Well, hello there! I almost didn’t see you clicking on my guest post! *bows gracefully* *loses grace as crashes to the ground* Uh…In any case…I am Pamela, and since Stephanie-unni so graciously asked if I wanted to fit my awkward teenage voice into an end-of-year post (paraphrased), here I am on your screens!
Like Amber-unni, it is far too difficult for me to decide on a top few dramas. It’s hard for me to decide on anything, really – you know, I’m turning eighteen in a few months; I should work on that. However, to have a super long list, I don’t possess the finesse. But I hope this list is long enough for you!
Anyway…ON TO THE DRAMAS!
Who is in the mood for some eye flooding? Well, have I got a few dramas for you. Now, if you’ve met me, you know that I am a heartless person who is unable to express emotion, especially when it comes to fiction. The following dramas made even me tear up a little bit…
My personal Life Ruiner here is currently demonstrating three of the prevailing things I felt over the course of this long yet amazing drama: frustration, extreme cold, and immense urges to sob. A few times, those urges led to me actually crying. The emotions run high in Empress Ki – as does the badassery – and the drama left me flailing in anger, sadness, and just plain fangirling for all fifty-one episodes. The actors and actresses helped perpetuate those feelings for me. Ha Ji Won, Joo Jin Mo, JI CHANG WOOK, Baek Jin Hee, Jin Yi Han, Jun Gook Hwan, and so many others brought energy and passion to their roles. I’m not saying all this because of my intense love for the man whose name I italicized. You may be emotionally wrecked by this drama, but you will not be disappointed (except maybe by the rapid ending).
GOD’S GIFT – 14 DAYS
Here is a drama that satisfies your desire for a tearjerker by the end of the second episode. Maybe it does it again in the very last few minutes of the last episode, depending on who you are. But honestly, that’s it. Everything in between those two eye-water deluges is anxiety and fear. The drama rocked me when I watched it, especially since it was a semi-marathon over one week. This is how I look back on God’s Gift: the emotional intensity of the first two episodes were great and heart-wrenching, but such intensity hindered the rest of the drama. It feels like getting punched in the gut, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy being emotionally wrecked. You never know – you might, too.
BOKU NO ITA JIKAN
The English translation of this title (“Hours of My Life”) gave way to a term I coined when I was part of DramaFever’s Drama Club for this drama: “Hours of My Tears.” Like the other two dramas I’ve detailed above, this is a bittersweet drama. I didn’t truly break out into tears, honestly, but I felt the pain. Watching Takuto regress in his mobility whilst still trying to find his way in life and love – as did his friends – can hit you hard. The messages he and his experiences convey – making the days count, living in the present, being who you are – can hit home pretty hard as well. There is pain in this drama, but more so than the other two, Boku no ita Jikan also has comfort and light that make this a high-priority drama in my recommendations.
IT’S OKAY, IT’S LOVE
I apologize for almost forgetting to put this one in…This is a drama that could fit in this category as well as the next one (laughter), but the amount of sympathy, silence, and almost-tears that were felt throughout these sixteen episodes put it in its place of pain in this category. Whether you show up because you are interested (me), because you suffer from a mental disorder and want comfort (uh), or simply because of the cast (me and my friends), most of you won’t be disappointed. There is clever humor throughout, but that does not overshadow the satisfying plot and the emotion and passion put into the drama. It’s Okay, It’s Love delves into what can be done to help those who suffer from mental disorders, how to love, and how to accept being loved, and the emotional rollercoaster that this drama is reminds you that you’re not alone and that…it’s okay. If you haven’t seen this, I highly suggest you do – very, very highly.
After all that time spent crying, you’re going to need a good laugh. It’s a good thing you came to me, as Pamela I Amela. *waits for applause* *hears crickets* Hehe…sorry. Anyway, now that the torque has been established, let’s dive into a few fun dramas, shall we?
(picture found at internationalfangirl.blogspot.com )
FLOWER GRANDPA INVESTIGATION UNIT
This summer drama is full of fun, with a few tricks and twists up its sleeves. Watching these elder actors make fools of themselves (and of Heechul, who I did not realize was Heechul until I looked at the cast list because I’d never seen his face) was a joy for me when I marathoned Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit a few months back. Even with both the love triangle (eh) and the mystery of the characters’ transformations into 할아버지s being fleshed out at the end, the drama never entirely lost its sense of youth and excitement. There are only twelve episodes, so you have nothing to lose by immersing yourself into foolishness, friendship, and a few comedic gags. (And yes, that latter thing is a pun referring to the inclusion of Gag Concert humor.) If you like both clever and not-so-clever humor, this is a nice drama for you. If not…쏘리쏘리!
(picture made by Sage for DramaFever’s Drama Club for this drama)
BOARDING HOUSE NO. 24
The fun to be had in this drama takes a bit more effort due to the jarring effect of the laugh tracks. Those laugh tracks…*cringes*…are one thing I don’t miss about American TV…Beyond that, most of the humor comes from gags, pop references, and puns, so Boarding House No. 24 isn’t the type of comedy that will attract – or retain, for that matter – everyone. But while Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit was somewhat less sloppy, Boarding House No. 24 keeps the light feeling of the drama going, even when the dramatic parts of the plot begin to dominate the episodes. For an idol drama, the idol actors did well in their roles. Personally, I did enjoy this twelve-episode series, but my enjoyment doesn’t mask the drama’s awkward way of storytelling that some of you may not get past.
Speaking of the idol actors, one of the actresses was especially busy this fall, acting both in this drama as well as in…
Let me just quickly point out that I still am not sure how I should say, “Cantabile.” Why? I’ve never heard it said aloud; my only encounters with this word have been in the titles of this drama and in the Japanese drama it is an adaption of. That doesn’t matter, though, as I enjoyed this drama profusely, more so than the other two in this category. I can say with full confidence that this is one of my favorites of the year. As a school musician myself *bites nails because college auditions are coming up* I could tap into the dreams and whims of these characters who, despite being fictional, were far better than I can ever hope to be. Those dreams are what made this drama. Tomorrow’s Cantabile is a cute drama, and many people did have problems with it, especially when they compared it to its Japanese predecessor. I, however, share Amber-unni’s enjoyment of the Korean version, for many of the same reasons. If you need a light comedy that has a nice development (and a nice soundtrack), this drama will make your days a little bit brighter with laughter.
I will be quite honest when I say that there were a few dramas this year that, while I acknowledge them as good, I could never find it within myself to have an opinion. The dramas in this category are ones that others enjoy, that I can appreciate to an extent, and that I just don’t know what to say about them. Until I type about them for you, that is…
SECRET LOVE AFFAIR
It’s ironic that I have few opinions on this drama, as I was also in the Drama Club for this. Maybe it is because the wide majority of viewers of this drama either think it is boring or think it is absolutely amazing. My fellow Drama Club members thought the former, Amanda over at Outside Seoul adored Secret Love Affair, and I was pulled in these two directions every week. Even now, I don’t know I feel comfortable thinking. What I will say is that it was enjoyable and unregrettable to watch, and that I do think many of you should watch it for your own thoughts, the powerful female lead, Yoo Ah In, and the steamy piano sex—I mean, duets. (This is a teenage rambling, after all – we’ve got to keep it PG.)
(picture from http://ritsunodoramaland.wordpress.com)
As we venture back into Japan, I now bring this drama to your attention. BORDER is a paranormal crime drama that a few of my unnis watched back when it aired and loved it. The drama is interesting, with its ideas of obsession and stubbornness, but it also just seemed…I don’t know…too much, even for a person who enjoys darker dramas. And even though the drama was “too much,” I also felt like the drama did too little. I left the drama feeling numb, honestly. That doesn’t mean I think it was bad, or that I wouldn’t recommend it to people, but be prepared for some dark and gritty nine episodes.
And now, I will brace myself for your electronic scoffs…
MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR
*sobs* I do feel bad for not loving this drama. My friend Jang Yi did, our other friend did, my unnis did. But then there’s me. This is a drama I watched because almost everyone else had, and also because I had just finished Dream High and was in a Kim Soo Hyun mood. I felt very little when I watched My Love From Another Star. Was it bad? Not necessarily. Did it feel dragged to me? Just a tad. Did the majority of the Kdrama community love it? You bet your Do Min Joon’s-centuries-old-britches. As such, I would still say that you should watch it, if you have not. I just might not watch it again with you. *apologizes repeatedly* *sobs again*
And on that note, it’s time to see what 2015 — oh, wait, I still have more to say! Are you all willing to deal with a bit more rambling?
LOVESTORE AT THE CORNER
In 2014, I branched out a little. I began watching anime outside of my school’s Anime Club again. I marathoned my first Japanese dramas. I also viewed my first Chinese drama as well as let Taiwan pull me in for a few of its dramas.
Now that most of the episodes have been subbed enough on Viki (*motions for a round of applause for subbers*), I feel much more confident in recommending this under-the-radar drama, Lovestore at the Corner. Are you, or were you, a book lover? Do you enjoy that feeling of community and of contentment (with an acceptable amount of frustration) in a drama? Then I suggest – no, I implore you to watch this drama. Similar to Boku no ita Jikan, but with fewer tears, this Taiwanese drama has an easy flow that swept me up in its calmness and even in it’s recklessness in the last bunch of episodes. The mysteries of identities – for the female lead, her inner identity, and for the first male lead, both his inner and outer, if that makes any sense – and of family – where is the sister? How long should the first male lead isolate himself from his family and his past? – keep the intrigue lasting long into the drama. These mysteries also make for some meaningful contemplation after you’ve walked away from your screen.
Have you had enough of me? Well, you are now free to spend 2015 with all the dramas you want, and even some you don’t. I hope that this year holds enjoyable drama-viewing for all of you out there, and that maybe this list has given you an idea of what to start off the year with! If not…*twiddles thumbs*
Well, that’s all I have to say for now. 🙂 If anyone wishes to see what else I watch and think, check me out on My Drama List and My Anime List, as well as in DramaFever’s Drama Clubs for Boku no Ita Jikan, Secret Love Affair, Temptation, and currently, the Taiwanese drama Say I Do Again and Healer. You really can find me anywhere…except on twitter, Instagram, and on my actual blog.
It’s been a pleasure, 여러분! 읽은 감사합니다. 그리고 행복하세요!