Rating:
Average user rating 4.3
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Introduction to the mythical world of Arang and the Magistrate

Purrrrty. Well the Special Episode for Arang and the Magistrate wasn’t anything to write home about in and of itself, but the glimpses of the drama to come got me really excited. The hour-long special that aired a week before the drama’s premiere was mostly a collection of behind-the-scenes material with some character introductions and a lot of PD/art design commentary on how the world of the drama was conceived. Interesting, but not the most entertaining hour of television. But the world that they created looks amazing—full of whimsy, its own fantastical mythology (so great), and lovely chemistry between the leads. My hopes, they’re a-goin’ on up.

The one thing I gathered from the special was that PD Kim Sang-ho places a lot of emphasis on creating a universe with its own rules and its own aesthetic, which I’m really excited about. In one sense Arang will look like a familiar sageuk, and is based on a very familiar legend. But this drama will focus on the divide between the living and the dead, and the people stuck in that precarious middle space.

That gives us a lot of interesting supernatural characters and places to explore, whether it’s the realm of gods, people who can see the dead when they’re not supposed to, and those who can pass from one plane of existence to the other. This image of the Grim Reaper taking Arang across the river to the underworld totally hooked me. If this is what the drama’s going to look like, COUNT ME IN.

Our heroine ARANG (Shin Mina) is a young girl who’s brutally murdered and when she wakes up a ghost, she has no memory of who she was and how she ended up dead. Her quest is to find her real name and recover her identity. But staying here among the living means she’s also cheating death, so she’ll be on the run from the Grim Reaper whose job it is to make sure she crosses the river to the afterlife. She’s bold and sassy, and kind of enjoys spooking the locals. Not your typical Casper, to say the least.

Our hero EUN-OH (Lee Jun-ki) is the new magistrate in town, who also has the particular ability to see ghosts. He tries his best to ignore them, since they tend to follow him around and pester him with annoying requests. Arang haunts him like all the magistrates who came before him, and despite all attempts to ignore her and pretend he doesn’t see her, he can’t help himself. His personal quest is to find his mother, who disappeared very suddenly.

Eun-oh pretending he can’t see Arang. Um, do you make that face at all invisible things?

Then rounding out the love triangle is JOO-WAL (Yeon Woo-jin), a nobleman and the son of the wealthy man of influence in town. Yeon Woo-jin calls his character a cha-jo-nam, for Cold Joseon Man, a twist on the usual “cold city man.” I may have laughed out loud at that. He’ll be Eun-oh’s rival politically and apparently also for the girl, though that would mean he can see ghosts too. Not sure on his supernatural gifts yet, but he’s shrouded in mystery, so I’m sure he’s got a power too.

Then there’s the heavenly trio: twins who rule Heaven and Hell and their agent. The Great Jade Emperor, aka King of Heaven (Yoo Seung-ho) is the prettier twin god, since he’s got power over life and nature and all living things. Eternal youth sure looks nice on him. His brother is the King of the Underworld (Park Joon-kyu), who’s actually full of aegyo and childish tantrums. First of all, I love that Yoo Seung-ho and Park Joon-kyu are playing twins, but the fact that Yoo plays the more mature and reserved twin, while Park is the bratty childish one? Genius.

In this universe heaven and hell aren’t so much at war as just two halves of one whole–they must both exist to keep the world in balance. The brothers argue over existential questions, sure, but mostly they spend all their time playing endless games of badook on the bridge between heaven and hell (literally a suspension bridge up in the clouds), and watching over their respective charges. Hilariously, the king of heaven seems to be slightly better at the game and kind of an ass about it.

MU-YOUNG (Han Jung-soo) is the head Grim Reaper, leader of the army that serves the King of the Underworld. He’s the guy that moves between this world and the next, to report to the kings and make sure that order is kept. He’s big and scary, for sure, but I also get the sense that he’s not going to be evil so much as just a guy doing his job. His job just happens to be sending Arang across the river, where she doesn’t want to go.

The ghosts in this universe eat, sleep, and look just like the living, save for a tattoo on their necks to mark them as uh, past their expiration dates. The reapers bear the same mark on their hands. They’re generally not visible to ordinary people (for instance Hwang Bora’s seer character can’t actually see ghosts but hears them, and she talks to Arang).

There’s a peach motif that runs through the mythology — the king of heaven always eats peaches, and the dead can be scarred by the flowers of a peach tree. Without the explanation it looks a little funny that someone’s chasing you and you’re tossing flower petals at them like you’re at a wedding, but they slice and dice anyone who’s already dead.

The special was mostly filled with on-set interviews and cute Lee Jun-ki antics, just being a sweet oppa on set or making ridiculous squee-fists before his first kiss scene with Shin Mina. Her prep before scene: sit around. His prep before scene: breath spray, situps, squee-fists. A-DOR-able.

Arang and the Magistrate premieres next Wednesday, August 15 on MBC.

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Looking great! Can't wait! I love the relationship between the King of Heaven and Hell.

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All my favourite people in a sageuk fantasy kyaaaaaaa!!!!

T#T where can I watch this special with subs?

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Yeah does anyone know where we can watch this intro with subs?

Can't wait for this drama!! :D

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yeah for reals does aaanyone know where to watch this, for me it doesn't need to be subd, I just wanna look at Lee ju ki
D:

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here! I just found it! no subs though. :3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESwWdyLdgMM

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AHHH CANT WAIT!!! :D

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I can't wait! >.<

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Oh my... This look good.. Can't wait for this to air.. ^^

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Is it wrong to look forward to the Kings of heaven and hell more than the central character? It's just hilarious how they are the opposite of each other. LOL

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I'm the same. I was reading through this and once it hit upon the twins I couldn't help but laugh and hope that they are shown a-lot throughout the series.

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it would have been better if they switch the color association of heaven and hell. why not make the king of heaven use black and the king of hell white?

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This was a sweet little present for MBC to throw down, since everyone's still kinda wrapped up in the Olympics coverage. Too bad it only garnered a 4.9% rating (still more than most cable shows out there), but I felt it does hype it more for the premiere... and I'm really craving peaches right now!!! :P

I can just see YSH and PJK sitting around between takes, swapping stories from the WBDS days: "So Sa-mo, how's married life treating you?" "Shut up Yeo-un, you BRAT!!" Bwahahahaha!

Geez, so many dramas on my plate... so little time. I'd better buy some stock in Genentech and get that cloning process taken care of STAT!! :D

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too many pretty people in one drama >____<

I totally cant wait for this!

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thank goodness for this coz suddenly all the dramas (excluding Gaksital) i'm interested in finished & my viewing list is sadly very bare. crossing fingers & toes this will be as good as it looks so far or (shall i tempt Fate?) BETTER!!!

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Thank you!

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Sooooo... Our heroine has no memory of her past as a living human being and the hero is in search of his mother? Eeeeeek.
Is it just me expecting the worst in this scenario?

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gadd, i tot i was the only who suddenly got alarmed reading it..

Could it be? I hope not...

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Nope. I immediately thought that too.

If it was my story, I'd have written it like that just to mess with people. Mwahahahahaaaa!!!

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Yeah, but watching a dozen episodes of "will they or won´t they" to have their relationship revealed as incest in the end? That would be quite frustrating and ... well .. squicky!
I also believe "surprise incest" has become quite the cliché in k-dramas or any dramas to be honest.

Chances of a happy endind are slim enough as it is now..

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Eeep, that crossed my mind, too ...
Nothing extreme, please, writer-nim *__,*

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Thought about it for a moment, too, but I can't bear to believe it. Just no! D:

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That was the first thing to cross my mind when I read that. It would make sense, she's been haunting many magistrates before him, but I'm hoping that it's not true. I don't think the writer would go that far, right?...

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Guys, the whole virgin ghost thing kinda precludes her from being anybody's mother. So... no. Not a possibility. Everybody breathe.

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Ah, that´s great if it is indeed known that she wasn´t married and couldn´t possibly be a mother.

I guess I am just so used to k-dramas bringing up the possibility of incest that my mind went there immediately.. Even though thankfully that paritcular trend seems to be a little outdated nowadays.

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From what I've seen, k-drama incest only goes for cousins or pseudo-siblings. They've never gone up or down a generation :)

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Yeah like 90 days to Love.

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Yeah like 90 days to Love.

Btw, I'm not all that familiar with the legend, although I have watched Arang (the movie) so I get the bases. What I want to know is that if she doesn't know her name, is the name "Arang" her name she remembers (later on in the story), a name she made up, some one else made up for her, or means something in Korean like "pretty ghost" or something?

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This makes me want to watch "The Legend Of Evil Lake" again. I love fantasy (sageuk) Ghost stories that makes me root for the ghost.

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Wah! Fleshed out, preconceived mythology! If this is like the Sunnyville of Joseon, I'll be so happy. Consider me hooked.

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can't wait!! :) shin mina and lee junki look adorable together and the heaven and hell twin gods look hilarious!!

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Thanks for sharing this special. I can hardly stand the wait, but it's only one more week! Kyaah!

Also, I love the kiss prep. Sooo cute!

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The premise is really good. It sure built my hopes up.

Between Gaksital, I live in cheongdamdong and Answer Me 1997, I barely have any sleep. I can't imagine sleeping with next week premiers. Thank God its also holiday. Yay! At least, I have time to sort out which I'd like to keep watching.
Let's see: Arang, Faith, To You, May Queen. Hmm, did I miss anything?

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I watched!!! Hahahhaa, and giggled like a fool, yes it was ADORABLE JOONGI OPPA show!!! I love him so much, dancing all around the set and teasing everybody with "Ah, my neck!!!" Cant wait for 8.15, they just love to torture me with that program!

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So Cute.

I was trying to keep my expectations in check, but now I can't help but be excited. This looks every bit as awesome as I want it to be!!

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i love the story....love the ghosts, the king of heaven and hell, the reaper, the living....and jun ki and mi na so look so adorable together.

plus i love that this drama is sageuk!! waiting for a great sageuk (story wise and character wise) after TPM, and Arang definitely fits the bill :)

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If anything, I'm most intrigued by the heavenly twins. Just the aesthetics of Yoo Seung Ho playing a character who is the same age as Park Jun Gyu tickles me in a good way. lol Otherwise, I'm just pumped to see this series for everything I've heard about it so far, from Lee Jun Ki to Shin Mina, to their characters and the whole deal with Arang needing to find out who she was and how she died, even if we already know the basic story...

So awesome!

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can't wait >___<

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this looks soooo good omg, i'm so excited, cuteness and humour and action - no time for sleep or uni i suppose, arang as well as nice guy? argh i'm gonna be in drama heaven (and uni hell lol), why do they have to premiere so soon ;-; hopefully i can wait for perhaps the whole series to finish (doubt it) and avoid spoilers (even more unlikely)

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Damn. So excited over this. I love Lee Junki and Shin Min Ah already on their own. I think I'll squeal with happiness just seeing them together.

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Thank you GF :). What have we done to deserve this Mon-Thurs fanatsy sageuk line up?.I'll miss the Olympics but will be so ready for some K-drama.

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I cannot wait for this to start!! SO EXCITED!

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Can't wait...

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YAY! My excitement is building for this one. All of the pictures look so otherwordly and mystical. This one and Faith have me on the edge of my seat. CAN'T WAIT!

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BRING ON THE GOODIES, DRAMA GODS!

Shall I make a talisman in hopes of getting a little sleep in between all these cool new dramas premiering right before school starts?

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i'm excited but i feel worried about how it will going to end..will jun-ki's character end up with a ghost? or the heaven will give min-ah a chance for another life?

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I' so excited to watch this that it's not even funny.

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Please, oh please, let this drama be good. I haven't watched a decent drama in AGES and am practically dying from impatience here.

*prays to drama gods*

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omgah! so excited!

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I'm SOOOO INNNNNN!!!!! this is actually a great idea to intruduce this kinda of dramas to the audience so we know what to expect.

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Those pictures are beautiful, the setting, the clothes, the characters.
And the story seems promising.
Definitely a watch!
But, please don't let me down show OR some tables are gonna be flipped!!

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LOL at Jun Ki's squee fists!! JB, thank you so much for watching and recapping the special for us! If I was at all unsure about wanting to watch this drama, this post just shot it to the top of my "must watch" list.

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I wonder if she realized he could see her and was purposefully removing her clothes or she didn't know and he was just trying hard not to let on he could see her. Either way the situation seems hilarious. I can't wait.

OMG he is adorable! He and Shin Mina should date. They would make a cute couple.

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After Big, I need a break from watching live dramas hahaha. I'll wait for this one.

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I'm very excited for this to come out.

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OMG this drama seems interesting I can't wait!!!!

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It does seem that Lee Jung-ki likes Shin Min-ah, as he's constantly fan-boying over her... LOLz

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Oh I so can't wait for this drama. It's going to be so good! I am totally looking forward to the twin gods scenes the most, just because they sound like they'll be hilarious. Can't wait!

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No, i thought he doesnt fan boying her, he does it to every girl, being cute nice lovely and adorable, but i wouldnt mind if he dates her, hahaha #jealous fan girl! But I love the scene where he acted like a photographer and took photos of shin mina like a pro, haha love the scene on the horse too, they really ride the horse together, and Joongi ssi is really good handling the horse lady with shin Mina sits in front of him, sooooooo sweeeeet!!

And of course no way Arang could be his mother! The tag line said, "the truth that is bigger than you can imagine", if it's incest, it's too simple!

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With Yoo Seung Hoo in this drama.Im totally in!!
Cant help but be excited with the bromance between the two Gods.

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Can't wait for this drama! It looks so fun!

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It's killing meeeeee! The wait is killing meeeeeeeeee!

And....Yu Seung Ho's hotness is maddening! I can't even see Jun Ki anymore. *sighs*

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I love that this drama establishes a focused plotline right from the start. Most drama these days is just... Girl X, who has THIS kind of personality, meets and fall in love with Boy Y, who has THAT kind of personality... so pointless and bland. I love that this drama offer us more than just the love story...things like interesting side characters, beautiful landscape, an internal mythology, mysteries, a story to follow... a universe that lives and breathes. Oh man, I will definitely tune in for this show!

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I like the peach idea. Peaches are often connected with eternal life and long life. So, it makes sense that as symbols of life they can injure the dead. Nice.

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After a year of mostly dreck, I hope "Arang and the Magistrate" continues the winning streak started by "I Need Romance 2012" and "Answer Me 1997."

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Go to YouTube, it's already there ^^

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Gyaaah~ This makes me so excited!!
Next week come faster!!

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Do Korean legends talk about reincarnation?

I know in Chinese stories, after a person dies, their spirit has to drink this soup that makes you forget your past life before you're reincarnated.

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