[Jan/2014] Millie’s Top K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten January K-Pop Music Videos 

[2014]

2014 seemed to start off with a sexy wave as girl groups everywhere could be seen in tiny shorts, stockings and high heels. The males also strutted their feathers with confident songs about their looks. Both genders came to tease their fans this cold January, but despite the flash of skin, many of the songs that shined were the ones that focused on the vocals. And if they could combine a sexy song with powerful vocals, all the better. The ladies might have  won over this month, but 2014 has just begun.

Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales. 

10. Rainbow Blaxx – Cha Cha

Rainbow Blaxx - Cha Cha

I have never seen a K-pop music video with so many sexually suggestive food props – and macaroons at that! Vibrant colors, royal furniture, jewels, and desserts of all sorts make up Rainbow’s first sub-unit music video. Rainbow BLAXX is the four member sub-unit, that was one of the many groups to come back this year with the sexy theme (unusually for Rainbow since they usually do the cute concepts). “I wanna feel you, I wanna love you…” The girls act seducing in this video to match the lyrics, daring them to come closer before they get too impatient. I found the song really catchy and I liked it a lot, I just wish the side story in the music video wasn’t so weird…what is it with the random jewels popping out of their mouths, and the creepy ghost lady measuring them?

9. Got7 – Girls Girls Girls

Got7 - Girls Girls Girls

JYP debuted a new seven member boy group, Got7. After seeing their debut music video “Girls, Girls, Girls” I got a mixed vibe of old school 2pm and JJ Project (very appropriate since both groups are from JYP Entertainment). The song sounded a lot like JJ Project’s single “Bounce”, which made sense since the duo JB and JR became members of this boy group, and the back-flips and other b-boy moves reminded me of 2pm’s debut song “10 out of 10”. When it came to the song, I preferred the verses and rap portions over the chorus which seemed boring for me and the lyrics where kind of a put off. But the music video did a good job in showing of the boys’ talent, especially with the split screen style that could show both the close up of the boy’s face and the rest of the group performing the choreography. “Girls, Girls, Girls” was alright for me – but it did make me extremely curious to see what this boy group has in store for the future.

 8. B1A4 – Lonely

B1A4 - Lonely

B1A4 made their comeback with “Lonely”,  a sad song about the after effects of a break-up. The music video was not that original, in fact  the lonely theme after a break-up has been done quite often, but what made the video different was B1A4’s little twist – the ex-girlfriend behaved like a balloon attached to the protagonist’s wrist (Jin-young, the leader, who starred in this music video). The magical element added B1A4’s style to it. Quite opposite from their last comeback that had the boys jumping up and down singing, “Lonely” was calm, yet beautiful, fully showing off the boys’ singing abilities. A perfect, sorrowful song for the ending of the winter season.

7. Spica – You Don’t Love Me

Spica - You Don't Love Me

Spica displayed their powerful vocals once again with “You Don’t Love Me”. The girls also came back with a sexy concept of their own; very retro with an over-the-top sexy act that left it more comedic than anything. From singing into toilet paper rolls, to throwing around cereal and streamers, to the exaggerated butt pads, Spica definitely stood out from the sexy singles this month. I always like Spica songs, but this one is not one of my favorites. If I didn’t hear the phrase “You Don’t Love Me” every other line, maybe I would have liked the song more. But none the less, I liked Spica’s creative music video – they always manage to make them sexy but have other interesting elements that balance them out.

6. TVXQ – Something

TVXQ - Something

TVXQ also went back in the past with the jazzy title track “Something”, a confident dance song about how hard it is when all the girls want you (how very modest of you boys). The dance is awesome in this video; with the dancers holding up string props to resemble bass strings that the boys strum too (Major props to all the back-up dancers who not only preformed but made seamless transitions through all the props). The song is upbeat and heavy on the vocals. The music video plays around with mirage special effects and upside down scene changes. It was quite a change from their last two hit songs that contained heavy audio effects and present day music styles, so this single was a nice, fresh new sound from the boys.

5. Sunny Hill – Don’t Say Anything

Sunny Hill - Don't Say Anything

“Don’t Say Anything” narrates the moment someone goes through a break-up; the sudden realization, the heartbreak and the tears that follow. This song is sorrowful, but has beautiful poetic lyrics and is very raw and easy to relate to. Filmed with white backgrounds and hazy focusing, and has the soft piano playing throughout the song, Sunny Hill’s “Don’t Say Anything” is a solid song.

4. Kiss&Cry – Domino Game

Kiss&Cry - Domino Game

Rookie girl group Kiss&Cry debuted with “Domino Game”, and wow did they make a debut! Defiantly one that is easily missed because of all the big named comebacks, but these girls made a great first impression. They weren’t  just sexy, but confident, and have vocals that amazed me during live performances. These girls don’t act like rookies, which makes me excited to see how they will grow in the future. The lyrics tell the story of a girl who wants to stop playing this “game” with the boy she loves, as it seems he doesn’t match the same loving sentiments towards her.

3. Girl’s Day – Something

Girl's Day - Something

Girl’s Day started off 2014 strong with their New Year Day release of “Something”. Following the sexy singles from the last year that gained them so much popularity with “Expectations” and “Female President”, the four girls appeared with “Something”, a sexy but sad song about a girl’s suspicions of her boyfriend’s other ‘something’ on the sideline. Vocally this was one of the Girl’s Day strongest song, but what gathered attention was their many new iconic dances; the “feather dance” where they tie feathers to their pinkies and sensually run them down their leg, the “cat dance” which mimics a cat’s movement on the floor, the teasing way they open up their skirts to give a peek of their legs and of course, the bouncing in the chorus.

2. Ailee – Singing Got Better

Ailee - Singing Got Better

I don’t think it’s possible for Ailee’s singing to get better since it’s already fantastic. “Singing Got Better” is her latest song’ a powerful vocal piece that tells how a break-up improved her singing. She understood the lyrics and emotions behind a song from her own pain of a broken heart and transformed that into her strength. I love the originality of the song, and the simplicity behind it. Lee Joon from MBLAQ starred in this music video as her cheating boyfriend. Seems like another amazing song from Ailee!

1. Ga In – Fxxk U

Ga In - Fxxk U

When I say Ga In like to push the boundaries, I never thought she would take it this far – and I’m glad she did! Ga In as a solo artist likes to center her music videos and songs on taboo topics in South Korea. Her last single “Bloom” was completely about sex and female sexuality. This time around she hit on a darker note; “Fxxk U” is an emotional song about a girl in an abusive relationship, revealing that even sexual abuse can occur in relationships, and traumatic repercussions of rape. “Fxxk U” features Bumkey who sings his lines from the point of view of her abuser trying to convince her that it’s okay and to return to him once again. This song will probably be banned from music stations, not only because of the topic but simply because of the “overuse” of the word fuck. However, I hope that doesn’t stop Ga In from making more music videos like this one.

Millie’s Top Ten November K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten November K-pop Music Videos

Many of the releases this month had very sad and sorrowful themes. As winter comes, so does the heart-wrenching ballads in the K-pop World. Ballad Kings 2am make a reappearance, Miss A comes back after a long hiatus, and Hyorin finally makes her solo debut. To top it off, a surprising boy group makes their way up to first place.

Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales. 

10. NC.A – Oh my God

N.CA - Oh my god

NC.A is the 17-year-old solo artist, but in this song she appeared as if she was 12. “Oh My God” is a cute song about winning back the boy who wants to leave her. With pigtails and a cute school background, the feel of the music video matches the song perfectly. However, my only issue is how young they make the girl look. In her last songs she appears much older than her age, but in this case they did the exact opposite. Also NC.A is singing so happily but when you notice the lyrics in the chorus you realize her tone no longer matches well – she is still singing happily even though her boyfriend has left her. Not the best NC.A song, but the none the less is still cute.

9. Mr.Mr – Do You Feel Me?

MrMr - Do You Feel Me

In “Do You Feel Me?” the boys are keeping it classy in suits with this very western sounding single. The lyrics talk about a girl who moves the guy’s heart and gives him life, displayed in the music video where a beautiful girl in white comes to the still boys and brings them to life so they began to dance and sing. It’s a very solid song for the underrated boy group.

8. Miss A – Hush

Miss A - Hush

Miss A has been gone from the K-pop scene for a while but made a surprising comeback with “Hush”. Sexy and sensual, “Hush” is a quick moving, fast-paced song, teasing the boys to “give it to me” in cropped dark turtlenecks, hair pinned up and red lipstick. Even though the song is quite repetitive, Miss A has brought along another new style of music, making sure each comeback really shows a diverse side to them. “Hush” might not be my favorite of their title tracks, but it’s still a great song.

7. Hyorin – Lonely

Hyorin - Lonely

Hyorin, the lead vocalist from Sistar, made her solo debut with “Lonely”. The song showcases her amazing vocals quite well but the music video seems to be the female version of G-Dragon’s “Crooked” with a more subtle attitude of angst. Hyorin is walking around, seeming to enjoy life and smile despite singing about being lonely and broken by love. It seems she is hopeful for the future, that she will be able to still love even though she has been thrown aside for now.

6. Tasty – Day N Night

Tasty - Day N' Night

Tasty’s music always stands out with their swing style hip hop, “Day N’ Night” came back with that theme adding some rock to the mix. Filmed in Hong Kong, the music video matches the lyrics telling the story of a guy (or in this case, a pair of twins) who keep letting the same girl come back to him even she has made it a habit of leaving at any whim. Actress and model, Esom played the female protagonist who toys with the boy’s hearts.

5. Davichi – The Letter

Davichi - The Letter

“The Letter” shows off the amazing vocals from this duo; however the music video lacks in comparison to the song. The song tells a story, taking the listener step by step of receiving this break-up letter. Yet the music video is quite boring in exchange with the drama version simply showing a lot of crying and that’s about it. Considering how active the song is, it’s quite a shame that Davichi’s music video was not as entertaining as their others which all contain story-lines that match perfectly to the lyrics.

4. 2am – Regret

2am - Regret

2am, the kings of ballads, came back with “Regret”, another sorrowful song for the end of the year. Cinematography pans between the members as they are all moving forward, intertwining with each other at the exact times they sing. To capture the feeling of regret, the boys are the only ones walking along an abandoned beach, and miles of sand surrounds them. Topped off with a grey tint and pitiful expressions of sadness, 2am clearly shows the feelings of remorse to an ended relationship.

3. FT Island – Madly

FT Island - Madly

FT Island made a quiet return with “Madly”; in fact I almost missed the release of this song as it was piled under all the new K-pop groups. But FT Island is keeping strong with another powerful single with the Music Video taking place in an abandoned field in the middle of nowhere. “Madly” is beautiful and powerful, telling the heartbreaking story of not being able to move because they are still in love with someone who has left them.

2. 2NE1 – Missing You

2NE1 - Missing You

2NE1 made their third and final comeback for 2013, and let me just say that I think it’s their best one. “Missing You” is a soft ballad that resonates with beauty and sorrow, quite different than their upbeat funky songs. All the girls look fashionable as usual in dark isolated places, and even tastefully displays a nude CL. The harmony in this song is wonderful, very pure and simple like the music video.

1. Vixx – VooDoo Doll

Vixx - VooDoo Doll

Creepy, dark and full of gore and blood is Vixx’s “VooDoo Doll”. Vixx has always been waiting on the sidelines, but I’ve finally noticed them, and wow – they came back with an awesome song! Not only that, but the dance matches the lyrics perfectly and brings forth new dance moves never done before in K-pop (Who stabs their other members with skull staffs?). The lyrics tell us about sacrificing their bodies and love for a girl just to make sure she stays happy, letting her treat him like a puppet pulling the strings. Defiantly need to check out this music video, but warning! Watch the clean version if you are as squeamish as I am.

[Sep/Oct] Millie’s Top Ten K-pop Music Videos

[September/October]

Maknae Millie’s Top Ten K-pop Music Videos

With the domination of certain K-pop solo artists (*cough g-dragon cough*), there were not that many music videos to review. Therefore I have combined my review for September and October. September brought out the girls and their powerful vocals while October brought a variety of different genres and styles.

10. Kim Ye Rim – Voice [September]

Kim Ye Rim - Voice

Kim Ye Rim has one of the most distinguishable voices in the Korean Music Industry, and once again brings it forth, ironically, with her single “Voice”. But this song has nothing to do with her unique, husky deep voice, but with the voice of her ex, a voice that she misses the most when she thinks of him. The music video is simple but gets the message across; Kim Ye Rim is alone, listening to music in her room when an Earthquake begins. The Earthquakes coincidentally occur every time the chorus comes up, but symbolizes her erupting feelings everything she “hears” her old boyfriend’s love. It shakes her up and reminds her of the past.

 

9. Kara-Damaged Lady [September]

Kara - Damaged Lady

Kara returns with “Damaged Lady” – and I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a Kara fan. Most of their songs haven’t stuck with me. “Step it Up” wore me down, and as soon as I heard “Damaged Lady” I was instantly won over. It’s catchy, upbeat, and fast-moving, and has a song message that I’ve never seen in K-pop before. It’s about a girl whose boyfriend has just broken up with her. She sees all the couple in love around her on this bright, sunny day and feels bitter, angry and pathetic. She warns the others that she is not nice today, because she is a damaged lady. Mixing between masculine outfits and feminine ones, the music video is not as strong as the song, but still does alright.

 

8. G-dragon –Coup D’etat [September]

G-dragon - Coup d'etat

G-Dragon dominated the charts when his new mini album came out at the end of summer, “Coup D’etat”, and likewise his same named title track music video stood out among the rest. Each frame is packed full of symbolism that I can’t even begin to understand. The song and cinematography are both hauntingly beautiful, and seems to have a yin-yang scheme of black and white (likewise with the song, a switch back and forth in the tempo from fast rap parts to a slowed down chorus). This is actually one of my favorite G-dragon solo songs, and I’m always impressed with the concepts he comes up with.

 

7. Block B – Very Good [October]

Block B - Very Good

Block B makes a banging comeback with “Very Good”,  finally having settled in a new company after their lawsuit. Scoring their first win with “Very Good”, Block B has proven to fans that they are here to stay and continue to make awesome music. Their latest title track is as upbeat and crazy as their last songs. The music video features the boys being troublesome again; from pirates to now crazy bank robbers. Lyrics contain their subtly, and not so subtly remarks towards culture events, and fans can’t help but also notice Zico’s tribute to G-dragon by copying all of his iconic looks. I’m glad Block B is sticking to their true colors.

 

6. Troublemaker – Now [October]

Troublemaker -Now

Troublemaker finally makes their return after a 2 year hiatus, and they defiantly made a grand appearance with “Now”. With so many scene and outfit changes (not to mention the expensive race cars) it seems like Cube Entertainment really went all out for this music video. Despite its similarities to Rihanna’s music video, this grungy, sexy but not glamorous style was brand new for K-pop. The dance and song were not as catchy as “Troublemaker” but I still really enjoyed this comeback.

 

5. Zia – If you loved me [September]

Zia - If you loved me

Zia comes back with her sorrowful ballad “If you loved me” featuring the vocal accompaniment of Hae-ri from Davici. The song is calm but desperately calls out to her past lover, wanting him back. She tells him if he ever loved her, then he will think about their memories and consider coming back to her. The drama version of the song has an equally sad story-line about a young couple that breaks up when the boy starts to go blind, and instead of wanting his girlfriend to be with someone disabled, he breaks up with her against his heart’s wishes and hers.

 

4. K.Will – You Don’t Know Love [October]

K.Will-You Don't Know Love

K.Will did it again and came out with another wonderful easy-going track. “You Don’t Know Love” is not a romantic song at all (besides it sounding like one), but he expresses his frustration and irritation over the girl who doesn’t seem to understand his feelings at all – he is not falling out of love with her, but it’s just the ups and downs of a relationship, and she broke up with him too soon. The music video seems to express the hope of fixing the relationship as the boy and girl in the drama version are packing up the things the other gave them during their relationship, to give back now that it is over between them. But while looking at these items, they remember the memories and good times with them and are able to be together again.

 

3. Piggy Dolls – Butterflies [October]

Piggy Dolls - Butterflies

Piggy Dolls have made a cute comeback with “Butterflies” – a very relatable song for most girls. They talk about the clichés butterfly feelings a girl gets when she is in love. The song message is very cliché, talking about being in love – as well as the music video (all the girls are camping, having fun and singing while roasting marshmallows), but nonetheless the song is very addicting and just pure-hearted fun. A late summer song, but a cute single anyways.

 

2. Jung Joon Young – Spotless Mind [October]

Jung Joon young - Spotless Mind

“Spotless Mind” was the first time I ever heard Jung Joon-young’s voice, and wow, I was instantly taken back. First of all, it doesn’t even seem like such a powerful dark voice could come out of such a skinny guy. But his voice is captivating and the song seems to lull you in like a powerful melody. The lyrics also standout- he has created a spotless mind and erased the memories of his loved one. I’m glad this rocker is able to make such a strong stance among the idol singers.

 

1. Spica – Tonight [September]

Spica - Tonight

Spica returned with “Tonight”, another underrated single with their signature power vocals. Spica has always had uniquely beautiful music videos, skimming the fine line between artistic and visually appealing to make a fine mixture of both. “Tonight” has the girls in bohemian style, outside with nature as their background and only laughter as the girls are enjoying life together as their song suggests one to do. The added pastel filter, dust paint splashes and slow motion moments added to the sensual and fun theme. “Tonight” is not only one of my favorite songs of the summer this year, but also one of my favorite songs from a female K-pop group.

Millie’s Top Ten August K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten August K-Pop Music Videos 

More fun summer tracks, with the return of the solo artists! SME, JYP and YG have recently focused on the debut of the solo artists, and I can’t decide which is my favorite, they are all good. Henry came with his follow-up track “143”, Kang Seung Yoon made a 180 degree change from his rocker image with “Stealer” and Sun-mi made her return to the K-pop scene as a solo artist with the captivating “24 Hours”.

10. Ladies’ Code – Hate You

Ladies Code - Hate You

Ladies’ Code debuted earlier this year, but this girl group caught my attention with their second single “Hate You”. As titled, this song is about hating the one who broke your heart, but at the same time, hating yourself for still being in love with them. This theme is clearly represented with the creepily artistic music video. Ladies’ Code is dressed up as dolls, and they are surrounded by dolls that inspired their “looks” for the music video. In the dark and gloomy background settings, the girls are destroying the dolls (in a similar fashion as how little boys destroy their sister’s dolls, by burning them or pulling them apart); but everything that they do to their dolls happen to them.

9. M.Pire – Can’t Be Friends with You

M.Pire - Can't Be Friends With You

Six-member, rookie boy group M.Pire (pronounced “Empire”) debuted with “Can’t Be Friends with You” on August 1, a debut song that is worth a listen to. The music video has a vampire theme – with props and costumes inspired by the gothic elements of the undead; a dark setting to match the angry message of the song. Finding out that the girl they are dating has been using them as a “safe” option while they flirt and date other guys. They scoff at the girl’s request to stay friends because they know it’s just another web of lies.

8. Kim Hyung Joon and Kota [Sunny Hill] – Always Love You

Always Love you

This collaboration was done well; nothing necessarily original with the whole “summer love” theme of cute and cheesy dating scenes (ie. Sharing ice cream, camping with friends, water fights). But still, the voices are beautiful, the lyrics are pure and whole-hearted, and this song is just a simple (but great) addition to any K-pop summer mix.

7. Nu’est – Sleep Talking

Nu'est-Sleep Talking

Nu’est came back with “Sleep Talking” – a colorful new look from their more mature songs and videos. In the video all the boys are sleep in what seems to be some type of experiment and are all experiencing similar dreams – chasing this beautiful girl that always seems to be getting away and disappearing. She is the optimal dream girl that vanishes when they wake up. The choreography for this video is fun and matches the sleep theme perfectly – from the back-up dancers forming a make-shift bed, to the alarm, nodding off and yawning dance moves, this dance becomes a literal translation to the phrase “sleep walking”.

6. Lunafly – Hey Fox

Lunafly

K-pop artists often go on location to shoot their music videos. Lunafly was not so different, except they went to a unique vacation spot; Tunisia, Africa. And to add to the unusualness, they talk about a different kind of love. They are in love with a bad girl, a girl with a prickly attitude. He knows he shouldn’t love her, but he can’t help but be attracted. As beautiful as the music video was filmed, it matched the feel of the song but not the meaning behind it.

 5. Seungri – Gotta Talk To You

Seungri - Gotta Talk To You

Making his long awaited comeback, Seungri returned with his album “Let’s Talk about Love” that already received a lot of love from his dedicated fans. His title track, “Gotta Talk to You”, fits with his past songs and style of music, which was a pleasant surprise for me because I rather like his style. Darkly lit, with blurred scenes and blinding lights, Seungri gives the opposite of summer with this sexual (creeper?) song (he IS watching a girl though a glass box insisting on talking to her).

4. Sunmi – 24 hours

Sunmi-24 hours

Former member of Wonder Girls, Sunmi made her debut as a solo artist this month with her single “24 Hours”. Sunmi has made a strong first impression; not only is “24 hours” a great song but it has a wonderful music video, with a sexy provocative feel I’ve only seen present in BEG’s music videos. The song expresses the frustration of their only being 24 hours a day she can spend with the man she loves. The symbol of time is shown with the cinematography of the video, as some moments speed up while others slow down, all of sensual and romantic scenes of Sunmi and the lead male actor. Another aspect that makes this debut unique is that the performance is done barefoot.

3. N.CA – My Student Teacher

N.CA- My Student Teacher

The drama version of “My Student Teacher” stars Girl’s Day Hyeri as the love-struck high school girl who is in infatuated with her English student teacher. She sits back quietly with her puppy-dog love, taking pictures of him during their lectures secretly and trying to do anything to get this attention, from changing her appearance to studying harder to ace her tests. Nothing works until another student comes across her cell phone and shows everyone, including the student teacher, all the pictures she had taken of him. Mortified, she runs off crying and the music video ends with a surprising futuristic plot twist.

2. Kang Seung Yoon – Stealer

Kang Seung Yoon - Stealer

YG Solo artist Kang Seung Yoon debuted this summer with “Wild & Young”, but the soft and mellow “Stealer” is what won my heart over. A Romantic fantasy video with the giddy sensations of a love returned. Fields of flowers and computer added effects of love make this video an artistic pleasure to watch, and a cute creative take on a popular theme. Kang Seung Yoon calls his girl a “heart stealer” – because she has won him over completely.

1. Henry – 143

Henry-143

A cute follow up song by SME’s new solo artist –Henry’s “143” is a song that manages to capture the feel of summer by being light-hearted and danceable. “143” expresses the modern day way of communication: texting. And as accommodating as this method is for the dating world, it also causes a lot of confusion and miscommunication with the vague interpretation that come from the simple worded messages. Confused as to what the girl is trying to tell him (via text messaging), he reverts back to the “old school” method of pagers and their teenage terminology, finally sending the message “143” meaning “I love you”.

Maknae Millie’s Interview with Dance Winners of “K-Con Got Talent”

K-Con 2013 hosted their very own dance competition, “K-Con Got Talent” where fans could sing or dance as a solo, pair or group to their favorite K-pop songs and show off their idol moves. This year’s competition was heated – not just because of the suffocating weather- but with amazing talent and unique performances. San Diego represented with two groups placing in the Top 3 of the dance section. SDKFM (San Diego K-Pop Flash Mob) sent out a representative group of seven dancers who performed a dance cover to rookie boy group BTS. The “Bangtan Boys”, 21-year-old Karl Baclea-an [Ji Min], 17-year-old Maisia Fang [Jung Kook], 20-year-old Natalie Cisneros [Rap Monster], 18-year-old Jenna Bloomquist [Suga] and 21-year-old Sam Vongsay [J-Hope] were excited to share their experience.

what winners look like

Millie: Why did you (the group) decide to pick “We Are Bulletproof” by BTS as your dance cover?

 Sam: Personally, I chose to participate in the cover of “We Are Bulletproof pt. 2” because their choreography is very powerful. I think we all had a desire to participate in a cover of the dance the first time we saw it.

Maisia: We decided to pick “W.A.B” because it was a powerful song with choreography of the same intensity. We also saw it as a challenge that we wanted to overcome. We thought “if we could learn this, we could learn anything!”

Karl: We chose “We are Bulletproof” as our cover because it’s a powerful dance with super-fast and visually appealing dance moves. We figured that we would be the only group who would perform it at K-Con because of its level of difficulty.

Jenna: We all really enjoyed the song and were entranced by the complex choreography. We all really wanted a challenge, and that’s what this song was.

Natalie: Their style of choreography is the kind I’ve always enjoyed learning in hip hop classes so I was very attracted to this new group. I’m always up for doing dance covers, so when I saw all my friends crowding around watching the dance practice video and choosing a member to learn from, I immediately went over to be included in the cover. It kind of just happened spontaneously one day after a rehearsal with SDKFM.

SDKFM (1)

Millie: How long did you practice for this competition? And did you guys do anything else that was special to prepare?

Sam: We decided to do this a month before K-Con 2013, but got to physically practicing about 3 weeks prior. Since we didn’t plan this cover to take place in the K-Con 2013 competition, we had to match the dance to the time limit between 2 to 3 minutes long. Sadly, we could not incorporate the whole dance, but I hope everyone enjoyed it regardless.

Maisia: We practiced really hard for about a month and a half. We held several rehearsals every week. Something special we did was practicing our facials! Our teacher/instructor/manager (as we call him) made us go through the song over and over again until we were able to correctly display the right facials that were needed to complete the choreography.

Karl: It took us a good month before K-Con for us to practice. We would learn the dance on our own at first then we had one of our friends, who knew the dance, teach us the moves and at the same time show us formations. Something special we did to perform was mostly performing it in front of our friends to help us perform in front of an audience and the occasional trip to Tapioca Express for a “good job” boba. When the workers asked for our names, we would use our BTS names and wait for them to call them out loud.

Jenna: We practiced for about 3 weeks to a month, usually two days a week for 4-5 hours each. (But it varied!) We spent a long time trying to get expressions down, since they’re vital to the performance. But that comes with every dance! Faces are part of the performance.

Natalie: For about 3 weeks we had multiple practices whenever all seven of us were available. We not only concentrated on getting the choreography down, but with the help our friend who is an experienced dancer, he taught us the importance of having good facials while performing. Especially in this powerful dance I think it’s essential to have a lot of energy. After each practice I felt like we were becoming more and more like the BTS members!

 

Millie: How was the dynamic of the group?

Sam: We are all weird, borderline crazy. I’m surprised we actually got things done.

Maisia: Our group worked well together. We helped each other whenever there was a problem with learning a specific part of the choreography. Everyone was always very enthusiastic!

Karl: We had really good group dynamics with each other since we have performed with each other before. We all performed as the San Diego K-Pop Flash Mob but this was the first time that certain people had to perform together as a group that we were not as familiar with.

Jenna: All of us get along really well. For the most part, we were having so much fun during practice that it almost didn’t seem like a practice.

Natalie: Since we’re all a part of SDKFM, we’re used to the process of learning and practicing dances in a group so we had that advantage. Although this dance is literally the hardest I have ever learned with its precise and quick movements, we all enjoyed practices and had a lot of fun together.

SONY DSC

Millie: What were the advantages and disadvantages of entering in as a group instead of a solo act?

Sam: Advantages is that we have our moral support right there on stage. Disadvantage was that fitting seven people on a stage felt somewhat cramped.

Maisia: One advantage of entering as a group was that we filled up the stage, making it look fuller and better. However, more people means less room on the stage to dance, and that stage was pretty small!

Karl: I feel that some advantages performing as a group would be the visual aspect of an entire group performing in unity would just wow the crowd. Another advantage would be feeling the good vibes from your dance members and having that nervousness disappear because you know they are up on that stage with you. At the same time, that could be a disadvantage if you prefer to dance solo. You can practice by yourself so hard until you reach perfection, but when you have to perform with others who are not as par with knowing the moves or having the conviction in the moves, it could be frustrating.

Jenna: Entering as a 7 member group act meant that we had to work 7 times as hard as the next solo act. Messing up on your own can be played off easily but when synchronization is a key to the performance, there is no room for error. But entering as a group made it seem even more impressive! Our amount of effort clearly shows when we’re on stage performing for the judges. They really take into consideration that we had to practice together.

Natalie: All our members have completely different levels of dance experience so making sure we are all in sync is a challenge. There is always room for improvement, but I think despite that we had a lot of energy and stage presence going up as a group. People really enjoy seeing group covers with all the members so because of that we stood out.

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Millie: How did you feel right before it was your turn to go up on stage? And how did you feel after when SDKFM placed in the Top 3?

Sam: Tired. I had to drive all the way from San Diego to L.A when I had little sleep from all the excitement that was going to happen the next day was mentally and physically draining. When we were chosen as the top three, I was in a shock of disbelief. It took me awhile to realize, but snapped out of it as soon as I saw members of the SDKFM walk up to the stage again.

Maisia: Right before it was our turn to go up on stage, my heart was racing. I felt like my life flashed to the future and I saw myself dancing up on stage. I ran through all of the moves in my head and took a deep breath. I told myself that we would do great, and we did~

Karl: Right before we went on stage, I was very nervous. I’ve performed on stage before in front of numerous people, but regardless of how many times I’ve done that, I still get very nervous and jittery. Although once I went up on stage with my friends, I calmed down and was ready to perform my all. When they were announcing the winners, I got nervous because of the way they announced them. When the first name was called I was thinking “Don’t worry, we still have a chance”. Then when Ryan Hsu was called I jokingly said “AH Ryan!” Of course, we can’t beat him.” Finally when SDKFM was called, I was completely ecstatic. I felt so proud that my friends and I had our hard pay off in the end. What I thought in the end was “Is the shirt the only thing we get?”

Jenna: I thought I was calm and collected, but when I stood on that stage, I could feel my heart racing and my thoughts leaving my mind. I felt as if I was going to forget the entire dance…haha. But being called back up there for top 3 blew my mind. There were so many amazing performers that day that anyone could have been in those top 3.

Natalie: No matter how many times in my life I have performed, I will never get over that indescribable feeling when you’re about to go up on stage. My body turned to jello, but when I got up there and felt the crowd’s enthusiasm I felt motivated to do my best! Since many people weren’t able to enter this contest, I felt appreciative to just perform in front of everyone and was especially grateful to make the Top 3.

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Millie: Were you surprised by the crowd’s reaction? Did you gain any fans?

Sam: I was completely caught off guard by the cheering from the crowd. I want to express my gratitude to the crowd and all of those who supported us. I think there might be some fans, but we aren’t as good as the original BTS.

Maisia: I actually was surprised! It was surprising to know that crowd knew about BTS. I really didn’t expect it since BTS is a new group. But it was nice hearing the crowd screaming and singing along to “We Are Bulletproof”. We did gain fans as well. After we got off stage, many fans came up to us and asked for pictures. To be honest, I was actually quite overwhelmed! I didn’t expect anyone to come up to us to ask for pictures~ I really felt like a K-pop idol! It was a great experience!

Karl: I was very surprised with the crowd’s reaction. When the very beginning of the song started to play, the crowd was already cheering, which pumped me up the most. At the same time I half expected the crowd to have a positive reaction since we all put so much time and effort to make the dance look amazing. I was thinking “They better cheer!” We did gain some fans right after we performed. We took so many pictures and had an interview with MNet America’s “Danny from LA” . I think the person who had the most fans would have to be J-Hope (Sam) since he was the most recognizable. We made jokes saying it was only because of the bandana. If he hadn’t been wearing that bandana, he would be just like us.

Jenna: The cheers were super loud! So many people in the crowd were singing along. It was really invigorating. We also gained a bunch of fans. I don’t think any of us expected to be asked for pictures throughout the day! After all, we were just normal people who did a dance.

Natalie: We practiced for only a couple weeks before KCON and easily put together BTS style outfits so I was really surprised at the amount of fans we gained. They were all really supportive and asked for many pictures with us. My favorite moment was when the whole crowd yelled Rap Monster’s “RAH!” and sang along during our performance. I was just glad to see so many fellow fans, but it was also nice to get SDKFM’s name out!

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Millie: Are the seven of you planning on making more dance covers in the future? If so, which song(s) would you personally pick?

Sam: We are for sure, planning on doing more dance covers. Whether they are individually or as a group, we will continue to do so since we are a part of the San Diego Korean Flash Mob and dancing to K-pop is our passion. Personally, I plan to do Teen Top’s “(Rocking) 장난아냐” and BTS’ intro song Big Hit Entertainment released in concept trailer for their comeback.

Maisia: If the seven of us were to make more dance covers in the future, we would definitely choose to do BTS’s new song “N.O”. The choreography is amazing! Even though it looks a lot harder than “We Are Bulletproof” I believe that we can pull through. We’re bulletproof, right?!

Karl: We’re not too sure if we were to do more covers together in the future but that doesn’t mean we’re not. Going with the BTS theme going, I would want to perform they’re new song “N.O”

Jenna: Of course! We haven’t discussed much, but BTS just released a new song called “N.O” with some really nice choreography. Personally, I’d like to do it! Haha…

Natalie: As of right now we still have to film an official cover of “Bulletproof”, but I’d love to do another cover because they’re always a lot of fun, although time consuming. BTS just released another song so I’ll definitely be learning that. I’ve never done a girl group cover though so I would be interested in doing a popular song like Crayon Pop’s “Bar Bar Bar”. Look forward to our future covers!

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Our other San Diego winner was 18-year-old Ryan Hsu who had a solo performance of Exo’s “Mama” and “History”

Millie: Which dance covers did you perform at KCON13 and at the KCON Got Talent competition? And why did you choose those songs/groups to perform too?

Ryan: At KCON 2013 I performed several dance covers including, One Shot (B.A.P), Warrior (B.A.P.), MAMA (EXO), History (EXO), Wolf (EXO), Growl (EXO), Bulletproof pt. 2 (BTS), No More Dream (BTS), Lucifer (SHINee), Before the Dawn (Infinite), and many more. I chose to perform on the KCON’s Got Talent stage with MAMA and History by EXO because I love the emotions that those songs bring forth while I dance. EXO is one of my favorite groups of all time and it is an honor to be able to perform their dances on stage.

Millie: How long did you practice for this event?

Ryan: I have been practicing for my dance performance at KCON since the moment that KCON 2012 was over. I wish that I could have participated in a group, but many of my friends were busy working on other covers at the time. I tried my best and my efforts pulled through in the end. I worked tirelessly; day and night.

Millie: Why did you choose to perform as a solo act for this competition? What are the advantages and disadvantages of performing as a solo act vs. being in a group?

Ryan: I felt like there was a lot more pressure on me since I didn’t have other members to draw attention away from me. The only advantage is that I didn’t have to worry about being in sync with anyone or cleaning up choreography.

Millie: How did it feel like performing for the second time at K-Con? Was there more pressure or did you feel more comfortable?

Ryan: My first dance experience at KCON was an amazing experience for me. After seeing my performance, I made a promised myself that I would become a better dancer/performer. By the time that I had performed on stage at KCON 2013, I had become more comfortable with dancing in for larger crowds. Despite my experience, I was still extremely nervous.

Millie: How did you feel right before you went up on stage? And how did you feel after you found out you placed in the Top 3?

Ryan: Despite my experience, I was still extremely nervous. I felt very discouraged after seeing how talented the competition was. I was surprised at myself when I made it into the top 3. I was definitely not expecting it. I was also very surprised at the amount of support that I had from the exotics at KCON.

Millie: How were the fans this year?

Ryan: I love meeting fans and talking to them. K-Pop fans are always such amazing people and I wish I could be best friends with every single one of them. Personally, I don’t see them as fans. I see them as more than the average fan or admirer.

Millie: What dance covers do you plan on doing in the future?

Ryan: I have been working as hard as I can on dance so that I won’t disappoint my viewers. I love all of EXO’s choreography. I am going to try and learn all of their dances. I am also working on dance covers for BTS, B.A.P., SHINee, and Teen Top.

 ***Picture Credit goes to SDKFM member Catherine Joyce Spence***

All Things Korean for International Fans – Top 25 Korean Drama Cliches

Top 25 Korean Drama Clichés

Korean Dramas have reached the point of international fame; with viewers of different ages and ethnicities around the world tuning in to watch a new (subbed) episode of their favorite drama. Of course over time, stereotypes, patterns and clichés have emerged into the plots – and no matter how ridiculous or overused some of them get, fans still continue to adore them because they are, in an essence, what makes Korean Dramas.

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1. The Confession Kiss Scene:

When the two main characters finally confess to one another, that scene will usually contain a kiss. But that kiss won’t be romantic. No, their lips will barely be touching; the camera will circle in a 360-degree-slow-motion that lasts a good minute or two, with the girl’s eyes wide open in shock (because of course the guy initiated the kiss in the first place). Nothing says “I love you” better than a barely there kiss.

2. Love Triangle:

There will always be some kind of love triangle (or love square), where the girl is torn between two guys who reveal they are romantically interested in her. Occasionally it will be the guy caught between two girls; one who is the girl he has always been in love with that never paid attention to him until now, versus the main girl who he finally starts to like. But none the less, there will always be someone else to complicate the romance.

3. Poor Girl vs. Rich Guy:

The main girl will be a poor character, who lives in a rundown neighborhood in a tiny apartment. She will have several jobs because she is in debt or struggling to pay rent, but is very optimistic and usually very likable. The main guy will be rich in a huge, luxury apartment with an unbelievable view of the city. He has a high position job but he barely works and gets away with it because his family owns the company. He tends to be very arrogant, lazy and conceited.

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4. Grabbing the Wrist:

When the two main characters are fighting, the girl will try to leave and the guy will grab her wrist to try and stop her. Sometimes it works and he is able to pull her back into an embrace of some sort, but other times she will forcefully pull her hand away and walk off without looking back. Another example situation is when the girl is on a date with another guy; the main character will coolly walk in, tell the other guy the girl is taken and grab her wrist, dragging her out of the restaurant or cafe.

5. Good Guys Always Finish Last:

It doesn’t matter that the secondary guy is always there for the girl; that he is there to save her from trouble, lend her money, keep her entertained or be there for her when she is feeling down. It doesn’t matter that he is richer, smarter or nicer than the main guy because the main girl will always choose the “jerk” or “bad guy”.

6. Accidental First Kiss:

The Confession Kiss is usually not the first time the two main characters kiss. More often than not, the two will have some kind of situation in where they accidentally kiss. Either one of them trips on the other and their lips meet when they fall to the floor, or one will kiss the other to make someone else jealous or keep up a “cover story” that they were indeed dating someone.

7. The Evil Mother:

This is usually the main guy’s mother, since he is the one who is significantly richer than the girl. She will be uptight and snobby, not accepting the fact that her precious son is dating or wants to be married to someone that low in society. She will try to bribe the girl to leave her son with money or cause trouble for the girl to get her to disappear.

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8. Hospital Visit:

There will be some trip to the hospital but 90% of the time it’s because a main character fainted from shock or stress, and not because of an actually medical illness. If it is something serious then it will be something deadly like cancer or a fatal heart disease. But they don’t call an ambulance whenever said person gets sick, no usually the guy will carry the girl in his arms, running several blocks, yelling for her to wake up instead of taking a cab.

9. The Main Leads Getting Drunk:

At some point the main girl will get drunk, because she is stressed out about her job or a personal matter. The guy will come to pick her up and she will make random statements and drunken motions which will result in her passing out and the guy having to carry her or drive her home. Occasionally the roles will be reversed and the girl has to take the guy home, and more often than not, the one intoxicated will say some cryptic statement that means they like the other main character. But they are of course only admitting this because they are drunk.

10. Brand New Cellphones:

It doesn’t matter if you are dirt poor- you will have a brand new, latest edition smartphone that just so happens to be the same one as the other main character. Usually dramas will promote a certain cell phone model, so every character in the drama will have the same type of phone whether it fits their character or not.

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11. Mandatory Piggyback Ride:

The guy will usually give the girl a piggyback ride at some point in the drama. Either when the girl is drunk and unable to walk home or when the couple is together and he willingly does this sweet action for her. The guy will make some joke about the girl being “too heavy” (but of course this is never the actual case because the main female character will be unbelievably skinny).

12. The Tragic Car Accident:

Apparently no one in Korea can drive well because there are always one or more tragic car accidents per drama. A) Either one of the main character’s parent (or parents) died in a car accident when they were little. B) They get in a car accident themselves and lost their memory or C) someone close to them like a best friend or a first love was in a car accident and died.

13. Random U-turns:

Driving rules seem to not apply to the main guy because there will be at least one scene where the guy makes a random U-Turn (but of course coincidentally there will be no other cars around the area for him to hit). They make this type of spontaneous action because they A) receive some urgent call from a family member or loved one or B) realize they have to go back to say something to the main girl before it is too late.

14. The Estranged Parent:

One or more character will have bad relations with their parents. Either they abandoned them when they were young, or they disapproved of their career/life choices and cut them off financially (and emotionally). Most of the time this is occurs between the main guy character and his father, because the son does not want to take over the family business.

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15. Airport Scene:

A character decides to move to another country but before they leave, their loved one will go chasing after them, telling them not to leave. This usually lasts for about five minutes of one character running at lightning speed through the airport while the other one causally strolls with their heavy suitcases to their terminal. They either miss each other by a second or the person arrives right on time, finally having caught up with the walking person.

16. “Engrish” (Bad English):

If a character studied abroad then they went to America (or more specifically New York). The character will have “great” English abilities making them highly desirable in the work place and automatically makes them that much more attractive to any Korean person. However, when they express these tremendous English skills with a line or two, native speakers will cringe at the accent and wonder how the scriptwriters could get away with adding a foreign line for an actor/actress who doesn’t know said foreign language.

17. The Nicknames:

The main characters will always have nicknames for one another. If they are made by secondary characters then they are usually endearing and sweet. But if they are nicknames made by the main guy and girl (for each other) then they are “mean”, teasing nicknames towards each other.

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18. Cross-dressing Females:

Whenever there is cross-dressing in dramas, it is usually done by the female leads. With a simple short haircut they become a convincing pretty boy (well…some of them…), and use this disguise to obtain a job opportunity they wouldn’t have had if they applied as a female. They spend a majority of their time trying to keep their identity a secret from their co-workers and boss, one of which is always the main male love interest, and by default there are several comedic moments when they were almost discovered.

19. The “Almost” Meet-Up:

Either from the very beginning, there will be a scene where the two characters are in a common location (before they have even met) and they barely miss each other, someone turning one way at the incorrect time. This also happens when one character is trying to find someone else in the drama. They will look everywhere but from their certain angle they can’t see the person they are looking for but the viewers can. Or when a character ends up eavesdropping on a conversation and hears something they weren’t supposed to hear.

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20. Shower Scene:

There is always that one scene where the main guy is pondering over something important. But of course what better place to think about life choices than in the shower! Foggy shots of the handsome actor with a set of six-packs, with water dripping down his body and he is running his hands through his hair like a model. This trend in Korean dramas is pretty new, but none the less extremely liked by the female audience.

21. Taking out the Cellphone Battery:

It’s not enough to simply turn off your phone, oh no, Koreans find it necessary to take out the cellphone battery whenever they are avoiding someone’s call. Instead of putting their phone on silent or ignoring the calls, they tend to throw their phones to the opposite end of the room, physically separating the battery and cell phone so there is no chance to receive a call.

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22. Phobias:

The men in Korean Dramas tend to have certain phobias; weakness to show their “tender” side that they hide behind their arrogant, pretty, rich faces. Whether it is rational or not, the rich male lead will either have a phobia towards heights, germs, crowds, in-closed areas, transportation vehicles (cars) or large bodies of water (pools). The main female will usually help her love interest overcome this fear.

23. Norebang:

Koreans (and most Asians) love their Karaoke. In Korean, the name for Karaoke is “norebang”. Norebang is a must to bring co-workers closer together – for how can you not bond after singing, dancing and drinking into the early mornings? In dramas, this is an opportunity for the comic side characters to bring laughter to the audience with their off-pitch singing and girl group dancing. Also, this is a chance for the male lead to show off his amazing singing abilities and serenade the main girl (though not directly) with a sweet, slow, love song.

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24. Saunas:

Koreans have their own type of saunas called “Jjimjilbang”. These bathhouses have hot tubs, showers, ice rooms, massage rooms, exercise rooms, saunas (of course) and many other forms of relaxation for the tired business man or overly active family. In dramas, there is usually a visit to a type of Jjimjibang combined with the orange, blue and pink famous matching clothing, the ‘Princess Lea’ towel buns, and the boiled eggs these scenes always release the tension of the drama and bring a comedic moment.

25. Couple Items:

Who wouldn’t want to be in love in Korea? When there is literally couple items for anything you can think of. It’s not just matching T-shirts, but full length outfits from head to toe and any other accessory (cellphone charms being the most popular). In the sweet moments of dramas, when the main leads are enjoying the calm before the storm, producers like to include fluffy scenes of the couple getting matching items to show the world their cheesy love.

 

All Things Korean for International Fans: Bekah’s Panel at K-Con 2013

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Bekah, the former After School member, was one of the many guest panelists for the weekend K-Pop Convention in L.A, K-Con 2013.

On August 24th, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., she attended an interview (moderated by her close friend Ae-young), answered fan questions and signed autographs for the huge crowd that came to see her. I was lucky enough to be able to attend this panel, and with my press access, be closer to the stage. For those who weren’t able to attend, I’m here to re-tell Bekah’s experience as a K-pop Idol.

How Did You Become a K-pop Star?

Bekah told the audience the story of how she got scouted. She was playing at a Volleyball game, when afterwards an “unnie” came and asked her if she wanted to audition. Bekah was very excited for this opportunity; however, when she was told she would have to sing and dance at the audition, Bekah almost decided not to do it. She said she was confident in her dancing (since she was taking lessons and practicing at the time) but not singing. In the end, she did decide to go and audition, and sang a Christian song she knew from her childhood. “Most people don’t realize this since I was a rapper for After School, but I love to sing, a lot!”

Bekah passed and got accepted to be a trainee. However, she didn’t start her training until a couple years later. “I didn’t want to go to Korea until I finished high school; that’s where all your memories are at. I didn’t want to miss that kind of experience”. When she did begin her training in Seoul, Bekah was only a trainee for six months before she debuted with the K-pop girl group, After School, in January 2009.

 The Good and the Bad of being a K-pop Idol:

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When asked to share her experience of being an idol, Bekah quickly said that it was a lot of hard work. They would have long practices, sometimes going as often as nine hours straight with little breaks. She herself didn’t mind the practices, because she enjoyed dancing and singing so much. She often got advice from her close friend, and fellow After School graduate, Kahi on how to handle the intense practices, “We work this hard, and this long for those five minutes on stage. Those five minutes on stage are what makes all of this worth it”.

Bekah’s least favorite part of being an idol was the lack of sleep. “Often we would get last minute events that were only a day or two away. So after our schedules, let’s say a schedule ended at 10 p.m., we would go straight to the practice room and rehearse until 5 or 6 in the morning. Sleep for an hour or two, and then wake up to go to the following day’s schedule. One time I got as little as 30 minutes of sleep. Enjoy your sleep while you can!”

Her favorite part of being an idol was the fans. “You guys are what make it worth it!” Moderator Ae-young asked if fans ever got too personal, and invaded her privacy. Bekah answered that luckily she has had very kind and polite fans over the years. If they ever see her in a restaurant, they would wait until after she was done eating to go up and ask to take pictures or sign something. She says that she treasures all the gifts she receives from fans, keeping them in boxes so they stay safe.

 Korea vs. America

Bekah expressed her move to Korea as a “culture shock”. Despite being full Korean, Bekah was born in Hawaii and was raised very much “American”. She claimed she never had the typical Asian parents who wanted her to be a doctor, but that they were (and still are) very supportive of her Artistic passions. Going to Korea however, helped Bekah become fluent in Korean and she got to know more about her own culture. She claimed that what she was going to miss most about Korea was the food; not only was it good but it was also cheap, and she loved the delivery service they had in Korea.

Dating and Friendship in the K-pop world:

Bekah (1)Fans were very curious if Bekah was close to any other K-pop idols during her time in After School. Bekah admitted that in the beginning she didn’t have any friends other than her members, and that it took her awhile before she got close to other idols. She stated her first friend (and who she is still close to even to this day) was Shinee’s Key. “We still text, but since he is so busy it often takes several days before I get a response”. Over the years she also became close to f(x)’s Amber, SNSD’s Sooyoung, and U-Kiss’s Kevin. When it comes to the After School members, Bekah stated that she was extremely close with Kahi and still keeps in close contact with her and some of the other members.

Fans were also curious, and very persistent, on trying to find out if Bekah dated any idol, and if she knew of any other K-pop idols that were dating during her time as an After School member. About herself, Bekah stated that she never dated another idol, “I was too busy practicing and working to date”. On the topic of other idols dating, she politely responded “All I have to say are that idols are humans too; if idols were dating each other then they really kept it secret because I never knew much about that stuff, but no, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. As I said, idols are humans too”.

She was asked then which idol she would personally date. Bekah took a moment to think before declaring U-Kiss’s Kevin. Fans quickly started shouting “Woo-young [2pm]”, surprising Bekah. When she asked fans why him, they reminded her of the 2pm episode of “Idol Army” when After School came in as guests. In that episode, Bekah chose Woo-young and the two became partners for that episode’s couple games. Bekah laughed and was surprised that fans remembered that. “Well Woo-young…yeah I could date him; he is very handsome and a good dancer”.

 Graduating After School, What Next?

After School is a K-pop girl group that has the “graduating” system; in which “senior” members rotate out, and new members comes into the rotation naturally. Bekah was the first girl to officially “graduate” from After School on July 1, 2011 and has been living back in her home town in Honolulu, Hawaii with her family. There she started her own online store, “I Crave You”, on October 26th, 2012, where she sells her handmade jewelry (a portion of the profits get donated to charity).

A fan asked Bekah the question that had been on most people’s minds, “Did you regret leaving After School?” Bekah was very quick and confident to answer “No, not at all. I thought about it for a long time, and I made sure to leave with no regrets. I was at a crossroad; at that time After School was getting ready to debut in Japan. And I thought to myself, if I don’t leave now then I’ll never be able to leave. I thought it was a good time when I left, and it also was a good time for the other girls to start over in Japan”.

But Bekah reassured her fans that leaving After School wasn’t the end of her singing career. Bekah is planning on a making an American debut! So far she cannot confirm any details of when she will be making her debut, but she hopes her fans will be patient and wait for her.

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 Next there was a transition to the Question Portion of the panel, where the audience could ask Bekah any questions about her life as a K-pop star, and any other miscellaneous inquires. Many of the questions became requests to see female idol sing or rap her part in an After School song, dance, perform “aegyo”, and even twerk! Bekah promised that she would sing, rap and dance properly when she came back to meet her fans in L.A. However, fans were able to coax out a small rap from Bekah and she even stood and performed the first thirty seconds of “Bang” (which she also stated was her favorite After School title track).

Bekah stayed another full hour for the autograph session before she left for the day. However, on Day 2 of K-Con she reappeared to film for “Danny from LA” live first episode of the second season, along with other panelist guests (including Super Junior M’s Henry!).

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You can relive the magic this week when M COUNTDOWN What’s up LA is televised in the U.S. by Mnet America on air and online at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT on Thursday, August 29.  

Sunday Drama Review – I Hear Your Voice

(너의 목소리가 들려) I Hear Your Voice

The mouth can lie, but the mind can’t.

Summary:

Park Soo-ha is a high school boy who has the unusual ability to read people’s thoughts by looking into their eyes. He develops this ability after getting into a car accident with his father at ten years old, the same accident where he witnesses his father’s brutal murder. His father’s death is originally thought to be caused by the accident until a young girl, Jang Hye-sung, comes forth as the scene’s only credible witness. She points out the killer, who then retaliates by threatening Hye-sung with a promise that he will kill again once freed from prison. Feeling gratitude and indebted to the girl, young Soo-ha vows to protect her from all danger. Eventually the two are separated, leading Soo-ha to spending his life in search of her in hopes of continuing his promise.

Characters:

Main character Park Soo-ha is played by Lee Jong-suk. Because of his traumatic past and his secret skill, the quiet Soo-ha remains distant from his peers to keep from drawing too much attention. Past experiences have shown him that people only treat him like a monster if they find out about his strange gift. Filled with an immense sense of loyalty, Soo-ha spends ten years looking for the “noona” who saved his life and brought justice to his father.

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Lee Bo-young plays Jang Hye-sung, the “heroine” of Soo-ha’s dream. She has a not-so-pleasant personality – stubborn and prideful with a prickly attitude making it difficult for her to interact with others. She was wrongfully expelled from high school, and lived a life of poverty with her single mother. As a result of the hardship, she studied diligently, eventually becoming a lawyer so that she would never have to worry about money again. Even though she is good at what she does, Hye-sung lacks passion and motivation, opting to become a public defense attorney only to gain the benefits of a government job.

I Hear Your Voice (4)Cha Gwan-woo, played by Yoon Seung-hyun, is a policemen-turned-lawyer with office practices completely opposite of Jang Hye-sung. He shows 100% dedicated to his job, trusting his clients to a fault. Friendly and polite with everyone he meets, Lawyer Cha shows the humane side of the justice system. He tries his hardest to get Hye-sung to go on the path of honesty, not just money and glory. Seo Do-yeon, played by Lee Da-hee, is the long-time enemy of Hye-sung. The two girls were once classmates until Do-yeon and her friends caused Hye-sung’s expulsion. I Hear Your Voice (6)Since Do-yeon also turned toward a career of law, the two often meet at the courtroom, battling out their own personal vendettas against each other as a prosecutor and public defense lawyer. And because she is a prosecutor, she is often skeptical towards others and their ability to tell the truth. She is very cold, ridged, and professional, resisting emotional attachment to cases with unusual circumstances.

Min Jong-gook, played by Jung Woong-in, is the antagonist of the drama, the obvious villain since he was the one who killed Soo-ha’s father. He was a simple food cart owner until boiled up anger from his wife’s unjustified death caused him to lash out at Soo-ha’s father, sequentially beginning the dramatic turn of events for Soo-ha and Hye-sung. Their futures changed the night of the accident, causing all three of their fates to become intertwined in a deranged battle of revenge. Min Jong-gook is smart and calculating; with an acting ability that convinces everyone of his innocence.

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 Themes:

Honesty:

“If you are confused whether to tell or not – telling the truth is the right answer. That’s the right thing to do.” – Lawyer Shin

“Because of 1% lie, the other 99% can become a lie.” – Jang Hye-sung

Lies and honesty are huge factors in this drama. As a lawyer, Hye-sung’s job is to determine if someone is lying or not and to defend them. And with his ability to read minds, Soo-ha becomes continuously exposed to the truth. Throughout the drama, the two are constantly thrown into situations where lies are told to cover up a painful truth. The story proves that despite how painful they can be, even the most difficult truth is always better than the exposed lie.

Revenge:

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If we live that way, all the people in this world would become handicapped.” – Eo Choon-shim

Revenge is one of the strongest motives for wrongful action. Some kill for love or jealousy, but revenge comes from anger. Yet it may also come from a morally honorable seed – for example, the need to avenge someone you love that was hurt, deceived, or scorned. People who act in revenge seldom do so for themselves, but for someone close to them. Nonetheless, such strong sentiments toward justice can develop and form from a dark place – a place of anger and hate that takes over “pure” intention and transforms it into malice. It changes the person, making their moral compass switch routes and leading them on a path of self-destruction. Both Jong-gook and Soo-ha have reasons for revenge, as their love ones were taken from them unfairly.

 Symbols:

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Rotating Door: When stressed, Hye-sung has a habit of heading to rotating doors outside either her office or courtroom. She is often cornered with making hard decisions, ones that don’t necessarily affect her as much as the clients who would spend their lives in jail if she didn’t win their case. Overwhelmed by the pressure, she is often soothed by pushing through the rotating door over and over again, spinning in circles and causing everyone to look over at her strangely. The physical dizzying motion appropriately mirrors the dizzying thoughts going through her mind at the time. Somehow the two seem to cancel out, allowing her to focus and gather the thoughts needed to make a confident decision.

Spoilers (Do not read if you don’t want this drama spoiled for you. You have been warned!)

Things I Liked:

  • I Hear Your Voice (10)Lee Jong-suk’s acting: The acting in this drama is excellent! I can’t even find a weak link. I have, however, found my personal strongest link – Lee Jong-suk as our mind-reading Park Soo-ha. Every emotion is graphically strong. Whenever he is happy, you can see it radiate from his eyes, his smile widening so much that you can’t help but mimic the sentiment. The same occurs when he is mad, bored, tired and so forth. You can clearly feel what he is feeling. His top moments are times he freaks out whenever he fears Hye-sung is in danger.
  • Unusual Secondary Character Roles: Lawyer Cha and Prosecutor Seo are, in a sense, the typical secondary characters – the all-around ‘nice guy’ who never gets the girl and the mean rival. However, their characters soon expand from their roles, developing a lot further individually. Lawyer Cha is introduced as a naïve person, too trusting of his clients. By the end, he learns the hard way that people can lie, and they do not always have a justified reason for their illegal actions. It hardens his soul, such a discovery seemingly turning his optimism into skepticism. But because he carries such strong morals, he does the correct thing and learns from this harsh life lesson. Prosecutor Seo sticks by the rules of the law, but then eventually learns that the rules might not always be correct. There are exceptions in everyday life, and the ‘human error’ of the justice system should be taken into account.
  • Multi-genre: I tend to get fearful when I see dramas lined up with multiple genres. It is a hard task to balance them all or resist becoming stereotypical. This drama, however, does an excellent job! From the tension/suspension of Min Joon-Gook’s dangerous existence to the crime/drama element of the character’s profession, to the comedy of Hye-sung’s working environment to the tear-jerking moments of characters’ deaths, topped off with the fantasy addition of Park Soo-ha’s mind-reading, this drama is such an excitement to watch and allows itself to be viewed by a wide-ranging audience.
  • The Characters’ Backgrounds (Episode 1): Episode 1 is quite an emotional start, yet instantly draws the audience in and pipes their curiosity. It does a beautiful job of laying in the foundation, giving the back story to the main characters. It explains how they become the person they are in the present time, allowing for the drama to continue forward in their development instead of having the storyline be caught up in their past.
  • I Hear Your Voice (8)Eo Choon-shim (Hye-sung’s mother): Kim Hae-sook’s character Eo Choon-shim is easily one of my favorite ‘mothers’ in a drama series. Every time a scene comes on with Choon-shim, she commands attention with her strong personality. She is a character to be easily fond of, which makes her eventual death such a heartbreaking and sentimental moment.

Things I didn’t like:

  • Go Sung-bin and Kim Choong-gi: Now let me clear something up – I loved this pairing. Go Sung-bin, played by Kim Ga-eun, was such a strong character, and I’m glad she wasn’t written off after her major portion in the first few episodes. Kim Choong-gi, played by Park Doo-shik, was never really on my radar until halfway through the drama when I really looked at the ‘Tom and Jerry’ dynamic between him and his classmate (and crush). He behaves like a five-year-old, pulling at her figurative pigtails and teasing her like boys do toward the girl they like. She is completely oblivious to his feelings towards her because he is always picking on her and calling her names. (Note to all guys: Calling a girl ugly almost every day does not really get you on their good side.) The only issue I have with the couple is that they don’t really have a strong ending. Yes, it is inferred that eventually Choong-gi builds up the courage to confess, but it still ends the same way it began – with them acting like five-year-olds. I kind of wanted that happy typical Korean drama ending for them. Am I the only one?I Hear Your Voice (9)
  • Hye-sung’s innocence is never proven: Hye-sung was unfairly kicked out of school because she was accused of harming Do-yeon in a firework incident when they were in high school together. Even though Hye-sung receives an apology at the very end from Do-yeon, she is never really found innocent. Do-yeon’s apology is mostly centered on lying about having seen Hye-sung shoot the firework into her eye, but not about ruining her life. No, it’s not possible for them to go back in time and fix Hye-sung’s past, but at least a proper apology from Do-yeon’s parents would have sufficed for me.
  • Min Jong-gook’s Murder Sentence: Initially, Min Jong-gook is found guilty for killing Soo-ha’s father. That’s why he goes to jail, and this whole crazy adventure begins. But what has been bugging me since the beginning is why did Min Jong-gook only receive 10 years? For first-degree murder (because it was premeditated and executed in such a brutal way) and a count of first-degree attempted murder (towards Soo-ha), Min Jong-gook should have been put away in jail for at least 20-25 years and would have been issued on parole if he was released. Does this sentence make sense with the Korean judicial system, or have I been watching too much ‘Law & Order’ lately?

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Author’s Final Remarks: 9.9/10

‘I Hear Your Voice’ is one of the best dramas I have seen in a long time. It had me at the edge of my seat and sent me on a whirlwind of emotions. The storyline, the acting, and the balanced pace is executed perfectly. Soo-ha also became my favorite role with Lee Jong-suk, boosting him up even higher on my favorite actors list (making my only sadness be that Kim Woo-bin doesn’t make a surprise appearance). I highly recommend this drama to everyone, and I hope that more screenwriters take note of its success and produce high-quality works such as this one.

Millie’s Top Ten July K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten July K-pop Music Videos 

July gave an overload of Summer K-pop Music that made it hard to keep up. But among the pack of flashy videos, there were a lot of unique videos that caught my eye at first glance. With rookie, and veteran girl groups dominating my music charts.

10. Kim Hyun Joong – Your Story

Kim Hyun Joong- Your Story

Back with a new wardrobe that specializes on no shirts (but we are not complaining) is Kim Hyun Joong. This time around he came back with two songs; “Unbreakable” and “Your Story”. Both music videos give off a manly and dramatic feel, as well share in common the amount of time he shows off his six-pack (which is a good half of each video). But despite the eye candy that is Kim Hyun Joong, he came back with two interesting title tracks, “Your Story” being my favorite of the two. The Music Video screamed 90’s Romance Novel cliche; with the waves/beach fading footage and the rotating camera as Kim Hyun Joong stands on the sand serenading the…air? But even though the song was slower, I enjoyed listening to it a lot. Does it stand well on its own? No, Kim Hyun Joong being shirtless and sexy helped a bit. But is it still nice and worth listening to? Yes.

9. AOA (Black) – Moya

AOA-Moya

Ace of Angels Band unit, AOA Black came back with their first original song “Moya”. The group had previously preformed the band versions to AOA’s two title tracks “Elvis” and “Get Out”, but this was the first time the group appeared by itself. “Moya” has to be my favorite of the AOA songs; it’s memorable, extremely likable, and just the sound of an all-female K-pop band is unique in the K-pop music industry. In the Music Video, the girls are getting ready to go out and have a good time, while singing about how frustrated they are with their boyfriend who is no longer giving them attention. He always claims to be busy, and never wants to talk, so the girl feels like is getting ready to break up and tells him to hurry up and do it, to stop breaking her heart. The Music Video has a funny twist at the end, and overall does a good job of expressing the girl’s emotions.

8. 2NE1 – Falling in Love

2NE1-Falling in Love

2NE1 made their long awaited comeback with “Falling in Love” – a summer reggae track that is quite different from 2NE1’s regular fast-paced, loud sounding dance music. They slowed it down for the fans with sensual dance moves and beautiful tropical scenery backgrounds, but still brought their confidence and unique fashion tastes in all of their outfits. The girls expressed the sentiments of summer love; falling in love at first sight and the strange way it makes the heart race. Added also with a fierce determination to win over the boy and make him feel the same way. Even though this song brought out a new color for 2NE1, I enjoyed it a lot and was excited to see this new side. It’s not my favorite song, but I applaud the girls for being able to try something, and pull of a concept like reggae so well.

7. Junsu – Incredible

Junsu-Incredible

Junsu released his second full length album with the title track “Incredible”. Incredible is right, as this dance track is loud, fun and extremely colorful – a complete 180 degree change from the darker single “Tarantallegra” that he released last year. The song itself is alright, but what sold me was the party-like music video. Usually these kinds of videos already exist (and are in fact quite boring with just attractive people jumping around, dancing and drinking) but Junsu brings an international cast of dancers for this video, making this music video expand on a global scale. The only down part was the rapping of Quincy, the featured artist in the song. His part really didn’t do anything special to the song so it might have been better to do without. The dance is highlight of the entire performance for me, and makes me wish I could learn these for the next time I go to a pool party.

6.  Stellar – Study

Stellar - Study

After a member change, 2011 rookie girl group Stellar came back with their second song “Study” – a cute song of advice for a boy that is trying to win the girl’s heart. She tells him to “study” her, so that he knows what to do to gain her attention, and she confesses that she is starting to cave into his affections. This sweet and adorable music video is filmed inside, as all of the girl are in different parts of the house, trying to do their work but are too distracted by the thoughts of their admirer. Surrounding them are crumpled pieces of paper that symbolize their frustration and their inability to focus on their current situation. Stellar has finally caught my attention, but can they keep it?

5. A-Pink – No, No, No

A-Pink-No No No

After a year, the girls of A-Pink have returned with their cute title track “No, No, No” off their third mini-album “Secret Garden”. This was the first time the girls performed after the departure of one of their members, Yookyung, but the girls came back strong, continuing with their “innocent” images that made them so popular. “No, No, No” is an encouraging song to the boy they love; they tell him no, no, no, don’t be sad and to lean on them – they will be his strength and his light. While the music video was bright and colorful to match the encouraging lyrics, it seemed as though the plot of the video was too ordinary and they could have been more creative with the story-line. None the less, this is a very catchy song with an adorable dance that matches the girls perfectly.

4. EXO – Growl

EXO-Growl

EXO came back shortly with their follow-up track “Growl” for their repackage album “XOXO”, a tamer song and video from the beastly “Wolf”. Reflecting their original teaser photos (and the drama version of “Wolf”), all 12 members were dressed in grey school uniforms and danced in a parking garage like empty room. The music video was centered towards the dance; as the camera solely focused on the choreography and the video did not switch back and forth to shots of these pretty boy’s faces (nor were there any weird outfits/accessories, flashing lights, or sound effects to distract from the amazing dancing). “Wolf” only grew on me after a while, but “Growl” was an instant hit for my ears. More simplistic – sometimes music industries need to take a step back and come out with great songs that can stand on their own.

3. Ailee – U&I

Ailee-U&I

The Jersey girl is back! Ailee made another powerful return with “U&I” the title track off her second mini-album “A’s Doll House”. This song hit the “All-Kill” status within the first day, and I could tell why. This song is uplifting, with a funky tune and highlights Ailee strong personality and voice. Her outfits and sets are very “shiny”; objects decorated fully with rhinestones and bright lights everywhere for a stage performance theme. “U&I” is about a girl who is tired of her relationship; it makes her unhappy, stressed, and situation never seems to change between the two. She wants to end it now, and leave the mess behind.

2. Infinite – Destiny

Infinite-Destiny

Infinite members made a speedy return with “Destiny”, a music video filmed in a unique background – California’s very own Universal Studios. Infinite became the first Korean artists to be granted permission to film their music video in same place as the settings for some of Hollywood’s most iconic films. They made great use of this location as the music video switched between different scenic locations and added CGI effects to give the member’s “powers”. One word to sum up this comeback is dramatic; a dramatic background, with a dramatic song and complicated dance to match Infinite’s high reputation of choreography. The lyrics are about a man who regrets his decision to break-up with his girlfriend and now that she wants to leave him for good, he is pleading with her to stay.

1. Brown Eyed Girls (BEG) – Kill Bill

BEG-Kill Bill

The queens of the sexy concept have returned to promote as a group, after a year and half, with “Kill Bill” a song from their fifth studio album “Black Box”. This song continues to brand the confident, seducing reputation their previous songs (Abracadabra/Sixth Sense) have formed. “Kill Bill” carries a memorable tune; quite upbeat compared to the dark, somber tone the music video starts off with. In the Music Video, the girls are different killers who while all four try to kill each other, only end up wounding each other. Four years later, the girls are at it again. Holding onto their signature fatal weapons the girls try to finish each other off only to be faced with the same fate as before, showing that history has the habit of repeating itself. The lyrics are about getting revenge on someone they loved who betrayed them, and how satisfying it is to watch them break down. Not only was the music video filmed beautifully with the scenery, action shots and costumes, but the dance creatively provocative and the music video touched down on a deeper message of the song – sometimes getting revenge is not the answer.

~Millie

Sunday Drama Review – Coffee Prince

(커피프린스 1호점) The First Shop of Coffee Prince

One sip is all it will take to become addicted to this drama

Coffee Prince (1) Summary: The First Shop of Coffee Prince (or better known shortly as “Coffee Prince”) tells the story of Go Eun-chan, a 24-year-old tomboy who is the “head” of her household and has many odd jobs to support her mother and younger sister. When a string of bad luck causes her family to go into more debt, she seeks employment at “Coffee Prince”; a brand new coffee shop opened up by Choi Han-gyul, the only grandson of the CEO of a Coffee Company. Coffee Prince however, only hires beautiful “prince” like guys, so Go Eun-chan disguises herself as a boy and lands herself the job. Among the many adventures with the other coffee “princes” – playboy Ha Rim, mysterious Sun Ki and loveable Min-yeop – Go Eun-chan finds herself starting to fall in love with boss, Choi Han-gyul…except he thinks she is a guy.

Characters:

Coffee Prince (4)Go Eun-chan (played by Yoon Eun-hye) is the lovely protagonist of this drama. She has always been mistaken as boy since she keeps her hair very short, so she has no problem pretending to be a guy at “Coffee Prince”. Since she was young she had to take care of her family, so she is very mature and logical and tries to keep an optimistic personality even when times get rough. She is a very lovable character, making her almost impossible for people to hate.

Choi Han-gyul (played by Gong-yoo) is the thirty year old, only child from a wealthy family. Coffee Prince (5)He was sent to study abroad and learn about responsibility but he comes back, still as unprepared for the world as when he left, and very determined to stay as a carefree bachelor. His tough grandmother decides to fix this problem by setting him up with his first ever job – managing the First Shop of Coffee Prince. If he is able to triple the sales then he will have proved to his family that he is mature enough.

Coffee Prince (8)Choi Han-seong (played by Lee Sun-kyun) is the older cousin of Han-gyul and an established music producer. He already knew Go Eun-chan before she started her job as a Coffee Prince waiter, so he helps her keep her secret from his cousin so that she can continue working there. Coffee Prince (7)Han Yoo-joo (played by Chae Jung-an) had been dating Han-seong for nine years when they broke up and she moved to New York to pursue her work as an artist. Now she is back in Korea and wishes to rekindle her romance with her first love. This of course brings discomfort to Han-gyul as he has always been in love with Yoo-joo but gave her up so that she could be with her cousin – now he is torn on whether or not to steal this second chance from his cousin.

Jin Ha Rim (played by Kim Dong-wook) is Han-gyul’s younger best friend, who enjoys all the attention he gets for being a cute waiter at Coffee Prince. He is a playboy by nature but very funny, with his occasional sweet moments. Noh Sun-ki (played by Kim Jae-wook) is the Japanese waffle chef at Coffee Prince. His handsome looks gather a lot of female fans, but he chooses to ignore them and keep his mysterious personality – not even the other employees know why he is in Korea, or why he is always so serious. Hwang Min-yeop (played by Lee Eon) is the youngest of the group; and even though he is big in size he has the heart of a teddy bear. He might not be the brightest, but he is extremely loyal to his friends. He is also the faithful boyfriend of Go Eun-sae (played by Han Yeh-in), the younger bratty sister of Go Eun-chan.

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Themes:

Homosexuality:

“Grab onto him. He liked you even when he thought you were a guy. Who knows, maybe he won’t go.” – Sun-ki.

The most obvious problem in the drama is that Go Eun-chan is pretending to be a boy, which of course leads to a complicated mess of tangled feelings for Han-gyul. He feels himself drawn to Eun-chan but the fact that she is a “boy” confuses him since he is 100% that he is straight and loves women. Yet, this is first time he feels any sort of emotion towards a male and this leads to his own inner conflict (which was beautiful portrayed if I may say so) of deciding whether to act upon his feelings and get rejected by society. With homosexuality being such a taboo topic in Korea, it was wonderful to see an attempt at confronting the issue, even though the situation wasn’t actually a case of being homosexual.

Sexuality:

“I want to live with you. For the rest of my life, I want to eat together, talk together, sleep together, be together. Do I need any other reason?” – Han-gyul.

With most Korean Dramas, it seems the norm for romantic couples is to stop at kissing and forget about the “other” stuff. But this drama forges ahead and ignores the trend of hiding the human instinct of sexual desire, and makes an accurate, realistic representation of how couples actually are. It doesn’t go raunchy, nor does it try and cover up what it is; it simply shows sex as the loving act it is.

Feminism:

“The moment a man makes a woman his, the man wants that woman to live according to his wishes. But just because he’s won her over, can he force her to do as he wants?” – Han-seong.

This was a more subtle theme, which appeared at the very beginning and then disappeared until the end when the strong female protagonist brought it back. Because Go Eun-chan’s father died, and she was the oldest child, she took on the responsibilities of the household, therefore turning the family into a Matriarchy. When topics of sex, marriage, and work comes up in the drama, Go Eun-chan demonstrates a very feministic mindset: she doesn’t want to get married until she has an education and career in place, because she doesn’t want to depend on her husband or anybody else. Koreans tend to lean towards a Patriarchy society, so it was wonderful to see such a strong female role.

Symbols:

No (obvious) symbols were present in this drama. And you know what? This drama ended up working perfectly fine without any. So bonus points to this drama!

*Spoilers* (Do not read if you don’t want this drama spoiled for you, you have been warned!)

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Things I liked:

  • ·         Yoon Eun-hye as a Boy: Coffee Prince was one of the first, and so far has done the best job with the “girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy” theme. After this drama’s popularity, many others tried copying this loved plot, but in my opinion no one has been able to pull it off better than Yoon Eun-hye. She became her role by not only cutting her hair and dressing like a young boy with loose t-shirts and tomboy shorts, but also adapting the mannerisms of a male. She walked, talked and ate like a teenage boy and she did such good job that sometimes I forgot that she was actually female.
  • ·        Coffee Prince (10) Realistic Romance: I have never seen another drama that was able to portray a love between a man and a woman so realistically. Never mind the fact that it was also ridiculously adorable and cute to watch, but they actually behaved like a real couple – they kissed a lot, they snuggled and cuddled and even *le gasp*…had sex! (Which according to usual Korean dramas…never happens between a couple. If so then how do they have kids then? Do they just magically appear?)
  • ·         Coffee Prince “Bromance” or Friendships: The four coffee “Princes” held such a strong friendship that was evident every time they came on screen. They started off as strangers that didn’t really get along, as all of them have such dynamic personalities that get under each other’s skin every now and then. But after working together from literally the very beginning of Coffee Prince (when it was nothing more than a run-down shop), they have formed loyal connections. One clear example of this was when it was finally revealed that Eun-chan was a girl: Sun-ki didn’t see anything wrong with it, because for him it didn’t matter if she was a boy or a girl, she was still the same person. Min-yeop was stunned at first, but then after he found she was a girl he became protective of her like an older brother would (even though he was younger). 04 Coffee Prince 129And Ha Rim of course threw a fit a first; he first priority was his best friend Han-gyul and he knew how much his friend was hurting because of this secret so his immediate reaction was to be mad at Eun-chan. The idea of her actually being a girl however did not bother him (except for the embarrassment of having revealed “guy” secrets to her, along with other personal body parts).
  • ·         Strong Secondary Characters: Han-seong and Yoo-joo were two of the strongest secondary characters I had ever seen. Their story was not just back a back-drop for the lead romance, but held its ground all on its own. Even influences several decisions for the main couple; for instance when they decided to get married, that sparked the controversial discussion between Eun-chan and Han-gyul on when they should get married that spanned over several of the ending episodes. Even this couple alone, both individuals made things difficult for the lead couple (with their own intentional/unintentional interference) yet they never made it so that the viewers disliked them because they were such like characters even with faults.

Things I didn’t like:

  • ·         Coffee Prince (6)Go Eun-sae’s lack of development: Go Eun-sae played the irritating character of the drama, and in my opinion did a better job of being disliked that the secondary girl (which is usually the one viewer tend to dislike because they get in the way of the main romance). Her bratty persona did a lot of diversity to the drama, however I would have preferred if there was more character development. That she started off bratty but then learned that that is not the way to keep friends or her devoted boyfriend. When Min-yeop stood up to her, I was very proud of him. But then even though they made up and got back together at the end, I wished her character could have shown that there was a possibility of her changing to become more amiable to others.

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Author’s Final Remarks: 9.6/10

~Coffee Prince is a classic among Korean Dramas; a timeless romantic comedy and one of the best (if not the best) renditions of the “girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy” theme. It’s a great summer time drama, full of cuteness and fluff, without being overly nauseating, that shows the most realistic romance that sweeps one of their feet. You can’t help but fall in love with all the coffee princes; from Han-gyul charisma to his adorable affections towards his family (and let’s not forget the dress shirts that make him too hot for summer!). Go Eun-chan’s lovely personality that makes her a great role-model for all young girls. Even the princes, all had their own charms that made them loved. This is a drama that I never get tired of watching, and I’m amazed that I still get the same fluttering feelings like the first time I watched it. I dare you to find someone who doesn’t like this drama, because that’s how confident I am that anyone who watches this drama will love it.

~Millie