Persona 4: The Animation Series Collection

The bear puns just HAD to go. The character-focused episodes were life.

I can’t say I liked Persona 4: The Animation from start to finish because I almost didn’t make it past the third episode. However I’m glad I persevered because it got hilarious soon after, it’s safe to say that this anime’s a bit of a slow-starter however once the show gets into its groove and finds its footing it’s easy to become engrossed. Which is lucky because while the anime was pretty and sharp, what was with the bottom half of each person’s face being a shade darker than the top half? It was weird and a bit distracting, luckily you do learn to overlook it.

The story revolves around new kid, Yu Narukami, in the town of Inaba- where a mysterious murders have been taking place. Upon discovering a distorted TV World and acquiring a mysterious power known as “Persona”, Yu and his friends, (Yosuke Hanamura, Chie Satonaka) decide to investigate the murders and save others from being killed. As the show progresses, those rescued also become allies after overcoming their own Shadowselves and gaining Personas of their own, including Chie’s best friend, Yukiko Amagi, delinquent Kanji Tatsumi, idol Rise Kujikawa, and young detective Naoto Shirogane. Together, Yu and his companions face up against the threat of the Shadows whilst also making some YOLO choices.

Where the show focuses on our characters, and less on the Persona “Chosen One” storyline, is where it shines the best. While I can’t attest to whether or not the show was a solid adaptation of the game, as I’ve never played it myself, I can say that the characters are the anime’s best feature. They’re memorable and hilarious, well-rounded and developed. They aren’t just flawed, but confront their flaws and insecurities head on, literally, when faced with their Shadowselves. The murder mystery plot was interesting in that they let it develop and build towards the big reveal, while not becoming so convoluted and bogged down by its own complexity. Well.

Get through the first few establishing episodes because the best the anime has to offer comes after all the setup. I like that it doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, also the fantasy elements are interesting- if a bit cumbersome at the start in terms of setting out the story. Fair warning, the show’s a bit R16 aye lol. So uh, yeah.

Stray gif thoughts:

Yu’s deadpanned humour is actually my favourite thing.

Gotta catch ‘em all Cardcaptor Sakura?

 

Also, tomorrow’s the Tokyo Ghoul finale, I believe! Catch it on AnimeLab and then look out for our series review. Still reading the manga, too.

Mockingjay Part One Trailer – “The Mockingjay Lives”

 

OH GOD, IT’S FINALLY HERE.

DEEEEEEEEEP BREATHS EVERYBODY!

WHY ARE WE YELLING?!

Well because the first full-length Mockingjay – Part One trailer has finally been released and it looks absolutely insane! A good insane. I seriously had to restrain myself from screaming when Katniss (my idol) Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) started speaking.

Oh, the feels is strong in this one. I’m expecting great things from this film, and the trailer has already set my standards pretty high. We’re all in this together, guys… So somebody hold me. Because this ish is going to be seriously intense.

You’re lying to yourself if you think you didn’t react the exact same way.

The Korean Drama Takeover

WAE

In July I made the worst (best) discovery I could make, Korean Dramas are addictive. Aigoo, so addictive. I was dragged into the (not so) seedy underworld of KDrama to appease my dongsaeng and stop her nagging (for me to watch just one show with her), so the initial reluctance was strong in this one. However about 10 dramas later, with no end in sight, I can’t really call myself a ‘reluctant’ KDrama watcher anymore, can I? Sure the storylines can be utterly ridiculous and it takes a short while to become accustomed to some cultural aspects (and the subtitles), but before long you realise that the elements are rather formulaic and repetitive so you grasp them more easily- even if they’re so unbelievable you need to fortify the tree branch where you sit suspending your disbelief. They’re ridiculous and melodramatic (sometimes too melodramatic- hello makjang), with moments of pure poignancy often interspersed (thankfully) with heavy amounts of humour. Not to mention the copious amounts of eye-candy (lol SUFBB pun!). You’ll be thankful for the the fact that the shows are often contained within a single season, of about 13-20 episodes, that typically wraps up by the finale with plenty of closure.

Well, save for the occasional, yet extreme, Second Lead Syndrome (SLS) you’re left with. The music is another monster altogether in that I went into KDramas not much of a KPop listener but now have over 300 Korean songs on my iPod. Halp.

So let’s take a look at what I’ve (binge) watched so far over the past two or so months. If you’ve seen the shows I’m about to go in on, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you think I’ve gone mad, follow me down the rabbit hole so that I can make my case. I’m just hoping that forming somewhat cohesive thoughts and writing them down will prove therapeutic and thus help me to work through this addiction. Because it’s affecting my TV-watching habits, big time.


  To The Beautiful You (2012)

http://i7.minus.com/iksg6r5vSGAjL.jpg

I’m slightly (read as really) embarrassed that this show was my introduction to Korean Drama. Based on a Japanese manga, Hana-Kimi, TTBY made me so angry. I mean, I just couldn’t get over the main female character’s motivation in life. Disguising yourself as a boy to get into an all-boys school in order to help your idol- who’s basically just got the yips after recovering from an injury- with no other aspirations is kind of saddening. I think SM (Kpop Idol Manufacturers? I’m still new to the entire operation lol) just decided to produce the drama, any drama, as a way of making more moolah off their assets, in this case Sulli of f(x) and Minho of SHINee.

While I understand that the character’s motivation in the manga is the same, surely they could have had the writers give Jae-hee (Sulli) another motivating factor to drive her. Give her a reason to want to wake up in the morning other than to be there to whisper-shout ‘FIGHTING!’ at Tae-joon (Minho). Also she was kind of a shitty friend to anyone who wasn’t Tae-joon. Cha Eun-gyul (the magnificent Lee Hyun-woo) deserved better, we all did. Eun-gyul may have been one of the more complex characters the show had to offer- tied with Min Hyeon-jae (Kang Ha-neul).

It could have just been Hyun-woo’s acting (he’s really amazing in Secretly, Greatly btw), especially in the second half of the show, however he was much more of a complex character than Jae-hee. Dude portrayed a guy super confused about his sexuality so well. Hell Tae-joon’s athletic rival Hyeon-jae (whose conflict stemmed from being a poor scholarship student battling self-esteem issues whilst trying to make it as a high-jumper in order to better his family’s quality of life) was more of a complex character than Jae-hee. Hyun-woo was a standout, for reals. Gah, the adorbs- the feels, the SLS.

So the fact that we had some gems in such a trainwreck of a show really ground my gears, like to the point that I was constantly ready to throw things ALL THE TIME. ALL THE DAMN TIME. I know what you’re thinking, ‘well sheesh if you hated it that much why’d you keep watching?’ I don’t know, I guess I hate-watched the whole thing. Fine, that’s not completely true; I liked a few characters’ shirtless scenes too much to abandon them and I wanted to see how it would end- which was lamely I might add.

16 (hour-long) Episodes in (approx) Five Days


Boys Over Flowers (2009)

And yet I started another show right after. Again I’m really embarrassed here, but let’s just blame it all on my sister. Now what should we say about Boys Over/Before Flowers? Firstly, it’s another Japanese manga (Hana Yori Dango) adaptation, although I suppose it was slightly better in terms of female character development. Slightly. Basic rundown, poor spunky girl attends super-exclusive high school for the rich on scholarship (for reasons) and has a run in with the big dawgs on campus who call themselves the F4. Fab 4? Fantastic 4? Flower 4? I can’t remember what the F stands for. Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho), Yoon Ji-hoo (Kim Hyun-joong), So Yi-jeong (Kim Bum), and Song Woo-bin (Kim Joon) are the top dogs of the school (because their families are the richest) and no one, not the teachers, other students, general members of the public, dare challenge them. No one, that is, except Jan-di, spunky poor girl (Ku Hye-sun). There’s so much cringe that goes on, but each actor commits to their role like nobody’s business. Them cardboard kisses tho’. While I found Jan-di refreshingly, especially following on from Jae-hee’s lacklustre existence, spirited at the start. I mean them high kicks and punches were ace.

But unfortunately she kind of started to dim a bit towards the end and MAN WHY DIDN’T ANYTHING BAD EVER HAPPEN TO THE DOUCHES OF THE BOF WORLD?! Catty chicks do shitty things and all that happens to them is angry glares from main characters, horrid parents continue on their horrid lives as horrid people with no repercussions because- why? WAE? But, as you’ll find with the four out of five Korean dramas you watch, it all manages to tie up nicely and happily come the final episode- well DURING the final episode. This drama did its best to bring the SLS, especially towards the end, but I’m thinking Jan-di really dodged that bullet.

25 (hour-sometimes longer-long) Episodes in (approx) Six Days. Made worth it by hilarious moments like this. Smooth, Gu Jun-pyo, so smooth.


 Personal Taste (2010)

Heh, hot off the heels of BoF I started this show about an uber-clean architect named Jeon Jin-ho (oh hey, Lee Min-ho!) who gets mistaken for a gay guy by down-on-her-luck Park Kae-in (Son Ye-jin). In order to win the favor of the Dam Art Center director, and win a moneymaking project bid, Jin-ho has to get the skinny about the art center director’s favorite building: Sanggojae, which has never even once been opened to the public. Coincidentally, the Sangojae is Kae-in’s home, Kae-in’s in search for a new roomie for reasons that should you should watch rather than read about (hint: whatever happened to sisters before misters?) and agrees (with much persuasion from her crack up bestie Lee Young-sun, played by Jo Eun-ji) to rent the room to Jin-ho.

Only because, after more than one scene of hilarioussss misunderstandings, they’re both under the impression that he’s gay. As it’s the only way he can study the house, and because his own friend basically pushes him into it, Jin-ho goes with it. Hilarity, and way too much heartache for a show that was meant to be nothing but lulz, ensues.

16 (hour-long) Episodes in (approx) Four Days. Also Kae-in laying down some realness:


 City Hunter (2011)

Let’s say I went on a bit of a Lee Min Ho-binge, also- City Hunter was awesome. A revenge story to the very end with many twists, turns and dramatic reveals along the way. Intense, action-packed (man do I love fighting scenes) and funny with enough cliff hangers and near misses to guarantee at least one heart attack an episode. Until you’re almost at the end you’re constantly thinking ‘what kind of logic?!’ in regards to Lee Yoon-sung’s (Lee Min Ho) adoptive father, Lee Jin-pyo (Kim Sang-joong). I get it man, you were wronged by your own government but your methods… we need to talk about your methods. That’s where Yoon-sung comes in, raised by Jin-pyo to take revenge on the government officials that killed Jin-pyo’s bestie (Yoon-sung’s bio-dad). But they seem to disagree, naturally, on their methods of revenge-scheme execution.

The show runs the risk of becoming too convoluted but it’s saved by a great cast with good chemistry- and awesome fight scenes. I can’t stress enough how much action sequences, well-executed action sequences, make me happy. Even if I’m on the edge of my seat fearing for my bbs lives. Including secondary characters like, Kim Young-joo (Lee Joon-hyuk) our long-legged ahjussi prosecutor who brought the SLS and broke our hearts in the process and the hilarious mother-hen-like Bae Man-duk/Bae Shik-joong (played by Kim Sang-ho).

 
Also how awesome is Kim Na-na, played by Park Min-young? Not only is she independent, with her own motivations and aspirations in life, she kicks butt on the reg. Holy agency, batman! I mean she’s working extra jobs to pay for her dad’s hospital bills, which isn’t really allowed when you’re a bodyguard at the Blue House and this causes problems for her in the course of the drama but she works through them on her own- mostly. You’ll find that three out of five kdrama main female protagonists are dirt poor.

20 (hour-long) Episodes in (approx) Four Days…worth it. Even if the ending was a tad lukewarm.


Secret Garden (2010)

This fantasy drama was suggested by a friend who said I’d love it and she was right. (Sidenote I used to mock/become irritated with when she couldn’t discuss mutual shows due to watching KDrama, in hindsight I was harsh and I take it all back. Because I understand now. Oh how I understand now.) Secret Garden revolved around a badass stunt-woman Gil Ra-im (the brilliant Ha Ji-won) who has the misfortune of crossing paths and making an impression on the arrogant uptight CEO Kim Joo-won (Hyun Bin). Bing bang bosh and somehow Ra-im finds herself in Ji-won’s body and vice versa, we know how they got that way (although we don’t know the whys) but they don’t and their body-swap scenes breeds all kinds of hilariousness. However that doesn’t mean this drama didn’t throw some absolutely heart-wrenching moments at us, like WAE? At many points you’re left wondering whether the universe could BE more mean? Which is a mistake because the universe responds with a resounding ‘yes’.

The leads have some excellent chemistry, and the supporting cast were just as awesome. Sure at times you wanted Ra-im to properly maim Joo-won, like actually- him and his super annoying mother. Ugh chaebol families. There were some problematic moments of seemingly unwanted skinship that had you questioning why you were shipping it ever-so-slightly, just because you weren’t sure how the show was handling a person’s right to certain boundaries. Oh and some explanations were rather wishy-washy, hinging a lot on fate and whimsical fantasy and whatnot. However Hyun Bin and Ha Ji-won’s acting soon made you forget the troublesome scenes and focus on the funny. Because Hyun Bin’s portrayal of Gil Ra-im stuck in his body was so awesome to watch, and Ha Ji-won’s mastery of Joo-won’s facial expressions were epic.

20 (hour-long) Episodes in (approx) Four Days because there’s no such thing as moderation.

image


 The 1st Shop Coffee Prince (2007)

You wanna talk about chemistry? Let’s talk about Yoon Eun-hye and Gong Yoo’s chemistry in Coffee Prince. Because daaaaamn. Go Eun-chan (Eun-hye) is often mistaken for a boy- owing to her androgynous looks and boyish behaviour. She’s basically the head of her family because her dad passed away, her mum’s a bit shit with money and her little sister is well, her little sister. After (a few) run-ins with an immature but attractive rich guy- Choi Han-kyul (Yoo) who mistakes her for a boy and asks her to pretend to be his boyfriend to get out of the blind dates his grandmother keeps setting him up on. Han-kyul’s grandmother makes him manage a coffee shop, Eun-chan continues lets Han-hyul think she’s a guy so she can work there- the shop’s concept is ‘princes’. Of course they start to have proper love-like feelings for each other, and Gong Yoo plays an incredibly compelling man confused about his feelings for someone he thinks is a guy- when he’s pretty sure he’s not gay.

The fleshed out characters really make this show so addicting and the writing meant the story never waned and can I just say it was nice not to hate a single parental figure? Because up until now there have been nothing but evil chaebol relatives who seemed to have but one dimension. However we have here an irritating at times but well-meaning mum, and a stern matriarch who doesn’t immediately hate our female lead obstinately- granted she doesn’t know Eun-chan’s a girl at first.

17 (hour-long) Episodes in Four Days.


 Shut Up Flower Boy Band (2012)

The feels were strong in this one. Don’t let the name fool you, sure there were pretty flower boys but they were so much more than that, this show was so much more than that. Much like its main characters, the show was rather gritty and unrelenting with solid acting, writing and directing. I could watch this band of misfits forming their own family all day. The drama revolved around them as a group however allowed us to see them develop as individuals- with the core relationship of the band-members shoving romance to the side a bit. Which was actually rather refreshing. The show handled their characters well, although there was a touch of noble idiocy-syndrome towards the end, it wasn’t to the extent that made you want to scratch the inside of your eyes out.

Lee Min-ki’s cameo was all shades of amazing, I wish we could have gotten more but that’s pure selfishness on my part because the show really was great the way it was. Even if it meant a whole lot of anguish early on in the drama for our boys. Roll-call? We had Singer/guitarist, Ji Hyuk (Sung Joon) living on his own (because his blood-relatives were dicks) and is, after we bid farewell to Byung-hee (Lee Min-ki), the one holding it down for the team. Guitarist Hyun Soo (L) has an initially icy demeanour and temper but is loyal to a fault and the way he looked after his sister was so cute. Do II (Lee Hyun Jae), the silent seemingly easy-going drummer who doesn’t say much- quietly observing. Ha Jin (Yoo Min Kyu), the skux playboy and bassist, and Kyung Jun (Kim Min Suk), kitten and keyboardist, have the best friendship- it’s better shown than described.

The female characters were also well-written and developed, Im Soo-Ah (Jo Bo-ah) goes through her own problems and comes out a stronger person as a result. At the start you’re not sure what to make of her as she’s seen through the adoring eyes of Byung-hee. However as the show progresses you find that she’s more complex than you initially give her credit for as she picks up odd jobs and carries on with life without much complaint despite the crap the universe hands her- while not being a complete doormat. Although Bang Woo-kyung (Kim Jung-min) did get on my nerves a lot, you had to admire her loyalty- even if it felt like she really didn’t know how to take a hint. Everyone loves an underdog story and that’s what SUFBB gave us, in droves. Our pretty punk-rock flower boys were likeable, even when they were being stupid (they were teenaged boys), and it just made you root for them even more.

16 (hour-long) Episodes (of Bromance) in Four Days.


My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho (2010)

Up until now I’d been marathoning one show at a time, however it was at this point that I started watching multiple shows at once (My GF Is a Gumiho & Reply 1997). Bad enough that I was binge-watching Kdramas and completely ignoring everything else (family, friends, other TV shows …life in general) in the process, but suddenly I wasn’t even content to marathon just one at a time. MGIAG was, I was told, required kdrama watching for any newbie drama watcher. The show is all parts adorable and hilarious with occasional sad-making moments. Cha Dae-woong (Lee Seung-gi), is an aspiring actor who accidentally releases a none-tailed fox spirit/gumiho, played by Shin Min-ah, from a painting she was trapped in for 500 years. She saves his life by putting her fox bead in him, and she follows him back to where he’s staying. Even though he’s initially scared shitless when he realises she’s not kidding about being a gumiho and is an asshat, he starts to develop feelings for her. Although it took him long enough to stop being a little gutless butt for a bit- honestly the amount of times I wanted to shake him. Mi-ho, as she comes to be known, is so adorbs.

image

Her childlike wonder at the world is so endearing, there wasn’t a moment where she annoyed me- well save for a touch of noble idiocy she displays. No Min-woo’s Park Dong-joo brought the SLS early on in the drama, however once Dae-woong started acting like a person and not like a little batch you realise you shipped the endgame so much it hurts. My only problem with this show was how angsty it got towards the end- I was left wondering where my light-hearted adorable fantasy romcom went and when was it replaced by TEARS.

16 (hour-long) Episodes in Three Days. HOI HOI.


Reply/Answer Me 1997 (2012)

Where do I even begin? This drama was just so awesome, from all the 90s nostalgia it gave me (yes, a lot of it was specific to South Korea but 90s nostalgia is still 90s nostalgia) to the well-developed characters and situations that had me laughing out loud. Reply 1997 followed the lives of a group of friends in Busan, as the timeline moves back and forth between their past as 18-year-old high schoolers in 1997 and their present as 33-year-olds at their high school reunion dinner in 2012, where one couple will announce that they’re getting married. You’ll find yourself caring about each character as much as the next, even the side ones. Sung Shi-won (Jung Eun-ji) is a crazy fangirl of the boyband H.O.T who’s all shades of sassy and hilarious (her relationship with her parents, especially her dad, is honestly soooo crack up) and Yoon Yoon-jae (Seo In-guk) is her oldest friend- the boy next door who’s the top of the class and in love with her. Man I shipped them so much, the chemistry was insane, too. However the rest of main characters were just as awesome.

Kang Joon-hee (Hoya) Yoon-jae’s best friend, who’s the kindest most adorable character, second only to Mo Yoo-jung (Shin So-yul) Shi-won’s best friend. Do Hak-chan (Eun Ji-won) is that new kid who’s transferred from Seoul- the guys all think he’s the man due to his sporting skill, Seoul accent and large porn collection, but it’s hilarious that Hak-chan can’t talk to actual girls. Then there’s that friend of the group, Bang Sung-jae (Lee Si-eon) who talks more than a scolding ahjumma. Shi-won’s parents, especially her dad, were so brilliant. So much laughter was had because of Shi-won’s interactions with her dad.

Her haircut-punishment was SO Samoan btw, my mum threatened to cut my hair like that all the time when I was growing up. This drama made me laugh so much, not even kidding. The comedic timing (I don’t even want to know what was up with the goat/sheep sounds) was on point. However this doesn’t mean it didn’t bring the feels because holy-crap did it get so intense at times. When it brought the feels it really piled it up onto your plate and slapped you in the face with it.

Yoon-jae’s relationship with his hyung, Yoon Tae-woong (Song Jong-ho) was also well-written, if complicated because of that pesky triangle thing they just had to do. But this show offered some great pearls of wisdom while granting us access to complex, realistic and likeable characters. It was kind of difficult to watch something else afterwards, and I especially didn’t want to watch the 2013 follow up Reply/Answer Me 1994 for fear of it not living up to Reply 1997. Might give Reply 1994 a go somewhere down the line, however. I’m all about giving things chances. Although if it drags out the ‘who’s she with’ storyline longer than Reply 1997 did- I’ll be annoyed. Like kick-someone in the face, annoyed.

14 (Half-hour) Episodes and 2 (hour-long) in One Day- so SO worth it. If not for the the awesome storyline, lovable characters and well-developed story than for the fact that we’ve all been that crazy fangirl/boy at some point in our lives. Also, the mortification in the following scene gave me such life.


 You’re All Surrounded (2014)

Ragtag team of rookie cops (all the bromance, budding romance, hilarious hijinks times) in Gangnam with a gruff team-leader and some revenge-plot/seedy tragic backstories thrown in for good measure? Count us in! Also Lee Seung-gi (My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho) as a broody rookie, Eun Dae-gu, with a chip on his shoulder? Awwww yeah. This cast made me so happy, they worked so well together- even if the writing wasn’t that great. The story got bogged down by the most annoying villain ever and the never-ending storyline behind getting to them but it also gave us some complex characters that gave me such feels. Chief Kang (Seo Yi-sook) for example, deeply flawed but only trying to reach a noble goal to the end. Initially brusque, Seo Pan-seok (Cha Seung-won) and the nicer Lee Eung-do (Sung Ji-roo) made just the best surrogate cop parents for our rookies. And our rookies, lmao Soo-sun (Go Ara) applied seven times before being accepted into the police academy and is the only female in the new recruits, Tae-il (Ahn Jae-hyun) is super skux- according to my nephew- and Ji Gook (Park Jung-min) the geeky, talkative one who joined because he wanted to live in Gangnam? Hahaha. And of course the prickly Dae-gu who joins the force to try to get justice for what happened to his mum.

Unfortunately my nephew developed a liking for this one (said it had a Brooklyn Nine Nine feel to it) and so it took a bit longer to watch. Heeeh, we managed to rope a nephew into our KDrama ring- not a ring if it’s just two people and it’s still not one with just three YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Fun fact, my nephew’s second favourite Korean actor is Lee Seung-gi, with his first being Lee Jong-suk (I Hear Your Voice) who he thinks is ‘skux’ after watching Young Hot Bloods, according to my nephew he’s going to be like Jong-suk’s YHB character and get all the girls.

20 (Hour-long) Episodes in Two Weeks (it was actually rather excruciating having to exercise restraint). *Slow-mo walks out*


The King 2 Hearts (2012)

Lee Seung-gi again, heh. But also Ha Ji-won (Gil Ra-im from Secret Garden!) too! Set in an alt reality where modern-day South Korea is governed by a constitutional monarchy Lee Jae-ha (Seung-gi) is a crown prince (later king) who doesn’t care about politics or being the second in line to the throne. Lee Jae-kang (Lee Sung-min), the current king, tricks him into joining a joint military collaboration with North Korea as a means to help “make him grow up.” Can I say their relationship was my favourite? Because honestly so cute. At the joint military raining Jae-ha meets Kim Hang-ah (Ji-won), a North Korean Special Forces Officer who is SO AWESOME. She was strong but also a girl in that she doesn’t allow the fact that she’s this super soldier stop her from getting what she wants or liking girly things (omg her fangirling over Hyun Bin’s billboard was the best).

Jae-ha’s character was slightly reminiscent of Dae Woong from My Girlfriend is a Gumiho especially at the start- although he was much more snarky. Our mains are initially antagonistic towards each other, but Jae-ha unwittingly sparks a friendship with Hang-ah and he subsequently falls in love with her. What I liked about this show wasn’t the melodrama and romance, of which there was plenty- or the over the top baddie who I wished would walk off a cliff- but the way Jae-ha’s growth was portrayed. He developed from reluctant royal to responsible king but not without a fair share of mistakes. A testament to Seung-gi’s acting. Also, the second leads (most of the secondary characters really) were amazing and I loved not having to worry about SLS- for the most part. But dear lord the angst was strong in this one, and the tears. How I loved Jo Jung-suk as Eun Shi-kyung, his bromance with Jae-ha gave me life…so you can understand how torn up I was about that ending. But if we, the fans, were so heartbroken over it imagine how Princess Lee Jae-shin felt, Lee Yoon-ji was excellent in the role.

20 (Hours-Long) Episodes in Two Weeks…in which I almost stopped watching because the actors they used for non-Korean roles were so cringey, and not in a haha funny way but in a I CAN’T WATCH ANYMORE I WANT TO HURL MY COFFEE AT THE SCREEN SO BAD SO BAD. Yeah… I can’t say it’ll be one to rewatch for this reason alone. So thank goodness for fanvids.

Currently Watching:

High School King of Savvy/Conduct (2014)

Initially started because Seo In-guk from Reply 1997 is the lead, but I love his family unit and I’m starting to warm up to the main female character.


You From Another Star (2013)

http://beatuscorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Drama_YouFromAnotherStar_bc2.jpg?19875b

Loving it so far. Loving it a LOT. I saw The Thieves and thought there needed to be more Yenicall (Jeon Ji-hyun) and Zampano (Kim Soo-hyun) and this show is just everything, okay? Sawrry.


You’re Beautiful (2009)

http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm96/javabeans122/drama/2009/minam/minam_36.jpg

Frustrating but hilarious. Ugh so frustrating. Already the SLS is pulling at my heartstrings (which is why I’m going to find and watch Heartstrings after this) not that I don’t like the lead because his bitchface game is strong.


I Hear Your Voice (2013)

I’ve only seen the first ep so far but you know I’m hooked. Also Oska and Tae-sun reunion? Heh my sister shipped them in Secret Garden so much.


So that’s it, that’s my rambling about Kdrama done! Unless you want more, maybe on a less uhm grand scale because whoa this was a lot to get out. Also, I’m not sure how much this helped my addiction. Because if anything I want to consume more kdrama to see just how many characters in kdramaland are lacking in peripheral vision.

Doctor Who 8×04 ‘Listen’ Review

They did some scaring this episode, but did the questions raised and the familiar scare tactic bog it down? Is our complicated love-hate relationship with this episode’s writer and showrunner tainting our enjoyment of the show? Maybe, but I’m going to allow the little part of myself that did enjoy the episode to take over for a bit.

‘Listen’ isn’t about a tangible thing that goes bump in the night, it’s about the nothingness that engulfs the space around you when you’re sure you’re alone. That thing underneath your bed doesn’t exist, it’s your own fear that holds you captive, but if Clara grabbed the Doctor’s leg all them years ago when he was a scared lil timebubby starting this whole tulpa/thoughtform, then why has it taken so long for the Doctor to remember to ‘Listen’? It boils down to the idea that fear is a companion, always with you. “Fear makes companions of us all.” Oh hi ‘Unearthly Child’ feels. 

tumblr_nbv0utR6yS1qffym9o10_500

Moffat hammers in, again, the idea that Clara has seen the Doctor through some fearful moments of his long life- even if he didn’t know it. Capaldi’s initial monologue is great in that caught our attention and I do believe those first few minutes elicited some small amount of terror- however I can’t say I felt the same amount of ‘fear’ as earlier work from Moffat. Because I still don’t blink when walking past angel statues.

The monster in this episode was your own imagination, well the Doctor’s own, brought to life- sorta. I immediately thought of Supernatural, ‘Hell House’. Remember the tulpa? If enough people believe it it’ll come to life, right? I half expected Sam and Dean to burst into the TARDIS and tell the Doctor to change the story, and suddenly a crossover AU fanfic was born. However all it took was Clara’s maternal touch and a heartfelt speech, not sure I was exactly wowed by the anticlimactic resolution but it worked so I can’t complain too much.

Extra thoughts:

- The side romance of Clara and Danny made a few steps forward, a jump or two back before hopping into a car and going full-speed ahead. They do work well, Coleman and Anderson have an interesting chemistry that I like. I’ll give them that. Are we to believe that Orson (the Pink line are not kind with names) is a descendant of Clara and Danny then? I still need Danny to meet the Doctor, that is all. Well, properly meet him, as an adult. Especially considering Danny became ‘Dan dan the soldier man’ thanks to his influence.

- “He’ll never make a Time Lord!” Is that person from the Doctor’s past the original cereal guy?

 

 

The Maze Runner Film Review

<br /> The walls will haunt them until they find a way out.

Rarely do I say a movie is better than the book, however I must admit that I did enjoy The Maze Runner film more than I did its source material. The director Wes Ball (with the help of script writer Noah Oppenheim) takes a few creative liberties, while remaining rather faithful to the book, which streamlines the plot and helps to flesh out some characters in a way that was unfortunately absent in the novel. The premise is intriguing enough to hook in non-readers of the series, everyone knows dystopian post-apocalyptic themes are all the rage right now.

We open with our protagonist (played by Dylan O’Brien) in the dodge looking elevator (the box), moving slowly- before gaining momentum- upward. He’s disorientated and freaking out, understandably, as the lift moves faster. When the box grinds to a halt and the doors open, he finds himself with a colony of boys who welcome him to the Glade – a large open field surrounded by enormous concrete walls. He has no knowledge of where he is, doesn’t know where he came from, and he can’t remember his parents, his past, or even his own name. I like that his name literally gets knocked back into him- it takes getting punched out for him to remember that his name is Thomas.

Thomas is just getting used to working without asking too many questions with the seemingly-wise Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), tolerating the douchetastically brutish Gally (Will Poulter), and becoming fond of the adorkable Chuck (Blake Cooper) when he’s attacked by someone stung by a griever (biomechanical creatures in the maze) and his questions come right back. Back with such force that in a moment of sheer adrenalin he breaks protocol and runs into the maze after my fav- I mean- Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and Alby (Aml Ameen) as the huge walls close.

The arrival of Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), a girl with links to Thomas’s past, delivered via the box bearing a note saying she’s the last one ever, alerts you to the fact that the proverbial ‘it’ is indeed about to go down. Soon enough the boys aren’t just fighting against the grievers and institutionalisation but amongst themselves with regard to rules, power and the pecking order. William Golding would be stroking his beard with keen interest. The film doesn’t shy away from doing its darned best to elicit feelings of concern for the characters, even if you’ve read the book there are enough differences to warrant you wondering if they’re going to go full rogue with the storyline.

I’m liking the direction they’ve taken with the plot and our characters, especially Thomas and Teresa. Thomas doesn’t annoy me as much as he did in the book. If at all. Teresa is given much more agency, seriously the changes to the plot to allow Kaya more screen time and Teresa a bit more growth worked wonders for the character. They’ve done away with the telepathic link between the two, which I liked. It forces the script to be tighter and not waft about with two characters talking to each other in their heads as everyone else looks on as the awkward silence lengthens.

Visually the movie’s rather pretty, and I’m not just talking about the cast. The film is prettily shot, making the glade appear rather lovely and the maze is as ominous and colossal as you would imagine it to be with the grievers being the perfect mix of terrifying and disgusting. The cast had excellent chemistry, believable comradeship and the budding bromances, with enough moments of tension-relieving humour to allow you space to breathe. However the movie does suffer slightly from pacing problems, starting off a bit slow before suddenly kicking it up about 400 notches so that everything in the second half of the film feels like it’s happening all at once. They hit you with a whole lot of exposition at the end, but I suppose it’s either that or you and the gladers leave utterly confused about everything- not that there’s too much clarity for our protagonists when they leave. The whirlwind explanation of WCKD leaves you slightly breathless before the final twists that punch you right in the feels. WCKD is good…?

The Maze Runner opens in NZ theaters on Sept 25th.

Check out the extended trailer

Doctor Who 8×03: Robot of Sherwood Review

http://cdn.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/Doctor-Who-Robot-of-Sherwood-Poster.jpeg

Uh, what did we just watch? Anyone know what Gatiss was smoking when he penned ‘Robot of Sherwood’ and can we have some? I’m playing, but really it was a rather silly episode, wasn’t it? And it served to remind us that Doctor Who, at its core, is a children’s show. Where episodes like ‘Robot of Sherwood’ shouldn’t be so surprising. And yet, it was.

The Doctor lets Clara decide their next destination and with much fangirling she reveals that she really wants to meet the legendary hero himself- Robin Hood (played with much ha ha ha-ing by Tom Riley). They do and much slapstick humour is to be had, with a grating amount of fake laughter and much too merry men. I don’t know, I felt a bit like the Doctor myself the entire episode. Perhaps if I had a little more Clara in me I might have enjoyed the episode a bit more, but there seemed to be a forced atmosphere to it that I couldn’t shake. Was it the generous amount of sun in Nottingham? As the Doctor pointed out. Or the smile that didn’t reach Robin’s eyes? Or was it the irritating way he laughed, as Jess described, with a pause between each ha.

Perhaps it was the conflict between the two heroes. The man, the myth the legend… the Doctor or Robin Hood? Both rooted in their respective histories, from the page to the screen we’re all fine to accept them both in the show as ‘real’. Well at least Clara is, the Doctor -and by extension us- isn’t so sure. He spends the majority of the episode trying to expose Robin Hood as a fraudbot. Because he can’t possibly be real, that jawline and perfect teeth can’t exist. While it made for good (eh) banter, it grew ever so slightly tiresome by like the fourth round of pot-shots. All the while the Doctor was forbidding banter altogether. No banter from the Doctor? Sounds like a Tui Ad.

I agree, with Jess, that the storyline left a lot to be desired. A bit weak, saved only by the actors’ convictions to be their characters. Because what was even happening this episode? Seriously, The Sheriff of Nottingham is stealing gold to power a spaceship because he wants to fly to London and take over England with his robot army? Oh…kay. But this (is Doctor Who so what are you even complaining about?!) episode isn’t trying to bring the gravitas, not even a little bit. It’s slapstick and tongue-in-cheek humour with robots in a forest circa 1190AD-ish. They’ll take us back to the series-long arc soon enough, but for now enjoy a bit of the funny.

Next week they’re bringing the scary/creepy, you know how I love the scary/creepy!

Honourable Mentions:

- Them hair extensions tho’.

- History is a burden, stories can make us fly.

Theatre: Trees Beneath the Lake

trees

Trees Beneath the Lake
Auckland Theatre Company
With Michael Hurst, Catherine Wilkin, Theresa Healey, Brooke Williams, Peter Hayden, Leighton Stichbury
Directed by Simon Bennett

Hi guys! Chloe here.

I want to tell you all about this fantastic and amazing play that’s on at the moment called Trees Beneath the Lake. I saw it last night with my sister and couldn’t wait to write a review, even though I wasn’t intending to. And now I realise that since I’m writing it on Jawkward I have to make it sound coherent and less erhmagerd… so here we go.

Trees follows an ex-Wall Street guy called William Campbell, who returns to his childhood home of central Otago to kinda hide out a little bit when he starts to get investigated by authorities under suspicion of fraud. Here, with his wife Jen and son Ross, his mother Nieve, lawyer Ruth, and old family friend Tom, William tries to regroup and fight for his reputation and future, but just as we know from movies such as Death at a Funeral and August Osage County, when you get family back together like that, there are skeletons that come out of closets you never knew had been built. If you’re familiar with the story of Allan Hubbard or Bernie Maddoff at all then that kinda sums Campbell up nicely. 

The play was written by Arthur Meek, who wrote the very well received play On the Upside Down of the World. He wrote Trees while living in New York, courtesy of the Harriet Friedlander New York Residency which he received in 2012.

The thing I like about Trees is that it doesn’t tell a “typical” story but instead tells the story of how this fraud investigation affects his family – his wife, his mother, his son – and how it all falls apart around him.  Something a little bit different, and it works.  And, this play is FUNNY.  It’s almost black humour with the snide observations and one-liners, but not quite.  I laughed more than I was expecting to, let’s put it that way, even when I knew I ought to have been horrified by the scene. 

And what really propels the play from good to great is the acting. Michael Hurst et al are solid, delivering lines and attitude that perfectly match the pace of the script.

Basically, it was so good, you guys.  It’s quite possibly the best play I’ve seen by ATC so far.  It is on now at the Maidment Theatre until September 27.