89

Animals of dramaland: From props to metaphors

The animal kingdom has always had an interesting presence in dramaland. Animals, and pets in particular, can act as a catalyst that’s responsible for an important reveal or moment, can become a telling metaphor — or, in some cases, they can become a drama character in and of themselves (Let’s Eat Barasshi shout-out!). Let’s take a look at some recent and memorable appearances of animals in dramaland.

The many animals that have graced the screen seem to be divided into two groups: pets and pests. Pests are pretty easy to define — they’re the spiders, roaches, flies, and other insects of dramaland. And why do we need insects in dramas? Mostly for comedy, and comedy that often takes the shape of gender role reversal: heroes that are more terrified of bugs than the women around them.

Yoon Shi-yoon had a positively outlandish scene when he encountered a bug in The Best Hit and wound up losing his towel, so to speak. In Your House Helper, housekeeping hero Ha Suk-jin also encountered a drama roach with equal terror. My favorite, though, was Seo In-gook’s falsetto screech in Shopping King Louis when he sees a spider. “It has so many legs,” he whimpers.

Whether these scenes are strictly for comedy, or if they’re comedy to drive romantic attractions and physical closeness, the insects of dramaland are mostly relegated to “prop” status. In other words, the insects and arachnids of the world function as a quick drama trick to jazz things up.

The Park Min-young and Park Seo-joon rom-com What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim gave us an interesting spin on its insect component. Arachnophobia? Of course! Dramas are full of seemingly irrational fears like this one — but this drama took the phobia and built it into the childhood trauma of our hero and heroine. It was a good connection, and a nice change for arachnids to be frightening people for other reasons than just being many-legged and creepy.

After pests, we have the pets of dramaland. They’re not always fuzzy and fluffy, as we’ll see, but more often than not they evoke warm, happy vibes instead of sending characters screaming into the night.

The companionship animals provide is as real and wonderful as any, and it’s nice when dramaland portrays this. The lonely foodie played by Lee Soo-kyung in Let’s Eat had Barasshi to keep her company in her office-tel, and drama characters often cling to the pets that represent a simpler time, or their childhood, like Kim Jung-hyun with his pet turtle in Time.

For the introverts of dramaland, a pet can also mean a convenient reason to escape a team dinner like Lee Min-ki’s hero in Because This Life is Our First. His blank-faced determination to properly recycle and feed his cat where probably my favorite scenes in the drama — and they later became a way to bond him to Jung So-min’s character, too.

In dramaland, the notice and care of animals is often used to signify a good person. Or a bad one. Think of every serial killer/baddie and the dogs that winced just to be around them — a prime example is in Come Here and Hug Me. The belief that animals can “read” people is as prevalent in dramaland as it is in real life: good-hearted characters are always shown noticing and caring for animals.

In Go Back Spouses, Jang Ki-yong’s second lead character was painted as aloof and military, but just so we know he has a tofu heart, he’s often shown caring for a stray cat. The same goes for Nana in Kill It. She might have inadvertently injured it while driving, but the cat she adopts becomes a symbol of her warmth and desire to care for the wounded people (ahem!) around her.

Cats make great pets, but dogs seem a bit more popular in dramaland. Pseudo-siblings Park Seo-joon and Hwang Jung-eum famously walked their golden retriever together in Kill Me, Heal Me, which was an important bonding time for them. It was also such a nice touch to the drama; this was one pair that actually felt like siblings to me (well, until it got complicated), and it’s little moments like dog walks that add a layer of richness of the story.

Romance is a Bonus Book also featured another golden retriever, and he was equally responsible for bonding time (hmm, I wonder if this is actually the same dog?). The second lead played by Wie Ha-joon walked his dog and ran into the heroine (Lee Na-young) on many an occasion.

Man’s best friend can also act as a strong dramatic metaphor in dramas — or try to, as in the case of Kill It. The drama opened with some strong conceits around the hero (Jang Ki-yong) and his connection to canines, and his dog Gray was meant to act as a metaphor for the hero and his story. Both had shocking blue eyes, a deep loyalty to their “pack,” and strong fighting instincts. The drama never made the most of it, but at least the symbols were lurking in the background.

The dog in That Psychometric Guy also served as a metaphor, but was the fluffy abandoned puppy of cuteness — in other words, a symbol for the hero played by Jinyoung. Outside of the flashback scene where the lost puppy finds the lost puppy, the dog isn’t much besides a prop in the drama. But, because the dog’s story was set up so intentionally, every time the dog was shown on camera it served as an unconscious reminder of the hero and his scars.

An outlier in the pets category is the recent arowana fish in The Secret Life of My Secretary, which was such a dramatic example of plots built around a K-drama pet, that this article isn’t complete without it. The eponymous secretary (Jin Ki-joo) took better care of this pet fish than she did herself. At first, the fish symbolized her minionhood, and the haughtiness of her boss (Kim Young-gwang) who put this $100,000 fish above the lives of the people around him.

Later in the drama, however, the fish came to symbolize so much more — from the good luck charm from the father he lost, to the reason a character died a gruesome death, to a crucial revenge scheme trigger — this fish sure accomplished a lot in one drama.

We’ve seen how animals can work as both prop and metaphor, enriching the plot, or sometimes moving it forward. But can animals ever work to its detriment? Normally, I would have said no. Even the weaker or more trite use of an animal in a drama plot can’t cause much damage… but that was before animal CPR took over dramaland.

One bad scene can’t undermine an entire drama, but it sure can weaken it. When I was forced to watch Jang Ki-yong perform some weird-looking cat CPR in Kill It, I was in stitches for days. I’d never seen anything like that in dramaland before. Whether it was medically accurate or not, the scene was so terribly done it killed his credibility as a vet, and it killed the credibility of the drama for the rest of the episode. Because how much subterfuge and revenge can you take seriously after you’ve just watched two-finger cat compressions?

I can safely say I never expected to see animal CPR in a K-drama again, never mind a mere month after Kill It finished airing. Dramaland sure has a way of making a girl eat her hat, though, and that’s what happened during the now-infamous fish CPR scene in The Secret Life of My Secretary.

The arowana (discussed above) that was responsible for so much plot shake-up got sick at one point, and was rushed to “the doctor.” We can’t really call him a real doctor though, because, well, last time I checked fish need water to breath. Laying on a gurney getting CPR from a doctor doesn’t help them much. It shouldn’t surprise us that there was a table death that night.

It was supposed to be funny, but by gosh it was so painful to watch I couldn’t even laugh (I think I used up all the laughter on the cat in Kill It). I watched the rest of the episode in stunned silence — until the “this episode was shot with fish care experts” or some such message popped up at the end credits. *teehee*

As we’ve seen, the animal kingdom has had a long and lasting relationship with K-dramas — as complex as it is diverse. From metaphors that tell us about drama characters and their situations, to the props, symbols, and devices that can become an integral part of the story — the animals of dramaland sure have done it all.

The animal presence in dramas seems to have grown lately, in some effective and telling ways. And in some cringe-worthy ways that make you do the audible K-drama blink of disbelief. Either way, pets and pests are sure to continue to make an impact on dramaland, and I look forward to seeing the many ways they’re integrated into the stories we love so much.

RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

89

Required fields are marked *

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Haha, thanks for the tag, May! You know me.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

You're welcome 💝💜

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The kitty in The Smile Has Left Your Eyes was so cute and helped to create emotional scenes.

5
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ah, the early eps of the show when we all thought he might kill the cat. Lol.

10
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I never had this thought O_O

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

When it was airing some of us had stayed away from spoilers of the Japanese version. I remember on the wall speculation that he could of killed that woman. Psychopaths dont mix well with cats, so there was some concern.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Just last night I fell for Seol Ji-hwan after that running in the rain for Seol-hee. So yes pet is important to show something good in a character.
I would say not only in drama but in real life too. Among other things why people don't like Donald Trump, one of them is because he doesn't have pet?
Personally for me it also depends on the pet, I like cat person character more than dog person. I don't care about horse and I'm suspicious with people who keep snake and lizard as pet.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOLOL @missvictrix
Thanks for this! I laughed long and hard.

The arowana (discussed above) that was responsible for so much plot shake-up got sick at one point, and was rushed to “the doctor.” We can’t really call him a real doctor though, because, well, last time I checked fish need water to breath. Laying on a gurney getting CPR from a doctor doesn’t help them much. It shouldn’t surprise us that there was a table death that night.

This scene had me stunned for a while before rolling on the floor. Still has me in stitches when I think of it.

Some animals I remembered as I read:
The cat name "Uri" in Because This Life is Our First and how it was symbolic of whether the relationship was still in 'fake couplehood' or had moved into 'real couplehood'.

The 'ghost dog' of Chicago Typewriter who opened the door for the FL Jeon Seol, (but who was really Yoo Jin Oh in love with her) and who led to more OTP couple meetings.

The very long lived pet, Deok Ku, in 30 but 17 that gave Woo Seo Ri's a continuity and comfort from her past. Plus that chick that grew up like Yoo Chan did.

The cat that appeared, went and was found as the protagonists did in A Hundred Million Stars From the Sky, that proved Kim Moo Young was not a bad guy.

And lots more! 😄

14
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The animals in 30 but 17 were my favorites!!! The way Deok Ku and the chick were used as metaphors was pretty genius.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

That Pom looks like he is thinking of biting Doo-Joon.

Because This Life is Our First used having a pet so well.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

“good-hearted characters are always shown noticing and caring for animals”

Sometimes a drama will turn this on its head to fool the audience or lead the other characters astray. In Bring It On, Ghost! Kwon Yul‘s veterinary medicine lecturer is first introduced rescuing a dog, and his way with animals makes all the college girls (and teenage ghosts) swoon. Of course this apparent soft side is just hiding the fact he’s possessed by a murderous demon.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

The same thing happened in another series. The bad guy volunteered at an animal shelter. We later discover he did it because he liked putting down the animals. Dang, what is that series? I close my eyes and can see it.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was ‘You From Another Star’. I remember laughing really hard. Not only had Jae Kyung (played by Shin Sung Rok) killed people by this point in the drama, but to emphasize his evil-ness, the drama makes him enjoy killing puppies! Sure, killing people is just part of the normal corrupt chaebol package, but puppies is taking it a step too far! 😂

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The arowana that caused the establishment of the Fish Cult in The Secret Life of My secreatry will always be legendary.

11
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Long live AROWANA!

Anyone can love a pet, only the truly obsessed can have a $100,000 fish causing the death of a character.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Long Live The Fish Cult!

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol! Crazy... But it will be remembered, just like certain alligator 🙄🙄

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great write up... kdramas really know how to showcase pets/pests to take the storyline forward, in most instances.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Woori is the prettiest and bestest cat who belongs to the prettiest and bestest male lead, Nam Se-hee, and no one can ever convince me otherwise and this is my Intelligent Comment of the day.

...I really really love Se-hee just as much (maybe more) after nearly 2 years.

11
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think I sort of jumped up, gasped and whooped when I saw the picture heading this DB post, thinking it was about BTLIOFL and remembering those early episodes. Se Hee is ❤️

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I got recs to watch that drama here on Dramabeans, and I am eternally grateful to those who recommended it, because it's in my top 5 dramas ever. I loved everything about it, and like you, I adored Nam Se-hee!

Just seeing the photos of him and Woori made me want to re-watch this lovely, lovely drama immediately!

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

That drama was almost perfect, until they ruined it in the last two episodes. But the cat was flawless. 🐈😍

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@missvictrix, thanks for your discussion of the animals who populate Kdrama casts. And that nice photo of Da-bong freaking out over the cockroach that stampeded him out of the bathroom in terror and a towel. I don't blame him one bit. I used to live in Hawaii, where the big suckers are called B-52s -- because they fly straight at you when you try to smack 'em with your slippah. If one were walking around on the ceiling above me, I couldn't rest until I'd rousted it out. I totally sympathized with that scene of Seo In-guk having a nervous breakdown over the big spider on the ceiling of his cell. I feel you, man.

Let's hear it for chatty equine Buster in WOK OF LOVE and Mind Reading Horse Hyungnim, Helper, in ARTHDAL CHRONICLES. It really bothered me how Buster, who loved his fickle female human to bits, was abandoned to languish in Out-Of-Sight-Out-Of-Mindsville. That landed the leading lady in my bad books. The cute tiny grey kitten who hung around Jang Hyuk outside the Hungry Wok also just kind of disappeared when the eatery was closed in favor of the fancy-schmancy restaurant atop Giant Hotel. Grrrr.

As for poor Horsey Helper, he's been saddled up for how many weeks? He's probably growing a bumper crop of mushrooms under his saddle blanket by now -- or ringworm. And he's had a bit in his mouth all this time. I not an equestrian so I don't know if that would prevent him from properly grazing enough to keep from starving. But it concerns me that he might not be able to chew and swallow properly. Would the bridle prevent him from biting in self-defense? Can any Beanies please enlighten me on this matter. It has been bothering me. Thanks in advance. ;-)

Thanks, @missvictrix, for remembering the stunt turtles (I thought there was a pair of them) in TIME who went flying when their bowl got knocked on the floor. I've been wracking my brains because I could have sworn I watched another show recently that had a pair of small water turtles in it. And then there's Cheng Mo, the baby Sulcata tortoise in the Chinese drama LOVE ME IF YOU DARE. You know, the little guy who was smuggled into America without going through animal quarantine. Sheesh! (His cousin, Clyde, resides with Sherlock Holmes in NYC.)

KILL IT also had a little European hedgehog on the vet's premises. Very cute.

In one of last weekend's episodes of LOVE AFFAIRS IN THE AFTERNOON / WEEKDAY AFTERNOON LOVERS, Teacher Yoon assigned his troubled student Park Ji-min to care for a larva. He and the girl he's smitten with took it for a walk in the woods. It was huge. I think it's the larva of a Hercules beetle. (One of my buddies here in New Jersey had them in her compost pile rich with oak leaves and rotting wood. I saw one that was about 4 inches long. Yikes!)
https://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/insects/beetles/hercules/hercules.htm

Also starring in the AFTERNOON DELIGHT show is a pair of small parrots named Faith and Love...

5
15
reply

Required fields are marked *

And don't forget about the flock of ducks in OJAKGYO BROTHERS. Mom Park Bok-ja and Baek Ja-eun bonded over them -- and cute cop #3 son (Joo Won). ;-)

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dang, it got chopped off. Rats.

Also starring in the AFTERNOON DELIGHT show is a pair of small parrots named Faith and Love (Mi-deum and Sa-rang). But there's no Hope. Foreshadowing? Sa-rang literally flies the coop, and the leading lady is out all night with a long-handled net calling for lost Sa-rang to return. Pssst, dearie. Birds roost after dark -- unless they're owls.

Also in the flying creatures division, there's the Butterfly [nabi] God in GOBLIN. It looks like a white cabbage butterfly to me. Which is not at all surprising in the land of kimchi and fields of bright yellow canola.
https://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/insects/butterflies/sulphur/sulphur.htm

Don't forget the yellow oxen that haul the Joseon Oxcarts Of Doom that transport convicts to execution, dismemberment, or exile. NOKDU FLOWER has a convoy to bring three of the Donghak generals to trial in Hanyang.

Do "panda eyes" count? ;-)

4
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Do mystical creatures count? Tiger in Hotel del Luna, Dragon in Hwayugi. Or simulation- hawk in MoA...

You left me really reaching for something to add!

5
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

@hebang,
Yet another: nine-tailed fox, gumiho! ;-)

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is the only alligator in a kdrama the tag off of a certain shirt in A Poem aDay?

Just wondering...

2

@hebang FlyingTool,

You reminded me of more felines!

The tiger in the forest in REBEL that seems to have given Gil-dong his berserk green eyes. There's one in PAINTER OF THE WIND, and also in Kmovie WAR OF THE ARROWS. And another in MIRROR OF THE WITCH / SECRET HELPER. Plus the she-bear and tigress in human form in THE STORY OF THE FIRST KING'S FOUR GODS, along with the Black Turtle Snake, the Red and Black JuJak birds/Phoenixes, the White Tiger, and the Black Dragon -- along with the clouds of bats that issue forth from the Big Bad's pagoda HQ. Bwahaha!

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wow. Not only have you seen more dramas than I have, your recall is also superior. Forgot about Painter of the Wind, for instance.

2

@hebang FlyingTool,

I didn't think of all these tigers until you reminded me. It's not that my memory is so great -- I put notes in my Kdrama log file. ;-)

As for POTW, the scene of Kim Hong-do coming face to face with his tawny subject was a memorable scene. LOL!

1

Oops! Typo! Should be BLUE Dragon.

0

Just remembered the kitty and the tiger in MAMA FAIRY AND THE WOODCUTTER. ;-)

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

And the egg, we can't forget him.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@wishfultoki,
Yes! The Egg!

And the shifty-eyed spotted deer!

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ok, I’m never going to Hawaii. 😳

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@blnmom,
What grosses me out are the 6-7" giant centipedes. Luckily, I never encountered one.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

WHAT. Just no.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Aw, you left out the talking horse from Greasy Melo.

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Super horse in Arthdal. Super horse stole the show for the few episodes of Arthdal that I watched.

Special mention: fire bird in TLE. It appeared for one scene but it was the starting point of young RH as his mum's puppet.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

In older dramas "pests" serve also as a deux ex machina to get the heroine into the arms of her hero

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

And then there is that drama with a snarky cat as a protagonist: IMAGINARY CAT. 😃

Speaking of turtles, there is a very cute lettuce-devouring turtle in FATHER IS STRANGE, which the lonely idol-actor likes to talk to while feeding him.

I suppose Alligator doesn’t count as a pet, but he had a larger than life presence in A POEM A DAY🐊

7
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

@wishfultoki,
Boggil was great, as was Han Ye-ri, who voiced her.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I know! One more reason to love her 😄

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, Al. Ironic, that it is a hard-shelled animal that let us know how marshmallowy his master was.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

the chihuahua in He who can't marry was my by far the most fun character in that and main reason for watching.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yay! Sang-gu, in all his bug-eyed glory. Especially when architect Jo Jae-hee climbs over the railings to get onto the adjacent balcony. Sang-gu gives him the hairy eyeball, but doesn't make a peep. LOL!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The cute little kitten in Wok of Love.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Woori from BTLIOF is my favorite, followed closely by Fang from 30 but 17 😊 Both were adorable and I liked that besides the cuteness, they were an important of the show.

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I especially loved the hedgehog in You Drive Me Crazy

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes! He was really cute!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dramaland needs more cats!! 🐱

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Didn't I really really like you characters have the pet goose that the main characters talked to?

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes!!! And the goose’s name was Bong-hee, which matched our leads Bong-soon and Bong-ki perfectly. I loved the scenes where they would talk to her! So cute!

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh yeah, I remember now! I thought they were pretty hilarious sometimes too. XD

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The best use of an animal has been Because This Is My First Life.
The cat was adorable but it wasn't a prop/toy, and was utilized in a comedic way. The reactions were spot on too, if there were a category for Best Animal in a K-drama this would win hands down.

On the other hand I'm not sure how I feel about the cute doggy in Beauty Inside. As an animal lover I don't really like seeing animals being paraded around, and the show would put the poor doggy in ridiculous clothing. It was like the doggy was a prop for the most time, and then other times used to diffuse a tense situation.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ohh, I had a hard time watching the Japanese version of Kimi wa Petto for this reason.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Someone beat me to mention Little Kang 🐈 in TSHLYE 😂

So I’d like to mention the limited edition iguana 🦎 that saved Waikiki Guesthouse.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved Chan and the baby chick in 30 but 17.

And their dog of course.

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@cloggie,
Chick Junior FTW! I was trying to remember which show had a chicken in it.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Woori, the cat, in Because This is My First Life is probably my favorite four legged cast member of any drama I've ever, with the possible exception of dramas/films in which the main story is about the cat or dog (or horse). I loved Woori! And I loved the entire drama and all the couples as well.

I can't bring myself to watch Imaginary Cat, because it just sounds too sad. I stopped watching films like Old Yeller and My Dog Skip years and years ago - I just can't take it when a beloved animal companion dies, and can't watch movies with that ending.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

my favorite animal in kdramaland has to be fang/deok gu in 30 but 17!! so adorbs and can i just say? the dog can act!!

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

And IMAGINARY CAT where the cat, Bok Gil, drew our leads together and was voiced by the amazing Han Ye-ri! First k- show where I cried for an animal.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

When I saw the title, first drama came to my mind was Imaginary Cat (beside Fish in SLoMS) because an awesome cat was the lead. I remember to read that they said in an interview(Yoo Seong-ho?) that they had problem with the cat in the beginning, but later she seemed to know how she should act and didn't have any problem.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

In 'Reply (Answer Me) 1988' the animal in question for 'comic role reversal' was a mouse. In one scene it was the teenage girl who had to clean up the mouse traps because the guys friends were too squeamish. In a related scene the biggest toughest dad in the neighborhood hops up on a chair out of fear of a mouse in a pojangmacha..

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lets recall "Marriage not Dating" when a drunk Jang-mi scooped a clown fish out of Gi-tae's acquarium, and his horrified cried of 'NEMO!' as he rushes over to rescue it.

If you haven't seen it already you should hunt down Lee Sun-kyun as a vetarinarian in the 2012 thriller movie "Helpless" (same director as 'My Ajusshi'.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Sapsaree dog in "Chicago Typewriter." <3 <3 <3

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yup. First thought I had when I saw the title. Would Puppy Yoo Jin-Oh count as a pet too? :P

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

To me, Go Kyung-pyo is the puppy :))

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

meow

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

How about Heo Im/Bong Tak's piglet dongsaeng in Live Up to Your Name?

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh that was good!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven't watched this drama, but it's on my list to check out, because the premise is just so crazy funny wonderful! The drama is Neko Samuri (or Samuri Cat), about a down-on-his-luck saumuri who is hired by a dog-loving gang to assassinate their rival's beloved cat. It just sounds so ridiculous that it's cute!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li6hbKLAqvE

1
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

@vespertyne,
NEKO ZAMURAI is a blast. There is one Jdorama and 2 movies. Tamanojo is a beautiful white cat with green eyes who has his human, a fierce ronin, wrapped around his paw. I think I've only watched the TV version. Great fun. ;-)
http://asianwiki.com/Neko_Zamurai

You just reminded me of the Damn Cat in Cdrama GUARDIAN. He's a shapeshifter.

1
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes! Another great puss in dramaland!

Plus, I really liked Guardian, and am currently reading a translation of the novel on line. I'm sad they gutted it of the BL, but those two actors really manage to get that vibe across as often as possible, which has been impressive (Apparently there was enough buzz about it that the entire drama got yanked down for a period, after it originally aired, so no one else could watch it in China. Unclear if it was due to censorship or shenanigans by competitors. Chinese dramas are really facing a lot of censorship lately, and with a ban on reincarnation, magic, and of course any LGBT romances, I worry about my favorite genre, which is the historical and period wuxia fantasy dramas). I was unfamiliar with Zhu Yilong, and now I'm a huge fan! Happy to hear that his popularity soared after the show. I'm also amused that the author of the novel was so annoyed by the show's weird ending that she wrote an epilogue chapter or two, basically "explaining" it the ending in a way that completely undid the stupid drama ending that fans hated. Hahaha - good for her!

There is a cat in Go Go Squid also. It's in the past - supposedly part of why God Gun/Han is so resistant to getting emotionally close to others is not just because of what happened with Team Solo when he was 19, but also because he loved the stray cat they found and adopted, and was so distraught when the kitty died that he wouldn't even let anyone mention it. The cat who stars in the drama looks a lot like Woori in Because This is My First Life!

I am actually really really enjoying that drama! But damn, I've watched through episode 16 or 17 now, and they STILL haven't kissed! In the novel, she's all over him from day one!

1
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@vespertyne,

Aha, another GUARDIAN fan heard from. I suddenly recalled that there's a Snake Lady, too, who is the head of a tribe. She is a minor character.

Damn Cat reminded me of the Cheshire Cat when he was in his feline form. I liked how the actor portrayed him -- very cat-like, especially when it came to demanding food "tribute." IIRC, he "washed" his face, too, which was very cute and nicely underscored his dual identity. Didn't he curl up and snooze in human form, too? And when jumping down from a height, he'd land on all fours. LOL. -- BTW, Damn Cat started out as the Mountain God's cat way back when, which is why he hangs out at his home.

I agree that leads Zhu Yilong and Bai Yu played their parts to perfection and totally in keeping with the novel (at least as far as chapter 56, which is as much as was translated by the time I watched. I would have been completely lost without it to explain the mythology and supernatural stuff, and the characters' origins. This is one time when being late to the party paid off.) Their portrayals were incendiary yet slow-burn, with nothing overt that the censors could legitimately squawk about. Their eye acting totally sold the (b)romance. Ditto their subtle microexpressions and body language. In private, their flirtatiousness reminded me of Prosecutor Jang Do-han busting his deadly serious colleague with a broadside of aegyo in LOOKOUT -- whose alternate title is... GUARDIAN!

Bai Yu (Johnny Bai) who played Zhao Yun Lan reminded me a lot of loose-cannon radio PD Lee Gang (Yoon Park) in RADIO ROMANCE. He plays wild and crazy well, along with alpha male. Zhu Yilong is a little more delicate-looking, and did a great job in his triple role as the commanding Guardian KunLun/Black Coat Envoy, diffident Professor Shen Wei, and vengeful power junkie Ye Zun. While other aspects of the show were campy, their acting never was. It looked as if Bai Yu were having the time of his life playing semi-bad-boy Yun Lan.

I could not have made head nor tail of the back story and plot if it weren't for AvenueX's wonderful video analyses. IIRC, I watched them first, and only later commenced on reading the translation of the novel. Highly recommended. -- She has some interesting things to say about the way that economics dictates which stories get produced.

AvenueX's Guardian Final Review and Book vs Drama Detailed Explanation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfOH0kFvDuQ

I continue to read the ongoing English translation (by Rainbow Se7en) to make sense of the story and its mythic background, which was butchered to get past the censors. Despite the whack-o, doofy, and downright silly mythology that appears in too many Kdramas, I appreciate the fact that it is not censored the way Cdramas are.

1
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ha! GMTA. I discovered AvenueX on YouTube a few months ago, while looking for info explaining the ending of Guardian, and watched several of her reviews of the show. Found her again when I went to get info about The Untamed, and subscribed to her channel so I’ll get updates.

And, of course, I am reading Rainbow Se7en’s translation of the novel as well. Sadly, I caught up to where he (she?) has currently translated, and am now waiting along with everyone else for the next chapter. I will have to go back and reread it when it’s all done, because I get lost when there are big time gaps between chapters, and in reading Chinese novels, I always have to pay attention because the characters are referred to by multiple names/titles.

Are you watching The Untamed? I really liked the novel (Grand Master of Demonic Cultivation), which is translated here, and highly recommend both it and the drama.

https://exiledrebelsscanlations.com/grandmaster-of-demonic-cultivation/

1

@vespertyne July 20, 2019 at 1:38 PM

I have the same challenges when it comes to waiting for translations -- and just remembering what happened from week to week when live-watching, be it Kdramas, Cdramas, Jdoramas, or
Tdramas. I often make notes in my Kdrama log (which is where all the other Asian shows are logged as well), especially if there are no recaps. Writing it down helps fix it in my mind for future reference.

I'm not watching THE UNTAMED at this time. Finished NOKDU FLOWER a week ago, and am taking it easy for a spell. Thanks for the heads up about it, and mentioning that Avenue X discusses it. It sounds interesting.

I watched NIRVANA IN FIRE last winter, at long last, and loved it to bits. I'm continuing to read the translation of the novel as it appears. What a thoroughly epic work of art.

I've been sort of keeping an eye open for THE WOLF / MAJESTY OF WOLF, which was supposed to premiere in May. I saw a trailer for it last winter, and it looked very good.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_(TV_series)

1

Comment was deleted

0

@pakalanapikake - I MUST read Nirvana in Fire! Could you give me the link if you have found a particularly good translation? (some of the novice translations on line are pretty bad, so I try to find ones by people who are pretty good at it, and take their time to try to capture some of the richness and beauty of the language used by the writer).

I continue to think about and recommend NIF, as it's simply the most gorgeous drama I've seen in years, possibly ever. I loved every second of it, and thought every character was amazing, whether good or bad - the actors did such an amazing job.

Thankfully, after Viki's ridiculous decision to replace the original with an English dubbed version, I found the drama on a Chinese drama channel on youtube, so I can still recommend it to friends, and - more importantly - so I can rewatch it.

As I just watched NIF about 2 months ago, and am still emotional about it, I just couldn't bring myself to watch Nokdu Flower, and probably never will watch it. I can become heavily emotionally invested in the characters from a novel or drama that I really love, so I try to limit my exposure to the ones that I know will just devastate me (Not that a sad ending always guts me emotionally - but when a drama is as excellent as NIF, with such a beautiful character as Mei Changsu/Su Zhe/Lin Shu - I almost feel as if I've experienced a personal loss in my RL!)

I hope you'll check out The Untamed. I'm really impressed with it, and disagree with the reviewer at Avenue X about the show being slow until around the 12th episode. I was interested from the beginning, and think the leads are doing a very good job. The one character, Lan Wangji, is so rigidly formal and emotionally repressed that even in the novel, his dialogue is delivered in terse, monosyllabic words, and he probably only speaks a complete sentence once or twice in the entire novel! And in Wei Wuxian's original life, LW's sexual/romantic interest in him is completely unknown to WW and everyone else. The only person who picks up on LW's feelings is his lovely older brother, who is very empathetic, and understands his younger brother as no one else can.

1

@vespertyne29 July 20, 2019 at 8:27 PM

I compiled a list of the English translations and recaps of NIRVANA IN FIRE (and a few for GUARDIAN, too). I posted it on my Phan Wall for you:

http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/833654/

I hope it helps. I've enjoyed Levvy's and star-shadows's translations very much, and hope that you do, too. I like the vocabulary they use. There's a lyrical quality to their writing. I don't know how much of it comes through from the original Chinese, and how much of it might be thanks to a poetic bent on the part of the translators.

Fie on Viki's replacing NIF's English subtitles with a dubbed version. Noooo! Hu Ge's voice or bust! Even if I cannot understand what he's saying, I can feel it through his speech.

Thanks for elaborating on THE UNTAMED. I took a quick peek at the first episode. It looked pretty good. I’ll look into the novel to get a better idea of what’s involved. Thanks!

Oddly, I'm still zoned out after NOKDU FLOWER – in a good way. Having already watched MR. SUNSHINE, I knew going into it that the history would be brutal. (I still haven't watched GAKSITAL because the history of the time is terribly tragic. But now I may be able to work myself up to it. It is said to include Joo Won's best work to date.) There is something about the scope of NOKDU that feels more intimate to me than the panoramic events of MR. SUNSHINE. I cannot quite put my finger on it. Certainly the spiritual aspect of Donghak was a major motivation of some of the characters. As the story unfolds, it becomes more and more apparent. Just as "Mungbean General" Jeon Bong-joon was the lynchpin of the drama, Donghak provided the spark that touched off personal revolutions in consciousness that underlaid many a loyal soldier's willingness to fight to the death for Joseon's sovereignty – even as the sovereign and his queen came across as totally unworthy of such loyalty.

Jo Jung-seok and Yoon Si-yoon were my main reasons for watching, in particular the latter. This was YSY’s first really villainous role, and he did a beautifully nuanced job. As expected, JJS gave a moving performance, particularly in his redemptive arc and in his scenes with his mother. The rest of the cast was dandy. Solid writing and directing – and inspiration – made NOKDU FLOWER a well-paced work of art in the same league with NIRVANA IN FIRE. My humble opinions:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/07/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-164/#comment-3490404

http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/07/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-164/comment-page-2/#comment-3490387

1

I actually wish there would be more pets in Dramaland, and that they have a better participation than just "being there". For instance, I didn't like in Your house y helper that the dog was simply tied up outside his tiny "house" although there was a garden! At least they should have left it loose and free in the garden, that is what you do if you don't want the dog inside the house!!
Also, dogs are like family, there could be more use of giving them a name and some participation in a family's life. In that regard, because this life is our first did a better job... the cat was really important and had scenes even until the very end.
I have watched few dramas where there is a dog at the beginning, mostly with a child, and then suddenly not anymore, without explaining what happened to it, as if the writer forgot about it! I mean, be consistent. In real life, you don't get rid of a dog without a reason.
But in general, I agree... lately there are more pets, and I really like that. I die to have a Chihuahua in my life, it is right now my biggest dream. 🐕😍😍😍😍

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven't even seen Kill it or the Secretary drama but the CPR part totally cracked me up, I was rolling HAHAHAHA XD XD XD
That must've been so funny to watch.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I had the same reaction as missvictrix for the fish CPR. I wasn't even laughing, my mouth was just hanging open because I couldn't believe my eyes.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

There was the decoy deer in KILL IT that Dr. Assassin the veterinarian and wildlife rehabber used to lure his target to a remote hillside in the Revenge of Bambi.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

In 3 MEALS A DAY FISHING VILLAGE, season 3, the abalone Eric called "Michael" -- who was kept as a pet. Alas, Michael was eaten by a crab. :-(

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

More wildlife:

In sageuk dramas HAECHI and THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SOO BAEK HYANG, wild boars (hunting). More boars in Kmovies CHAW and WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL, and the Studio Ghibli anime MONONOKE HIME / PRINCESS MONONOKE.

In Kmovie MY SON, the wild goose family.

Not Korean, but worthy of mention: title character in A FISH CALLED WANDA (some kind of angelfish?).

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *