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To Watch:
Episode 1

Cast:
Lee Da Hae as Xiao Xia
Joe Cheng as Chen Hao Feng
Anna Fang as Lin Xiao Xiao
Li Yi Feng as Chen Li Yang

Genre: 
Romance, Food, Family

Plot:
Xiao Xia lives alone with her nephew Yang Guang, struggling to get through each day working numerous odd jobs just to keep the rent paid and food on the table. All of a sudden, Xiao Xia’s bag is stolen and the rent for their apartment increases too much for Xiao Xia to afford. In just one night Xiao Xia and Yang Guang are forced to pack up and move once more. She calls a real-estate agent to help her find a cheap place to live in a day. Instead, he offers her a free place to stay if she can pretend to be his girlfriend for a day. With no other path to take, Xiao Xia agrees, however, the lie spins out of control and she is forced to stay at his family’s restaurant. There she meets his two younger brothers Chen Li Yang and Chen Hao Feng, and also his father. Love blooms, old enemies of the Chen family return, and also old loves return.

Both Li Yang and Hao Feng fall for Xiao Xia, how will this play out in the end, who will Xiao Xia choose? Will the Chen family be able to hold onto the true spirit of their generation old restaurant? It turns out Xiao Xia has a talent for cooking, how will she become a part of the Chen family?

This is a story of family, a story of love without boundaries, and a story of decades long misunderstandings.

Review:
One word to describe this drama: Amazing. Personally I was very surprised to see this drama pop up on Sugoi. Lately there has been a slight craze of Korean actors and actresses splashing into the Taiwan small screen such as Fondant Garden and Absolute Boyfriend (Taiwan version). When I saw Lee Da Hae appear in a Taiwanese drama, I was a bit skeptical at first. Honestly I have not been following much of her work in South Korea, but after hearing how she dropped out of East of Eden my impression of her fell ever so slightly.

The first episode dropped me in for the long haul. Reflecting back now, I don’t think I saw anything significant to rant about. The story line was a bit on the unrealistic side but not enough to detract from the overall experience. Just like any normal Taiwanese drama, it stressed the family theme very strongly. The music was great, I enjoyed many of the songs.

Lee Da Hae plays the mold of my favorite heroine. For most of the drama I really loved her character, though near the end I felt the writers didn’t let her grow as much as a character should in a drama of 34/35 episodes. One of the most memorable parts of the drama was Lee Da Hae’s facial expressions. I thought they were very dynamic, expressive, and defining. She really created a character who came alive on screen and you could get her emotions from just her expressions. Joe Cheng played the stoic and serious Hao Feng. I think he made a good performance for most of the drama, however, I felt like he lost it a little during the last few episodes. His expressions were a bit too stiff and unreadable, contrary to his early showings. He made a good transition from someone who was cold and condemning into a warm-hearted person. The characters of Li Yang, Xiao Xiao, and also the Chen father were all very nice additions to the cast. I did however find Li Yang’s character to be quite annoying at some times (as if I wanted to bang my head on the table). I think the writers did a little un-needed overdrive on his character on the romantic front, but it was not extremely coarse.

My final feelings on this Ai De Mi Fang is that it was very touching in many of the early episodes and it also felt like it captured many elements of a good drama. There were just enough characters to keep it interesting and the acting was very decent. Probably one of the elements that most people would have an issue with would be the dubbing of Lee Da Hae. I for one did not find the dubbing to be distracting or terrible. In fact, I barely noticed it at all unless I specifically paid attention to her mouth. Often times mainland dramas will dub over their mandarin speaking cast with different voices and completely ruin a good drama. In the case of this drama I felt it did not ruin anything at all.

+1 in my book for Lee Da Hae. If you enjoy an emotional yet uplifting drama I really recommend you watch this one, at least the beginning.

Rating:
4.7/5.0

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eoe

Cast:
Song Seung Hun as Lee Dong Chul
Shin Dong Woo as Dong Chul (5 years old)
Kim Bum as Dong Chul (15 years old)
Yun Jung Hoon as Lee Dong Wook
Park Gun Tae as Dong Wook (10 years old)
Park Hae Jin as Shin Myung Hun
Won Duk Hyun as Myung Hun (10 years old)
Han Ji Hye as Kim Ji Hyun
Nam Ji Hyun as Ji Hyun (10 years old)
Lee Da Hae as Min Hye Rin
Lee Yeon Hee as Gook Young Ran / Grace
Dennis Oh as Mike Packard

Genre:
Drama

Plot:
It all starts in a small mining town. Because of Shin Tae Hwan’s ambition and greed, he destroys the lives of many people. One of those people was a mining leader by the name of Lee Ki Chul. It just so happened that Lee Ki Chul and Shin Tae Hwan both had children born on the same day. A heartbroken and angry nurse Yoo Mi Ae switches the babies, unable to kill Shin Tae Hwan’s child.

Lee Ki Chul’s eldest son, Lee Dong Chul, grows up with the knowledge that Shin Tae Hwan killed his father, and for the rest of his life he holds hatred in his heart but only love for his younger brother Lee Dong Wook. From childhood to adulthood, Lee Dong Chul continues to sacrifice himself for his family.

In the years to come, old faces seem to reappear and the decades long struggle between Shin Tae Hwan and Lee Ki Chul’s family continues to keep the past alive.

How will Dong Chul grow up with hatred in his heart but only love for his family and friends? Will Shin Tae Hwan ever be brought to justice? How much suffering can Dong Chul take before he breaks? What will happen when the deadly secret of the swapped babies is revealed?

Review:
I know I’ve been away for many months now, as I haven’t had much chances to watch any new Chinese dramas. I started watching East of Eden over winter break and I’m glad to say I’ve finally finished the series. I said before that I was completely engrossed in this drama, and its the truth. Even before the main plot of the story was played out, many viewers wrote negative comments on this drama. Sometimes I have to agree, but this drama really had something that just kept me watching. I admit later on in the last twenty some episodes, there were some boring parts dragged out, but all in all I felt that the entire production was solid.

Near the end of the drama Lee Dong Chul’s acting kind of got repetitive and so did Young Ran’s. While Lee Da Hae kept complaining that she couldn’t understand her character, I still thought she was one of the better actresses in the drama, one who really built up character. Probably the best actor in the drama was Yoo Dong Geun as President Gook. He was an amazing addition to this drama. He just has such a unique character that you can see how his brain works throughout the drama. Props to Lee Dong Wook in this drama as well for his great emotional scenes near the end. I could really feel his building frustration.

I know I normally only review more lesser known dramas, but since there was so much controversy about this one, I had to give it a good review. The music, the cinematography, and the overall mood I felt was really there. It was pretty easy to guess the ending and I felt that was probably one of the only major flaws. The ending was a bit abrupt, since it would have been nice to see more of the epilogue. Movies like The Lord of the Rings trilogy pretty much had a 35 minute ending for a 9 hour movie and so according to 56 episodes there should have been almost two episodes for the ending/epilogue. I feel like more closure is needed after following such a long drama since they never really tell what happens to Dong Chul’s dream for his hometown.

Just a note, I thought that there were a couple great tear-jerker episodes haha. Also, great props to all the child actors and actresses, especially Kim Bum.

Rating:
4.6/5.0

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eoe

First off I’d like to thank any people who comment a lot or just check out what I write about the dramas I’ve seen. I usually flip over to JavaBeans once in awhile to see what’s going on in the kdrama world. This time I managed to read the year in reviews by the 3 avid drama fans. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I myself do not watch dramas to nit pick everything that happens or pay attention too much to critique the scripts or directorship of any drama. I usually rate my dramas on my own enjoyment and then pick out the details of each that I remember most. I really try not to be judgmental since I know that every production is always compilation of the hard work and effort of both the production crews and the actors and actresses.

The major dramas that they talked about were:
Iljimae
Beethoven Virus
On Air
Robbers
Gourmet
Stars Lover
Hong Gil Dong
Tazza
Strongest Chil Woo
Love & Marriage
Three Dads One Mom
Who Are You
When Night Comes
World’s Within
General Hospital 2
Happiness
Kingdom of the Winds
Spotlight
My Sweet Seoul
Fight
Painter of the Wind
Scales of Providence
My Woman
Before and After Plastic Surgery
Bichunmoo
Single Dad In Love
Powerful Opponents
You Are My Destiny
Women in the Sun
Lawyers of the Great Republic
East of Eden

Let me roughly go down the list.

The first on the list is Iljimae. My first impression of this drama was that something was off. It did not give me the feel of an authentic Saguek like Damo or Hwang Jini. I didn’t bother to keep watching after the first few episodes. This is not to say it was a bad drama. I understand that it did incredibly well in the ratings but it just wasn’t for me. My mom bought the DVDs maybe I’ll finish it sometime.

Beethoven Virus really got me excited that it would be like Nodame Cantable but I was sadly disappointed. I was expecting to follow a nice drama with Lee Ji Ah but the story just killed me. I had hoped they’d make Lee Ji Ah into some great musician but I didn’t like what she turned out to be. I really loved her in her first drama Saguek but I just couldn’t watch her in this one. It’s alright though I will still watch your next drama Lee Ji Ah!!!

On Air is a very interesting drama and I started watching about the first six episodes. Song Yoon Ah from Hotelier and My Older Sister is one of the most talented and beautiful actresses that I have ever seen. The acting core in the drama way surpassed my expectations. Perhaps this is also why the ratings were so high. I was so impressed with the overall production and casting chemistry. One tick. I didn’t really like how the plot was progressing so I stopped watching it for the time being. I may probably (90% chance) go back to watch this just to see how great the acting gets later on.

Robbers was similarly dropped by myself. I love Lee Da Hae and her acting is superb. She has her touching moments. I can’t really say I enjoyed the drama and plotline. I kind of skimmed through the last 10 episodes simply because I had them downloaded already. I think I have watched so many dramas that one of my most weighted enjoyment factors is acting and plot. (music comes in third!)

Gourmet was a nice drama as well. Solid cast and iffy plot. The story has been done before in different cultures so it is nothing new to me. I just love Nam Sang Mi so I had to check out the drama. Sadly the subs have not been quickly released so I have not really paid attention to the rest of this drama. If it is completed I will definitely finish it, if only to see Nam Sang Mi.

Stars Lover I consider a drama suited for more mature audiences. I find Choi Ji Woo a little too old for my enjoyment but I did decide to see how it goes. Nothing much to say about this yet.

I did enjoy Hong Gil Dong no matter how un authentic or wack it appeared to be. I admit I watched the drama for Sung Yuri and the plot was pretty interesting. It was just the overall feel of the production did not give me a perfect feeling. People say that Yuri’s acting improved and I have to agree. Anyhow, I don’t really have much to say about this other than the fact that I actually enjoyed most of it and watched the whole thing.

Tazza is waiting for me. Will get to it when I have time.

Strongest Chil Woo was dropped even before I finished watching the first episode. I started watching it and just found it kind of weird. I wanted to try watching it for Hye Sun from Pure 19 but I just couldn’t keep watching it.

Love & Marriage was decent but something just didn’t click for me. I watched probably the first 8-9 episodes and then skimmed through the ending. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been married yet or even plan to in the near future so it just wasn’t for me.

Three Dads and One Mom with Eugene was a fun ride. I loved her in this drama as well as all of the supporting cast. I finished the drama and felt that it was pretty enjoyable. A lot of critics said it was a failure but I’d like to differ. No matter how many faults people find about it I think that overall it is still an enjoyable drama. It is well mixed with touching moments as well as comedic moments.

Who Are You has been on my hard drive all this time but I haven’t had the courage to start it since I think I might have an adverse reaction to seeing a young man suddenly turn into her father somewhere during an important moment. Since so many people enjoyed this drama I may take a look at ep1.

I started When Night Comes and then stopped. I guess that’s all I need to say. You can just watch ep1 on your own and tell me your thoughts haha.

World’s Within was just not my type of drama. I hear that things get better after ep5 or 6 but I haven’t had the time to watch the rest since there are many more dramas out there that I need to finish.

I was looking forward so much to General Hospital 2 but after the first episode I felt disappointed. Kim Jung Eun, well, I really can’t stand the character that she plays. It was pretty humorous though so if comedy suits you you might find this drama entertaining.

Happiness started out well and I thought I finally found a drama that I could follow through. Alas, after the first five or six episodes, I didn’t feel like I could finish it. Just too long. This made me think about watching Golden Bride. I loved the first twenty or thirty episodes but as it dragged on, I started getting annoyed. Long dramas (that aren’t Sagueks or Wu Xia) tend to do that to me.

I’m just waiting on Kingdom of the Winds to finish airing and subbed and I will start. Really looking to another great Saguek with Jumong.

Spotlight is surely an interesting drama. When watching the first seven episodes I really felt the rush and that there was always action going on. I just felt maybe if they added a little more romance or what not it would have been better. Anyhow, I must find time to finish this great drama. I don’t understand how the ratings were so low. It must have been the other competing dramas at the time. Son Yeh Jin is an amazing actress and I find it sad that people did not pick this drama up. There are rumors that the last few episodes slightly differ from teh previous episodes but I think Son Yeh Jin makes up for this.

Nothing on My Sweet Seoul as I decided to not even watch the first episode.

I started watching Fight just streaming online and I think its a really great drama. I will finish this sometime I hope.

Painter of the Wind absolutely blew me away. The music, acting, and feeling of the drama just washed over me like honey water. Everything was beautifully done. Enough said this is a must watch.

I’m looking forward to watching Scales of Providence if ever the subs finish. I have high hopes for this, but also because Jun Hye Bin is in it.

My Woman seemed to be a pretty solid drama. Although I didn’t know if it was accurate, the summary said the main female lead would betray her old lover. I’m sorry but I can’t really deal with evil leads. It’s just my own quirk but I’m sure it was a great drama. The cast seemed solid but it just seemed too evil for my liking. I could foresee a lot of evil and sadness!

Nothing to say about Before and After Plastic Surgery.

I have to say I have a strong connection to Bichunmoo. It’s really not as bad as people make it seem. Since I worked on the subs, I was able to view the drama in its complete and abridged form. I loved Park Ji Yoon as Sul Ri. I was really excited to work on the project and I ended up loving the drama and waiting for each new episode. My only dislike was the character playing the other male lead. A lot of viewers complained about the dubbing but since I watched the drama in both Chinese and Korean, I have to say it doesn’t detract too much. Although it can’t compare with Wu Xia from China, it does try and it does do a good job capturing many of the scenes.

Single Dad in Love, no thanks.

Powerful Opponents was another rare drama that I found the will to finish. Although I did skim a little, I felt that people had concerns that the actors acted a lot like children? Well it is a drama and there is definitely room to exaggerate. It’s what makes dramas dramas and not reality TV. I don’t think that it was outrageously overdone. I think the drama started out really well but somewhere along the way I felt disappointed. I still did finish since I wanted to see who Chae Rim would end up with. Lucky I did follow through because the ending was kinda cool.

You Are My Destiny continues to enchant me although the story is getting a bit dragged out and annoying. Im Yoon Ah does a wonderful job and Hose seriously needs to grow a spine. Su Bin is pure evil but she is still human. Anyways for a daily drama it is really nice. I have yet to watch the remaining episodes but I probably will finish it sometime, if only to stick around for a happy ending.

I’m quite sure that Women in the Sun was a great drama but once again as I said before, it makes me squirmy to deal with evil leads. Abandoning a sister? I might watch it for the acting and plotline but it’d probably make me uncomfortable. It kind of reminds me of Fashion 70’s where I fell in love with the evil lead Min Jung instead of Ye Won.

I’m surprised I even finished Lawyers of the Great Republic of Korea. I started watching it because I saw Lee Soo Kyung. It was probably a mistake because I hated both male leads and I simply hated the plot, but darn it Lee Soo Kyung is just so beautiful that I stuck around.

As for my finishing drama, I’d really like to stick up for East of Eden. As you might already have guessed I’ve been watching East of Eden in the last three days and I’ve been hooked. No skimming and no frowns. I love this drama. Lee Dong Chul is just cool and Lee Yeon Hee and Lee Da Hae are just amazing. There are complaints about the acting, which I could possibly agree to, but the drama is just awesome. The story keeps me tuned, (although I can guess everything that will happen) I still think it’s a solid drama and I will definitely watch it to the end. The sacrifices of Dong Chul and his loyalty is just beyond this world. Don’t be swayed by the critics who say they hate East of Eden. It is definitely a drama worth starting, and if you like it, finishing.

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