This was a drama that was kind of overwhelmed by Money Warfare and then Coffee Prince in the same timeslot that saw it took a beating to its ratings. Am glad though that I didn’t miss out on watching this excellent produced drama despite that. A drama that is fun to watch and no lull in any scenes.
In a nutshell, this drama is based on the novel “Sad Story of the Capital (경성애사, 京城哀史)” written by Lee Sun Mi. It portrays a love story that happened in the 1930s where Korea was ruled by Japan as a state. It tells of how a playboy found his true meaning in life after being reformed by a lady holding on to strict traditional values. The playboy hatred for his childhood friend for causing his real brother’s death although there’s more than meet the eyes. A korean bar hostess seems to have another side to her. Fireworks in the works as the destiny of the four becomes entwined with each other in this turbulent period.
This is very much different from typical dramas. At first glance, it looks like any other cliched story that is doomed to end in failure since you can’t rewrite history. But what ensued in the following weeks as I chased this drama was pure bliss. It was a perfect fusion of old and new, it manages to captivates viewers hearts during the most dramatic scenes, but yet manages to brings a balance of heartwarming moments to balance out all of the angst the storyline brings. Brilliant, brilliant drama.
The soundtrack for the drama was another hit for me. The hit song, Kyung Sung scandal sung by Eru was perfect and captured the mood that the drama was trying to portray. You really feel like dancing along with it when the music hits.
Watching the four main leads go about transpiring their roles were really a joy as they made their roles come alive. They have managed to exude a different aura within their roles/characters and that’s making another factor why this drama’s soooo worth watching.
Even the side characters were a joy to behold and complement the serious scenes well with their funny antics. Production values are VERY high. The camera angles looked very glossy, and I was surprised they were able to create a pre-modern era of Seoul and make it look so realistic.
Kang Ji Hwan as Sun Woo Wan
Playful and cheeky Woo Wan played by Kang Ji Hwan who is the playboy in the capital and able to charm any woman with ease, or so he thought until he met Na Yeo Kyung. This was my first time seeing Kang Ji Hwan in a drama and he was just so charming, exuberant and very real in his role. His every expression whether talking, charming girls, etc were so perfect to a T and you would have thought he’s the same in real life. He was so adorable in his relationship with Yeo Kyung, a good friend to Su Hyun and having a soul mate in Cha Soo Jung.
Finding true meaning in living through his relationship with Yeo Kyung and that’s what makes watching his character grow from a flirt into a responsible guy a rewarding one. Plus, all the eye-catching colorful suits and outfits he wore throughout the drama really looked good on him. Not forgetting the hats and the gun-wielding. This could have been his breakout role that throws him into the limelight but alas the ratings didn’t help. Another time perhaps.
Han Ji Min as Na Yeo Kyung
The serious yet adorable Jo Maja, owner of a bookstore which is actually a front for the revolutionary activities she undertakes. Despite the lack of fancy costumes for her, she more than made up for it as she showed her subtle acting in playing her character that stands firm to her conversative values but gradually lets up in the love lessons that Woo Wan gives her. Her sizzling, funny, achingly beautiful, sweet chemistry with Woo Wan was perfect and fun to watch. Her brother-sister relationship with Su Hyun was touching while I liked that she look upon Soo Jung as an elder sister.
Ryu Jin as Lee Su Hyun
The solemn and charismatic Su Hyun played by Ryu Jin had more to show here than in previous dramas I saw him in. I thought he was perfect for his role here as the misunderstood person which he is really not but having to bear with it and get on with it. He really gave his all in those scenes and showed good reaction to every little detail. It’s tough on him that his close ones keep leaving him behind and having to live on in pain.
Han Go Eun as Cha Song Joo
The calm and well-kept and humorous Song Joo. She’s so confident about herself and always puts on a cold, lifeless wall between herself and others because of her past. I like how she always seems to be in charge of every scene all the time and how she becomes a woman in the presence of Su Hyun.
It was sad that her scenes with Su Hyun didn’t amount to much and though there wasn’t much dialouge between them, when their eyes meet, you can feel their feelings and emotions for each other. Always there to lend a helping hand or ears to Woo Wan. She is the other one besides Woo Wan to have lots of colorful costumes throughout the entire drama and she pulls them off nicely.
Rest of the Cast
Have to applaud the other cast members because without them, this drama won’t be complete. The famous three sidekick friends of Woo Wan, their roles inserted so much fun and joy into the drama. The innocent courtesans at Myeon-Bin House, Soo Jung’s driver and comrade, the detestable policemen. They all had a part to play.
The psychotic Sachiko and her general hubby were so adorable. You would have wonder why the drama had to focus on their bickering and stuff. Actually, these small characters and happenings were exactly one of the factors why this drama managed to capture my attention and make me love it to death. Can’t forget how Sachiko loves to clap her hands and say, “Bravo!” and the reaction of her hubby to her antics.
When Yeo Kyung was shying away from Wannie at the bookstore and alley…
When Woo Wan wins the boxing match, Yeo Kyung is overjoyed like him…
When they were fighting over a chess game during their picnic…
Scene from earlier episodes where adult Su Hyun was looking and smiling at young Song Joo in Myeongbin (while adult Song Joo was singing that beatiful song Huimangga in the bar). Then adult Song Joo looking at the young Su Hyun (in Myeongbin too). Their sight kind of overlaps and their emotions, feelings and thoughts are conveyed through this despite not talking.
Woo Wan was dared by his friends to pursue Yeo Kyung, and at that time, he thought Yoe Kyung’s mother was the one they were talking about. It was freaking funny when he found out that the term of his bet was Maja’s mother, and yet, it was not because he misunderstood his friends’ directions. Can imagine his joy when he realise it wasn’t.
Woo Wan was thinking about Yeo Kyung and thought it was her hands that was resting on his forehead, but alas…
The rainbow & egg thing of Sachiko’s biography. The scene when she was “beaten up” by our diva Cha Song Joo. Then she decides to listen to the long murmurings of Mamoru without interference. All thanks to Song Joo’s advice!!!
Woo Wan and Yeo Kyung spending the night together in a deserted house…
It was really fun to see how they like to think about what would happen next, especially when speculating about the situation when Woo Wan’s car broke down and he and Yeo Kyung had to spend the night together. Tak Gu’s theories normally are more sensible.
The scene when Yeo Kyung confessed about her feelings to Woo Wan in the prison, she was half-conscious there after getting tortured by Lee Kang Gu. Her words were so heartfelt and touching. But it was so sad that she didn’t know that she was in the arm of Su Hyun while Wan was at the back misunderstood that Su Hyun was the one that Yeo Kyung loved.
When Woo Wan patches up with Su Hyun after learning the truth…
Cha Soo Jung coaxing the three stooges into joining their anti-govt organization…
Super funny as to how Woo Wan reacted when Cha Song Joo told him that Yeo Kyung liking Lee Su Hyun was only part of their plan in Episode 13. Their reactions were hilarious especially Woo Wan, full props to him!
Sharing a sweet moment…
The scene when Yeo Kyung met Wan who was playing baseball with the kids after he came back from Japan. It was so cute that Wan thought she might be angry with him and he was so afraid of her so he used the kids to shield him. However, she asked the kids to leave and then ran to embrace him without saying anything except “I MISS YOU”. Wan was just so surprised but smiled happily in the end. Such a beautiful scene!!!
The scene when Wan was in the room at Myeong Bin house together with Yeo Kyung for the 2nd time!! It was sweet to hear her speak her true feelings to Wan who was faking asleep. Then it was so cute and sweet to see how Wan kiss her tenderly. But then it was real hilarious to hear Yeo Kyung say all those blanket stuffs and making Wan really frustrated!!
Song Joo only able to console Su Hyun in this way after he gets drunk…
The scene when Song Joo dies. This scene is so bloody sad and it was really sad for both Song Joo and Su Hyun. He could only watch the one that he loved dying in front of him, without being able to do anything or even speak (because the police were all there). They could only look at each other, just only that.
Young Ran, the three Jirashi employess, Su Hyun, Woo Wan and Yeo Kyung mourning the death of Song Joo in episode 15…
Very cool to see Wan and his buddy Su Hyun with GUNS!!!
Ending the drama at the train station where it all started…
Heavenly Kimchi: Top rated drama, amazing in every sense. 5/5 stars.
If you are interested in the series, visit Cococrust Repository to get your fix, certainly worth re-watching for all the fun and intensity of Korea in the 1930s…