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Ackery

Manyang Police Substation

Ackery

Manyang Police Substation
Completed
Monster
67 people found this review helpful
by Ackery Flower Award1
Nov 19, 2023
Completed 2
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10

Is there really a monster or is it just us?

Μonster is being advertised as a Hirokazu Koreeda film and indeed it is directed -splendidly as always- by him. However, the man behind the script is Sakamoto Yuji, the person that wrote Soredemo, Ikite Yuku (Still, Life Goes On) and if you have seen that series, then you know that Monster is not going to be just a good film, but it will stay with you for a while.

I don't think I can explain how good this movie is and honestly I don't want to try nor I should. If you are by chance reading this, let me tell you that it is better to watch this film, without knowing anything about it. Don't watch the trailers, don't read the synopsis, don't even read what kind of awards it earned.

As stated before, directing is magnificent, acting is great from all of the cast involved, with two astounding performances by the two younger actors, portraying Yori and Minato. The music, composed by Sakamoto Ryuichi is heartbreakingly beautiful and it feels so sad and hopeful at the same time.

The plot is magnificently written from beginning to end. Even if at first you may feel that some scenes last too long, they are not just there for the atmosphere. They are important and that is the beauty of the film. Nothing is there just to exist, just to lengthen the movie, just to make the audience feel melancholic, just to make it feel more cinematic. It needs to be there, because it wouldn't work otherwise.

Without giving away anything of importance, I will just say that every detail matters, every character is vital and realistically written. Everyone is so flawedly human, you can't really hate or love them. They are just important, they matter, because they exist. They are so real it kind of makes you ache for the beauty, complexity and ugliness of human nature.

It is a film that is character-driven, slow paced and it truly shows the power of perspective. It deals with so many subjects in a very delicate manner that doesn't feel forced nor preachy. I can't thank myself enough for watching this on the big screen.

I understood how truly beautiful this movie was, when I couldn't stop thinking about it hours after watching it and when I ended up crying with all the little details that have such a huge impact and importance.

Many times, with all these critically acclaimed films, I feel like I am getting forced to like them, to overanalyse them, to convince myself that they are something better than what they actually are -or maybe I don't have the ability to fully understand them-. This is not the case here, though. This is truly an exquisite film. It is better than I ever expected. It is one of those movies that you get to discover something new with every watch. It needs to be watched, because at the end of the day we are all humans and this is a film about us.

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Mar 14, 2019
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This review may contain spoilers
SPOILER FREE: This is a must for suspense/psychological drama lovers. The plot is quite intriguing and the acting was really good. Masaki Suda was amazing (again) and the plot is full of twists that keeps the viewer on the edge. This series was highly entertaining and it was easy to watch. The death of Reina is a mystery to all and the viewers try to understand what will happen next. It wasn't perfect, but it was still powerful.


MAJOR SPOILERS!!!
From the beginning, this series shows the effect that social media have on our society. The drama gives us, each episode, a new clue about the main case and as viewers we try to uncover the crime/suicide of Kageyama Reina. The truth is slowly revealed and as a person who watched the show I expected a great conspiracy or something even if the actual reason is something that is shown -one way or another- in the first episodes.
This show was a message to everyone in a society that can't live without social media. Almost everyone has one account -or more- on sm and it takes away a part of our lives.

The ending was brilliantly filmed as Hiiragi talks on the camera, about who the real killers are pointing to everyone who is watching the series and therefore uses social media. A harmful word -intentional or not- can cause great damage to someone even if that person doesn't know us personally. The anonymity of social media gives everyone the opportunity to give their opinion no matter how harmful that can be. I loved the comments that Hiiragi received while he exposed the truth, as it was the most realistic reaction that could happen. It is not only that some can't accept the truth, but the most terrifying thing is the ones who don't understand that they did something wrong. It was great to show that the purpose wasn't to stop what we call cyber bullying, but being able to change even one person. As someone said if we want to change the world, first we must change ourselves.

To everyone who watched this - including myself - this is a great opportunity to double check before posting anything and thinking before talking, because our words can really be the knife on someone's hand.

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Completed
Shoplifters
24 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Jan 16, 2019
Completed 2
Overall 8.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 7.5
I went to watch this movie with high expectations as it is the Palme d'Or winner at Cannes and I wasn't disappointed, but I definitely expected something more.
The important think to know is that this is not a movie for everyone. It is slow paced, especially in the first half and I would definitely call the film raw. For me what Koreeda wanted to achieve was to tackle very important social issues, that foreigners and especially Japanese tend to hide in a corner knowing that they exist and at the same time smiling like nothing is wrong.
The acting was fantastic and if someone forced me to see the movie without knowing anything about it, I would probably say that it was a Koreeda film, not his best -from the ones I have watched- but certainly a good one.

This kind of movies are so realistic and at the same time unbelievable. Knowing that this kind of things are an issue not only in Japan, but I would dare say everywhere is heart-wrenching.

All in all this is not a movie someone should watch to just pass their time. The film needs your attention and your understanding.

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Completed
Connect
38 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Dec 7, 2022
6 of 6 episodes seen
Completed 11
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 4.5

Bloody mess

If you have watched some classic Takashi Miike films, you probably know what to expect. If you haven’t, I recommend you to check the tags and see for yourself if it is something that you can stomach or not.

What I liked:
- Opening credits: a gorgeously made animated intro.
- Cinematography and directing: nice camera angles, great color grading, some beautiful shots and well choreographed action scenes. Certainly a pleasure to the eye.
- CGI and gore: The CGI looks realistic enough and the gore scenes seem like they came out from a video game or a webtoon. As a result not only you can feel the influence from the source material, but at the same time the gory scenes are as bloody as they should be to not disturb the viewer. The gore and disturbing scenes are actually pretty mild comparing to some of his work (Audition, I am looking at you).
- Duration of the episodes: each episode lasts from around 37 minutes to 50, something that greatly helps with the pacing.
- Female lead: we finally have a strong morally grey female character.
- Easy and fun to watch: again, if you are not into violent and gory series, you will probably hate this, but if you like watching these type of shows, you will be entertained enough.
- Jung Hae In looking like an anime character: self explanatory. I am shallow, I know.

What I disliked:
- Lack of suspense: even though it is a fun ride, as a viewer I didn’t feel like I had to watch the next episode immediately.
- Plot holes and nonsensical scenes: unfortunately there are way too much nonsensical stuff (plainly speaking the characters' actions are dumb).
- One of the characters that appeared in the last episodes: I found that particular character very unrealistic (I know this is a sci-fi drama but still).
- Comedic relief: I felt like they added some elements as comedic relief and even though they didn’t focus on them, I found them unnecessary for a live action.
- Unnecessary actions between our two main characters.

What I found mediocre:
- ML’s character: this is just a personal thing, but I found the male lead to be a bit underwhelming at times. He is definitely not your typical hero, but his foolish actions and the fact that he could barely fight made some of the scenes a bit boring to watch.
- Plot: even though there were a lot of plot holes and nonsensical stuff happening, like I previously mentioned, the plot had potential and the concept was pretty good. I definitely had fun watching it, as I knew I had to think illogically to enjoy it.
- Acting: definitely more on the positive side, but certainly it didn’t have the great performances that I expected.

All in all, it was fun and easy watch that you can only enjoy if you know beforehand that you need to throw your brain out of the window.

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Completed
Let's Talk About Chu
29 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Feb 8, 2024
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.5

This was supposed to be a hard pass

Netflix decided to constantly remind me about the release of this series. After reading the synopsis and watching a bit of the trailer, I was sure that this would be something I wouldn't enjoy. I was way too bored to give this a chance, if I am being honest.

After its release and its very low rating here on MDL I was even more reluctant (even though I know that most of the times non-Korean series are rated lower).

One tiktok video later, I thought I could just watch the first five minutes and then just drop it or skip through it, mostly to indulge my curiosity. Those first five minutes turned into the first four episodes that I ended up watching till four in the morning...

I tried to think of something not to give this a perfect score, but in the end, I actually had no complains. This is the definition of a binge-worthy series with great acting, good plot and high entertainment value that doesn't fail to offer some emotional moments.

Noteworthy things:

=> No awkwardness detected
This is a series focused on (sexual) relationships. It has a lot of sex scenes and many references to sex from conversations to table lambs. That being said, all actors had great chemistry with one another and I didn't feel awkward at all when watching it. There was no stiffness. Everything felt very natural.

=> No romantic music playing in the background while the two leads first fish kiss
This series focuses on sex, lust (and love) while also giving us some swoon worthy moments, without it feeling like the ''too good to be true'' moments we usually watch in series where all the main characters are perfect in every way, shape or form and where holding hands is the peak of their relationship.

=> Educational
I will say that this actually had many interesting facts when it comes to sex with the videos during the credits (don't miss them) being a great example.

=> Everyone was interesting
I have this problem with series with multiple couples. Most of the times, the main one gets the most screen time and is boring as hell, while all the others are great with almost zero screen time. There was nothing like that here. Every couple and every character was interesting. Everyone had their story to tell. Everyone had their own difficulties and definition of a relationship. Everyone was there for a reason. For once, I didn't roll my eyes every time they showed the mains or generally any of the characters.

=> Nude scenes
Something that I found pretty interesting is the absence of nude scenes. Even though the series has lots of sex scenes, it doesn't really show that much nude.

=> Balance
This was the cherry on top. Everything felt ideal when it came to balance. There were the sad scenes, the funny scenes, the cute scenes, the ''oh my God I can't believe he did that'' scenes. I just felt very content watching this from beginning to end.

=> Different stages of life
We had like four main relationships, where the characters belonged in different age groups. Most of the times younger people are the focus on series about love/sex. Even though two of the mains belonged to younger age groups, we also had two other couples that were in a relationship for a very long time and belonged to different (and older) age groups. As a result we got insight in their life and how things can be after being with someone for a longer time.

=> This wasn't just a fun watch
The series deals with many issues without being over the top or too dramatic. Some of them involve homosexuality, loss of passion after marriage, love vs sex (and trauma), toxic relationships.

I am 100% sure this will be my answer at the end of the year in the ''which is the most underrated series of 2024'' question. This is a very well-made series that unfortunately doesn't get the attention it deserves and that is the main reason I am writing this review.

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Completed
Monstrous
16 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Apr 30, 2022
6 of 6 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.0

TVING is the new -more violent- OCN

After the King of Pigs, TVING released another dark-themed series with a star-studded cast and even though it didn’t disappoint, it wasn’t as thrilling as one would expect either.

From a technical aspect Monstrous is quite well done. It has a believable (enough) atmosphere, some nicely shot scenes and a dark colour palette. As a result it is better to watch it with all the lights off to be fully immersed. The CGI is not exactly the greatest CGI you will see and it does seem pretty fake at times, but at the same time it is not too bad to take you out of the story. Furthermore, the make-up wasn’t really good, especially in some horror-like scenes of the drama. Lastly, even though I do believe that the lack of censorship can make a series feel much more realistic, in this case they overdid it with the violent scenes. Sometimes it felt like they used them just for show and to fill some time.

Acting wise, people familiar with Korean series will recognize the majority of the main cast, including Koo Kyo Hwan (D.P.), Shin Hyun Bin (Hospital Playlist), Kwak Dong Yeon (Vincenzo), Park Ho San (Prison Playbook, My Mister), Nam Da Reum (Six Flying Dragons, The 8th night) and Kim Ji Young (Graceful Friends). Needless to say that the majority of the cast did a pretty good job with the roles they were assigned with. My favourite performances were undoubtedly those of Koo Kyo Hwan and Shin Hyun Bin, two of our main leads.
On the other hand, I wasn’t entirely convinced with Kwak Dong Yeon’s acting in some scenes, even though he did a pretty good job with his role. My biggest problem acting-wise was probably Park Ho San (the annoying governor). Even though I am never too bothered by his acting, almost every time I watch him on screen I feel like he is overdoing it with his expressions to a point that he seems a bit ridiculous.

The plot of the series was good enough to keep the viewer interested. There were some scenes that didn’t make sense, or to be more precise there were things that conveniently happened so that the plot could move forward. I didn’t mind it that much though, since what matters the most to me is having fun and I was pretty entertained throughout the drama. What I loved the most about the series were the backstories of the characters that I would like to watch more of.
The series was very easy to watch and I would suggest binge-watching it not only because it consists of six thirty-minute episodes, but also because it would probably feel very underwhelming otherwise.

Having said that, the characters, even though interesting, were pretty underdeveloped. Also, at some points, the series felt a bit like your typical zombie/monster drama and we have been seeing a lot of those nowadays, with All of Us Are Dead being the most recent one. There were also some particular scenes that felt a bit out of place, like those with the monks in the first three episodes. If I could point out the biggest problem of Monstrous, then it would be that I didn’t really feel for the characters. Even though we were presented with some suspenseful and sorrowful moments, most of the times I wasn’t really on the edge of my sit, neither did I feel emotionally invested.

All in all, it is obvious that TVING is trying to bring something new to the table; something more violent and raw and they pulled it off to some extent. Nevertheless, it seems like they need to do a bit more work to make some other aspects of series like this one work. Looking forward to their next project, Rose Mansion.

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Completed
A Superior Day
18 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
May 1, 2022
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 4
Overall 1.5
Story 1.5
Acting/Cast 5.5
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0

This series should have never been created

I intended to write a typical review with the aspects of the drama that I enjoyed and the parts I disliked, but then I realised that there was not even one positive thing I could say about this series, not even one. If you enjoyed this drama, please don't read further.

This is probably one of the worst series I have watched in my life and in the thriller-mystery genre it may actually be the worst.

I will get straight to the point which is the plot. Imagine a chessboard where the players can move their pawns however they like, without considering the rules. That’s how this series is like. The writer uses the characters, which are equally badly written, however she likes without taking into consideration that there is something called logic. The genre of this series does not allow plot holes. It is not a drama where a pigeon and his friends can appear to save the day and you are fine with it, because the genre allows it. They are not even the types of plot holes that you can dismiss, because you are having a good time.

We all have watched kdramas where the police officers are portrayed as idiots and they don’t use their brain to think. Well, comparing to the characters in this series where everyone acts like they have only one brain cell left, those police officers should have won some medals for their exemplary behaviour.

The actors were mediocre, but to tell the truth, I am not sure if it is because they are not good actors or it’s because their characters were so badly written that they couldn’t do anything better than that. Even the OST has nothing to offer and it was one of the few times that the music felt so out of place.

This may have sounded a bit offensive, but since I felt like this series insulted my intelligence, I couldn’t write what I felt in a more positive way.

Do yourself a favour and forget about the existence of this series, because it shouldn’t have been made to begin with.

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Completed
The Comments
14 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Jun 8, 2021
5 of 5 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 7.5
This review may contain spoilers

Be careful when you comment on the internet

In only five episodes, this series managed to touch upon cyber bullying, which is a very sensitive topic, in a very delicate and realistic way. The series focuses on Papang, a top student, who is famous in her school, especially through her social media account. One day Papang takes her own life and the series portrays the happenings that led her to that decision.
The Comments deal with the impact that social media have on our lives and how our false social media persona can devour our true selves. The series is a social commentary, about the things that people post online with the sole purpose of judging another human being, without thinking or caring about the consequences. It also deals with the hate comments that celebrities receive and how much they can affect them. The acting is really good throughout the series and I would recommend it to anyone interested in this subject. However, it is not that easy to watch, especially the last episode, so take this into consideration. I liked the fact that I was able to read the comments that the viewers made, while watching the series on YouTube. In that way it is even more impactful, because even though the characters are fictional, the situation was very realistic and the comments were concerning to say the least.
What I loved most about the series, is how the character of Papang is depicted. She is not just the victim of cyber bullying and she is not there to play that role. Papang made some selfish decisions, humiliated her friends and she definitely wasn't the most likable character ever. She was inconsiderate about her friends and maybe if she acted in another way, everything would have turned out differently. However, Papang was also a human being with her own feelings and she didn't deserve the hateful comments she got, no matter how she acted. She didn't deserve to lose her life like that and she definitely didn't deserve to feel that hopeless. This series is about the complexity of human emotions that can lead people to extreme actions. The moral is that social media can be used in a harmful, but also in a helpful way. There is always a choice and in the end it is our own decision if we will use them to hurt or help others.

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Completed
Isu
11 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Jul 31, 2022
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.5

An anthology like no other

Many times, I tend to say that some series are not for everyone and you should like specific elements to enjoy them. However, I don’t think I have truly meant that, until now.

This is a series that is difficult to describe in words or to be more precise, you can describe it well enough, but you will never truly prepare the viewer of what they will experience, because Isu is an experience in itself.

It is an anthology consisting of eight episodes about the stories of different women and their precious chairs. It is a dialogue-based series that relies heavily on visual storytelling and it is, as it should, visually stunning. The acting is phenomenal and it has elements that personally reminded me of a theatrical play.

You can find a bit of everything in this peculiar series, that, frankly, only the Japanese could make. There are some surreal stories that use symbolism, some melancholic tales, some interesting and though provoking stories and some that are a bit underwhelming to watch.

Like the opening of every episode says, if you imagine a world with chairs, it will become a story.

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Completed
Girl From Nowhere Season 2
11 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
May 9, 2021
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
This review may contain spoilers

Missing Person: Nanno

SPOILER FREE

I don't want this to be too long so I will get to the point. Even though it was quite an easy watch with some interesting elements here and there, there were three main problems in this season. One was that the writers and the team tried to have a more ''sophisticated directing'' that was decent, but at the same time tiring and didn't evoke the unsettling felling that season one gave off. The second problem was that I felt like they were out of ideas. Most of the episodes had very similar elements to episodes from season one and felt repetitive and sometimes even draggy or unnecessary. The biggest problem in this season though, was Nanno herself. She was barely there in some of the episodes and the drastic change of her character, even though there were clues that it was going to happen, felt hasty and abrupt.

I saw many people wanting to find out Nanno's backstory, who or what she is, but I personally don't. One of the best parts of this series is the fact that we don't know anything about her. She is ''The girl from nowhere'' and I want her to stay that way or at least if we were to find out what she is I would prefer it to be in the last episodes of the series. The unknown is much more horrifying than the known.

Episodes ranking:
8 -> 6 ->7 -> 5 -> 4 -> 1 -> 3 -> 2

SPOILERS
My personal ranking of the episodes from best to worst:

Episode 8: This episode was a breath of fresh air comparing to the rest and it was imo by far the best. It was bloody, had a plot twist that was rapidly revealed and an unsettling atmosphere. It was also the episode that made me realize that in the modern world, most people would prefer revenge and not karma.

Episode 6: Easily the most visually pleasing episode of the whole season. Nanno gave a speech about rules in the beginning of it, but it was much more than that. It was about cutting off whatever is different. It was about strict regulations and societal rules that make people unable to breath and how difficult it is to get them out of your life, without becoming a monster. It was about a dark and white world that doesn't want any colors and doesn't need anyone to be unique. I also liked the Junji Ito vibes that this had regarding Nanno.

Episode 7: Sarcasm about social media, how they work and that sometimes we are able to do awful things for some views from people that we may not even know. Also about appreciating our life no matter how it is.

Episode 5: Easily the most fucked up episode of the season. It was certainly intriguing, but also unsettling. I liked the fact that it was basically a social commentary about the principle of "respecting people older than you", that doesn't only apply in school, but also in every part of people's life and it is fundamental in many Asian countries. One of the main reasons this is in the top four is because of Aim, that played Kaye. He was phenomenal and he portrayed every single emotion with just a look.

Episode 4: Interesting episode and the main introduction of Yuri. Frankly, they could have handled it way better, so that her appearance would be more mysterious, but they didn't.

Episode 1: First half of the episode was great. James is an amazing actor and he was really good in this role. Unfortunately second half felt draggy and repetitive and it reminded me of the first episode of the first season. It became a little ridiculous after a bit, like a badly written wattpad fan-fiction.

Episode 3: One of the most interesting concepts in this season. Unfortunately I didn't really like the execution nor the acting, but the idea was really good and it reminded me of season 1. This could be way higher in my ranking, but when a good concept is not handled correctly, it is even worse than a bad concept being handled in a bad way.

Episode 2: I liked the message of the episode, that love is love no matter what, but that's the only thing I enjoyed. This was the equivalent of the TK episode in season 1. It felt draggy and the main reason was not just the story, but the fact that it felt out of place. In the TK episode Nanno played a fundamental role and she did try to destroy TK, but since he was a good person she couldn't. In this one, it felt like she didn't have any bad intentions from the beginning and that could be explained by the change of her character, but if that is the case then it shouldn't have been the second episode of the series. However, since Yuri was introduced there wasn't a choice for this episode to be the 4th or the 5th of the season. If this episode didn't exist at all I would prefer it, since in only 8 episodes, I expected to see Nanno acting like herself.



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Completed
The King of Pigs
9 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Apr 26, 2022
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 7.5
This review may contain spoilers

‘’Pigs are born to be torn into pieces’’

The King of Pigs is a 2022 korean series based on the animated film with the same name that got released in 2011. I think the best way to write this review is by dividing it into three parts, taking into consideration the three different stories that get interconnected throughout the series.

The past: A part of the series takes place during the school years of our protagonists, showing the difficulties they had to endure. From a technical aspect, the directing, colour grading and cinematography are phenomenal. Acting-wise, it was a very good call to not choose older actors to portray the characters and personally I ended up being fascinated with the performances of all the young actors, without a single exception. I would dare say that their performances were haunting, in a way that it was sometimes a bit disturbing to watch. However, if I had to pick the best performance, then it would be that of Choi Hyun Jin who portrayed Kim Chul, the mysterious third friend of our main protagonists. Plot wise, this is the most interesting part of the series, since it is veiled with mystery and it is focusing on the darkness of human nature in a very raw manner. It reminded me of the saying that "the school is a miniature society".

The Present: The present story changes between the serial killings that are being orchestrated by Hwang Kyung Min and the investigation from the police done by Jung Jong Suk, an old friend of the killer.

The killings: From a technical point of view this part is also quite well done, with some very good editing and a darker colour palette. The acting is excellent, especially Kim Dong Wook’s performance as the bullied child that decides to take revenge from his bullies. The other actors also did a very good job, with two of them standing out the most; Oh Min-Suk portraying the adult Kang Min and Bae Yoo-Ram portraying the adult version of Park Chan-Young. Plot wise, this part of The King of Pigs is quite well-written, keeping the viewer on the edge of their sit with all the brutality and the darkness of the human nature that is being showcased. It also raises some dilemmas regarding justice and what it really is.

The investigation: Unfortunately, all good things come to an end with the investigation being the weakest part of the drama. From a technical aspect, the directing and cinematography are pretty lacklustre. There are some scenes that are way too bright or don’t fit with the atmosphere they have created. There are also scenes were the colours are way too bold, like the parts with the coroner where the blue colour looks unnatural. Many times it felt like they were trying too hard to create an atmosphere to fit the dark aura of the series, but since they didn’t manage to do it, it ended up feeling artificial. Acting wise it is not anything extraordinary with the performance of Kim Sung-Kyu (Jung Jong-Suk) being the only noteworthy one.

Chae Jung-An starring as Kang Jin Ah ruins this series the most for me. Her performance is pretty bad, since she is having only two expressions in the entire show no matter what is happening. Every time she was on screen I got reminded that this is a series and she is an actress trying to portray her character and failing. Plot wise, the investigation is also the weakest part. There are things happening way too conveniently to make the story move forward and once again the character of the female police officer that is being portrayed by Kang Jin Ah has no reason of existence. She is being used time and time again from the writer to make the plot move forward and as a result her actions are nonsensical.

One last thing I want to mention is the lack of censorship. The King of Pigs deals with many triggering topics involving murder, bullying, sexual harassment, suicide, animal cruelty and yet it is not your typical kdrama where everything is blurred. With the exception of one scene, where censorship was necessary, everything else is being shown in its most violent form. The fact that the series doesn’t shy away from brutal and bloody scenes is a huge plus, taking into consideration the topics in discussion.

All in all, the king of pigs could have been a phenomenal series with fantastic performances, if they focused on the past and the serial killings and not on the police investigation, a weakly executed part in almost all aspects.

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Completed
Iribito
9 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Feb 13, 2022
5 of 5 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 7.0

Snow during spring

"A masterpiece may be in someone's possession for a while, but once its purpose is done, it goes to the next person."

Sometimes when you are looking at a work of art, many different emotions overcome you and iribito is exactly like a work of art. It can't be really explained with words. It is like a painting with vivid and dark colors that makes you feel the complexity of human nature and the beauty of human creations. Its atmosphere is unsettling and suffocating, but at the same time liberating and cruelly beautiful. Takamura Naho is mesmerizing, assertive and infatuated with art, while Shirane Tatsuru is ethereal, passionate and unbelievably creative. They complement each other in a way that resembles human creations. Those creations are made by human beings and can only be appreciated by other human beings.

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Completed
Trap
11 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Mar 4, 2019
7 of 7 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers
First things first, it was a great choice making this a seven episode drama. In my opinion if this was 16 episodes, like some previous series like The guest and Save me, it would probably become a little boring halfway through and then it would be great again in the last few episodes.
Secondly, this was a series that I was (im)patiently waiting for every week. I loved the story from the beginning with that dark vibe that OCN knows how to handle. I liked all the twists that the show had to offer and the acting was good (in my opinion at least).
Finally, the whole psychopathy thing made me shiver as I though all of the characters previous scenes, including his intense feeling about sadness and sorrow and the will to avenge for everything that he lost. Even though this is not the first time that that kind of twist has appeared -and it will probably not be the last- the cruelty from the character and the understanding from the viewer that no matter what happened he didn't feel anything, was enough to make this show a great watch. I liked all the characters in this series and I would probably watch it again as it is, as I mentioned before, a seven episode drama.

The only complain that I have is the ending. I suppose that OCN is preparing for a new season, but I believe that if they had finished the series properly and without plans of making another season this would be even better.

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Completed
The Impossible Heir
16 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
14 days ago
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 2.5
Story 1.0
Acting/Cast 4.5
Music 5.5
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Color me surprised!

I am honestly awed by this series, that actually managed to get worse with every passing episode. And now you'll ask "Why are you watching, if it is that bad? Stop judging and drop it".

Well the answer is simple; Hate-watching. This is such a badly written series that it is fun to criticize and see how bad it can get.

Now, to the people actually wanting to know what is wrong with it and if it has any redeeming qualities, I will quickly mention the good and the bad.


The good:

+ Some of the actors are watchable:  Even though the cast is filled with some very popular actors, unfortunately, most of them are not as good as usual. Despite that though, they are still caring this drama that lacks in everything else.

We have Lee Jae Wook (Han Tae Oh), Choi Jin Ho (Kang Joong Mo) and Choi Hee Jin (Kang Hee Joo) that are doing -mostly- a good job. Then we have Lee Jun Young (Kang In Ha) that is okay. After this series, I am honestly not sure if he is a bad actor and I thought he was good in his past performances or he is good and he was just not that great in this series.

+ Kang Hee Joo: Most people like her, others don't understand why the majority likes her. Well I am here to answer that.
Kang Hee Joo is the only one in this series that seems to have a character -and an actress that can support it-. Besides her gorgeous looks, she is the only one that is actually consistent and has a personality. Is this personality not really "great"? Yes. She is naive, persistent and toxic at times. But she feels real and is great to watch.


Now we will get to the bad (yes that was all the "positive"):

- Plot: I don't have lots of things to say. This is just a very badly written series. Characters are purely unlikable and change personalities (like Tae Oh being a genius, but suddenly turning dumb), romance is cringy and unnecessary -and I am being very kind-, actions are not really explained or make sense (like ruthless FL that appears so strong and has all these great ambitions -even gets married to benefit herself- and when her mother asks for money, she turns super weak and cries when she could just get rid of her one way or another-) and let's not forget that this basically turned into a makjang halfway through (people playing dead, actual murders, evil dad coming back, fake allegations leading to death sentences etc.)

- Time skips: One of the worst -if not the worst- decisions of the writer. We have so many time skips for no reason. First episode, we are literally getting to know the characters. They have this great plan to rise in power and suddenly boom 5 and 10 year time skips where they have achieved so much and are in these high positions and we don't know how and what happened in between.

- Characters: The characters are generally very one dimensional or they tend to like completely change personalities. That aside, another thing that bothered me is that some characters appear, seeming important or promising, and then they suddenly dissappear like they were never part of the plot -or writer remembers them when he needs them for the plot to move forward-.

- Root for who?: I felt like the scriptwriter wanted the audience to root for Tae Oh and Hye Won, and here I am rooting for Hee Joo and even In Ha at times.
All characters are super unlikable and they try to pass as this "male and female lead are the good ones". My dude, they are not. Tae Oh kissed his best friends wife and did everything in his power to destroy a conglomerate family and for what? For nothing. And Hye Won? She married In Ha just to get power and cheated on him with his best friend! And did she actually get any power? Yes (when the script said so). Let's not forget how she tried to take advantage of everyone and always put herself first...

- Draggy or fast paced: I am not sure! This seriss felt super draggy at times. I was sooo bored. Other times, it felt like it needed so much more time to develop the "plot" and the characters.

- Romance: It is so cringy and unnecessary. FL's incapability in acting aside -she looks like someone forced her to be there-, the interactions between her and Tae Oh are so cringy. They have zero chemistry.
Also, I don't understand why and how the whole "falling in love" happened. First of all, female lead is just purely unlikable as a character. Secondly, they barely have any interactions. Like when did he fall head over heels for her? Lastly, the romance is just sooo unnecessary. It is just a plot tool that is used in some cases to make Tae Oh do things he shouldn't be doing...

- FL is unnecessary and badly written: Oh look, another female main character that has nothing to add in the series. Writing wise, she is supposed to be manipulative, ambitious and self-centered. But she literally does nothing. She gets privilages just because script says so and out of the blue. She is just there helping other people with their plans. The only thing that she does is marrying In Ha, but even that was something he initiated.

- Clichés: Many and I mean many clichés. We have the typical chaebol fights for the "throne", the typical sad backstories/dysfunctional families of the main leads, the typical bad "siblings" and many others.

- Hong Su Zu's acting as Na Hye Won: Su Zu's performance is one of the worst if not the worst I have ever seen in a Kdrama by a female actress all these years. There it is, I said it.

After reading many comments like "She will get better, it is her first main role" or "Don't be harsh with her, it is her first role" and completely disagreeing, I want to express my opinion.

Firstly, the crew responsible for the casting should have seen that she is incapable of acting, especially since she would act as the freaking female lead -emphasis on lead-. So why she was chosen? Either, they really liked her looks or there is another reason (connections, being popular -or  impossible- all other candidates were worse). Now, no one can convince me they liked her acting, because she just can't act.

Even if there were connections involved, the director should have helped as much as possible to get a good result or just try to guide her. And I don't know if he did, but it doesn't seem so. Not even a single frame of her compliments her. Even when she is sleeping she looks tense.

Moving on, actress takes the other half (and more) of the blame. She should just not have taken this role, if she knew she can't do it. This is not a support or guest role to get familiar with the whole acting process and learn. This is a main role and more so in a series with some big names.

The thing that irritates me the most is that it doesn't even look like she is trying. She has a puppy eye expression no matter what is happening. Seeing something that can ruin her life? Puppy eyes. Someone is literally chocking her? Puppy eyes. Like come on!

It's not like she is good at being serious and she lacks in the emotional scenes. She lacks in every single scene, no exception.

So no, for me, "don't be harsh, this is her first role" isn't an excuse for such a horrible performance. We have seen child actors doing better. We have seen other actors doing better in their "first roles". If she had some good scenes, I would understand. I would ignore. But that is not the case.

Of course, threatening the actress and posting hate comments on her account is a big no. She is human too.

I do think that if she chooses to continue acting, she should do proper training, because this is not it.

Ending: I didn't expect the series to suddenly turn good in the end and, well, I was right. The ending was as expected. Evil In Ha gets his punishment, while male lead Tae Oh -that was also not the greatest person out there- and love interest Hye Won get their happy ending...

All in all, a very badly written series with some questionable acting performances and barely any redeeming qualities. Ideal only for hate watching.

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Completed
Captivating the King
23 people found this review helpful
by Ackery
Mar 4, 2024
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 5.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 2.0

The King carried the nation and the drama on his back

I will quickly mention the things that I liked and disliked about the series and then I will refer to my biggest problem about it that made it such a huge disappointment.

What I liked:
+ First four episodes (with pick being the fourth)
+ Jo Jung Suk as the King
+ Park Ye Young as Lady Dong
+ Most of the veteran actors performances (along with a few non-veteran ones)
+ The child actor that starred as Dae Gun
+ Politics based
+ Visuals
+ Non-puppet king
+ The dark atmosphere
+ Production quality


What I disliked or found mediocre:
- Script was mediocre -to be kind-
- Music: okayish individually, but nothing memorable and shouldn't have been used in some scenes
- Pacing: Each episode could easily be 15-20 minutes shorter
- Jang Young Nam tended to overact as Queen Park
- Cobweb-like beards
- The absence of tension in the majority of the show
- The romance aspect made me feel nothing most of the times
- Many clichés - Very underwhelming, especially towards the end
- Ending


Now, to the thing I was mostly disappointed about. Friendly reminder that this is my opinion.
Also, what will be mentioned does not contain spoilers, unless you have not read the synopsis, watched the trailer or seen the poster. So to anyone that wants to go into the series without any previous knowledge I suggest you to stop reading.

And here it is, my biggest problem with the series -> Shin Sae Kyeong and the female lead that she portrayed

1. Portrayal as a male baduk player
- Obviously no one in the crew wanted her to look like a male. The make-up department did their best to make her look like a woman.
- The makeup they used when she was actually dressed as a woman was either the same (as her male identity) or not as prominent...
- Someone must have told the actress to act like a woman at all times too, because everything, be it her mannerisms or voice, could never have anyone fooled that she is a man.

2. Everyone looked brainless
- Have I seen series where an actress that is impossible to look like a man pretends to be one and no one questions it? Yes, many!
But you know what those series weren't? Serious.
They were mostly focused, one way or another, on romance where anything was possible -and they were certainly not focused on politics-.

Captivating the King sets a very serious tone from the get go and the romance is not the center of the plot.
So it feels not only extremely unrealistic, but also a bit dumb.
We have a ton of people scheming and no one mentions that she looks and acts as a woman (not that they could, but at least try to make her look like a man, just try).

3. Every other man VS Her
- This is a series filled with veteran actors, most older in age. There are no idol looking characters and barely any very young men are starring.
The majority of the men are old or middle aged, the younger ones are tall and build and all of them have a beard. Of course even though all actors wear make-up it is not really that visible on the men. And what is the female lead as a male like? Petite, super young, glass skin, no beard - not to mention the absence of the adam's apple- and of course face full of make-up...
She feels so out of place between all these people, yet no one seems to notice.

4. Character
Her character is stupid, there I said it.
- Everything goes her way, because the script says so. She would be dead a long time ago if the series took itself seriously.
- She literally has no plans (she is just going with the flow, even though she wants revenge)
- The scriptwriter and director try very hard to convince the audience that she is a smart and capable character, but her plan makes 0 sense -because there isn't one-. And as we all know, it is very easy for someone to get revenge against powerful people when they have no plan. Let's not forget the thing that irritated me the most. She acts depending on her emotions.

5. Acting
- The female lead is supposed to be a desperate character that will do anything to bring justice about what happened to her and everyone around her. She is supposed to be smart and calculative.
And you know what she does? She is ready to bawl her eyes out every freaking scene!
She is having a serious conversation where she should look intimidating and she looks like she is about to cry! Am I -or any character- supposed to take her seriously?

- Shi Sae Kyung has a limited amount of expressions the entire series
1. She looks like she is about to cry (or cries)
2. She is expressionless with her mouth always open
3. She is moving her eyes around or semi closes them to look flustered/confused

6. She ends up being a vital part of the plot, even though she is unimportant
- The writer tends to involve her in situations out of nowhere just to include her in the plot. She is not really an important character, more like a guest role in her own show that they had to involve in the plot somehow to give her screentime. The whole drama could easily work without her character.

In the few series I have seen Shin Sae Kyeong, I have never considered her a very good actress, but also not bad to a point that bothers me (plus I can’t avoid saying that she is super pretty).
Now, Shin Sae Kyeong was -as usual- not really great, but was basically ruined by a very badly written character -and an equally badly written script-. Also, having Jo Jung Suk as her co-star undermined her performance even more. He was the one that carried this show and he was the only thing that was worth it from beginning to end.

All in all? Unfortunately, despite its good start, this ended up being another series that did not need a female lead, but they decided to use one just to squeeze in the romance and because the scriptwriter apparently couldn't do anything better with the script -while also using the false ''strong woman'' armor-. Some good performances and the production quality weren’t enough to save a very badly written script that was also lacking greatly in terms of pacing. And yes, I will say it, this would work much better as a revenge based male VS male lead drama that focuses on politics and schemes inside the palace.

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