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My Drama List (updated: 5/3/13)

This is my Drama List. I'll try and keep this up to date since there's always some new drama I'm watching. For some of these dramas I've done reviews so I link to those reviews so you can see my thoughts. My favorites are denoted with astirixs. The more astrixs the more I loved it. You can always leave a comment with a question about a particular drama or suggestions of a drama I should watch and review.

Currently Watching
You're the Best, Lee Soon Shin!
The Gu Family Book
Itazura na Kiss: Love in Tokyo
Last Cinderella
Barrow Your Love
Substitute Princess


Watching Slowly
Keizoku 2 - SPEC
Runaway
Sunshine Angel


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Namie Amuro's Feel

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So Random J finally posted his review about Namie Amuro's new album. I've been waiting for this because he's been dropping hints about how much he's liking it on twitter. He makes a lot of good points and I think it's worth the read.

Some of my personal thoughts:
- I get Hollywood Records feels from the second half the album. These tracks are easily songs that can be set up for Aly & AJ or Selena Gomez. It's not a bad thing, but in my mind La La La, Supernatural Love and Stardust In My Eyes are constant reminders of Selena Gomez, Aly & AJ, and Katy Perry (not Hollywood Records) respectively. So much so, that some times my brain tries to make a connection of exactly which song these songs sound like.

- I like Big Boys Cry and have since day one of seeing the commercial, yes, Hands On Me feels like a more polished version of what is trying to happen but it's one of the songs that's simply catchy. Plus this song, along with Poison, reminds me the most of Past<Future.

- I also like Can You Feel This Love. It's one of those songs that I would say represents what I like about Jpop and r&b in Japan. It's just one of those simple songs that doesn't ask for much. It's probably not the best example, but it feels like a standard and really comfortable song.

- I hate Rainbow.

- I like Feel more than Uncontrolled. While not as cohesive a listening experience, it has stronger songs individually. It's easier to pick out songs for playlists (which we know I love to make) and not have the song lose a little of it's luster.

- I don't listen to Poison a lot, but I just know that a year from now I'm going to put this album on and it's going to be like Bad Habit on Past<Future. I'm going to be obsessed.

- Favorite tracks: La La La, Contrail, Can You Feel This Love, Hands on Me, Alive, Boy Don't Cry and Supernatural Love.

Itazura na Kiss ~ Love in Tokyo Ep. 1-8

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So I've watched It Started with a Kiss (Tw), and I've watched Playful Kiss (Kr), now it's time to watch ItaKiss: Love in Tokyo. So far I want to say this is my favorite. The things that I've hated about this series seem to make sense here in a way that I didn't see in the Taiwanese and Korean version. And frankly it's as simple as reaction shots (and maybe just a little more dialogue).

One of my biggest pet peeves has always been the male lead. He always come off as an asshole. Someone that the female lead spends her time putting all her love into only to have it thrown into her face at every moment until she can't take it anymore. Naoki still looks like an ass, but he's that boy who pulls on a girls pig tails to get their attention. We're often given reaction shots of Naoki being annoyed when Kotoko changes direction. Kotoko spends time with Kin, Naoki gets annoyed and ignores her more than usual or does something to mess with her almost immediately. Kotoko moves out with her dad, Naoki has new interest in the only place he can see her, the tennis club. The drama takes the time to make those chains of reaction clear, so you don't feel confused as a viewer. His mother doesn't have to constantly reassure Kotoko and explain his thought process. I also appreciate that Naoki is played warmer here. In the other two versions we get a cold loner who's impossibly good at everything. In this version, Naoki has a friend in high school, he gets a long with people his age. He's not developed as being totally unapproachable. And most importantly, he's shown as someone who constantly misunderstands the situation, which I like.

I also really like the other characters. As for the female lead, Kotoko feels self aware. Similar to the Korean version, the drama takes the the time show that Kotoko knows she's crazy to keep running after Naoki. She's also more silly rather than straight up dumb, which is appreciated. Kin's over the top and out there behavior is more palatable here. And while I was worried that Yuki would get the generic female antagonist treatment (a la the Korean version), she's showing her funny bone and is similar to Zi Yu from the Taiwanese version. I am kind of sad that I don't like Naoki's mom as much here. It's most likely because Naoki is managing to do his own character growth that mom's antics seem counterproductive and just a little bit evil.

I've been enjoying ItaKiss~LIT every week. It feels charming instead of heavy like it's counterpart. It's almost rewatchable.
Yellow-Boots-tvN-Drama-2012_11

I love Lee Yoo Ri. I love when her face does that angry twitch thing and she has the best "bitch please" face in all of Korea. Ice Adonis (or Yellow Boots) is my third Lee Yoo Ri drama and my second drama over 100 episodes. Since I'm watching it on Dramafever I probably won't be finished until this spring even though the drama has already completed it's full run.

Ice Adonis is about two stepsisters. Yeon Hwa, generally gets along with anyone she meets. She has everything going for her until she's framed for the murder of her fiancé's sister. Yoo Ra is spoiled. She hate Yeon Hwa's easy manner and becomes determined to bring Yeon Hwa down when she learns that she's engaged to the man she's been in love with since she was young.

Having just finished the 59th episode I feel like I'm at a good stopping point to talk about the drama here. I'm finally starting to get some payback for the suffering I've had to watch Yoo Ri's character Yeon Hwa go through. We've finally reached the revenge portion of this drama and I couldn't be happier. It's tough watching a character get kicked around for 50 something hours with very little good news. The tables have finally started to turn and a lot of the characters who have enjoyed the upper hand are going to get the squeeze (albeit slowly, I mean, we're only at the 60th episode naturally).

Watching longer dramas are weird for me. They go against the main reason I started dramas (they're too long) but speak to my inner soap opera nerd who's used to slow methodical build up before the storm of crazy. I also like that on some level these longer dramas and Lee Yoo Ri's dramas in particular are all about the ladies. There are tons of grandmothers, aunts, mothers, sisters, friends, and girlfriends running around mechanizing but you'll see only a few key male characters and while there, they tend to be lackluster pawns, accessories, and motivations for the women involved.

i'm enjoying Ice Adonis a lot, but can I recommend it? At this point, not really. It's not as strong as All That Glitters from 2011 which is still one of the best dramas I've ever watched. Also the show requires an incredible amount of patience to deal with some of the stuff that goes on in this drama.

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It's been a while since I've done one of these, but since I'm just chilling and enjoying my evening with a couple of Episodes of Coffee Prince, I thought I would write one for one of the actresses on my list. Yoon Eun Hye.


YoonEunHye

We all know that for these profiles I'm usually spouting my opinion, but I feel like there should be a high level of warning when I start to talk about Yoon Eun Hye. I love her, and I don't say this with a kind of blind faith of a fan, but more as someone who's watched way too much television in her life. Yoon Eun Hye, just fits my tastes like a glove. Her characters tend to be bold but carry their hearts on their sleeves. They're like armor with a glaring defect. That's nothing to say of Eun Hye as an actor. She's one of the best "cryers" I've seen in Korean dramas and her sex appeal is such that it spills over onto any man she's working with.  Eun Hye of course doesn't have the perfect track record my gushing would lead you to believe. While she can take care of herself and heat up a romance, she rarely can save a drama that's floundering in other areas (See: Lie to Me). Currently she's in I Miss You where you can see a lot of her strengths. She cries almost every episode and many of her scenes with her male co stars are some of the only ones worth watching minus the ahjumma supporting cast.

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I was going to do a countdown, but today I feel like talking about this album, so I'll preface that there is no particular order to this list as of now. Yes I have the list of stuff I'm going to talk about, but I'm just pulling stuff based on feeling.

And I feel like talking about Shinhwa.

9: SHINHWA - The Return


(My favorite track from this album...cause words can't describe.)

This is one of those albums that surprises you, but really shouldn't in how solid everything sounds on it when you consider that the group has been around for 14 years. I'm not saying The Return is innovative, far from it, but it's a solid set of songs that are fun to listen to in a nostalgic sort of way. The Return is a good pop album for a fanbase that's aging into their late twenties and early thirties. Which is probably why I love it so much. If I had known what a Shinhwa was 10 year ago I'd have been all over it. Oh well, I'll just have to show up to the party late.

Some of my favorites off this album includes the title track Venus along with Let it Go, It Hurts, Welcome, and Re-Love. But I can't really think of one track that I hate. They've already announced their next album and that they're aiming for late March. I'm ready to preorder.
So I've decided that instead of a question meme, I would do one of those daily list or countdowns. So since there are 10 days left until my lucky year 2013. I'll do 10 fandom things I loved and loved being apart of in 2012.


10: KEN the 390 - Dream Boy

(This is the first single released in November of 2011...and one of my favorites from the album.)

Still waiting on my kindred fandom spirit of J-Rap. Until they show up, I'll be jamming on my own and struggling with my minimal knowledge of the language to understand what's going on. This year KEN the 390 released his first album under his label Dream Boy, aptly named Dream Boy ~ある晴れた日の朝に~. I love this album, all of it. There was only one track I thought was unlistenable, but other than that this album made Ken's style feel fresh with tracks like Yura Yura 3:00AM, Lego!, and Better. Lego!! (The remix) was my summer jam and introduced me to artists like KLOOZ and Tamaki Roy. Dream Boy is the perfect example of a CD made for summer and made me fully understand some of the rejuvenation that comes with striking it out on your own. Ken hit it out of the park on this one.

Yes, this does mean that the only place I can buy his stuff now is on Amazon Japan (and their ridiculous 20 USD flat rate shipping.) But if he keeps releasing stuff like this, it'll be totally worth it. All releases after this one will be compared to this.

It's da holiday!!!

This is my holiday jam (cause it's so true...like I don't even want to talk about it true).


This is my holiday man (cause I wish this wasn't born in 1993 but he's cute anyways).
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This is my holiday drama (cause Lee Yoo Ri is the Korean Susan Lucci and don't let anyone tell you otherwise).
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And Fuck Facebook (I don't even know what that is anymore since I haven't been there since Saturday).

In other news I've been alternating between reading murder mysteries and watching Ice Adonis and I think I'm going to really enjoy my holiday this week doing what I want and then next week get back to being productive (hopefully).

Fluffy House or Full House Take 2

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(I'm kind of mystified by Tae Ik played by No Min Woo and how he is so tall, lean, and incredibly graceful.)

It's no secret that I love a good fluff drama and so it shouldn't be a surprise that I'm watching Full House Take 2. Which is a nice fluffy rom com drama about the entertainment world that is just terribly unlucky to be relegated to the dark recesses of a cable rerun channel for SBS. Last year was the year of fame and stories of the stars and after so much over saturation, this year is well...not. But for what it is, I think Full House v2 (as I call it on twitter) does a lot of things right.

While the set up was mundane (essentially crippling our protag with so much debt that she pretty much has to work for the pop idol group), I loved the way it established our main trio. Tae Ik and Kang Hwi form a duo pop group known as Take One. Kang Hwi is enormously popular because of his likable personality and style, while Tae Ik is a cold defunct chaebol with a huge chip on his shoulder. If this drama were only about these two learning to get along despite their differences I would probably love this drama just as much. Here you have two characters who are wholly dependent on each other yet are constantly at each others throats. It's a kind of environment ripe for a female lead to enter the dynamic and make things even more hectic with misunderstanding.

We get that with Michelle or Man Ok as she's dubbed by her grandfather. I like Man Ok, she has a lot of the personality I saw in Protect the Boss's Eun Seol. She's tough, yet incredibly kind, but not unforgivably naive. When her friend's scheme puts her in debt for millions, she does what any smart person does and puts a bit of distance between herself and her crazy fangirl of a friend. 

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to dramas about the entertainment world is the sinister paparazzi fellow. He (cause rarely is it a woman) constantly has his camera and lurks around corners and gets way too much air time. He has absolutely no development because his only motivation is to get the scoop, but he poses almost a superhuman threat to our characters. Rarely do our characters think of things like lawsuits and violations of privacy when it comes to paps. Full House Take 2 takes a different approach, an approach that I find somewhat refreshing in that our fangirl friend, spurred by her love for the group, lack of money, and the fact that her friend didn't tell her about her new job soon turns into villainess paparazzo. 

Even though Full House Take 2 is last in line of what feels like hundreds of other dramas like it before, it's still a smartly played, well executed drama that takes the best elements (my favorite elements I should say) from dramas like You're Beautiful, Best Love, Dream High, Protect the Boss and even it's predecessor Full House. If this drama were called Take Me (I suck at titling stuff) instead trying to create some kind of flimsy link to the mega popular Full House it could easily be a mildly popular drama on the big three networks. But instead it suffers from the burden of what came before.

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I'm just going to be up front and say that these dramas where mix bags of good and bad. If I sound wholly negative it's because what started out as a really great dramas turned sour once they hit the mid drama slump. I'll try not to spoil anything but I'm not making any promises.

Arang: 
Arang probably faired the best. It's the perfect drama. It has the three necessities: Production, Actors, and Story. I would have loved Arang if I had loved our central couple. Unfortunately while the romance spent a lot of the time being sad and bittersweet after the lovable 'I hate you' phase, they never did anything that made me endeared to them and honestly they were better when Arang was a  ghost and Eun Oh was the only one who could see her. That said I did love the happy ending (it's probably my favorite happy ending of the year right now). It didn't feel forced and it spoke to just how tightly written this story was while bringing back what I loved from the beginning of this series. Also shout out to my favorite female newbie Im Joo Eun who played Moo Yeon's true form. I had actually been missing her since Wild Romance, though too bad she didn't get to shine here.

Haeundae Lovers:
Have you ever watched a drama and felt like you were being made fun of for liking a particular drama genre. That's kind of how I felt when I finished this drama. I was expecting good writing since they brought in the writer of last year's City Hunter. The writing was tight and on point, but at some point it definitely felt like they were phoning it in. Every drama cliche you can think of was here: amnesia, faux incest, accidental polygamy, opposites attract, mommy/daddy issues, etc.; but weirdly enough Haeundae Lovers felt like a parody of romantic comedy dramas and by the end I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be in on the joke or not. I do have to say one thing though. That putting such a down to earth female lead at the center of this felt genius especially during those cliched drama moments. Too bad the male lead wasn't a catch at all.

To The Beautiful You:
If you've seen HanaKimi (and like it) watching this will explain why people don't like it (especially if they say it's creepy). After the first 10 minutes when you realize that SM decided they were going to make this an actual drama (with actual daddy issues and stuff),  it was all down hill from there. There was barely any crack and definitely too little gay. I'll admit I skipped episodes 12-14, but I felt like I was taking one for the team, so you're welcome (no seriously I think at one point I started crying in the middle of tv room floor). Honestly SM could have taken a few pointers from JYP and Dream High and stuffed this drama with so many idol cameos that you couldn't help but keep watching, cause the occasional blast of SNSD during the cafeteria scenes wasn't cutting it. All that negativity said, Eun Gyul was amazing even in 'real' drama form, so I think that says something about the character overall. He didn't dance on a table with underwear on his head, but I still felt the most for him by the end.

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