Saturday, October 24, 2015

Nirvana in Fire Episode 1

The show start in a battle field with fire raging in the background.  A spear pierced through a soldier's heart. The sound of soldiers falling. Blood was every where. Another soldier cut down by a blade. Another fell with arrows piercing his chest. Another die. And another. A war flag went down.

 A young soldier, face coved with blood watched as a blade strike him down, disbelieve and anguish in his eyes.

A bloodied hand holding the young soldier dangling on a cliff in the next scene. " Xiao Shu, You must live. For the sake of Chi-Yan."  The owner of the hand said as he let go of  the young soldier from the earlier scene. The boy screamed "Father!" as he fell into the abyss below.

Nirvana in Fire Series Overview

Nirvana in Fire  or 琅琊榜 is one gem of a drama series. The story which revolves around a The Count of Monte Cristo like character who returned to seek justice and revenge when all thought he was dead.
 {--- SPOILERS AHEAD----} The drama begins in a brutal battle field 12 years from the story time line. We later learned that the 70000 strong army lead by a celebrated General Marshall was eliminated under orders by the King. the General Lin, together with a highly regarded Prince, Prince Qi were charged with treason and their family, allies and anyone who dared speak up for them were executed. Our hero, the son of the General, Lin Shu somehow survived and spent 12 years using a different identity, Mei Chang Shu/ Shu Zhe, (We will call him Shu.) making plans and preparation to seek justice for those die. At the beginning of the story, there are hints that the time Shu have is limited due to his health. As the story unfolds, we learn more and more about what happened 12 years ago, the people behind it and at the same time marvel at how Shu take them down one by one. Revenge and justice are however, not the only or even the central theme. Shu have in his plan something bigger. As the story progress, Shu's health deteriorates, more of his friends learn of his real identity and we see more of the legacy Shu wants to leave after he is gone. Besides an intriguing story, there are plenty of eye candies, superb acting, costumes, sceneries, and plenty of bromance and an extremely touching romance that is given way too little screen time.

Check out the Trailer :

I thought the Trailer thoroughly show the epic quality of this drama series but it have a very traditional quality that may feel a little slow for some. So here are some theme song MVs too.

《风起时》 Main Theme

《红颜旧》 Faded Beauty


《赤血长殷》 Red Blood

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Who Are You: School 2015

Intriguing and captivating in the beginning, the drama take a sudden turn in episode 13 and 14 to cater to the shipping wars. It could have a much better story otherwise.

I started watching captivated by the story and by the sweet chemistry between the Yian and Eunbi. The feels!
Here's sharing a sweet video from Caelyn Le of their moments from episode 1- 12. Love the way they look at each other.

For my own records here are some great links to reviews and opinions about this show

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Muses about Big

///Spoilers ahead///

I am still recovering from Big, the KBS drama that started out with big expectations from many but ends with loads of hate post from netizens

Personally, I enjoyed 80% of the show and is fine with the ending even though I wish it had done more addressing the issues left unanswered or barely mentioned of screen. But that probably applies to most of the dramas I have watched.  I am more traumatized  by the hate comments and statements that declare the show "Worst in 2012", "Total Waste of Time" , which I feel is not doing justice for a perfectly enjoyable show.

Granted, everyone's expectations were up because it is a "Hong Sisters Drama" and they have penned the engaging and successful "Best Love" just the year before. It is also lead by Gong Yoo, whose last kdrama, is a huge success.  The show starts of great too, setting up the stage for all that expectations. It was fun, hilarious and also with lots of heart.

Acting and Cast 

The acting by Gong Yoo is simply awesome. I was okay with him in Coffee Prince but what he did here seals me as a fan and I will probably checkout  anything with him acting in it from now. I will go back to rewatch the show just to enjoy the nuances of the performance and skip over the other parts.


Ohhh.... the ending. After ending episodes aired, Thumbr  is full of comments like "WTF is this ending?" Not just one or two recappers/weekly reviewers of the drama who have just declared unreserved love for a Big episode a couple of episodes ago slams it and comments on the internet is rampant with the ex-fans, the confused  and die hard fans arguing ceaselessly about it.

What do I think? I can do without quite a number of scenes in the last episode like Maria kidnapping Kyung Jun and Dan Ran searching for what she thought was Yong Jae's ring in dumplings. I wish there are more closure to Yong Jae and Dan Ran (may be he should be the one emailing Dan Ran, expressing some closure instead of Marie?).  Some interaction between Yong Jae and Kyung Jun in his own body, getting to know each other as brothers would be nice. What about the notes of their relation that Kyung Jun mentioned he was compiling? Is that why he is wearing his KKJ watch at the last scene? The ending make the show feels unfinished, like we should be expecting a season 2 or movie version or internet epilogue or something.

That said , there are moments and little details I love too. I love the interrogation scene between Kyung Jun and Dan Ra, the mini reveal that Kyung Jun had switch their umbrellas intentionally at the begging.

About the big controversy where people feel it should be Shin under the umbrella instead of a symbolic guy who looks like Gong Yong. I am actually fine with it and is contend with the suggestion that Dan Ran and  Kyung Jun will find their love for each other again even though Kyung Jun lost his memory.

Overall, the show is very interesting and gripping for the first 13 episodes. The big revelations at episodes 13 and 14 are surprising for me but at the end, too much time is spent on secondary characters and the unimportant stuff. We have lots of cute moments and wonderful chemistry with our leads keep me going. At the end of the day, while the drama did not become exceptional, it is still fine and enjoyable, more so if you need a Gong Yoo feast.


Plot/Writing: 5 ( I love the first 7 episodes and feel it is still pretty good till episode 14. The last two could have been more, much more and   )

Cinematography: 9 (Beautifully shot with lots of eye candy and beautiful scenes)

Cast and Acting: 9 (Gong Yoo is awesome in this show. Would give him a 10/10. Lee Min Jung and the actor who plays his younger brother are great too. Shin is good in the first episode but I am not too convince of his acting skills after seeing the scene his mum got shot. Sorry, Shin fans. )

Side stories/characters: 6
Wish they cut out the uncle and vice principle having a crush on Dan Ran's parents respectively part. Many of the Suzy scenes are unnecessary and way too crazy too. And those are not exactly funny either.

How much I enjoyed the show: 8
Overall: 7

Other Reviews and Recaps on Big:

Yeah, I am invested enough in the show to read most of the recaps and review I can find out there.

Musings of a Chunkeemonkeeato I am glad to find this review site that have quite a balance review for dramas and movies

Rebel Souls
My first site to go to satisfy my hunger to know what's going on with drama before I watch the sub version. Always super fast with their recaps, what will I do without them?

Dramabeans (Usually my trusted source of reference to see if a Drama is worth a watch or not. Their recaps on each episodes are mostly positive till episode 15 when the fury at the direction the show result in extremely low rating for the show. )

A Koala's Playground One of my weekly site to go after watching Big. The writter's love of the show give me my in between episodes dose of  spoilers, opinions and anything Big.

Couch Kimchi


Tiger Holland's all consuming media
Another reviewer who love the episodes before the ending 2 episodes. Insight full, balanced review.


Review by Deyani on Squidoo One of my favorite reviews. Love the 10 big memorable moments.