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Average user rating 3.2
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Playful Kiss: Episode 1

I had mixed feelings about this premiere: It wasn’t as good as I was hoping, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared.

I can see where some viewers had issues with it, and I share those concerns. But I think it started to find its groove later on — almost too late, really — and will hold onto that hope going into Episode 2.

SONG OF THE DAY

G.NA – “키스해줄래” (Will you kiss me?) from the Playful Kiss OST. [ Download ]

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CHARACTERS

Our heroine is OH HA-NI (Jung So-min), a not-so-bright student in her last year of high school, who’s in the last-place class (seventh of seven) of her year. She grew up with a loving father who runs a noodle restaurant (her mother died when she was a child), and the two have an affectionate relationship. Prone to daydreaming, Ha-ni’s fantasies center around Seung-jo, a boy at school on whom she harbors a pretty strong crush.

Ha-ni’s best friends, also in the last-place class, are DOKKO MIN-AH (Yoon Seung-ah) and JUNG JU-RI (Hong Yoon-hwa). Together, the trio is a little bumbling, but good-hearted and loyal to one another.

BAEK SEUNG-JO (Kim Hyun-joong), on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He’s in the No. 1 class and isn’t merely the best student, but positively perfect. In fact, in the most recent exams, he scored a 500 out of 500. Alas, that intellectual perfection doesn’t come with a gracious personality. He’s not just the cold, logical type a la Mr. Darcy but quite condescending to boot, looking down his nose at everyone, not bothering to hide that he finds them inferior. Whatta prince.

His parents are perfectly friendly people, though, and his mother (GEUM-HEE, played by Jung Hye-young) will figure largely in our plot. For now, all we know is that she’s a welcoming, cheerful mother with a lively sense of curiosity about her son’s life.

The guy with the retro flipped-up hair is BONG JOON-GU (Lee Tae-sung), a Busan boy with the thick accent to prove it. He can usually be seen traveling en masse with his posse, the foursome played by rock band Bye Bye Sea who are identified simply as “Bong Joon-gu’s Boys.”

Joon-gu and the boys are also residents of Class 7. While the boys can often be found jamming on musical instruments in between classes, Joon-gu spends a lot of his energies following Ha-ni around, trying to win her affections. She remains firmly fixated on Seung-jo, however, and doesn’t spare Joon-gu much thought.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We open on a fantasy sequence, set in what looks like an enchanted meadow in a fairy tale. The CG is exaggerated, but it has that overtly whimsical sensibility of Pushing Daisies or Big Fish — dreamy, romantic, and girlish.

In the daydream, a handsome young man dressed all in white comes upon a sleeping girl, kisses her lightly, then walks away. When the girl wakes, she sees a white horse and follows it through the forest to another meadow, where the horse turns back into her mystery man.

He approaches her and leans in. This time, she anticipates the kiss and purses her lips in readiness…

Which is when she wakes up. At school. Late for class. Oh Ha-ni, waking from her latest crush-induced fantasy, races off as the bell rings.

The dream sequence is admittedly very pretty to look at, but since we know it’s a fantasy from the very get-go, it does go on and on. My feelings on the opening went from “This is lovely” to “Hm, I wonder where they’re going with this” to “GRAHH, WHY ARE YOU SO SLOW.”

In class, Ha-ni’s teacher attempts to exert some authority over her sluggish pupils, but this ain’t the last-place class without a reason. Students nap, zone out, and generally slack off. Ha-ni and her friends aren’t worried about their latest grades, though — they’re always at the bottom, so what else is new?

While Ha-ni, Ju-ri, and Min-ah hang out in the lounge, a student comes by and loses a coin in the soda machine. She’s HONG JANG-MI (Jang Ah-young), who’s basically a Mean Girl, despite being younger than Ha-ni.

With a flourish, Ha-ni steps in and kicks the machine to get the soda to pop out, and enjoys basking in the moment. Particularly since it momentarily puts a cork in Jang-mi’s superior act.

Ha-ni moons all over Seung-jo, which seems to be a pretty common occurrence. Her friends are used to it, and only shake their heads when Ha-ni shares her daydream and calls him a spirit of the forest. She goes into raptures over his perfection, saying that now she understands how vampires feel — such is his beauty that it makes her want to bite right into him.

Speak of the devil: Seung-jo makes his appearance, calm and cool as you please, blithely ignoring the squealing of girls who ooh over his entrance.

Ha-ni freezes as Seung-jo approaches, victim to the vicissitudes of adolescent infatuation, and her heart thumps wildly. Jang-mi flutters over to him offers her soda instead, chattering on as though they’re close friends. Apparently their mothers are friends, and Seung-mi tries to use this to ingratiate herself, fawning all over him.

Seung-jo ignores her, but when his coin also gets stuck in the machine, Jang-mi calls out to Ha-ni to employ her fix again. She particularly enjoys putting Ha-ni on the spot, making the latter reluctant to comply but also reluctant to refuse.

So Ha-ni goes up to the machine, studiously avoiding his gaze, and delivers a kick. Afterward she cringes in embarrassment, not wanting this to be his impression of her, but I say there’s something satisfying in the way Seung-jo gapes; he’s not exactly impressed, but eliciting any reaction at all from his stone-faced demeanor is probably an accomplishment.

Seung-jo turns to leave, and Ju-ri, trying to help her friend, calls out her name loudly so that he’ll hear it. Seung-jo turns and starts walking back toward them, and Ha-ni readies herself in anticipation — surely he’ll thank her, or say something? But no, he retrieves his change from the machine.

Her friends urge Ha-ni to confess her feelings, since they’ll graduate soon enough. Despite her earlier embarrassment, Ha-ni bounces right back and clings to the new hope that perhaps Seung-jo isn’t expressing his feelings for her because he doesn’t know hers, and decides a confession is just the thing. But how?

To prove her utter lack of common sense, Ha-ni likes Ju-ri’s joke suggestion about dressing as Gollum and addressing Seung-jo as “My precious.” Min-ah’s suggestion is better, but not by much: a mating dance, like animals.

This leads us into another fantasy, wherein Ha-ni dances in Swan Lake, joined by Seung-jo. Again this goes longer than necessary, but at least the punchline saves it (sort of): Seung-jo partners Ha-ni, lifts her in the air, and then tosses her aside.

Poor girl. Even in her own daydreams she can’t catch a break.

Next up is drawing class, and Joon-gu (whom I’ve taken to calling Duckie in my head) is tapped as figure model. Anyone with half a brain would be totally onto how very much he’s in love with Ha-ni (or at least in grand infatuation), but I suppose half her brain is perpetually fixated on Seung-jo, so she brushes his attentions aside.

That means all his efforts to look cool are wasted, although he doesn’t know it. As the pose becomes harder and harder to maintain, sweat beads drip from his forehead but Joon-gu vows to stick with it, since Ha-ni is looking at him.

Ha-ni does draw, but in a mechanical way as she doodles the words “Confess… mating dance… Gollum…”

Adding salt to the wound is when Joon-gu peers at the drawing at the end of class — to see that she has drawn his body with Seung-jo’s face.

We don’t see much of the teachers in Episode 1, but I suspect they’ll have their own storyline, so let’s introduce ’em: At left is SONG KANG-YI (Hwang Hyo-eun), and Kang Doo plays the Class 1 teacher SONG JI-OH. Both are “Teacher Song,” but are polar opposites — kind of like Ha-ni and Seung-jo, in fact.

I wonder if their storyline will mimic our main one, since it appears Kang-yi may have a crush on Ji-oh, who is just as cool and superior as his star student.

Ha-ni becomes engrossed in thought, trying to figure out how to confess her feelings to Seung-jo. Dad picks up on it, and understands that she’s got a crush on a boy even though she describes it as the situation of “a friend,” and shares how he made his confession to her mother. (Stealing, by the way, a famous line from I’m Sorry, I Love You.)

So that launches Ha-ni into another reverie — really, drama? Number 3 already? — wherein she corners Seung-jo with her motorcycle gang, looking like a bad girl out of Grease while a pale imitation of “Beat It” serves as background music.

(Gah, these extended fantasies that never end! I love you, director Hwang, but you could really do to watch some episodes of Scrubs. ‘s all I’m sayin’.)

Badass Ha-ni confronts Seung-jo, who backs away meekly, and she recites her line, which offers him the choice to either be with her or die.

And even in her fantasy, Seung-jo picks the coffin. Aw! There’s something really endearing about Ha-ni in this.

Thankfully Dad has more practical advice than her friends, and suggests that a sincere love letter might just work best. Ha-ni decides he’s right, and delivers a letter to his locker, then waits nervously for his response.

When he walks by the lounge and shows Ha-ni no recognition at all, Ju-ri shouts her name loudly, determined to make her friend known. Min-ah joins her, and this time, they have a reaction.

Seung-jo asks, “Are you Oh Ha-ni?” He makes his way back to them, and holds out a letter to her. Students gather round curiously, and Ha-ni barely contains her excitement as she opens it, telling him she hadn’t dared hope for a reply.

Yet as soon as she starts to read, her excitement fades, replaced by crushing disappointment.

Jang-mi has to live up to her designation as Mean Girl, so she swipes the letter from Ha-ni’s grasp, then crows about its contents. Seung-jo hadn’t written her a reply — he’d graded hers! The letter has been marked up in red pen, and he’d given her a D-.

(For what it’s worth, I think this moment would have been better had I not seen it done more cutely in Will It Snow For Christmas.)

Jang-mi positively exults and talks about it loudly for all to hear, while Ha-ni can only stand there, humiliated. Meanwhile, Seung-jo just stands there and tells her, “I’m sorry to say this, but I hate dumb girls.”

Joon-gu — bless him — comes late to the party but has sized up the situation, and confronts Seung-jo for his rudeness. He demands that Seung-jo apologize, to which Seung-jo smirks, “For what, correcting her mistakes?”

Joon-gu retorts, “Do you only see the mistakes? Don’t look at the letters, look at the contents!” (Aw. You’ve officially won me over, ridiculous hair-boy!)

He challenges Seung-jo to fight and takes a swing, but the latter swiftly evades the punch — cool as you please, his hands not even moving from his pockets.

The vice principal interrupts, and as Seung-jo is the golden child, he is dismissed while Joon-gu is called in for disciplining.

Finally, Seung-jo deigns to speak and levels a finger at the board that has been posted of the recent test results — Ha-ni and her friends occupy the lowest status of the school. He points to a second sign, which marks the 50 top students who are admitted to a special study hall each month.

Turning his scorn to Ha-ni, he calls her thoughtless for choosing to waste her time rather than caring about more important things: “I hate thoughtless, impudent girls.”

Ha-ni is devastated. Worst of all is probably the fact that he’s not wrong — she IS the lowest scoring student. Still, she hardly deserves such a drubbing from him.

She takes out her frustration by running around the school, exhausted and stumbling by the time she reaches lap 34. Her friends urge her to stop, but she insists on running two more laps. In a lovely moment of solidarity, they stand up to give her a hand (literally) and support her through her last lap.

Word of Ha-ni’s encounter with Seung-jo spreads through the school, making her the laughingstock. Is it worse to be mocked by your peers, or pitied by the cafeteria and cleaning ladies? Thankfully we’ll probably never have to know, but Ha-ni has to endure.

As she and Dad settle into their newly remodeled house, unpacking their things, he notices her glumness and guesses that the confessing didn’t go so well. He tries to cheer her up, and in the unpacking process he finds an old plaque that had been made when she was a baby — it bears the handprint of her parents, as well as her baby hand and footprint.

Ju-ri, Min-ah, and Joon-gu come over and marvel at the spacious digs and the newly built second floor. They sit down for a delicious meal prepared by Dad, who sighs that Ha-ni didn’t take after him in the cooking-skills department. Joon-gu takes that as his cue to assure Dad not to worry, since he’ll take care of the both of them.

The others laugh at Joon-gu’s over-the-top declaration and tease him, which makes him cry out in an exaggerated gesture and bang his head into the wall. Which sets of a series of creaks… and rumbles…

…and leads to the house crumbling down.

It’s not Joon-gu’s head-butt that causes the damage, but a small earthquake that shakes up the neighborhood. However, where all the other houses experience no more than mild rocking, Ha-ni’s house has inexplicably caved in on itself.

That’s one more reason for Ha-ni to become the focus of unwanted attention at school, and as she walks with her friends the next morning, they catch sight of a strange woman snapping photos of her. And for some reason, passing students keep looking at her and whispering.

The reason becomes clear moments later as they hear Joon-gu on a megaphone, who has taken up a spot at the school’s entrance calling for donations for a needy student. He means well, but one hardly wants to be called pathetic and a charity case in front of her peers, so the girls slink away in mortification.

Alas, Joon-gu spies Ha-in and drags her into the circle, continuing his appeals for donations — just as Seung-jo walks by. She’d like to ignore him, but misguided chivalry drives Joon-gu to engage, and he blames Seung-jo for being the cause of all of Ha-ni’s troubles.

Seung-jo points out that it was the earthquake that felled her house, and Joon-gu sputters in reply, saying that while that’s true, Seung-jo’s guilty of an “earthquake of the heart,” and for hurting Ha-ni.

Seung-jo shrugs and offers to contribute, then, and pulls out his wallet. He starts to put in 20,000 won (about $15), which is when Ha-ni finally speaks up. Indignantly, she tells him to put his money away — she wouldn’t accept his help even if she were a beggar under a bridge.

That affects him not at all, and he starts to leave. But now Ha-ni’s really worked up and she bursts out again:

Ha-ni: “Who are you to look down on people like that? I bet to you, all the kids here just look like idiots, huh? You think you can just mock us. Are you so great? So you have a high IQ? You’re a good student? So you have a good-looking face and you’re tall!”

Uh, that statement took a turn, and Ha-ni realizes she’s started to lose ground here. So she fumbles for a suitable retort, and insists that she CAN study. It’s just that she hasn’t bothered to!

Seung-jo tells her to prove it. What does she propose, and how will she show it?

Gulp. Ha-ni can’t back down now, so she says she’ll score high enough in the next exam to score one of those seats in special study hall. Clearly not believing she can do it, Seung-jo agrees to carry her piggyback for one lap around school if she succeeds.

Internally, Ha-ni does a little giddy dance at the prospect of being carried on his back, then tamps that down to coolly agree.

Thanks to the news broadcast about the earthquake wrecking their house, Dad’s old friend had seen him on TV and called him to offer his house while the Ohs figure out what to do. Dad is thrilled to be reuniting with his old best friend, with whom he’d lost contact after they’d moved to Seoul.

When they arrive, Ha-ni marvels at the grand house; his friend must be a rich man.

Dad (Ki-dong)’s friend is Su-chang, who is married to Geum-hee, both of whom are very friendly and give Ha-ni a warm welcome. When Su-chang notes that she’s “even prettier in person,” Geum-hee has to fess up that she was so curious about her that she couldn’t wait and sought her out at school this morning. Ha-ni recognizes her as the mysterious photographer outside the school.

Geum-hee offers the services of her son to bring their luggage in, and sends him outside to the car where Ha-ni is gathering her things.

And really, it’s no surprise at all when the two kiddos discover just who they’re about to spend the next days, weeks, months, living with.

 
COMMENTS

A random trivia bit:

Playful Kiss is airing against My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, having started about a month behind it. One of director Hwang In-roi’s previous dramas, as I am sure many of you know, was Goong, which started in January 2006 — a month behind My Girl, which is one of the Gumiho writers’ previous dramas. (I’d always thought My Girl and Goong should have gotten higher ratings, but they were up against each other and no doubt shared much of the same audience.)

On to this drama:

There’s good and bad. When I was first watching it, I thought it was rather ho-hum. The more I watched, and toward the end in particular, I started to like it more and more. I don’t feel that emotional connection yet and the story isn’t as compelling as I’d like, but I am actually pretty hopeful about the show.

One huge detractor is that the first episode seemed like a collection of vignettes describing Ha-ni’s world — it wasn’t driven by a central plotline. I don’t think it’s a bad tactic in theory, but in a competitive television market you really need to establish your premise strongly and quickly, rather than lingering in the mundane moments. The drama doesn’t have to be high-concept like Gumiho, but it would benefit from higher-concept. (I know Playful Kiss is based on a manhwa/drama, which dictates the storyline. However, there are always ways to inject a hook or a catchy plot without dishonoring its source material.)

The problems appear to be both a writing and a directing thing. On the writing front, this episode is very thin on action. What actually happened in Episode 1? SO VERY LITTLE. We spent nearly 45 minutes on a schoolgirl crush. The writer could have condensed a bunch of scenes and would have been better served getting right to the point instead of dawdling.

There were no surprises. We know how this is going to end up — we know she’s going to move in with Seung-jo. So just get there already.

On the directing front, the pacing was sluggish and I don’t blame viewers for checking out quickly. FIVE MINUTES were spent on that intro fantasy when the entire thing could have been just as effective in thirty seconds. Long fantasies would be forgivable if they’re needed to tell a story or flesh out an idea — but as we get the point immediately, there’s no need to drag it out. The drama could have easily shaved 10 to 15 minutes without changing plot.

As for Goong:

The Goong comparisons will probably haunt this show for a good long while, and I suspect that will grow tiresome. So I’ll just say this here and (try to) refrain from belaboring the point in the future.

On the downside, wow there are a lot of tonal similarities between the two dramas. The stories are pretty different, but the execution is, in spots, perplexingly similar. Jung So-min’s styling, the school cliques, the teddy-bear ending frame.

On the other hand, Goong hardly spent any time at the school after the initial setup (which was one thing I missed after the royal stuff got going in earnest), whereas Playful Kiss will be primarily at school. So I don’t mind that similarity so much.

I did enjoy the whimsical feel of Playful Kiss, when it wasn’t veering on overly contemplative. Trendies need more energy than this, and I suspect that PD Hwang’s forte isn’t sassy comedy. Bright side: He has a deft touch with poignant moments, so there’s that.

Goong was elevated by its fusion-fantasy palace concept, and Return of Iljimae as a fusion-sageuk-comic book adaptation, so on paper Hwang should have been the perfect director for fusion manhwa adaptations like this. But I want more zazz, because this has no Big Concept to buoy the mundane school and home scenes. (Mundane isn’t bad — I like this mundane aspect, actually — but it requires more… oomph.)

Goong had pomp and elegance, and therefore it filled that space with its grandeur. Without that, Playful Kiss just has… space. It needs to tap into its energy, and I believe it’s entirely possible. I just hope it comes soon.

Acting:

Jung So-min is ADORABLE. She’s gonna run away with this drama, hands down.

Many of you have noted previously that Jung is very expressive, and that really comes across in the show. That doesn’t just mean she makes exaggerated facial expressions, but that she has a range of them and conveys a lot of subtleties within her various expressions. I’d heard a lot about how this original manga character is super-annoying and was bracing myself for that, but I find Ha-ni quite likable. She’s not smart and she’s a little clumsy, but in an endearing way.

Actually, what I loved most about her character is the way Ha-ni’s infatuation with Seung-jo is depicted. On paper it could be an aggravating premise — a dumb girl chases around a guy who’s out of her league and who dislikes her, wearing him down with her doggedness. However, there’s something very lovely in the way we see her adolescent crush — the heart thumping, the freezing in nervous anticipation, the deluded daydreams that he might like her, the giddy little moments when she thinks he’s about to talk to her. I mean, haven’t we all been there? It totally brought back some memories, and tugged my heartstrings. Boy, I wouldn’t want to be her, but then again, I HAVE been her.

Then there’s Kim Hyun-joong. You know, he doesn’t bother me so much here. I don’t think he was good, but he wasn’t awful, either. He sorta skated by in the middle, not really doing much but doing it in an inoffensive way.

I wonder if it’ll help him to play a guy with a bit of meanness to him, because that’s what makes Seung-jo interesting to me. We’ve seen SO MANY of those misunderstood, cold-on-the-outside, warm-n-fuzzy-on-the-inside heroes that I’m excited just to get something different. Seung-jo isn’t misunderstood — he just doesn’t give a damn about anyone other than himself. I don’t like that on a personal level, but I like that he’s a little different.

ANYWAY. That’s my long-winded way of saying that I had misgivings about the first episode, but I find enough things to like about it to be hopeful for the future, low ratings or not.

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Finally!!!!...

I didn’t wait EVEN my exam result for university entrance in such excited mood!

I love your recap javabeans…thanks a lot…

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I was reading and then I got bored and to make matters worse they used bears! Goong is so much better than this show, no originality at all.

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OK... firstly, I found it a bit slow. The dreams scenes need serious editing... I found myself in lala land after few minutes.

I've watched Itazura Na Kiss, ISWAK, the manga n anime, so I like to see how would korean version makes best out of this (my) favourite story

Although I really x anticipate to see another stupid Kotoko as Japanese version, but I find Oh Ha Ni to be a refreshing character, she may be stupid, but she has some other good points too...

What interest me a bit is Baek Seung Jo portrayal. He clearly looks down on people and took pride at his accomplishment in the school scoreboard. Hmm maybe he's not that perfect after all...

Having said that, clearly this version gives us different portrayals of the ones we already seen. So good job, so far...

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thank you javabeans for giving a recap of playful kiss.
it was done in a very constructive way. you really wrote the truth of the episode's flops but did it in the best way possible that no one will get hurt.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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hrm..the 1st episode dont really caught me like the way gumiho did. but maybe... because i've watch the Taiwanese version (it was good) so i did hope korean version can do a lot better just like when boys over flower airs it was way better than the meteor garden. but still, im looking forward for the 2nd episode. thx for the recap.

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They should REALLY CUT DOWN ON THE FANTASY.
Its too long but contributes too little to the plot.
The fantasy/imagination scenes are what (and the only thing) that bugs me abt You're Beautiful too. Especially when the plot is tense and they spent SO much time on it.
The girl is ADORABLE, I always thought so since the the previews.
I suspect KHJ does get better when he has more emotion to work with than "nonchalant".
And at some scenes, I wish there were some kind of instumental ost in the bg..cause it was just too quiet, inapporiately.
Last, I just watched Ep 2 and the plot does get better!

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I tried to read the manga. I didn't last one volume. If anyone feels that the plot is a 'bit' ridiculous, it's not realy the director or script writer's fault.

I have quite high hopes that we should be entertained since the drama is already poking fun at the silly plot. [SPOILER ALERT AHEAD] As Ha Ni's father aptly points out in episode 1, how could their house be the ONLY house in the entire area to collapse? [/END SPOILER]

It's always fun when a drama doesn't take itself too seriously. That, was BOF's problem.

I think we're in for a fun ride :)

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The overall drama to me felt okay...but what is hard to like is the mother who actually to me play a pivotal character ... for me, her outgoing personality, cheerful childish character seem forced out in comparison to the one who play the role in the taiwan version where it seem so natural but for me, in here it seem more force...

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I don't know much about the other versions of this drama, didn't read the manga - I preferred to take MK on a "fresh" perspective... like having no expectations whatsoever. I understand what you mean re: the mother, haha, but I guess that's supposed to be the weird thing about it...

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I think this drama, like most other dramas, is also a promising one, though it appears to primarily cater to a juvenile audience. Re: acting, I've been quite indifferent with KHJ's acting - if the audience don't get what they want to see out of him, the director is also partly to blame, since he's the one responsible in making his actors project what he wanted to see out of the drama he's directing. On a general note, I think KHJ was not exemplary, neither was his acting bad at all. He was "ok." I checked out this drama because I learned KHJ was the male lead. haha. The female lead was ok too.. but among all the stars in this drama so far, I think the mom's (jung hye young) role was the most notable...good actress. :)

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this episode bored me.. a turtle walk.. so slow.. It may not resonate to everyone, but this is just me.. I feel sad having this first reaction..

BUT, good thing episode 2 improved.. i just hope it gets better and better.. especially the ratings..

IMHO, Kim Hyun Joong's acting needs more expression.. He's good looking and all but I find him blank at times, like something is amiss, most especially his eyes.. if I was watching this RAW thru streaming, having no background at all, it's hard to connect with him and his feelings.. but acting is a craft, it develops.. so i'm still positive that he'll be able to improve more so that he can speak thru his eyes too..

and about the Goong-ish aspect of the show, Jung So-min already reminds me of Yoon Eun Hye and the bears is too much.. I hope they remove that since the cartoon/anime-like pop-ups are so cute and the band insert will suffice.. some originality makes a good impact..

I find So-min adorable as Ha-ni.. I'm hoping her chemistry with KHJ will become more palpable.. It's too early to conclude and they have more epis to show it.. so all the best!

thanks for the recap!! looking forward to read the next..

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I think I am officially giving up on the Dramabeans community now and will refrain myself completely from interacting in the comments section. I tried my best to ignore all the pathetic hate comments, but I feel that it has now become too ridiculous. When I mean ridiculous, I MEAN ridiculous. (Did I mention the horrible grammar and spelling used by some people here?)
Javabeans, I almost feel sorry for you.

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You're going to leave us, just like that? You know we're not all like that, although it does get frustrating at times. It would be very sad to see one less person on here who is intelligent.

Don't leave us, Bori!!!!

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:(

Please let me express my rage on majority of the comments made here:
AJFSAKFJSDAKFJASDKFLASDJDKVNVMXC<[email protected]#($*@#)($(@)JSDKFJSDKLMVXCKVNKSFDJDSKFLJSDKFEWRJOSFJSADKFEORSDFKSDFKLASGWEI
R#)$SOFSDLFKSDLFKSLDFAJGKFLVMKXCVNSDKFJSDKFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU---

Okay. Sorry about that.
*sigh*
I guess I'll "stay" ...somewhat.

Anyways, how are YOU liking the drama so far?

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well i been rewatch ep 2 4 time in 2 day. and it is now 1 am here and i still waiting for the recap and i have to work tomorow. fighting

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Wow! I've only re-watched episode 2 twice.
But, it's tempting to go and watch it again for the third time. Hehe.

Get some sleep, though! Aza aza fighting~

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...Weird, I just replied to your comment, but it didn't go through. Or maybe the site is being slow. /facepalms

Anyways, if it happens to never show up, all it said was that I'll "stay"...somewhat.
At least for your sake. Harhar.

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I think chances are high that a lot of the truly obnoxious comments are from a very small number of people posting under multiple names.

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D: wow I never even suspected that ...

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Wow. I never really thought of that.
If that's true (and it probably really is), that is even more pathetic and truly saddening.

Though it is...just a BIT amusing for someone to agree with their own opinion! Haha. Don't know why they decide to go that far, but oh well.

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I guess having very low (or none at all) expecations can be a good thing. True it dragged a bit, and there were the not so subtle similarties to Goong (which I generally didn't mind), but I found it fun to watch and would probably continue to do so. It's light, it has its cute and funny moments, and I agree, part of me can relate to the lead, because I have been her. Thanks javabeans for the recap. I hope you'll continue recapping this one!

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i tried and i just couldn't find a single thing that caught my interest so this drama is out of my list, although i would like to read the recaps to see what JB thinks on this drama cause i found it interesting, just like others, to read some of her thoughts

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Wow everyone is sure getting worked up here... The first ep wasn't good, but it wasn't terrible either. Jung So Min was great. Hope Kim Hyun Joong will continue to improve as the drama unfolds...

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I really hope the second episode is better, this first one just kind of dragged. Especially since the production team did have as a reference the same drama from other countries, they could have paced their story in the same manner, making the first ep less feel less tiresome.

I just hope there's good chemistry between the two leads, because for a drama whose plot has been done many times before, I think the chemistry is what will keep the drama alive. Hopefully we'll get to see more interactions between the two leads in the upcoming episodes.

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Didn't watch the vid, but just by reading your recap... It felt, too short, didn't tell anything in one episode.... (I've almost left it out)...
It will have to fight hard against gumiho to capture the viewers attention

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i agree with you the actress should if not already run away with the show . i like her . kim hyun joong on the hand tbh i think his trying . his expressions are less blank . i just want to see more of that facial expression . to me he doesn't really need to say much yet but his expressions will get me there . lol

what did you think of the parents ??

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Lawdy. Everyone said that Ep. 2 was slightly better so I thought I would at least give it a try. I've made it to 12 minutes and I can't take any more. This is just a BAAADDDD show.

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B4 the eps were out and just the teasers and trailers,
i was really excited
but then it wasnt as good or as bad as i expected

and i rlly hated the ending (the teddy bear part)

i remembered Goong and Goong S with those teddy bears

so im rly thinking this is gonna be quite slow

oh and i cant wait for My gf is a gumiho ep 9
> ( > ‿‿ < )

Now my fav days of the week r updated to wednesdays and thursdays

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i may be in the minority here, but i'm kind of liking TW version better. from its very 1st ep, the natural acting chops, chemistry,humor everything was there. i lyk how the genius guy acted his emotions w/ restraint but his expressions still seemed colorful. the girl was hecka annoying, it irritated me, but i gota giv it to her she was consistent thru-out w/ that character. chemistry was ablaze. & they portrayed the mom great. & lol wat's that guy's name? the F class guy who's head over heels in lov w/ the girl? he was HIlarious & cute.

getting carried away, lemi stop there. i'm gona stil try to watch some more of PK tho.

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yeah quite a lot of people responding about how they don't like the tw version here, huh. But I can see how the tw version may rub people the wrong way. I really enjoyed the TW version: the chemistry, the supporting cast, Qu You Ning's unique way of directing, and even how Ariel looks really plain and dumb. She is truly flawed. No excuses. It's ugly. Xiang-Qin has only good intentions but no talent. I winced so many times. But it also felt real. (I read tons of romances where the heroine would be 'flawed' and the flaw would be 'she's too outspoken ' or 'her mouth is too wide for fashion' or 'she lives pay check by pay check but look- she's an amazing columnist for this minor newspaper. she just needs her big break' or some fake-flaw). She also really tapped into the part of me that feels insecure and stupid.

and I think once Playful Kiss find its way, I think I will enjoy it too (maybe not as much as ISWAK since ISWAK has a special place in my heart). I think the perfect adaptation of the story will probably be a hybrid of the tw and korean versions. Maybe Japan will do another, updated one.

And speaking of Japan, I feel really bad that people hated the Japanese version and called the girl ugly, without considering that it was done in the early 90s and without considering that the Kotoko character is supposed to be plain! I think asian dramas and acting in asian dramas have improved quite a bit since the 90s.

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I don't know what to think, really. I loved the Taiwanese version and I've already set the adaptation as a tough act to follow. There's just no way I can watch this objectively ;d

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So much has been said, so I'll just add that I think it will improve. I just watched ep 2 and I enjoyed it, while i can agree with most that ep 1 dragged and needed editing badly. I don't know if I just like this story ( I haven't seen the Japanese or read the manga, but I saw the Taiwanese), or if this version is better. I relate to Korean humor better, so I think that helps. I don't know, I think the story is cute and I like the characters. I like Ha Ni better than Ariel's version because she is sweet without being annoying. I hope this gets better ratings because I want the actors' morale to stay strong so they can do a good job :-) Long story short, even if you didn't like ep 1, give 2 a try because i think you may find it to be an improvement (still not earth shattering but quirky and with better pacing)

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I watched EP 1 and 2 one after the other and I found myself pleasantly surprised. Some of the music used reminds me of the Glee theme *cringe*.

Jung So-min is great she really inhabits the role, and I see where it could've gone badly but it *didn't*. She's really cute and quirky and natural!

KHJ is actually decent in this role, which, of course isn't saying much. The role doesn't seem too demanding (act silent and superior) so I'm hoping he can hit the right notes when it's called on him to show emotion.

This looks like a breather of a drama, and I think I'll stick with it.

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LOL! It reminds me of Glee too, with all the singing and instrumental pieces. Cute.

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Thanks for the recap.

I don't really like how the story went for the first episode, but it gots my interest somehow. It's kind of cute and entertaining, a bit abstract with all of the dreams.

I like both actor and actress. They did a fairly good job, and their looks are absolutely matched with the manga characters. The guy names Joon Gu is kind of funny, but i think he overacts a little but.
Anyway, i'm looking forward for the next episode

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I cant believe ive just spent a whole hour reading the hundred comments posted on this page. Now its my turn to write my thoughts down because ive been eager to do so after i watched the 2nd episode.
Sure the first episode is flawed and very draggy. I kept yawning throughout and couldnt help but cringe at some of the overacting. Episode 2 still bugs me a little bit on this aspect, especially that greasy hair guy who has a big crush on Hani. Based on what i perceive from reading the manga and watching the TW version, his character is supposed to add more comical elements to the drama, but here his ridiculous clothing style, his weird accent/dialect/whatever, his exaggerated appearance with the combing hair act, etc are so not funny at all. Rather then making me laugh, he makes me chuckle and cringe. Not that i dont like the actor. He was great in a lot of other dramas ive seen him in, but definitely not in PK so far T.T *sigh* i wish he could be as likable as Ah Jing in the TW ver.That way at least id feel like SJ has some competition ahead of him =.=
Now HJ, okay maybe hes not the best at facial expressions yet, but its fairly clear that has worked on his acting more or less since BOF. We gotta cut him some slack and give him time to polish his skills more since hes playing a genius onscreen but in real life he is not, not to mention hes originally a singer/dancer/idol. I just hope it wont take too long for him to convince us that he truly deserves the attention with further improvements. Im keeping my fingers crossed for him, ep.3 allows me to have hope that HJ does possess potential, not only his handsome looking face.
Lastly, SM, i dont understand the reasons why some people bash her so much. Whats wrong with her? She looks cute and bright and expressive and shes portraying her character just fine. I actually like the way the writer depicts this character. Shes less clingy, less thick-skinned, as compared to the one in TW ver. Shes perfectly showing a normal high school girl who cant stop thinking and daydreaming about her longtime crush. Girls are all like that at some point in their lives right? ^^
So overall, i would give HJ a 6 out of 10 and SM a 8. The storyline does pick up in ep.2 so im keeping my fingers crossed it will continue to step it up with more plot developments and tone down on the long unnecessary fantasy imaginations. The editors need to work on the background music too =.= because i felt like i was watching a movie instead of a teen drama half of the time. The Goonf similarity irks me too but i guess i just have to deal with it. Its not a big problem to me but i did wish they could have used some other stuffed toy animals instead of a bear +.+
As for those who complain that Oh Ha Ni is too plain...well idk why u are even watching PK. The character is supposed to look plain and stupid. It is her perseverance and warm heart that defeat the guys cold heart at the end, isnt it? :=<

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so sad about the rating although it was not surprising epi1 failed to capture the interest of viewers ..thanks for the recap JB, please keep them coming, i so enjoyed reading your views since i stumbled on this blog from bad guy ..i haven't watch the finale yet coz i want to love oh hani kkkk

lol at comments of KHJ being married ..i wonder where is that coming from ^_^

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ok im not gonna watch this till it ends....so going by the recap, the teddy bear thingy really really bothers me....it was sweet with goong....was tolerable in goong s...but here in pk its just down right lazy! really pd-nim has ur originality been kidnapped and placed at point? im sure there are plenty of other cute munch kins to lure us fangirls in with? why dint the teddies in goong not make enuff money and some where left over? grrr i was soo ticked off when i saw them in the promos....

sorry for the rant but it kinda erm no it majorly ticked me off! i know he was going for the goong vibe but this is too much!! and im currently watching iswak and have a major joe cheng bias (like i need another of those right? hehe) and i dont know if kjh can ever do what jc did with his character ( trust me he's done alot i thought the original guy in the japanese serial was a real a class douche bag and swear off watching iswak, and jc has made me regret it!! still think he is a lil unreasonable sometimes but its a def step up from douche baggery!) i hope he really really tries! psst bitch slap is still pending methinks!!

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haven't seen it yet but after reading your recaps, im excited to watch it regardless of everyone's opinion and ratings...i love KHJ!!!!!

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Hi I can not see the pictures...:( why?? do you know??!

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I just love ditsy adaptations coz then I can compare as since the manga artist passed away before she can even finish Itazura Na Kiss, so lets anticipate the ending... Dun really care bout ratings as this manga/ Anime and the Japanese & Taiwanese adapatations got me hooked no matter how boring it is.... I adores Playful Kiss

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hmmm...thanks JB! you are so great! even though you had reservations previously about KHJ's acting, you remained objective and fair. I'll give PK a try and I really do hope it improves (heard that episode 2 is better).

I'm intrigued enough to watch because of Jung So-min. Didn't watch Bad Guy, but I trust JB's judgement of her acting. Watched the Taiwanese version and I liked Ariel Lin even if her character is grating and annoying. Looking forward to JSM's interpretation of this character.

Anyway, seriously, why are there lots of negative comments here? There's a lot of bashing of JSM and since I didn't read through the rest of the comments after the first 10, I don't know if there were super-sensitive (aka rude) KHJ fans who posted their replies too.

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i don't think the negative comments about jsm are coming from khj fans, i've been to a couple of khj fan forums and mostly everyone's supportive of jsm and agree that she's really adorable without the irritating traits the TW version had.

i also seriously dun get these ppl's bashing as well (albeit i've noticed it's reduced already in the past few posts),
i think she's adorable and cute, and her portrayal is spot-on.

i actually giggled with her a few times when she was mooning over khj, coz i felt like i TOTALLY related to how she felt. hahahaha

and i love how she's not DUMB dumb, but with a bit of street smarts to her, like what bsj said to her, you're trickier than i thought.

anyways, let the haters hate. i try to understand their pov, but if they're just unreasonable, then i just move on!

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I'm surprised. I thought everyone would love this drama, really, it's got everything BOF had, in my opinion (hype, previously popular adaptions, potentially annoying characters/actors, romance-plot), but it seems like it's the in thing to hate on it instead... Amusing...? (WHAT is with the Goong-comparison-hating?! 1. Goong is ancient, I don't even remember all these supposed similarities, and 2. Why care? ...Clearly I must be missing something here... whatever.)

Anyway, I think it was OK. Better than expected in some areas, though admittedly very slow-paced. They follow the anime adaption quite closely, expect for adding in long scenes of no substance (for what reason I know not) to make what in the anime was a 20 minute opening, into one hour. Actually, the anime even got further than this episode in its 20 minutes D: It would probably have been a good idea to stick to the anime's pace, since they're already sticking to its storyline. Oh well.

For everyone groaning and moaning about this, I'd recommend to stop comparing it to ISWAK and Goong, neither of which are relevant, I think. Compare it, if you must compare it to anything, to the manga/anime. That seems to be the source material. ISWAK is, after all, just another adaption, it's not the original... Taiwanese versions always differ from the originals quite a bit, y'know.

I like Oh Ha Ni. She's the best version of Kotoko so far. she's got some pride. I like her, I like her. Actress is adorable too, how can there be so many complaining that she's ugly?! Ah the internet is shocking me lately, shocking, shocking...

Acting overall is alright, nothing so bad that it's bugging me, nothing so good that it inspires any particular awe... KHJ is doing fairly well, he's acting pretty much the same way as Naoki does in the anime, though lacking just a little bit of... oomph? XD

Well, this is probably all I'll be contributing to the discussion, seems like everyone's really heated up at the moment, getting all pissed off at random things... It's no fun discussing dramas with people blinded by senseless, fangirlflaming rage. Take a deep breath, everyone. Ok, I know, not everyone... some of you are alright! (: I approve. Be overjoyed. But everyone.... eat some cake.

BTW, this drama is filmed pretty! Makes me happy!

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I watched the 1st episode.Not impressed at all. KHJ 's acting is still pretty flat. I know the character is supposed to be cold,but there is no dimension to the way he does it. Yes, the director is partly to be blamed. The girl is so-so.She keep pursing her lips,which is annoying after you see it so many times. There are many good dramas -BK, G, DY,SS, out at the moment. I am going to give this a pass.
Thanks for the recaps.

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I liked it. Its going to get better with each episode. I think that one of the best things they've done to spice things up was to add bye bye sea. I love them! I enjoy how they get some screen time here and there. KHJ and JSM are doing great.. Cant wait for next week!!!

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I love their little interludes and how the director incorporated random elements from the episode into those cuts, they're so cute!

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The first episode was boring at times and the fantasy scenes were overdone. I kept watching because they actually made the very annoying character from the manga into someone likable and I could see an improvement in KHJ's acting. I just finished watching the second episode and I am glad I did, its a huge improvement in storyline and acting for both of them.

I think they are going good places with the story. I already how they squeezed all of the irritating traits out of the main lead. I love the how visually bright and colorful the drama is.

Honestly, I think people try to make too much out of these dramas. This isn't supposed to be Wuthering Heights. One of the reason I watch Korean Dramas is because they are cute and fairytale like. If I want to watch rape, murder, sex and drugs I can get that kind of reality from American television. I like the fact that they tend to go there with romance and fluffiness.

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The bears . . . isn't Ha Ni's character a fan of bears? As she's moving to SJ's house, she's with her bears--isn't that why the bears are also used? I liked Goong (but not Goong S), and it doesn't bug me that they use them here, but couldn't it also be because of Ha Ni's affection for them?

I do agree that the animation on the school rankings board is cute and do hope they incorporate more of that into the the transition scenes and endings, especially since this is manga-based.

Good point brought up--the supporting character, Yuan Feng (Ah Jin was the name used in the subs we saw), that was in love with Xiang Qin in ISWAK, was a definite plus to the series, and felt much more natural than Joon Gu. I like the actor playing Joon Gu, but he's too over-the-top here with the hair, the clothes, the accent, and these distract from the character's unconditional love of Ha Ni.

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Dear Javabeans,

What annoys me and frustrates and saddens me so much is the fact that KHJ who is so charismatic, animated, hilarious, witty, and engaging in real life (which this 5 minutes interview clip of the Playful Kiss cast confirms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnGMEi1fTrg) falls flat on his face like this when it comes to acting

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Sashiburi Allmighty DramaBeans V^^V
just dropping by to say neverending thanks for all your recaps. *bows*
for me, this show is bringing out the rubber face out of me : am smiling like mad, from grinning hihihihi to guffawing BWAHAHAHAHa, from a short ^_^ to a verrrryyy longgg smile ^_______________________^ .
OH HA NI anooo BBAAKKKAAAAA... heheh
love the younger brother... and SOOO LOVINGG THE MOM Daisuki ! heheh
THANKS AGAIN !

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This sounds so stupid but the Bears are turning me off BIG TIME, to the point where I'm thinking about not even starting the drama. I'm try to hang in there though.

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Just watched Episode 2, and its definitely much better than Episode 1, but im not sure if it still caught my attention... ill give next week another shot.
Cant wait for Episode 2 recap and see what JB/GF thinks.. =)

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Meh, still going to stay about 3rd on my kdrama priority list.

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Thanks for the recap. I was totally excited for this drama!!! And it didnt dissappoint (breathes a sigh of relief) I loved Ha Ni was adorable! Loved the mom i think she's ganna turn out to be one of my fav characters. Seung-jo was scaring me at first he didn't talk for like half the episode. Looking forward to episode 2!!!!

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Okay after watching the episode I gotta agree with you.
I got this whole Goong feel from it & the last ending scene with the Teddy bears yeah seriously please stop. UNLESS that is gonna be the directors new thing. Is that he is gonna use teddy bears in ALL of his dramas but I don't think so.
In Goong was adorable, in Goong S it was okay & cute but in PK no it's overdoing it.

Anyways onto the drama besides the Goong comparison the opening was okay. The unnecessary fantasies was not needed & then the length of it killed it. Once was enough but then day dreaming & showing it all the time was overkill. JSM is totally gonna run away with this drama. She reminds me SO much of YEH. I think that's another reason why I got this Goong vibe because the main actress reminded me of YEH whom got her breakthrough from Goong, I totally see why JSM is called lil'YEH.
Their acting style is VERY similar, besides the appearance in certain angles. I'm loving the characters already EXCEPT the 2nd lead, his Busan accent is SO strong that it's annoying at times & this whole "Grease" thing he has going on is also annoying. I can't help but compare him to Jiro who played the role in ISWAK & srsly Jiro didn't make the role so annoying as he does for me.
Totally agree about KHJ skating through it. I didn't really get anything from him & he just kinda was a "whatever" for me.
Oh & I love the teacher thing. I think their gonna have a similar storyline as the main..which is cute.

Thanks again JB for the review

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nope, totally out for me.

i was one of those who checked out after the first 5 min and never bothered to check back in again. KHJ did nothing to draw me into the drama, and when i read the recaps and realized the ending had a teddy bear ending, i think more or less i was quite sure this drama has already lost me. the ratings say it, anyway.

on the other hand... My Gf is a Gumiho totally rocked my socks! Love Lee Seung Gi and Shin Min Ah's roles in there.

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Am really put off by the lengthy fantasy scenes.

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this story is... pacing too slowly for my taste. i'm thinking of stopping and just picking it up again if i notice your recaps of this show getting "excited" (that's my alert haha).

but on to ep 2 now, we'll see!

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I was a big fan of the Taiwanese version and while I do respect differences in style here, I expected the 1st ep to draw me in like the 1st version did. This Korean version is interesting, nevertheless, but I agree javabeans... it could use a little more 'oomph' in it. :)

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Oh, and the Goong reference really can't be missed. I mean, the 1st thing I ever noticed was, "Is that YEH's hairdo?" Hmmm. I wish they'd lose it (the Goong reference and all) but oh well, whatever floats the stylist's boat... as long as they make the story more original and faithful to the manhwa.

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I've been looking forward to your review/recap.. I know how the story goes as I've read the english translation of the mangga; I've watched the Jap ver. (anime & drama); I've watched the TW ver.; and now, here I am again eagerly watching the Korean ver. (^_^)

I think Jung so min is charming.. I kind of equates her to Ha Ji hye (Sweet 18). I think I find her cute, as I've already watched the other versions so I'm already used to the 'annoying' factor.. In fact, I don't find her annoying [so far~], try watching the jap. drama ver. - concrete example of ANNOYING & RIDICULOUS :D

As for the male lead, so far~ KHJ is the least "cold" of the 3 versions.. my fave of course is Joe Cheng's portrayal although personally I don't think I'd fall for such character ~lolz :D in the jap. ver, the male lead (played by Kashiwabara Takashi ) was just rude - it was just utter dislike for the girl all through the story..

anyhow, I hope you do recaps for this drama to the end.. if it picks up the way it did for the original material, it would get pretty amusing.. :)

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I haven't been able to watch this drama yet, but from this recap I think it's safe to say the the Taiwanese version 'It Started With A Kiss' was way better.
It was a little more to the point, though it did have some fantasy moments it wasn't dragged out. And the acting was super!
You really fall for the characters.
But I'm not giving up on this yet, I do intend on watching it....but probably after Yoochun's drama

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A weak and watery copy of Goong. Kim Hun Jung is nothing like Joo Ji Hoon and Jung So Min, although as cute, is not as funny as Yoon Eun Hye. I was waiting for teddies and they appeared on the screen right at the end. Not gonna follow this.

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its a bit of a drag on 1st ep. bcoz of those daydreamings..but overall, it's cute and fun to watch!! OH HA NI is adorable and Baek Seung- Jo is so hot! :) that's all..looking forward to watch ep 4. ^_^ and btw, his acting improved a lot from BOF...

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