Drama Reactions & Reviews
MBC Comedy-Drama “Soulmate”
by | March 4, 2007 | 173 Comments

Although I’m busy with “work” and life and all those other things, and still have to catch up on recaps of Dal Ja’s Spring, I think the next series I’ll try recapping is the MBC show SOULMATE, broadcast in mid-2006. Partially because (1) it’s an awesome show, and (2) there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available about it.


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BASIC INFO:
Director(s): No Do-chul, Sun Hye-yoon
Screenwriters: Jo Jin-kook, Park Eun-jung, Nam Ji-yeon
Broadcast period: 2006 March 13 – 2006 June 26
Episode total: 12* (see note at bottom)

Official MBC Website: http://www.imbc.com/broad/tv/ent/soulmate/soul/index.html

(Torrents and subs available at d-addicts.com.)

SONG(s) OF THE DAY

A universally praised aspect of the show is its amazing, eclectic, perfectly selected soundtrack. There are too many songs featured to even list properly in one post, but these are a few key tracks:

Nouvelle Vague – “This Is Not A Love Song.” This serves as kind of the anthem of the first episode. [ Download ]

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Mon Murmure – “Jazz Cocktail.” This gives you an idea of the playful nature the show sometimes adopts. [ Download ]

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Lasse Lindh – “The Stuff” [ Download ]

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THE (VERY ATTRACTIVE) CAST::

L to R: Otani Ryohei, Sa Kang (as Hong Yu-jin), Lee Soo-kyung, Shin Dong-wook, Jang Mi-in-ae (as Jang Min-ae), Jung-hwan, Kim Mi-jin, Phillip Choi

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I stumbled across the series, fell in love with it, and worked on translating the latter half. For fans of kdramas who wish there was something a little “different” and fresher from the norm, who may enjoy sitcoms like the Nonstop series but find them a little stale and predictable, Soulmate is a must-see. It might be best described as a Sex & The City-style comedy-drama, often risque and mostly dealing with modern relationships and how men and women differ in how they communicate.

The director, No Do Chul, is quite talented and best known perhaps for his Hello, Francesca series, which was an Addams Family-like sitcom about multigenerational vampires. He’s got a knack for visual flair and a kickass ear for music.

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THE PREMISE:

Each episode deals with an aspect of modern relationships and dating, but at the center of the series are its two destined “soulmates,” Shin Dong-wook and Lee Soo-kyung. Lest you immediately groan at the cheesy and over-romanticized concept of soulmates, let me assure you that it’s handled very well, and not at all in a trite or obvious way. The series deals with the question of whether soulmates even exist, with each character on a different part of the spectrum. Interestingly, the two supposed soulmates are among the most skeptical, while the supporting characters tend to consider the concept in a more idealized, romantic way.

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SHIN DONG-WOOK, a freelance music coordinator (with excellent musical taste, by the way), is the consummate playboy, a guy’s guy who finds women constantly throwing themselves at him. He’s perfected the “game” of dating to an art form. He hangs out with best friends Jung-hwan and Ryohei, who are both players in their own right but not to the level of success as Dong-wook. At 30 and from a good background and family, he’s being pressured to finally settle down and goes on a “mat-seon,” or a formal blind date between two prospective marriage candidates, and meets Hong Yu-jin. He doesn’t necessarily believe in true love or soulmates, but he’s content enough to date Yu-jin for the moment, playing this game he’s conquered so many times.

LEE SOO-KYUNG is your everywoman character, lovable and pretty, but not exceptional. She works as a proofreader at a newspaper, and has dated her boyfriend, Phillip, for five years. She loves Philip and has a content life, but her love has never been challenged, until Phillip proposes to her (on a subway!) and she finds herself conflicted rather than happily excited. She doesn’t believe in soulmates either, but believes that sticking to this relationship that’s been nurtured with time and commitment will lead to happiness.

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SUPPORTING CHARACTERS:
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HONG YU-JIN (above, left) is a well-bred, conservative 27-year-old who just wants to get married and be a good wife and mother. Although she was raised as a little princess, instead of being bratty and spoiled, she’s rather na�ve. She also speaks a quirky, old-style form of Korean which is oddly formal but also endearing. At first she falls for Dong-wook’s qualifications and calculated moves, but soon finds herself falling in love for real.

PHILLIP is a doting boyfriend to Soo-kyung, overly attentive and the kind of guy who showers his girl with cutesy phrases and gifts. Although he’s a bit timid and unassuming, he catches the notice of a seductress, Min-ae, and finds his feelings for Soo-kyung faltering…

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JANG MIN-AE, an English instructor, is your classic man-eater, confident and sexy and aggressively so. Any guy she wants, she gets. She starts dating Ryohei, but at the same time starts noticing her co-worker, Phillip, as cute and interesting. She knows he’s been dating a girl in a serious relationship, but she comes on to Phillip anyway. After all, it’s not her fault if he’s attracted to her. She’s never thought of how her actions may hurt others, enjoying life and romance for what it is in the present…

RYOHEI is a Japanese model, who became popular in Korea for his commercials and modeling (both true for the character and real-life actor). He catches the eye of Min-ae, and despite knowing of her cool attitude toward love, understands her and lets her have her space. He’s considered a hot catch but isn’t terribly interested in the dating tug-of-war; he doesn’t quite understand what all the love-games are about. He’d rather just be honest and straightforward, rather than going through the whole romance run-around.

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JUNG-HWAN, 32 and a personal trainer at the gym, likes to think he’s a better player than he is, but his pick-up lines are mostly cheesy and he assumes women like him when they’re often annoyed at his persistence. He’s rendered helpless at the hands of a beautiful woman. Still, he’s rather harmless and has had his share of playing Casanova.

KIM MI-JIN is Soo-kyung and Yu-jin’s supervisor at the newspaper. She’s an eccentric spinster who believes herself to be independent and liberated, but is desperately in want of a man. She subscribes to an unpredictable and strange set of beliefs, but has occasional flashes of true insight. She falls for Jung-hwan and pursues him with unbelievable persistence, believing him to be her soulmate. Jung-hwan is both attracted and repulsed by her (often depending on his level of intoxication!).

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* MBC did something interesting with this series, which is billed as a sitcom but is really more like a very funny drama. The first two episodes are one hour long. Thereafter, each “hour” episode actually contains 2 “installments.” So although there are technically 22 “episodes” in total, in terms of hour-long episodes to watch/download, there are 12. It sounds confusing at first, but just keep in mind there are 12 hours and you’ll be fine.

** photo credits to MBC and Luv at soompi

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173 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Dele

    This is an excellent and underated drama. It has a lot of reality in it towards life/love/friendships/relationships. I enjoyed it very much!!! There is not a lot of info about it though!!

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    • 1.1 kent

      Just wrote some about this drama on you latest podcast but can’t resist the urge to write here too. Well I see you had a mind about writing a recap on this drama, so if your time prefers, please do so. I am totally into this drama rite now and I admit I didn’t really find it interesting when I watch it long time back, but now I am totally into it. And the sound track and the music choice of this drama is fantastically breath taking. It’s like I wanna listen to those music in times of heart break and you know when I come across situation that our characters do. Just love it.

      PS.. please consider doing recap on this drama, I know its been ages but it still one of the great drama I have seen for all these years.

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      • 1.1.1 nev

        After hearing about the great OST for this I came across your review, and now I really want to watch it…. but cant find any streaming sites that still have it >_< does nay one know of where I can watch this?

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        • 1.1.1.1 nomad

          try gooddrama

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        • 1.1.1.2 drisris

          dramafever.com

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  2. Kiongna aka teileen

    Hi Javabeans, Thunderbolt gave links through her siggie over at JAC on her Dal Ja Springs MINKI craze and seeing your name there I clicked and voila I came to your land!

    Loved reading all your comments/notes/summary with pics of Dal Ja Springs and then clicked on Soulmate, yeah, I’ve read some on this and I’m sure it must be great!

    So BIG TICK to look for SOULMATE!

    Cheers, E

    P/S You are very appreciated for all your work done for us mere UN-Korean mortals for all your translation subbing work etc….And reading your thoughts…such a joy..Thanks so much

     (0)


  3. javabeans

    Thanks, and you should most definitely check out Soulmate! It’s a really excellent show.

    And thank you for your thank-you (lol), because it makes all the translating and subbing totally worth it! :D

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    • 3.1 anais

      Loved Soulmate! Watched it at your description and recommendation. Thanks!

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    • 3.2 shtoop

      The ending is not happy enough for me lol

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      • 3.2.1 Nev

        me too >_< I just cant cope with the openness of it. Assuming that I did get to see the last ep that is :/

         (0)


  4. Ter

    Heeeeey… my interest is piqued! After I finish Oh Dal Ja, I’m gonna try to find Soulmate XD.

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  5. Eve

    I have to agree with almost everything you are saying. I’m currently watching this ~ the first time I heard about this series (when it first aired) I was a bit skeptical about the whole “soulmates” thing but after watching it…I’ve fallen in love with it. I loved how you compared it to NonStop but not as predictable. I definitely agree – I’m a big fan of the nonstop series but found them a bit cliche…this series has a little bit of both….playfulness and seriousness. Thanks for this great recommendation!

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  6. Maily

    Hi, i ran across your site and was so happy that someone noticed this show! I just finished watching the subbed version and loved it soooo much! It’s probably one of the best shows there are! It’s sooooo funny and it’s very realistic…unlike most of the typical themes for korean love comedies! also, none of the actors are too well known but I think they’ve acted out there roles very well! I can’t wait until it comes out in DVD! I’ll definitely buy it!

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  7. fl-shback

    thanks for the heads-up on this drama…
    if i didn’t see on your site…
    i wouldn’t even have known it existed.
    thankkks… one of the best dramas!

    :)

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  8. Petra

    I saw you post on this a couple of days ago, and since I love your taste in dramas, I decided to download Soulmate and have spent the last 2 days juggling work and no sleep!!! Loved it, loved it, loved it!! great music, great cast and great story. Thanks for letting me in on the greatness of Soulmate

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  9. flowerpotcat

    This drama is some sort of “a drama less watched”. But it’s an amazing drama. Loved it! :)

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  10. 10 javabeans

    I’m thrilled to see people checking out Soulmate based on my rec, who perhaps had never heard of the series before… My work here is done. :D

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    • 10.1 Ck_hazel

      I REALLY want to watch the special episode but I have been unable to find it online. Can you PLEASE tell me where I can find it?

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  11. 11 Stacie

    I really don’t enjoy it. I ended up liking the short, proper one in the begining and then not liking her character only a few episodes later. I guess it was fresh and up beat but not for me. But a must see to judge for yourself.

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  12. 12 jh

    I really love your site! And this show is turning out to be quite awesome as well. I was wondering if you could post a song from this show…it features a male singer, and it plays whenever the 2 main characters pass by each other. Thanks and keep up your great blog!!

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  13. 13 Emma

    Hello..Based on your rec, I wanted to see more of this show. So, I went on veoh and YouTube and watched it. It was great;) I loved this show so much…I was never bored..All the characters were well developed. It’s very different from all the other kdramas. Everyone’s perspective was shown. It got a little bit confusing with all the playing out same scenes from different point of views. But it came together towards the last 2-3 episodes. I loved the two main characters, how they were so pessimistic about FATE..then believing it towards the end. I just wished they showed us what happened to them in the end. I guess it will keep us guessing. Is there another season or was that it? Thanks so much for all your wonderful insights. I’m enjoying all your summaries especially Que sera sera. You’re doing a marvelous job translating to us ‘Non-korean’ speaking viewers. Thank You!

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  14. 14 Jenny

    I’ve seen 4 episodes of this and I have to say it’s surprisingly funny.
    I really love all the characters in their own way.

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  15. 15 Fushcia Pink

    I am intrigued why you rated this as A+. this must be really good.=)

     (0)


  16. 16 javabeans

    jh, that song is called “C’mon Through” and it’s by Lasse Lindh.

    emma, that’s one of my favorite aspects — the cutting between perspectives, the nonlinear (out-of-chronological-order) storytelling that all makes sense when it comes together in the end…

    there was supposed to be a season 2, and while no details have been officially announced about the status, i’m not sure if it’s still a go… but i won’t give up hope until they formally announce anything about it.

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  17. 17 Fushcia Pink

    im still in the 2nd episode yet it gets so interesting. =) it does really deserve an a+! I couldn’t thank you enough javabeans, i’ve discovered a lot of very nice kdramas to watch. It just keeps entertaining me and im learning a lot from it also.

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  18. 18 jane

    Hi Javabeans, do you happen to know the song that plays in episode 11, when Dong-wook and Soo-kyung are listening to the mp3 player by the lake? The song also plays when everyone gathers at the restaurant. Thanks!

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  19. 19 Fuschia Pink

    Javabeans!!!! I so love this drama! Any news on season2? BTW, i also like the song by John Lennon but I don’t know the title though. I have not yet watched the 2nd half of ep12 in veoh….I’m afraid I might not be able to sleep wondering what would’ve happened. Did they meet or did they not meet? ohhhh….. I really enjoyed watching it. This drama really deserves an A+. =) Thank you, thank you, thank you! and….I really like Dong-wook’s character…Soo-kyung and him deserves to be happy.=)

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  20. 20 brinda88

    When I saw this show, I instantly fell in love with it. I had tears in my eyes from laughing so much. I’m definitely going to recommend this show to other korean drama addicts.

    Do you know when the next season will be aired? I want to know if SHIN DONG-WOOK and LEE SOO-KYUNG are really fated to be together. THANKS!! :)

     (0)


  21. 21 Louela

    yea. cant wait for season two. haha. dong wook’s hotta hotta! i like it that they used their real names here. haha.. i can’t get enough!!!!!!!!!!

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  22. 22 Louela

    and oh, i hope u do make some recaps for this series. realy looking forward to that. =)

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  23. 23 innerouter2000

    @jane: it’s peking laundry- don’t turn away :)
    @javabeans: love ur blog and thanks for all ur subbing!! so far ive liked all the dramas u’ve raved on about!woohoo

     (0)


  24. 24 chad

    soulmate is awsome, i want to see season two, and i’m in love with lee soo- kyung

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  25. 25 Fushcia Pink

    Javabeans, what’s the title of John Lennon’s song that Dong-wook playe for Soo-kyung?

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  26. 26 aqua3108

    thank you very very much for subbing this series =] i watched it over the past week and totally got addicted to it ^^;; i cannot wait till the second season, which i hope hope hope there is ^^ anyways yes, absolutely loved this series and wanted to thank you very much for making it possible for me to understand it =]

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  27. 27 innerouter2000

    @Fuschcia Pink: if its the one im thinking of, it’s “oh my love”
    hope that helps :)

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  28. 28 infiniti512

    This is one fo my favorite dramas so far! i like that it’s unconventional and more like a sitcom. The only thing that disappointed me was the whole I can hear your thoughts thing. Kind of silly, but I got over it because it didnt affect the drama over all. I want the OST too. Best soundtrack I’v heard.

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  29. 29 secret admirer

    Just want to say a big “Thank You” for recommending this series (easily going to be one of my top 5 favorite of all time). It is so fresh and unconventional – very appealing to all the romantics and cynics in this world. The idea of true love and fate – relationship and dating in a 2007-frame-of-mind. Are the writers a group of 20-something women? Solid and cleverly written story line, strong and REAL characters, beautiful wardrobe and an excellent sound track. Love the ending, so appropriate for its title. Even if there is no season 2, the ending was just PERFECT. Truly deserving of an A+.

    P.S.: Awesome sub, javabeans…. thanks so much for all your hard work!

     (0)


  30. 30 hli

    hey javabeans,

    i just finished watching this drama and i just wanted to leave a comment. i agree that if anyone has the chance to watch the drama, they should watch it. i loved this drama and i can’t wait for season 2!!! do you know when season 2 will be out? oh, and i also want to thank you for the soundtracks for the drama…

     (0)


  31. 31 Anonymous

    I have got to say, this is by far the most interesting drama I have watched, hands down!! All the other dramas (romance dramas) are so typical and just plain out boring after a while. It’s just the same plot over and over again with different actors and actresses. Blah..

    Soulmate on the other hand is awesome. It hooked me with its endearing plot and lovable (and great looking ^.~) actors and actresses. OH MY GOSH. This drama just totally makes me gush. I can’t wait for the 2nd season.

    ANYONE WHO LOVES DRAMAS MUST WATCH THIS SERIES! IT’S THAT GOOD!!!!! >.

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  32. 32 thunderbolt

    I think I cracked 3 ribs laughing. Hands down the funniest, wittiest Kdrama I’ve ever watched. The writing is awesome; best lines I’ve seen in a long while. Thanks for recommending this, sarahbeans.

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  33. 33 sweetrain

    are the characters’ names the same as the actors?

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  34. 34 javabeans

    sweetrain, yes the characters names are (mostly) their real names. exceptions: jang mi-in-ae’s character name was modified to the simpler jang min-ae, sa kang went by hong yu-jin, and i’m not sure if ju-ho and ju-hee are their real names.

    for some reasons, lots of sitcoms do this — Nonstop, High Kick — the main exceptions being when two actors play siblings or there’s a particular reason their real name isn’t appropriate for their character.

    and no, still no news on season 2. :( i’m not holding my breath.

     (0)


  35. 35 SarangCandee

    What a great sitcom! The ending left us waiting impatiently for Part II but now there’s no Part II..arghhhh!

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  36. 36 Nana

    HEY! Thank you, JAVABEANS, for the subbing and all =] I really enjoyed the series! :D It was SO awesome! And I’m happy I got the chance to watch it :D

    What’s going on with the “no part II” news? =[ Is it really true?! O__O PLEASEEE let me know! I’m dying to see the second part of it. OMGGG

    Again- THANK YOU SO MUCH =DD

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  37. 37 javabeans

    Nana, unfortunately it’s true there’s no season 2. We’ll just have to wear our Season 1 out rewatching instead. :(

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  38. 38 infiniti512

    aww no fair!

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  39. 39 Nana

    WHAAAAAAAT?!?!?

    DUDEE, NO WAY! THAT’S DOOKIE!! ;___________;

    omggg, why?!?! where’d you hear it from?! >_

     (0)


  40. 40 blueseeker

    I was trying to get caught up on season 2 when i checked soompi and it seems that although they had started recording for the first episode it was cancelled. Am completly devastated…..i wish we could write to those damn writers and producers and just demand the second season.

     (0)


  41. 41 javabeans

    I don’t think they started filming for a season two. And while it sucks, it’s not the writers and producers’ faults — they wanted to proceed as well. Blame MBC for not wanting to broadcast a season 2, although strictly from a business sense, I suppose they feel it didn’t garner enough ratings to justify producing more episodes.

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  42. 42 mika

    Thank Javabean for the recaps of KDrama and Soulmate is 1 of my top fav.
    This is such an exceptional sitcom/drama with awesome casts and great OST!
    i really looking forward for the season 2 and a bit frustrated when u said MBC has cancelled it! Hope they listening to us and come to their sense.. lol

     (0)


  43. 43 jcnka05

    I want my season II, waaaaa. We need to start petitioning MBC to make it! Seriously! I love this drama, funny, sweet and poignant at the same time.

     (0)


  44. 44 celia

    hey Javabeans, thanks so much for recommending great but underrated dramas that otherwise I’d have missed. First Bad Family and now this. ^^ I’m curious about one thing… It’s about the guy who plays Su-gyeong’s brother, he looks really familiar… Is there a chance he’s the same guy who plays Dong-soo (Choon-hyang’s employee and pretend-boyfriend in the last 2 episodes) in Delighful Girl Choon-hyang? I might be wrong though.

     (0)


  45. 45 merriwether

    Soulmate gave me hope that Korean television could be quirky and different. It’s truly one of its kind in the Korean television. I actually found myself buying the idea of a soulmate existing for everyone when I’m usually the cynic. If only more television was made this way. Thank you for the recommendation. This drama is one of my favourite Korean dramas now.

    Celia, you’re right about the brother. He was Dong-Soo in DGCH.

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  46. 46 javabeans

    ilovebinderclips,

    Hm, i didn’t do the translating for Dal Ja’s Spring (mostly spots here and there) but i’ll have to take a look at the subs and see what you’re referring to. I do agree that there are some fansub translations in general that tend to be too literal in syntax and interpretation, but it’s something each translator learns with more experience. And as we’re a purely volunteer operation, we’re grateful to have any and all translating help that we can get, with all the various projects we’ve got going.

    Thanks for your feedback and I’m always happy to read more praise about Soulmate since it’s such a great series.

     (0)


  47. 47 ilovebinderclips

    Hi,
    Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading some of your recaps and drama ratings. Keep it up! I saw Soulmate last spring when it was coming out, and I remember being so excited about it that I’d loiter around clubboxes for days waiting for it to be uploaded every week. The soundtrack *is* exceptional, and it’s my favorite drama, too.

    I’ve seen your subtitling work for Dal Ja’s Spring, and while I have some minor quibbles (mostly with syntax differences between the original Korean and the English translation), overall I thought you and the rest of WITHS2 did a great job with a great drama. One thing that you guys might think about: coordinating flashback scenes and the opening “review” sequences between episodes. Sometimes they’re translated differently because the translators were different, and it can be distracting when one version doesn’t match up as well with the Korean dialogue as the other. A minor point, though. Best of luck with future projects.

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  48. 48 Lena

    Hi Javabeans!
    are you going to cont the recaps of Soulmate?

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  49. 49 Roudy

    Javabeans.. I really like your nickname.. love your blog..I have read your rating for all the kdramas that you saw.. you rated Soulmate as a must see.. I went right away and finished the drama in 2 days only ..coz currently I am on vacation.. to be honest I don’t believe in soulmates.. but what made the drama a must see is the other characters.. they were soo funny that I kept watching nonstop.. also it envolved alot of learning about relationships..
    I have one Q.. who wrote the pink and the black diaries .. it seemed like it will make you a pro on dating.. it was really funny how the copycat turned to original where the original dating pro turned to a copycat..
    this drama was underrated as I never heard about it before coming here..
    I am really thankful to you.. if you another must see drama just let me know..

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  50. 50 lovethisshow

    Soulmate 2! some good news. guys, I wrote the people over at MBC and they replied promptly:
    “Thank you for your compliment on MBC’s SOULMATE. Your email’s being a lot help to promote this program. I am working in the business department where we sell our contents worldwide. Because sit-coms are not the big selling content, and because the charaters in SOULMATE are not the ‘well-known’ ones in Asia or in other countries, that this ‘good’ program did not mark the bug sale. But being encouraged by your email, I might try once more to try to introduce SOUlMATE again to more viewers worldwide.
    I will also forward your email to the producer to encourage him to fight for the time block for ‘season 2′.!! ^^
    Thank you!!
    Haewon Chin
    International Business Division
    MBC”

    So, if we could write them to show that there are a lot of fans out there (cause the ones who don’t live in Korea haven’t been counted in the ratings) it might encourage them to have the second season. and if we could all spread the word so that other people will watch the show when they reintroduce it, it would really help a lot. So we can all enjoy this show once again.

    And it definitely pays to write!

    here’s the site with all their email contacts. just cc all of them, that’s what I did.
    http://content.mbc.co.kr/e_mbc/biz_main.asp

     (0)


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