So Ji Sub says Hello Manila!

Last night was the moment I have been waiting for and it was totally satisfying and memorable to finally see my ultimate bias, So Ji Sub, in the flesh. It felt so surreal!! The minute the lights went on and he came out, clad in an all-white suit (vs the last 7 FMs where he dressed black), I felt like I was seeing an angel. He looks the same as how you see him on tv — he is so handsome and he was tall and fit! Gah!! I felt like this was the culmination of my 15 years of watching kdramas – and the prize is So Ji Sub!

This is my first ever fanmeeting – and I’m glad that it was So Ji Sub. I think it is best to attend a FM of the idol or actor that you really really like/love so that you can really savor the moment and be thrilled with all the feels. I actually didn’t know what to expect in a FM – but I did try to watch of the youtube and IG vids of SJS’ FMs in Taiwan, Japan, Bangkok, Jakarta and HK. I thought I was fully prepared since I watched some of the segments and his performances. But nothing prepared me for the real thing! I really wanted to enjoy the show and bask in his presence so I didn’t really take a lot of pictures and videos. I just sneaked in a few snaps now and then but I didn’t mind coz the whole experience is now saved and forever locked in my memories.

So just a quick rundown what happened during the fanmeeting. He started with singing Barry Manilow’s song, “Can’t Smile Without You”. I loved the song and the reason why he chose the song (but you can see his reason is so tito oppa-ish which I don’t mind coz it perfectly matched my tita-ness).

The first segment was called “You’ve got a message” where the host asked a few things about So Ji Sub like what filipino food he ate, which Philippine place he would like to visit next time, etc.

The second segment was called “Code Name: Terrius” where 2 lucky fans were able to personally ask advice from SJS on their concerns. I don’t know if SJS knew the questions beforehand (he most likely didn’t) but I loved all his answers – you can really sense that he is sensible and mature. He actually gave quite good advice considering the pressure of thinking on the spot. On the first question about a girl having a quarterlife crisis, he told her not to worry too much and just continue to do what you love. He also mentioned even with 23 years in the industry, he also still gets worried like her. The second question was so sweet – the girl confessed that SJS is her first love since she first watched Memories in Bali in elementary – and that she even turned down suitors because he is her ideal guy. The girl asked SJS what to do with her feelings. I’m thinking SJS must get a lot of these love confessions from so many girls and I love that his answer was still very sincere and practical. Everyone has different ideal types and who/what you are seeing now becomes your ideal. He told her to not think using her mind but instead to use her heart. Do not turn down your suitors and find someone who will really love you with all your heart. Awww. What a romantic guy.

Next segment is a video showing SJS answering 51k questions about himself. It was specially interesting coz we got lots of tidbits and insights to his hobbies and interests. His penalty for not answering were so cute!! He had to wear all sorts of hats and head costumes. I don’t think there is anyone else who can wear them as stylishly as he can.

Last segment is a Quiz for SJS. Everytime he gets the right answer, he can choose the lucky fan who gets a signed tshirt. If he loses, he gets a penalty. He can also select a lucky fan to answer for him but same rules apply – right answer the fan gets a shirt, wrong answer SJS gets a penalty. This was hilarious – I love that SJS was so game and was interacting hilariously with the fans. Likewise, I love that the fans purposely made him lose so that he gets all the penalty. All in all, he was able to luckily guess 1 correct answer, and 3 fans gave the wrong answer. The first girl almost caved when SJS asked her what is “Mahal kita” in english. I actually feel bad for the girl. If I was in her position i would have wanted to give him the correct answer, but i guess peer pressure made her say, “pretty”. Smart Jisub doubted the answer and the girl gave a different answer “I love you”. It’s a good thing SJS is too kindhearted and used “pretty” so he lost the first point. His penalty was to wear the angel wings.. Ahh.. he really looked like a beautiful angel. The funniest is the mom who straightfaced told SJS she watched OMV but couldn’t remember the answer, and gave the wrong choice. When SJS realized the mom was happily telling him to get penalty, SJS asked the mom if she knew the answer all along and she said “Yup!” to his dismay. If i remember, the penalty is to wear the flower crown and the corsage. The third fan (?) shocked me and the person beside me. She was seated on the first row and she was asked if he know that scene in Terrius where Kim Bon was made to don an ahjumma outfit and do some chores. I think everyone knew the answer (it was relatively easy) and even SJS knew the answer- but he said, he will give that chance to a fan — too bad for him the lady haven’t watched the drama (she told that to SJS’s FACE!! seriously!!) and the two evil ladies behind me plied her with the incorrect answer. SJS’s face was so hilarious! “Please change your answer.. are you sure?” haha. His penalty I think was the morning call? or was it the hearts? Btw, the morning call was so cute! He said, “Hello. Gumising ka na. Mahal na kita!” oh my fangirl heart couldn’t take it. he spoke really good Tagalog btw, without the accent. I think he needs to make a tagalog song or rap, asap. Last, one of the main part of the segment is that SJS prepared a special gift for one lucky fan – a polaroid snap of him during rehearsal (I think) and right before he came out of the stage and an identical couple necklace. I think everyone in the room wanted to be the lucky girl. He held her hand, shook her hands and even hugged her. ARGGHH. I am so happy for her, but half wishing it was me!!

He sang another song, “Picnic” – oh he has such a nice voice. he just sat down most of the time, with no other props except for the light and he still looked amazing.

Now on to the second part of the fanmeeting. Okay, I already saw the previous FMs so I was already expecting a few songs like Love Scenario and boy Go.. but I didn’t expect the second half to be a frigging mini concert party!!! during the first part, he was dressed in a white suit and looked so elegant and gentlemanly. Then he came out with Soul Dive dressed in a glittery shirt and oozing with SWAGGGGG!!! during the introduction, he said he was nervous because he is meeting the filipino fans for the first time so he doesn’t know what to expect, then right before the first part ended, he said that he has calmed down and is no longer feeling nervous. Yup, he is right. He just exploded with so much confidence rapping and hyping the crowd! It was just song after song after song. I think he did 5 songs? (Love scenario, then Soul dive did a song without him, then SJS came back to sing AOAOA, then So Ganzi, Boy Go, Coke Bottle Baby). and just when I thought they were finished they did an encore of “So LOVE” and ended the show with confetti all over the place! All through out the 30 minute performance (more or less), they just kept throwing signed shirts, towels, stuffed toy, balls to the fans. I am quite disappointed that I didn’t get to a catch a single item!!! (he gave out a lot near my area and my seatmates got them!) But the best one is him throwing up the 51k cap he was wearing the entire night to a lucky fan!! SJS and Soul Dive is a great team — they all looked so good, they can rival any boyband out there and still come out looking and sounding great!

The entire fanmeeting lasted around 2 hours (1.5 hours FM, 30 mins concert). Right after, I queued for the photo op and waited until my turn. OMG. I was seated on row 3 center and I could see him clearly all through out the show, but it was still electrifying to see him upclose and personal. I love that he would actually look at us right in the eye, saying hi and thank you and waving. during concert and during the photo op. I know he probably will not remember any of us, but the fans like me will remember his look and his sincere eyes. I also heard the hi-touch was more of a shake hands – ugh! had I known, I would have bought both tickets!

Overall, this was a fantastic experience. Before the FM, I was so nervous with excitement, I felt like I was either going to faint or die when I see him, but after the show, I just felt even more energized. I suddenly felt like I can do anything! I will be rooting for his next project and I hope he really makes do with his promise to come back!!!

On a side note, each guest got a free poster, some are signed, some are not, and guess what? I didn’t get the signed poster!! hahaha, I felt so sad. No shirt, no cap, no necklace, no ball, no stuffed pig and not even a signed poster!! Really?!? I guess there must be better fans than me so they got the goodies! Still best experience ever! I feel like I will be on a high for the next few days.. weeks… months.. maybe the entire year!

Check out some of the videos i took during the fanmeeting – not a lot since i was so engrossed in watching him live.

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Witch at Court (2017)

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Profile
Drama: Witch at Court (마녀의 법정)
Network: KBS2
Episodes: 16
Release Date: October 9 – November 28, 2017
Runtime: Mon & Tue 22:00

Plot
A materialistic female prosecutor who does not hesitate to use personal attacks, fabricate evidence, and incite perjury in order to win her case is assigned to special task force for sex crimes. A newbie prosecutor also joins the task force, and together they solve crimes with a grudging chemistry.

Main Cast
Jung Ryu Won – Ma Yi Deum
Yoon Hyun Min – Yeo Jin Wook
Jeon Kwang Leol – Cho Gap Soo
Kim Yeo Jin – Min Ji Sook

Review
I would describe this drama as frustratingly convenient, yet enjoyable to watch. The legal cases during the first few episodes are real, but i feel that they focused on the criminal too much that they didn’t equally focus on the victims. Also the legal cases were not written well, it felt like the writers just needed to conveniently write a few sexual assault cases then quickly resolve them and move on to the next plot. It also felt frustrating that the villain seems to have magical powers to know each and every thing that is happening with the leads. He can pop up anywhere, kidnap anyone, steal anything, kill anyone. I dont think anyone is that invincible in real life. But if you dont take the whole case and story seriously and just focus on the 2 main characters and enjoy the ride, then like me, you will probably finish this show in 2 days. Lol.

Favorite character – to be honest, i didn’t like Ma Yi Deum that much, but i love that she is a flawed heroine. I dont like how she is unethical most of the time. It’s different when you’re smart enough to circumvent the law legally vs breaking the law. And i agree with Min Ji Sook when she said that you must be incompetent if you need to resort to underhanded tactics to win. While i also felt frustrated that a criminal may get away because of lack of evidence, but a competent prosecutor can find another way, another time (or maybe the writers just needed to polish the story better). More than Ma Yi Deum, my favorite is the actress herself, Jung Ryu Won. I watched her previously in History of Salaryman and King of Dramas and she is just as amazing in this drama. She seems to act well as a smart and tough lady. I also liked Jin Wook, he maybe a little soft which is reasonable considering he is new to his role. But i like his integrity and empathy to the clients and as a prosecutor.

Favorite pair – Yi Deum and Jin Wook works well together because they complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Aside from that, they seem to jibe well and knows how each other is thinking and feeling without having to say it directly. I honestly wished there were more kisses and less teasing but it’s okay, the romance level was just apt for the drama that is focused on taking down Gap soo.

Hatest character – Of course, Cho Gapsoo. Character was not really developed well for the audience to have sympathy for him. All we see is a guy who is hell bent on becoming mayor through lobbying and blackmailing other people. We dont even know his background or why he wants to be mayor. And he is willing to risk everyone around him just to reach the top. So that scene where he was crying and seeing Sang Ho at the mountain was pure BS to me. I dont even feel bad for him. and Yes, excecution was the best for him. i wonder how long it takes from the time you get convicted for execution to the actual execution itself? The final court scene where Ma Yi Deum was shouting that Gapsoo has shown no remorse and should be given death penalty, i felt was also too dramatic. Plus the mom suddenly gaining her memory back in the court room was too contrived. Did I feel satisfied with ending? Yes but the feeling is more “it’s about time. i’m exhausted. finally it’s over because I can’t stand Gapsoo suddenly winning his hand again”

Most underdeveloped character – Lawyer Heo. I look at her and all i see is opportunistic lady. for someone who is supposed to be the best lawyer in H&J law firm, and ending up losing every single case in the drama is just laughable. No wonder she has to use her tricks or switch alliances to move up because she is not that good.

Bravest character – i would have to say, it’s Jin Yeon Hee. She could have been killed had she been discovered in Kingdom, but she was willing to risk her life to catch Gapsoo.

Most undeserving death – Baek Sang Ho. Sure, he has been Gapsoo’s right hand man and may have done lots of bad things, but i dont think he deserved to die. I mean, his brother, Minho is not even worth saving – he is also a bad guy and he deserves to go to jail (not probation) and even after he got out, he even dared to set a condition for Yi Deum before he hands over the journal when he should be helping and repenting for what his actions did to his brother.

Favorite scenes – two scenes when Ma Yi Deum was crying. First while she was sleeping and she was holding Jin Wook’s hand to her cheek was seriously touching. And another scene where she went to a place and couldn’t find her mmom or seomthing and she started crying again. oh and the cute drunk banter between Jinwook and Yi Deum is gold.

Most confusing part of the story – is how Yi Deum and JiSook can just become special investigation team handling Gapsoo’s case. First of all, they are no longer prosecutors so how the heck were they given the special case? Second right after they finished the case, they just went back to being lawyer (though Ryu Won became a prosecutor again). This is one of those storylines that makes the story feel so contrived and convenient. Another thing is how Ryu Won is not able to handle the case of her mom’s abduction, but Jin Wook is handling the case where his mom is involved?? Again, doesn’t make sense and i feel like it was just written into the scene to be dramatic and evoke some story for Jinwook.

Other questionable storylines – How the HJ group was able to pass off and change all possible evidence from Taegyu to Minho. Too much fakeness. Oh, and when Gapsoo’s eyeglasses fell and got crushed, and you see him struggle to see, yet the next scene we see him driving his own car and kidnapping the mom. See what i mean? too convenient.

But seriously, despite the semi-rant and listing all the things wrong about the drama, i still enjoyed watching it. Maybe because i just came from watching the superbly written Defendant that i am unintentionally comparing the two. But you can try watching this show just to see Jung Ryu Won in action.

Because This is My First Life

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Profile
Drama: Because This Is My First Life (이번 생은 처음이라)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: October 9 – November 28, 2017
Runtime: Mondays & Tuesdays 21:30

Plot
Sehee is a single guy in his late 30s, who has a good job and a house and he has no intention of marrying. Jiho is a single girl is her early 30s, who just lost her job and house. She meets Sehee through her friend and moves in with him.

Cast
Lee Minki – Nam Sehee
Jung Somin – Yoon Jiho
Esom – Woo Sooji
Park Byung Eun – Ma Sanggoo
Kim Ga Eun – Yang Horang
Kim Minsuk – Sim Wonseok

Review
This is one of those rare kdramas that is almost perfect, in terms of casting, acting, storyline and even the soundtrack. Pacing was slow and yet it fit perfectly with the whole theme and setting. There was no character that i hated, and each of the couples’ struggles were different and relatable.

Favorite character – Nam Se Hee. From the outside people probably thinks he is weird and geeky, with his mostly expressionless face and toneless voice. But i think he is such a sensitive and great guy. i would say, he best epitomize the phrase “Action speak louder than words”. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched Lee Minki in a drama — actually the only drama i remember watching is Dalja’s Spring, which was way back in 2007. I think it’s because he has this pout on his face every single time so i feel that he is so boring. He fit his character very well. As Sehee, i could feel every emotion just by looking at his eyes, without him even saying much.

Favorite couple – it’s hard to choose which couple i love the most, because i liked the 3 couples a lot, so i’ll just brief say something about each couple.

Sehee/Jiho – from the beginning when they met, there was this instant chemistry between them. then when Jiho moved in with Sehee, they just perfectly matched each other’s moods, lifestyle and thinking. I think it’s because they’re both quirky. I remember reading an instagram post saying “Find someone who matches your crazy” and i think this quote describes Sehee and Jiho’s relationship really well. They may have started their marriage without love but that’s where they ended up, which i feel they both deserved. Esp Sehee. Episode 15 when Jiho initiated the divorce, of course i was sad af, but i thought it was necessary for them to stop the contract. and never thought for a second that Jiho was being a martyr by leaving the house. I was actually expecting her to knock on Sehee’s door the next day, asking him to start the relationship as equals, as lovers. But i also liked how the show put them together.

Sanggoo/Sooji – wah! their story is the exact opposite of Sehee/Jiho. while the former was loveless and calm, Sanggu and Sooji started their relationship as a bickering couple, well, mostly a resistant Sooji. and it wasn’t because she wasn’t attracted to Sanggoo, it was more on her own self-guilt/punishment. I love Sanggu, where can i meet someone like him? He may be older than Sooji but he treated her equally and with respect. he didn’t patronize her but he supported her and wasn’t afraid of facing Sooji’s wrath or scolding her when she has gone too far. Sooji is so cute when she smiles, you can just see how much Sanggu has affected her life and she has grown up more mature because of him.

Horang/Wonseok – i love Horang as the cheerful friend, but not as the clingy and marriage obsessed girlfriend. this is the couple where i could say one is at fault or the other. I think both were equally to blame for the slow decline of their relationship. Horang was focusing too much on herself and on getting married that she forgot to think of Wonseok. On the other hand, it’s unfair for Wonseok to lead her on after seven years and asking her to wait for 5 more when he knows how much she wants to get married. I was expecting them to get back together at the end, though i also wouldn’t have minded if they ended up getting married to other people. The accountant was okay and he seemed as cheerful as Horang, though i think he pushed it too fast and too early. I think had he took his time and slowly got to know Horang, he may have had a shot at Horang’s heart. Likewise, i dont think Bomi really liked Wonseok, but it would have been fun to see them end up together.

Favorite group – i heart the girls and boys’ group equally. Both group showed support and friendship when each one is having problems. when one girl is having a tough day, they also have time to meet up, talk it out and have a drink. Likewise, when the guys are having love problems, each had a wise advice to tell the other guy. and the best part is when the boys tell the their girlfriends what is happening to their friend and vice versa. What a solid friendship these couples have with each other.

There were too many scenes that i loved and these are some of my favorite moments:
Top 2 most heartfelt scenes – first is on episodes 11 when Jiho and Sehee were along the beach. I loved what Jiho said to Sehee – it is probably one of the main reasons he was maybe to move forward with his life. She said something like, you may have looked at something before (eg. watch the sea with friend A), but it doesn’t mean it’s the same thing that you are looking now (eg. watch the sea with friend B), because the same thing is different because it’s with someone else so it’s the first time for you. and she also told Sehee not to worry because just because you knew or lived it yesterday does not mean you already know it today (or to that effect). Jiho’s words almost stuck with me and i thought that was a brilliant thought. and Later when Sehee told Jiho their first kiss wasn’t a real kiss and he then he kissed her good.

Second is on episode 5 when Sehee saw Jiho crying on their wedding day and he read Jiho’s mom’s note to let Jiho write again if she wants to and not to give her trouble.

Top 2 saddest scenes – first is episode 15 when we see Sehee crying so hard after Jiho left. Second is episode 16 when again, we see Sehee crying in his sleep, thinking Jiho is in his dreams

Top 2 most bad-ass scenes – first is episode 14 when Sooji finally punches Mr Park in the elevator. he really had it coming. plus that scene when Sooji arrived in a motorcycle to pick up Sanggu in front of Sooji. Sanggu must feel really really proud and lucky to have his cool girlfriend.

Second is also on episode 14 when that sleazy assistant director met up with Sehee to try to drop the charges. while we didn’t see Sejoo actually beating up the guy, his fierce face when he stopped him and said, Sit down and tell me everything is all i needed to see.
Runner up is on episode 8 when Sehee got so mad, he kicked Bok nam’s motorcycle just a few hours/days before he got hurt trying to dodge the motorcycle.

Top 2 most heartbreaking scenes – First is episode 14 when Sehee was building up the courage to propose to Jiho, but Jiho said she wanted a divorce. I felt Sehee’s heart break into millions of pieces.

Second is on episode 13 when Wonseok broke up with Horang. i could feel the anguish from both sides. Wonseok knows he couldn’t make her happy so he let her go. Horang angry at Wonseok for not having the confidence to standby her even after telling her to wait for him.

Cutest scenes – anytime the Kitty is in the scene! the kitty was so calm and adorable!

Lesson learned – Although the three couples ended up marrying, for me, the lesson I got from this show is that every relationship and marriage is different. What works for one couple may not work for the other. marriage is also not easy, as Jiho’s mom said, there will be a lot of ups and downs and be sure to have plenty of stars in your pocket so that every time you are having a difficult time, you can just look back at all the stars (good moments) and then you can survive. It’s also about being able to find the relationship that works well for you and your partner. It doesn’t matter if you get married or just dating or living in, marriage is not the ultimate goal. It is not the validation that you have “arrived” or you have settled down. What is important is the quality of the relationship that you have with your partner. And even for the singles, it’s more important to find yourself, to be happy with your choices and to live your life by your own terms.

Park Bo Gum to visit Manila in April

Yet another fan meeting i’m looking forward to!! Park Bo Gum is having his first fanmeeting in Manila on April 27, 2019 at SM Mall of Asia Arena.

D0eIixuUcAAApHg I’m still undecided as to which seat I’m going to get. I feel like I wouldn’t mind getting front seats, though I might look out of place (an ahjumma among the young kids) lol. So i’ll probably get the next best seats. Let’s see.

Now if only Lee Junki extends his Asia tour to a quick stop to Manila. and can Park Seo Joon follow suit?

 

Defendant (2017)

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Profile
Drama: Defendant (피고인)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 18
Release Date: January 23 – March 21, 2017
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 22:00

Plot
Charged with killing his wife and daughter, prosecutor Park Jung Woo seeks to recoup his memory and build a case unlike any other to prove he is innocent.

Main Cast
Ji Sung – Park Jung Woo
Uhm Ki Joon – Cha Min Ho/Cha Sun Ho
Kwon Yuri – Seo Eun Hye
Oh Chang Suk – Kang Joon Hyuk
Uhm Hyun Kyung – Na Yeon Hee
Kim Min Suk – Lee Sung Kyu
Jo Jae Yun – Shin Cheol Sik

Review
This show was intense! I finished this in a week. Amazing acting by Ji Sung and Uhm Ki Joon! The story was so good i was gripping the remote the entire time.

Favorite character – Jung Woo! He was so smart that he was able to outwit the psychopath Min Ho. I love that he is a good father, husband, prosecutor and friend. Even when he was in jail, he never lost his integrity and faith. But i have to say, had he worked with his team more and shared his findings, he wouldn’t have been in this predicament in the first place. But i’m glad that he learned to be more open and let his friends help him. The last episode where he was having dinner with his former cell mates seems weird considering he is a prosecutor but it was heart warming to see him be surrounded by friends.

Scariest character – Cha Min Ho is terrifying! His own ego led to his downfall. I think being convicted and put on death row / solitary confinement is the best punishment for him – quick death is not enough to pay for his crimes – he needs to think about what he did and go mentally crazy.

Bravest character – Yeon Hee. She was a great character – at first i thought she was just meek and a side character, but she is one of the toughest – have to deal with Min Ho/Sun Ho, trying to avenge his father’s death, trying to take down Cha Myung Group and protecting her son – she was so cool. Second bravest character is Ha Yeon – for a young girl, she was able to survive the whole ordeal without any trauma and she still remained happy and sweet.

Favorite bromance – i love the whole cellmate crew, but my favorite side kick is Cheol Sik. That first episode where Jung Woo tried to arrest him and Cheol Sik ending up in the same prison, i thought he will be one of those annoying characters, but he surprised me by being one of the best friend Jung Woo had in the show. I also liked Miryang and his story. Mungchi and the doctor ending up together was weird too (i loved the doctor too!). Sung Kyu comes second, for keeping Ha Yeon safe, though i wish he didn’t have to die.

Character i hated so much – Seok. i wished he would have been killed by the Orange truck of doom. Dose of his own medicine. but alas, he has to be alive to testify against Min Ho.

Underwhelming episode – final episode i was hoping for a really intense showdown in the court room but with all the evidences neatly wrapped up in the 16th and 17th episode, the final episode was a bit disappointing. All it took was for Yeon Hee to cry and testify in court and Min Ho went down so fast.

While there were some tough scenes to watch, mostly because the whole plotting inside the prison, and Jung Woo cryign and losing his mind may get a little bit boring after a while, each episode picks up on the last 15 minutes and makes you want to watch the next episode. I ddidn’t fast forward any scenes even though some were painstakingly slow because i thought it helped build the overall tension of the show.