Sunday, 27 November 2011

City Hunter - 시티 헌터

This highly rated Korean drama is from 2011 and I watched while it was aired (not in Korean of course but two days later I could watch the subbed version on the internet). So this is a really special drama to me and (like many others) one of my favourites! City Hunter is thrilling, addictive and people from all over the world are captivated by it =) You can look up the Episode Ratings here, they're truly amazing!!

The series start on the day of "Rangoon bombing", October 9. The Burmese President should be killed on this day by North Korean soldiers. After the attempt the president survived (although many other politicians died), a secret group is formed that has to force its way into North Korean territory. Unfortunately this mission fails because the group bumps into a South Korean patrol (which of course doesn't know that the as North Koreans disguised men are actually from the same side). The South Korean soldiers shoot all of the members of the special unit exept one. And exactly that man is seeking for revenge...

Some years later the only survivor Lee Jin Pyo (Kim Sang Joong) is earning a little forntune with drug trading in the Golden Triangle in Thailand. Also the son of his best friend (who has been a member of the special unit) Lee Yoon Sung (Lee Min Ho) is living there with him, getting trained many hours a day to take revenge for his dead father one day.
Some years later, Lee Yoon Sung is 17 or 18 now, the young man has a mind on his own and gets along well with the inhabitants of Thailand. During a walk through a village he comes by a casino (or at least it seems like it is one) where a gang who is just about to cut off a man's hand because they think he has cheated. Yoon Sung, highly motivated, throws his apple into the direction of the window behind which the action is taking place. As the gang turns to him and chases him, he rescues the man, who happens to be Korean too, and flees back "home". This funny guy, Bae Shik Joong (Kim Sang Ho), is taken in Lee Jin Pyo's group living in the Golden Triangle. When the gang that chased Bae Shik Joong before appears again, Lee Yoon Sung can prove his abilities of handling guns. Unfortunately his only mother figure is shot during that incident.
Lee Yoon Sung then studies at the United States and goes to Seoul when he's a 28-year-old MIT graduate. It's 2011 now and Yoon Sung's mission is to eliminate all of the five politicians who were involved in the case 28 years ago). There he starts working in the Blue House's IT department and now is able to work efficiently on his (or better say on his step father's) revenge. At the Blue House he also meets a girl he only knew from a photography, Kim Na Na (Park Min Young), of who he promised to Baek Shik Joong he would take care of without her noticing it. Of course he falls in love with her but he can't admit his feelings because Lee Jin Pyo is watching over him and telling him not to fall in love because that would only distract him from his work. After a while Kim Na Na realizes that she fell for this bad guy too and somehow she gets involved in the revenge plan. Another important point to mention is that Lee Yoon Sung and Lee Jin Pyo are having different ways of revenge. Lee Jin Pyo ordered to kill them one after another but Yoon Sung just wants to humiliate them and get them imprisoned for a lifetime. He thinks that if they're dead they would escape from their judgement. So he drugs his "victims" and sends them to the police station, where prosecutor Kim Young Joo (Lee Joon Hyuk) is working. This police officer is also given the task of arresting the mysterious City Hunter because it's illegal to kidnap somebody, wheter it's for a good thing or not. In addition to the prosecution of Kim Young Joo, Lee Yoon Sung is also working against his step father which brings him into really dangerous situations. His mother is the owner of a small snack shop and doesn't know that he's alive neither that he returned to Seoul. Yoon Sung reveals that he's her son after some time, against his step fathers will of course.
Many of the politicians die and the current president of South Korea also has a great impact on the development of the story. The end of the series is quite confusing and there are many ways of understanding it, so I won't tell what will happen in the end and will just encourage you to watch the series. =)

Main Characters:

Lee Yoon Sung
Yoon Sung is getting kidnapped by Lee Jin Pyo when he's only a baby. He gets trained to take revenge on his father's murderers (in a figurative way because he should kill the politicians who said that there was no special unit where everybody was killed) in Thailand. When he finishes his studies in the United States he goes back to his home country South Korea. His only aim is to scold the five politicians who were involved in the murder 28 years ago. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he's not the type of guy who would kill somebody just because, he wants these men to suffer and to account for their crime. This is why he sends them to the police station and just vanishes without leaving a trace. His only problem is that the prosecutor Kim Young Joo discovers pretty early (or at least he assumes it) that Yoon Sung is the City Hunter but he has no evidence to arrest him. The clumsy Bae Shik Joong is helping Yoon Sung out with his missions, just like Kim Na Na (who also likes the thought of staying by his side).

Lee Jin Pyo
The best friend of Lee Yoon Sung's father is kidnapping Lee Yoon Sung in order to train him properly. He is the only survivor of the murder 28 years ago and is now aiming for killing the five politicians who let vanish all the documents that would prove that has been a special unit and that they were killed by South Korean soldiers.
When Lee Yoon Sung is only 17 or 18 and they're still living in Thailand he almost loses his leg because he saved Yoon Sung from getting blown up by a hidden mine. His limping is why he's recognized easily but Lee Jin Pyo is really good at covering his tracks. As the story develops he even aims against his foster son because he won't take the revenge the way Jin Pyo wants him to. Towards the end of the series Jin Pyo gets inaccurate more often and in the end he's also discovered by the prosecutor and Lee Yoon Sung works against him too.

Kim Na Na
Na Na is a tiny and small woman who is really good at karate (or some other kind of martial arts). Her parents are both dead and were guards of the president. Now Na Na is aiming to become a presidential guard too. She works at the Blue House where she first meets Lee Yoon Sung. They are partners in martial arts training and she seems to be way superior to him but in fact he just can't show his real skills at "normal" work. Kim Na Na knows what she wants and therefore often struggles in life. She's part-time working too because she wouldn't be able to afford her flat anymore. And of course she won't accept any money from anyone. When Lee Yoon Sung's and Kim Na Na's trails are crossing more often, she starts to care for that shameless and bad guy. After a while she finds out that he's the City Hunter and from that moment on she has to participate in his missions. As the story develops and Lee Yoon Sung let it make known (subconciously) that he likes Na Na too Kim Na Na becomes one of the aims of Lee Jin Pyo becuause in his eyes she distracts Yoon Sung from his revenge.

Personal Rating:

I'm really in LOVE with this drama! The story is really cool and the stunts are amazing (I don't care whether the actors themselves did them or not because also the stunt doubles do a great job), especially the fight scenes. Also the camera work is really really good, I just love the fast and then suddenly very slow camera work (I don't know if I explained it properly but maybe you can guess what I mean when you watch the series). The actors are great and you get really captivated by the great job they're doing! Although I got confused very often when they started to talk about politcs, I still understood the development of the story very well. The film score is brilliant, I really love the two songs "Sad Run" and "Nice Play". Sad Run is the music of thrilling and exiting scenes, Nice Play seems to be the theme of Bae Shik Joong, which extremely emphasizes his clumsiness.
Oh, and by the way, this series is really known all over the world. I even saw people in Austria watching the series (which really surprised me but I was also very happy that I'm not the only one getting addicted to Korean dramas)!!
Well, there's really nothing more to say but WATCH IT WATCH IT WATCH IT =)

Have fun watching =)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Buzzer Beat - ブザー・ビート

This is one of my absolute favourite dramas now (if something like "absolute favourite" exists=P) and this is not just because I adore Yamashita Tomohisa (a tiny little bit) but also because it's a beautiful composed dorama. I really like the idea of bringing a sensitive musician together with a professional athlete. The title Buzzer Beat can be explained by being the very last shot that goes into the goal just as the buzzer announces the end of a game.

Kamyia Naoki (Yamashita Tomohisa) is a professional basketball player of "JC ARCS". Although he's not as tall as his team mates, they all work together really well and Naoki is one of the best players among them. Strangely he always gets nervous in the important games and does not play as well as he did during training.He's getting along well with his current girlfriend Nanami Natsuki (Aibu Saki) who happens to be in the chearleeding squad too. Just before an important game Naoki proposes to her and she accepts under the condition that his team has to win.
Shirakawa Riko (Kitakawa Keiko) is a true -hearted college graduate who wants to become a professional violinist really badly. Together with her best friend Ebina Mai (Kanjiya Shihori) who plays the flute she moves into a small flat. Although Riko plays the violin beautifully she doesn't get hired for the orchestra she auditioned; still she doesn't want to give up and practices every single day. Mai gets accepted but because one person can't afford the flat they're living in with making music, they both have to work at a book shop.
One day it happens to be the same bus Naoki and his friend and Riko and Mai are taking and as the story has to develop, Naoki accidentally leaves his mobile phone in the bus. Mai notices the guy running next to the bus like crazy and then discovers the mobile phone next to them. They talk to somebody on the phone and they set up a meeting to return the phone.
At the meeting place Riko and Mai meet Naoki's head coach Kawasaki Tomoya (Ito Hideaki) for the first time who receives the phone instead of Naoki himself. As he sees Riko for the first time he falls for her straightaway. The two start to meet each other but it's not dating yet. Riko doesn't know how to feel about him and takes her time in sorting them out. Meanwhile someone visits the park Riko is living next to very often, doing some sport. Riko has extremely sensitive ears and is always listening to some kind of sound she can't really classify. After some time she looks out of the window wondering who the person responsible for the noise is. This is how Naoki and Riko meet for the first time. They develop a close friendship and Naoki is coming to the park to practice very often. As time goes by, Riko is dating the head coach of JC ARCS and kind of sure of her feelings but when Kawasaki tells his parents that she's going to be his future wife she starts to waver again. It's somehow obvious that she already develops feelings for Naoki who is still with Natsuki.
As the team is in great dispair because the management doesn't have enough money to pay all the players, they take in the famous player Yoyogi Ren (Kaneko Nobuaki) who is no team player at all. As if his attitude (especially against Naoki) wouldn't be enough, he also flirts with Natsuki who falls for the more adventurous guy. On the other hand she doesn't want to leave Naoki because he's the more sensitive and caring one. Desoite the fact that Naoki hasn't descovered her affair yet, Naoki seems to like Riko more that a usual friend too but because of his loyalty he can't let those feelings rule him.
When Kawasaki takes Riko to a JC ARCS festival it' revealed that he only wanted to win a bet with her and although he swears that his feelings are real, Riko runs away. At the festival she discovers that the key chains of the players are all sold out exept for number 8 (Naoki) and so she decides to buy one. Some days later Riko confesses to Naoki by kissing him in the park but unfortunately he turns her down. The mood between the two of them gets strange and they don't meet as often as they did before. In addition to that Naoki and Natsuki break up because of Yoyogi. When the whole team goes on a training camp, Riko learns of Naoki's and Natsuki's break-up and decides to pay him a visit. Naoki is still struggeling with everything that happend over the last few weeks when suddenly Riko stands next to him in the early morning. She trys to give him some strenght by hugging him but he still doesn't react to her feelings, he just sends her off again.
Meanwhile a little "love and hate" love story develops between Mai and Shuji (another player from Naoki's team). Shuji really likes Mai but he's really shy but despite her outgoing attitude she can't accept her feelings for Shuji that easily. In the end Shuji moves into the flat of Mai and Riko (at that point Mai and Shuji are not dating yet).
When Riko turns 20 the three roommates celebrate it together. All of a sudden they realize that they had nothing to drink anymore and Shuji and Mai decide to go and buy something. Just as the two are gone Riko recognizes the strange sound again and opens the door. Of course it's Naoki playing basketball all alone. When he looks up to her window she shouts down to him (crying - of course) that she will stop liking him and that that she won't come near him anymore. Luckily Naoki doesn't turn her down this time but runs up to her and kisses her. When Shuji and Mai come home Riko quickly hides Naoki in her room where he discovers the key chain, secured on Riko's violin case.
The two of theme are dating but Riko suddenly gets the possibilty to improve her musical skills far away and without any possibility to be reached by phone for a year. Finally she agrees to take the chance to fulfill her dream. It's hard for Naoki to let her go but he knows how important playing the violin is to Riko and finally lets sends her off. During Riko's stay they don't have any contact and Naoki's try to visit her doesn't turn out well because they don't even meet. But he leaves a sunflower for her and Riko now realizes how much she missed Naoki. For their next big game Riko comes to the bowl to see him play and cheer him on. When Riko enters the bowl just before Naoki's important shot, she shouts at him (like she did once before) that he has to win and that he's a 'baka' (idiot).He does the shot perfectly and in addition to that he also manages to do the buzzer beat in the end.

Main Characters:

Kamyia Naoki
Naoki is an energetic and true-hearted guy who earns his living by playing basketball professionally. He is totally in love with his girlfriend Natsuki and even wants to marry her but she's worried about his great inferiority complex. Because of that complex Naoki can't cope with stress situations that well and therefore cracks under the pressure of important games. He becomes friends with Riko after they met at the park / basketball court in front of Riko's flat. As Riko is starting to develop feelings for him he only can think of basketball and Natsuki. The realtionship between Naoki and Natsuki begins to break down as a result of Naoki's complex. Natsuki wants more of the relationship and therefore cheats on Naoki with the new team member Yoyogi. Naoki somehow seems to sense the attitude of Natsuki towards him and develops feelings for Riko too but he doesn't want to admit them yet. When Riko turns 20, Naoki has already broken up with Natsuki and is able to show his true feelings.

Shirakawa Riko
Riko is a true-hearted and sesitive music college graduate who aims for becoming a great professional violinist. She moves in together with her best friend Mai, who is the complete opposite of Riko, an open hearted, outgoing and noisy girl who always supports Riko. When Riko starts top meet the head coach of JC ARCS, Kawasaki, she starts falling for him because he seemed sophisticated and nice but when his bet is revealed, Riko runs away from him. Meanwhile Riko already developed feelings for her new friend Naoki with who she can talk for hours without getting bored. When she confesses to him she gets turned down but luckily Naoki realizes what he feels for her and so the two of them can be happy together. Riko's dream to become a professional violinist hasn't ended yet and because of that she accepts the chance to go on a training camp for a year. Half a year later Naoki leaves a sun flower for her and she realizes that she has to see him and hurries to his big game. This is how they can finally be together.

Personal Rating:
I really liked the story line of the drama, although it's just some love story. Assuming that the two main characters are two totally different characters and then realizing that they aren't that different at all is a really good way to let develop a relationship. Also Naoki's girlfriend, Natsuki, is a great thought-out character as she's smoking and the pushing and outgoing one of the relationship. The best thing about the development of the love story between Naoki and Riko is the billboard in the park, which says "Love is what makes me strong", because Naoki is a very weak person actually and these words describe the story pretty well. Natsuki didn't make him stronger, she only told him to learn how to be stronger by himself and Riko gave him strenght with her presence and support. I was also disappointed up until now, that japanese doramas seemed "ancient" somehow. They never gave you the feeling that they were produced in the last few years. This dorama however showed me that it's not like I thought. =P

Have fun watching =)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Playful Kiss - 장난스런 키스

Presenting the next Korean Drama to you, I have chose my absolute favourite of all the Korean Drama's I've already watched: Playful Kiss! I've watched the series so often that I can't even remember how often I've already seen it =)

The story revolves around a girl named Oh Ha Ni (Jung So Min), who is the clumsiest and one of the worst students at school, and the amazing and most intelligent student, Baek Seung Jo (Kim Hyun Joong).
Oh Ha Ni is the daughter of a noodle restaurant owner who is known as the best cook in town - Oh Ki Dong (Kang Nam Gil). Ha Ni is crazy in love with Baek Seung Jo but he doesn't know she even exists. For this reason Oh Ha Ni writes a love letter to him confessing her love. When she gets it back Seung Jo tells her he hates stupid girls and when she opens the paper he gave to her she reaizes that he didn't reply but corrected her mistakes in the love letter. Humiliated in front of everyone she backs down and gets depressed. On the other hand Ha Ni's father tries his hardest to be a good dad to her. The two just moved into a cute two-storey house and are enjoying a gorgeous meal - made by Ha Ni's father of course - when suddenly an earthquake damages the new-built house so badly that they can't live in it anymore. Having lost everything and not knowing where to go, a call changes everything. An old friend who saw the damaged house and Oh Ha Ni's father on TV invites them to stay and live with them until they find a new place to stay.
Baek Seung Jo is the most intelligent and the most handsome guy at school. Unfortunately he's also the most arrogant and the most selfish one. However almost every girl falls for the icy cold guy - even the teachers! When he receives a letter of a girl named Oh Ha Ni, he doesn't even bother to bring her back her own letter (instead of an answer), having corrected every mistake she made. Apparently he's relieved to have gotten rid of another stupid girl but when his father makes a call, asking an old friend to live with his family his life changes dramatically.
The old friend that has called was Baek Seung Jo's father, Baek Soo Chang (Oh Kyung Soo), and now Oh Ha Ni has to live together with the guy that humiliated her in front of everyone and with who she is still in love. Baek Seung Jo's mother, Hwang Geum Hee (Jung Hye Young), is really happy about the fact that she finally gets to live together with a girl (so that she can pretend that Oh Ha Ni is her daughter), whereas Seung Jo's brother, Baek Eun Jo (Choi Won Hong), doesn't like her from the beginning because he has to leave his room to Oh Ha Ni.
As the story develops the two main characters finish high school and start university. Meanwhile Ha Ni tries her best in making Seung Jo fall for her but it seems as if she fails every time. In addition to the fact that Seung Jo doesn't seem to like Oh Ha Ni there's the problem of two further important characters. Yoon Hae Ra (Lee Si Young) is the prettiest girl of university and also one of the most intelligent ones. She immediately gets along well with Baek Seung Jo and it seems that those two genius are a "couple made in heaven" (other than that, Seung Jo's mother is sure of the fact that Oh Ha Ni and Baek Seung Jo are the "couple made in heaven"). Not only Baek Seung Jo has a girl that likes him very much, there's also Bong Joon Gu (Lee Tae Sung) who has been stalking Oh Ha Ni for years. When high school is over he decides to work at Oh Ha Ni's father's restaurant and he's surprisingly good at it. The life of Oh Ha Ni goes on without having succes at college, neither in love. She struggles with the fact of not knowing what she wants to do later in life and the fact that she should give up on her love to Baek Seung Jo and try to love Bong Joon Gu instead. Baek Seung Jo himself seems to become gentler and nicer (especially with Ha Ni) but tries his hardest not to fall for Oh Ha Ni. Although he begins a relationship with Yoon Hae Ra, he finally has to realize that he can't love anybody but Oh Ha Ni.
At the time where Bong Joon Gu asks Oh Ha Ni to marry him, which she rejects, Baek Seung Jo finally confesses to her and furthermore immediately asks Oh Ki Dong for permission to marry his daughter. Taken by surprise, Oh Ha Ni has to rethink everything over and therefore decides to move out for a while without anyone telling where she is. Meanwhile Baek Seung Jo has decided to become a doctor and picks his major at medicine school. When he tracked down Oh Ha Ni, she tells him that she wants to be nothing but a nurse so that she can help him at the hospital.
The two of them finally get married and after their honeymoon Oh Ha Ni's next aim is to change her major and become a nurse. To sum up the end quickly, Oh Ha Ni gets the chance to become a nurse and although Baek Seung Jo is still picking on her they are happy in love.

Main Characters:

Oh Ha Ni
Oh Ha Ni is a clumsy person that belongs to the group of the poorest students of the school. For some time she has been having a crush on the genius Baek Seung Jo and decides to finally confess to him in form of a letter. Unfortunately she gets rejected and humiliated by the handsome student. When Ha Ni and her father move into Baek Seung Jo's house her world turns upside down. She has to live together with the guy that turned her down in an unpleasent way in front of the whole school and who she's still having a crush on. Oh Ha Ni is somebody who won't give up until she reaches her aim and this is why she tries to make Seung Jo fall for her with all her strength, although she fails several times.
When Seung Jo finally gives in and reveals his feelings for her she's that surprised that she decides to move out from "home" for some time to sort her thoughts out. When she comes back home she knows that she wants to become a nurse and - just like her character is - Oh Ha Ni tries everything to reach her aim, she even overcomes many of her greatest fears.

Baek Seung Jo
Baek Sung Jo - the genius of the school (and later of the college too) - is a handsome but arrogant person. He turns down almost every girl and doesn't even blink an eye to correct a love letter. When Oh Ha Ni and her father move into his family's house he's only worried about his reputation. He doesn't mind teasing and ignoring her although Ha Ni is trying her best to make him love her. As time goes by his farce begins to fall and it seems that he does have feelings for Oh Ha Ni but he doesn't want to admit them at first. However, when Bong Joon Gu asks Oh Ha Ni to marry him he can't hold his feelings back anymore and finally confesses to her.
In addition to all the luck he always had, he also discovers his passion for medicine and decides to become a doctor (an idea Ha Ni put in his mind some time ago). When he confesses his feelings and asks Oh Ha Ni's father for permission to marry him, Oh Ha Ni runs away to sort everything that just happened out. So when she comes back she admits that her dream is to always be by Seung Jo's side and because of that she wants to become a nurse. Unlike his personality he doesn't tease her this time. The married couple overcomes their differences with humour and it seems that they mix well.

Personal Rating:

The only thing I can say is "watch these series!". You'll be surprised that you start to love everything about it. The actors are great - especially Jung So Min - and the story is really fun. I haven't read the manga books but I guess the director has adopted the story line very well. The only thing you have to endure is the strange beginning of the drama because it starts with a dream of Oh Ha Ni and it is really unrealistic! When I started to watch the series I thought about terminating the series but just in this moment the dream ended. I would regret it if I hadn't watched it. There are also the "YouTube Special Episodes" called "Naughty Kiss" and it tells the story after the end of the real series. Although these are only short sequences, it's really fun! Once you started watching you can't stop anymore =P

Have fun watching =)