Love is Blind Japan (2022)

Profile:
Show Name: Love is Blind: Japan
Producer: Netflix
Date Released: February 8, 2022
No. of Episodes: 11
Country: Japan

Plot: This is a dating reality TV show where a group of men and women tries to find their future partners for marriage. Each contestant goes on pod dates without seeing each other. If both decides they like each other, the guy proposes and the girl accepts, and they get engaged. The engaged couple then lives together for 3 weeks and decide if they want to push through with the wedding or not in the final episode.

Review:
I’m so happy my 2 favorite couples from the pods actually made it to the end!!! I thought they both had chemistry and something special from the start and I was right!

Ryotaru and Motomi were so cute together. When I saw Ryotaru dye his hair black to meet her parents, I also felt his sincerity. No wonder Motomi’s strict father accepted him. And funny that three months later, Motomi’s hair was blonde too and she had another color change later. Nice to have a hairstylist husband!

I loved Midori and Wataru out of all the couples. They were so similar and looked so good together. Up til the end i was worried that Midori was going to say no! Good thing she said yes! I think Wataru will take care of her and Lupin.

I also liked Mori, too bad he wasnt able to handle Minami who was a little different and quirky. I also think Minami should not be afraid to show her true self but she also needs to learn to listen and change when needed.

The rest of the couples looked like they really weren’t going to make it because they were all too different. They probably just got caught up in the pods and pressured to choose.

I think judging a person not by their looks is a good thing but a lot of them also decided with their hearts in the pods and not using their heads.

Like accepting a proposal from a 23 yo because he said he wants a family then getting disappointed when he said he’s not ready. She should have taken age into account and not just because he said all the right things.

Another guy also lied to the girl to make him seem better than he really is.

The older guy (i was even rooting for him at the start) who expected too much from the younger girl and wasnt very tolerating. Even the way he speaks during the interviews were harsh and put all the blame on the girl. I thought the girl had relationship issues due to her trauma and he didnt understand her. So im glad they didnt marry. I like her and hope she finds her partner too.

Looking forward to season 2!

Rating: 8.5/10

Twenty Five Twenty One (2022)

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Drama: Twenty Five Twenty One (스물다섯 스물하나)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: February 12 – April 3, 2022
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:10

Plot: A story about five friends and their once youthful lives filled with dreams, passion and love.

Main Cast
Kim Tae Ri – Na Hee Do
Nam Joo Hyuk – Baek Yijin
Bona – Ko Yurim
Choi Hyun Wook – Moon Ji Woong
Lee Joo Myoung – Ji Seung Wan

Review:
The title alone should already warn us of the ending but some didn’t take the hint.

I loved the nostalgia feel of the drama because I grew up in the 90s. Actually I was the same age as Heedo in 1998 that’s why even though I didn’t grow up in Korea and was not an athlete, I could still somehow relate to her. I keep thinking, she is my age. What if I were her friend? How would I support her? It also made me think of my own high school experience and how different I am from when I was 18 years old vs who I am now and how I interact with my friends. I could totally understand them, that even though so many years have passed and we don’t always get to meet often, we will always remain friends and when we get together, it’s as if time has not passed. We also reminisce the good and bad memories and laugh about it.

I really loved the friendship between Heedo and Yurim. They started out as strangers, almost like enemies, fan to idol. They fought, they disagreed, they supported and comforted each other through out their personal and professional lives. I loved and teared up in all their final matches and when Heedo retired and Yurim was there to support her. Boys/men can come and go but friends will always be forever. The writer is the same as Search WWW and it’s no wonder you can also feel some girl-love vibes between Heedo and Yurim (just like Gakyeong and Scarlet in WWW).

I also loved Heedo and Yijin’s relationship. I think the drama spent more time showing how close they were (friendship, brother-sister kind of love) and less than when they were in love. A lot of people hated the ending. They thought they should have ended together. I was fine either way, as long the writer end it well (more on this in the latter paragraphs). I think it was the right love at the wrong time. The love they had was real and it was what they needed during those times. But their circumstances and the events just didn’t make it possible for them to survive.

Maybe if they met in their 30s they could have handled the relationship better. But Heedo was in high school. Sometimes she was brave but often times she was still immature and couldn’t handle a relationship with an older guy. But give her a break, she was young, she still had so many things going on for her and I agree that she deserved to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t make her sad and worry. There are other guys out there and she knows herself and to walk away when she is no longer happy. But at the same time, she also didn’t empathize and understand enough with what Yijin was going through. That’s why they failed.

On the other hand, Yijin tried his best to stay away from Heedo. Not only was she younger than him, he knows he also has a lot of issues to work with himself and his career and his family. Plus the trauma of witnessing the New York attacks took a toll on his mental state. I believe he wasn’t in the right state of mind to maintain a relationship and it was best to let go, no matter painful it was. I was also crying in that scene when they knew it was over and just wanted to take back all the hurtful words they said to each other. Their looks told me they may have broken up but they will always love and support each other. Just like 10 years later when they meet again via Yijin’s show. Although they haven’t kept in touch, you can see they’re still happy for each other and how far they have gone from 10 years ago.

On the other hand, Yurim and Jiwoong’s happy ever after is a contrast to H&Y. Despite the LDR they still made it work. Again, I would say the difference is that they didn’t have a lot of issues to deal with. No mommy issues, no mental health or career issues. That’s why it was easier for them to stay long and strong. I loved the proposal. Very creative Jiwoong and very apt for Yurim.

What I didn’t like in this drama? I think the present timeline wasn’t necessary. Maybe because they used a different actress to play Heedo and she had a very different vibe from the younger Heedo. It makes you think what happened to her all these years and how her youth and passionate love shaped her into who she is now but we didn’t get any of that.

Instead the present timeline served more as a way to introduce the story and was weakly trying to show a parallel between Heedo and her daughter who wanted to quit ballet. Before, Heedo’s mom was against her continuing fencing, but mom Heedo didn’t force Minchae if she didn’t want to do ballet anymore. Minchae, through reading Heedo’s diary also got inspired after reading all the hard work that Heedo went through to reach her success and made her want to take up ballet again.

Those were fine, but it doesn’t really link back to Yijin and Heedo’s story, which was very much the center of the plot. I felt like maybe she wasn’t really over Yijin? It felt like she had so many regrets and that she only had closure when she found her diary. Also, we didn’t see who she married and why they married. Is she happy? If she is happy why is she still not over the diary? Why did she have to go back to the tunnel and look so regretful? If she left Yijin because she wanted to have a relationship with someone who would be there for her, then why is her husband not around? The ending /present timeline really did not close the story well.

We also do not get see what happened to older Yijin aside from being UBS anchor. Did he marry or did he stay single because he couldn’t get over Heedo? He was able to build a home for his family, and we see his younger brother look so grown up. Is he happy? He is the male lead but I felt we didn’t get his own ending.

Overall, I loved this drama. It made me cry buckets of tears every single episode and made me feel so much emotions. I just wish the ending was stronger and made more impact considering the rest of the 15 episodes were almost perfect.

Rating: 9/10

Work Later, Drink Now S1 (2021)

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Drama: Work Later, Drink Now (술꾼도시여자들)
Network: TVING
Episodes: 12
Release Date: October 22 – November 26, 2021
Runtime: Friday 16:00

Plot: The story about three friends who love to drink while they go through the joys and pains of life.

Main Cast:
Han Sun Hwa – Han Ji Yeon
Lee Sun Bin – Ahn So Hee
Jung Eun Ji – Kang Ji Goo
Choi Siwon – Kang Buk Gu

Review:
This web drama was a wonderful surprise! The first 3 episodes the girls were drinking so much, I felt drunk just watching them drink and drink and drink. Later on I got so used to them drinking I was numb, and even wanted to join their drinking binge. They drink not just because they love to drink, but it’s also their way of coping with all the pressures and pleasures in life.

Episode 1 captured the 3 characters’ personalities just through their drinking habits. And having Kim Ji Suk cameo was a poor guy who had a blind date with the three girls was perfectly hilarious. Jiyeon is the crazy fun (embarrassing) friend and Sohee is the friend who always have work. It took some time for me to warm up to Jigoo because she is serious and silent but she’s fierce and loyal and will be the first to protect you when needed.

I love (sometime envy) their friendship! They have gone through so much, from heartbreaks, death, work issues, illness and they are always there for each other, no matter what happens or where they are. I would love to always have my fave bar where I can just spend the whole night chilling with my fave people (and the owner lets you close his shop).

I thought the story will be light and fun but their stories just got deeper and serious after each episode. Ep 9-10 were the saddest.

Choi Siwon as Kang Bukgu -just like what Sohee said, I think his character is disgusting but he’s so soft, that you can’t help but like him eventually (he’s addicting and super hot when he finally shaved!). Now if only he stops being a jerk.

I’m looking forward to season 2 because I want to know more of their stories (past and future)! I hope we get more scenes with Mr. Nice paper – I think he’s a sweet addition to the crazy group, and will make Jigoo less sad and serious. I want Jiyeon to get well and find a nice guy (not just go flit from one guy to another – she deserves to be loved because she is so sweet and fun). And I want to see more fight/rawr/sweet moments between Bukgu and Sohee!

Rating: 8.5/10

Lovers of the Red Sky (2021)

Profile
Drama: Lovers of the Red Sky (홍천기)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: August 30 – October 26, 2021
Runtime: Mon & Tue 22:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
This fantasy sageuk is about King Seongjo looking for a divine painter to seal the Devil in the king’s portrait while a blind scholar plots revenge on the king and everyone who ruined his family 20 years ago.

Main Cast
Kim Yoo Jung – Hong Cheon Gi
Ahn Hyo Seop – Ha Ram
Gong Myung – Prince Yang Myeong
Kwak Si Yang – Prince Joo Hyang

Review
I didn’t realize when I started watching that this is a fantasy drama but episodes 1 and 2 were interesting and I loved the actors who played the younger versions of Haram and Cheon Gi, the background story was enough to get invested in the couple.

I loved the paintings, it was so amazing that simple brushes can make these fantastic masterpieces. I did take big brush and small brush calligraphy when I was in school so I know how to feels like to write using these brushes. It is hard and my penmanship was bad so I can’t imagine having to actually draw these kinds of paintings. The best episodes were the painting competition, although it was still unbelievable that a young inexperienced painter can win against everyone else when her butterfly painting was not even that great to be honest.

I loved the Baekyu Painters Society and how they always had Cheongi’s back, esp her two painter friends. And the friendship between Haram, Prince Yang Myeong and Cheon Gi.

The story got messy and a lot of things were unexplained. More than halfway and I still didn’t get the reason for the ring, or why they need to seal the devil inside the painting (because the drama said so), how Cheon Gi is the divine painter (when it turns out without Hwacha’s power her painting was useless so what was the point?), why Joohyang was still alive when his body is supposedly rotting away, the king knew all about Haram’s plan and never told him the truth (rendering his whole life’s revenge plot unnecessary). And the whole nonsense about Haram’s grandfather. And what about Maehyang and her mysterious hatred against the royal family? It was never revealed. The whole showdown with the devil, Samsin and Ho Ryeong was also anti-climactic. Even the death of Haram’s bodyguard wasn’t that memorable.

The ending kind of redeemed the entire story since they get their happy ever after, but still don’t understand why they decided to live in an area so faraway from the city. The last scene between the two princes, at first I though the story is incomplete, now thinking back I guess they are trying to say that life goes on.

Haram was also blind for 20 years but he is extraordinarily aware of his surroundings that he doesn’t look blind at all! He looks straight at the person he is talking to, he fights against the soldiers when blind, he can interpret the stars without seeing them. It was too weird.

Rating: 7/10 (i should give a lower rating but the four leads were so pretty)