Alchemy of Souls Part 2 (2023)

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Drama: Alchemy of Souls: Light and Shadow (환혼: 빛과 그림자)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 10
Release Date: December 10, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:10

Plot:
Three years after Mudeok dies, Jang Uk has been on a mission to kill all soul shifters as ordered by the King. Lady Jin has been hiding the fact that she retrieved Mudeok’s body, and revived her daughter, Jin Bu Yeon’s soul, but taking on the face of Naksu. Jin Bu Yeon, who doesn’t remember anything about her past, is arranged to be married to Seo Yul’s uncle, but she got away and met Jang Uk. Will they be able to find their way back to each other and can they fight the evil forces of Jinmu once and for all?

Main Cast

Review
I liked the chemistry between Jaewook and Youn Jung more than with Jung Somin. Maybe that’s why I liked part 2 more than part 1 (although I admit without the love story in part 1, part 2 wouldn’t work that well). Mudeok and Jang Uk to me felt like Master-Student while Buyeon-Jang Uk felt like the real thing.

I missed the original Naksu shadow assassin (GYJ looked soooo different as Jin Bu Yeon – the hair, light eyebrows etc) so sometimes I had to stop and think if this was really the same actress or not. Cho Yeong’s evolution from the young girl, the teenager that Seo Yul met, to Mudeok, Jin Buyeon and back to Yeong was amazing. I’m still a little bit confused how this all happened, though it somehow made sense, but I love that she will spend the rest of her life as Cho Yeong. She may never take up the sword again, but with her powers, she and Jang Uk can fight together for good.

I also love how much Jang Uk has grown since part 1 episode 1, esp now that he is the most powerful mage in Daeho. You dont need to be the king to be the most powerful, as long as you do your job and your passion well. I hated that Go Won was always threatened by Jang Uk when he never made any intention known that he wanted to be king.

I didn’t however, like that there were a lot of flashbacks that could have been skipped. I also didnt like that Go Won had many scenes that were unnecessary and the turtle squad, trying make their scenes funny like in part 1. Good thing the turtle actually had a purpose in the story.

Park Jin and Kim Dojoo are too funny!! I miss Danggu’s blonde hair and he didnt get a lot of cute scenes with Choyeon. Of course Master Lee is always all knowing.

I also never liked Seo Yul and Soi’s “relationship” from the very start. Soi has caused so much pain to Seo Yul and almost died because of her. and Soi dying trying to save him doesn’t justify her actions or make her a better person. Even she didn’t give him the blood parasite, none of this would have happened in the first place. Plus Seo Yul is so nice and virtuous, how can the writers pair him up with Soi, plus his one sided love with Naksu! how cruel! I was hoping he gets his own love interest at the end, but i guess, his heart is with the mages. I also was so annoyed with Yun Ok. Why is she even in this drama? She was catty for no reason, and put her nose in every place she didn’t have to be.

It’s always hard to write a great ending for fantasy dramas so was very happy that this show ended with quite well!!

Overall part 1 and part 2 could have actually fit in 20 episodes if they removed some of the draggy parts at the start, but also ok that they separated part 2 to give time for people to get used to the new actress/character and the 3 yrs later part of the story.

Rating: 8.5/10

Alchemy of Souls Part 1 (2022)

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Drama: Alchemy of Souls (환혼)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 20 (Part 1)
Release Date: June 18 – August 28, 2022
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:10

Plot: A skilled assassin shifts her soul into a blind servant and meets Jang Uk, who is looking for a teacher who can unleash his powers trapped by his own father.

Main Cast
Lee Jaewook – Jang Uk
Jung Somin – Mudeok/Naksu
Yoo Junsang – Park Jin
Oh Nara – Maidservant Kim
Hwang Minhyun – Seo Yul
Go Yoonjung – Naksu
Shin Seungho – Crown Prince Go Won
Arin – Jin Cho Yeon
Yoo Insoo – Park Danggu
Park Eunhye – Lady Jin Ho gyeong
Joo Sangwook – Jang Gang

Jo Jaeyoon – Jin Mu

Review:
The first half was so boring, I didn’t know why people were raving about this show when it came out. I struggled to finish the show. The drama got interesting only starting ep 12. I think this should have been 16 eps and not 20.

I like the whole fantasy part about soul shifters and spells. Reminds me of Harry Potter since this drama also had different teams, except they used swords instead of wands, and Uk is like Harry Potter who didn’t know he was the boy that will save them all (or the boy with the King’s Star)

I like Mudeok/Naksu though sometimes I got annoyed when she uses her accent. She is brave and ruthless but she also learned to mature and love instead of becoming an assassin. I’m still confused about Buyeon, how can 2 souls reside in 1 body. They say Buyeon is controlling the body and yet when Naksu heard the bells, Buyeon couldn’t do anything. So I feel like writer is using Buyeon if they need a plot device. Will we ever get to meet the real Buyeon? Will people finally found out that Mudeok is really Buyeon and is the proper heir to the Jin tribe? I really wish Lady Jin meets her because she has been tormented long enough.

And why no one has ever suspected Mudeok to be Naksu when there are so many red flags about her! For supposedly powerful mages, they were all stupid except for Uk and Yul. And they can’t even capture Jinmu who is always one step ahead of them!

I love the master -pupil pair of Mudeok/ Jang Uk more than as lovers. I didn’t feel the romantic chemistry between Mudeok and Jang Uk, even when they finally confessed and kissed on episode 19 I didn’t feel anything. The only scene that stirred me was the end when Naksu stabbed Jang Uk and he died and Mudeok woke up and realized what she has done.

I think Naksu/Yul’s story were much better in terms of tragic romance. I think they had better chemistry than Uk. There were also several unnecessary side stories and too many characters. Like the thief girl. Yul is too pure to have even some sort of love line with her and she gave him the blood parasite!! I think it was supposed to keep him alive but the pain that he felt and she never even bothered to tell him so they can find a way to get it out of his bloodstream!

Cho Yeon/Danggu brought the cuteness in this show, as well as Park Jin and Maidservant Kim’s cat-dog relationship.

It was also a little unbelievable that 3 guys were fighting over Mudeok esp with the Crown Prince butting in all the time. He didn’t know she was Naksu and thought of her as a mere servant but kept stop meeting up with her. I also didn’t like the Crown Prince although I think he was meant to be arrogant. I also don’t know if he is going to be bad in part 2 since it looks like he has some sort of jealousy / competition with Uk. What will happen if he finds out Uk is the son of the late king?

I’m excited for season 2. I really hope it finishes the story well or else I will really be disappointed.

Rating: 8.25 (8 for first half, 8.5 for second half)

Move to Heaven (2021)

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Drama: Move To Heaven (무브 투 헤븐: 나는 유품정리사입니다)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 10
Release Date: May 14, 2021

Plot: A story about a family who runs a trauma cleaning service called Move to Heaven, where they clear up the belongings of deceased people on behalf of their family.

Main Cast:
Lee Je Hoon – Cho Sang Gu
Tang Jun Sang – Han Geu Ru
Hong Seung Hee – Yoon Namu
Ji Jin Hee – Han Jeong Woo

Review:
My last but not the least completed drama for 2020. I binge watched this for 2 days. Terrific acting from Junsang and Jehoon. Loved their relationship from strangers to family. I also loved the dad and Geuru’s relationship, especially the last episode where we find out how they first met and I was crying.

Jehoon also did a great job portraying the bad but actually nice Sanggu. I was just distracted by his ugly hair and perfect nose. Lol. But I though the reason why Jeongwoo did not come back for Sanggu when he was younger was too cliche to move me (or maybe because there has been so many dramas about the department store collapse).

I read a lot of reviews on how much they loved this drama so I was slightly disappointed that the stories weren’t as moving as I expected. Maybe it’s because there’s very little story about the life of the deceased to mourn for them. Still every death is sad. Another Kdrama, Chocolate (2019), also dealt with death, and that one had me crying every single episode, unlike this one.

My favorite episodes are with the doctor and the cellist; and Matthew Green. Also the tragic friendship between Sanggu and Sucheol. I also like the potential romance between the social worker played by Choi Soo Young and Sang Gu.

I also liked Namu. She is a sweet and loyal friend to Geuru. She had more chemistry with Sanggu than Geuru though. I loved that she will do anything to protect her friend and keep him from harm.

I wouldn’t mind if there is a season 2.

Rating: 8.5/10