Wednesday Pic-me-up: Jang Geun Suk looking pretty normal

So handsome!

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You’re beautiful. No really, I mean it. 3 versions worth.

 

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You’re beautiful (Korean: 미남이시네요, Minamisineyo) was written by the Hong sisters and aired in 2009. While it didn’t get record breaking ratings, it was extremely popular with international viewers and had a large online fan base.

The Plot: Go Mi Nyeo, raised in an orphanage with her twin brother Go Mi Nam, is now a nun-in-training under the name of Gemma at a convent. Mi Nam is off training to become an idol. Mi Nam is about to achieve his dream of entering an idol group- unfortunately, he is in the United States getting undergoing procedures to fix botched plastic surgery. (The exact reason for Mi Nam being unavailable is not the same in every version; however, the same thing happens as a result.) Mi Nyeo agrees to pretend to be Mi Nam for a short period of time when she learns that Mi Nam hoped becoming famous would help them find their mother, who may be alive. Mi Nyeo cuts her hair, dresses like a boy, and moves in with the other 3 members of A.N*JELL.

You’re Beautiful: (Korea, 2009) This is the original, and while the others have great moments, I would say it is the best. Jang Geun Suk as A.N*JELL Leader Hwang Tae Kyung creates a main lead that is vulnerable and caring despite a hard outer shell. Park Shin Hye’s Go Mi Nam/Go Mi Nyeo is adorable, if there are moments when she is unbelievably dim. She always looks like a girl, so people thinking she is a boy is a bit of a stretch, but I’ve only seen a few gender-bending dramas that were even slightly convincing. Lee Hong Ki’s Jeremy is comic relief, but there are moments when the character makes you want to cry (in a good way.) As for Jung Yong Hwa, while he is notably stiff in his first acting role as Kang Shin Woo, Shin Woo has nonetheless caused second lead syndrome for many watchers. Last but not least, Uee is fabulous as Yoo He Yi, the “fake fairy” you love to hate. The Korean version is, I believe, the only one to include the visit from Go Mi Nam’s high-school buddy, which was for me one of the most enjoyable plot lines. The complete absence of communication between Go Mi Nyeo and her brother (who barely appeared, understandably since he was also played by Park Shin Hye) was something that I found disappointing, plot wise, in every iteration of the story. But, also in every version, the great music made up for it.

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Boys Over Flowers: So Many Versions

Curlynoona here. Often, a drama is remade by several different countries. I like to try to watch them all, especially when I’m in a drama slump; it can be a great way to discover new favorite actors. Different countries also tend to explore different angles on the same story. Over the next few weeks, I will be comparing versions of some of my favorite dramas.

One of the most often recreated stories is Hana Yori Dango, or Boys Over Flowers.

Hana Yori Dango (花より男子, lit. “Boys Over Flowers”) is a manga series by Kamio Youko. It revolves around working class Tsukushi Makino and her interactions with her wealthy elite classmates, the flower four, or F4. Originally bullying Makino, F4 leader Tsukasa Domyouji becomes interested in her when she fights back. However, she is already interested in F4 member Rui Hanezawa.

Boys Over Flowers: (Korea, 2009) This adaption was the entry for many into the word of Korean dramas. Lee Min Ho and Gu Hye Sun as Gu Jyun Pyo and Geun Jan Di created one of the most iconic on screen couples, and there is also a background romance that for some was more notable. Jan Di seemed a bit tame and helpless at times for the girl that took on the great F4, but at other times she showed notable spirit. The cinematography was great, the settings were beautiful, and if the clothes and hair were sometimes horrendous, it was at least deliberate.

Hana Yori Dango: (Japan, 2005)
Only nine episodes, this drama has a lot to recommend it. It boasts many popular Japanese actors, including Matsuda Shota and Matsumoto Jun. While it doesn’t have the production value of Boys Over Flowers, it is still a good looking, well shot drama. It is more humorous, and focuses a bit more on the characters’ emotions than other versions. Matsumoto Jun’s Domyouji is the best at mangling proverbs while believing that everyone else is getting them wrong.

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Korean Beauty and Skincare Haul!

NerdNoona Here!

Who is ready for a skincare and beauty haul?

Recently I made an order to TesterKorea for a few samples and other odds and ends. I am in love with everything I received! At the end of this haul, I also will give a review on the site itself.  Image

Look at those beautiful goodies! My pretties! I bought 16 things and only spent around 16,000 won without shipping. I opted for the cheapest shipping because I’m cheap but it still came in about 2 weeks!

Let’s get started!

In the skincare department:

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Skinfood Chlorella Nose Clear Patch

Tony Moly Panda’s Dream Eye Patch

Etude House Black Charcoal Chin Pack

Etude House 3D Princess Mask

Beauty Friends Essence Mask Sheet

Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect First Serum

Food-a-holic 3D Natural Essence Mask

Esfolio Milk Essence Mask Sheet

Innisfree It’s Real Green Tea Mask

Etude I Need You, Pomegranate! Mask Sheet

Skinfood Watery Berry mini Gift Set

Skinfood Young Leaves Pure Cabbage Gift Set

Skinfood Black Pomegranate Gift Set

That’s it for the skincare. I like getting samples of products so I can be sure whether I care for the formula. I have gotten into Korean skincare as of late and I’m so glad I did. I am in love with this dewy and glowing skin! The gift sets are pretty generous in size!

In the Beauty Department:

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TonyMoly Petit Bunny Gloss Bar

Lioele Princess Mirror

Etude Multi Hair Pen

Can I just say that the Hair Pen is the best thing ever! I will be using this bad boy all next week while I study for my finals. The mirror is so tiny and delicate. I do feel like a princess! I now have two of the Bunny Glosses. I absolutely love how glossy they are and the light wash of color they give the lips is great! (They smell so good too!)

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End of 2013 – Start of 2014 Kdramas Review

BriNerdNoona Here!

Lets talk about the some of the latest dramas to hit the scene. I am only including dramas that I have watched in full or at least are completed.

First up is: Heirs

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This drama is so magical. As a Lee Min-ho fan, can I just say his acting is on point in this drama. Park Shin-hye makes a worthy female lead. This romantic comedy is so delightful and sugary sweet. It is tense in some moments but the actors get the laughs right back. While the story is a cliche one, I really appreciate how well it is done. This drama gets a 5 out of 5 from me!

Plot:

The series follows a group of rich, privileged, and elite high school students as they are groomed to take over their families’ business empires. These wealthy students seem to have everything under control, except their love lives.

Second up is: My Love From Another Star

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This is what a perfect drama is. Right here. Kim Soo-hyun plays the Alien Do Min-joo so well that I really got immersed in the world. I love how spoiled Jun Ji-hyun starts out but as the drama progresses she breaks down. It is absolutely adorable. She really plays  Cheon Song-yi well. Even the special effects of Do Min-joo’s superpowers are well done. Let me just say the kiss scenes are DIVINE. This drama is another 5 out of 5 for me

Plot:

Do Min-joon is an alien that landed on Earth in the year 1609. As he tries to help a young girl, Yi Hwa, escape from her in laws who are trying to kill her, he misses his trip back to his planet and is stranded on Earth for the next four centuries. He possesses a near-perfect appearance, enhanced physical abilities involving his vision, hearing and speed, and a cynical, jaded view regarding human beings.As time goes by, Min-joon is forced to take on a new identity every ten years, as his human appearance never ages.In the present he works as a college professor and finds out that due to a comet coming in three months, he will be able to return to his home planet. In the meantime he accidentally meets famous actress Cheon Song-yi, the biggest Hallyu star in Korea,Min-joon finds out that Song-yi looks like the young girl he fell in love with in the Joseon era. He tries to keep himself away from her, as he needs to leave the planet.

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Some thoughts on Bride of The Century

I like watching shows when they’ve completed their runs for a few reasons. 1. If the ending is so crappy as to completely overshadow any positives about it, there will be people who’ve seen it to warn me. 2. Instant gratification, if you can call 16-21+ hours of watching instant. At the very least, I don’t have to wait weeks to see what happens, and I won’t have to deal with that sinking feeling that comes when I realize my favorite show has been preempted for the week by a Korean holiday or breaking news coverage (such as in the case of Secret Love Affair and A Witches Romance this week.)

This week I’m marathoning Bride of the Century.

The Taeyang Corporation has a dark secret; the family that runs it is cursed. The first wife of the first son of each generation is supposedly doomed to die soon after the wedding. Choi Kang Joo (Lee Hong Ki), the oldest son, is engaged to marry Jang Yi Kyung (Yang Jin Sung.) This marriage is a business deal wherein neither party is particularly affectionate towards the other one. When Yi Kyung takes off, her mother and half-brother replace her with Na Doo Rim, who looks like her but is a completely different sort of person. This drama recently wrapped. I was reluctant to watch it while airing, both because I’d heard it described as a melodrama, and because I just didn’t see Lee Hong Ki pulling off a cold chaebol role.

 

                         ♫One of these things is not like the other

Let’s talk about the acting first. Were my concerns justified? Yes and no. Continue reading

Top 5 Korean Dramas to Start Your Obsession

NerdNoona here! Everyone has their first drama that sucked them into the word of Kdramas. These 5 dramas are sure to bring  you into the world and have you craving more.

First up is: Boys Over Flowers

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This drama is so light and funny but with some seriousness thrown in. This is one of the first dramas I watched as a beginning kdrama addict. Lee Min Ho is by far one of my favorite kdrama stars. As a rom com it has you laughing at nearly every episode.

Plot:

Hardworking Geum Jan-di (Ku Hye-sun) attends the exclusive Shinhwa High School by a scholarship  she gets because of an incident. She finds her shallow, privileged classmates unbearable, especially the notorious F4. Rich, handsome, and arrogant, Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho), Yun Ji-hu (Kim Hyun-joong), So Yi-Jeong (Kim Bum), and Song Woo-Bin (Kim Joon) are the kings of the school and no one, not even the teachers, dare challenge them. No one, that is, except Jan-di. Angry at their rudeness, Jan-di tells off F4 leader Jun-pyo, bringing a world of trouble upon herself. 

Second up is: Flower Boy Next Door

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Another rom com, but this one hits a cord with me. It is a bit more serious than Boys Over Flowers yet still has those great laughs. Park Shin mixed well with her male costar Yoon Shi to make this drama seem very real.

Plot:

Go Dok-mi (in Korean, literally “lonely beauty”) is a shy, frugal freelance copy editor who, for a yet-to-be-revealed reason, refuses to leave her apartment or interact with people as much as possible. Every day, she anonymously receives a carton of milk with a post-it attached. Every day, using a pair of yellow binoculars, she steals peeks at her neighbor across the street, Han Tae-joon, as he goes through his daily morning routine. Enrique Geum arrives in Seoul from Spain, his reason for coming is “cupid’s arrow.” Though he’s in love with his best friend Yoon Seo-young, she has feelings instead for his older brother, Han Tae-joon, so he intends to play cupid for the two.When Enrique comes to stay at Tae-joon’s apartment, he catches Dok-mi in the act. That same day, a new neighbor Watanabe Ryu moves into the apartment across to Dok-mi’s (Jin-rak lives next door). And with all these new men suddenly entering her life, Dok-mi’s solitary and orderly world is turned upside down.

Third up is: Faith

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Another drama with Lee Min Ho. This guy is perfect in everything he does I swear. This is a historical drama with an amazing plot. The costumes are stellar and the acting is on point. I will say that the villains can get a little cheesy but no matter!

Plot:

After King Gongmin of Goryeo marries the Yuan  princess Noguk, they return to Goryeo. On the way they are attacked and the queen is fatally injured. According to the advice of his soothsayers, the king orders royal bodyguard Choi Young to pass through a mystical portal (“heaven’s gate”) and find “heaven’s doctor.” Choi Young travels to the future and brings back Yoo Eun-soo, a modern-day doctor from Seoul, who saves the queen’s life. He makes a promise that he will return her to her world, but the kind-hearted yet powerless King Gongmin forces Eun-soo to stay as she can be useful to him.

Fourth up is: The Master’s Sun

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The Master’s Sun is a dramatic and sort of scary drama with some heart wrenching episodes. No kidding, I cried at the end of nearly every episode. This drama is filled with ups and downs. It will delight every sense!~

Plot:

Joo Joong-won(So Ji-sub) is the stingy and greedy CEO of Kingdom, a conglomeration that includes a major department store and hotel. He meets the gloomy Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-jin), who started seeing ghosts after an accident. Their lives take a new turn as they work together to deal with the terror and sadness brought about by the spirits, while delving into a kidnapping incident in Joong-won’s past

And Last up is: City Hunter

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Another Lee Min Ho drama. Can I just say I am obsessed with dramas that he is in? This is one of my favorite action dramas to date. There is enough romance to keep it balance with all the action going on. While this is not my favorite of Lee Min Ho’s dramas, is it up there!

Plot:

While working at the Blue House, Lee meets bodyguard Kim Na-na. Eventually Na-na participates in his revenge plan, as they discover that they have the same goal in mind. Problems occur as Jin-pyo’s revenge plot unfolds, especially when Lee defies his surrogate father at several occasions as they try to identify and kill the officials, known as the “Council of Five.”Each member of the Council have achieved significant wealth and political influence since 1983, and are engaged in various levels of corruption. Jin-pyo and Yoon-sung’s conflict stems primarily from Jin-pyo’s wish to murder each official, and Yoon-sung’s wish to teach them a lesson and expose their corruption without killing them. As Yoon-sung exposes the officials’ corruption, the citizens of Korea sense an unseen force of justice that they dub “City Hunter.”

Those are my top 5 Korean dramas to start your obsession! While this should be called what Lee Min Ho drama should I watch, this is just what dramas that made me fall in love with kdramas. Give them a try and I bet you’ll become a fellow addict!

Until next time!

NerdNoona ❤