Sunday, April 29, 2007

So Ji Sub returns

He was the biggest news in the Korean entertainment industry this week. This man is officially now a civilian, having served in the army for his country in the past 2 years.

Look at the frenzy...BOF should open a security company seeing as how how much security and bodyguards are needed for 2 of their biggest stars- Bae Yong Joon and So Ji Sub. Hehe!

Obviously his fans are all over the moon that he's finally back. He left a very nice message on his site for his fans as well. Sigh...I wish BYJ would write a message for us as well. He hasn't written anything for the longest time.

Anyway, his fans won't have to wait too long to 'see' him as he's already commited to doing a drama, 'Cain & Abel'. It will co-star Ji Jin Hee and Jeong Ryo Won.

'Cain and Abel' is about 2 long lost brothers who grew up in different environments. The elder brother (Ji Jin Hee) became a policeman whilst the younger brother (So Ji Sub) grew up to be a Mafia hitman. Jung Ryeo Won will play the love interest. Filiming is expected to start next month in San Francisco. Wow! That's only in a few days' time.

Ji Jin Hee has 2 movies released this year. 'Soo' and 'The Old Garden'. I believe his last drama was 'Spring Days' in 2005.

Jung Ryeo Won, last seen in 'Which Star Are You From?' will be busy this year as her debut movie, 'Hello, Ani' will premiere in July 2007.

It seems I'm not the only one who remembers the similar storyline in a mv filmed years ago. It was mentioned on a few forums. The mv stars a very young Jang Dong Gun, a rather dashing Cha In Pyo and Kim Gyu Ri. The song title is 'Forever' (여원) by Sky. Watch the mv here. Very well done. Sigh...both the guys are so good looking in here. I'm wondering if the drama will also end the same way as the mv. Looks quite likely it will be a tragic ending.


Jang Dong Gun will be filming his first Hollywood movie with Zhang Zi Yi in May. Hmm..I don't really like Zhang Zi Yi leh... As for Cha In Pyo, he was last seen in the drama, 'White Tower', which had rather good reviews (though I think he appeared only briefly). As for Kim Gyu Ri, she was in 'Lovers' recently. (Another tell tale sign that the mv was filmed quite a while back- the rather thick make-up with the dark red lipstick...hehe!)

Strangely, So Ji Sub has never made it to my side dish list. Not even after the acclaimed 'I'm Sorry, I Love You'. (I was very impressed with Im So Jong though). He's a good actor but somehow, he never 'electrified' me. I must say that he's very good looking in the mv with Kim Jung Eun, Mr Flower by Jo Sung Mo. This is also another long mv.

Whilst searching for Sky mv- 'Forever', I found this old mv in the Dong Gam (Sympathy) Vol 4. I wrote about this sometime ago here. The song, 'The End' is sang by Lee Hyun Woo and stars Ryu Si Won, So Ji Sub and Park Jin Hee. Unfortunately So Ji Sub was not a very nice guy in the mv leh. View the mv here


Ryu Si Won is now pretty much based in Japan, having found his market there. One of his Japanese single was ranked in the Oricon chart recently and he will be releasing his first Japanese album soon. Park Jin Hee was in the drama, 'Come Back So Ae', which I think didn't do too badly.

And in case you didn't know, Lee Hyun Woo, the singer is also an actor, though he much prefers music. Recently seen in the funny and popular drama, 'Dalja's Spring' as one of Dalja's admirer. ^^ I like his voice.

And as for So Ji Sub, his last work was 'I'm Sorry I Love You'. Btw, did you know that this drama was turned into a 35minutes animation? I wonder if it was ever screened in Korea... anyone knows about this? There's even a sountrack for it----->

You can read more news in So Ji Sub's English fan site/ forum- Ji Sub's Addicts Club. bb has also blogged about SJS's return to the entertainment industry on her blog

So Ji Sub, Fighting!

Now if only Bae Yong Joon will hurry up as well....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hotelier- Japanese style

                      Frank Shin Dong Hyuk                                                 Mizusawa Keigo

                          Suh Jin Young                                                     Odagiri Kyoko

                          Han Tae Jun                                                     Ogata Kouhei

                          Kim Yun Hee                                                   Morimoto Akane

                            Leo Park                                                         Kikuchi Edward

                          Choi Young Jae                                                   Kitano Yosuke

                          President Choi                                                   Kitano Kojiro

                        Madam Choi                                                       Kitano Mitsuko

                          Kim Bock Man                                                 Morimoto Masakazu

                          Oh Hyung Man                                                   Iwama Takehiko

                        Lee Soon Young                                                   Ueda Natsuko

                          Manager ?                                                       Gotou Kayoko

                          Head Chef                                                             Head Chef

                        The 2 chambermaids                                                 The 2 chambermaids

                            Jenny                                                                       ?

                                        ?                                                         Kashiwagi Mayumi

Doing a remake is difficult because audience will always compare it with the original version. The new version must bring to it something new, fresh but it cannot be completely different from the original one. A tough job.

Hotelier is the first Korean drama that has a Japanese version, no doubt due to the immense popularity of Bae Yong Joon in Japan.

Most of us who watches both Japanese and Korean dramas would know that there's a difference in style between the two. Whilst Japanese dramas are faster in pace and thus a little more direct, Korean dramas tend to be slower and a little more subtle (that's why you often have scenes where people do nothing but stare into space in deep thought^^). So like Cloud9 said, how do you squeeze 20 episodes into 9 episodes? Well, I guess you have to simplify alot..

After watching the first episode of the Japanese Hotelier, I concluded that besides the interesting storyline and the great chemistry between the 4 leads, the supporting cast was another big reason why I enjoyed the original version. There was a certain spark to it from the word 'Go' which unfortunately I did not feel in the Japanese version. And whilst I thoroughly enjoyed watching Bae Yong Joon (and listening to his voice) on screen again, his role (as Frank Shin) in the Japanese version was really quite redundant. If they managed to persude him to be a guest star in the drama, I wish they had made his role a little more memorable and outstanding.

Odagiri Kyoko (Ueto Aya) is a very sweet manager but she seems so....formal and straight. Somehow I missed the scatterbrain, direct and sparkling Suh Jin Young. Remember the '300 Roses' and the 'Missing ring' scenes? hehe! How not to notice a girl like that?

                      300 Roses restaurant                                                 The missing ring

Eloise on Hotelier2002 mentioned that the actor who took up the M&A role was very brave. And indeed he was....because the world would be comparing him to Shin Dong Hyuk (Bae Yong Joon). I think he's a very credible actor but again I missed the professional, hunter feel of Shin Dong Hyk

And as much as they have to simplify the plot, how could they possibly cut out the room service scene?

Still, this is only the first episode, so I should keep an open mind as things may change.....

A very special thank you to cloud9 for helping me find out the names of the characters in the Japanese Hotelier. ^^

I miss my Shin Dong Hyuk...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hotelier- Shin Dong Hyuk

Last night, I watched the first episode of the Japan version of Hotelier. Bae Yong Joon is a special guest in this drama..reprising his role as Shin Dong Hyuk.

It was good to see him on screen again...but more than his looks, I think I missed his voice..

오래 만이내요, 신동혁.... 너무 보고싶은데...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Music Dramas

Once upon a time, singers just record their songs into a album. Somewhere along the way, MV (music videos) became a must, part of the album. In fact, the mv is often seen before the official launch of the album.

I've always felt that the Koreans really put a lot of effort into their mvs (see my posting here). Often, the mv is almost like a mini story. Most mvs last between 3 to 6 minutes. But of course there are some really long ones. I believe the original mv for 'Sad Sonata' was about 20 minutes (this was the one with Song Seung Hun, which they filmed in the states before he was forced to enlist for army). And Jo Sung Mo's Mr Flower mv was about 24 minutes. Sometimes, the singers have a couple of mvs (showcasing different songs) that are linked. Then you would see the line 'to be continued....' line at the of the mv. This drives me up the wall because it means I have to find out where and how many related mvs there are. Often, proper actors are in these mvs. I guess this is a win-win situation for both the actors and the singers. Lee Byung Hun, Ryu Si Won, Hyun Bin and Choi Ji Woo etc have all appeared in mvs before. Lee Soo Young had 3 mvs when she launched her 'Grace' album- all starring Lee Jun Ki. ^^

Recently, some of these artistes started recording music dramas. What's that? Well... it's like an extended mv or a short drama, depending on how you view it. But whereas an mv would only feature one song, a music drama would promote a few songs from the album of that artiste.

If you think about it, it makes more sense to put more than one song into the mv. Afterall, the filming process and cost are the same whether for you put in one song or 4 songs. Right? Might as well make full use of the resources. Hehe!

Position- Love Song (애가), Released February 2007
Cast: Lee Dong Gun, Lee Yoo Ri, Jeon In Hwa

This is Position's 6th album after a long break. The music drama stars Lee Dong Gun, Lee Yoo Ri and Jeon In Hwa. Lee Yoo Ri and Jeon In Hwa are sisters. A love triangle formed between the 3 of them, ending with tragic results. I am really impressed with Lee Dong Gun's acting enjoyed his chemistry with the 2 female leads, especiallt Jeon In Hwa even if the music drama is only about 25 minutes. I read that Jeon In Hwa has not acted for 5 years.


There are only 2 songs featured from Position's album in the music drama- 하루 & 흔자. 하루 is originally a Japanese song and has a very nice tune to it. If you like ballads, then I'm sure you would like this song. I first heard Position sang when I attended the April Snow concert in 2004 and immediately fell in love with his voice. I feel that his last album 'I Love You' is slightly better but this is still quite a good album. You have to listen to the songs a few times before they grow on you as they are not the catchy type (except for 하루)

Position and the cast of his music drama

Btw, Lee Dong Gun has a duet with Position in the album- a rather fast song called 'Friend'. Hmm... he must like friends a lot as he also sang a song with the same title (though that was in Korean) in his earlier drama- 'Stained Glass'.

I can't seem to find a link to the 하루 mv anywhere...they seemed to be available on daum cafes only.. But you can listen to Position singing live here

SG Wannabe- The Sentimental Chord, Released April 2007
Cast: Lee Bom Soo, Lee Seon Kyun, Ok Ju Hyun

I also first heard SG Wannabe sang at the April Snow's concert in 2004 (it was a great concert)and I really, really like the 3 guys' voices.

For their main song in their latest album, they mixed traditional Korean musical instruments and with contemporary pop. The song title is 'Arirang (아리랑)' and strains from the popular, traditional, nationalistic song of the same name can be heard in the beginning. This song is backed by a 100 man- orchestra. Wow!. I actually have this urge to take out my Singapore flag and start waving it when I listen to this song. Maybe can persuade the Singapore authorities to consider using this song for our National Day celebrations. Wahaha!

And their impressive mv is no less a minor war film. I'm wondering how much they spent on the special effects (all the exploding bombs and extras etc). I guess it's just as well that the mv has 4 songs.

Basically Lee Seon Kyun and Ok Ju Hyun are lovers but she is forced to marry Lee Bum Soo when Lee Seon Kyun was captured as the lovers were trying to elope. Both the guys met again on the battlefield and ..... this being a love story/ song..of course it's a tragic ending. It's a matter of who and how many died.


Anne, who is a big fan of Lee Bum Soo has written quite a bit about it on her blog

What can I say. I like SG Wannabe. Listening to their songs give me goose bumps...the nice sort. Hehe! Oh, Ok Ju Hyun also has a duet with the group for one of the song- '한여름날의 꿈'

The full music drama:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

'Music Drama: Dong Hwa', Released December 2006
Cast: Eric (Shinhwa), Kim Yoon Goon

Various artistes- Dong Hwa (동화)
Released December 2006
Cast: Eric (Shinhwa), Kim Yoon Gong

Unlike the 2 music dramas above, this is a compilation of songs from various singers, including a duet by Hye Sung (Shinhwa) and Lynn, Shinhwa, Lee Soo Young and Kim Bum Soo.


Eric is a gangster, who fell in love with Kim Yoon Gyung, a very sweet girl. But he has a good-for-nothing trouble 'brother'. So Eric always ends up in a fight because of him. As in all love songs- this one has a tragic ending too. Sigh... Must say though Eric is one very cool looking gangster.

Btw, it seems this music drama took its inspiration from Wong Kar Wai's movie 'As Tears Go By' Apparently the ultra hot kiss landed the actress in hospital due to the soreness caused by Eric's stubbles. Hahaha! How hot is the kiss? Judge for yourself after watching the clip here. Now I'm sure there would be alot of girls out there who would be very, very willing to go to the hospital because of strong kisses by Eric. hehehe!

I'm not sure if they are all new songs or a mixture of old and new songs. I think it's the latter as I recognised some of the songs (eg the theme song, from 'I'm Sorry, I Love You'). Can anyone enlighten me?

Besides the full 30 minutes music drama, there are 3 separate mvs. If you like variety, then this would be a good buy. ^^

Here are the 3 mvs from the music drama:
Love...Afterwards (사랑...후에) by Hye Sung and Lyn
'I'm crying (눈물이 나요)' by Lee Soo Young
'My only sorrow (나만의 슬픔)'by Lee Soo
(I hope the titles are correct as I'm not 100% sure of the translation)

I was going to include Lee Hyo Ri's 'If in Love, Like Them' as well. But it went from a one episode mv, to a two episodes music drama and then to four episodes drama. I haven't watch it yet and so can't comment. The last I heard, Japan is going to air it. So I guess it can't really be counted as a music drama anymore. But it was originally filmed to promote her latest single, 'Lee Hyo Ri'. Cast include Lee Hyo Ri, Lee Dong Gun and Ha Suk Jin.