Category: KDrama, JDrama, TwDrama, ThDrama, FDrama, CDrama

Dramas and films from the South East Asian nations: South Korean, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines and China

Ashes of Love (Chinese Drama Review)

Drama

Ashes of Love (Chinese Drama Review)

Ashes of Love poster

  • Genre: Romance, Fantasy
  • AKA: Heavy Sweetness, Ask-like Frost, a novel by Dian Xian
  • Date Released: August 2018
  • CDrama: 60 Episodes

Cast:

  • Yang Zi as Jin Mi, the Frost Flower Fairy
  • Deng Lun as Xu Feng, the Fire Immortal also the Demon King
  • Luo Yunxi as Run Yo, Crown Prince, Night Immortal and ultimately the Heavenly king
  • Chen Yuqi as Liu Ying, the Demon Princess
  • Wang Yifei as Sui He, Peacock Immortal
  • Zou Tingwei as Xi Yuan, a reaper
  • Zhang Yan Yan as Zi Fen, Flower deity
  • Wang Renjun as Luo Lin, the Water Immortal
  • He Zhonghua as Heavenly Emperor, Song Wei
  • Kathy Chow as Heavenly Empress, Ruler of the Bird tribe
  • Liao Jingfei as Lord Puchu, Jin Mi’s close friend
  • Du Bella as Kuan Lu, soldier girl

Episode 1

This is a fantasy drama starting with the creation of the universe, where the marriage of ying and yang created the deities, fairies, humans and the presence of good and evil closely residing together side by side.

Zi Fen, of the Flower realm, is shown giving birth to a baby girl while on the other side of the realm, the water immortal, the father of the child is getting married to another woman, the wind immortal.

Zi Fen was weak and absolutely heartbroken by the betrayal of her lover, Luo Lin, the water immortal.  With her dying breath, Zi Fen instructed that her daughter should not be allowed out of the Flower realm.  She then produces a small flower essence globule that she instructed the other deities to feed to her newborn daughter.  The globule will ensure that her daughter will never feel betrayal from love.  The effect of the globule will be the inability for the daughter eventually named Jin Mi, to feel love or express love.

In the heavenly realm, Xu Feng was currently undergoing some sort of regeneration.  His final ascent was sabotaged by a black force from the demon realm.  This resulted in Xu Feng, in the body of a phoenix, to plunge into the flower realm, right next to where Jin Mi was sitting contemplating her current situation.  She has been an elf and had not progressed to being a fairy.  She wanted to get out of the flower realm and see more of the world outside.

Jin Mi saw the bird all charred and burnt but still alive.  She did everything to revive it.  Of course, she succeeded.

Jin Mi had been nurtured without knowing anything about the birds and bees in their euphemism sense. 🙂

When the bird turned into a man, she tried to touch it everywhere.  The scene where she thought that the bird/man needed healing because of his protuberance in his nether regions, Jin Mi thought he had a tumor that needed cauterising. Luckily Phoenix, Xu Feng became compos mentis, otherwise he would have woken a eunuch! 🙂

Episode 2

Jin Mi said to the handsome Xu Feng that since she had saved his life several times, he should return the favour and take her with him when he leaves the flower realm.

He did just that but their return to the Heaven Realm coincided with an attack by the Demon Realm.

Episode 3

Jin Mi is settling in at Xu Feng’s Qi Wu Palace.

Episode 4

Jin Mi met the rather introspective Night Immortal, Run Yo.  And she is proving popular for her artlessness and naivete.

Episode 5

This episode is strange, funny, cute with a glorious fighting scene at the end.

Jin Mi had a first kiss (on the cheek) by a woman who wanted to marry her, not knowing Jin Mi is a woman.  Apparently, she was dressed like a boy, I did not really notice it LOL.

Anyway, Jin Mi is completely clueless about love and relationship so she did not know how to turn down a proposal of marriage.  It was left to Xu Feng to reveal that she is female.

From then on she started dressing in colourful, flowy garments which brought out her beauty and delicateness, which was noticed by everyone including by Xu Feng himself.

The scene where the viewers are allowed to hear what they were each thinking was hilarious.  Xu Feng thought that Jin Mi was really into him, while Jin Mi thought he was a jerk.

One of Jin Mi’s Flower Realm compatriots finally caught up with her and convinced her to go back as the realm was in danger of being broken up.

Jin Mi was all for going back but the Moon Immortal is convincing otherwise.  He told her that Xu Feng had looked after her well and therefore, deserved a proper goodbye from her.

Their toing and froing was interrupted by the arrival of Qiong Qi who was all powerful.  He was about to take Jin Mi when Run Yo appeared.  But Qiong Qi was too strong.  Then came Xu Feng and his mini-army.  Qiong Qi easily fought off the army and even Xu Feng.

Episode 6

Xu Feng is beginning to become rather proprietorial towards Jin Min.  They shared another kiss, which Jin Min thought was a natural act of making Xu Feng take his medication.  Really!

Run Yo explained to Jin Min the nature and types of dreams including wet dreams!  Funny!

Episode 7

Xu Feng and Run Yo with Jin Mi went to the Demon Realm to capture Qiong Qi and find out how he got out from the ancient divine artifact.  There they met the Princess of Biangcheng Palace, who assured them that her family had nothing to do with Qiong Qi’s escape from the ancient divine artifact.

This episode also had many funny moments including Xun Feng’s erotic dream of Jin Min being stolen by the beast dreamer.

Episode 8

Xu Feng, Run Yo, the demon princess, and Jin Mi accomplished their mission of defeating Qiong Qi with great difficulty.  Qiong Qi can turn into a ferocious dragon at will.  They return him back into the ancient divine artifact.

While Jin Mi was alone with the artifact, she had a psychological moment with it.  She heard the voice of her dead best friend Rou Rou asking to be let out.  Of course, Jin Mi had to open the artifact and out a weaker Qiong Qi.  Luckily Xu Feng was just returning and quickly perform a damage limitation.  Once again Qiong Qi was back in his bottle after he managed to almost fatally wound Xu Feng.

The only thing that could cure Xu Feng was a night rattan flower which only grows at the Flower Realm.  Jin Mi was forced to return to the realm and begged the flower deity to give her some night rattan.

The flower deity was not sympathetic and grounded Jin Mi for having run away.  But Jin Mi can’t be thwarted, she tried to grow the flower herself.

After numerous attempts, she managed to grow the plant and had Xu Feng healed.

Episode 9

Xu Feng was heartbroken.  Despite telling the flower deities of his clear intention and that he had fallen for Jin Mi, he was turned away.

Jin Mi herself was very sad because she was so looking forward to receiving the 1000 years of magical prowess as a reward from Xu Feng.

Xu Feng later had a much bigger problem with his feelings for Jin Mi.  He ‘found’ out that they can’t morally be together as they could have the same father, the emperor.

This was not the case really as the water immortal is Jin Mi’s father.

Episode 10

Kuan Lu was being recruited by the Heavenly Empress to spy on Run Yo but it seems Kuan Lu is loyal to Run Yo.

Run Yo, being the first born is really next in line to the throne but the Heavenly Empress is doing everything for Xu Feng, who is her son/nephew, to become the crown prince.

Run Yo is also attracted to JIn Mi but also aware that he is already betrothed to yet to be conceived daughter of the water immortal and his wife, who had been trying for a baby for 4000 years. LOL  Run Yo is clueless that Jin Mi is the firstborn of the water immortal.  Jin Mi doesn’t know either that she was the daughter of the Imperial flower deity and the water immortal.

Run Yo came looking for jin Mi at the flower realm.  After having cute meteor garden moment Run Yo helped Jin Mi to escape her confinement at the Water Mirror at the Flower realm and took her to his Xuan Ji Palace.

Episode 11

To hide Jin Mi from the deities of the Flower Realm, Run Yo brought her to the human realm.

Jin Mi had a lot of adventure in the human realm when she happened to meet the wickedly naughty Lord Puchu, her friend.

Jin Mi is once again dressed as a boy and Lord Puchu taught her boy’s pursuits, how to have fun.

Apparently, it is doing all the four activities involving eating, drinking, playing and enjoying.

They had a lot to eat and drink, they went to a gambling den, where Jin Mi showed her prowess at Mahjong.   She was so good because she had been unknowingly cheating by using her magic.

The gambling den owner had to throw them out in the end.

Finally, Lord Puchu brought her to a brothel for enjoying.  Again Jin Mi was popular with the girls.  But finally, Jin Mi had had enough and run off much to the hilarity of Lord Puchu and reminded her again about the four pursuits.  He then brought her to another brothel/theatre with ladyboys as the attraction.  LOL

Jin Mi was intrigued.  She was just inspecting a server when Xu Feng suddenly appeared and then Run Yo also was there.

Xu Feng and Run Yo got drunk.

Xu Feng in an alcoholic haze almost kissed Jin Mi, who was not averse to a bit of ‘cultivation’.  Xu Feng pulled back at the last minute.  He told her that what she feels for him is mutual but the heavens will punish them if they progress their relationship.  Jin Mi does not really understand what he was talking about and promptly went to sleep.

Episode 12

It is the birthday of the Heavenly Empress. Everyone from the six realms was invited except those from the Flower Realm.

Jin Mi feeling alone and lonely, wished she has someone to distract her from her tedium.  Suddenly Lord Puchu materialised.  He said that her wishing and sighing brought him in.  He was on his way to heaven for the Empress celebration.  He invited her to go with him.  At first Jin Mi was not keen but the promise of the hundred of years peaches, which enhances magical powers convinced her to go.

During the start of celebrations, a parade of beautiful immortals was on show.  Lord Puchu started to evaluate the beauties according to his little ‘black book’, the Valuation manual of beauties.

He mentioned that all the beauties on show were nothing compared to Zi Fen.  She was the ‘it’ girl of her time, a true beauty.

The water immortal and wind immortal also attended the celebration.  Jin Mi mentioned that she feels calm looking at Water Immortal.  Puchu mentioned that she’s got a great taste as the Water Immortal was one of the most handsome men of his time.

Though Puchu seemed to care for Jin Mi a lot, he has his own hidden agenda.  He connived with the Rat Immortal to make Jin Mi the centre of attention.

Both the Water Immortal and the Emperor noticed her similarities to Zi Fen, which only annoyed the Empress.

She ordered that Jin Mi be put to death.  Immediately Xu Feng followed by Run Yo went on their knees and beg the empress to change her decision.  They would take the punishment for Jin MI.

As the atmosphere is getting heated, Puchu flew Jin Mi out of the heaven, closely followed by the immortal guards, Xu Feng and Run Yo.

Jin Mi and Puchu ended up being confronted by the Flower deities and then appeared both Xu Feng and Run Yo.  When the flower deites asked Run Yo his intention on Jin Mi, Xu Feng revealed that he knew that there can never be any ‘cultivation’ between any of them as Xu Feng, Run Yo and Jin Mi are siblings with different mothers.

I am absolutely loving this drama, though I heard it will get darker and with a possible unhappy ending.

 

 

 

 

The 8-Year Engagement (Japanese Movie Review)

Film

The 8-Year Engagement (Japanese Movie Review)

8-nengoshi no Hanayome: Kiseki no Jitsuwa poster

  • Genre: Romance
  • Japanese Title: 8-nengoshi no Hanayome: Kiseki no Jitsuwa
  • Date Released:  December 2017
  • Based on a book about a real-life romance story of Hisashi Nakahara and Mai Nakahara.

Cast:

 


I have been waiting for this film like forever.  I love both the leads.  For their young age, they have consistently showed good acting.

The story also sounded really interesting.


This is a gentle melodrama, which has a happy ending.

Hisashi is a hardworking car mechanic.  He had been suffering from stomachache but still got roped into going to a dinner party, where single available girls were also invited.

During the dinner, Hisashi appeared sullen due to his achy tummy.  One of the girls told him off for being aloof.  The girl was Mai.

Hisashi quickly explained to Mai that he was in pain, with the stomachache.  Mai understood and they clicked immediately.

They started dating and really get on very well.  Mai introduced him to her parents who liked him as well.

He asked Mai to marry him and she happily agreed.  They quickly book their wedding for the 17th of March which was just a few months away.

Sadly their happiness was cut short as Mai started suffering from forgetfulness and paranoia.  Hisashi brought her to the hospital while she was having her ‘turn’.

She was then diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, which is caused by a tumour growing on her ovary.

She ended up in a comatose state for a year and all this time, Hisashi remained devoted to her, visiting her in the hospital every single day.  Making vignettes of videos which he sent to her mobile for her to see when she wakes up.

Mai’s mother and father were told that Mai had to have an ovariectomy to cure her illness.  Hasashi agreed immediately to the procedure.  He was told off my Mai’s mother, saying that he was not family and therefore doesn’t have any say.  He was also ordered to stop coming to the hospital to see Mai. They don’t want to ruin his life.  This part was so sad.  I ended up crying.  Takeru was so quietly sad at first and it was heartbreaking to watch.

Hasashi was in bits.  His life was Mai.  Against their order, he went back to see Mai again.

Mai’s mother warned him that she might be comatose forever, and asked if he was prepared for such a situation, in which he answered in the affirmative.

Mai’s mother then thank him sincerely and told him that her daughter found a good man.

Mai finally woke up after a year.

But she was different.  The doctor said that she was like an infant, she is reset to zero, born again.  She needed to be taught everything.

She started to remember everything except Hasashi.

Mai was desperate to remember Hasashi and even went on a rather dangerous mission of finding inspiration to remember.  She started complaining of pain in her head, which alarmed Hasashi.

Finally, Hasashi had to give up.  He thought he had to remove himself from Mai’s vicinity to give her some peace and quiet time.

After some more time, Mai was allowed to go home.  The first thing she found was her mobile phone.

She tried to start it, but she does not know the passcode.  She is back to her cheerful self once again.  She was in her wheelchair visiting places when she encountered the kindly wedding planner who recognised her immediately.in

The wedding planner asked her if she was ready to get married.  Mai found out that Hasashi kept their booking for March 17, paying each year for it.

Mai then tried the 0317 to unlock her mobile phone and it worked.  She then found more than 500 unread messages Hasashi, which were the videos he made.  This scene was so painfully beautiful, I cried so much.

Mai went to find Hasashi (he has been gone for more than a year), who was now working in an island.

Mai confessed to him that she still cannot remember him but she wants to fall in

 

 

 

Life (Kdrama Review & Summary)

Life (Kdrama Review & Summary)

Life poster

  • Genre: Medical, Mystery, Crima, Hospital Drama
  • Date Released: July 2018
  • KDrama: 16 Episodes

Cast:

  • Lee Dong Wook as Ye Jin Woo
  • Cho Seung Woo as Koo Seung Hyo (President)
  • Won Jin-A as Lee No Eul
  • Lee Kyu Hyung as Ye Sun Woo
  • Yoo Jae Myung as Joo Kyung Moon
  • Moon So Ri as Oh Se Hwa
  • Moon Sung Geun  a
  • Kim Tae Sang (Deputy Director)
  • Cheon Ho Jin as Lee Bo-Hoon (Director)
  • Tae In-Ho as Sun Woo Chang
  • Yum Hye Ran as Kang Kyung-A
  • Choi Yu Hwa as Choi Seo Hyun
  • Eom Hyo Seop as Lee Sang Yeob
  • Kim Won-Hae as Lee Dong Soo
  • Park Min Gwan as Ko Young-Jae
  • Woo Mi-Hwa as Kim Jung Hee
  • Jung Moon Sung as Jo Nam Hyeong
  • Park Ji Yeon as Lee So-Jung
  • Lee Sang Hee as Kim Eun Ha
  • Jung Hee-Tae as Seo Ji-Yong

Based from the first episode, Life would be a cracking hospital drama.  It sets to follow the tautness and sophistication of the 2017 legal drama, Secret Forest, which also came from the pen of the same writer, Lee Soo-Yeon.

There are also a lot of the actors from Secret Forest who are now playing different roles in Life.


Episode 1

The medical staff at the A&E department were on tenterhook waiting for a patient to be brought in by the medical emergency team.

The lead doctor was Ye Jin Woo, who was absolutely shattered to find out that the patient was DOA (dead on arrival).

The patient happened to be the much loved and respected Director, the head of Sangkook University Hospital.

There were some whispers that there is more to the death than meet the eye.

It was said that the Director had been drinking when he visited the Deputy Director in his house.  After more Soju drinking, the Director apparently decided to smoke despite his dicky heart.  The Deputy Director told him to smoke in the rooftop as he can’t abide smoking.

The director then ended up all broken up on the pavement, having fallen from the rooftop.

Secrets started to come out about the Director.  Apparently, he had been embezzling funds, which Ye Jin Woo found out and confronted the Director about on the same day of his death.

For some reason, Ye Jin-woo got the information from his brother, who may be dead.  Strangely enough, the brother appears disabled at one time and then be hail and hearty during his visit to the hospital.  Ye Jin Woo seemed to suffer from schizophrenia?!!!

With all the sadness of the passing of the Director, the hospital is plunged into chaos as a new president has been appointed, who is a businessman from a large corporation.

The president is trying to make Sangkook University Hospital more viable in a business point of view.

His first task was to transfer three major departments, including the A&E, which is hemorrhaging funds,  into rural hospitals.

The doctors and nurses were in revolt.

 

 

 

Good Doctor 2018 (Japanese Drama Review)

Drama

Good Doctor 2018 (Japanese Drama Review)

Good Doctor, Doroma poster

  • Genre: Medical, Hospital Drama, Pediatrics, Autism
  • Date Released: July 2018
  • Dorama: 10 Episodes (still to be confirmed)
  • Based on KDrama’s Good Doctor 2013

Cast:

  • Kento Yamazaki as Minato Shindo
  • Juri Ueno as Natsumi Seto
  • Naohito Fujiki as Seiji Takayama
  • Akira Emoto as Akira Shiga
  • Shigeyuki Totsugi as Keisuke Mamiya
  • Yuri Nakamura as Michi Togo
  • Kenta Hamano as Taro Hashiguchi
  • Itsuji Itao as Ryunosuke Inoguchi

The story is about Minato Shindo who has autism with a savant syndrome.  Autism has something to do do with a mental disorder or disability.  But at the same time a savant syndrome sufferer usually excel in something far above average.

This is the case with Minato Shindo.  From a young age, he had wanted to become a doctor after witnessing and feeling helpless to save his brother from an accident that happened right before his eyes.

This drama is based on a Korean drama of the same title starring Joo Won released in 2013.  There is also an American version made in 2017.


Episode 1

Because the leading man, Kento Yamazaki is everywhere at the moment, he is on various films, he is on one after another television dramas and even guesting on television shows and doing CF (Commercial Film) or what we call ads in the west, some people are beginning to think that he is overhyped.

But on the contrary, Kento is a very versatile actor.  He can be so vulnerable, he can be arrogant, he can be strong and in this drama, he is absolutely adorably innocent and earnest at the same time.

So as soon as I saw this drama, I had to watch it because I know Kento will deliver good acting and I was right.

In addition in this drama, the other two main leads are a great favourite.

In episode one it introduces Minato Shindo.  He suffers from autism with savant syndrome.  When he was hospitalised a few years ago when he met an accident together with his older brother, who died from it, the attending doctor noticed Minato’s extraordinary memory of the human body.  Though he noticed as well that he has autism, he encouraged the boy to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

The initial scene of the episodes shows Shindo hurrying to attend his first day at the hospital as a intern medical doctor.  But he saw an accident in which he save a boy from near death.

Poor Shindo was abused and bullied by most of the staff in the hospital for his mental condition.  They don’t trust his inability to communicate fluently as well as his innate shyness.

Thank goodness, Dr Natsume was more understanding and tried to protect Shindo as much as she can.

Episode 2

This episode is about a highschooler who gave birth prematurely.  She kept her pregnancy secret and never had any prenatal care.

When the baby was born it developed a necrotizing enterocolitis.  At first the hospital medics had decided that they would not operate on the baby; you get the feeling that part of the decision making was due to the fact that the mother was just a poor young girl who can look after a baby anyway.

Shindo, though shy, tried to overturn the controversial decision of non-operation.

In the end Dr Seiji Takayama, who at first bullied Shindo, performed the operation, much to the surprise and annoyance of the higher ups who wanted to dismiss Shindo from the hospital.

Long For You (Chinese Drama Review)

Drama

Long For You (Chinese Drama Review)

Long for you poster

  • Genre: Romance, Supernatural, Fantasy
  • Date Released: February 2017
  • CDrama: 20 episodes

Cast:

  • Song Wei Long as Gu Shi Yi
  • Zhou Yu Tong as Xue Ji
  • Wang Riley as Li Zhe
  • Wang Xu Dong as  Shun Shan
  • Gao Xi Er as Jiang Huai
  • Zhang Nan as Lin Bei La
  • Zhao Yao Ke as Lisa

 

It is about an immortal looking for the boy/man in her dreams.

I have to admit that I am watching this drama because of Song Wei long.  But having just seen the first couple of episodes, I like the lead girl immediately.  She is strong and feisty and pretty.

Episode 1

The story started in France.

A billionaire who has a harem of wives dies leaving the bulk of his fortune to his daughter who had been banished in a remote island.

This legacy became a contention among the family especially to the current young wife who expected to get everything.

This young wife has a French lover.  Between them they arranged the murder of the daughter.

Episode 2

The assailants shoot the girl pointblank in the chest.  They took photo of her dying and sent it to the young wife.

The daughter had previously engaged the butler of her father.  He became very anxious when the girl did not come home.

He suspected foul play immediately as the signing of documents was about to happen.

Back in the forest, the dead girl started to come alive.  She found her mobile phone and called the butler to pick her up.

The butler was half aware of the secret as he was the father’s most trusted personnel. 🙂

The girl is actully badass.

She called the young wife for a talk.  Over dinner, she had it confirmed that her ‘death’ was the young wife’s machination.

With a gun, the daughter played Russian roulette with the frightened wife.  The girl made her promised not to do it again, not to touch her, come near her in the future.

Listening to this was the adopted son, Li Zhe.

Episode 3

Life On Mars (KDrama Vs Brits) Review

Drama

Life On Mars (KDrama Vs Brits) Review

  • Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal, Crime, Policing, Serial Killer, Time Travel

 


UK Tv Version

Date Released: 2006

Cast:

  • John Simm as Sam Tyler
  • Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt
  • Liz White
  • Dean Andrews
  • Marshall Lancaster

This drama is based on the brilliant original 2006 BBC TV series Life on Mars. The US and other countries copied the format for their  version of the TV series, but in my opinion, never bettered the original.

Summary of the British drama. By Peter Morton an avid fan of the BBC series)

In 2006, A modern, ambitious young Detective Inspector (DI) named  Sam Tyler is investigating a major crime. While driving to a meeting, he has a serious car accident. While he lies on the road losing consciousness, the iPod in his car  is playing David Bowie’s iconic ‘Life on Mars’ song.  Hours late,  Sam wakes up in the road and he can still hear the song. He gets up and looks around but his car has gone and an unfamiliar car is there in it’s place, with an old 1970s style 8 track tape player in the car playing the song.

Sam is confused, puzzled and with a bad headache, he gets into the car and drives to his meeting. The destination and all round him have changed.

He is about to meet and become involved with interesting characters of a bygone era. Political Correctness does not exist and life is played out to different conventions to what he has known in his 21st centruy life.

When he arrives at his destination, he is met by a senior detective, who appears to be expecting Sam and welcomes him to be a member of his team investigating local serious crimes.

The senior detective is named Gene Hunt. For the early episodes, Sam  thinks Hunt is “an overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding” Anger management is unknown to Hunt too.

Hunt’s all male detective team have similar outlooks to him and will use physical means to coerce suspects etc.  Police women (one assists the team) are seen as only generally usefu, making tea and typing up reports etc.  Sam mentions his accident and he learns from a bemused Hunt, who thinks Sam has lost his memory reminds Sam this is 1973. Sam  is of course  quite shocked and puzzled. He goes along with all that is happening, while trying to rationlise what is happening to him.

Gene Hunt & the team think Sam is initially too soft and not hard enough to be a proper detective, let alone a policeman. They get confused and think he is mad  when he tries to explain to them  modern forensics, crime detection and political correctness unknown in that time.

Sam is frustrated by the antics, hard-drinking, sexist banter and lack of modern police methods.

As teh series developes Gene Hunt becomes iconic. The viewer and Sam come to see that Gene Hunt, despite his rough and ready exterior,has in fact, a  caring side, good old fashioned instinctive  detective ability and is a committed good guy as are his team.  Sam, Gene and team get to respect each other and become friends. Romance beckons with the police woman(no female detectives), member of the team too.

The viewer, like Sam himself,  has to workout if he is dead and has either gone to some sort of afterlife, or in a coma and dying with vivid dreams, or  somehow  he has gone back in time.

While his  day-to-day 1970s experience seem all to real to Sam, he also  experiences surreal auditory and  hallucinatory instances, some where  his name being called from a distant place., Is  medical intervention trying to revive him?

Things &  events happen in the background, which intrigue the viewer. One such, is a pub barman, who gives Sam profound pearls of wisdom about existence.

As the story progresses, Sam gets to enjoy and settle into his ‘new life’ as it is much simpler and less complicated than his fast paced and pressurised, goal orientated  21st century modern existence. Sam finds genuine friendship and camaraderie and feels he is doing good. He begins to prefer to stay in this new life.

Is Sam accepting death, or his place in a new time, somehow granted to him?

In the last episode, in hospital, Sam wakes up  from a coma in his real-time. He recovers from his accident and eventually returns to work.  He feels out-of-place and hates the modern complicated world he grew up in. He takes the ultimate decision and jumps off the roof of his tall HQ building, killing himself, to return his preferred existence.

Following the popularity of the first series, a second series was made.

It was called Ashes to Ashes (another Bowie song), with a new lead character.  This time it is an ambitious female detective named Alexandra Drake.  In the first epsiode Drake is shot in the head by a criminal. As Drake lies deeply unconscious, she experiences the same as Sam did in the first series. The same 1970s era, the characters of Gene Hunt and his team. This time with added issue of being a feisty modern senior female detective previously unknown now ‘alive’ in this  male dominated world!

This second series further hints at an idea of an afterlife or existence.

Gene Hunt and his team are gradually revealed to be possibly much more than the routine cops they portray. Are they, along with some other characters  ‘angels’ or ‘guides’?  In one episode, Hunt is talking to Drake and he mysteriously  alludes to another detective who passed through before her arrival.

The viewer can ponder the deeper meaning of this, which in my opinion was an excellent, original and creative piece of drama, with great actors and acting.


 

Life on Mars poster (Korean)

  • South Korean Drama Version
  • Date Released: June 2018
  • KDrama: 16 episodes

Cast:

  • Jung Kyung Ho as Han Tae-Jo
  • Park Sung Woong as Kang Dong Chul
  • Go Ah Sung as Yoon Na Young
  • Oh Dae Hwan as Lee Jong-gi
  • Noh Jung Hyun as Jo Nam-sik

I came late to this drama, not because I did not think much of it.

Au contraire, it was the opposite.  The presence of Jung Kyung Ho and Go Ah Sung would guarantee a drama to be of topmost excellence.  Added to the equation is that this is a BBC drama original.

You cannot go wrong!!!

Episode 1

Han Tae-Jo is on top of his crop as a forensic police investigator.  He is very punctilious with his work.  Even if the result is not what is popular, he fights for it.

This made him unpopular to many policemen, who tend to look after themselves with their cronyism.  Some police cut corners to get the result they wanted.

Han Tae-Jo fought this kind of anomalies, including with a rabid policeman who sent an innocent to jail for three years.

Anyway Han Tae Jo was a key witness to a prolific serial killer, who paints the victims nail with red nail varnish.

They got the culprit and it was almost a done deal that he was going to jail.  But Han Tae Jo testified that the forensic evidence was  contaminated.  There were no other evidence and therefore the killer was freed.

han Tae Jo testimony did not sit down well with the prosecutor, who happened to be his ex-girlfriend.

Han Tae Jo himself was very upset with the result. He got home and drank himself to sleep.  He was awakened the next morning with the news that the prosecutor had gone missing.  He noticed that he received several calls from her telling him that there was someone else behind the serial killer.

Han Tae Jo was visibly upset and and scared that the prosecutor has become another statistic to the serial killing.

They search everywhere and finally found the place where the killer was hiding.  Han Tae Jo himself gave chase to the killer.  He was about to get him when someone pointed a gun to Han Tae Jo’s head and fired.

He woke up and under the David Bowie’s Life on Mars song, Han Tae Jo staggered to his car only to get hit by another car.

He then again woke up in a strange location.

It was 1998.  The 1988 was about to take place in South Korea and as a precaution, there was an impromptu war drill.

Han Tae Jo, just stood in the middle of the road utterly confused with the goings on.  And then he spied the serial killer.  He run after him and the police run after Han Tae Jo.

The man Han Tae Jo was running after was not quite the serial killer.

They all ended up in the police station, where Han Tae Jo was roughed up by the police as he cannot show any ID and the fact that he told them that he works at the Metropolitan police, which did not exist in 1988.

In the end an envelop of documents drop out from his leather jacket which notified who he was and that he was the new detective inspector.

In the station, he met everyone of the team, including Kang Dong Chul (Gene Hung equivalent) who has not been visited by political correctness.

There was also a young policewoman, who was more a housekeeper, in charge or laundry and tea-making among other menial task.  The policewoman was Yoon na took him to his new house.

The room was almost bare except for an old television.  When he switched it on, he saw someone talking about him, his body in the present time being in a coma.

Han Tae Jo was rudely woken up the next morning by Kang Dong Chul.  He took him to the site of a murder.

A girl has been killed.  Han Tae Jo immediately notices that her nails had been painted red.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Combat (Chinese Drama Review)

Sweet Combat poster

Drama

Sweet Combat (Chinese Drama Review)

  • Genre: Youth, Romance, Sport, School
  • Date Released: July 2018
  • CDrama: 38 Episodes

Cast:

  • Guan Xiaotong as Fang Yu
  • Lu Han as Ming Tian
  • Shao Ivy as Song Xiao Mi
  • Pei Zitian as Sun Hao
  • Li Mengmeng as Cheng Yanan
  • Zhao Yue as Luo Guan Yuan
  • Ding Cheng Xin as Fang Zhou

This drama stars real life sweethearts Guan Xiaotong and Lu Han.  It is a poor boy meets rich girl kind of thing and they kick and box into a romance. 🙂


Episode 1

Ming Tian did not finish high school because he was left to take care of his two young siblings, who are twins, when his mother up and left because she got fed up with her husband, three years ago.

The husband ended up dead after a while, therefore a teenage Ming Tian had to shoulder the burden of looking after his two young siblings by eking out a living any which way he can.

While on a work errand, he came across a rather arrogant girl, who thought that money is enough to solve everything.  This girl was Fang Yu.

Ming Tian really wanted to go to college and as luck would have it he was accepted into sports university in the Shenzhen City in the Guandong Province of China.

His little family left Macau to be able for him to  enrol at Zhengze University where coincidentally is where Fang Yu is the queen.

The university used to be an all girl school but the director and headmaster were rather sexist.  There were not contented with the trophies and awards won by their excellent sportswomen nurtured by their school.  They reckoned that girls/women’s career in sport are rather fleeting.  They have romance and get married and move on.  They wanted men that would make sport their lifetime career.

For the first time the school offered 10 lucky male students places in the college.  Only one took the place and it was Ming Tian.

Ming Tian was rather self-conscious being the only boy in the school especially when he found out that the school is not really ready for boys in terms of amenities, like boy’s toilet, locker room, etc.

Ming Tian being tall and good-looking became a prize for the girls to fight over.

While escaping from all the girls, he bumped into Fang Yu,who accidentally scratched his arm with her backpack.

Instead of apologising to him, she gave him a wad of cash, which infuriated Ming Tian.   He ended up calling her a monster.

Unbeknown to Ming Tian, the word has a deeper psychological meaning to Fang Yu.

She was six years old before she found out she was a girl.

Being the heir of a conglomerate, when she was  born, her authoritarian grandfather had told her parents that she was to be brought up as a boy, dressed up as a boy.  Even in her primary school she was believed to be a boy.

But her parents had another baby and this time it was a boy.

Suddenly Fang Yu is unceremoniously treated as a girl again.  This did not only confuse the young Fang Yu but also her young classmates, who bullied her and called her monster.

Episode 2

Ming Tian cannot bear to be at the same school as the Queen so he applied for a transfer.  But it was proving impossible to get out of the school, which is determined to hold on to the first boy in their enrolment at all cost.

Ming Tian was working for KFC as a delivery boy.  He has a record to keep of being able to deliver at the shortest possible time.

But during one of his deliveries, he came to the rescue of a young boy being bullied by hooligans.  They then turned on him and brought him to playing field to bit him senseless.

Luckily the three friends, the Queen, Yanan and Xiao Mi were passing through the park and saw what was happening.

Episode 3

The Queen, Fang Yu, finally realised the sad life Ming Tian leads.  He was a poor boy, who needs to work every hour available to be able to bring up his brother and sister and himself.

He thought that if he cannot transfer schools then he would just drop out.  He felt guilty not being able to provide his siblings with better life.

It seems there is a connection between Fang Yu and Ming Tian.  They both love and respect the dead Mr Ji.

Mr Ji was Fang Yu’s uncle.  The only one who understood and supported her transition from a boy to girl in her young mind.

Episode 8

Ming Tian was sent a poisoned cake which his young brother ate and ended up in hospital.  Ming Tian then found out who sent the cake.  It was the bully boy from the rival university to Zhenze.  He went to confront the bully but he ended up almost getting expelled.

Episode 9

This episode is the cutest so far.  Ming Tian and Fang Yu are very tentatively getting closer.

Fang Zhou, Fang Yu’s brother, is the 15 year old CEO of their family business.  He had been trained to take over almost before he could walk.  He is ably assisted by Ming Tian.   Brother and sister have a very filial to one another.

Ming Tian’s problem with the bully has given him the push to seriously learn self defence and he is now being trained by the three lead girls.

Episode 18

Fang Yu and Ming Tian had a really cute ‘date’ at the funfair.  Yanan and Guan Yuan romance is so sweet and romantic but is still yet to end up in misunderstanding as Guan Yuan had been asked by Yanan’s father as one of the three conditions in teaching him the death strike/blow was to date his daughter, Yanan.   The cutest scene so far of the drama was when he told her that she is the apple of his eye.

Episode 19

I have to say the romance between Fang Yu and Ming Tian is very slow boiling.  But at least in this episode, we know that Ming Tian is really into Fang Yu.

Episode 22

Yanan had a confrontation with Luo Guan Yuan about her being just one of the conditions for him to train under her father to learn the death strike.  Yanan broke off from her budding romance with Guan Yuan despite his protestation that he was only humouring her father that he really like her himself.

Episode 23

Yanan, Ming Tian,  Xiao Mi and Sun Huo went to Macau to represent their school and to hopefully recruit more students to attend their school.

While in Macau, Ming Tian was surprised with a visit from Fang Yu, who was on her way to Dubai.

Episode 24

Fang Yu’s grandfather found out her detour to Macau and the reason why.  He categorically told her to break any relationship with him as they were not compatible in any way.

Fang Yu rebelled and run away with her personal chef to Yanan’s house.

Her grandfather withdrew her from the university.

Just Want To See You Smile (Chinese Drama)

Drama

Just Want To See You Smile (Chinese Drama)

Just want to see you smile poster

  • Aka: Smile
  • Genre: Romance, Youth
  • Date Released: 2018
  • CDrama: 24 Episodes
  • Based on a novel

Cast:

  • Li Wenhan as Shu Shan
  • Du Bella as Xiao Xing
  • Hou Jung Chen as Mr Xin

Other Characters:

  • Sis Ye, Shu Shan’s manager
  • An Ge, young new actor
  • Du Nian, ambitious actress and Xiao Xing’s flatmate
  • Director Ye

 

Episode 1

First few minutes of this drama and I love it already.

Xiao Xing is an actress but with a difference.  She suffers from lens aphasia, which is the inability to talk when faced with a camera/lens.

Due to this condition, Xiao Xing plays mainly roles of a dead person.  When not acting dead, she is an all-around girl, doing props, make-up and in charge of the clapper.

Omigod, this drama is so cute and Li Wenhan is just too adorable.  Du Bella is feisty and appealing.  Really loving this drama.

Shu Shan is a superstar.  He’s a singer but for some reason, he developed haphephobia, the fear of touching and being touched.  This was due to an accident in the past that has yet to be revealed.

He went to the studio with his manager and a budding actress called Shen Xun, who is a superstar product endorser.  In the chaos of the over-excited fans, Xiao Xing was tasked to bring in Shen Xun into the studio.  But Xiao Xing dragged the wrong person.  She took Shu Shan instead, who was absolutely surprised that her touch did not repel him.

Now he had to convince her to be his assistant!

Episode 2

Shu Shan has been courting Xiao Xing to become his assistant but she had turned down his offer repeated.

Xiao Xing is really desperate to become an actress but she just can’t do it .

Her role as an extra in a historical drama was made bigger by the director because she has a great screen presence.  He gave her a dialogue but when the camera started rolling she froze..

It seems she has no choice but to accept Shu Shan’s offer until she can get over her fear with the camera.

Episode 3

Shu Shan found Xiao Xing in a corner looking very upset. Shu Shan told her to go with him and they had a lovely talk.  In addition, Xiao Xing was pleased to receive the designer dress she wanted but can’t afford and nowhere really to wear to.

There was a funny scene where Xiao Xing was storytelling a horror story.  She was standing in a chair with a noose on her neck for maximum effect.  Unfortunately, her best friend accidentally kicked down the chair and she was left hanging hysterically for a few seconds.

Xiao Xing finally accepted that with how things are, she cannot be an actress.  She made a decision to be Shu Shan’s assistant instead.

This episode is a visual treat.  There are lots of half-naked scenes with Shu Shan.  hehehe When he was in bed, after a shower.  yey

Episode 4

Shu Shan is being cast in a drama called Life Target.  Du Nian, a young ambitious actress is trying to get closer to Shu Shan.

Episode 5

Shu Shan finally confessed to Xiao Xing his fear of touching and being touched.

To help Shu Shan get used to his leading lady, Xiao Xing bought online a sex doll, she then pasted Du Nian’s facial photo on the doll.  This scene was hilarious.

 

Love and Lies (2017) Japanese Movie Review

Film

Love and Lies

Koi To Uso

  • Genre: School, Youth, Relationship, Melodrama, Futuristic
  • Date Released: October 2017
  • Japanese film

Cast:

  • Morikawa Aoi as Nisaka Aoi
  • Kitamura Takumi as Shiba Yuto
  • Sato Kanta as Takachiho Sosuke

Love and Lies (2017) Japanese Movie Review

This film, I thought, is a bit of a propaganda for arranged marriages. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Anyway, in a future Japan, it became a task for the government to match up their citizen.

As soon as a girl or a boy turns 16, they receive notification from the government of their most suitable partner.

Apparently 80 percent of these match-ups work in the long run compared to just half if individual chooses for himself/herself.  Yap, one is allowed to choose one’s partner and turn down the government recommendation.

Anyway Aoi was only days away from her sixteenth birthday.  She was giddily awaiting her birthday and partner as her friends have settled relationships already from the government match-up.

Aoi has a childhood friend Yuto, who knows her inside and out.  He knew all her idiosyncrasies, what makes her tick and all that.  He was kind and absolutely devoted to her.

On the night of her turning 16, Yuto asked Aoi is she was sure about having a match up partner.  He then confessed that he likes her and why not settle for him.  At that same time, Sosuke, the partner turned up.  He was the son of a hospital owner.

Sosuke was tall,, cool and rather aloof.   Aoi was enchanted.  She forgot what Yuto was saying.

Aoi was really into Sosuke for most of the film.

But she later found out that Yuto was very ill.  He has stage 3 brain tumour.  She realised that she actually loved Yuto and run away from her wedding to Sosuke (with his consent).

There she went to the airport and reconciled with Yuto.

They have a good life. Very happy.

Then the credits started to appear.

But if you wait out the credits, there is a bittersweet ending.

Aoi was laying some fresh flowers on Yuto’s grave.  while she was praying another person appeared and it was Sosuke with a bunch of flowers as well.

They had a stilted mini-conversation and then Aoi said she was going.

As she was walking away, Sosuke shouted if she wanted to go get something to eat.

Ahhh So the government programme works.  Yuto was not paired with Aoi to begin with because he was not healthy.  And Sosuke remained interested with her.

 

 

 

Cheer Dan 2018 (Japanese Drama Review)

Cheer Dan poster

Drama

  • Genre: School, Teens, Dance, Competition, Cheerleading
  • Date Released: July 2018
  • Dorama: 10 Episodes

Cast:

  • Tao Tsuchiya as Fujitani Wakaba
  • Ishii Anna as Kiryu Shiori
  • Sakuma Yui as Sarakuzawa Asako
  • Yamamoto Maika as Shibata Maki
  • Otomo Karen as Enoki Taeko
  • Odagiri Joe as Taro Urushido

 

Cheer Dan 2018 (Japanese Drama Review)

Fujitani Wakaba is in high school.  she has always been fascinating with cheerleading after having grew up seeing the JETS, a Japanese cheerleading team, winning the championship in America.

 

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