Korean Drama | Romance is a Bonus Book

TitleRomance is a Bonus Book
Genres: Friendship, Business, Comedy, Romance
Release Date: January 26, 2019 – March 17, 2019
Total Episodes: 16 | ~1 hour runtime
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: Kang Dan-i was a popular copywriter before she quit work to raise her daughter. Now in her mid-thirties, Dan-i is a divorced single mother struggling to find a job.

Cha Eun-Ho is Dan-i’s childhood friend, author, and youngest chief editor at Gyeoro Publishing Company. He becomes more involved in Dan-i’s life after she lies about her education background and starts working at the publishing company as a contract worker.

I thought the first episode was kind of boring and stopped watching halfway. I’m really happy I decided to watch the rest of the episode the next day, because I ended up really loving it! So, if you’ve tried watching this, things do pick up. It just finished airing yesterday, so it’s the perfect time to binge.

From the very beginning of the show, you know Eun-Ho is in love with Dan-i, and she’s completely oblivious to it (seriously, how?!). The actress playing Dan-i is 10 years older than the guy playing Eun-Ho. It didn’t seem weird to me, but it seems to bother a lot of people.

The romance between Eun-ho and Dan-i is slow burn. I thought they had better platonic chemistry than romantic chemistry. Their kissing and cuddling scenes felt a little more awkward than the other Asian dramas I’ve seen (y’all know what I’m talking about with the non-puckered lip kiss lol).

The entire show doesn’t focus on Eun-Ho and Dan-i. There are a lot of characters working at the publishing company and multiple subplots. All the side characters are great! I found their stories interesting and more exciting than the main plot at times.

There’s one thing that really bothered me about the show. I thought it was weird how Dan-i’s daughter was conveniently out of the country going to school, so she’s never around. I think she was in like two episodes when Dan-i was calling or FaceTiming her? I would have liked to have seen some scenes with Eun-Ho and Dan-i’s daughter.

Overall, it was a well-rounded show, and there weren’t any loose ends that I can think of off the top of my head. I’m very satisfied with the ending! If you like slow burn romantic comedies, check this out.

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What I’ve Been Watching

I have a pile of books I need to read for publishers and review programs… but I’m procrastinating.

Romance-Is-a-Bonus-Book-Poster4

I couldn’t decide what Asian drama I wanted to watch next. I knew I wanted some cute romance because I’m in a mood (when am I not… lol). When I turned on Netflix, Romance is a Bonus Book was featured, so I watched the trailer and decided to give it a shot. The first episode was super boring. I stopped watching about half way… But, then the next day, I decided to try it again, and now I love it!

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After I watched Ghost in January, Hymn of Death was recommended. I watched the super vague trailer and wasn’t interested, but after watching Romance is a Bonus Book, I realized Lee Jong-suk was the lead, so I started watching it (hehe)… And then Netflix removed the last three episodes. What the heck, Netflix?!

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I binged the second season of The Dragon Prince in one sitting. This show is so awesome, I don’t understand why there isn’t more hype!

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My mom and I watched You last weekend. We both liked the first two and the last two episodes. The rest of the show was kind of boring. This would have been better as a mini series.

And last week, I watched Tiding Up with Marie Kondo because I needed background noise… I now need to clean everything.

Korean Drama | Oh My Ghost

TitleOh My Ghost
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Supernatural
Release Date: July 3, 2015 – August 22, 2015
Total Episodes: 16 | ~1 hour runtime
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: Bong-Sun is an introverted young woman (late 20’s) working as a dishwasher/assistant in a restaurant owned and operated by star chef Sun-Woo— the man she has a secret crush on. Because her grandmother is a shaman, Bong-Sun can see ghosts. Bong-Sun’s life takes a wild turn after she’s possessed by ghost named Soon-ae’s who holds the grudge of dying as a virgin. 

When I first started this show, it didn’t grab my attention at all, and I was a little disappointed. After a few episodes, the mystery of Soon-ae’s death and the past she couldn’t remember made things interesting.

I really enjoyed the friendship with the guys in the restaurant kitchen, and Bong-Sun and Sun-Woo had romantic chemistry that didn’t feel awkward. I also really liked the scenes with Sun-Woo’s mom and the shaman, their friendship was cute.

One of the things I wish there had been more of were scenes with Soon-ae’s family. I’m really glad she never told them she was a ghost and possessing someone’s body, but at the same time I kind of wish she did. Hearing her brother’s reaction would have been kind of funny.

There are some trends that are in most Asian dramas I’ve seen, but they didn’t seem annoyingly cliché. Sun-woo has his eyes on a girl, and there’s a guy in the restaurant who you can tell has a crush on Bong-Sun. There isn’t a second male lead who suffers, thankfully.

While the ending was happy (for the most part), I didn’t like it because… SPOILERS… Bong-Sun goes to school abroad and blows everyone off, then suddenly comes back and Sun-Woo acts like nothing ever happened. Was that a mistranslation, or did she really not contact him for months? It just seemed weird to me.

For those who may be wondering, there are no sex scenes or nudity.

Korean Drama | Black

X4QEZfTitleBlack
Genres: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy
Release Date: October – December 2017
Total Episodes: 18 | ~1.25 hour runtime
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: A man possessed by death. A woman who can see death. The earthly and the afterworld collide dangerously.

Warning!
This show contains gore and violence. There is also a scene where a dog is killed. I don’t remember which episode it was, but when I do, I will edit this. 

If you have Netflix and can watch trailers on your device, watch the trailer that’s on there. I can’t find that trailer on YouTube. Most of the videos don’t have caption options either! So here’s the opening theme.

Kang Ha-Ram can see shadows when people are about to die. If she touches the shadow, she’ll see how they will die. When she was a child, Ha-Ram saw a shadow on her dad, and after failing to stop his death, she was overwhelmed with regret.

Han Moo-Gang is a new detective with a terrible stomach at crime scenes. After meeting Ha-Ram and finding out about her ability, he asks if they can partner together to prevent deaths, until he is shot and the head… The detective is possessed by a Grim Reaper named #444 who is trying to catch a runaway Grim Reaper. When he takes over Moo-Gang’s life, he and Ha-Ram solve a twenty-year old murder case, and develop a bit of a romance.

This is the type of show you really have to pay attention to. The story can be pretty confusing at times. There are clues all over the place, and almost every episode has some crazy plot twist! There are some plot holes that annoyed me, but I got over it.

The show is a combination of dark murder mystery and humor. I love Black/#444, he’s so funny (the actor playing him is handsome… he got my mom’s attention and she started watching the show lol). The ending is bittersweet, and kind of confused me after I got past the awful choices the costume department made… They must have had a low budget, haha… Regardless of the end scene being cheesy, I highly recommend the show! The mystery part was exciting. It even got my mom’s approval, and she’s super picky.

 

Japanese Drama | Good Morning Call

X4DlpfTitleGood Morning Call
Genres: School, Friendship, Romance
Total Episodes: 27
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Synopsis: Yoshikawa Nao stays behind to live by herself when her parents leave to inherit her grandpa’s farm in the country. On the day she moves into her new apartment, she discovers that it was rented also to Uehara Hisashi; a cute popular guy from her school. Not only did their housing agency unexpectedly close down, the landlord of the apartment tells them that they had to pay more for their apartment than they had expected. With no money and no home to return to, Nao and Hisashi decide to live together as flatmates.

“Rachel, you need to calm down on these Asian dramas.” No.

This is another cute and fluffy manga to tv show adaptation where the main characters don’t get along at first and fall in love. Other guys are interested in the main character, but she’s completely oblivious to their affections… This show was so cliché, but I couldn’t stop watching it!

I have no experience with the manga or anime, so if you’re looking for a compare/contrast, I’m sorry!

I got some serious Boys Over Flowers vibes during the first episode when Uehera walked into the school and girls were screaming and fangirling over him, then three popular girls laid out some rules… The school has three top guys. Uehera, Nao’s childhood friend Daichi, and someone I can’t remember lol.

I really enjoyed Nao’s friendships, and watching her and Uehara grow together and fall in love (even though I shipped Nao with her childhood friend Daichi at first). I found Uehara to be too cold and distant, even after he and Nao had their relationship established. Nao’s non-stop Uehara talk after they started dating quickly became annoying… and their lack of communication that caused massive misunderstandings drove me crazy at times.

There’s one episode that I absolutely hated towards the end of the first season! Uehara says he wants to move out, and Nao’s best friend Marina totally twists it around, says Uehara is probably going to propose to her, and starts a rumor at school. It was such an annoying episode.

The second lead syndrome is awful in both seasons, but worse in the second season… In the second season, Nao and Uehara are attending college. A few characters I actually enjoyed watching from the first season aren’t in the second season, and a few new characters are introduced. One of the new characters is a flirty guy named Natsume who befriends both Uehara and Nao.

I really would like to see a season 3 following Nao and Uehara as adults… And you know, see Uehara show some emotion towards Nao. Was he supposed to be that distant, or did the actors not have any chemistry? Hmm…

Japanese Drama | Switched

TitleSwitched
Genres: School, Suspense, Supernatural
Release Date: August 1, 2018 (Netflix)
Total Episodes: 6 | ~30-40 minute runtime
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: A popular teenager inexplicably finds herself in the body of an unpopular classmate — and her body’s new owner has no intention of switching back.

The series centers on Ayumi Kohinata, a first-year high school student who has a cute and shy personality. She’s excited that she just started dating her first boyfriend, but on the day of their first date, she gets a mysterious call from her classmate Zenko Umine. Zenko says she’s going to die, and Ayumi witnesses Zenko jumping from a building. The next thing she knows, Ayumi wakes up in a hospital, but in Zenko’s body.

*TRIGGER WARNING*
This show does show people jumping off buildings, and shows a clip of a girl (not one of the main characters) jumping off a building and dying multiple times.

Hey guys! I’m back reviewing Asian dramas after taking some time to watch Doctor Who so I can catch up with the new season all my friends are complaining about! Haha. 🙂

Switched is based off of the manga series Sora wo Kakeru Yodaka by Shiki Kawabata. I’ve not read the manga, so I can’t compare/contrast.

Zenko Umine wanted to be Ayumi Kohinata because she’s popular, pretty, and was dating Mizumoto Koushirou, the boy she had a crush on. This isn’t the typical body switching story about the mean pretty popular girl switching places with the nice ugly unpopular girl. Ayumi is actually really sweet and nice, and the show teaches that no matter what you look like, it’s what’s inside that counts.

After switching bodies, Ayumi finds out that Umine was bullied by the school, and mistreated by her mother. It’s her best friend Kaga Shunpei who first notices Ayumi is inside Umine’s body… Of course there’s a love triangle, but it’s not annoying! Kaga has a crush on Ayumi, and his affection towards her doesn’t change after she’s in Umine’s body which makes things really interesting at school and with Umine’s reaction… Then Mizumoto is jealous of Kaga’s popularity even though he is top of the class and he asks Umine how to switch bodies. There’s a lot of suspenseful drama from start to finish, and plot twists.

The best part is the man in a parakeet’s body… I would have been interested seeing a parakeet in a human’s body, but that was never shown!

Netflix Original: The Dragon Prince — Book One: Moon

thedragonprinceTitleThe Dragon Prince
Genres: Animation, Fantasy
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Total Episodes: 9 | ~25 minute runtime
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Last week, Netflix released a new animated series called The Dragon Prince. The show was developed by Aaron Ehasz of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I have not seen Avatar, so I can’t compare/contrast, but I’ve heard the shows are very similar.

The show begins with a prologue telling you about the world… Humans, elves, and dragons lived together in peace until human mages discovered they could use dark magic. (The magic system in this show comes from six sources in nature: the moon, the sun, air, sky, earth, and the ocean.) King Harrow’s mage, Viren, killed the Dragon King and smashed his only egg… Check out the trailer!

I turned on Netflix last night to watch a movie before bed, and this was the advertisement banner. Seeing “dragon” anything grabs my attention, so I watched the trailer and decided to watch the first episode… I think by now you know that if I like a show I binge it. I have zero self-control. Haha.

This show is so good. My one complaint is that I wanted more episodes! I didn’t check to see how many episodes there were until after I finished the ninth one and wondered why it wasn’t autoplaying the next one… There’s a massive cliffhanger, and season two doesn’t have a release date yet. WHYYYYY?!

I really liked the animation style, and the design for the elves is pretty neat/original. There are lots of skin tones, and one of the side characters is deaf! There are a couple of scenes where the sign language isn’t translated. I wish there had been some subtitles, but I understand why and think it’s really awesome how the creators wanted those with hearing and speaking disabilities to have a special moment.

The general story is pretty common (people finding something and returning it to settle a war, and someone trying to take over the throne is common in fantasy movies and games), but the characters are unique and super likeable… Even the brother and sister “bad guy” duo. They’re not good or evil, more grey area. They were pretty interesting and funny to watch.

This is a solid start to a series. I highly recommend it for fantasy fans of all ages.

 

C-Drama | A Love So Beautiful

250px-A_Love_So_Beautiful_(TV_series)TitleA Love So Beautiful
Genres: School, Comedy, Romance
Release Date: November 2017 – December 2017
Total Episodes: 23 | ~40-50 minute runtime
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: It starts off with high school classmates Chen Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen who are also neighbors. Xiao Xi, a cheerful girl who doesn’t study much, is expressive about her admiration towards Jiang Chen, the popular guy known for his looks and high grades. Together with their fellow classmates the funny Lu Yang, athletic but loyal Jingjing, and cool swimming team member Wu Bo Song, they embark on high school life to university until their adult life.

 

My plan was to watch at least one episode a day for the rest of the month and focus on reading in my free time… Whoops. At least I can focus on reading now? 😁

When I first started watching the show, I wasn’t too impressed, and almost quit after the first few episodes. Once things picked up, I needed to know what was going to happen next and started binging.

As the synopsis says, the story follows the lives of five friends. We get to see them grow through their high school years, college, and early adulthood. The friendship is absolutely adorable and hilarious to watch. I love movies and shows with strong friendships.

Xiao Xi’s crush on Jiang Chen was painful to watch at times. Wu Bo Song’s crush on Xiao Xi will make your heart hurt, but then he gets kind of annoying towards the end… I wanted him to go away. lol

The show doesn’t just focus on the relationships. We get to see the character’s lives and struggles with their school work and their families. It’s pretty rare to see parents that are present and a part of their kid’s life on tv and in movies.

I liked how the school uniforms were comfy looking tracksuits instead of prep-school looking uniforms. Something that really stood out to me was the freedom students had. There were no teachers during study hall, and the students could just get up and leave the classroom whenever they wanted to. I don’t know how accurate the portrayal of the school was, but it was interesting to see.

I enjoyed the high school episodes more than the college and adult episodes. My main complaint is the transition from high school to college. The college years sped by so fast, I was kind of confused. I was also kind of annoyed with the  break up/make up plot due to poor communication.

While the story is really cute, it didn’t leave that much of an impact. I don’t see myself re-watching it, but I recommend it.

K-Drama | Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon

StrongWomanDoBong-soon_(Main_poster)Title: Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, Thriller
Release Date: February 2017 – April 2017
Total Episodes: 16 | ~1 hour runtime
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon follows a young woman named Bong Soon, who like all the females in her family, has superhuman strength. Bong Soon has the dream of living a normal life and creating a video game with herself as the main character. After Ahn Min Hyuk, the CEO of a gaming company, witnesses Bong Soon protect a bus driver from a bunch of gangsters, he hires her as a bodyguard to protect him from a blackmailer since he doesn’t like police officers and wants to solve the problem himself.

Bong Soon’s friend In Guk Doo is a police officer, and her crush since childhood. (You can probably guess the type of relationship he’ll have with Bong-Soon’s boss.) Guk Doo is set on solving the murder and multiple kidnappings that have occured in the city, not far from where Bong-Soon lives.

Between her job protecting her boss and the kidnapper, Bong Soon must be careful… If she misuses her strength, she’ll lose her power forever.

Trailer:

You’re probably reading the genres and thinking, “How can a romantic comedy be a fantasy thriller without being a train wreck?!” It wasn’t perfect, but I’m actually really surprised that everything worked out without being too cheesy. The story was fluffy yet dark, and had all the elements I love watching and reading about. I was hooked from the first episode, and the ending was satisfying.

The things that annoyed me? The gangsters and weird monk. At first, the gangsters were funny… but then they got more and more scenes, and it just felt like filler. The story with the monk was pointless.