As I tumble down the slippery Kdrama slope…

Main "male" leads of "To the Beautiful You"
Main “male” leads of “To the Beautiful You”

So last night, I was wandering around on the internet with nothing particular to do, which is always a bad sign for one’s productivity. I had been through all my manga novels again, the last few that I read being Hana Kimi, which is short for the Japanese phrase “Hanazakari no Kimitachi e”. It translates to “For you in Full Blossom” and is a manga about an Japanese-American girl named Ashiya that cuts her hair off and attends an all boys Japanese school so she can meet her favorite track star, the high jumper Sano. It’s a very middle school/high school style manga and I mostly read it still because I have fond memories from reading it back then. Foolish me remembered that even though there is no Anime for this, there is a Jdrama, Taiwanese Drama and a Kdrama for it. RIP my free time now. I’m totally in love with this show and I’m only 4 episodes in!

Sulli from a F(x) MV
Sulli from a F(x) MV

When I first saw the series, I thought Sulli was a poor choice of protagonist. Jae Hee as they call her in this series, is way too pretty to be a man. She makes Ren from Nu’est look jacked and super manly. I had wished just a little bit that they would typecast this and make her band mate Amber be the protagonist. Amber is perfect because she actually is a Korean American, and would have the language difficulties associated with her role. She would also look the part, just cool enough to pass as a man, just pretty enough to make the men question their sexuality. Then I went back and read the manga again, and questioned how Ashiya ever made it through without Nakatsu ever realizing that she was a girl, so Sulli was a dead on cast. Sorry for questioning your acting abilities Sulli, you were just staying true to the manga.

Minho from Shinee as the High Jumper
Minho from Shinee as the high jumper Tae Joon

Minho makes a good Tae Joon (Korean name for Sano) when he’s exposed, but in the manga I always felt that Sano was distant as opposed to icy, so the first episode turned me off from him for a bit. I’m excited to see the character he is going to become and how he will interact with Jae Hee now that he knows that she’s a girl.

Eun Gyeol and Jae Hee hugging.
Eun Gyeol and Jae Hee hugging.

The best thing about this Kdrama is definitely Eun-gyeol, which is the Korean Nakatsu, played by Lee Hyun Woo.  He makes a much better Nakatsu than the manga version and I feel so sad for him watching him fall in love and question himself, knowing that according to the manga his attempts will never be fruitful. I love the online journal and the constant picture taking, which is so Nakatsu and so Korean at the same time. His facial expressions are probably the best thing about him. They are so expressive, and for a comedic character, he ends up being so heartwarming that you want him to succeed, even if it doesn’t make sense in a plot line context.

I found the addition of Han-na, Jae Hee’s rival love interest for Tae Joon very interesting. It seems like they spliced her American friend into a Korean girl and gave her a celebrity complex. I think we as an audience are supposed to dislike this character a lot, but I’m waiting for the time when we get to see her in a better light.  The doctor seems altered as well, he doesn’t seem to be flamboyantly gay in this Kdrama. Jae Hee’s brother is also American and speaks flawless Korean and that’s slightly off putting to me. His Korean actually sounds better than his English, but that’s because he’s half Korean, half French-Canadian, so he’s faking an American accent. I do like the switch from a partial athletics school to a full on athletics school that retains the characteristics of each dorm based on the focused sports.

Watching just a few episodes allows me to understand how Kpop fans suddenly gain this urge fan completely over Kdrama stars. I have no such urge to fangirl over Sulli now, but I feel like I know a little more about her. Now if only Hyun Woo was a Kpop star….

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5 thoughts on “As I tumble down the slippery Kdrama slope…”

  1. After watching this show, I think I can confidently say that Sulli is the most beautiful Korean girl I’ve ever seen. What I mean is she is what pops into my head now when I think of what my ideal Korean woman looks like. She has literally become the barometer to which I compare other women to (is that misogynistic?).

    Which is sort of weird because I’ve been conditioned to like women with long to shoulder length hair and Sulli is in a boy cut for like 90% of the series.

    1. To me, Sulli didn’t become more attractive as a woman, instead I found that her acting was really good. She really nailed the part, and I appreciate her more as an artist because acting adds a new dimension to her. I think that she looks more attractive with a shorter haircut, but that may be that F(x) always wears such weird clothing that her beauty was masked by all the accessories she has on.

  2. Haha. “She makes Ren look jacked and manly.”
    Actually, I’m rewatching “You’re Beautiful” right now, and I realize that Ren’s existence has made the whole thing just a tad more believable.

    1. The way I rationalize it, is that she got in as a “super fast male sprinter”. You don’t need to be jacked in the upper body to be a good sprinter in high school, just have a good core and ridiculous legs. Since they never see her stomach and her legs are pretty built, it’s pretty easy to be a “pretty boy”.

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