My Year in Asian Dramas 10 – The Only Constant

Since going back to work at the end of May I’ve toned down on my binge watching of Asian Dramas. Once again, sleep has garnered the top stop in things I have to prioritize doing everyday. But before I went back to work I was able to squeeze in a couple of dramas and then some more just this past 2 months.


I want to start out with the movies I’ve seen. These have been fillers for when I was in between watching the dramas.

Midnight Runners (청년경찰)
Aired: August 9, 2017
Plot: Ki-joon (Park Seo-joon) and Hee-yeol (Kang Ha-neul) are students at the Korean National Police University. At around midnight one night, they witness a kidnapping on their way back from the club. The local police station’s missing persons department, however, is busy with the kidnapping of a son of a business mogul at the time and is unable to investigate the case. Knowing that they are in the critical hours after a kidnapping, they embark on their own amateur investigation.

Thoughts: I originally wanted to watch this movie because of Park Seo Joon but after watching When the Camellia Blooms (I’ll get to this later), I wanted to watch more of Kang Ha Neul. I like Korean movies because of the concise plot. In Midnight Runners I got to see both Seo Joon and Ha Neul be awesome actors.

***

My Long Awaited Love Story (わたしに運命の恋なんてありえないって思ってた)
Aired: Dec 20, 2016
Plot: Riko (Tabe Mikako)- a game designer for dating games – has no hope for real men. Finding them to be spineless saps, she gives free reign to idealistic and delusional romance in the scenarios she writes continuously. Then, she comes across Soichiro, who has good looks, a great career, but with one catch – he doesn’t understand women at all. He is the president of a mobile app company called “TIMEIS”, and has just asked Riko to make a new dating game. Struggling with feelings for his employee, Soichiro (Takahashi Issei) asks Riko to teach him about the true meaning of romance. Riko accepts the task in the spur of the moment, but she starts to realize that she may be falling in love with Soichiro.

Thoughts: This is a classic feel good boy-meets-girl movie perfect for when it was released in December of 2016. Riko helps her boss Soichiro figure out romance and women but they end up falling for each other. I actually wished it was a Jdorama instead of just a movie. I wished it had more episodes I could watch.


I actually got a little obsessed with watching medical kdramas that I binged these three one after the other.

Doctor Romantic (낭만닥터 김사부)
Aired: Nov 7, 2016 –
Jan 16, 2017
Plot: A story about Boo Yong-joo (Han Suk-kyu), a triple-board certified surgeon, who was once at the top of his field and used to work at Seoul’s top medical center, Geosan University Hospital. After a traumatic incident, he disappears and changes his name to Kim Sa-bu. He begins working at a small hospital named Doldam, located in Gangwon Province. He guides Kang Dong-joo (Yoo Yeon-seok) and Yoon Seo-jeong (Seo Hyun-jin) to become great doctors by teaching them to fight against power and money for the sake of patients.

Thoughts: This kdrama was recommended by a friend and it screamed House from the very beginning but with a Korean twist. I didn’t know what was up with Kim Sa-Bu (Master/Teacher Kim) at first but after I was introduced to the doctors, nurses, and other staff of Doldam Hospital I was sucked in their world and couldn’t get enough of the Adrenalin of the ER and OR as well as the plot arcs of each character.

In our lives, there are things you can only see after the lapse of time, such as why such things happened to me, why I met those people, and why that coincidence even happened. There are moments that I had no regard for, and soon they start to have significance one by one. At some point, it started making a path.

– Kim Sa-Bu, Doctor Romantic

***

Dr. Romantic 2 (낭만닥터 김사부 2)
Aired: Jan 6 – Feb 25, 2020
Plot: Three years following the events of Dr. Romantic, Kim Sa-bu (Han Suk-kyu) comes to Geosan University Hospital to recruit a general surgeon. He finds Seo Woo-jin (Ahn Hyo-seop), a doctor with a troubled past who is ostracized by his fellow doctors, and offers him the job. In the meantime, Cha Eun-jae (Lee Sung-kyung) is suspended after making another mistake in the operation room and has no other choice but to follow the two doctors to Doldam Hospital

Thoughts: New doctors and a more emotional drama than the first season. I cried so badly in this drama. I hated how Kim Sa-Bu hurt but he is still the doctor and teacher needed by everyone. He didn;t just change the lives of the young doctors he recruited, he also changed the lives of the doctors that were out to take him down.

“If everything becomes easy and obvious with all these excuses, you will end up living a life where you deserve to be treated in any way.”

Kim Sa-Bu, Doctor Romantic

There were so many life lessons taught in these two dramas that is why it is totally worth the watch.

***

The Doctors (닥터스)
Aired: June 20 – Aug 23, 2016
Plot: Yoo Hye-jung (Park Shin-hye) was a headstrong girl in high school with a prickly, gangster personality. Due to her many childhood scars, Hye-jung keeps her heart closed towards other people. However, she changes after meeting her mentor Hong Ji-hong (Kim Rae-won), who plays a key role in transforming her life from a “hopeless” delinquent to a compassionate doctor. They part ways subsequently but meet again after 13 years, when Yoo Hye-jung had become a doctor.

Thoughts: I saw a clip in Facebook of Park Shin-Hye wearing a doctors gown kicking some thugs a$$ and I wanted to see more. While Dr. Romantic revolved around Cardiac doctors, this drama was more on the Neuro department. I was totally satisfied with the strong girl character of Hye-Jung.


Because This I My First Life (이번 생은 처음이라)
Aired: Oct 9 – Nov 28, 201
Plot: A house-poor man and homeless woman become housemates in a drama that examines the institution of marriage and the problems that young people face today. Nam Se Hee is a single man in his early 30’s. He has chosen to not marry. He owns his home, but he owes a lot on his mortgage. Meanwhile, Yoon Ji Ho is a single woman in her early 30’s. She does not own a home and envies those that do. She has given up on dating due to her financial struggles. Yoon Ji Ho begins to live at Nam Se Hee’s house. They become housemates.

Thoughts: I thought this drama was like Full House except with a much modern twist on relationships – romantic and filial. The best parts were the scenes with the cat. Hehe

***

My Shy Boss (내성적인 보스)
Aired: Jan 16 – Mar 14, 2017
Plot: Eun Hwan Ki (Yeon Woo Jin) is the CEO of a public relations company, but he is extremely shy. Due to his personality his employees do not know him well. Chae Ro Woon (Park Hye Soo) starts working in the company of Eun Hwan Ki. She is very energetic and receives recognition for her good work, however she is interested in CEO Eun Hwan Ki and plans to reveal who he really is.

Thoughts: I actually loved this drama because of how I badly related to the male main lead. I have to say he isn’t shy. He introverted with a healthy serving of anxiety that makes him shy away from people. And of all the people who would get him to open up is an extroverted employee he has a crush on. This drama sheds light on how it is people don’t understand people with this kind of personality as well as those suffering from anxiety.


Up next are the “newer” Kdramas that I was able to binge watch in Netflix.

When the Camellia Blooms (동백꽃 필 무렵)
Aired: Sept 18 – Nov 21, 2019
Plot: The story of Oh Dong-baek, a single mother who moves to the fictional town of Ongsan and opens a bar named Camellia. Six years later, Dong-baek meets playful Yong-sik and declares his love for her. Dong-baek does not reciprocate his love, but Yong-sik persists in wooing her. When Yong-sik’s mother finds out about this, she strongly opposes it, as Dong-baek is a single mother with a son, despite Dong-baek’s past lover and father of her child trying to win her back. Yong-sik eventually gets Dong-Baek to fall for him. Meanwhile, a notorious killer sets out to claim Dong-baek as his next victim, and Yong-sik protects her fiercely, doing his job as a policeman and figuring out who the killer is.

Thoughts: This is the drama where I completely lost it to Kang Ha Neul. His smile is sooooooo charming. His character here is one that doesn’t give up on the people he loves and he isn’t prejudiced by that fact that the woman he loves is a single mom. A fact that is secretly frowned upon by the community in the drama. The last drama of Gong Hyo-Jin that I saw was Master’s Sun and I still can’t get it off my mind how she looked liked there. She’s not the typical beauty I always see in Kdramas (well for me anyway) but her acting is supperb. She also has chemistry with Kang Ha Neul.

***

Rugal (루갈)
Aired: Mar 28 – May 17, 2020
Plot: Kang Ki-Beom (Choi Jin-Hyuk) is an elite detective. He is currently investigating the criminal organization Argos, but, when he comes home, he finds several men in masks. His wife is murdered by the masked men sent from Argos. They beat Kang Ki-Beom and cut out both of his eyeballs. When Kang Ki-Beom wakes up, he finds himself in the hospital and he is accused of murder. The NIS then approaches Kang Ki-Beom. He is selected to become a member of Rugal, a special team organized by the NIS. Through biotechnology, he gains two artificial eyeballs with a special ability. Kang Ki-Beom and the Rugal team set out to take down criminal organizations.

Thoughts: I have to admit that the reason I watched this is because I like detective kdramas and for Choi Jin-Hyuk. Action roles suit him so well. I just wish he isn’t always married in his dramas. haha. Although in Rugal his wife was killed off – twice.

***

Hotel del Luna (호텔 델루나)
Aired: July 13 – Sept 1, 2019
Plot: The “Guest House of the Moon” is not like any other hotel. A supernatural place, the hotel is not visible in its true form during the daytime as humans can only come across the hotel under special circumstances such as an invitation or lunar eclipse. Its staff and clients are all souls/ghosts coming to terms with unfinished business in their former lives before they pass on to the afterlife and cycle of reincarnation; the staff in particular have been there for decades and even centuries as they have not settled their grudges. The exception to this is the hotel general manager, which has been filled by a succession of human “passerbys” since they need to interact normally with the real world in instances like paying bills or fulfilling ghosts’ requests with still-living relatives/friends. Some of the more powerful or long-lasting ghosts can make themselves present among humans but they have to abide by the guidelines of the deities Mago and Grim Reaper; for instance killing a human being will usually result in the soul being destroyed without going on to the afterlife. Ghosts can see other ghosts and humans, however only a select few humans such as the Guest House of the Moon manager can see ghosts.

Jang Man-wol (Lee Ji-eun) is the owner of this hotel, currently known as the “Hotel del Luna” that is located in Myeong-dong, Seoul. Due to a huge sin committed a millennium ago, the hotel catering to the dead has been bound to her soul. As a result of manipulation by the deity Mago (Yi-suk Seo), she meets Gu Chan-sung’s father and makes a deal for his son to work for her after 20 years in return for his life and money. With his new found fortune and life, his father takes Gu Chan-sung (Yeo Jin-goo) abroad where the young man grows up as a sincere perfectionist who is level-headed, but also has a soft heart. He comes back to South Korea after his father’s death to be an assistant manager at a multinational hotel corporation, only to face Jang Man-wol and he ends up fulfilling the agreement and becomes the manager of Hotel Del Luna. Through Gu Chan-sung, the audience is introduced to the mysteries and the secrets behind the Hotel and its owner.

Thoughts: I’m not sorry I only recently actually watched this drama even if it was a hit last year. Since I only started watching Kdrama again around the last quarter of 2019, this wasn’t high on my list of dramas to watch. Those who’ve seen it did tell me it didn’t have the Happy Ever After ending but when I saw the end part I was ok with it. I didn’t need to see Man-Wol and Chan-Sungs next life to know that they are going to be ok. And the hot damn cameo of Kim Hyun Sung. Mmhhhmmm.

***

Mystic Pop-Up Bar (쌍갑포차)
Aired: May 20 – June 25, 2020
Plot: Ssanggab Cart Bar opens only at night on the rooftop of a building. Wol-Ju (Hwang Jung-Eum) runs the mysterious food cart. Customers who visit Ssanggab Cart Bar consist of normal people and the dead. While drinking alcohol and eating dishes with Wol-Ju, the customers of Ssanggab Cart Bar talk about themselves and try to heal their internal wounds.

Thoughts: This is such an under rated drama that is so heartwarming. It’s like Hotel del Luna or maybe a lighter version with it’s own charm. It also has lessons in almost every episode. The heart clincher is the fact that Wol-Joo, Gwi, and Kang-Bae had to spend 500 years paying for the sins of others. And Kang-Bae wasn’t even mad at his parents for what happened to him. I keep rewatching that last episode where he finally calls Wol-Joo Eomma (mom). And of course when they see each other again. I guess this dramas ending gave a little bit more than Hotel del Luna did.


And the last two dramas in this post is a Chinese and a Thai Drama that I watched in between all those Kdramas.

Lady of Fire (Plerng Naree/เพลิงนรี)
Aired: 2016
Plot: Risa is the illegitimate daughter of Kanin Buraphakiet. She was forced to flee to Trigis with her mother by the hands of her father’s family. In Trigis, her mother married King Ra-Il and she became Princess Pririsa of Trigis but she could never forgive or forget her past. Seeing her mother suffer injuries from the actions of her father’s family and how the culprits are living happy and comfortable, she decides to return to Thailand to seek justice by disguising herself as Risa, an employee at Buraphakiet. There she meets Theephob who is suspicious of her true identity.

Thoughts: I’m slowly getting used to the sound and inflections of the Thai Language. This is the 3rd Thai drama I’ve seen after TharnType The Series and Princess Hours Thailand. Their actors are so good looking. I was surprised to see Cindy Bishop in this drama and she plays a villain. haha.

***

Ashes of Love (香蜜沉沉烬如霜)
Aired: Aug 2 – Sep 4, 2018
Plot: The Flower Deity dies after giving birth to a daughter, Jin Mi. She saw a prophecy that her daughter will suffer a great love trial within the first thousand year of her life, thus before dying, she gave her a magical pill that prevents her from feeling and expressing romantic love. This caused Jin Mi to become the brunt of many jokes when she gets tangled in a love triangle with the haughty Fire God Xufeng and the ambitious Night God Runyu. Jin Mi is tricked into thinking her father died in the hands of Xufeng and kills him, coughing up the magic pill in the process. Xufeng is revived a decade later in the realm of the Demons as the Demon Lord, and wages war against Runyu, who has now ascended the throne as Heavenly Emperor. Jin Mi is caught in between and doesn’t know what to do, ultimately sacrificing herself to end the war and return peace to the world.

Thoughts: Once again I took on the challenge of watching a long winded Chinese drama that had 60+ episodes. There were unnecessary episodes in this series but the story as a whole is good. It kinda irked me that the prophecy that JinMi’s mother saw before she died was her own doing. If she let her daughter be able to understand and feel love then she wouldn’t have had to go through all that heart ache. Thank goodness for the closure at the end.



I’m currently watching It’s Ok to Not Be OK on Netflix and I’m enjoying waiting for 2 episodes to come out every Saturdays and Sundays. 6 episodes left until this drama ends. I don’t want it to end…

I’ve binged watched a lot of dramas since I started last year and there are many more I want to binge watch soon.

4 thoughts on “My Year in Asian Dramas 10 – The Only Constant

  1. I absolutely LOVED “Because This I My First Life”, especially since it was kind of that trope where the love interests accidentally fall for each other. The cat was so cute, too ❤

    Like

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