Tag Archives: Japanese drama

Sometimes all you need is an old school drama to keep the doctor away…

7 Feb

The Musthavesubs girls are all sick and unfortunately for us it isn’t pretty! We’ve abandoned school/ work and found ourselves wrapped in blankets sneezing and coughing our way through the last couple of days.

What is a girl to do when she is hurled up in bed unable or unwilling to do much?

Yep, you guessed it – watch a drama!

However when you’re this sick, it’s hard to focus on the subtitles, the plot or appreciate the cool/ breezy style the director is trying to portray, so times like this provides us with the perfect opportunity to raid the back catalogue and go all old school. Yay.

Sometimes all you need are your favourite drama tropes to make you feel better. It’s familiar and safe but still has the ability to make you turn into the worst type of fangirl around. Sickness be damned.

Here are our top five favourite old school drama tropes that remind us why we love dramas so much:

1. Poor girl meets super rich chaebol – Come on, it’s a classic!

Okay it’s been done to death over the years but who doesn’t love the idea of Lee Min Ho, Roy Qiu or some other hot actor stepping up and falling madly in love with some poor but brilliant girl that could be you!? Who doesn’t want to see them defy all odds – crazy parents, jealous ex girlfriends and their own stupidity to win the girl and get their happily ever after? Sign us up, we’re sold.

2. When hate turns to love – watch out for the fly kicks, death threats and other delightful pre-romantic interludes

We love when writers have the OTP hate each other at the start of a drama. Sometimes we love this more than the HEA. This is where you see all the magic. Their verbal sparring, their unspoken hot sexual tension and the anticipation of what is to come – the romance! The slow but obvious build up of friendship and romance is always a pleasure to witness. We love watching their insane and often hilarious interactions as they keep finding themselves at odds and somehow thrown together in ‘random’ situations. Of course they are, it’s a drama!

We really hope that this drama trope never becomes unpopular because we sure would miss all that fun, silly banter between the OTP.

3. The perfect love rival – the leading lady never had it so good!

Yes, yes, we have a ridiculous soft spot for love rivals and we need help but we can’t help ourselves. It’s only because we know that they get their hearts broken and lose the girl by the end of the drama. How can we not feel sorry for them?


What is a drama without that secondary character waiting in the wings to sweep in and take care of the leading lady when she needs it most? For us, a drama without a love rival isn’t a true drama. Yes, they can be annoying, frustrating and make you want to punch them in the face but they’re a necessity that you need to accept comes with the package. They are like Brussels spouts at Christmas, not to every ones liking but a must nevertheless.

4. She has twelve jobs, goes to school and doesn’t take your shit – Give us an old school, tough leading lady any day.

We adore old school leading ladies of yesteryear with their multiple jobs, unreliable parents, tough attitudes but kind personas. Yes, she’s dirt poor but has the latest mobile phone and  really cute clothes/ accessories but she’s earned it. Plus  the poor thing will suffer so much more before she gets her happily ever after, so leave her alone.

As much as damaged, silent leading ladies are interesting. Or ambitious, smart ones make us appreciate them. We would happily watch a good old fashion fighter that never gives up and uses her courage, sarky wit and lovable charm to seize the day and get her man.

5. If you looked that good as a boy, wouldn’t you try it? – Cross dressing your way to a HEA

You would think watching a girl dress up as a boy and lie to her OTP would get boring after a couple dramas but no, it hasn’t and we have a feeling it won’t.

It’s all about the delicious angst and the conflicting feelings running through the leading man’s head. This particular drama trope works so well for us because it’s one of the few genres where the writer really develops the friendship between the OTP before it moves onto the romance. The leading man falls first and foremost for his friend – a person, rather than a pretty girl and isn’t that lovely for us fangirls to witness? Sighs*

Classic dramas = the best form of medicine for drama junkies

We feel better already 🙂


End of Year Drama Review – 2012

31 Dec

Another year down and another end of year post – Thanks for everyone that dropped by and read our fangirling, ranting and rambles this year. We thought this post would be short and sweet but by the time we had gathered all of our thoughts on 2012’s drama offerings we had somehow created this mega drama post that sort of took on a life of it’s own, so we hope you enjoy it and of course, please feel free to add your own thoughts, it’s always more fun with company!

2012 reveiw banner

2012 was a really busy year for us. We didn’t watch as much as we wanted and certainly didn’t blog as often as we wish we could. Which is a shame because we adore nothing more than sitting down and fangirling our way through dramas. Having less time to dedicate to our habit and becoming more picky over the years has meant that we have physically watched fewer dramas this year and have found that we have shelved more dramas than ever before.

This years offerings have been a lovely combination of the good, the bad and the dramas you wish you could erase from your memory. With cable dramas holding their hold and giving the mainstream networks a run for their money, we’re pleased with the vast number of options we’ve had this year as well as a positive shift towards dramas pushing the boundaries in terms of genres and plots on offer, which is always a good thing in our book. With two of our favorite dramas of 2012 coming from cable networks, we certainly look forward to see what they can offer us next year, so come on cable give us some goodies in 2013!

Below is our list of noteworthy dramas we’ve assembled from everything we’ve seen and shelved in 2012.

Completed dramas in 2012:

Korean dramas:

Answer Me 1997 – The jewel in our 2012 drama crown

Despite completing this drama very recently it still finished off the year as our favourite drama of 2012.

For us Answer Me 1997 felt like it was made with so much love. The writing is heartfelt, seamless and by the time it ended we knew we had finished something special. Something that would stay with us for a very long time. As drama viewers we watch plenty of dramas throughout the year all in anticipation that it will be ‘the one’ and guess what folks, Answer Me 1997 is it!

Funny, romantic, sweet and old school in the best way possible. Watch it, you will love it.

Wild Romance – the prize for the worst hair cut goes to….

Okay, this drama was all over the place. At first it was pee your pants hilarious. It was wacky, zany and so much fun to watch. We didn’t know that Lee Dong Wook was capable of being so funny and more importantly who knew that he could work a porno moustache but he did! Sadly, the drama took a dark, moody twist where the lead lost her spunk and became all needy and pathetic and the story went from silly fun to downright creepy with a crazy stalker.

The genre change gave us a little whiplash but despite that, the drama is well worth checking out especially if you’re a Lee Dong Wook fan.

Me too, flower – Our messy pick of the year

Technically this drama was a mess. The plot fell apart towards the end and the characters lost their spark. However, the OTP kept us coming back week after week. We loved them, they felt like a real couple to us. They were two very screwed up characters that came together and were somehow functional as a couple. When everything else was a mess in this drama, this couple somehow made it alright. Both actors were brilliant, especially Yoon Shi Yoon. He was all wrong for the part but  he managed to carry this mountain of mess and made it work.

If you’re looking for an unexpectedly good OTP then look no further.

Nice Guy – The prize for the most screwed up couple goes to…

This drama was dark, depressing and intense. The writing, the acting and the way it was filmed was brilliant. That said, what was wrong with every single character in this drama???!!! Our heads hurt trying to rationalize their insane actions and there were multiple times when we wanted to punch a few of these characters in the face.

Reasons to tune in: Song Joong Ki

We’ve waited for so long to see him as a leading man in a drama and he delivered in spectacular fashion. Of course he was all kinds of hot but his acting was also wonderful. We look forward to his future projects where hopefully he doesn’t annoy the hell out of us.

If you like your dramas dysfunctional and screwed up in perfect Kdrama style, this one ticks all the right boxes.

Queen In Hyun’s Man – A nearly perfect moment in time

Nearly but not quite there.

2012 is most certainly the year of the time travelling drama and this drama is definitely up there as one to watch. We loved everything about this drama, it was beautifully executed, the OTP owned us completely and the plot was excellent throughout its run and then came that ending. Sighs* It was almost too good to be true and we were hoping that this would be that rare drama that was perfect but sadly the ending left a distinctly bitter taste in our mouths.

A lot of people loved the ending but for us it felt like a cope out. It was far too convenient and it killed some of the magic for us.

Don’t get us wrong, we gave this drama 9.5 out of 10, so we’re not going to complain that much, it’s just that it was sooooo close to being that perfect drama for us. The rare gem that we would love forever and having seen so many dramas of the years now, it’s no easy challenge to fall in that category.

Watch this drama, you won’t regret it, in our opinion it is one of the best romantic dramas to come out in a long time.

A Gentleman’s Dignity – Overgrown boys, bratty sisters who needed a slap and the realisation that we have no idea why we bothered tuning in…

Seriously, thinking back now, we don’t know what drew us to watch this Ahjussi drama where pretty much nothing happened across 20 episodes.

All we can really remember about this drama is our very strong desire to murder Im Me Ah Ri. She was a freaking grown woman that acted like a spoilt brat that cried and stomped her feet throughout the drama’s run. Groan*

The drama has left no real impact on us as viewers and there are no real moments that stick out from the dramas run.

Would we recommend it??? We’re not sure, we can’t actually remember.

Japanese Dramas:

Rich Man, Poor Woman – Our unexpected crush goes to…

This was our favourite (and only completed) Jdrama of 2012. It reminded us exactly why we love Jdramas and that maybe we shouldn’t give up on them just yet.

As well as being our favourite Jdrama, it also opened our eyes to Oguri Shun – why, why have we failed to notice this guy before???

The winner for unexpected crush of the year most definitely goes to Oguri Shun. He oozed chemistry, charm and strangely worked dodgy haircuts. Trust us, this drama has made fangirls out of us. heheh.

Back to the drama – the story was a simple love story between a socially awkward millionaire genius and a smart graduate who happened to end up working together and of course falling in love. The plot and the execution of the story was nothing to write home back but it was a pleasure to tune into every week. We were comfortable in the knowledge that the drama would make us smile and satisfy our  fluffy drama needs in the best way possible.

If you’re looking for a decent Jdrama look no further, this one will steal your heart.

Taiwanese Dramas:

Skip Beat! – Our surprise delight of the year

Who would have thought that this would be the only Tdrama we completed in 2012? Definitely not us!

The drama had so much going against it – a very loyal and obsessive fan base for the manga, two Korean actors in a Tdrama – wtf?, terrible dubbing and our expectations in the gutter before we even began.

The drama wasn’t a ratings winner but we adored it. Once the drama fixed the dubbing issue and found their feet, this drama was great fun. Ivey Chen was fantastic as the crazy but lovable leading lady and Siwon made us even bigger fangirls after his brilliant performance as Ren/ Du He Lian. He played cold and damaged so well. Considering he could only act using his facial expressions, he was pretty wonderful.

When a drama has a broody Siwon and Donghae looking hot being bad – what are you waiting for?

Shelved Dramas:

Miss Rose – Another Roy Qiu drama we just couldn’t finish..

We know, we know, what is wrong with us? It’s not you Roy, it’s just everything else that ruins it for us!

Why are all of Roy’s leading ladies so hesitate to fall in love with this HOT HOT man? Why do we have to sit through so many episodes watching these annoying leading ladies cry over past loves or cry over the fact that they are scared/ poor/ stupid???

We were so excited by this drama but it got draggy so quickly. We wanted to love it but we just couldn’t.

We have no doubt we will one day finish a Roy drama but until then we’re more than happy  to keep watching perving our way through all of his dramas until we find one. heheh

Shut up flower boy band – The best cameo in a drama goes to…

Oh, Lee Min Ki you came and went so quickly but we’re pretty sure that you made everyone that watched miss you just a little bit.

Not completing this drama is strictly an oversight on our part. All of the ten episodes we completed were brilliant. The drama was so good we made a freaking GIF out of the famous hug scene and considering we’re incredibly technically challenged that’s definitely saying something!

Life happened and we just never got around to finishing the drama. Maybe this drama will be in next year’s review or may be not…

I need Romance 2012 – When love rivals make you switch off

We switched off for one reason only – the loval rival made us want to vomit into the nearest waste basket. He was so sickly sweet and was such a soppy puppy that we just wanted to kick him. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that he shared ZERO chemistry with the leading lady. How is that possible – two attractive, young actors and still they failed to generate any chemistry between them- none, zero, zilch, how???

The King 2 Hearts – We know what you’re thinking, are we mad???

Yes, yes, we hold our hands up and question our sanity and poor taste in dramas for not having the desire to complete this drama. It just didn’t click for us. We didn’t have that emotional connection with the characters and as a result didn’t really care what happened to them.

Plus, watching the leading man shot his OTP in the chest sort of kills the romance for us. Just saying…

Big – The biggest disappointment of the year?? Possibly, maybe, yes…

How is it possible that the Hong Sisters could make such a boring drama???

Why did Gong Yoo  have to look so damn hot in this drama?

 (you’re welcome)

For that reason alone, we’re gutted this drama was a complete waste of time. Sob*

Other notable dramas for 2012:

Rooftop Prince – The other time travel drama


What is with his horrible hair???

It was a toss up between this and Queen In Hyun’s Man at the time and we picked the latter. Frankly was there any point starting another time travel drama after you’ve completed something that was so nearly perfect? Anything we watched after that epic, romantic drama would have just been crap.

Gaksital/ The Moon that embraces the Sun – When leading men turn you off…

Sorry Kim Soo Hyun and Joo Won, we’re just not fans.



– We’re sorry!!!!!

It’s the strangest thing. Pretty much everyone loves these guys with a passion but we just need to know their name is attached to drama and it’s a pass from us.

Maybe we will grow out of it like we did with Hyun Bin but until then it will take something seriously special to make us tune in or a shiny sequined tracksuit…

Time Slip Dr. Jin – We found the car wreck of the year

Thankfully we saved ourselves from this nightmare. We confess that it was endless fun reading the hilarious bitching and disgust at this poor excuse of a drama. Muhahah.

Final rambles for 2012

As you can probably tell from this post, this year hasn’t treated us too badly but of course heres hoping 2013 gives us a few more drama gems worth fangirling about.

Thanks for popping by and joining us in our rambles this year, we hope you return in 2013.

Happy New Year everyone!


The Musthavesubs girls, xoxo

Rich Man, Poor Woman – We maybe a little bit in love

27 Aug

It’s solely down to our love of Jdramas of yesteryear that keeps us coming back for more. We’re always hoping to stumble across another gem that we can happily gush about in years to come or at least reflect back on fondly. Sadly, the last few years have left us disappointed and cynical at what Jdramas can offer but we’re hoping, really, really hoping that we may have found us a winner.

Heeeee! Okay we will try to control our excitement, our desperate desire to fangirl all over this post and gush like the lunatics we are. Deep breaths, we can do it. We couldn’t bare it if we got too excited only to be left disappointed by a shitty ending or a WTF twist right towards the end.

Please drama gods – let this be a keeper.

Fed up of being constantly disappointed by recent Jdramas- dramas that lack direction, feeling and a decent OTP? Then look no further, your wait is over

Yes, yes, as always it’s all about the OTP for us.

Why do Jdramas shy away from romance when they do it so well?

7 episodes in and still no kiss, no real admission of feelings or even a wrist grab but we confess to being completely obsessed and utterly in love with this couple. They own us completely with their secret stares, their mutual respect and an understanding of each other that makes their bond as a couple all the more richer. Every interaction between this OTP makes us grin like fools. Their moments are the reason why we tune in week after week.

Despite their relationship starting off on shaky foundations, we love how the drama has slowly developed this couple in a subtle but believable manner. They share this unspoken romantic tension in every scene they’re in together. You know that spark, you always hope to witness in your OTP – they have it. Their chemistry is so lovely to watch because it screams so much promise. We are more than happy to see this OTP move slowly because watching them work out their feelings for each other and then act on them is pure drama heaven for us.

Natsui is so cute, where can we get one?

We love how she lied to get a job at Next Innovation. Who else is fed up of saints and leading ladies that accidentally find themselves in situations? This girl made the calculated decision to take a risk and lucky for her and us, it worked out.

Natsui is quite an easy leading lady to root for. She is outrageously smart but not in that freaky/ geeky way that dramas like to overuse. She’s thoughtful, opinionated and thankfully isn’t a weak submissive leading lady that has to get a backbone as well as win her OTP.

One of our favourite things about Natsui is her honesty (okay after her initial lie!). She is a refreshing character that often wears her heart on her sleeve. The scene that cemented our love for her was in the latest episode of RMPW, where she asked Hyuga if he would give her a job, any job just as long as it was working for him.

The scene was achingly frank, her feelings completely on display to him. Their time had come to an end and she knew that she would lose him soon unless she took a chance. You’ve got to respect a character like her; we know we couldn’t be that brave. The way she desperately tried not to cry and brushed away her tears so briskly made it impossible not to root for this leading lady.

Plus she is so damn cute!

Who would have thought it, RMPW have made fangirls out of us.

It’s like a light has been switched on and now we finally get what all the fuss is about.

Is it strange that we suddenly find Oguri Shun ridiculously sexy??? After all these years of indifference, we’re suddenly looking at him wondering whether he was always this charismatic. Every week we sit back and appreciate his wonderful acting skills. His acting elevates an already great character and makes him more appealing. Yep, we’re sold. Bring on the next Oguri Shun drama, we’re ready.

Maybe it’s our attraction to Hyuga as a character that makes us suddenly see Oguri Shun in a different light, either way we’re not complaining.

Hyuga is such a great character to watch. Who can resist complicated, brilliant leading men that make you want to reach in and hug them tightly? Not us! Oguri Shun manages to present a lovely vulnerability to Hyuga’s character that compels us to root for him. We just want Natsui to take care of him and protect him from two-faced crazies and slaggy chefs.

If we’re honest we were sold from episode 1, we could feel ourselves falling for this leading man slowly but it was the end scene where he rocks up to her university with her shoes that sealed the deal. It was just such an unpredictable, sweet moment that made us sit up and wonder what more will happen between this OTP. Then there is the way he looks at her. His secret stares are enough to make us giggle like outrageous fangirls. As much as he tries, he can’t hide his feelings/ interest whatever you want to call it and for once a slower burner suddenly doesn’t seem like a bad idea to us.

Other thoughts:

Hyuga’s best friend/ partner Kosuke must suffer.

As much as we adore this drama, we’re not blind to some of its weaker aspects. The character development of Kosuke was outrageous. He went from being a realistic second in command with insecurities and envy conveyed really well to becoming a Disney villain that was willing to do whatever it took to bring down his enemy. The drastic character change was a little disappointing as we hoped that the drama was more sophisticated than that.

We are grateful that the drama doesn’t dwell on matters too long. That is one of our major pet peeves about T/K dramas, they sure know how to flog a dead horse!

The deception matter between Hyuga and Natsui was resolved quickly but didn’t feel like it was brushed over. Sure their reasons for meeting were incredibly contrived but come on, it’s a drama so we’re happy to let things slide, especially when it means we get more OTP time.

Also the revelation that Kosuke was the big bad was swiftly dealt with as well. Thank goodness for that. Watching Kosuke walk around with that smug look on his face was enough to make us reach for the sick bucket. Seriously, what does he hope to accomplish without Hyuga?? Hyuga was clearly the brains behind the operation. His brilliance was what made Next Innovation a success. His logic behind his plan is flawed and for a character that is supposed to be smart, it’s hard to understand why he would do what he’s doing. Surely, he would be aware that he will lose in the long run.

Yoko aka Slaggy Chef has a lot of haters but frankly we remain indifferent to her as a love rival. The OTP in this drama is so solid and fascinating to watch that she doesn’t even come into consideration for us. Like her brother, it looks like she doesn’t know when she’s in a losing battle because clearly she hasn’t seen the way Hyuga looks at Natsui! The kisses shared between Yoko and Hyuga have been a source of much frustration for a lot of viewers but for us, it makes her effects appear more pathetic.  She can only manage to get his attention when he is most vulnerable and after he tried to contact Natsui. Thankfully, she doesn’t appear to be that crazy love rival that you hope gets run over (Hong Sisters anyone?) but simply there to add tension between the OTP. We hope that she quickly realizes that her angry chef has the hots for her and she moves on. Who else thinks that they could have a drama on their own?

As you may have gathered from our ramblings in this post, we’re sold and very much loving this drama. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go for it. You won’t regret it! If you have, what do you think? Any ideas on what you want to happen at the end? Who else is praying that we don’t get a lame arse union between Natsui and Hyuga – he better kiss her or else someone will pay!