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  • Last Online: Dec 23, 2018
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: Italy
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  • Join Date: April 8, 2011

amrita828

Italy

amrita828

Italy
Completed
Shining Inheritance
92 people found this review helpful
May 12, 2012
28 of 28 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 7.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
Recently I finally learned the meaning of the word "makjang". For those of you who are in the dark as I was, a makjang drama is one where the twists and turns are so over the top, with the hero/ine having to face so much misfortunes and betrayal, the next step is either sanctification or Dante's Inferno. I dare give the word my very personal definition: a drama is makjang, when you wish you could enter the screen and murder half of the characters with your bare hands, then ease on your couch with a sigh of intense satisfaction (drink some soju and you'll have become a makjang character yourself).

Shining Inheritance fits both definitions. There's envy, greed, a dead man walking, 10 trillions lies, missed encounters by a microsecond, corporate plotting, memory loss, love polyhedrons and such a dose of odious behaviours your becoming a virtual assassin would be justified.
But before you decide you hate the genre and turn the page, let me say this drama is strangely and acutely addictive. It took me 4 weeks to pant through the first 7 episodes and less than 1 to watch the remaining 21 (granted, with a little fast forwarding here and there).
The plot is very consistent. Every narrative line comes to a conclusion and justice triumphs. Delicate subjects are touched here, and I appreciated this the most.
I maintain the whole story could have been easily condensed in half the time and the dialogues thinned, if only the characters had stopped repeating the same sentences like an echo and the word money had been uttered one thousand times instead of one billion. There will be moments in which you'll question your choice of dramas, but at that point you'll be so implicated in the crime… ehm, plot, drop it will be harder than exit a gang.

The acting mark is the result of an arithmetic mean. The beginning is not encouraging at all, with exaggerations and wooden deliveries all over the place, but it improves a lot in going. It's as though the actors had been attending Theatre Class while filming. With a notable exception: Yun Joon Suk, who plays the autistic brother, is impressive all through, and makes the drama shine in depth and emotion every time he's on screen.
I'm usually only mildly interested in the cast's attire, unless it's so distracting it prevents me from fully enjoying it or it is integral part of the narrative intent. But grandmother's grey wig - I truly hope it was one - looked so disjointed from her skull I watched all her scenes brandishing a comb. Not that Lee Seung Gi's hairdo was much better: now and then it truly looked like it was about to migrate towards warmer shores. I prayed he would be caught in a sudden downpour to flatten it but, alas!, the sun shone brightly on him. There's improvement in this department too, though, and if you fall for the very pretty main couple, the deed is done.

Two words about the music. I had a hard time coming to terms with the blend of Bach's adagio and K-pop, the first being too solemn and fit to a mass in Latin and the second too… pop. Once again, it's the little brother who saves the score with his very sweet piano piece dedicated to his Noona.

So here's my little piece of advice: watch it. Resist the urge to drop it after the first episode, contain your puzzlement in the second and third, wipe your sweat to the 7th and you'll be hooked. Completing it will give you a sense of power and the feeling you have truly watched The Drama of All Dramas.
What does not kill you, makes you stronger.

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Completed
You're My Pet
24 people found this review helpful
May 5, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 3.0
Story 2.0
Acting/Cast 5.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This movie isn't bad: it's scandalous.
I am currently punishing myself for having surrendered to curiosity and approached it in a moment of bad impulse. It doesn't help that I had nothing better to do, because it managed to turn me from lazily content to furious.

The plot is a butchery of the original story. What they have done is take a very uncommon, extra-ordinary, even controversial plot and randomly cut it like Edward Scissorhands gone completely mad.
Let's have a look at who those characters should be - in the mind of the Japanese author: Sumire is a cold, measured, prim career woman who's incapable of opening to anyone. Her loneliness is so much a choice as it is her condemnation. Momo is a young man with talent who stopped loving himself, all instinct and childlike/petlike sweetness. The encounter of these two world-apart people is indeed that of an owner and her pet, while the epilogue is the growth of both as people. Kimi Wa Petto explained why and how Momo is the only one capable of drawing out Sumire's need to give love and why Sumire's the perfect choice to make him finally reconcile with who he is.

This movie takes out every trace of insightful characterization and leaves us with a badly edited huge fluff. It makes those who have seen the drama - like me - bitterly disappointed and those who haven't puzzled, when not disturbed by the concept of a barfing man.
The cast does not save the day. I wonder if they have taken the time to read the manga, or watch the drama to at least understand who these characters are. Perhaps it isn't fair to ascribe this to the actors, but I couldn't help comparing the sober elegance of Koyuki with the frilly style - so out of character - of Kim Ha Neul. And while Matsujun was a very convincing pet, Jang Geun Suk is an embarrassing pantomime of one. The dance is the icing on the cake: the beautiful, well danced modern ballet in KWP morphed here into a crazy grass-hopping. Humph.

In conclusion, I recommend this movie to nobody.

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Completed
Late Autumn
40 people found this review helpful
Apr 12, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
Why, of why did I read Violet's review? I had somehow fallen into a sort of quiet limbo regarding my favourite actor and almost forgotten about this movie accordingly, when I read her review, ran to watch the movie myself - talk about patience - and was instantly thrown into my most familiar obsession: Hyun Bin.

My bad. To top it all, I agree with her: this movie is beautiful. I know this is a remake of an older Korean movie with the same title which I haven't seen, but from the start it reminded me a lot of the american/french film "Before Sunrise", with the two leads carving out for themselves a tiny bubble in space and time, far from their present lives and the world outside.
The difference - a notable one for me - is that while in Before Sunrise the two protagonists talk a lot, too much for my taste, here silences are a lot more poignant and meaningful. I am actually glad I watched it raw, to the point I think everybody should do so. To elaborate: most dialogues take place in English, but there are moments when Anna speaks in Chinese and Hoon in Korean. English is their communication tool, but the reason why they understand each other is not a language. Apart from the dance scene mentioned by Violet, I fell in love with another, in which she tells him her story in Chinese and he only comments "bad" or "good", depending on what he feels is her mood. Watching it raw, made me live the entire surreal dialogue as if I were him, not grasping one word, but trying to understand what she conveyed with her posture and eyes.

I also agree about the direction, and I have come up with a sort of theory of my own as to why the colours are so subdued. What we are offered is the world outside the prison as Anna sees it. Since colours only depend on our perception, there isn't much reason for her to paint her life. No wonder she wears make up and happier clothes only for a brief moment: they look fake, in contrast with her mood. The only colourful moments are those in which she imagines.
I guess the choice of Seattle wasn't accidental either: as I recall, it is known as the rainiest city in the States.

The acting is spectacular. Hyun Bin is a gorgeous man, but that's definitely not the point of this movie, where he doesn't have to be good-looking: he has to look vain. And I'm glad it is so, for dwelling on his looks would be an offence to his acting skills.
Wei Tang's performance is outstanding. As I said, she expresses a world via silences.

Beautiful music. I wouldn't have minded a little more of it.

I recommend this movie, but only if you are prepared for its pensive pace and all the untold. Not a fluffy watch by all means, and not for anyone looking for comedy.

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Completed
You're Beautiful
54 people found this review helpful
Apr 12, 2012
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 6.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 6.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
Not that this drama needed yet another review: it must be by all means the most talked about K-drama of all times. Writing one satisfies my need to fraternize with the only reviewer here who had the guts to give it a 6, well aware that I will be submerged with jolly hatred, so diplomatically expressed by clicking on the "not helpful" choice.

Let me start with the plot. It isn't the most original of all, but I don't consider this a flaw, per se. Few things are more satisfying for a romantic than a woman compelled by circumstances to live under the same roof with 3 good-looking men. Season this with music, humour and a lot of misunderstandings, and you have the perfect material for a great drama.

My problem lies with dialogues and execution. The first are childish and repetitive, the second is average. I can see for myself that the actors are good looking, but that's the extent of their charm.
Park Shin Hye is insufferable. She displays two emotions only here: surprise - round eyes and O-shaped lips - and desperation - a river of tears. Her character has no real development: a nun who changes her love for god with love for a star, without learning anything whatsoever from the experience, neither wisdom, nor self-assurance or pride. One more apology from her mouth and I'd have strangled her. And don't let me started on the way she walks, as if she were trying to apologize for her existence too.
Out of the three guys, the only acting chop I'm ready to salvage is Lee Hong Ki's. He looks like a puppy, but is endearing and changes throughout the show. Jang Geun Suk uses too many exaggerated facial expressions and Kang Shin Woo too few. The result is forced. One is reminded every minute of the show that these people are staging a drama.
The character of Uee is your usual spiteful duck, whose purpose is none other than add the nth foot walking all over humble Go Mi Nam.
And Grey Eminence the lost twin brother must be the most useless character ever created, who comes back, takes all the glory he did nothing to obtain without as much as a thank you, and even has the guts to start an affair with a woman who has made his sister's life a living hell.

I have admitted before at not being a K-pop fan, therefore I didn't really like the music. But this is my problem, and it would be unfair to judge an original OST only based upon my taste. I thought some songs were used too often and they annoyed me in the long run.

Re-watch value is obviously in line with the general liking of a drama. If one has fallen in love with it, one will probably want to revive the experience. If this is not the case, why re-watch something average when tons of other dramas are still to be seen?

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Completed
Strawberry Night
22 people found this review helpful
Apr 11, 2012
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
Before writing a review for this drama, I needed time to cool down a little. Not only I am a fan of dark detective stories, I also love Takeuchi Yuko to pieces. Both premises may have biased my judgment of the show itself.

This drama starts in the very middle of things. Unless you have watched the 2010 special - which I haven't yet - you won't see any introductions, neither of the characters, nor of the setting. You are thrust into the first crime and given brief flashes of the characters' past, pieces of a puzzle you'll only complete by the end, and not in full. It's realistic, harsh and frustrating, but it worms its way into the viewer's interest in a very subtle, gradual way, until you come to the end and wish there were another entire season to watch at once.
The cases brought me more than once to the brink of tears. They are desperate and intense, involving such human characters I couldn't remain detached even if I wanted to.

The cast is downright brilliant. My favourite Takeuchi did not disappoint me. Her character's very complex, with a perpetually seething anger as palpable and incomprehensible at the beginning as it is understandable once her past is slowly revealed. I have a weakness for characters who are incapable of expressing their feelings, because when they finally let the slightest glimpse of vulnerability surface it's so much more intense and heart wrenching.
Which inevitably leads me to her loyal subordinate Kikuta, portrayed by an impeccable Nishijima Hidetoshi. He reads her without fail, and I love that his evident attraction to her originates from his admiration for her skills rather than a simple man/woman dynamic.
Some of the characters are downright irritating. The police director - whose role is quite a mystery to me - is so obtuse the sole purpose of his existence seems to be to provoke his detectives' reaction. While it works on a dramatic level, I hope such individuals do not exist in real police departments, or I'd give up on the Japanese justice entirely, mostly if he's paired with the older corrupt detective whom I wanted to punch in the face.
Good or bad, none of these characters left me unmoved, proof of their outstanding job here.

I loved the music: well chosen, well used, well balanced.

Re-watch value is very high, because at first viewing I found some details hard to follow, mainly because of the fast delivered lines and the unusual way the crimes unfold. Most of all, though, I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms regarding the characters and am looking forward to a continuation. I'd vote for a second season in no time.

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Completed
Hungry!
22 people found this review helpful
Apr 10, 2012
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
What a delicious drama. Literally.
It left me hungry for more of these adorable characters, and made me hungry for mouth watering food while watching. In short, the title says it all.

The pairing food=hunger may seem obvious, but there's much more to it than what meets the eye. I love the food philosophy as it is portrayed here, because almost each character is defined by his or her way to interact with food. For some it is a simple nourishment, for others, a vehicle to express themselves, the means to capture someone's heart, to force out a smile or the way to forget a childhood of privation.
I was more than once reminded of "Ratatuille", the disney animation film, and the moment in which the merciless food critic savours a bite of ratatuille and is immediately catapulted back to his childhood and the memory of his mother's love.
Food really has the power to stir up memories and rouse imagination.

I came to love all the characters and was impressed by the performance of the entire cast. Granted, Takimoto Miori is basically playing Mio from Ikemen desu ne all over again, but as somebody else wrote before me, she's so adorable I'm ready to forgive her for being still an unripe actress. Osamu Mukai is spot on, and I particularly enjoyed him when he would start talking like a dockworker, rolling his "rrr" and using foul language. But my favourite character is without a doubt Taku with his absent-minded ways and his infectious smile. Their friendship and ties are a pleasure to watch: hilarious, sincere, believable.

The music is great. Every piece fits the scene to perfection without ever overpowering it.

There's much more to say about this drama, but I believe it has to be... eaten, instead of read about. Re-watch value is very high because once you've tasted something good, you definitely want to eat it again, sooner or later.
I may just add that this is a further evidence that reviews and recommendations can be truly useful: I watched hungry! because I trust the opinion of other reviewers here and I'm very glad I did.

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Completed
Boku to Star no 99 Nichi
23 people found this review helpful
Apr 5, 2012
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
There isn't much that I can add to what has already been expressed in other reviews here: the plot isn't new, nor unpredictable, the acting is good albeit a little over the lines, the dialogues are witty but definitely not deep, the music is fine enough. On a mere objective level, this drama is decent.

And yet, I loved it! I marathoned through it in a couple of days, and enjoyed every episode. I laughed, smiled, grinned. One may object that a drama is either good and to our liking, or it isn't. But the reasons why I like watching something aren't always as clear-cut and defined as I would like to think: I can remain cold in front of a masterpiece, and be enthusiastic of a piece of trinkets.
Hence my tepid marks, which reflect what I hope is an unbiased estimation, not the degree of my liking it.

Fact is, I truly loved the characters. Kohei, the bodyguard played by Nishijima Hidetoshi, is incredibly endearing. I had never seen this actor on screen before and at first sight I thought he was the complete opposite of an eye-candy. But his character is so sweet and lovable, I ended up liking him a lot. Kim Tae Hee, whom I could barely tolerate in My Princess, is adorable here, contributing factor the Japanese language, which renders her voice deeper and more pleasant.
The great actor Takanabe is hilarious. He seems vain and utterly stupid, but we soon discover he hides his own complex, and from that moment on, I dare everyone not to root for him, if not as a lover, at least as a friend and professional actor.
All the other characters do a good job, including Taecyeon, who surprised me with his very good Japanese. The bad guys aren't given enough screen time to get on our nerves.

The music is fine, mostly in the second half of the drama.

Surprisingly, I think I'll rewatch this drama one day. It was a perky watch, which I recommend to whomever is in need of something light, funny, romantic without being melodramatic or mushy.

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Completed
Sapuri
34 people found this review helpful
Apr 4, 2012
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
I don't know why this drama hasn't got more fans. Personally, I thought it was very well acted, modern, with a lovely photography and enough romance to satisfy the romantics among us.

The plot is neither shallow nor particularly predictable. Until the end, the viewer does not know if the romance between the leads will have a future or not, because apart from the age difference - which isn't that big anyway - there are other, more important obstacles: opposite stances towards work and life in general, different social status, dissimilar goals. The good aspect of this love story based upon differences is that both learn one from the other. It's not the dramatic change of one of them overnight, in the name of love or another equally unrealistic reason.
The best part of the plot lies in the dialogues, though. They are clever, at times hilarious, at others quite deep. I loved learning of the process behind the creation of an advertisement, and why those people are often referred to as "the creatives".

The acting was very good, although I must admit at not having been swept away by Itoh Misaki's performance. There were times when she felt wooden and unconvincing. This lowers my acting mark to an 8, which would have been otherwise flawless, since everybody else did a great job, including Kame.

The music isn't my favourite, but it was chosen with great sense and is very fitting with the story told and the setting.

The photography deserves a mention too: there are some beautiful screen shots throughout this show. I can still see them with my mind's eyes today, more than 4 years after I've watched the drama. They are meant to create a visual pattern, parallel images which create a nice contrast between the incompatibility of the two main leads in the world of words, and the harmony between them on a more emotional level.

I will rewatch it. It gave me an energy shot at the time, therefore I keep it for future need of the same.

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Apr 1, 2012
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
The thing I appreciate the most about Japanese shows in general, is that they can tell a good story without much of an eventful plot to build it upon. They play with narrative style and they excel in delicacy.

I'm not implying Saikou no Jinsei has got no plot, but it's not the kind one would run to watch and sit through with bathed breath. This is the story of a family, of their little and big trials. But most of all it tells of what it means to shoulder responsibility for the people we care for.
I may just as well confess that I started this because I wanted to stare at Yamapi. He's a pleasure for the eye in general, but there's a tangible improvement in his acting skill too. I grew very fond of him and all the main characters. I like it when details and hints are rationed slowly, because that's what happens in real life too: we are presented with a family picture, and bit by bit we are offered glimpses of who they are and where they are going.

The whole cast did a brilliant job, and I found myself with moisture in my eyes more than once. I was impressed by Yamashita's ability to convey his feelings here, and I was entertained by his relationship with both his family and Yuki-chan. It also amazes me that I managed to laugh a lot more often than what is expected by the general atmosphere.

I didn't like the music at all. Not only it isn't my cup of tea, I also thought it was very unfitting now and then. Luckily though, it does not overpower the dialogues or the scenes, and it can therefore be overlooked.

Rewatch value is not too high, but if you like family dramas and touching plots, you may give this one a try.

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Completed
The Art of Seduction
24 people found this review helpful
Mar 24, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
For a moment there I was hesitant whether I should express my feelings frankly or filter them for the sake of diplomacy and respect for those who liked it. In the end, I decided for complete honesty, and for this I apologize in advance.

What an utterly stupid movie.
The premises are interesting enough: two "love swindlers" meet, and their carefully planned arts of seduction are put to the test by the experience of the other. Up to this point, everything's fine: two very good looking people are thrown into some funny situations, keeping the viewer entertained for the duration of… a quarter of an hour.
After that, all the inconsistency of this plot come to the surface. This should be a romantic comedy, but where is the romance? Unless we are to think that beauty were the one and only prerogative to love and be loved, there is absolutely nothing likable about those two. They are cynical, spoiled, prejudiced and irritating. If you expect a character development, a little something to make you empathise with one of them or both, you'll be disappointed. There is no characterization whatsoever here: why are these two disillusioned? No idea. Are they going to change, feel deeper, be taught some valuable lesson by the encounter? No.
All we see is 2 handsome people displaying all their weapons, from beginning to end. The point of a romantic comedy is to satisfy the comedic and the romance. In this movie, the comedic is repetitive and the romance non existent, since who cares about two bad people who stay bad?

I suppose the acting saves the day. Son Ye Jin is unusually feisty and plays her role very well, given the little material she was given to work with. This was my first time watching Song Il Gook on screen, but I know he's played serious roles before, so I guess he did a good job too in portraying a funnier character. Since there is no true soul in this movie though, I can't imagine they had to work hard on identifying with their characters.

Music… can't remember, I'm afraid.

No way I'm ever going to rewatch this movie, I'd rather have my foot be hit with a hammer.

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Completed
Pasta
11 people found this review helpful
Nov 1, 2011
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
This review may contain spoilers
Pasta would be an overall delightful watch if it weren't for a couple of absolutely annoying, infuriating traits.

I think it's necessary for me to premise that I have first hand experience of how a high level restaurant/kitchen works. This is why I was attracted to it in the first place.

For the most part, what happens in the kitchen of this drama is exactly the same you will find in Michelin-stars kitchen all over the world: the strict hierarchy, the arguments between kitchen chef and restaurant direction, the treatment of women (things are rapidly changing, but high level cuisine has been for a long time a male domain, where women were treated almost like slaves). Even details in this drama are absolutely realistic, from the utensils they use to the allocation of each cooking-partie.
I had a great time watching the whole kimchi debacle, as I know for a fact that this is exactly the kind of problem a chef in such a kitchen would face.

BUT. Like Beca, the female lead annoyed me. Royally. Not so much because she would say Yes Chef every second word - that's actually quite accurate - but because she was ambitious but never showed any sign of having learnt anything. If you want to succeed in the gourmet world and you have the chance to work with a great chef you don't discuss his menu decisions: you learn! She is at the same time too humble and too conceited. She bows her head when she should show pride (grrrrrrr) and fights against the chef when HE is right (double grrrrrrr)!
And please don't get me started on the way she eats spaghetti. I'm Italian and, believe me, I cringed, to say the least. She would grab a handful of oily spaghetti and thrust them in her mouth with her hands, chewing them as if it were pigswill. In front of other people. I was disgusted. I respect different customs from mine, but you don't work in a 3-star (or even a 1 star) Italian restaurant without knowing how to eat spaghetti, for Pete's sake!

Lee Sun Gyun on the other hand is amazing. He is an arrogant jerk, but he is absolutely believable. I would never fall for such a man, but nothing he does or say comes out as unrealistic. Let me be just a little spoilerish here and say that his declaration is a great one! I finished the drama because of him and the rest of the hilarious, spot-on kitchen staff.

I can't remember the music, I'm afraid. Hence the 7.

I'm not sure I'll rewatch this drama. I laughed a lot, it entertained me a lot, but there are parts I'd need to skip entirely if I wanted to go through a second watch.

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Completed
Coffee Prince
105 people found this review helpful
Oct 30, 2011
17 of 17 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
I'm so much in agreement with every word written in Jeanie's review that I had to go back and change most of mine in order not to write a useless review full of repetitions of what had already been expressed so well.



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

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

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



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



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



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

Therefore, I'm ready to recommend this show to everyone.

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Rondo
13 people found this review helpful
Oct 29, 2011
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
I have been literally blown away by this drama.
Discovered by mere chance while following Takenouchi Yutaka's work, it soon proved to be one of my best drama findings. It wasn't even listed on MDL, nor have I ever read a review or a comment about it.
Rondo is a romance thriller. The two aspects are smoothly interwoven and so well balanced that I don't know if I should say it's a romance on the background of a major criminal plot, or a thriller with an undertone of romance.
But let me go in order.

Plot: 10.
Should you decide to watch this drama, don't be deterred by the complex police investigation at the beginning. Slowly but steadily, the jigsaw pieces find their right place and everything becomes clearer and more and more gripping. Never predictable though; on the contrary, there's a twist at every turn.
The love story is simply beautiful. I love the Japanese-Korean interaction between the main leads, it adds a lot of colour to the story and create some very sweet moments. The two characters are a beauty to watch together: both intense and believable, both incredibly good-looking.

Acting: 10.
Terrific performances by all. Takenouchi proved once again to be an outstanding, very expressive actor and, I can just as well admit it, sexy as hell. The only asian man beside Takeshi Kaneshiro who looks good with a moustache. Choi Ji Woo, whom I had never seen acting before, is wonderful. I loved their first encounter and, since I'm very partial to those, I can say it marked the moment I decided I liked this drama. On screen they share the kind of chemistry which is created by tension and suspicion.
I was impressed by Hayami Mokomichi's and Shin Hyun Joon's performances too.

Cinematography: 10.
This is a dark drama. So are the colours, the screenshots, the city views. Black and gray are the predominant hues. The overall photography and direction are spot-on and there were times when I thought I was watching a long movie, instead of a drama.

Music: 11.
Wait... the option is not available. Pity, since the music is a blast, at least for my taste. There's an awesome instrumental piece in between ethnic and trip-hop which is so well used I was always longing for it to play. The music plays a major role in connection with the shooting. Very well chosen.

Re-watch value is obviously a little lower, as it always is with suspense dramas. Once the twists are known, a little of the thrill is gone. Which doesn't mean I won't rewatch this drama when a reasonable time will have passed.

There is only one sad note about this show: the quality of the streaming videos available. Subs: an atrocity. Although I marathoned through the drama, I must say it was an odyssey. The first episode, which is 90 minutes long, is impossible to find whole and in the right order. It almost made me give up the drama entirely, until I decided to find an alternative way... I'm glad I did. The rest of the 10 episodes has to be scraped together here and there. But if you have the patience, you won't regret it.

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Completed
Nagareboshi
35 people found this review helpful
Oct 26, 2011
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
Touching. Romantic. Lovely. Addicting in a slow, pensive way. This drama is a little wonder, one I fell in love with without a clear reason: it's not sparkling, the action is reduced to the bare minimum, and so are words. But there's an intensity in the long silences which makes the unspoken a lot louder than whatever is being said.

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

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

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

If you like well acted, slow developing stories without love triangles or squares, played on style more than actual happenings, this drama is for you. I suppose it's for mature viewers - and I'm not referring to age.

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Completed
Don Quixote
17 people found this review helpful
Oct 13, 2011
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
Why are you reading my review when you could be better spending your time watching this show?

If you are reading, it means you're hesitant: please don't be. Don Quixote is a fantastic watch, wonderfully acted, well directed, full of sweetness and serious issues treated with a light touch which is neither shallow nor melodramatic.

But most of all, you will laugh. A lot. Loud.



Yes, I'm a fan of Matsuda Shota and started watching because of him. I had been waiting for his next drama with a passion after Liar Game and prepared myself to be swept away by his very natural charm - and looks, I won't deny it.

He did not disappoint me one bit. He's outstanding: infuriating but incredibly sweet, hilarious but bossy, dense but clever in a very down-to-earth way and just as crazy as the famous hero created by the pen of Cervantes.

But a Don Quixote review would be incomplete and totally unfair without including Sancho Panza in it, brilliantly portrayed here by Katsumi Takahashi. As the synopsis explains, there's a soul switch involved in this drama, so that we see the two actors suddenly changing attitude, accent, facial expressions. The attentive viewer won't fail to recognize the ability of these two actors to wear the clothes of the other. The result is comic and endearing. Takahashi and Matsuda form an unforgettable duo.

All the secondary characters do a splendid job. The Yakuza's family is so improbable you can't help but laugh out loud and all the staff of the child consultation centre grows in depth and characterization.

And then there's the children. Japanese have a true knack of telling children stories, in my opinion. The fact that these kids are all incredibly cute and most of the time talented helps.



I loved the music too. It's in Spanish, as required by the title, and the contrast between the Spanish sunny rhythm and the Japanese architecture and landscapes is so sharp it's brilliant. I also loved the open credit tune with the children drawings, I thought it was a very cute touch.



I will rewatch this drama. Soon enough. I will marathon a second time through it and no doubt be left with the same huge grin on my face.

Highly recommended.

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