*****THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS*****
W – Two Worlds is a South Korean drama that was released and aired in 2016. The drama stars Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo. Within the world of the drama, there exists another world, a world created by comic artist, Oh Sung Moo. This drama takes the concept of fiction and meta-fiction and plays with the bounds that exist in those genres.
I won't go into too many details about the storyline because you guys have already seen it and if you haven't I don't know what you are doing here. If you choose to continue, you have been warned, there are spoilers within the context of this review.
First and foremost, the storyline for this drama rocks. The concept of moving between the real world and the fictional world is just brilliant and probably something each and everyone of us has wanted to write a story about at one point or another. I could talk forever about the creative concept and story writing that went into this series but I won't. This series caught my attention just by the synopsis alone and kept me hooked for the most part throughout. There were certain rules that applied to the comic book world that seemed very plausible and made sense which is another factor for me liking this drama. World building is crucial when it comes to making up a story and every little detail counts. If you screw up anywhere, the audience will notice and your story won't be as effective and intriguing.
If any of you have heard of the allegory of the cave, this series is a direct reference to that allegory. The allegory goes as follows: a man sits in a cave staring at the wall of the cave. There is light being illuminated onto the cave wall. The light is coming from a fire that is behind the man. However, outside of that cave there is sunlight which is the original source of light. The idea is that there is the original concept which would be our world we currently live in now. Then there is the imitation of the concept which is the fictional world of the drama series we are watching called W – Two Worlds. Finally, the light on the wall illuminated by the fire is the imitation of the imitation of the concept. That is in essence, the fictional world within the fictional world of the drama, or the world that Kang Chul lives in. Sorry for the boring lesson on critical theory.
What does this all mean? It means that the writers took an idea, or a concept and developed it into a story which is what we consume everyday. The television shows we watch, the music we listen to, the stories we tell are all imitation of the concept of real life because they are reproductions of what has happened or what could happen in real life. The writers went a step further and developed a story within a story. This is called meta-fiction and is used in stories all the time; sometimes well-produced, other times not so well-produced. The story exists as an idea of an idea. I know it's confusing, this is what I majored in in college.
I find it so intriguing however, that the writers were able to take this idea of the allegory of the cave and reproduce it so well. Were they thinking of this allegory when they were writing the story of W? Probably not, but either way, it was well thought out. Along with the concept of the story, the chemistry that existed between the characters was real.
Kang Chul is a fictional character inside a fictional world inside a fictional world. He doesn't even come close to being real, but the interaction reproduced between Yeon Joo (Han Hyo Joo) and Kang Chul (Lee Jong Suk) was incredibly well done. While this drama didn't make me cry out loud as many other dramas have done, I felt myself caught in the moment.
Honestly, this drama series took several turns I wasn't expecting. They could have easily given the killer a face and had him killed off, but the way they went about the story was incredible, not to mention the way the killer came back into the story when the audience and viewers thought he was gone for sure. This drama came with a theme as well and that is that love doesn't have any bounds. Many k-dramas share this theme such as My Love From the Star, The Legend of the Blue Sea, and many more. I think it's a good theme to continue stressing in the Korean society. A lot of people fear what their parents may think, but these dramas let those people know that it's okay to love someone that is different from you. I don't think the shows are going as far as to say it's okay to date an alien, a mermaid, or a cartoon character, but the idea is great.
I loved this drama. It's definitely not my favorite ever, but it has a special place in my heart. I love that dramas, while sticking to their roots, are venturing away from the typical gender benders, love triangles and rich/poor stereotypes. I sincerely hope dramas get more and more complex similar to this series, Descendants of the Sun, The K2, and Goblin. My next drama review should be The Legend of the Blue Sea so look forward to it.
*****THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS*****
Goblin is the South Korean action drama starring Gong Yoo, Kim Go Eun, Yoo In Na, and many more great actors. The synopsis of the drama is a 900 year old warrior from the Joseon era serves his country with great valor but is betrayed by the king. He is killed by the sword given him by the king and is cursed to roam the earth forever until the Goblin bride can pull the sword from his chest.
First off this drama got a lot of heat for being a series about pedophilia. A 900+ year old warrior searching the earth for his bride which happens to be a 20 year old girl seems too risque for typical audiences. However, I will get into why that doesn't actually apply later. The drama was great; full of action, comedy, romance and those inevitable tear-jerking moments.
If I were to use one sentence to describe the theme of this series, it would be: “Life is a cycle that is far too precious to squander.” or something like that. Especially towards the later episodes, it is very apparent that the theme of the show is to cherish life. In the scene where Grim Reaper is telling the secret to the female grim reaper. I think that shows what the series is really and truly trying to get at. For those who don't remember or who haven't seen it yet, the scene plays out as follows. Grim Reaper just realized he won't see Sunny again and refuses to eat. Then he realizes that the purpose for grim reapers to eat and the nourish themselves and to find housing is because grim reapers are people that, in their past life, had ended their own life prematurely, in essence finding little to no worth for their life. Grim Reaper (Wang Yeo) states that the purpose for all that is for us (the grim reapers) to find and cherish life. It's to find meaning in the life that we were so willing to throw away. Honestly, that is one of my favorite scenes just because of how deep it is and how true it is.
In addition to that scene of the two grim reapers talking, the tragic scene where Ji Eun Tak sacrifices her life to save the lives of children, shows what this drama series is really about. Honestly, I think their whole point was to get this point across, that life is beautiful and shouldn't be wasted or squandered. The fact that Ji Eun Tak clearly thinks to herself that that truck is out of control and will kill all those kids, and then she consciously pulls out in front of the truck and pushes on the brakes in order to save those kids, shows the true color of this drama. The way they played that scene up was brilliant by the way. Two grim reapers were standing at a bus stop looking at the names of the people they had to collect that day when they receive a call from headquarters. The call was to cancel all the names that had been assigned them. The reason is because Ji Eun Tak sacrificed herself which is a impulsive decision that humans make. I love that honestly. This show is just brilliant with its execution and production. The story line is so well thought out and explanatory and to be honest, I would have been content with Ji Eun Tak dying and then maybe Kim Shin tells her he'll join her soon. However, that would have definitely taken away from the moral standing of the show, so I'm glad they steered clear of that ending.
The character development was really played out as well. Ji Eun Tak started out as a lonely girl who sees ghosts to a social butterfly who actually befriends her old class president. She suffers loneliness and definitely grows up as a character.
Kim Shin has lived for over 900 years. He has seen everything and actually comes from a drunk deity without any cares in the world to an actual caring husband in the end. The fact that he was willing to spend another 39 years on earth just to be with the one he loved shows his priorities had changed. Not only that, but he relived his entire Joseon era life with his roommate, the Grim Reaper also known as Wang Yeo. He learned to get over his grudges and forgive the past life of another. One of his best friends becomes Wang Yeo.
Wang Yeo, the Grim Reaper, also known as Kim Woo Bin transforms the most in my opinion. He was just another soulless being performing well at his job and didn't really complain. His growth in discovering himself and his reason for becoming a grim reaper is really amazing. He learns that he is his best friend's worst enemy. He humbly accepts that fate. He is a self-loathing apparition until he learns to appreciate life.
Wang Yeo's partner through all the lives, Sunny on the other hand seems a bit flat as far as her growth goes. Yes, she willingly accepts that she had a previous life but she goes from this moody business girl into a moody business girl that had forgotten that after she had left the grim reaper, he'd be the one she'd go back to. Her growth throughout the story seems the least.
Now about the pedophilia. I understand how people come to that conclusion about this show but this show is much deeper than just a boy and a girl fall in love. This story breaks the barriers of what “drama” love is defined as. The story is about a girl saving a man from himself and loving him the same even after everything is said and done. It's about soulmates and that bond that exists throughout all lives, not just in this one. Because it is about soulmates, I don't think that pedophilia is really present or the target for this drama series. It's like Tuck Everlasting and how immortality is present therefore making the main character 100s of years old but no one batted an eye at that story. This is essentially the same thing. An ageless warrior falls in love with a modern day girl.
Kdramas are an important part of K culture, and therefore I use this section of my website to give my overview and review of certain Kdramas I have watched. I am really bad at keeping this segment up to date, but I try.