Poseidon

http://www.viki.com/videos/147507v-poseidon-episode-1

I love this show, and it easily made it  into my top 10 Kdramas of all time. It’s like a great summertime movie. It has action, romance, intrigue and some great fight scenes. There are only 16 episodes so it’s got a great quick flow to it. I also love the OST, it fits perfectly with the show.

Here is a synopsis from an online source with some changes by me since it wasn’t explaining it accurately.

This drama is the story of  members of the coast guard. The drama is based on the special duties of the Korean Coast Guard officers (rescues, terrorism threats, and other special missions) and also their obstacle in life and love. The drama takes its name from the Poseidon Team,  two men within the coast guard. Using the strong bonds of humanity as a basis, and through the challenges faced by the protagonists and their spirit of self-sacrifice, the drama movingly shows the significance of life and the stories of how people overcome obstacles in life.

Kim Sun Woo, played by Siwon of Kpop band Super Junior, joins the sea special attack team. Sun Woo works as a promising commando, but he unexpectedly loses a comrade due to an undercover mission he wasn’t supposed to be running. He is demoted and is sent to a maritime police office in Gunsan city. Sun Woo’s passion cools down and he slowly loses his vision as a maritime policeman. Then one day, Jung Ryul, who lost his wife to the same people who killed Sun Woo’s co-worker,  has formed a new crime investigation section in Incheon city, visits Sun Woo and asks him to join the team. Sun Woo’s love interest is a co-worker who is a pretty and feisty girl who loves to box as a hobby. With time she knocks him out in every way. Literally.

It’s hard to lose with a Kdrama that has one of South Korea’s  great treasures aka Siwon. While you could probably be happy with Siwon just standing around, flashing some of the cutest dimples on the planet, luckily you don’t have to. Siwon does a phenomenal job as a good  officer who is willing to get a little dirty to get the bad guy. The heroine is one of my favorites of all the kdramas I’ve seen, she’s strong, passionate, and doesn’t take any crap from the hero. Poseidon has a great pace, attractive actors and actresses, great acting and writing. You can’t ask for more, and I really can’t think of any complaints. Oh there is one. No kiss scene…… Oh Siwon you are such a tease.

But I can promise there are some kiss scenes in my books…Anne Violet Amazon Author Page

poseidon

You’re Beautiful

There are several Kdramas that are in most people’s top 5 favorites of all time, and You’re Beautiful is one of them. It has a gorgeous cast, great OST (original sound track), and fun story. It’s a real joy to watch and I’ve seen it more times than I want to admit. Jang Geun Suk plays a wonderfully flawed but captivating hero. One thing the Hong sisters (the writers of You’re Beautiful), are exceptional at is writing incredibly flawed but still appealing heroes.

http://www.viki.com/videos/82792v-youre-beautiful-episode-1

Here is the synopsis from Viki.com

Go Mi Nam, whose name literally means “handsome,” has it all – good looks, a place on the teenage idol boy band A.N.Jell, and legions of fans. But when a plastic surgery procedure gets botched, he is forced to secretly go to the United States to have it corrected. The band manager asks Mi Nam’s twin sister, Mi Nyu (Park Shin Hye), to pose as Mi Nam and take over his place in the band. As she tries to pretend to be a guy among the other band members – Hwang Tae Kyung (Jang Geun Suk), Kang Shin Woo (Jung Yong Hwa of CN Blue) and Jeremy (Lee Hong Ki of F.T. Island) – Mi Nyu causes problems within the band because some of the members know her real identity and some do not. Can the band survive the infiltration by a female or will it implode? “You’re Beautiful” is a 2009 South Korean drama series directed by Hong Sung Chang. The show won numerous awards for its stars in 2009.

This show is enjoyable with its romance and comedic scenes the whole way through. While it is somewhat hard to believe that anyone could mistake her for a guy, you are willing to go for the ride. It’s hard not to want Jang Geun Suk and Park Shin Hye to date in real life  because they have an adorable chemistry, but like many girls you may find yourself rooting for the second lead played by Yong Hwa of Kpop group CNBlue. My only complaints would be the over naivete of the heroine (very common in kdrama), and that in the last couple episodes their reason for staying apart was a little weak in my opinion. It does have a wonderful happy ending in perfect harmony with who the characters really are.  You won’t regret watching this one.

And if you’re now in the mood for romance… Anne Violet Amazon Author Page

AN JELL2

My favorite Kdrama of all time–Faith

http://www.viki.com/videos/199084v-the-great-doctor-aka-faith-episode-1

Before reading this you may want to read my first post on Kdramas.

Warning–Spoilers included. Continue at your own risk.

Here is the synopsis from Viki.com for Faith–

A modern-day surgeon is kidnapped and taken back 700 years to the Goryeo Dynasty in Korean history. General Choi Young, a warrior, abducts Dr. Eun Soo and returns to his time period so that the doctor can save the injured Princess No Guk. Can Dr. Eun Soo do what is being asked of her and return to her own time period? Or will she have faith in her heart and stay in the past to help the king become a better ruler who cares for and heals his people, and the courage to love the stoic admiral?

Honestly before Faith I wasn’t a big Lee Min Ho fan. I made the silly mistake of confusing the actor with the TKJ roles he tended to play, but his portrayal of Choi Young completely, and utterly, changed me. If I had to choose my favorite romantic hero of film or books I would choose him. His combination of honor, intelligence, bravery, and the twinkle in his eyes, melted my heart. To me the mark of a great actor is not emotional pyrotechnics, but what he can express with his face alone. It constantly amazes me how much Lee Min Ho  can express with the tiniest flicker of emotion in his eyes.

Okay enough fangirling and on to the review. I’m going to give just a summary opinion since there are many more sites that will give a play-by-play per episode review if that’s what you want. Obviously since this is my favorite Kdrama of all time, I won’t have many complaints. One of my few complaints with Faith is that in the beginning of the show our hero is apathetic, and it can be hard to get into a story where the hero has so little care for anything, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. The other complaint for some, is that the heroine is mildly irritating at first, but if you put yourself in  her shoes it’s completely understandable. This show becomes more addictive with each episode and the fact that it’s loosely based on history, gives it a poignancy that a strictly fiction story may not.

There are two romances that develop in Faith and both grow in a believable way over time, and I love the fact that both couples work as partners with faith and trust in each other. This is not always common in Kdramas. The action is well balanced with heartfelt dialogue, and dramatic scenes, with a little humor here and there to lighten things up. You will love the friendships that develop, and you will adore the Wool Dal Chi warriors. The intrigue and sense of danger was weaved through out the story and rarely lets up. While some maybe unhappy that they didn’t kiss at the end (I would’ve liked one too), considering that the general was a fairly stoic person, I thought it fit with his character. My only complaint at the end was the hero failing to win against the evil guy. We didn’t get that satisfying feeling to watch him be killed by our hero, and after all the evil and harm that character did, his ending felt rather anti-climatic. This is a story that never leaves you. To this day I haven’t found another drama I can like half as well.

faith

And if you’re now in the mood for more paranormal romance or a Kdrama inspired contemporary… Anne Violet Amazon Author Page

Please share, retweet, and review. Thank you so much.

Shinee

If Big Bang or Block B has a little to much edge, or rapping for you, you might enjoy Kpop band Shinee. You can consider them the softer side of Kpop. They have gorgeous melodies and a smooth style. You might also enjoy their many sweet and funny appearances on Korean variety shows, like Hello Baby.

Here is a Wikipedia’s excerpt on them.

Shinee (pron.: /ˈʃn/ SHY-nee; Korean: 샤이니; Japanese: シャイニー; more commonly known and stylized as SHINee) is a South Korean contemporary R&B boy group under the management of SM Entertainment.[1] Formed in 2008, the group consists of Onew, Jonghyun, Key, Minho, and Taemin. They made their debut on May 25, 2008 on SBS‘s Inkigayo with their single, “Replay“.

Since their debut, Shinee has released three full-length albums (with one being a separate double-album release), four mini-albums, one live album and various singles. They have also won many awards, held three concert tours and starred in their own reality shows. Shinee is considered to be a fashion icon having started the “Shinee Trend”[2] and are known for their highly synchronized and complicated dancing.

shinee

Kpop band Block B

Block B is my second favorite band, and interestingly they get a lot of comparisons to Big Bang. I can see why this is, but I definitely think Block B has their own charm and style.

 

Again, to make it faster for me I am including an excerpt of Wikipedia on Block B with a couple of additional notes from me.

 

Block B (Hangul: 블락비) is a South Korean group created by Cho PD under his label Brand New Stardom. On April 15, 2011, they made their debut on KBS Music Bank with their promotional single, “Freeze!” (“그대로멈춰라!”). The group consists of seven members: Zico (Woo Jiho) the leader, Lee Taeil, B-Bomb (Lee Minhyuk), Ahn Jaehyo, U-Kwon (Kim Yukwon), Park Kyung rapper, and P.O (Pyo Jihoon) rapper. The members of Block B have dancing, rapping, composing, and singing experience.

 

They are a newer band with not a lot of music or videos out, but what they do have is definitely addictive. Narina and Nillili Mambo in particular will refuse to leave your head for weeks. The videos are great too. They’ve also done several variety shows like MTV Match Ups. Their recent album named Blockbuster released in 2012, was able to reach #10 on the “Billboards World Album Chart”. In this new album, the band members were heavily involved in writing and producing, and I think that individuality shows in the music. I look forward to anything they do in the future.

blockb

My favorite band Big Bang

Nope, I’m not talking about the TV show, or the scientific theory; I’m talking about the Korean band Big Bang.

I will list the members of Big Bang by oldest to youngest, stage name first, then real name in an English name order. In Korea it would be last name first.  

TOP, Seung Hyun Choi–songwriter, rapper, actor and model

Gdragon, also goes by GD— Ji yong Kwon—the leader of Big Bang, songwriter, singer/rapper

Taeyang, Young Bae Dong— singer, dancer

Daesung, Dae Sung Kang–singer, actor

Victory, Seung Hyun Lee –singer, actor, host

 

I am including Wikipedia’s excerpt about Big Bang too, since it has a lot of great information.  

Big Bang or Bigbang (Korean: 빅뱅; stylized as BIGBANG) is a South Korean male group under the management of YG Entertainment. Formed in 2006, the group consists of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri. Big Bang is known for their unique urban-originated music and fashion style. The members’ involvement in composing and producing their own music, most notably leader G-Dragon, has earned the group respect and praise from music industry experts.

The group’s turning point came with their hit song Lies, which stayed at number one on Korean charts for a record-breaking seven consecutive weeks. Their follow up releases, Hot Issue and Stand Up, furthered their success, spawning hits such as Last Farewell and Haru Haru.[4] From 2007 to 2008, Big Bang received many awards, including “Best Male Group”, “Song of the Year”, “Artist of the Year”, and the Grand Award at the Seoul Music Awards.

From 2009 to 2010, Big Bang expanded their endeavors to Japan, and were voted “the Korean group that Japanese fans wish to see the most”. They became the first foreign group awarded “Best Newcomer” from the Japan Cable Broadcasting Station and “Best New Artist” at MTV Japan. Amidst their Japanese group promotions, the members branched out to do solo activities. Taeyang, G-Dragon, and Seungri have released solo albums. G-Dragon and T.O.P also collaborated on an album under the sub-unit GD & TOP. Seungri and Daesung have acted in both TV dramas and musicals. T.O.P became a highly acclaimed film star. Daesung also hosted many of Korea’s most popular variety TV shows.

After nearly a two-year hiatus in Korea, Big Bang reunited in 2011 with their successful album Tonight. However, promotions were cut short when multiple members encountered legal issues. In November 2011, representing the Asia-Pacific region, Big Bang emerged as the inaugural “Best Worldwide Act” winner at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards.[5][6][7] This was the first time in six months all five members were seen together. In 2012, Big Bang released their fifth Mini Album Alive in Korea and Japan before embarking on their first ever World Tour which concluded in early 2013.

 

          I was lucky enough to go to their sold out Alive concert at the Honda Center in Anaheim, and I can easily say I have never seen a band give so much on stage. The concert went on for at least three hours and they practically crawled off in exhaustion. Even though they are internationally popular they still have such a great appreciation of their fans. Their music is addictive and with their constant evolution you are kept continually enthralled. The bonds between the members will charm you, their variety show appearances will make you laugh, and their music will make you dance. Obviously I can’t hide how fangirl I am when it comes to Big Bang. I hope you enjoy their music as much as I do.

bigb fav pic of bb

 

Kpop is much more than Psy

kpop1

Most Americans only know Kpop because of Psy, but for those of us that discovered Kpop before him, we know there is so much more. The first Kpop artist I started listening to was Rain (internationally known singer, dancer, and actor from Korea). His Kdrama, Runaway Plan B, was also my first Kdrama. Rain, I blame you for my addiction to all things Korean. Anyways, many people find it strange that someone would listen to music when they don’t know the words, but funnily they don’t find it odd that people all over the world listen to American music and don’t know English.

 

A quick background of the Kpop world—In Korea, much like the old Hollywood studio system, young people are recruited and put under contract and spend many years training. They get singing, dancing, instrument, and language training. You’ll find many Kpop artists who are multi-lingual. The band members are put together by the label and they live together in dorms, which can be great if you get along with all your members. There used to be a five year expiration date on Kpop bands, but no longer. The big three major entertainment labels in South Korea are—YG, SM, and JYP. You will often hear them referred to as the YG family or the SM family. Psy, Big Bang, and 2NE1 are part of the YG label aka family. Shinee, Girls Generation, and Super Junior are part of SM. 2PM, and MBLAQ are part of JYP.

 

An odd bit of info to be aware of—in South Korea when an artist comes out with a new song or album it’s termed a comeback, even if it hasn’t been that long since they last released something. It’s odd to Americans who are used to that term meaning someone who has been out of the industry for a long time. Here’s a fact you might want to know—South Korean males have a two year military requirement, and even celebrities have to do it. They are allowed to postpone up to two times, and then they have to enlist. Most Korean celebrities wait till they are in their mid to late twenties. Rain will finish his enlistment July 2013.

 

Believe it or not many Americans and non-Koreans are listening to Kpop. Why? Speaking in a general sense, Kpop is usually very upbeat and fun. The videos can be very colorful, sexy, fun, theatrical, and/or have great dance routines. Honestly I rarely look up the English subtitles or English lyrics unless it’s a band I really like. If you’re wondering where Kpop fans watch the videos, it’s no surprise, YouTube of course. Kpop is so popular that it’s pretty easy to find the music video you’re interested in with English subs if you want them.

 

Kpop fans are intensely passionate and loyal, and I think a part of that is the fact that Korean celebrity’s lives are much publicized. Take for instance my favorite band Big Bang. From their very beginning YG filmed a documentary of their recruitment and training all the way to their debut, and it doesn’t stop there. There is behind-the-scenes videos, videos where they are followed around in their daily schedule, videos of their tours and music videos, etc. In a way that you don’t see in America, you get the feeling you know your favorite band or actor, and so feel more involved with them. On the good side of that you have fans that become evangelists for your art: passionate, loyal and eager to help with their favorite’s success. On the negative there are the crazy fans that will stalk their obsession in a truly frightening way, although stalker fans are definitely not unique to Korea.

 

For many, the Kpop male style may take getting used to. Not only do most male kpop groups wear makeup, most noticeably eye-makeup, they can also, depending on the group, have very fashion forward style or androgynous style. One last thing to be aware of–in Korea it is very common to be physically affectionate with the same sex, it may look odd to some Americans who aren’t used to it, but after some time, you’ll find yourself impressed with their comfort in showing affection to their friends so publicly.

So are you curious to try out Kpop and don’t know where to start. I can help you with that. Obviously I am going to be biased to my own favorite groups, but I think I will make a whole separate post for that.