Jirisan (2021)

Drama: Jirisan (์ง€๋ฆฌ์‚ฐ)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: October 23 – December 12, 2021
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:00

This drama is about the national park rangers of Jirisan.

Main Cast
Jun Ji Hyun – Seo Yi Gang
Ju Ji Hoon – Kang Hyun Jo
Sung Dong Il – Jo Dae Jin
Oh Jung Se – Jung Gu Yeong
Jo Han Chul – Park Il Hae
Joo Min Kyung – Lee Yang Sun
Go Minsi – Lee Dawon

I didn’t know what I was expecting to see in Jirisan. All I know it’s a drama starring the JJH couple – Jun Ji Hyun and Joo Ji Hoon and I was sold. Thus, episode 1 was an unexpected surprise. Sexy leads? Fantastic secondary leads? Grand rescue attempts? and then what? One of the leads show up on a wheelchair and the other is in a coma? Count me in!!!

I was definitely invested in watching because I want to know what happened that snowy day. There were a lot of red herrings along the way, although halfway through I already had a guess who is the killer (he looks too guilty and there’s no other person who has a possible motive). Was I surprised by the reveal and the real reason behind the killings? Not really. But I though the fate of the killer was just right. The killer messed with the mountain, and the mountain punished him (but why took the mountain so long to punish him???). And no one even knew what the killer was doing all these years!!!

The drama may be confusing for some, as it flips back and forth in the past and in the present time. But I honestly liked it and didn’t feel confused. I thought the story telling was alright — we start with how we first met Hyun Jo and Yigang, jumped to the present, then slowly went back to the past year and we see their journey on what happened and what could have happened leading to the snowy day. And to get to the bottom of the story, the drama also went back further to 30 years ago, and linked it back to the present.

What I loved most about this drama is the episodic cases the rangers face on a daily basis. I didn’t feel bored at all. I was interested in seeing them, and how they were able to write dangers of rescuing people esp during calamities like flood, rain, heavy snow, and fires. I didn’t realize how much they risk their lives everyday for hikers (some of them stupid).

I did feel that this would have been even better if the story was more slice of life about the rangers rather than a murder mystery fantasy case.

I loved the special bond between the leads. I couldn’t quite put a name of their bond. Is this bond as partners, or best friends, or could it have been more? Yigang probably felt guilty for what happened to Hyun Jo and wanted to help finish what he started, but I also wish that they also had more romance – it could have made the reason why Yigang was so emotionally invested and the ending even more impactful. I was expecting a dramatic kissing scene atop Jirisan too bad, but we didn’t get it. I still squealed when they stared at each other across the screen.

This drama is probably the only kdrama I can remember where the main leads didn’t have a love story as I was expecting (Cmon, JJH couple sounds and looks so sexy! I also think Jun Ji Hyun doesn’t do romance or kissing scenes that much). However, the secondary couple’s love story (Guyeong and Yangsun) was so sweet and beautiful, it made up for it. Guyeong crying Yangsun’s name over and over again when she got swept away by the water was heartbreaking. Oh Jung Se is a wonderful actor. And in the last episode where Guyeong was reminiscing about their relationship and showing his promotion was just ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ. I’m sad that they never found Yangsun’s body, but I remember she said that she wanted to travel the world. So I’m just imagining that when she got swept away by the river, the water continues to flow and her body (spirit) is still traveling around the country like she wanted to.

Another character I didn’t expect to exit so early is Dawon!! I thought she was going to be the bridge between Yigang and Hyun Jo since Hyun Jo can’t talk to Yigang, so that was a big shock to me. I also feel bad that people may have forgotten about her after a year. I’m still not happy with the lottery winning girl who caused Yangsun’s accident and wanting to become a ranger. Ugh! I can’t!

I also loved the 2 buddies, Gu Yeong, Ilhae plus the rest of the team. Except for the main villain, you can see and feel the support and they give each other whenever there are issues and dangers in their rescue efforts.

I wasnt really minding the soundtracks but after the ending, I listened to each one again and bought the OST ๐Ÿ˜€. Personal favorites are Falling (Kim Jong Wan), Little Garden (Taeyeon) and Always with You (Paul Kim).

Rating: 8.75/10 (8.5 story + 0.25 for the leads)

Youth of May (2021)

Drama: Youth of May (์˜ค์›”์˜ ์ฒญ์ถ˜)
Network: KBS2
Episodes: 12
Release Date: May 3 – June 8, 2021
Runtime: Mon & Tue 21:30

Set in the 1980s during the Gwangju Uprising, this is a story of a girl and a guy who fell in love against all odds. Will they be able to hold on to their love or will they end up in tragedy?

Lee Do Hyun – Hwang Hee Tae
Go Minsi – Choi Myung Hee
Geum Sae Rok – Lee Suryeon
Lee Sang Yi – Lee Soo Chan

I already saw a lot of spoilers before I started watching so I think it took a bit of enjoyment from watching this drama.

Beautiful ending. It was sad but still beautiful. It took him 40 years to finally move on ๐Ÿ˜ญ cant imagine how that feels. But im happy they found her so he can always visit her when he misses her.

As always May has come. this is the 41st year of May since I lost you, Myeong Hee. All this time, my life felt like swimming during a rising tide. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t move forward, and I even tried to let myself drown. But when I woke up, that tide had pushed me back, to that May inside my heart. It felt so cruel that I lived in resentment.

For a very long time, I lived in regret and thought throughout my life. If I hadn’t gone to Gwangju in May of that year. If I hadn’t met you in Gwangju. If I hadn’t let go of your hand in those woods, would you still be alive? But on this 41st May when you’ve finally returned, I now realize that I was the one who chose to do all that. In May of that year, I chose to go to Gwangju, and chose to love you with all my heart.

I prayed everyday that worse pains in life would come to me instead of you. If I had been the one to die in the crossroads of life and death, and you had lived, you would’ve experienced the tides that I had experienced all this time. The life of the one who was left behind. Hence, I’ve finally realized, that what I experienced all this time, was the Lord’s way of answering my prayer. Those lonely and painful 41 years were merely my love for you.

The remaining years of my life, will be an answer to your prayer. No matter how many more times the rising tide pushes me back to that May, I have you here now. Until we meet again, I will swim against the tide with all my might.

All through out i kept thinking whose fault it was. I’d say they were too young and made emotional decisions. If they more more mature they probably wouldn’t have died. Had Hee Tae stopped pursuing her, Myung Hee could have gone to Germany and lived. Or Hee Tae could have married Suryeon to appease the family and live separate lives. Or he could follow to Germany in a few years. But I also came to the same conclusion as Hee Tae. They chose to fight for each other so although it was hard, they made that choice and they have to live with the consequences. At least they had that May that he will always remember. Better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all.

I, Kim Myeong Hee, refuse to be buried alive with Hwang Hee Tae. Lord, if something unexpected happens, and we have to let go of each others hand please dont let the sorrow overwhelm the lives of those left behind. Even if the tears we shed fill up to our chins, please dont let us drown and give us the power and courage to swin safely throughout this life.

Looking back, I think the one who is at fault is Myung Soo. Lol. I know, he was too young and didn’t mean to do it. But later on he must have realized he basically killed his dad and sister in one night because of his foolishness. Maybe that’s why he ended up being a priest.

Mixed feelings about Suryeon. She was mostly selfish which is weird since she is brave protesting against the government but she cant even protect her best friend. But I think it’s not her fault — Hee Tae would have met and pursued Myung Hee even without the blind date. And i didnt feel enough remorse from her over Myung Hee even in the present, she was nowhere to be found, just a brief statement that she is now a lawyer.

Myunghee’s dad ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ and all those brave and innocent people who died that time. ๐Ÿ™

Myeong Soo said this to me one day. That the runner who runs way in the front does nothing but block the wind for the others. He said it was your loss if you stood in the front from the beginning. Perhaps I lived my life always in the front, blocking the wind with my whole body. I was that runner who was in the front. I was afraid you’d be hit by the wind like me. What if your wings were hurt from the hardships of this world? I hoped you wouldn’t stand in the front like me and always tried to hold you back. But your wings were strong enough to endure any kind of wind. If I just let you go you would have ridden the wind and flew up high into the sky. Since everything that happened wasn’t your fault, just leave it behind with me. And from now on, let your wings carry you freely wherever you want to go.

I wish the ending was longer. i wanted to know what happened to them 40 years later and how they feel about what happened. And where is Soochan?

Rating: 8.5/10