled and underprivileged people? But as soon as disabled people started to get a little bit of equal treatment, others rise up and cry about "favouritism" and "inequality". They're now feeling they're on the shorter end of the stick! Wow and now you want me to expense some sympathy towards a bully and a jerk like Mr. Kwon? No. I can't forgive and forget all the crap he has done to Young Woo. So I don't understand why would the writers have Soo Yeon like such a person. Dear sweet 'spring sunshine Choi Soo Yeon', whom Young Woo revealed have helped and defended her in college and law school, having to end up with a guy like this?! Nevermind, the writers tried to tone down his assholishwhatever at the final two episodes and I'm like, leopards can't change its spots overnight, okay???? Hmmmm???

The romance between Jun Ho and Young Woo is sweet and cute, but not very compelling. He fell in love with her after seeing her in a wedding dress? That's it? Or did he fall in love with her because he finds her quirky? IDK man, I love a good romance story and I'm completely open to accepting this main pairing, but honestly the writers need to make it more convincing for me. And since this is a legal drama that has a center female lead, I actually prefer the drama to move on without any romance.

There was a case that the team undertook, in which a guy volunteering at a disabled center dated one of the girls with intellectual disability and ended up sleeping with her. He was charged with rape and brought to court where he tried to argue that he was truly in love with the girl. This was a very interesting case that could address the the range of emotions disabled people feel including the emotion of love, which I thought was important in the way that could protect the disabled from being preyed upon and taken advantaged of by predators, but at the same time not to belittle the disabled's feelings and clarity of mind. I thought perhaps it could also be a stepping stone for Young Woo and Jun Ho to reflect on their relationship as a side. However, not only was the guy sent straight off to jail in the end, there was no after-thoughts by the main couple on this case. There was no appeal filed to assert that the guy truly loved the disabled girl, there was no space for viewers to think about the ramifications of that verdict on future cases where disabled people can also fall in love with other abled people. In my opinion, that episode was a complete missed opportunity.

I don't know about other people, but personally, Attorney Jung Has Stomach Cancer Arc was enjoyable for me. I was especially touched that he's still very much in love with his ex-wife even though they have divorced and separated for 5 years. I cried in the last episode because of his scene with his wife. Attorney Jung is a good guy who isn't afraid to admit his mistakes, including the first time when he doubted Young Woo's ability to function in her job. If he leaves Hanbada and Season Two rolls around without him, I definitely won't find the story as enjoyable. But I'm not willing to see him break up with his wife a second time because he can't keep his promise with her a second time to take it easy with life. I hope the writers and production team can come up with a compromise that will give Attorney Jung some kind of ordinary peace and happiness. I look forward to S2.



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Mysterious Lotus Casebook
5 people found this review helpful
Aug 19, 2023
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 8.5
This review may contain spoilers

Exceeds Expectations

I wish I could just say, that's it - that's what I feel about the whole drama and end my review like this, but it wouldn't do much to explain just in what way the drama exceeded my expectations. So, I'll just write a brief and simple summary of what I like so much about this drama.

Cheng Yi is flawless as the legendary swordmaster Li Xiang Yi, hailed as a prodigy who achieved greatness at the age of 15 and went on to become the sect leader of the Sigu Sect at the age of 20. The drama began with the fateful battle involving him with Di Fei Sheng, sect leader of the Jin Yuan Alliance, on the East Sea, which brought upon ruin and great devastation upon the two martial masters. Ten years later, the story unravelled to reveal sect conspiracies, broken romances, the true reason for Li Xiang Yi's defeat, hidden secrets behind the Imperial Crown, and of course - the strength of loyalty and the meaning of brotherhood.
And thus we follow Li Xiang Yi (now known as Li Lian Hua) with his travelling abode, known as the the Lian Hua Lou, or Lotus Tower (which reminds me of Howl's Moving Castle), through the journey of discovery.

The journey had been a riveting watch, and I haven't enjoyed myself this much and definitely haven't sped through the episodes this quickly ever since Nirvana in Fire - and I have watched many, many, period dramas. There had been many that I hadn't bothered to review or add to my watch list and score. That was how bored I was. Nevertheless, there are some similarities between Li Xiang Yi and Lin Shu - both were hailed as prodigies, and both were afflicted with the "greatest" poison known in their universe, and both possessed a sharp and analytical mind with a dash of wit. But the similarities end there. While Nirvana in Fire was centered on the theme of revenge of which facts were already known to the main character, The Mysterious Lotus Casebook is, on the other hand, by itself an investigative series that seeks to uncover truths completely unknown to the main character himself. It is a touching tale of seeking forgiveness, redemption, and acceptance.

Both Xiao Shun Yao and Zeng Shun Xi (Joseph Zeng) gave stellar performances in their respective roles as Di Fei Sheng and Fang Duo Bing. Di Fei Sheng, the original antagonist presented to us in the beginning, was not who he seemed to be. I also find the need to lavish prasies on Wang He Run (Rain Wang) as the delightful villainess Jiao Li Qiao, who was marvellously convincing in her delivery as the scorned woman with an obsessive, psychotic streak. I definitely would love to see her in other roles in future.

I did cry when Li Xiang Yi's past love story was narrated. He is a wonderful actor - his tears were really convincing! Oh, my heart. His expressions broke me apart. Sadly, the character of Qiao Wan Mian lacks depth and thus there isn't much to say, as the importance of her role is minimal.

This has been a lovely watch, and I honestly wouldn't mind watching it again.

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A Dream of Splendor
4 people found this review helpful
Jul 30, 2022
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0

An Epic Ancient Romance with Modern Themes

I wish I could type a coherent and chronological review about this, but I can’t. So all I want to say is, I love this drama, it evoked so much emotions in me and had driven me to tears so many, many times.

Liu Yi Fei is Zhao Pan Er, a tearoom merchant, whose father was a court official but was disgraced and exiled after he disobeyed an order during a city lockdown. He had opened up the city gates to help villagers who were being plundered by invaders. His wife and daughter, Pan Er, were dragged off to be maidservants and their caste fell into the pariah rank overnight. She had rescued a man, Ouyang Xu, from drowning three years before the story began, and they started a relationship. He was a scholar who promised to wed her as soon as he passed the imperial examinations, however, he betrayed her love and she was left heartbroken.

Chen Xiao is Gu Qian Fan, an officer from the Capital Security and Punishments of the Palace (an investigative police force of the Emperor), whose father was also a court official (now Prime Minister aka Grand Secretary) who apparently abandoned his mother and remarried, causing Qian Fan much grief and anger towards him. Qian Fan in his teenage years was mentored by the unscrupulous and sly Qi Mu, who masqueraded as a loving teacher but who was only using him to attain his own goals, by keeping the wedge divided between father and son. Qian Fan eventually met Pan Er and after going through various trials and tribulations together, they fell in love. He promised her that he would not be a second Ouyang Xu.

While it’s mainly about three women who gained independence for themselves in the city, it's also mostly a love story. It’s not cloying or irritating, (ok, save for Episode 28 onwards, but everything was resolved by Episode 35, which was 4 episodes too long, imo). There’s some investigation involving the Empress, but it felt like an obligatory insertion to the drama. I love Zhao Pan Er as a character and I love Liu Yi Fei’s portrayal of her. I am also impressed by Chen Xiao’s portrayal of Gu Qian Fan although certain parts of his characterisation irked me to the point where I wanted to put a potato sack over his head.

The fire and passion between the two leads managed to convince my ever so fussy need for a tangible love story, and this drama’s ability to hold my attention is more than enough for me to acknowledge its watchability – for I couldn’t tear myself away from the screen when an episode began.

While the characters (and the supporting characters) had expressed thoughts and will that were way too revolutionary for a story set in the Song Dynasty, I totally welcome them challenging the said status quo in that era. Many injustices that women have suffered in that era is actually still happening today. Gu Qian Fan is quite the modern man in that era. When Pan Er doubted his sincerity, he readily and willingly emptied his bank account and gave all the deeds to his lands and houses to his beloved! “You can hold onto these things. They prove my love for you.” What a man!

Pan Er is a strong woman. She was hurt so deeply, but still she fell in love again, and again she gave it her all for Qian Fan. I love and admire her so much.

The drama ends happily, although I have some disappointments about the ending. Chen Lian and Zhao Di’s romance came out of nowhere. Their love jumped out overnight and there wasn't much explanation why San Niang's son came to the city and ended up as a beggar child before reuniting with his mother. We could only guess that he eventually started receiving ill treatment from his stepmother and father and ran away. There are also various characters I would rather see developed a bit more. But I do recommend this drama and I really love it a lot had it not been so rushed at the end.

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Zhang Gong Zhu Zai Shang
3 people found this review helpful
Aug 15, 2022
27 of 27 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 6.0

28 Episodes in 1 Hour

Every episode spans 2 minutes. The entire series will take 56 minutes of your life. The subbing quality for this is disastrous. Much like all the other extra-short chinese series out there, this one also looked like it was ran through an auto translator and subbing mixer. I wish I could sub this for people who can't understand Chinese but want to watch it.

The premise for the drama is a little special. It reminds me of Ooku: The Inner Chambers, where gender roles were reversed. Instead of the usual Emperor or Crown Prince in historical dramas having a harem, this drama tells the tale of the Princess Royal - the elder sister of the reigning emperor, having a little harem of her own. And of course she falls in love with the one who joins her harem with a motive.

Like the others have said before me, it's not a deep drama. There's no intricate plot that urges you to analyse every situation to keep yourself afloat. There are, however, the usual tropes - heartbreaking moments, and sexy moments, of which I couldn't get enough.

There was a weird moment in the final episode between the emperor and the main rival of the male lead. It just came out of nowhere, like a badly rushed "second pairing".

This is a drama to waste your life on if you have nothing else to do for just an hour.

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Thirteen Years of Dust
2 people found this review helpful
May 9, 2023
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This review may contain spoilers

The Psyche of a Killer

It's always a delight for me to watch criminal investigation dramas. And it's always a murder, because the public is obsessed with the pathology of psychopaths who are obsessed with murdering young women. The team took 13 years to solve the case, hence the title - because the killer stopped murdering women during these 13 years.

I have not watched Chen Xiao on screen since A Dream of Splendour, and while he was in that other cop series with Wang Yi Bo, To Be a Hero, I couldn't remain interested enough to complete it. However, I did enjoy this drama until the last 3 episodes. From there, it seemed to me that the writers were in a rush to wrap up the series at Episode 24, so they just haphazardly threw false suspects and questionable red herrings at the audience before finally willing to reveal the actual murderer.

I enjoyed watching the characters grew as people, and as detectives during these 13 years. A rookie cop climbed the ranks to become captain of his team. He went from moderately reserved to picking up quick-temperedness from his "master" due to stress and burnouts of investigating the case. His "master", on the other hand, went from a hot-tempered detective who clung to regrets of his first love to truly appreciating his current life. He went from someone who was shut to "foreign ideas" to be more accepting of the opinions of others. I also enjoyed how the women in the male leads' lives are ever so loving, understanding and supporting. These characters are beautifully written, because while they may not be unique in everyday lives - real life is full of amazing people - they're unique in the sense that we rarely see such characters in shows.

The drama also provides, with an accurate look into what forensic technology was like at the turn of last century. Many of the scenes had investigators lament how they're so close to catching the killer, yet so far - because technology hasn't caught up enough to yield definitive evidence. Basic investigation techniques still apply, with some hilarious and creative approaches, as evidenced in the final episodes where a group of townspeople were called into the station to identify suspects on the CCTV.

Towards the end of the show, I hated how Gua Pi was harassed to the point that he snapped and killed himself, and there wasn't any culpability for that. Yeah, he's a loser, he had lots of misdeameanour charges. But harassing someone is wrong. It makes it even worse that a veteran cop did this. The show did mention that this was a big mistake that they made earlier in the episodes, but to see it played out this way only at the end didn't make it better. So no one took responsibility for this? Yang Zhe was also implicated as one of the suspects, and he was just "there" conveniently to provide insights of the weird ass art as they were close to cracking the case. The art is reminiscent of lowbrow art made popular in the 1960s (still popular today and known as pop surrealism) but they put a fictional spin on it. Anyway the whole thing is a mess towards the end.

Nevertheless, I don't regret the time spent on this drama and would recommend it to detective or criminal investigation drama fans.

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New Life Begins
2 people found this review helpful
Dec 9, 2022
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 7.5

Sweet drama with romance and friendship themes; progressive modern ethics amidst feudal laws.

This drama is set in a fictional ancient world that consists of nine different regions, where Xinchuan rules over all of them. As the synopsis dictates, the story starts with the triennial event of where maidens from all nine regions are selected to be married to the princes in Xinchuan, and so after the girls were quickly paired off, we learn the different ways in how each of the princes treat their wives. And of course, how the main pairing met and fell in love.

The story makes clear to us what a loving and supporting relationship means, what constitutes an abusive relationship, and how love overall enables one to tolerate and sacrifice for, as well and accept the other person. The theme of sisterhood and friendship is central to this drama, and it is the main selling point for me. I lost count of the times I have shed monstrous droplets of tears over the girls' friendships and their devotion to these friendships. What I deeply appreciate is how the author writes the female characters in this story. The main female character is not the only perfect, unflawed, "mary-sue" who triumphs over all the other girls. She forges friendships with almost everyone who comes in contact with her, is an ordinary girl who behaves and reacts naturally faced with situations where most of us would react. Supporting female characters in the story are amazing women with traits that make their characters distinct - and yet at the core of it all, they know where their priorities lie. They love their men, but they also treasure their sisterhood and friendship - and this is what is most precious to me in this drama.

The unavoidable political plot is light and easy to understand. It also seems that the cultural practices and laws of governance in Xinchuan resemble feudal times in non-fictional China the most, compared to the other regions like Mochuan, Danchuan, Jinchuan, Jichuan, and so on. And thus, this is where the characters' efforts in trying to bring modern and progressive changes to unreasonable traditions comes into place. This is a well-written and well-paced story with a reasonable amount of character development, and in my opinion, one of the best period dramas in 2022.

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