Friday, March 15, 2019

Six Years Now of Asian Dramas

Ever Night
It's becoming more true that I watch Asian dramas and not just Korean ones, which I began with and are more widely available. This year I have watched just as many Japanese dramas as Korean. And there are a couple of Chinese shows to add. 

Chinese Dramas

The Disguiser: This is a show set in Shanghai during the Japanese occupation. Three brothers pretend they are collaborators with the Japanese and the Nationalist Chinese think they are really working for them. In reality they are Communists. **** 

Ever Night: This is a fantasy with interesting characters, beautiful scenery, and great fight scenes, some magical. The main plot is about the hero getting revenge for his family being killed. He is a fun, cheeky, ultra-confidant kind of guy. *****

Caution Hazardous Wife

Japanese Dramas

Yae's Sakura: A historical drama about a real woman who became a skilled rifle shooter, taught others to shoot, and helped defend her hometown during the Japanese civil war that went on when the Tokugawa Shogunate was overturned. That's the best part, anyway. ****

Partners By Blood: About a rookie cop who is assigned to work with his father, from whom he has been estranged. Very funny show until the last couple of episodes, which pretty much tanks. ***

Satorare: It's about a genius young man whose thoughts can be heard by everyone around him. No one is allowed to let him know, for fear that it will mentally unbalance him. Different sort of show and very interesting all the way through. *****

By Chance: A Japanese man sees a picture of a Chinese woman who looks like his fiancee, who has died. He invites her to come to Japan for a photoshoot so he can have pictures of his lost love, or at least that looks like her. Movie. ***

Doctor X, Season 1: A woman doctor free-lances at different hospitals, usually coming up against doctors and administrators who are not as good as she is and mostly interested in their own status. Pretty much a different story in each episode. ***

Switched: A high school girl jumps off a building and switches bodies with another girl who is watching her. I thought this was good, and I don't usually like high school dramas. ****

Mary and the Witch's Flower: Animated movie about a girl who finds a magic flower. **

Love and Hong Kong: An actress is shooting a variety show in Hong Kong when she gets abducted by someone who thinks he is meeting a woman he met on the internet, who had mendaciously used the actress' picture as her own. The first episode is boring but needed for setup. The rest is good. Four short episodes. ****

Trumpet on a Cliff: A woman goes to Okinawa to recover from a heart transplant and becomes unaccountably enchanted by a man she meets by the ocean cliffs. Movie.***

Overprotected Kohoko: A girl whose mother has always run her life for her, suddenly has to grow up and think for herself. She is unbelievably childish at first, but progresses well; there are several surprises along the way. ****

Caution Hazardous Wife: A secret agent quits her job, marries, and tries to live a normal life. She gets entangles in her neighbor's lives and falls back on her secret agent skills. It was fun to watch her be pretty much invincible and beat up all the bad guys. *****

Pretty Proofreader: A woman who has always wanted to be a fashion editor is hired instead by the proofreading department and finds that she has an unexpected aptitude for it. You think that she is flighty, but she turns out to be pretty smart. *****

My Long Awaited Love Story: A woman who designs dating games is hired as a consultant by a big company. The CEO asks her for advice with his own dating problems. They are cute. Movie. ****

A Sharply Graceful Girl:  A magazine writer is sent to Kyoto to do articles to interest tourists in the city. He meets a local woman who tells him about many little-knows places. This one grows on you. Four short episodes. ****

A Poem a Day

Korean Dramas

Twentieth Century Boy and Girl: Four friends from high school days, three girls and a boy, look for love. Kind of dull, but kind of nice as a filer.***

A Poem a Day: A slice-of-life comedy about the staff of the rehab department of a big hospital. The story is often thoughtful and touching, often funny. It's augmented by poems every episode. ****

Switch Change the World: A con man impersonates a prosecutor who looks just like him, assisted by a junior prosecutor. Not too violent and not too exciting either. One episode in the middle made me pretty angry. ****

Miss Hammurabi: a beginning judge bucks the system in an effort to achieve fair judgements. There's not much of a romance except for a secondary couple that was quite cute. There are a lot of cases about women's rights. ****

Are You Human Too? A woman builds robots that look like her son, and when the son is injured, uses the robot as a replacement. The first half was very good but it fell apart and got sloppy in the end. ****

Witch's Love: Three witches live under the radar running a popular restaurant. That is, no one knows they are witches. A man looking for information about a traumatic incident in his childhood identifies the restaurant as the site. Pretty cute, not too intense. ****

Thirty But Seventeen: A woman who was injured and in a coma for 13 years wakes up and tries to reclaim her life. She finds a new family in her house. Slow moving with a lot of misunderstandings, but quite a popular show. ****

Five Children: A widower with two children meets a divorcee with three, and cope with family difficulties in trying to put a family together. Three other couples get together as well and are more romantic than the main one. *****

Room No. 9: A body-switch story between a lawyer and a prison inmate who was falsely imprisoned. There is a boyfriend, but not much of a romance. The detective and the inmate's bestie are the best part. ****

Ms. Ma, Nemesis: A woman is framed for killing her daughter, escapes prison, and tries to find the real culprit. The storylines are taken from several Agatha Christie Miss Marple books. It has a rather lame ending. ***

Solomon's Perjury: high school students give up on the police ever solving the death of one of their friends, and conduct their own trial at school. This is a crime show without teenage shenanigans. *****

Feel Good to Die: A notoriously crabby boss drives everyone crazy, but one day someone wishes he were dead, and he suddenly dies. Then the day reset as in the Groundhog Day movie, and the characters live the day over. This happens several times and then things change up when he realizes what is happening. ****

Memories of the Alhambra: A video game company develops an augmented reality game that can be played in certain cities around the world, and then people start dying from the game. This started out intriguing, and then began to fall apart. I lost sympathy when my favorite character was killed off, and was annoyed that the female lead never did anything but cry. ****

Wind Bell: a Korean who was adopted to America returns to Korea to try to find his roots. Very short web drama, but you still get a good feel for the characters and what is going on.***