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I don't know any website with reviews or recaps for J-drama, since I don't even follow J-drama anymore. After getting used to watch K-drama, J-drama feels too heavy, I agree. In a way too confusing, or a little bit too serious, or the jokes simply don't hit you as funny as K-drama can. So strange, but can't be helped.
So, finally watched Answer Me 1997, wanted to see why the drama is so popular, i have to say that i have mixed feelings about it, though the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones. First of all, the humor was just great, can´t remember the last drama that made me laugh like this, especially the first few episodes were spot-on. Watching other people watch a football match or seeing passionate fangirls was never this hilarious.
Other than that, the first half of the drama in general was great. I liked how they emphasized the importance of memories and what they learned from them, i liked the nostalgia factor (though i don´t know anything about the 90s in Korea), the characters and their interaction were truly interesting and engaging. Acting was satisfying for the most part, the female lead is surprisingly good considering that this was her first part, i had already seen her in That Winter, the Wind blows in which she was sometimes able to even overshadow her peers in my opinion, considering who her peers were, namely Zo In-Sung and Song Hye-Kyo among others, that is definitely something. In Answer Me, her acting was not quite as strong but her presence and charisma are still incredible.
The male lead was weak in comparison, at least in the most essential parts but the great side characters made up for it, especially the parents and the schoolmates, who would all deserve their own series.
Coming to the negative points, i felt like the drama in the series, especially the storyline with the male lead´s brother, was totally forced and unnecessary. I mean, prior to that, the writers actually managed to create sad moments with the characters´past (death of the brother´s fiancee, the death of the parents and so forth) and the father´s cancer but still kept the show lighthearted.
It seemed like the triangle with the brother and the following timeskip took the fun out of the show, in addition to requiring the suspension of disbelief way too much. I mean, the brother saw Shi Won as a little sister and as a kid, suddenly he developed romantic feelings, even the projection of his dead fiancee onto Shi Won did not explain that.
Then of course the main lead could not do anything about it, so he decided to never see her again, a drastic and somewhat unrealistic choice but ok, let´s accept that.
The thing i sincerely disliked is the fact that the relation between the three was almost the same after the timeskip. Of course the main lead could not forget her for 7 years, of course the brother tried to get her for 7 years but could not do it, of course the girl was also still in love with the main lead. These idealistic characters are nothing new regarding Dramas, especially Korean ones, but in this case it pretty much contradicts the rather realistic tone of the first half of the series. It´s not like there were no other possibilities to bring the characters back together (like the characters actually moving on, including dating other people but meeting by chance and letting old feelings resurface for example).
The red herrings that were supposed to build up tension also seemed ridiculous at times, considering it was obvious from the start who would get together.
Then there were of course minor, unrealistic issues like the brother becoming a millionaire, donating all his money and so forth, portrying both brothers as saints, or the fact that the last few episodes seemed to turn into idol fan service, something i have nothing to do with at all, but it is not really important, so i can let that slide.
All in all, it was definitely a unique and interesting drama, it just shows that generally, cable dramas are better and way more flexible. I can definitely see why it is this popular though i can not completely agree, mostly because of the in comparison weak second half.
hehe when I read that you watched 1997 I applauded. It's become one of my favorite dramas, that I had not declared the first time I watched it. Watching it the third time confirmed it. Not saying that you should do the same, Musashi.
I'm currently at the last leg of Answer Me 1994, and it's still also fun. But 1997 had super-short episodes, 30-45 minutes, while 1994 has an hour and 20!
I love 1997 because there was never a doubt about the main couple. It was always them and even if you threw in the brother angle (which was, as you said, unbelievable and for me, pretty disgusting given he was such a cradle snatcher), it was hands down the main couple up to the very end.
I'm reading that 1994 this time around had two completely viable candidates, and that the fandom is in total war over each shipping. lol. I'm not the type to go into shipping, I just take what ever the show hands out to me. But man, really, for an hour and 20 min per episode, and stretching to 21 episodes, compared to the fast pace of 1997, 1994 gets on my nerves with the guessing game.
Still, it's an entertaining watch, and I'm not going to fully judge it yet given I've only watched 16 episodes of it.
I don´t disagree with that, i actually like the main couple, their relationship is definitely unique compared to most K-Dramas but like you said, since there was no doubt about the main couple, the brother angle just seemed ridiculous and way too exaggerated. It seemed like an attempt to create tension but there were certainly other possibilities to achieve that, not to forget, the brother was supposed to be liked by the audience, considering the sacrifice for his younger brother and his loss of the fiancee, but this triangle kind of ruined that.
Like i said above, i liked how flexible the cable dramas are. Since i watched 1997 just recently, i still have the lengths of the episodes more or less in my mind, they stretch from 30-70 minutes, depending on the episode, which just shows that the writers don´t have to stretch or condense their ideas into a predetermined duration, like other dramas with approx 60 minutes or even American TV shows that normally run for 40 minutes.
hmm, i wanted to try 1994 after finishes but that does not sound too good to be honest. One of the greatest advantage of the cable dramas is their fast pace like you said, so 21 episodes à 80 minutes is like the opposite^^.
If you are looking for something new after 1994, "Miss Korea" is pretty good.
One more episode to the end of Reply 1994. I'm nervous.
To be honest, I was not a fan of Reply 1997 in the beginning. I know nothing of Korea in that age. I saw Jung Eun Ji (actress of Sung Shi Won) in this series first prior to That Winter The Wind Blows. And I thought her character was just out of my comprehension. I'm a fan girl myself, but nowhere as crazy as her. It's entertaining, but I couldn't help feeling wtf-is-wrong-with-you when she stalked her idol, did everything for him, and even with that incident regarding blood. I thought it was too much. Then yes, I also agree that the romance with Yoon Jae's brother was too sudden and forced. When I watched it I thought it was strange that he saw her dead lover in Shi Won; he worked too hard for the misunderstanding but I suppose he fell in love with her eventually. At the end of the series I learned to accept those all, for the crazy and funny humor scenes, for the touching moments between the family (I cried a river on episode 15, lol), and for the romance of Shi Won and Yoon Jae.
Reply 1994 brings more or less similar feelings. Equally crazy and funny. But I can especially relate with Reply 1994 because I'm a student in a boarding house myself, so I share the feelings in the beginning of the series as they seem to be lost and confused and all other troubles. To me the supporting characters seem to have more stories for them in 1994, although it may not be enough just yet. And the love candidates are more equal here. Which brings a crazy fan war out there as baboysai said, but I choose to just enjoy the show, whoever she ends up with, since both candidates are awesome in their own way. <3
Miss Korea. I thought it was supposed to be a comedy? I didn't laugh as much as I thought I would, but nevertheless still enjoyed the show. I can say I'm comfortable with Lee Yeon Hee here, her face finally shows life, thank goodness. I'm looking forward to the plot and how it twists and resolves later. For now, it's pretty promising, in my opinion.
yeah I could relate with 1997 in that, I was pretty close to that time. But I could closely relate to 1994 as well because I was also a "country bumpkin" who stayed in a dorm in the city during my college life- living with the country accent, trying to adapt to city life with new friends that also came from the country, that they captured so well.
Hmm, i live in a living community with 4 other students, maybe i can relate to 1994 as well, who knows
By the way, since the year is over now, what were your favorites for 2013?
well. Highlights of 2013 in a fast zip:
Gu Family Book- Awesome 23 episodes, then that last episode, that very last ten minutes of the show, ruined EVERYTHING.
That Winter the Wind Blows- What are you guys doing???
Heirs- LMH and PSH, and Kim Woo Bin, you guys did great and looked good, but that's about it.
I Hear Your Voice- I didn't know I had a cougar in me
Flower Boy Next Door- Interesting first half. PSH was great as an introvert. Again the later half destroyed the show.
Mirae's Choice- Another first half only. What is up with the later halves of these shows???
Reply 1994- I'm not done yet so...
Also, may I mention- You from Another Star- with that actress in My Sassy Girl that opened the Korean Drama madness in the Philippines- 2 episodes in and I love it. But with what I've learned with this year's dramas, there's always the second half before making judgments... not just the second half, Gu Family Book's last ten minutes toppled the show entirely to the point where it can never be redeemed. So you can never tell until the very end.
My Top 5 would be
Nine: Nine Nimes Time Travel
All about my Romance: Nothing much to say about this one, perfectly executed rom-com with 2 likeable main leads, great actors great chemistry and an interesting environment for the story
Special Affairs Team Ten 2: Still engating writing, strong characterization, a unique atmosphere and interesting cases (though not as good as season 1)
That Winter the Wind blows: Definitely had some weakness in writing but the most beautiful cinematography in K-Drama ever, a great cast, especially the main leads and so forth make it still outstanding
Heartless City: Similar to above in the sense that it also had some weaknesses in writing, but the atmosphere, the suspenseful plot and the intelligent characters still made it one of the best in this year imo
For J-Drama, it would be
Hanzawa Naoki, Kazoku Game, Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi, Karazamov no Kyoudai (Dostoyevsky adaption) and Doxter x 2
I can´t really agree with You from another Star. Gianna Jun who seems kind of wasted on the drama, she is like overshadowing everyone. The first episodes revealed really weak writing that i really had to check who the writer was, only to see that she really has never done something meaningful or noteworthy, not surprising.
I think the motivation behind the drama is clear. After the Thieves became the most successful movie ever in Korea last year, something the main leads of You from another Star had a lot to do with, i think they thought to just bring those two together in a drama and cash in.
Last edited by MiyamotoMusashi; December 29, 2013 at 02:19 AM.
Waaaah. I just finished Reply 1994.
I thought it was going downhill about episode 16... I mean, really? 80 minutes per episode and we're bound to run in circles... BUT GREAT LAST TWO EPISODES TO PULL ME BACK IN.
Although out of the two leads, one had to **not** get the girl, it was the first time that I was really invested in a pairing, goddarnit. And it was the first time my heart was broken because of what canon dictated... But, it would have been sad for one guy either way so, I can accept it.
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hmm, if I had to compare 1997 and 1994, I really couldn't. 1994 had more emphasis on friendship and family that really tugged my heart. It was as if, to fill the 80-minute voids, they padded it up with friendship drama that for me, became the highlight instead of the romance. (Since... my ship didn't pull through oh what the heck anyway). I loved 1997 for being full-on with its youthful crushes, whereas I loved 1994 for its more mature tone by the later half of the show- the more realistic choices a person had to make when in a relationship.
Because 1997 was so short and concise, the feel of the show was as fresh as high school loves come, and they held that momentum up to the very end, IMO. But because 1994 had soooo much time at their disposal, the stories involved went way past the giddy stages and put the characters in situations where 1997 glossed over. Like having to weigh between career and love, or that crucial moment when you've just finished school and about to step into the working world. Those scenes I appreciated that I thought no other drama had yet thought to deliver except the 1994 team.
IS 1994 really recommendable? I mean, the story sounds really good but the 21 episodes à 80 minutes kind of deter me from watching it to be honest. Normally, i am already skeptical of 20 episodes à 60 minutes.
you could always give it some 3 episodes to try. I don't watch the entire 80 minutes myself.