The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Protect the Boss

보스를 지켜라 / Boseureul Jikyeora

보스가 달라졌어요 (The Boss Has Changed)

마지막 여비서 (The Last Secretary)

18-episode, 2011 SBS KDo about rich guy/poor girl, wimpy guy/tough girl, and good friend/bad relative who converge on Corporate Seoul to unwind a twisted tale of back-stabbing, conniving, and familial intrigue until it all comes together in episode 18.

This is another 

Cinderella story.

The writers didn't, even bother to mask the fact when they had Choi Kang hee as No Eun seol (Cinderella) get into a fight with a potential gangpae boss at one of those Korean separate-room drinking places. 

The wrong word aside (wreaked, not wrecked) She gets a glass of dark liquor tossed in her face, she kicks the guys ass in the men's room, and then she tries to leave when Ji Sung as Cha Ji heon (Prince Charming) walks by and they bump shoulders.

I guess she got the insult right away, but that didn't stop her from keeping the hairstyle afterward.

Anyhow, she walks up to the Prince and demands that he apologize as well, and as they're arguing, the gangpae gang arrive to kick Cinderella's ass. She's tough, though, and our Prince is a wimp, so while he hides in a corner, she proceeds to take down every, last thug before walking out in a tearful huff.

The gangpae thugs think Prince Charming is with Cinderella, and since he's a wimp, he ends up getting HIS royal ass kicked, too.

This represents the 'hate' start to their relationship. You know, the way it always starts out with these types of dramas. Opposites attract, true love begins with hate, etc.

It also has the expected element of hater/traitor cousin of the crown prince

Kim Jae joong as Cha Moo won is the cousin out to destroy the prince and his position as heir to the corporation his gangpae father started from scratch.

Or, as Moo won's omanee would put it, was stolen out from under them after her husband died - mysteriously - and she blames the prince' appah for the death, too.

Cha Ji heon also had a brother that died - mysteriously - and that, along with the fact that his mafia appah is rather heavy-handed in the discipline department, have left the prince with this Monk-ish, phobic disorder that makes him fear a lot of things, including public speaking, public gatherings, and dealing with people in general. 
He even does the sanitizing thing after having to shake anyone's hand.

Actually, Moo won is one of those characters who starts out acting one way, and then he performs a 180 and shows us just how wrong WE were to make any assumptions at all. It's his conniving omanee who has a vendetta against her brother-in-law and not Moo won who wants to usurp power, take over the empire, and destroy the enemy.

Moo won kept getting teased about his make-up applications, but I showed this for both the reference, and the bad subs. They're both funny.

Anyway, Cinerella is trying to find gainful, meaningful employment again and is asked to report for an interview with the above-mentioned empire

Moo won likes No Eun seol despite the fact that she is ignored during the four-persons at a time interview process. After she makes a profound statement meant to give pride and hope to all the other useless, not-so-fancy people out there who are overlooked for whatever reason, Moo won smirks at the 'about me' portion of her resume. He then hires her to be his cousin's new (newest) secretary.

Cha Ji heon's latest secretary made a mess of things when he got drunk at a pojangmacha and spilled his guts over the phone about the gangpae king of the DN Corporation, and about his son, the prince, behaving in a similar fashion - all within earshot of a reporter who then plasters the slander online for all of Seoul to read within hours of it being spewed to a whomever over the phone.

That secretary, who is timid and didn't like Ji heon to begin with, is terrified of retribution from the prince' father, so he tells Ji heon he is quitting, but not before giving the prince a piece of his mind, calling him selfish, insecure, useless, and hateful.

He's not, of course, but again, we're meant to be led to believe because it's just the beginning, and there are 17 more episodes to go.

Eun seol is really hired not for her skills with a keyboard but for her tenacity. Moo won knows she'll be able to stand up to Ji heon, beat him into submission, and eventually turn him into the guy he's supposed to be - the guy Moo won really wants his cousin to become.

Instead of wanting to make a new friend and get to know Eun seol better, the secretary pool treat her like shit, stick up their noses, and remain unhelpful because ... because that's what women DO. We're catty, evil, malicious, and hateful, and we especially hate it when anyone ... prettier? better? more deserving? ... I'm not sure because Eun seol wasn't any of those things - but, we're supposed to believe that women are like this in general because of those things - and more.

It doesn't matter, though, because lucky Eun seol has this awesome friend! A drinking buddy, a roommate, and a BFF from her high school days who is like-minded, tough, and supportive. We ALL have one of those, don't we? I had lots of friends, but none of them ever behaved the way BFF's in these shows do. They weren't helpful, insightful, consoling, or wise beyond their years - no help whatsoever with every bad decision I ever made.

I liked her, though, and what she said up there is REALLY, totally true and why I will never, EVER work in an office ever again. I have that phobia thanks to office bitches.

Maybe I would if I had Ha Jae sook as Lee Myung ran for a best bud.

Whatever, she's there to offer Cinderella support in the face of adversity (at every, single turn) because she ends up taking the Protect the Prince position, puts up with the nasty-ass bitches in the office, and Prince Charming's snake-like charms for awhile.

Ganbatte stuff.

Eun seol falls right into place, though, with the tough-guy persona against the prince while also offering a steady stream of bodyguard-like protection for him against such things as the media, nosy office workers, and his appah.

The dad has no idea about the inner demons that plague his son and therefore treats him this way thinking it'll snap him out of it and get him in line with reality, adulthood, and corporate idealism.

The prince doesn't want any part of it, though, and while he's terrified of his appah, he has that Korean mentality where, even at age 35, we do what we're told because ... because we just do, that's all.

It was actually pretty funny, these scenes, as convoluted and wrong as it may sound.
The old man did a great job of acting like a boob playing video games in his mother's house, letting the old lady kick his ass around on occasion, and putting up with his snarky sister-in-law once in awhile yet somehow running a major corporation while having to do community service to avoid jail time.

The community service bit is done to help the old man learn a dose of reality himself while dealing with the public and coming to terms with his son's affliction.

The wheelchair jab was funny, too.

Now, I really, REALLY liked Ji Sung. Everyone who commented at said they didn't like his hair, and that's stupid. What's not to like? The fact that it's curly when everyone in Korea still believes that perms are the way to go? Well, they keep telling everyone they got a perm, but their hair is always straight, and if anyone shows off curly hair, THEN it's stupid. Yet another of those shake-my-head moments in Korean time, but whatever.

I loved his hair, his face, his eyes, his personality, his body ... he's perfect Korean pop star goodness if you ask me. It was an eye-opener, and now I want to see more of what he can do.

I saw his wife in I Hear Your Voice, and I watched Delicious Proposal, but I think I mentioned before that he must a been the guy who was a friend or something. The good-looking buddy who hung out with So's character once in awhile.

I like him, and I like everything about him, even his acting.

but ESP his hair, so don't go messing with it just because a bunch of goofy online twits say it isn't so.

Ken doll goodness I can live with.

Back to the show ...

It wasn't a bad drama, let me say that much. Because of Ji Sung and Kim Jae joong, their acting skills, the -drama- that sprang up between them, and the action.

The second-string female arrived to make me cringe, thinking she would take up the bitch-hag role and spew her venom for 16 of the 18 episodes, but that wasn't the case. Yes, she got all whiny for awhile and tried to come between the two leads on occasion, but it was great that she got to know Eun seol better, understood that it was her wicked mother pulling all the awful strings, and that she wasn't all that to be induced to act it out in private or public.

She ended up moving in with Eun seol and Myung ran, and they created some memorable scenes. She kept up the snotty rich girl persona, which clashed beautifully with Myung ran's homespun ways, and they were funny together.

Myung ran was funny

It was great that Eun seol took the time (in a manner of speaking) to get to know Ji heon and his quirky ways. He was a tough one to warm up to, though, from a realistic standpoint anyway. Anyone talked to me the way he did, and I'd have just walked. Paycheck be damned. No fortitude or stamina, I guess. But then our Eun seol was a tough guy tomboy and could take it ... I suppose.

For a majority of this show, she wavered between paycheck/love, Ji heon/Moo won, power/respect, etc.

There were dozens and DOZENS of dead fish kissing scenes, and she always kept her eyes opened, even when she was the one giving the affection. To me, this spells distrust and unfaithfulness on her part. 

I suppose over there, though, it is ladylike or ... whatever.

And, the go-to meeting place

She got rid of the poophead hairstyle, but for whatever reason, I kept being reminded of Tracey Ullman every time I saw Choi Kang hee.

they could pass for mother/daughter
in a strange, East/West sort of way

and whether I'm right or not doesn't matter cause it was just a feeling, or a thought that kept occurring every time I saw Eun seol's face.

There was a scene toward the end, too, that made me think about something else that bugs me about Korea and their sense of 'style' or whatever. It must be the opposite of America in that over here women dress up, wear make-up, do their hair, fake their face, body, etc., and the guys are becoming more slovenly by the hour. Jeans, t-shirts, not shaving, Clark Kent glasses, greasy hair, etc.

In Korea, it seems that the guys do all the plastic surgery, make-up, wardrobe stuffing, accessories obsessing, skincare anal stuff while the women do basically the same thing, just not in the dramas?

Here's the scene, which was supposed to be romantic

sorry it's blurry, but I think you can see the simple yet disturbing fact that he's rented out a fancy restaurant, he's wearing sharp attire, and she is dressed for Sunday brunch at home, Thursday night grocery shopping, or Saturday morning laundry. This I don't get. I don't get it when a woman gets dolled up, too, and then ties her hair back with a rubber band. Maybe all these Korean actresses have babies at home and are just in the habit of pulling it back subconsciously? It looks lazy, sloppy, and out-of-tune with the surroundings AND the event's intentions.

Here are the rest of the pictures

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Orthros no Inu


The Dog Orthros or Orthros the Dog

The mythological creature (Orthrus - Cerberus brother) with two heads whom Heracles slays eventually.

I'm a Greek Myth buff, but that isn't why I watched this drama, and the only relation between the Greek figure and this show is the title and a hazy implication of there being a tie between the two stories.

This is a MANGA turned live action from Japan, believe it or not, about two young men who possess the opposite powers in their hand. One can cure any illness while the other can take a life.

The brother who can cure all ills has a black heart, and the one with the power to kill has a heart of gold.

I'm always fascinated by the strange fact that countries like Japan, which is pretty much Buddha oriented can toss around the word g.o.d. like they mean it. Anyone with super-human anything is god. Well, God with a capital G, but I can't go there since it's nonsense.

Huge diff between Him and gods in general - like mythological creatures, statues, and anything else unrelated to the almighty.

Orthros is about these two super-humans who are brought together by a female cop. She's out to bust a bad kid who happens to be the son of a prominent business man - the owner of Bears Pharm (funny, like a play on words there ... Bayer becomes Bears) who sells drugs, stabs indiscriminately, and lets victims rot wherever he fells them.

Yaotome's Kumakiri Masaru is that bad guy, and the female cop wants him busted for putting a high school girl in the hospital. The high school girl moonlights as a party-girl hooker at a club when she overhears a nasty story about another dead girl lying up in the mountains, whom the story refers to as a 'skeleton girl' (translator?).

I figured out toward the end that maybe they meant she was left to die and by the time the authorities found her, she was that, far gone already. I don't know.

Anyway, the high school girl is a student of the Dark god, Nishikido Ryo's Aoi Ryosuke. She goes to him for advice, and after she ends up in the hospital, Aoi feels obligated to get involved out of guilt. He ends up at the same rave our female cop attends for the same reason - to take down the baddy, Masaru - when a gun is drawn, the female cop gets popped in the arm, and then Masaru hands the gun over to a buddy who wants to give it a try. Aoi arrives, using his power to 'subdue' the guy, which kills him in the process.

Everyone is mesmerized, but not for long.

Lady cop can't bust Aoi even if he does turn himself in as a murderer because there is no conclusive evidence of his crime. The sexy coroner can't pronounce the boy's death as anything other than what it is ... an act of g.o.d.

Lady cop discovers Aoi's supernatural talent and asks that he accompany her to a prison, where his opposite has been incarcerated for ten years after being accused of triple homicide and awaiting his death sentence.

The so-called good g.o.d. wants to meet the bad g.o.d. and the meeting takes place. Good hand asks bad hand to help him break free so that he can go out and save the world of all their ills by killing the guard, whom he promises to revive once he's set free.

After doing the wicked deed and setting the good hand free, the good hand turns around and tells the bad hand that he's unable to bring anyone back to life.

Bad hand cries and feels betrayed.

Good hand is played by Takizawa Hideaki (Ryuzaki Shinji) and Bad hand is Nishikido Ryo.

As mentioned earlier, Good hand possesses a bad mentality while Bad hand possesses the opposite. They both have known about their special ability since they were young, and they both look at it through different sets of eyes.

Good hand knows how powerful he can become and yet hesitates to help unless the victim offers something in return, and Bad hand knows he's evil and therefore tries not to intermingle in society - yet he chose to be a teacher at a girl's high school. 


Aoi is a sweetheart, but the girls in his homeroom don't behave the way you and I would expect (or behave) if we had a teacher this fine, right? I mean, c'mon. Girls? High School? Ryo? The combination spells certain disaster, and you know it.


The whole point of this manga turned live action is to make us believe that while there is a God (or gods) who has all the power, that it is what it is because if we mere mortals were to come in contact with anything like Good hand/Bad hand, that we would eventually kill ourselves off trying to get at said powers.

"Cure me" and "Make me wealthy" alongside "Kill this jerk" and "Take me away" would fill the air on a daily basis - because we're human and therefore weak. UN god-like.

A politician has a heart condition yet climbs her way to the top, Prime Minister stuff, when the Bear/Bayer guy suggests she meet with Good hand for a cure. She says no and is afraid of Shinji until she ends up on her back in a hospital bed (of sorts) and Shinji walks in, asking what she will give him in return before placing his shining hand on her.

He ends up being pardoned for the triple homicide and she is cured.

There is a legend in their hometown - which is now underwater after a dam is built - that goes every hundred years or so, a couple will give birth to these creatures, and that the first-born will possess the good hand, so the second-born will possess the bad hand.

Throughout the 9 episodes we get glimpses of that legend played out in the form of Anime/Manga scenes. How the boys ended up being separated, how they ended up being manipulated by adults and had their power abused.

How they came to hate, loathe, and detest society in general.

Well, the good hand anyway. Bad hand got lucky and ended up being adopted by a loving couple while good hand wasn't so fortunate.

Good hand continues to manipulate his victims while also trying to get bad hand to come over to his side and help him ... with what, we're never quite sure. Good hand just keeps telling bad hand to get a grip and open his eyes to reality. Bad hand continues to struggle with his affliction and won't listen.

A majority of this show was about Shinji and his talent, or his lack of empathy and unwillingness to use his talent. It's random and subjective to the point of resentment on my part when he keeps aiming to save and then backs off for one reason or another.

Right. I get it already. Wakatta. He knows his limits, and he understands the implications. Great. Save one and the other suffers, save another and what's the point? Do only the young deserve to be saved and not those in their prime because ... what ... they're older? Does any of it make sense? If it doesn't, then what is the point in ...


The point turned out to be that having a bad hand is better than having a good hand because killing people who don't deserve to live is much easier on everyone, including the conscience, than saving people who might turn out to be deserving of death.

Again with the manga-mentality what-if's about irrelevant notions that spring to mind after too much wine, too little sleep, or by allowing the imagination to run wild for any amount of time.

Still, I watched clean through because of the hot guys and their long hair, tight bods, and pretty faces.

I watched because of the two leading men.

I watched because ... I wanted to see how it all turned out in the end.

It was okay as a time filler, but nothing more.

I now know that corruption, greed, power, and influence are what destroy any good in the world.

Thank you, Mr. Manga writer for helping me to figure out something I already knew, felt, understood, and believed before you brought it all home in your bizarre Manga-World way.

Now for the good stuff ~ 

I mentioned before about Ryo's ability to dazzle the eye, but this particular habit is too obvious, slightly disturbing, and entirely questionable as to it's actuality.

I wasn't the only one to notice, let's put it that way, and I'm not ashamed to say after staring at it for quite some time, I came to the conclusion that the pants just crease in the strangest of all places. OR ... 

His funny-boy sidekick, Yamapi suggested he try getting away with stuffing a rolled up newspaper just to see what kind of a reaction he gets from the fan base.

I've seen this before, though, in other shows/dramas/ads ...

Bad Guy in Chonmage Purin

Hyun Bin posing for ... something

I mean, sometimes you just can't HELP but notice, right?

Like this scene here ... opening, actually, like the rod shot of Ryo walking down a crowded avenue on a rainy evening, this took place a few minutes later, when the lady cop shows up at the Rave.

Dude obviously has his hand (get it? HAND! it's a running theme in this show) in the wrong place.

The reason I know it's obvious is his eyes. Look at what he is looking at, and it says volumes about my being right.

I'm not able to capture running footage, but I will someday, I swear. I'm not able to catch live action stuff, but if you watch this scene, guy is runnin' that hand back and forth, copping his fair share of feel. And why? Because she's defenseless. He's got her by the arm, she's supposed to be drunk, and there ain't nothing she can do about it. I hope, afterwards, that she took this fella aside and beat him down a little.

Just a little.

The rest of the stuff I caught on film ...