I’m back, with Arang and the Magistrate! It’s such a wacky show, and I can’t get enough of it. If someone explained the story to me I’d probably think that person was crazy, but somehow AatM works, and it works very well.
It may be hard to believe, but I almost didn’t post this. After a long hiatus I wanted to post something I was happy with, but that’s just not in the cards! I love Arang and the Magistrate and it has great settings, but when I stop and scrub through each episode (for hours on end) I find that the scenes don’t quite reach their full potential (at least not in terms of composition and lighting). Some of the photographs posted on the official website are gorgeous, but unfortunately they are low resolution and a little difficult to work from. I ended up delaying this drawing because I kept thinking that the next episode would surely have some beautiful image that I knew I had to draw, but it never really happened (until after I finally started this one and was 80% finished of course). The problem with the above image is that I was never really excited about it, so it felt like work and I only even finished it (if you can call it finished) so I wouldn’t have it hanging over my head anymore. What I wish I would have drawn is this:
Isn’t that shot just perfect? It makes me want to go sit in a field of wildflowers, and I love how they each have a flower that contrasts with all the cool colors in the scene. I probably will still draw it, but it’s possible I may discover something even better this week.
At some point in the summer I also did the following two images (Queen In Hyun’s Man and Deep Rooted Tree) but they were just quickies so I thought I’d wait to add them in when I did a “real” post. It’s sort of ironic that I like them both more than the Arang drawing.
I went through a fairly long period where I didn’t have time to really watch kdramas at all, but thankfully I’m back in the swing of things and am once again watching more than is probably healthy. Besides Arang I’m also watching To The Beautiful You, May Queen, Panda and Hedgehog, Vampire Prosecutor 2, Nice Guy (aka Innocent Man), and Answer me 1997.
To the Beautiful You is exactly what I expected (and also what I hoped for). It’s cute and enjoyable fluff, and I personally enjoy it more than the Japanese version (although they’re both worth watching). Since I already know what’s going to happen it doesn’t have me on the edge of my seat, but it doesn’t really matter since it’s predictable to begin with, and it more of a fun diversion than anything.
May Queen is one of my current favorites, although I still can’t believe how long the whole childhood sequence lasted (what was it, ten episodes?). The kid actors were great, but those episodes really dragged, especially since it was obvious what was going to happen. I was also a bit worried that the second lead was going to be married as soon as we jumped to the present (that’s how his character was described before the show aired) but thankfully that’s not the case at all and he’s not the adulterous type. So far all the characters are really likable and there are some great friendships and family relationships to enjoy on top of the typical romantic entanglements. The makjang isn’t too overdone either, which is something I appreciate.
Five Fingers is certainly the king of makjang currently, and it’s a little hard to handle. I’m not sure what keeps me watching (I guess I just want to know how it’s all going to turn out) but it’s hard to like most of the characters. All that being said, if you are only dissuaded because of Joo Ji Hoon’s terrible hair, just be strong because it does change later.
I usually don’t watch so many serious dramas, but how could I resist Nice Guy with Song Joong Ki’s acting? I’m really not a fan of revenge dramas, but this one isn’t all that dark or depressing (yet) and I find most of the characters more relate-able than I expected. I’m sure its going to keep going to get more twisted, but I think I’ll be able to hang in there, strung along by my hope that the leads will come out on top and redeem themselves. I bet there’s going to be a period where I can’t stand to watch SJK’s fall to depravity, but ultimately I’ll only be unhappy if everyone ends up dead or something.
Panda and Hedgehog…I’m not sure how I feel about it. I like that it’s quirky and different from the typical kdrama, but sometimes the characters behave so strangely that it’s a bit bewildering. I do like that the characters are all very straight forward and honest, so misunderstandings are short-lived and everyone moves on. Even the rivalry between the two guys was short lived, and their awkward friendship is one of my favorite aspects to the show. The biggest problem is the pacing, which is all over the place (and often results in impatience on my part). There are some fantastic side characters in this show, and I often find myself wishing that the two sisters were leads.
Answer Me 1997 is finished, but I haven’t watched the last episode yet (why did it take so long to air?). I only watched this show due to a desperate fit of boredom, but I’m really glad that I did because it’s not at all the typical teenage drama. I thought it would be in the same vein as TtBY, but instead it’s mature and clever, which is something I’ve come to love about tVN. The directing is fantastic, and I love how the show jumps back and forth between different types to unravel the mystery of the present. What’s even better is that the mystery gets solved way earlier than expected (no dragging in this show!) and instead the mystery changes. I don’t even know much about korean culture in 1997, and I still love this drama. I really hope that the finale doesn’t disappoint.
And lastly…Vampire Prosector 2! I still think it’s the most ridiculous title/premise ever, and yet somehow it’s just so good. It’s edgy and more interesting than any of the other crime scene investigation dramas I’ve watched, and it does a great job of intertwining episodic mysteries with the big ones that unravel throughout the season. The character development is dynamic and interesting, and so far I couldn’t be happier with the new characters that were added this season. The only thing I dislike about season 2 is the way that they changed some of the vampire investigative stuff. Last year I absolutely loved the whole crime scene in reverse thing, and the music was addictively perfect during those moment. This year our vampire’s skill-set seems more inconsistent, and I don’t like that his “crime-vision” (what should I call it?) always plays out differently and is directed in so many different way. It’s already silly enough that he’s a vampire, but it’s believable if it feels like he’s bound by a very specific set of rules. Those rules seem to be bending, which makes the whole thing less believable, even thought the plot isn’t really affected. Overall though, it’s still a great show, and I’m liking the new timeline that was introduced more and more.
So that’s it for now! I have more to say, but at this point I’m really just eager to hit the “Publish” button, or who knows if it’ll ever happen. What has everyone been watching this year, and what are your favorites?