Gender Identity Crisis, Stuck in the History, and Endangered by Royal Families’ Schemes: What’s So Interesting About Korean Drama “Mr. Queen”

Blue House chef Jang Bong-hwan’s arrogant attitude invites hostile intention from other people around him. They then come up with a plan which results in Bong-hwan’s coma after a police chase. When he wakes up though, he finds himself in a chamber of a Joseon Dynasty’s crown princess, Kim So-young (later known as Queen Cheorin). Now, not only puzzled by his changing sex and historical events surrounding him, Bong-hwan also faces the danger of opposite clan who wants him (her) to let go of his (hm, her) status as crown princess and soon-to-be-queen of Joseon Dynasty.

Blue House chef, Jang Bong-hwan, believes that there is no one more powerful than him in Korea. After all, he is the one who decides what food will be consumed by important political members of South Korea. His arrogant attitude invites hostile intention from other people around him. They then come up with a plan which results in Bong-hwan’s coma after a police chase.

When he wakes up though, instead of in a hospital, he finds himself in a chamber of a Joseon Dynasty’s crown princess, Kim So-young (later known as Queen Cheorin) from the Kim Clan. Now, not only puzzled by his changing sex and historical events surrounding him, Bong-hwan also faces the danger of opposite clan who wants him (her) to let go of his (hm, her) status as crown princess and soon-to-be-queen of Joseon Dynasty. As the icing on the cake, it seems that her own fiance, King Cheoljong, does not hold any affection for her and instead wants her dead.

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Onward: Resurrecting Lost Dreams, Having Courage, and Treasuring What You’ve Already Got

For Ian, his older brother is uncool, his mother’s boyfriend is even less cool, and he himself is the least cool of all. All Ian wants to be is like his father, who was both courageous and funny. Apparently, Ian’s father had been a magician and he left his children a last gift: a spell that could summon him back from dead just for one day. Now, Ian and his brother, Barley, decides to embark on a journey to search for the final touch to complete the spell, a magic stone guarded by a magical dragon.

For Ian, his older brother is uncool, his mother’s boyfriend is even less cool, and he himself is the least cool of all. Ian wants to be like his father, who was brave, funny, and courageous. So he is determined to cross off his list of dreams: to talk more, to learn how to drive, to invite his friends to his birthday party, and to be more like his dad. Unfortunately, his plan fell through. He came home from school feeling dejected, until his mother showed him and his brother a present from their late father: a magic wand.

Apparently, Ian’s father had been a magician and he left his children a last gift: a spell that could summon him back from dead just for one day. Now Ian and his brother, Barley, decides to embark on a journey to search for the final touch to complete the spell, a magic stone guarded by a magical dragon.

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Cinderella II: Dreams Come True–When Your True Self Is More Magical Than True Fantasy

After years of being a girl covered in ashes and dust, Cinderella has found her true happy ending. Coming home from her honeymoon, she is greeted by her first task as a princess: to hold the palace’s beloved banquet. Not only she has to handle the ballroom’s decoration, the foods, the guests list, and the music, she also has to learn how to act like a proper princess.

After years of being a girl covered in ashes and dust, Cinderella has found her true happy ending. Coming home from her honeymoon, she is greeted by her first task as a princess: to hold the palace’s beloved banquet. Not only she has to handle the ballroom’s decoration, the foods, the guests list, and the music, she also has to learn how to act like a proper princess.

Well, how hard can it be?

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True is a story collection of Cinderella’s life after her marriage to the Prince Charming (note: does he really not have a name?). Released in February 2000, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True offers uncomplicated storyline, a sprinkle of magic, and a lesson (or maybe more) about how to accept yourself as you already are.

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Avengers: End Game – Dealing with Choices and How It Affects the Future

I jumped to Avengers: End Game without watching the previous movies, or even taking a peek on their synopsis. So basically, I was clueless. I could vaguely pinpoint who each character is based on what I’ve heard from the snippets of my friends’ conversation, but I didn’t know what strength they have or what kind of past they’ve been through before they finally assemble as the Avengers. Hell, I didn’t even know what causes them to become the Avengers in the first place. I still don’t, to be honest.

The only superhero movies I’ve watched (and remember the plots) can be counted with one hand. Okay, maybe even with one finger. For sure, I’ll forget about that particular movie soon enough. So, before I also forget about how this movie came to be, I’m going to write about it first.

I jumped to Avengers: End Game without watching the previous movies, or even taking a peek on their synopsis. So basically, I was clueless. I could vaguely pinpoint who each character is based on what I’ve heard from the snippets of my friends’ conversation, but I didn’t know what strength they have or what kind of past they’ve been through before they finally assemble as the Avengers. Hell, I didn’t even know what causes them to become the Avengers in the first place. I still don’t, to be honest.

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Yellow: The Colour of Youth and Dream

Nam Ji Hoon’s music career and free-spirited way of life always give his girlfriend (Lee Ye Reum) anxiety, along with her other problems such as her hectic job and the fact that she is still a newbie in her office. For her, breaking up is the right thing to do. She can’t handle the uncertainty of their future after all.

But Ji Hoon is still hoping. So, even if a fangirl-turned-photographer (Jo Su Ah) of his band has declared her feelings for him multiple times in the years they’ve known each other, Ji Hoon still doesn’t budge. Not until he realizes that for a wound to heal, he has to move on from the past. In addition to that, someone apparently has an interest to steal Su Ah’s attention away from him.

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The Maze Runner Series, Ki Hong Lee, and Being a Mental Health Advocate

2020.10.01 – Listening to ONF’s Good Good.

Last week I was binge-watching The Maze Runner movies (all three of them) and binge-reading the books (also all three of them). I was struck by how different the movies and the books are, but also how each had something I especially liked about them.

For those who haven’t watch or read the series, please beware of spoilers.

SPOILERS ALERT!

I actually watched the movie first and only picked up the book right after watching the third and final movie. The Maze Runner movie was released in 2014. I remembered getting hooked up right away after watching it. I recognized Thomas Brodie-Sangster (the one who played “Newt” in The Maze Runner) was also the same person who played Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones. Newt and Jojen were my favourite characters, so I was excited when I knew Thomas Sangster played both characters. Unfortunately, both characters died (poor me, or poor them. Mostly poor me).

To be honest, I knew Newt was going to die even before I watched The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure (the second and third), which was why I hadn’t been enthusiastic to follow the series. From 2014 to 2019, I basically avoided the series. At least until last week, when I picked up the second movie as my Artist Date plan for the week.

The Scorch Trials, to be honest, wasn’t really my cup of tea. It was a lot of actions and less of thoughtful decisions. Basically Thomas and the gangs kept getting betrayed, had to escape to different places, getting attacked, and so on. It also focused a lot on Thomas, which was a pity, since there were also a lot of other characters I would like to dig deeper. The ending captivated me though, and I immediately picked up The Death Cure afterwards.

If I had to rank the movies by which I liked the most to the least, the order would be The Maze Runner, The Death Cure, and The Scorch Trials. The Death Cure was thrilling and thought-provoking. In this movie, I took a liking on Minho (played Ki Hong Lee). I was already familiar with Ki Hong Lee as an actor. I had watched several of his short movies (mostly by Wong Fu Productions) and seeing him as Minho, a strong, sarcastic, and short-tempered character, was a whole new different experience. I got so interested that I re-watched The Maze Runner movie again just to see more of his acting. The final verdict is that I really love his acting and his works (he has an IGTV series, Mr Soulmate, which is also very entertaining).

I read several articles on Minho’s characterization and was told that his sarcasm and other traits were shown more through the books. Which is why, after having a marathon of the movies, I had a marathon of the books. And damn, it was good.

Through the book, I took more understanding in all the characters, the plots, the universe, and how it differs from the movies. I like how it ends in the book, since they didn’t find the cure so Newt’s death feels more inevitable than in the movies, where Thomas’s blood is deemed as the true cure (which means in the movie, he actually had the chance to save Newt). I like how Newt’s death was known to Minho in the movie. He at least deserved to see his long-time friend for the last time, even in death. In the book, Minho didn’t even get a goodbye or a letter and he didn’t even know that Thomas killed Newt (that’s just so sad). I like Teresa better in the movie since I can sincerely understand her motives for betraying Thomas.

And I love Gally, both in the book and the movie. Played by Will Poulter (known by his role as Eustace Scrubb in Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Gally is possibly the most complex character in the series and the one who shows the most character development. He began as one of the main villains, but then proceeded to be the one who saved Thomas and the key character in The Death Cure plot.

END OF SPOILERS.

After finishing The Maze Runner series, I began researching more about Ki Hong Lee. He had mentioned in several interviews that he was grateful and feeling honoured for the chance to play an Asian character in a Hollywood movie. I was not familiar with Hollywood industry or about Asian-American in general, but this made me realize that it’s a breakthrough for an Asian to get roles with strong characters like Minho in The Maze Runner. I mean, I rarely find any movie or TV series from America who has Asian as lead characters. I remembered all the hype when To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians got movie adaptations. I definitely enjoyed the both the books and the movies, but being unfamiliar with Western film industries, I had never noticed the significance before.

In an interview on CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment)’s YouTube channel, Ki Hong mentioned how once he had thought about changing his name into something easier to pronounce (an English name of some sort), but his mother was against it, saying that if people can pronounce names like Tchaikovsky they surely can put an effort to pronounce names such as Ki Hong Lee.

Ki Hong also stated that since there aren’t a lot of opportunities for Asian actors to have an acting career in Western film industry, it’s up to him to create the opportunity. I think I admire him a lot for saying that. Yes, most of the times, opportunity doesn’t come to us. And sometimes looking for it is not enough. We just have to create it by ourselves. Success is not a paved road after all. We have to begin by something.

Many of The Maze Runner casts are mental health advocates. I think I somehow found my way to those kinds of people, like Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Ailee Xu, Stray Kids, BTS, Halsey, and many others. I found myself deeply interested in this topic. For the last two weeks, I had been working on a concept of psychology app for a scientific project competition in my university. I realized that I still have a lot to learn and there are so many ways to help people who struggle with mental health. When my team presented our idea last night during the preliminary stage of the competition, we were given warm response. It seems that more and more people have become aware of the importance of mental health and it is nice to see. I don’t know whether my team would be able to advance to the next stage, but even if we don’t, it is still a fortunate opportunity and I feel proud of what we’ve achieved. The last two weeks have been really busy with college assignments and preparations for the project, so I hope I can take a breather today and tomorrow, before starting to take off again with different projects next week.

Note: I plan to pick up The Fever Code or The Kill Order next. I have noticed that reading a lot, instead of watching YouTube or being buried in college stuffs, improves my mood throughout the day. What about you? What do you do when you need a surge of serotonin?

Review Drama: The Tale of Nokdu

NOKDU. One day, a group of mysterious people came to his family with the intention of killing. Angry and bewildered, Nokdu decided to chase the escaping assassin and figure out the reason behind the killing attempt. The self-proclaimed mission brought him to the village of widowers, where only women were allowed to enter. Desperate to know the secret behind his birth, Nokdu pretended to be a woman and tried to join the assassins’ organization.

DONG JOO. Her family members were slaughtered by the King because of treason. Blinded by sorrow and hate, Dong Joo swore that she would one day end the King’s life with her own hands. Hiding amongst the gisaengs (courtesans) and widowers while bidding time until she finally would be able to get into the palace, Dong Joo didn’t allow herself to love because she knew her attempt to kill the King would end her own life too.

THE TALE OF NOKDU is a tale of betrayal, trust, family, love, and loyalty. Begin with many comedic scenes that never fail to bring me laughter, it progressively moves into more heartbreaking and thrilling moments, where both main characters try their best to fulfill their personal mission while surviving the most challenging phase of their lives. I couldn’t tell much of drama without spoiling anything, since there are many secrets to uncover along the journey. The drama’s tone is bright and colourful, never stopping for a boring scene.

49 Days Journal Challenge – Day 31

Sragen. 24.06.2020.

16:07. Listening to ONE OK ROCK’s One Way Ticket.

Since July is near, I’m thinking about changing the layout of my bullet journal. I’ve been doing the same template for months and I think it’s time to change it up. I have drawn rough sketch of what I want to change and where to place everything, but I haven’t decided on the detail yet. I also haven’t thought about what colour scheme I’m going to use for July. For June I went with orange. For July, I want something just as bright. Maybe yellow or pink. Or sky blue.

Today I binge-watched Escape the Night Season 1 with my younger sister. When we finished it, I couldn’t keep thinking about what the next season would show. There were already too many people died in Season 1, how many would die in Season 2? Is there even any YouTuber left to kill? There are fours seasons of Escape the Night. That’s like… crazy. I am not ready to start Season 2 so I’m not going to figure it out soon.

Review Movie: Brother of the Year (2018)

CHUT. All he wanted was for a younger brother, but he got a little sister instead. And more than that, Jane–his sister–was everything he could never be. She was smarter, more diligent, more well-behaved, and got all the approvals from people around them. Beside his sister, Chut always paled in comparison. He felt lame and useless. So he acted in retribution–Chut always tried to make Jane’s harder: making a mess of their house, never cleaning up, bringing girls home despite having Jane’s friend as his lover, and even try to break apart Jane’s relationship with her boyfriend. But does he actually hate her, his own sister?

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