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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Shopping King, Louie #review

Shopingwang Looi / 쇼핑왕 루이

Writer -  Oh Ji young
Network -  MBC
Episodes -  16
Released -  2016, Sept - Nov
Genre -  Romantic Comedy/Fairy Tale


CAST




PLOT

A romance takes place between Kang Ji sung (aka Louie) and Ko Bok sil. Louie is from a rich family, but he has lost his memory. Ko Bok sil is a woman with a heart like an angel. Louie learns about true love after meeting Ko Bok sil.

REVIEW


Squeaky clean childishness done in a fairy tale style with zero reality involved and even less in the way of true romance.

Louie is from Department Store wealth and at present resides in a French Château with a butler and maids.

His parents died, giving his grandmother the impression she is to blame, so the old woman does everything she can to keep her grandson far from her to avoid more tragedy.

One day Louie decides to return to Korea, and at the airport, a family member gives him the slip, letting Louie drive by himself.

Meanwhile, Bok sil, who lives up in the mountains, has lost her grandmother and younger brother.

She later finds a rare ginseng root and travels down to Seoul in the hopes of selling it for a lot of money while also attempting to search for her little brother.

She's down on her luck before meeting Cha Joong won, whom she finagles into purchasing the rare ginseng root.

Then she sees a bum asleep on a stairway and assumes it is her dongsaeng but discovers it is a stranger with amnesia instead.

Seo In guk / Nam Ji hyun

Louie can't remember anything: who he is, where he is, or where he's from.

He clings to Bok sil and insists she can trust him if she will promise not to abandon him until he's recovered his memory.

What follows is a slow-paced getting to know you and constant run-ins with the other characters.

Cha Joong won is intrigued by Bok sil but takes his time having the ginseng root appraised so he can pay her what he owes.

He's a department head at Louie's family store and runs a tight ship while also coming off as a hard-headed taskmaster and being fastidious in work and appearance.

Bok sil finds a cheap apartment to rent and takes in Louie, who behaves more like a seven-year-old boy than a grown man.

Shopping King, Louie

While he is amnesic and demanding, helpless and pushy, he also favors his former lifestyle of luxury, instant gratification, and being catered to 24/7.

Bok sil being the exact opposite finds it somewhat difficult to put up with his childish habits while also growing more fond of him as a lost but devoted puppy type guy.

Seo In guk / Nam Ji hyun

Intrigue ensues as the story closes in on the culprit behind the plot to have Louie disappear.

The love triangle thing between Louie, Bok sil, and Joong won, AND Louie, Baek Ma ri, and Joong won.

Louie's memories slowly returning.

And Bok sil's missing Dongsaeng.

This came with a decent soundtrack that neither overpowered any one scene nor forced us to have to listen to a done-to-death single.

I thought that Yoon Sang hyun did a marvelous job portraying the uppity Department Head with outlandish style and a penchant for clearing his throat in as haughty a range as he can muster.

He was convincing enough to make me want 2nd Lead to win the girl, which says a lot about his acting in this drama.

Seo In guk also did a terrific job portraying the spoiled rich kid with mommy issues, but it was also why I didn't much care for his Louie character.

Too immature for my taste and zero sex appeal to make this a true romance -- since I'm not partial to pedophilia anything -- and this bordered along the lines of older sister with a little boy.

It wasn't the greatest Drama of 2016, but it wasn't a let-down, either.

I'd recommend this to anyone with time to spare and who isn't interested in gaining much more from the watch other than some feels.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Heart to Heart #review

하트 투 하트

Genre -  Romance, Comedy, Psychology
Writer -  Lee Jung-A
Network -  tvN
Episodes -  16
Released -  2015, Jan - Feb


CAST




SYNOPSIS


Cha Hong do suffers from social phobia and has a problem with severe blushing. She does have has a strong sense of curiosity and learns from books and the internet. One day, her grandmother, her only contact in the outside world, dies. Cha Hong do then begins doing housework as a maid, but disguises herself as an elderly woman. Through an incident, she meets a psychiatrist, Ko Yi seok.  ~AsianWiki (w/edits)

REVIEW


Yes, it deserves the 5-star rating.

No, it didn't start out that way.

Yes, this is as Cinderella as it gets, but the last few episodes made up for it.

In spades.

The trouble was in taking so very, VERY long to reach the whole point of the story, which was to discover why Hong do had to suffer, had a social phobia, and blushed in excess under stress.

She's lost her only social contact and lives like a hermit in a run-down apartment filled with books that she reads to learn since she dropped out of school early due to her anti-social behavior.

She needs income to survive, though, so decides on becoming a maid by disguising herself as an elderly woman.

It isn't a maid the wealthy old man needs, though. He already has one who cooks and cleans his mansion.

He's a bike shop founder (though I still find it incredibly hard to believe someone in that line of work can become wealthy, much less successful) who is anxious to tell his life story and needs someone who not only understands his antiquated lingo but can 'feel' the era in which he has to go back to in order to tell the story of his humble beginnings.

There are two hot guys in pursuit of the ugly mouse.

I know what you're thinking: another lame Cinderella story and it got a 5-star review?

Like I said, it started out as a 3, moved up to a 3.5, and then the last few episodes made it shoot up to a 5, no room for doubt.

It was Cinderella to the core, but this time the writer chose to do some in depth character development sorely lacking in most Korean dramas.

We're allowed to watch these people evolve, grow, regress, experience their light bulb moment, and learn from the past.

Each has their own issues, their own short-comings, and their own mountain to climb, and the viewer is permitted to get to know them as they proceed up said mountains.

Hong do has had a long-time crush on her Cop neighbor, sexy Jang Doo soo, who had helped her after someone had broken into her apartment.

Lee Jae yoon

For years, she secretly leaves home-cooked meals at his doorstep and then hides in the bushes to watch him read the notes she leaves with the food.

Now that she's been forced to go out into the world via this job, she starts to bump into Doo soo but has also bumped into another man, Psychiatrist Ko Yi seok.

Chun Jung myung

He's the exact opposite of sweet, lovable Doo soo, with his crass nature, short temper, and seemingly ill-mannered tendencies.

He's also very impatient and suffers from another form of social anxiety in that he's become 'allergic' to his patients.

Hong do visits Yi seok's office to finally get help for her condition when she witnesses him hovering over a patient who has stabbed himself with the doctor's pen.

It looks bad from Hong do's perspective, but Yi seok quickly realizes that when he is near Hong do, his anxiety fades and he's able to sit through patient sessions without losing control.

He hires Hong do for that purpose and pays her back with psychiatric help.

Doo soo begins to notice Hong do at this point, creating the ubiquitous love triangle between the two hot guys and the undeserving wench.

And this is where the 5-star rating comes in.

For once, the ugly chick actually deserves her moment in the sun, and I had little doubt as to why both men found her so attractive.

It takes a long time to get to the point of the story, as I already mentioned, but the wait happens to be worth the effort.

Everyone is somehow connected, the two male leads slowly change before coming into their own, and Hong do eventually understands why it is she behaves the way she does.

But, we must give partial credit to the impatient psychiatrist whose methods are questionable at best because despite their being harsh, they work to help Hong do break out of her shell.

I highly recommend you stick this one out because the beginning is a little rough, and trust me when I say Lee Jae yoon's being in this one isn't enough to keep coming back for more.

It is the plot that does that for you if you give it a chance to unfold.

A memorable story with memorable characters and a plausible romance that will give you a chance to think.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mr. Nietzsche in the Convenience Store #review

Niche Sensei /  ニーチェ先生

Writer -  Koma Matsu (manga), Hashimoto (manga), Yuichi Fukuda
Network -  NTV / YTV
Episodes -  10
Released -  2016, Jan - Mar
Genre -  Comedy



CAST




SYNOPSIS


Mr. Nietzsche in the Convenience Store is a Japanese shōjo comedy manga series turned live action. Follows the lives of a few 777 employees on the graveyard shift and a few of the oddball people who enter the convenience store.


REVIEW


If you saw Clerks, you'll relate to this one.

Not entirely the same thing, but the story does center around a few of the employees who work the overnight shift at a 777 Convenience store in an area of Tokyo that doesn't receive a large amount of foot traffic.

This translates to their having lots of time on their hands to ponder life's mysteries, zone out, and plot get-rich-quick schemes.



Each episode is less than 30 minutes long, and I watched the whole thing via YouTube in one sitting.

Shotaro Mamiya and Kenji Urai
Tomoharu Nii is compared to Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, a German philosopher, and his ultimate goal is to become a Buddhist monk in three years.

He's robotic in movement and thought as well as being stone-faced under all circumstances.

Except for the few times when his Tenchou appears

Sato Jiro makes the cast laugh


I've always thought Sato Jiro was a funny guy, with his random outbursts and tendency to accent the wrong syllable for effect.

This is wacky stuff acted out by wacky characters and well worth the minimal time it takes to watch all ten episodes.

Highly recommended, especially if you're feeling stressed or blue and need a quick pick-me-up.

Niche Sensei

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Thursday Theater Higashino Keigo Mystery #review

Mokuyo Gekijyo Higashino Keigo Misuterizu

Writer -  Higashino Keigo
Network -  Fuji TV
Episodes -  11
Released -  2012, July - Sept
Genre -  Suspense, Mystery, lite Comedy


   

CAST


Kenji Sakaguchi, Koutaro Tanaka, Takashi Sorimachi, Masanobu Ando, Kento Senga, Haruma Miura, and more

SYNOPSIS


11 short stories collected from three novels "Hannin No Inai Satsujin No Yoru," "Ayashii Hitobito," and "Ano Koro No Dareka".

REVIEW


Bravo on another job well done.

Short, concise, and riveting as to be expected in Japanese dramas of this type.

Each episode is stand-alone but begins with this guy

Kiichi Nakai

who is attempting to solve his own mystery prior to introducing us to each episode.

It was great to see some old actors reappear on screen, too, whom I've listed in the credits above.

However, each episode is its own mystery that stars a new cast of characters.

The mysteries all ended with a plot twist, but there were a few times when I knew who it was even knowing the twist was on its way.

They're fun to watch, don't take forever to tell, and stick to the plot w/out added info, recap, or aside characters to bog down the story.

My only disappointment is the time it is taking for Season 2 to show up, because if you watch all 11 episodes, you'll know this isn't the end.

When you buy into a Series of Romance novels but are led to believe each is a stand-alone, only to reach the final chapter and discover you need the next book in order to find out what happens...

This was one of those types of dramas, and its been a lo-ong time since then, too.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Thumping Spike #review

두근두근 스파이크 / Dugeundugeun Seupaikeu

Aka -  Pounding Spike / We Have Something Special
Genre -  Romance, comedy, high school, sports
Episodes -  20 shorts
Format -  Web drama
Network -  Sohu TV, MBN
Broadcast -  2016, Feb-Apr


    

CAST


Hwang Seung eon as Kang Se ra, Song Jae rim as Hwang Jae woong, and Lee Tae hwan as Baek Woo jin

SYNOPSIS


Despite always coming in last, the Daehan High School volleyball team aspires to reach the top. After a misunderstanding with the team captain, volleyball goddess Se Ra is stuck coaching this floundering team in order to dodge a potential lawsuit. Daehan's star player, Jae Woong, and Se Ra are constantly butting heads. Full of love for the sport and increasingly, love for Se Ra, can the team turn around their game? - Dramafever (w/edits)

REVIEW


A good time for teenage-tweeners and nothing more (OR substantial) about this one.

Wow, what a cringe-fest!

From the overly dramatic theme music, to the out-dated macho antics of the two male leads, to the lame 'same few feet of film for every volleyball match shown', this was a tough one to sit through.

I like Jae rim, though, and he did an okay job.

Still, I had to wonder how seriously he took himself while on location -- if he wasn't laughing his ass off behind the scenes or perhaps even regretting the decision to star -- thoughts which turned out to be far more entertaining than this mini drama.

And the freaking high school bitch...

needed a beat-down in every scene she appeared.

I'm fed up with her appearance in any K-Do the same way I am over the brain-dead Japanese high school girl who can do no more than raise one side of her upper lip in every scene.

Change in times and attitude aside, anyone younger who takes that kind of an attitude with anyone older will get their ass kicked -- and rightly so -- period.

And, yeah, I plan on watching #2, though I'm not expecting anything other than more of the same embarrassing drivel like this first one.

Would not recommend anyone waste their time, but I'm positive all those under the age of 15 will disagree.

Where's the Memo About Not Doing this Anymore??