신데렐라와 네 명의 기사 (Cinderella and Four Knights Ep.6)

Cinderella and Four Knights is quite a fluffy mess but it’s so cheesy, it’s addictive. It’s like a palate cleanser in between watching episodes of an exciting and twist-filled series like W- Two Worlds or a placid slice of life Jdorama like Hibana. CA4K embraces all the romcom cliches that we have seen through the years but not to the point of being exasperating because it is totally unpretentious. It says Cinderella and that’s what you get. Setting expectations can either work for or against a show and in this case, I have expected at least this much level of cheese and I watched it to enjoy and not to nitpick over the ridiculousness of the story.

The show doesn’t try too hard to make sense because everything isn’t supposed to make sense to begin with. Like the fact that Chairman Kang simply allowed a young girl they barely even know into a mansion full of complicated chaebol family secrets; or how the Kang cousins all just started caring for Ha Won too much too soon; or why Ha Won needs a luggage when she wears the same tracksuit all the time. Is this a homage to Hyun Bin’s famous character since the director directed Secret Garden?

This is a fairytale with a bunch of tropes thrown in here and there just so lead girl gets to have cute moments with every knight and finally live her happily-ever-after with the obvious endgame. But hopefully, amidst the twirling and sparkly scenes with mushy background music, we’d get to see each character’s layers get peeled. The intricacies of their relationships with their families are what connect these characters with each other after all.

At this point, we begin to understand why the boys are all acting coldly towards their fathers. Good thing at least one of them has a good relationship with his mom which explains why Kang Seo Woo is the “nicest” out of the three. While Seo Woo’s the nicest, I think Secretary Lee Yoon Sung is actually the best. He’s the man! Literally. The rest are still boys who need some growing up to do. It would be such an awesome plot twist if Ha Won ends up marrying this hot and caring ‘ahjussi’ instead. If I were her, I’d totally choose the level-headed guy who’d cook a whole fried chicken for me! Choi Min missed a chance to an instant shot to stardom when Park Hae Jin replaced him as Lee Hwi Kyung in My Love from the Star due to an injury. I’m glad people are paying him more attention now.

I just feel sad for Jung Il Woo’s character, though. After Kang Ji Woon’s declaration to steal Kang Hyun Min’s fiancee, Episode 5 gave us more interactions between him and Ha Won proving my initial thoughts that no one could beat Il Woo in this genre. But just when I thought that we’re finally getting to have a turnaround on the shipping, Ahn Jae Hyun’s character continues to steal the spotlight. Kang Hyun Min is just so adorable at being cool and easy-going, seemingly self-absorbed but actually quite thoughtful and straightforward at expressing his interest in Ha Won. Ahn Jae Hyun finally found a role that looks naturally comfortable and fun for him to work with.

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What I love about Park So Dam’s Eun Ha Won is that she’s not the typical persistent klutz kind of heroine that has the tendency to get annoying. She knows her boundaries and backed off a little when she found out about the guys’ complicated relationship with their fathers. But what I feared about her character development finally happened as we see her getting bullied in this episode.

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All of a sudden, she was reduced to this helpless girl when she could’ve kicked those bitches’ @$$ the way she did with the disrespectful customers the night Kang Hyun Min first saw her in the club. The script is making her look weak so Jung Il Woo’s character would appear stronger.

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But the weakest character has to be Na Eun’s Hye Ji. The girl can’t act so the least the show could do is give her a character worth liking and sympathizing with. But if she’s going to be the stereotypical backstabbing bitch, then go for it.
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Hating an actress for a villainous character she plays is better than not caring about her at all. She was genuinely happy to find out the truth about Ha Won and Hyun Min but her smile still looks so feigned. Make her meaner if that’s what it takes to squeeze more facial expressions out of her.

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Kang Hyun Min’s very public confession is definitely a game changer. Seeing how Hye Ji’s world seems to revolve around Hyun Min, this scene has obviously affected the potential friendship between the girls. But then it could also make Ji Woon realize that his ‘steal the fiancee’ idea has backfired on him and now that he found out that the two aren’t really engaged but Hyun Min has decided to confess his real feelings, then it’s about time Ji Woon begins to contemplate his own emerging feelings for Ha Won too, and maybe, just maybe, he could stop trying so hard to be a tsundere and finally be the usual,dreamy, romcom specialist that we know. Second lead syndrome is strong but Jung Il Woo’s the lead for a reason. Time to prove it.

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구르미 그린 달빛 (Moonlight Drawn By Clouds Ep.1)

Following the release of Let’s Fight Ghost starring Kim Yoo Jung’s former Moon that Embraces the Sun rival Kim So Hyun, Korean dramas have been recently receiving a flak from netizens due to the casting of these teen actresses opposite their grown up leading men. I’m personally not bothered by the age gap since they have acting skills that are way beyond their years and I’d rather watch them instead of some bland ones who are of legal age.

From The Moon that Embraces the Sun, 17-year-old Kim Yoo Jung stars in another sageuk, this time entitled Moonlight Drawn by Clouds. Based on the web novel Gooreumi Geurin Dalbit written by Yoon Yi-Soo , Kim Yoo Jung plays a character that reminds me of Park Min Young in Sungkyunkwan Scandal and Ha Ji Won in Empress Ki. Disguised as a man, Hong Ra On earns a living by counseling people and helping them out with their dating issues. When one of her clients refuse to go on a date, Ra On appears at the meeting place on his behalf, unaware that the woman “he’s” supposed to meet is actually the princess. However, the love letter gets intercepted by the Crown Prince who sneaks out of the palace, dressed as a nobleman, to meet the “man” who’s been sending his sister the cheesy letters. And you know how it is in dramas. They actually believe a woman is a man simply based on how she’s dressed up even though her body frame, voice, face and everything about her screams FEMALE.

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Park Bo Gum plays the protective brother and Royalty in disguise. This isn’t his first period drama as he already briefly appeared in Gaksital which iset in the Japanese era. This, however, is his first Joseon era sageuk and he’s definitely a great addition to the list of Korean dramas’ most attractive Crown Prince characters. Lee Young looks like the perfect Prince although he’s actually far from it. Mischievous and hot-tempered – the wind literally blows his cover and the King finds out he’s not taking his studies seriously. He causes his eunuchs a lot of trouble and earns him the nickname, ‘dung’, which means ‘crap’.

B1A4’s Jin Young takes the major supporting role, Kim Yoon Sung, after BTOB’s Yook Sung Jae declined due to scheduling conflicts. That makes me sad since I’ve been looking forward to seeing the latter in a sageuk and I’m pretty sure he would’ve brought a strong second lead game again just as he did in Who Are You: School 2015. Kwak Dong Yeon, who previously appeared in the drama Come Back Ahjussi as young Han Gi Tak, plays the mysterious Moon Jae Shin-like character.

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Moonlight Drawn by Clouds delivers the same vibes as the 2010 sageuk fusion romcom Sungkyunkwan Scandal but with an even lighter tone and it features its cute young actors in vibrant setting and lively background music. Upfront disregarding the historical facts from which some characters were based on, this is a coming-of-age, youth romance drama that utilizes the overused cross-dressing trope followed by a case of mistaken identity. It’s all clichéd but still has the makings of being well-loved by many thanks to its lead actors’ equal individual charms and intense dramatic skills. Since I’ve seen a lot of heavy sageuks, it’s too early to tell if this show will also be one of my all time favorites, but one thing’s for sure, the leads have so much cuteness and chemistry that makes me want to watch more.

신데렐라와 네 명의 기사 (Cinderella and Four Knights)

Park So Dam plays Eun Ha Won, an incoming university student who strives to become a teacher just as her late mother wished but it’s not easy to juggle multiple jobs and save up for her own tuition. She lives in a fatherless home with an uncaring stepmom and a bitchy older sister. She goes from one part-time job to another until a fateful encounter with one of the country’s royal family members, Kang Hyun Min, changes her life.  On the other hand, her first meeting with Hyun Min’s youngest cousin isn’t as good.

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Kang Hyun Min lives in a mansion called Sky House. There’s luxury but no happiness since he can’t get along with his cousins Kang Seo Woo and Kang Ji Woon. Kang Hyun Min (Ahn Jae Hyun) is a known womanizer; a charmer who is seemingly harboring some bitterness from his past love. Kang Seo Woo (Lee Jung Shin) is our Mr. Nice Guy, a musician who doesn’t allow his celebrity status go to his head. The youngest Kang Ji Woon (Jung Il Woo), who insists to live as Han Ji Woon is a rebel who holds the makjang birth secret arc.

For rich and powerful grandpa to be able to choose his successor, the three cousins with very different personalities are forced to live together in the Sky House. However, it always things always end in chaos and no butler can endure the tantrums of these spoiled chaebols. Their grandfather, CEO Kang, gets an idea on how to control them after meeting Ha Won in his fifth wedding ceremony. Her no-nonsense attitude and fighting skills are exactly what he needs to keep these trouble-making cousins in check. He asks her to live at Sky House and help him reform the boys for three months. With a desperate need for money and lodging as well as her tedious relationship with her stepfamily, I guess it won’t be long til she accepts the offer.

“Cinderellas are busy and prince charmings are just jerks.” – Well that was one catchy introduction. I like Park So Dam as this modern fairytale heroine. She looks a bit like Gouriki Ayame with some Park Go Eun Coin Locker Girl vibes. Her character is introduced as a tough and earnest girl but in dramas like these, there’s a tendency for the initially feisty female lead to become more and more dependent on the alpha male later on,  so I hope she’d stay as strong for the rest of the series.

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It’s been three years since Ahn Jae Hyun played Jun Ji Hyun’s younger brother in My Love From Another Star. Until now, I can’t believe that he’s almost 30 years old so it is a bit strange for me to hear me him ask Jung Il Woo to call him ‘hyung’. He doesn’t look like a ‘hyung’. He has such babyface that he can continue to play a high school student and I’d buy it. Hyun Min had more interactions with Ha Won in the first episode so it is understandable that a lot of people would want them to end up together. Second lead syndrome is strong on this one, but then let us not forget that while Ahn Jae Hyun is swoonworthy, this is Jung Il Woo we’re talking about.

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Jung Il Woo’s acting is a bit plain when it comes to other genres but he’s definitely one of the go-to guys when it comes to romance. It doesn’t even matter who he gets paired with, just when it comes to this genre, he delivers. I honestly didn’t feel he had that much chemistry with Lee Chung Ah in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and Jin Se Yeon had a really bland performance in High End Crush but I finished both dramas because of him.

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Lee Jung Shin plays Kang Seo Woo and I swear I finished the first episode thinking it was Nam Joo Hyuk the entire time. The CNBlue bassist plays Kang Seo Woo, the adorable musician who has the “little brother” vibes and is obviously bound to get friendzoned.

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From CNBlue to A-Pink, Son Na Eun plays Park Hye Ji. While Hyun Min treats her coldly, Ji Woon continues to take care of her. This love triangle would’ve been better if only Na Eun has the acting skills to justify these complicated relationships. I can’t stand her acting so much I ended up dropping Second Time Twenty Years Old  and now she’s here again. I’m sorry biased A-Pink fans but objectively speaking, while Na Eun is physically suited to even land the lead role, sadly her acting skills aren’t even good enough for second lead.

The title says Cinderella and Four Knights but there are only three chaebol cousins. Who is the fourth knight? Seems like it’s CEO’s reticent secretary/ bodyguard/ right-hand man Lee Yoon Sung. The umbrella shot at the end of the second episode was filmed beautifully. He also mentioned a very important rule that dating is not allowed in Sky House. What if you end up falling for her first?

Based on the novel Cinderellawa Nemyungui Kisa by Baek Myo, Cinderella and Four Knights is directed by Kwon Hyuk Chan- the director of the famous Hyun Bin-Ha Ji Won drama Secret Garden.  A lot of people have been comparing this drama with Boys Over Flowers, even Ahn Jae Hyun said in an interview that he felt the similarities so he discussed his acting with his wife (Gu Hye Sun) who starred in Hana Yori Dango‘s Korean remake. Cinderella and Four Knights‘ story, however, reminds me more of Atashinchi no Danshi.  It’s a 2009 Japanese drama about a young woman who lost her mother from an illness and her chronic gambler father left her with a huge debt. She ended up marrying a rich toy company owner who only had a month to live. A month later, she found out that the marriage conditions include living in Trick Heart Castle, being a mom to the old man’s successors, and completing every task in their contract for three months. Horikita Maki also sported short hair in that show. (And I had a huge crush on Osamu Mukai at that time.)

TvN is known to make innovative youth dramas but I don’t have high expectations since this show is 100% pre-produced and has floated for a few months while waiting for a broadcaster. The network’s very own Reply series raised the standards in contemporary teen dramas but picking up Cinderella and Four Knights, with a story line this generic and actors so mediocre, only means that there is still a high demand for shows like these. Chaebol, flower boys, love triangle, birth secrets, and cohabitation.. Cinderella and Four Knights seemed to have checked a lot of items on the “How to make a typical KDrama fluff” checklist but the show knows exactly what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything other than the usual fairy tale cliché which is why it works! No matter how good the classic romcoms are, with their outdated hairstyle and fashion, you can’t make the young’uns watch ’em. Cinderella and Four Knights obviously caters to these younger viewers. The new generation needs their own Hana Yori Dango. And stressed out adults need some “turn your brain off and just enjoy the pretty” kind of drama too.

重版出来! (Juhan Shuttai!)

When Kurosawa Kokoro’s judo career come to a halt due to an injury, she finds her strength in manga. Hence, her decision to apply for a job at a manga publishing company. She possesses some sort of weird luck, she says. According to her, when she fervently prays for something, she fails; but whenever she thinks about giving up, she wins. Such is the case when she gets hired by the mysterious president of Kotou Kan. She, then, starts to work in the editorial department of the weekly comic magazine Vibes under the supervision of deputy chief editor, Iokibe Kei, played by Odagiri Joe. How she can possibly concentrate on her job when she’s with someone so kakkoii, I do not know. Kurosawa seems to really have her focus on manga and a discerning eye for artists. Coming from a martial arts background also makes it easier for her to adjust in a male-dominated office.

In this day and age when information has become readily available online and the contents of books can easily be downloaded, sometimes even for free or illegally, it is a tough job to keep the whole manga and publishing business alive. People struggle to keep up with these changes and that includes legendary mangaka, Mikurayama sensei.

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His long running manga has been greatly supported by readers through the years but recently, harsh netizens post comments about the imbalance in his drawings and branded him as an Owacon- a slang which means “too old fashioned” and “completely unnecessary”. For an old, kind yet talented man who’s not used to reading such savage words online, these comments deeply dishearten him. It is now up to his editor, Iokibe, and newbie bear cub, Kurosawa, to find a way to make him draw again.

Kurosawa’s Mikurayama encounter gave me the impression that Juhan Shuttai might be just another episodic drama where genki girl changes the people around her to achieve Juhan Shuttai. Juhan Shuttai means second printing. It is the best news for a publishing company as it means that they have released a good manga worthy of more published copies.

As the show progresses, I realize that Kurosawa isn’t always exactly the reason for change in every character. Juhan Shuttai makes us see the people involved in manga publishing business in a different perspective. It connects one person to the other and proves how one’s job is important to the success of each manga. Having good drawings and interesting plots are not enough. A talented mangaka needs an editor who has the same wavelength with him/her – an editor who deeply understands his/her work and is determined to send this message to the readers. Vibes’ editors have different personalities but all of them are equally passionate when it comes to helping out their mangakas.

Iokibe is the most rational one. He is calm and cool and makes practical decisions regardless of his own feelings. In the end, he sometimes loses important people thinking that what he does is what’s good for them.

Odagiri Joe proves that his ikemen-ness is unparalleled as he sports a man bun (with that amount of hair, more like a granny bun) and still look so freakin’ handsome.

And then there’s obnoxious and sharp-tongued Yasui. He’s always wearing stripes. Seeing a versatile actor like Ken Yasuda play this character, I have already predicted that there is some story behind Yasui’s actions. It is something that the idealistic Kurosawa couldn’t understand at first but upon learning about his past and realizing the practicality, we can finally see why Yasui does what he does. If all editors will work based on pure enthusiasm and emotions, it will be difficult to rake in profits.

Manga publishing is still a business after all and the sales department plays the crucial role of bringing these books in stores. Kentaro Sakaguchi plays Koizumi Jun. He goes from one bookstore to another, just like a ‘ghost’, unfelt and unnoticed. Everyday he’s seeking a way out of his mundane existence with a feeling that he’s been assigned to a department where he doesn’t belong..where he doesn’t want to belong. It was only when he got partnered with Kurosawa that it became clear to him how important his job is. From his sales director, Oka, to bookstore staff, Kawa; they are all essential in pushing a manga to success.

Kentaro Sakaguchi’s acting skills have improved a ton from the last time I watched him in Heroine Shikkaku and Ore Monotagari. I’m now looking forward to his first lead role in the upcoming movie, Kimi to 100 Kaime no Koi.

If Kentaro Sakaguchi is good, Nagayama Kento slays! Eita’s younger brother entered halfway through the series as Haku Nakata, the struggling young mangaka with a dark past. It’s quite unfortunate that in most of Kento’s dramas and films, people will always connect him with his brother just like what I’m doing now. It’s just hard to be an actor when your brother is Eita. But it isn’t a bad thing. Sibling or not, being compared to Eita is a feat since he is one of the most effortlessly chameleon-like actor with a different kind of intensity.

Nagayama Kento may be younger and less experienced but he has the same kind of intensity that pulls you in. And in this show, he’s back to looking young and cute again. I didn’t really like his style in Crows Explode. His character, Nakata, was introduced at the same time as Agarie Kinu (Takatsuki Sara), a female mangaka who makes beautiful drawings but unimaginative plots. So I thought this arc will go down the Bakuman path just like  how Takagi joined forces with Mashiro to create a badass manga but the Juhan Shuttai newbies ended up in different directions as Agarie succumbed to her desire to debut by doing illustrations for other author’s novels while Nakata opted to draw his manga by himself. The latter’s terrible drawings continued to improve and his rough creations gave the readers something to debate about. He reminds me of Bakuman‘s Niizuma Eiji but with a different kind of genius, less quirks and more trauma. They both survived their lonely lives while holding onto manga and they enter a world of their own whenever they draw. Nakata, however, has more difficulty in dealing with people in real life. I love his dramatic moments with another talented but totally underrated actor, Tsuyoshi Muro, who plays Mikurayama sensei’s long time assistant. And later on, Nakata’s heated confrontation with Kurosawa is a big turning point and learning experience for both of their characters and proof of Kento and Kuroki’s equally brilliant acting skills.

Haru Kuroki as Kurosawa Kokoro serves as the main yet supporting character. She played Toshiko, Sato Takeru’s wife in last year’s hit drama, Tenno no Ryoriban. Coincidentally, Sato Takeru is the star of Bakuman, the live action film about creating manga. While Bakuman tells the story in the mangakas’ point of view, Juhan Shuttai doesn’t solely revolve around Kurosawa. It explores the manga publishing world from mangakas to editors to salesmen and book sellers. There is an overall theme of pursuing dreams and paying forward that comes naturally inspiring and never preachy. Juhan Shuttai is a big hit thanks to Haru Kuroki’s controlled overacting. This kind of performance is something that tends to get annoying and exhausting at some point but Haru Kuroki does it so well that her character becomes someone who is both earnest and endearing.

Juhan Shuttai gives an uplifting ending although I wish it were longer so we could see more of Kurosawa’s story. We saw some flashbacks about her failure in the field of judo, but we didn’t get to see how she was raised and how she lived her life before becoming an editor. But then I guess for the part of giving the viewers a strong source of inspiration, President Kuji’s back story is more than enough.

The show does not have any stereotypical villains, no forced drama, romance or corporate politics. It simply depicts normal people in a life filled with ups-and-downs as they do their jobs the best way they know how. This kind of slice of life story always makes me happy to watch Jdoramas whenever I want to take a break from Kdrama fluff.

38사기동대 (38 Task Force)

Ma Dong Seok plays Baek Sung Il, chief of Seoul City Hall’s tax collection department. Upright civil servant, Cheon Sung Hee (Girls’ Generation’s Soo young), works on the same team.

Seo In Guk plays Yang Jung Do, a guy gifted with good looks, flowery words and overflowing charms that could con his way out of any situation. He just got out of prison but doesn’t seem to worry about getting locked up again as he started conning immediately and even simultaneously the moment he was released. Obviously, he’s an expert in the world of deception and naive Baek Sung Il, vexed at his work situation, felt how it was like to get scammed by Jung Do firsthand.

In accordance to the Constitution of the Republic of Korea Article 38 : All citizens shall have the duty to pay taxes under the conditions as prescribed by Act. But what happens when powerful men dodge this responsibility since the law seems to work on the side of money? Time to give these tax cheats a taste of their own medicine as Baek Sung Il decides to get into the most unlikely team -up to get these affluent businessmen pay (literally).

When conning a small fry, Jung Do can do the job in no time but when you’re up against the wealthiest, most influential men in the society, there’s a need to assemble a formidable team to pull off such grand and complicated schemes. Thus: curly Hak Joo, hacker Ja Wang, gorgeous Mi Joo and classy Ms. Noh all got on board for the big con.

My Korean student who isn’t quite sure of how to express  38사기동대 in English calls this “Seo In Guk’s drama”.  I told her it’s funny how she calls this “Seo In Guk’s drama” when Ma Dong Seok is actually the lead. I can’t blame her though. Ma Dong Seok convincingly portrays the clumsy, straight-laced officer but Seo In Guk does not need to con us to like him because he shines and owns the show even as a second lead. He totally nailed the Neal Caffrey-ish role and he’s swoonworthy both in casual clothes with his hair down and a suit with his hair perfectly coiffed. Regardless of broadcasting stations and ratings, Seo In Guk has never disappointed me with his project choices. Though I’m sad that 38 Task Force has reached its end, I’m glad that there’s another SIG drama called Shopping King Louis lined up right after the awesome W-Two Worlds.

If Descendants of the Sun has a Kim Tae Hee look-alike, 38 Task Force has Song Hye Kyo version 2.0 in Lee Sun Bin. She played Ma Ri in Han Ye Seul’s drama, Madame Antoine. Her 38 Task Force character, Mi Joo, is the “Yenicall” of this team. (Yenicall is Jun Ji Hyun’s temptress role in The Thieves movie.) I wish she and Jung Do became more than just friends since Seo In Guk and Lee Sun Bin are equally sexy and IMO seem to have more chemistry than the Seo In Guk-Soo Young pairing. The problem with Soo Young’s character is that she can get completely written off and it won’t even make a difference in the story. She was borderline annoying when she meddled into Sung Il’s activities, only to have a change of heart 2 years later and decide to support the great con after all. Even with a bitter end to their relationship, Jung Do and Sung Hee seem to still have mutual feelings for each other but their love story wasn’t rekindled which is ok because I can’t see the spark when they’re in a scene together. Sung Hee’s conflicted relationship with her powerful father could’ve been more dramatic, but I also felt nothing watching their interactions. Soo Young’s not that terrible but her performance just bored me the entire time.

38 Task Force, from the same writer and director of another OCN original crime drama, Bad Guys, lived up to high expectations.  I had White Collar feels from the get-go and this one’s a well-written, moderately-paced, smooth-flowing, entertaining and character-centric show. I like that ‘how the whole plan plays out’ is only secondary to the motivations of the conmen and the reaction of the tax evaders. It is not completely unpredictable but the twists, reveals and double-crosses are still exciting. I thought this drama is going to be episodic but the writer made it as one with an entire solid story, with characters’ lives intertwined. The tone is more on the comedic side which makes it a sleek one and an entertaining watch. The villains are greedy, remorseless and mostly stereotypical but at least they don’t go as far as killing off every single person who opposes them. Did PD Yoo Ho Jin take a break from 1N2D to play Bang Pil Kyu? LOL. Kidding. But I swear, I can see the resemblance. Bang Pil Kyu’s words left a great impact when he said, ” The best thing about our country is: poor people kill each other for us.” That’s one harsh reality that we have to deal with everyday. ( Read: extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.)

Bang Pil Kyu is not even the biggest baddie in this series. There’s Choi Chul Woo who owes the country a whopping 100 million dollars in back taxes. With the kind of money and power these old moguls have, they could simply hire some ruthless gunman to silence Sung Il and Jung Do forever. But the show gives us exactly what Jung Do wants to witness too: the time we get to see how the poor fights back. To prove that being rich doesn’t come with a privilege; that conmen sometimes do bad things with good intentions so justice can be served.

더블유 (W – Two Worlds Ep.1)

Kang Chul is an Olympic gold medalist for target shooting but the pistol that once gave him glory is the same weapon that killed his entire family. The society that used to look at him with great admiration now looks at him with disgust, as he gets imprisoned for parricide, and his life hits rock bottom. It’s a dark and intense set-up for our strong-willed manhwa hero which suddenly, smoothly transitions to a bright world where we meet “real life” quirky heroine Oh Yeon Joo, a resident at Myungsei University Medical Center. She doesn’t look like she has Yoo Hye Jung’s IQ level (Park Shin Hye’s character in Doctors), but she has an advantage over the other residents since their hospital superior, aka Crazy Dog, is a huge fan of her father’s W — a famous manhwa about the young man who was falsely accused of being a psychopath but has turned his life around and became a multimillionaire in search of his family’s killer.

To fulfill her dream of opening up a chest during a surgery, Yeon Joo rushes to her father’s work place to get Crazy Dog’s request for W spoilers. Her father is nowhere to be found but she discovers the spoiler that is completely different from her expectation: the hero, Kang Chul, lying in a pool of blood. DEAD. And on her dad’s messy desk lies an eerie picture of Saturn Devouring his Son, with her father’s own handwriting at the back of it, saying,  “I’d rather slaughter than be slaughtered.”

According to Wikipedia, “Various interpretations of the meaning of the picture have been offered: the conflict between youth and old age, time as the devourer of all things, the wrath of God and an allegory of the situation in Spain, where the fatherland consumed its own children in wars and revolution.” In this case, it seems that Oh Sung Moo is determined to kill his own brainchild, Kang Chul.

Things get stranger and more complicated as Oh Yeon Joo gets suck into the world of manhwa and instinctively saves a dying patient. Upon her return to the real world, the manhwa just suddenly writes its own story (her story!) by itself. The chapter that is supposed to end suddenly changes into “to be continued”.

 

If that introduction isn’t intriguing enough, then I don’t know what is. It’s only the first episode and I’m officially hooked!

Prior to watching the premiere, I checked the comments and I always come across one that says, ” I had goosebumps.” I thought it was just an exaggeration but it’s amazing that before I reached the end of the first episode, in that moment of Lee Jong Suk’s very little eyebrow movement, I literally had goosebumps too.

 

I felt like the drama sucked me in, gave me genuine supernatural thrills as dumbfounded as Oh Yeon Joo was when she found out that the actual man she just saved is the main character of her father’s creative work.

I’m an avid manga reader and I can’t count the number of times I’ve imagined my favorite hero stepping right out of 2D to sweep me off my feet but I have never wished to enter the manga since most of my favorites are set in a violent world (Rurouni Kenshin, Shingeki no Kyojin, Tokyo Ghoul,etc.), I’d die before I even realize that I have come to an alternate dimension. Lucky for Oh Yeon Joo, Kang Chul’s world is just a fabricated version of Seoul.

Lee Jong Suk  and Han Hyo Joo seems to have good chemistry and I look forward to their love story as much as I look forward to the unraveling of the mystery especially the ones that surround the characters Oh Sung Mo ( Yeon Joo’s father, the manhwa artist) and Han Chul Ho ( the prosecutor who sent Kang Chul to prison). The rest of the supporting casts are familiar and it’s great to see them together in one show. Lee Si Un who played Nam Goong Min’s doormat secretary in Remember: War of the Son is now geeky drawing assistant Soo Bong; Jeong Eu Gene who used to wear boyish clothes and do martial arts in Moorim School is looking all glamorous as Yoon So Hee, Lee Tae Hwan, the tough guy cutie who had a crush on  Hong Nan in Come Back Ahjussi, and Kang Ki Young, one half of the funny duo in Let’s Fight Ghost.

Parallel universe in fiction has been used in various forms of media so it’s easy to compare this show to something you have read or watched before; but W-Two Worlds has the strength of both good writing and directing that it comes off as fresh and exciting even with a theme that has been around for a long time. With eye candy lead actors, decent performances, beautiful cinematography, and a gripping background score, W shows a stylish collision of two worlds and a meaty story line with just the right balance of cute and creepy.

Lee Jong Suk continues his streak of good series choices that on my list of Top 20 all time drama faves, he starred in 3 of them (Pinocchio, I Can Hear your Voice, School 2013). Now make that 4!