Hey all! *pindropping silence* I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday spent with your family and friends!! I know I know, possibly no excuses could ever save my ass for the unprecedented hiatus from blogging and from life in general. It has been one wacky second half of 2015 both in my uni life and also in my work life. All I can kinda say is that my random disconnection from the outside world kinda paid off, gifting me with my first 2 HDs EVER IN ALL OF MY UNI LIFE (it has been 3 years too long I’d say) soooooo I guess the break kinda paid off?? I don’t really want to say that leaving my blog like that was a great decision from the start, but this is kinda what happens when ‘life’ takes over. Uni just drained my desire to seek for dramas to watch as enjoyment, and so no drama-driven juices to write with was present, which in turn didn’t really give me enough ‘stuff’ (for lack of a better word) to blog about.
However, over the last 2 ½ months or so (once I finished the uni semester really) I just had the random desire to just watch anything, which led me to go on a random tangent of watching just Chinese dramas, one after the other. Sure, there was some Korean dramas in between (which were indeed much needed once you see this heavy list) but if you see literally have an overview glance of the list, it is literally just Chinese dramas. And each one is just heavy, heavy, HEAVY! *awkward silence* …You’ll understand once you see the list, trust me.
So, the main reason why I was convinced to make this long post is simply…I was just not in the mood to write a review for each and every drama that I’ve watched over the past 2 months. After starting and not finishing multiple multiple reviews over the past month and a half or so, I knew that enough was enough; I was definitely not gonna get any of these reviews out by the end of the year, full stop. And so, in order to give justice to some of these dramas that were in fact quite good and enjoyable, this post is going to be published as both a way to say “hey, I’m still alive” and also a way to say goodbye to a wacky, crazy and a clusterf*** of a year FOR ME! Ummmm, so without further ado, let’s get on with it!
This will be presented in the order that I have watched the dramas throughout the year (since most of them were released in previous years), and the end will feature my “currently watching” list along with a ‘current’ rating for them all. The rating system is based on the usual system I usually use (do I have to repeat myself lol) by the lovely goddesses of K-drama reviews themselves over at Dramabeans: how much I liked it and how good it was objectively. On a side note, if you are gonna be disappointed with this list, you should be. Nothing extremely amazing is on there, and a lot of dramas that I will not explain in detail here are sadly labelled DNF. A couple of them being My Love Eun Dong, My Heart Twinkle Twinkle, Blood…I just couldn’t get into them, I’m sorry!! By the way, It’s Okay That’s Love isn’t on the list (despite the review being published this year) because….I finished watching it in 2014, not 2015 lol
C-drama: The Legend of Hua Mulan (2013) | Review
With a cast of multifaceted characters and a well thought-out plot, there isn’t much to warn you ahead for this drama, apart from the truly tedious romance between our two leads halfway through. Like seriously lovebirds, NONE of that was necessary. Imagine a tug of war, magnified to a scale of a civil war. As I’ve warned in my review, if you’re not into forbidden romances/over the top situation building, then maybe this ain’t the one for you. But, if you want to watch a female hero that does indeed save the day, then go ahead with this one 😉
K-drama: A Well Raised Daughter Ha-Na (2013) | Review
If you have quite a bit of time to spare (more like, 60 hours of your life I mean) and is willing to invest yourself in a epic long drama, why not try this one? With 122 episodes of what could be the most exhausting or the most funnest of times for you (depending on your ship), this drama doesn’t require a lot of thinking or close following; you could literally nap through an ep (they’re only 35 minutes long) and probably still have an idea of what’s going on. Yes, it can be frustrating most of the time, but if you want to watch a drama that is focused on family, having a strong-headed heroine protagonist with some pretty sweet sweet man candy on the side, give this one a try. Be warned though, you will certainly HATE the antagonists of this drama. As in, detest right to the bone sort of hate.
K-drama: Birth of a Beauty (2014) | Review
This drama doesn’t require a lot of thinking as well; if you’re looking for a fun ride filled with great chemistry between the main lovers and just nice feeeeeelsssss all around, then give this rom-com a try. Don’t expect the plot, pacing or abundance of typical drama cliques to blow you away though but meh, this drama is kinda worth a try for some sweet sweet couple moments that just makes you feel so so lonely. Only heads-up to give is that this drama does deal with some issues regarding appearance ideals in Korea, which may or may not relate to the ideals you see in your own country. Please go ahead with this drama (if ya want) with a cautious and ‘open mind’.
C-drama: Cruel Romance (2015) | Review
This drama should have gotten a higher rating. Hell, it probably does deserve a higher rating. But, if you look at the review I’ve written for it, and all of the crap I’ve been through to search for some redeeming qualities, I was just sick and tired of the crap I was going through to find all the deleted/highly requested scenes that people have been requesting for months! Literally, for months I’ve waited for those scenes! AND I’M NEVER GONNA EVEN BOTHER FINDING THEM AGAIN!
*clears throat* Anyway, if you’d like to watch a really handsome man who goes through some substantial character development along with a pretty interesting plot, go ahead and give this a go. But, but if momentum and pacing is a high priority in your decision to start/continue a drama, then just pass this one and don’t even bother. Also, a lot of peeps on the blogsphere have complained about the female lead just being a figure there who didn’t do anything. In my opinion, she wasn’t as bad as many claimed she was, as the chemistry between our two leads were pretty good in the romance department soooo it wasn’t bad in that department too.
C-drama: The Great Heroine General/Mu Lan (2013) | Potential review in the making 😉
If themes such as loyalty, honour and filial piety all set in a historical Chinese setting with a badass lead heroine are some really appealing criteria in your drama watching preferences, then this is the drama for you. In my personal opinion, this was a more enjoyable Mulan-themed drama than the other I had watched earlier in the year, as it was more well-paced than the other. Although it is really quite naughty of me to compare one with the other, but I’m sorry! The only warning (or warnings I guess) is there is quite a bit of political conflict towards the middle that is solely based around the palace. Like literally, you have an entire middle chunk of the drama solely dedicated to giving screen time to some pretty hateful people, and some moments can get quite dense and heavy. So, if that kinda turns you off, you’ve been warned. Also on a side note, I personally watched this drama via an app on my iPad that did not have the drama subbed. The only link that I’ve found which has English-subs is this: http://www.drama.net/mu-lan Hopefully that one works for you, despite the lack in quality.
K-drama: Scholar Who Walks the Night (2015) | Another potential one that has just been collecting dust…
The main reason why I’ve been struggling to even get this review completed is honestly, I’m struggling to further explain on the positives of this drama, as the negatives are just dominating my mind most of the time. The chemistry wasn’t bad, nor was the settings and costuming of the drama. However, the two main criticisms that I can give to this drama in fact concerns with two main aspects of the drama: the execution and the overall story itself. As many have repeated time and time again, watching Lee Joon Gi just slay this character was indeed enjoyable to watch for 20 episodes however, to some people that might solely be the drama’s selling point. If the drama was about 4 episodes shorter and the ending was planned a little bit more ahead, perhaps this drama could have possibly been the drama of the year, as it did indeed have so much potential, what with a great protagonist as well as antagonist that drove this drama along. Oh, and Lee Yoo-Bi? Ummm, let’s just say she’s average in this one. That’s better than most, really.
C-drama: The Journey of Flower (2015) | I really really want to, but I want to kinda wait till the true uncut version is released
Well, where do I start with this one? This was indeed the drama that helped me out of my 2-3 month drama-watching slump. A beautifully shot Wuxia/fantasy drama that is set in a world where immortals, mortals and demons co-exists, the main story deals with a topic that has been rarely seen lately in dramas: forbidden love. Sure, you can argue that probably Scholar Who Walkes The Night deals with this topic slightly, but definitely not the same scale as The Journey of Flower did, no no no. The angst in this drama was greater by ANY scale. All of that was only possible through the chemistry between our two main protagonists Bai Zi Hua and Hua Qian Gu, which was just a-ma-zing, as well as the entire cast’s performance in their roles. Our other heroes of the story definitely include our Sha Jie-Jie and also Dong Fang Yu Qing, whose characters were just captivating and stellar despite their actual profiles in the drama. Only downside/disappointing factor of the drama is certainly the pacing of the drama towards the later half the drama, as it did drag out for a while in concerns with a certain dilemma within the drama. Also, if you’ve been looking around the web about this drama already, you might already be aware that much has been cut from the drama in order to meet the censorship demands of the government, which is really really disappointing in my opinion, as it was indeed highly anticipated by all fans when it was being broadcasted. All in all, if pretty Wuxia dramas with some forbidden love and angst is your type of thing, then just pick up this drama and go right ahead 😉
C-drama: Legend of Lu Zhen (2013) | Hmmm, maybe not although it does deserves one
So, after I was left with some post-drama depression (and definitely some post-Wallace depression) from the previous work, I quickly went in search for any dramas filmed with either our lovely Li Ying or Wallace. Finding that this one had a pretty good rating I gave it a try, and was certainly not disappointed. The story is well written, and having a strong, extremely intelligent lead heroine who isn’t afraid to stick her head out and fight for what she believes is right, is definitely a big plus. Chemistry between our main and supporting cast is pretty spot-on, and even the villains of this drama are just so despising that at times, I was even amazed at how much I can despise one person *huff huff*. Setting of the drama is very well done, and the filming is quite typical of any standard historical Chinese drama. Two things that did get on my nerves slightly though is the costuming, and the inevitable cliches found within any palace drama where it seems the WHOLE world is against our main pairing, and then drag for a long long while. The costuming, though, was a really major letdown since you have to look at it all.the.time. Just…why those colours together guys? Why??! However, if you are able to perhaps place those factors aside and just simply focus on the story at hand, you will not be disappointed, trust me. It’s just that perhaps I had hopes that were too high for this drama, hence the slightly lowered rating.
C-drama: Introduction to the Princess (2011) | No, just cause I don’t really know what to say about it…
My little comment above just means that when I look back on this one, I can’t really seem to pin down on one thing that seems to call out to me screaming “THIS WAS AMAZING!”, although the drama itself wasn’t bad at all. Ruby was beautiful and amazingly talented as being not only the main lead, but also the director of the drama. For some reason, Kevin Yan initially didn’t seem to capture my attention at all (he just came off as suspicious and…odd to me?), so instead I kept waiting for Wallace to return to the screen when the drama first started out (it was torture indeed) however, thinking back in hindsight, the wait was indeed necessary to allow our main leads time to bond and whatnot. The story is fairly unique and quite well written, however it is deeply imbedded within palace politics, conflict against states and certainly has its fair share of plot holes, which could be a possible turnoff for some. However in my opinion, the only major downside was its length; it was sooo draggy, and not just in the middle. From the beginning, the pacing of the drama was indeed too slow for my liking, which ‘forced’ me to try quite hard to follow along at times. And so, cause I didn’t feel a very deep connection with this drama (despite the fact that Wallace Huo was in it), hence the rating I gave for the drama. However, I do recommend many to check out this drama if possible; perhaps you will love the male lead more than I did.
K-drama: Noble, My Love (2015) | Want to, but it probably won’t be a very a long one
This drama was simply the ‘feel-good’ drama I was looking for after watching a handful of dramas that were slightly heavy and a bit hard both on the mind and feels. I wasn’t expecting too much from this drama, and so it certainly took me by surprise by how much I had really enjoyed it. It is a pretty atypical Korean drama that’s filled with the common cliches you would see everywhere; it’s nothing new. However, it’s because it isn’t aiming to be different or new, that actually gives it a sense of ‘newness’, if that makes sense. What I mean is that after watching and seeing so many recent dramas that aim to be ‘new, different, unique’ and just ends up being a big mess filled with plotholes and unsatisfied results (yep, I’m looking at you Cruel Romance!), it’s nice to return back to what some of these genres do best at. Noble, My Love was just…a Korean rom-com, full stop. The chemistry between our two leads was pretty heated and sizzling (as in, sometimes I felt that I was invading into their space since they just looked so comfortable with each other) with both of them being very very appealing people to look at (especially Sung Hoon…DAMN~~ *fans face furiously*) which is indeed a bonus. Main nitpicks I can give is just that Jaekyung’s acting at times is slightly awkward at times (probably due to her lack of previous acting experience) who I should still congratulate as this was her first main role position in any dramas previous. Sung Hoon was pretty solid, though he also is slightly awkward on screen at times when it’s just himself. So, if any of you are kinda in a drama slump at the moment, or just need a little ‘pick-me-up’ from post-drama depression, give this one a go 😉 Each episode is only 15 minutes long! You can marathon it in just 5 hours!!! Like, WOW!
K-drama: The Time We Were Not In Love (2015) | Maybe yes, maybe no
I’ve previously vocalised my opinion on how I feel about Ha Ji Won…I simply just love her, and is willing to check out any projects she ever undertakes.This drama, despite having her in it, didn’t really sate my need for some more Ha Ji Won in my life. I don’t really blame it on the actors/actresses of this drama, but more on the really slack writing of the story and the speed of progression within it. Despite the satisfying ending, it was a pretty tedious and tiring road to get there, which was honestly the biggest letdown for me in this drama. There was just so much inaction rather than action, and I kinda didn’t really like the second lead, sorry! I mean, I just never felt anything for the guy, and always thought that Hana should just stay far far away from the man. But despite my liking for Jin Wook’s character more, I still got quite angry at his lack of initiative until he believed was ‘too late’. Characters with inaction = factor that I really despise in characters…really. The progression of the drama during the middle had gotted so bad (in my opinion) that I placed the drama on hold for almost 2 months before I gained enough courage to return to it; before this period I was watching it weekly! I only ‘forced’ myself to finish it once I finished the previous drama and said to myself “It’s time Hyunnie, you can finish it now” LOL! But yes, very disappointingly this drama didn’t impress me as much as I hoped it would, but if you are either a Ha Ji Won OR Lee Jin Wook, this drama may be worth a shot 😀
C-drama: Too Late to Say I Love You (2010) | Hmmm, probably no review
I don’t know I felt with this drama. Like Introduction to the Princess, nothing seems to come to mind immediately that screams out “This drama is truly awesome!”, hence the slightly disappointing rating. I do realise that this may not be a very popular opinion on the drama, but honestly there was a main disappointing factor that I really felt changed my overall opinion on the drama. I had entered this drama hoping to be able to feel as if I was living in the era, and that I was able to be deeply imbedded in the military conflicts and the overall historical aspects of the drama. However, what I was given instead was a lengthy angsty romance that was quite inconsistent throughout. At times, the romance seemed necessary with the heightened tensions occurring on the battlefield, but at other times the romance seemed almost distracting from the main concern at hand. The overall story is not bad; it is solid, fast-paced and fairly easy to follow. The main issue with this drama was the characterisation and overall character development, which as I’ve emphasised before in the past, is a huge selling point for me. For me, Pei Lin (the male lead) along with a number of other male characters seemed too reckless in terms of their attitude towards romance, and does not seem to be able to make rational judgements when a girl is involved. Pei Lin’s actions were indeed most shocking when you compare his demeanour while he is at war (which is quite rational and calm). It’s as if whenever a girl is involved, testosterone runs wild and their thinking cells deplete! I was left sighing out loud heavily whenever I saw the same type of possessive scenes one episode to the next. Our female lead Xiao Ran takes a long time to grow more strong and confident with herself, which was slightly frustrating at times. The acting within this drama had no concerns, but the writing for these characters were indeed inconsistent and disappointing. By the end of the drama, I just couldn’t really care less as to what happened for each character; I was just drained and tired of it all. This drama certainly had its moments of greatness, but they weren’t enough to justify the imbalance this drama had between its story and characters.
C-drama: Sealed With a Kiss + Miniseries (2011/2012) | Nope, no way in hell does this ever, EVER deserve even HALF A REVIEW!
And the main reason why I would ever ever refuse to write a review for this is simply because I would just be spending the entire time just ranting and going on and on about how much I had hated it. But I can warn you at least to stay very very far away from this one; it honestly is not worth your precious time. The story, go put it shortly, is about a girl who is threatened and forced to become a man’s mistress after her parent’s had driven the male’s parents to become bankrupt. Throughout the drama, it’s just her being ignorant, compliant and goes through countless accounts of sexual harassment by her “owner”…*sigh* thinking of it again is just making me quite frustrated and aggravated. I just got very very annoyed at her character, and felt very tempted at times to just slap some sense into her, to awaken her from this situation and to tell her that she should just leave! Screw everyone else and stop self-sacrificing; worry about your own situation first you idiot!!!
The only saving grace of this drama was Hawick Lau’s acting, but certainly not his character. Hawick handsomely portrayed his character amazingly; he was such a horrible and spiteful person yet…I kept watching despite how much I was hating on everything and everyone. He was the main saviour of the drama, and possibly the main reason why many rated this drama quite highly (which still shocks me O.o). Heck, he is kinda the reason I was able to even finish this excuse of a drama. This drama is certainly not your typical, conventional melodrama, and not everything is simply straightforward black and white. And so, please be very conscious of the fact that this drama will test your morals and possibly your ability to deal with extremely frustrating inactive characters.
The miniseries though…is horrible. Don’t even bother finding it and watching it. Just.dont. I have no idea what the writers/director of the drama was thinking to even release this…thing but whoever thought that this was all a good idea…dear oh dear what were they thinking? *sigh*
Rating: 3/2 | 1/1
C-drama: Lady and Liar (2015) | Should I? I mean, there’s plenty online I’d say. Just go ahead and check these ones out by misscupcakees, vanilladreamcream and any here on mydramalist.
After the horrid experience I had with the previous drama, I went in search of something, anything that would be able to cleanse my mind from what I had watched. After falling into a mini post Hawick-depression, I went ahead and looked around at his other recent works, and came across this. Remember to a time where online blogs were constantly comparing this particular drama to Cruel Romance, the other C-drama that was released at roughly the same time and is set in the same time period with similar characters, I decided to finally see what all the fuss was about. This drama should not be compared to Cruel Romance despite their similarities, as their differences certainly outweigh them. Our female lead Jiang Xin is courageous and kind-hearted, while our male lead Bai Zheng Qing (or as he is referred more commonly in the drama, Bai Lang) is powerful yet loving for the ones he cares most for. Despite how well the drama was going initially for the first 20 episodes or so, it gradually went downhill as the story eventually became quite bland while our characters changed too drastically for my liking; they almost became complete opposites of how they were from the very beginning. Especially towards the ¾ mark, a major plot is thrown in, and no way throughout the entire drama did that ever ever was hinted on which did throw me off. I even went back about 15 episodes or so to see if I had missed anything (I confirmed to myself that I didn’t, and that it was possibly edited out). And so, despite the likeable chemistry Tiffany and Hawick had, it wasn’t enough to justify that this drama was as good as many stated it was although, I would re-watch our Lady and our Liar over Cruel Romance any day.
K-drama: Splash Splash LOVE (2015) | This one definitely deserves one; I definitely want to write one for this 🙂
I loved this drama. I just simply and stupidly loved all of it. If you have 2 hours to spare, and is in need of a little pick-me-up maybe from a recent hardcore marathon, this may be the answer for it. It is well-paced, sweet and a very refreshing take on the past time-travel/sageuk fusion dramas that we’ve seen in the past before. Despite it only being 2 episodes, it did not fail to capture my heart, and make me absolutely adore the leading couple. I went through moments of laughing out loud,sobbing my heart out and squealing in glee, which is immensely impressive for a drama that is so short. Our leading lady Kim Seul Gi is absolutely perfect for the role, while Do Joon is one handsome-looking emperor who was born for the role. Both had sizzling and sweet chemistry, and their progression in terms of romance is realistic enough to actually believe. Pacing of the drama is done surprisingly well (despite the other K-dramas watched earlier in the year) despite its length, and the entire drama was just…easy. It was easy to follow, easy on the eyes and easy on the heart and mind. Only thing I can say, and it’s really a very minor minor thing that is more to blame on the fact that the drama is only 2 episodes long, is that there was about 1-2 moments where scenes did seem rushed in order to move the story quickly, but that is not a major deal really. This drama is certainly re-watch material, and a very easy pick for someone who is looking for a light-hearted rom-com when you’re slightly discouraged from your ‘to-be-watched’ list. This drama is certainly worth the rave it has currently been getting in the community.
And that is my list of completed dramas of 2015. My last drama of the year was certainly fitting, and was a perfect way to end my year of drama watching in my opinion! And now, to move onto my currently watching, which will be slightly shorter….
K-drama: Oh My Venus (2015) | Hell yeah I wanna write one! But…it won’t be for a while I’d say…
Shin Min Ah and So Ji Sub together in a drama?! Need I say more as to why you should check it out? The chemistry between them is absolutely sizzling on-screen, and the supporting cast is just as great. Only downside about this drama at the moment is that there is truthfully no set-out plot to follow…I mean, if losing weight isn’t a proper storyline that is. Honestly, the conflict in this drama is not really focused on until we literally reach the halfway mark, but the truly juicy and amazing chemistry is making up for the lost story sense.
C-drama: Love Me If You Dare (2015) | Uh huh, just cause Hua-Ge truly truly deserves one for this pretty nice masterpiece
I knew that Wallace would do great in the drama, but I didn’t think that it would be this great. Truthfully, this is certainly a breath of fresh air from the recent C-dramas that I’ve been watching. Set in modern-day China, it’s real nice to see that this drama takes a different pacing from the more popular setting of most dramas, which are more historical than modern. With its episodic-format of outlining the drama, it is really enjoyable to see our lead couple teaming up to literally ‘fight against crime’. The plot is quite well-written and unique, and our two leads have pretty good chemistry which is at times sizzling hot. Only downside I would say is that the pacing of the drama has been quite inconsistent in terms of pushing the overarching plot forward; our side-plots have been quite good to watch, but the main story was placed on hold a tad bit too long to the point where towards the end of this drama, it almost seemed slightly rushed. All in all though, Wallace is the true hero of the drama and…dating someone like him sure is an effort LOLOL
TW-drama: Marry Me, or Not? (2015) | It kinda deserves one, just because it’s bringing me life hehehe
To think this is my first and last Taiwanese drama of the year is indeed quite sad and shocking, but I am certainly not disappointed in picking this one up before the year finished. Although I was not expecting much from this one, it was certainly a surprise to me how much I was enjoying it. Although our female lead Huan Zhen is slightly an ass (honestly, she really is initially), she does gain some redeeming factors that probably saved me from dumping this drama too quickly. But definitely the main hero of this drama and main reason why I’ve kept watching is Justin, our handsome male lead that is such a delight to watch on screen. His expressions during certain scenes are priceless, and really sets the mood. Honestly, they are hilarious! *Sigh* I think I’ve discovered a new love~ Anyway, I am pretty excited for each episode every week, but almost regret starting it so soon…maybe I should have waited longer…ah well…
Annnndddd that’s a wrap! Here is my Year In Review for 2015. Although it has been a very disappointing year in terms of blogging, I hope that this extensive list of dramas that I’ve watched redeems the lack of activity that I’ve had on this blog. I want to thank all of my supporters and new followers of the blog; without you all, I would not ever have the courage to return to blogging! I hope that all of you have had a lovely Christmas, and I’m wishing you all a wonderful New Year spent with friends and loved ones~ Enjoy, stay safe and remember to HAVE FUN! Can’t wait to see you all again in 2016!
❤ Yami Hyunnie ^^~