Drama grab bag

This has so far been a categorically ‘meh’ kdrama year for me. It’s been uncommonly hard to find shows to stick with. Either I loose interest after couple of episodes or they manage to piss me off at some point and get Das Boot. Without my string of jdramas I’d be practically dramaless, ha.

So, a few thoughts on the dramas I have watched recently.

Assembly
It took me a while to get started with this one but once I did, I ended up marathoning most of it within a couple of days. I’m almost current with the aired episodes now. Political dramas probably make eyes glaze over for most drama fans but I’m finding Assembly very intriguing and even exciting. Can’t wait to see what the politicos are up to next. The writer used to work as a congressional aide so he knows the ins and outs of that world quite well and it shows. I guess Assembly could be called some sort of cousin to ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’ or Kimura’s ‘CHANGE’. An everyman with no political experience gets duped into taking part in an election, which he wins, by people with ulterior motives. All sorts of things ensue, some of them even funny. Of course The Everyman turns out to be more trouble than anticipated as he hasn’t got a clue of how politics really works and tends to have diverging ideas of how the country should be run. Whether Assemblyman Jin Sang Pil will end up achieving anything worth a mention, is yet to be seen as there are 6 more episodes to go. It’s going to be interesting to watch it all unfold though.

Oddly enough Assembly is lead Jung Jae Young’s first TV outing, though he is a 25 yr veteran of the big screen and stage. He is great, as is to be expected. The rest of the cast ain’t that bad either. Jang Hyun Sung seems to be everywhere these days but then, he always delivers. I’m liking all the characters a lot, including all those third tier supporting ones. Loads of familiar faces all around.

Twenty Again
Not really sure what to make of this one yet. The first two episodes didn’t give me much to go on but at least it didn’t annoy me outright like so many other dramas have done. I could do a lot less with sonny boy and his girl but other than that the characters seem ok. The trials and tribulations of our main char as a mature student were somewhat exagathered but I guess that’s the plot point to give her planty of room to change and win everyone over. I hope it’s going to be more about No Ra changing herself than a new love interest being the instigation. I’m giving Twenty Again a few more epis to find it’s feet and then decide if it’s a keeper. We’ll see, I guess. πŸ™‚

Yongpal
~Dropped~
Well, I gave Yongpal 8 episodes to win me over but it ain’t happening. I’ve no interest in the story and promptly forgot all about the show as soon as I’d done with an epi. There’s nothing to whet my apetite or make me anticipate the next instalment. The characters are just as uninteresting; if they all got swiped off the face of the earth by a giant meteorite, I couldn’t care less. Dropped to the discard pile.

Wild Heroes
Still a silly romp, only now with a more sombre tone. My Takahiro crush is still ongoing as well, LOL! He smiles and I turn into a starryeyed, 15 yr fangirl. *shakes head* Embarrassing much? XD. Those dimples should be categorised as leathal weapons… just saying. I have a wild hunch there is a Takahiro/Exile post looming ahead, waiting to be let loose on unsuspected readers. *g*

Well, our merry gang of former delinquents just can’t get a break. It’s basically out of a frying pan and into a fire each episode. Luckily they usually find a way to get out of the entanglements, a bit bruised but more or less intact. A recurring occurence is also Kiibou giving one of his inspirational speeches, looking all earnest conviction and boyish charm. He’s just TOO darned cute, sigh. I like Kiibou! He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but he is very kind and has a good heart. He is always willing to give just about anyone the benefit of the doubt. His pals frquently get frustrated with his tendency to believe in everyone but that’s one of the boy’s charms and he does tend to win people over just as frequently.

Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai S2
I belive Mai and Soma-san are turning to be one of my favourite seluthing duos. They are just so much fun to watch; whether solving cases, bickering, getting overly excited over food or having one another’s back. Those two are such an efficient working partnership and they complement each other seamlessly. They’d make a pretty good romantic couple too but I don’t think the show is going there. This type of jdramas hardly ever do, which is fine by me as I’m not hung up on romance anyway.

Petero no Soretsu (Funeral Procession of Peter)
More info @ Jdrama Weblog
This one was very good. I gobbled up all 11 episodes almost at one sitting and had a hell of a headache the next day to show for it. (I really shouldn’t do overnighters anymore!) Petero no Soretsu is a bit different mystery story and it takes a more detailed look on all the players, whether directly connected to the bus kidnapping which starts the whole story, or people around the protagonist, Sugimura Saburo. It’s based on a novel by Miyabe Miyuki, which perhaps explains why the plot feels so assured and the characters so fully realised. Alongside Sugimura’s investigation into the kidnapper’s motives and background runs the thread of his deteriorating marriage. There is another drama, Namonaki Doku with the same protagonist and based on two earlier novels by the same author. You don’t really need to have watched Namonaki Doku first, I haven’t, but it explanes how Sugimura ended up as the son-in-law of Imada Concern’s group Chairman, and working as the assistant editor of the the in-house newsletter. There is a recurring theme in all of the stores, which is Sugimuras uncanny habit of getting involved with crime & mysteries. PnS ends with a “To Be Continued…” so I guess they’ll do another take if the author continues with the series.

I pretty much agree on all pointers in “Why Petero no Souretsu is a must watch jdorama” by Akiramike @ Hamsap Sukebe. πŸ™‚

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17 thoughts on “Drama grab bag

  1. I notice that you are not watching Last. The script has its ups and downs but it is definitely much better than your average kdrama. What I really like is the company of actors on this show, not unlike Yoona’s Street. Quality acting from top to bottom. Hope you will give it a view..

    • When Last started I had several action-y shows on my list and I didn’t feel like adding another one that looked like being quite violent. I’m still not all that hot on it for some reason. I’m waiting to see how they end it to decide if it’s worth picking up some rainy day.

      I forgot to mention it’s S2 of Hanasaki Mai I’m currently watching. I’ve now amended my post accordingly. πŸ™‚

  2. I love Anne Watanabe’s comedic face in Hanasaki Mai. Season 2 is currently being aired and subbed.

    Where are you watching Petero no Soretsu with English subs? I can’t seem to find the site. Thanks.

  3. Hello!
    Out of the dramas you’ve listed, I’ve only watched Yongpal, and I dropped it very early on actually… episode 4? I’m quite surprised when people manage to last longer than that lol, it’s just not my cup of tea I guess. The characters/plot etc aren’t interesting at all. And like you, after each episode ends, i have no inkling of what I just watched and did not find myself looking forward to the next one.

    I’m curious, you listed Scholar Who Walks the Night as one of your “upcoming possibilities” list, did you manage to get through it? πŸ™‚

    • I did try Scholar but gave up after a few episodes. Nothing there to grab my interest, the story was kinda… boring and unispiring. I couldn’t get bothered with any of the characters either. So, just like most of the kdramas I sample these days. πŸ˜€

      • Haha, you weren’t missing out on anything! I watched Epi 1 and then started watching again at Epi 16 when the story seemed to have picked up, but the last episode was truly lame. Everyone jumped through so many hoops figuring out how to finish off Gwi, only to have him perish in the sunlight – in all of 5 minutes. Geez it took centuries for everyone to figure that out?! I was laughing as I was watching that scene. I feel like the writers were out to troll everyone from the get-go. Also as usual with shows airing on mainstream channels, I found the shipping of various “couples” to be very off-putting and kinda ruined my experience.

        • Well, I kinda had a feeling the plot wasn’t going anywhere I was willing to follow. *g* I did read the re-caps from now and then to see if anything had changed. That sure was one lame way to end things. LOL! Either the writers really were trolling or never figured out how to end the darned thing properly. Wouldn’t be the first time.

          I don’t give a hoot about shipping anymore and get the hell out of dodge when it gets too ridiculous. I’ve got better things to waste my time on… like watching gzillion EXILE videos. What?! It’s way more entertaining, I’d say. XD

          • Yup I mostly read recaps too and it was going around in circles XD Yeah wouldn’t be the first. And this drama had 2-3 writers and it was still so God-awful. Facepalm.

            Tell me about it! I don’t get shipping and just don’t understand the psychology behind it. Checking for proper photos of the drama on Instagram/tumblr is so hard sometimes cause shipping stuff gets tagged as well. You mean Exile as in Atsushi? I’m kind of waiting for Moon Geun Young’s new drama cause I’m a big fan of hers, but the rest of the cast doesn’t draw me in. Come on, Sungjae for leading male?! He was alright in Plus Nine Boys but definitely not leading role material. I have NO idea why K-drama PDs keep casting all these newbies/mediocre actors and actresses in lead roles. It’s ridiculous.

          • There should really be a set of categories to attach on a kdrama so people could avoid those that don’t fit the bill. Like… circular plot, OTT makjang, lame policework… XD

            I think I sort of understand the dynamics behind shipping but save for a few exceptions I’ve felt no calling for joining in. What I don’t understand at all are the shipping wars. Why get your knickers in a twist over imaginary people? Mind boggles.

            I have NO idea why K-drama PDs keep casting all these newbies/mediocre actors and actresses in lead roles.

            Neither do I, especially as there are plenty of better options available. It’s not like Korea is a void of young and talented thespians.

            Yup, EXILE as in Atsushi (LOVE his voice!), or should I rather say Takahiro – the Dimply Prince. *embarrasing crush is embarrassing* XD Well, what I’m really into atm is EXILE TRIBE, so the field is kinda wide, LOL!

          • Yes please! That would be so handy. “Lame Sageuks, Unrealistic medical dramas, poor writing…”

            What do you think are the possible reasons? I’m always really curious, I suspect it’s a ton of fantasy-based projections coupled with a possible lack of something in their lives. I have very lightly “shipped” characters together, as in just looking at them onscreen and thinking they look kind of adorable. But anything more, like shipping the actors in real-life together? And over-analyzing their every move? That’s MEGA weird. I don’t even understand why these people need to be so vocal about their ships either. Like sometime back I was following a drama and liked looking up some photos on instagram, but they were flooded with people constantly tagging their OTPs or whatever. Like why do they think other people need to see that? I don’t get shipping wars either, so pointless.

            Yup! Korea has a plethora of acting talent. But it seems like PDs prefer to go for name/looks/individual’s fanbase over sheer acting talent and that irritates me.

            LOL Takahiro is cute and I love Atsushi’s voice too! πŸ˜€

  4. Heard a lot about Petero no Soretsu, that’s on my to-watch list as well, which just keeps growing, argh. I’m waiting for Tamiou to be over before I start on it. Thinking of revising an old favourite, Koori no Sekai.

    I have to say I’m perversely glad that you dropped Yongpal.

    • PnS was better than I expected. Ah, my List of Doom is pretty long too. I’ve got Tamiou in it as well, I’m waiting for it to be over too and fully subbed… so, sometime in the next couple of months, LOL! I’ve been busy with RL, so not much time to watch anything right now. I’m sneaking in an epi here and epi there to let my brain rest.

      Heh, Yongpal turned out to be such a bore.

  5. I started Twenty Again just today and only completed ep 1. I think what annoyed me was the son’s character. I don’t think so anyone does like that to their moms. I mean, yes, people do want more privacy and less interference at that age but he is totally kind-of hating her and never shows any kind of emotions other than anger towards her…that’s just to much. I didn’t like that hair-pulling scene either. That aside, I started liking the ep more as it went ahead.

    I’ve seen 5 eps of Yongpal….and I’m liking it so far. I wonder if it went downhill after that…

    • Yup, I don’t care much about the son either, or his equally annoying girlfriend. I found myself FF:ing through most of their scenes. The first two episodes were the basic set-up epis, so not really much there you can use to form a more comprehensive picture. Hopefully they start filling in the blanks from ep 3 onwards.

      Well, there’s nothing horribly wrong with Yongpal, I just couldn’t muster up any interest in it. I was bored. I can’t really put a finger on why it’s not working for me, why the almost total disconnect with everything. Considering I’m loving a silly show like Wild Heroes with a plot that’s rather ‘out there’ and acting that’s mostly all over the place. But… I’m really invested in the characters and their fates, so…

  6. The first 2 episodes of Twenty Again weren’t bad but it didn’t exactly set me alight with the awesome either. πŸ™‚ If it’ll turn out to be one of the less annoying romcoms, I’ll be quite satisfied.

    Yongpal was just a major ‘meh’ for me. I’m surprised I didn’t drop it earlier.

    As for jdramas… there have been some pretty decent ones I’ve somehow managed to dig up this year but there ain’t that much selection genre wise anymore, which kinda sucks. I’ve written short intros to most I’ve seen within this year in the Grab Bag secions. There’s also a fiew full posts about certain jdramas I’ve really liked over the years. If there is any you’d be more interested in, just ask. πŸ™‚ I’m not as familiar with the Japanese actors (save for couple of the more well known ones) as with the Koreans, but as I always look at the story first, actors don’t generally figure in majorly when I decide what to watch. I do sometimes give a bit more consideration to those shows that have someone I know is genuinely good or someone I have a soft spot for. πŸ˜€

  7. Twenty Again– I plan to watch it but have yet to start.
    Yongpal– oh boy. I was itching to drop it after #7 but decided to wait out until 10 before making the call. I’ve only ranted about it so far, but i’ve been a lot lenient on it since it’s the only drama i’m watching now.

    Haven’t watched any other drama mentioned here, so no further comments lol. Maybe i should start looking into J-doramas again, but problem is i don’t know where to start, and i hardly watch a show if i’m not familiar with/fond of the actors…

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