Review – Bulgasal: Immortal Souls

I mean… can you resist this goth aesthetic???

There’s gonna be a lot of gifs and images in this review… so if you’re internet is slow, give it a minute to load up cause… lights camera action.

Ah, Bulgasal! I’ve been sitting on this review a while because this is a tricky show to discuss. Like many other poor fools out there, I watched this drama as it was airing. And in a strange way, that contributed to my love/hate relationship with this fantasy. Cause I should have hated it. I shouldn’t really recommend it to anyone in good faith. But I had such a blast watching this show!

I was soaked in the fandom, giddy with anticipation as the mystery unfolded, and horny over too many characters not to love it. I was amused as often as I was annoyed with the outcome week to week as the story unfolded two episodes at a time. It doesn’t deserve a high rating. It’s slow paced, the plot line is a huge mess, and the characters are weird. But I’m giving it a high rating cause I loved this dumb, beautiful disaster of a show with my whole heart.

Everything you need to know about Bulgasal is revealed in the first ten minutes of the show with the narration introducing the last monster, the flashes of mysterious scenes on a bridge, and the cool opening title sequence. Not once did I hit the skip button, either. I love that title sequence.

Bulgasal has an unknown story line (we’re not following any real historical royal families or diving into era specific conflicts or politics), so there’s no easy guessing of the plot’s major conflict. It’s got reincarnation angles, so there are multiple timelines with multiple versions of characters popping up. It’s got a grumpy protagonist who spends the large majority of the show sulking around a dirty house while a bunch of sunshine characters come in upset his world. It’s got a very enjoyable and theatrical antagonist who has more chemistry with the leading man than the leading lady does. And it’s got all kinds of wacky supernatural stuff at play without clear rules so it’s always a mystery how it’s going to effect the storyline and all the characters.

I mean, you won’t really know what’s happening or why in this show for a long time and even when you find out it’s not particularly inspired, but it’s so much fun guessing. If you have any imagination whatsoever you will invent a plotline three times better than the one offered and bask in the glory of your mental fanfiction as you stare at the beautiful people on your screen.

Bulgasal is a whole vibe. You’re either on board or not. Do you want on this ship?

Wait, I’m sorry. What was that? I don’t think I heard you.

I said DO YOU WANT ON THIS SHIP?

Meow Meow.

ALL ON BOARD.

My personal rating 10/10. My subjective rating? Uhm… 7/10? But why be subjective with Bulgasal? That’s not what this drama is bringing to the table. Let’s adjust to uh… Overall rating: 9/10. A beautiful disaster that captivated the fandom.

Now let’s talk about what made Bulgasal… Bulgasal. Or rather, let’s just follow tangents along and ramble as I reminisce on the fandom and the characters in this show.

SPOILERS BELOW.

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Review – Kingdom of the Winds

Review – Kingdom of the Winds

How epic is this cover image, am I right?  Well, don’t be fooled…. cause this drama doesn’t live up to its own glorious press.  I might have enjoyed it more if I had watched it when it originally came out – before bigger, better, more impressive historical sagas came out and destroyed all contenders.  Maybe this drama helped pave the road for the big budget beauties I so adore, but I still can’t hep but feel underwhelmed.

It’s basically about this prince whose life was ruined on the day he was born after a shamen said that the heavens cursed him – doomed to kill his parents, his siblings, his own children, and destroy his country.  Yup.  All that.  It was enough for his daddy, the King, to seriously consider stabbing his own infant son – but instead he sends him away and tells the nation he died.  Well, our young prince grows up.  Goes through a series of misadventures.  And basically proves he’s immortal – cause the man escapes death a billion times, it’s ridiculous.  He falls in love with this blank faced medic, who just happens to be a princess (conveniently allowed to leave the palace, wear commoners clothes, and be unattended by guards… wtf?  Since when does that happen?).  He’s got a dorky side kick.  He’s got a rival for his love interest.  He’s got a bunch of political schemes and hurdles to leap over before he can jump on his rightful throne.  The bad guys aren’t terribly malicious or cruel, the schemers don’t seem too troubled when their plans are constantly thwarted, the action never makes you wonder who will survive and whose heart and soul will break in the process.  And even with the tragic ending (was it though?), it still felt like a mediocre historical adventure through cliches and tired story lines.

This is our leading ladies’ expression about 90% of the show… blank, bewildered and beautiful… for someone so interesting, with her regal past and medical interests… she was so boring. But it’s not just her. They all were.

Where are the grand ambitions?  Where are the personal faults and self destructive tendencies of our heroes?  Where are the clash of wills, the grand romances, the small moments of humor and heart?  Well… scattered to the wind, apparently.

I had a lot of time to kill, so I watched it all.  Every stinking episode.  I confess I napped quite frequently and didn’t seem to miss a thing.  There are better sageuks.  Far better.

Overall Rating – 6.5/10.  An Echo Chamber of Worn Cliches.

Special shout out to Kim Sang-Ho – who played a devious, funny merchant.  I got him.  His character made sense – his ambitions, his life, his personality – there were no question marks around his motivations.

Review – Angel Eyes

Review – Angel Eyes

A perfect, classic romantic melodrama!  I say classic in that it got everything right – the pacing, the tropes, the love triangles, the side characters, the mysteries, the music (was stellar, great soundtrack), and the sigh inducing love story.  Just…  Achingly romantic story of first love… overcoming an obscene amount of obstacles – just thrown at them one by one.  Oh, the drama!  Oh, the tears!  Oh, the ridiculous joyously fun circles of coincidence and fate and connections.  God, I love melodramas.  It’s my favorite genre, so when I find a great melodrama it’s like a gift addressed to me.  Romantic melodramas are my favorite of course, because then you have the painful separations, the smoldering, the aching between two people as they are yanked apart over and over.  Sigh.  I ate that mess up.  Plus this drama balanced out all the sadness with lots of light hearted moments, comedy, exciting work stories, side stories, and more.  It was so well rounded!  I adored it!

This drama had two attractive leads:  Lee Sang Yoon was mesmerizing as the die hard for love… it was impossible not to fall head over heels in love with this guy… and Gu Hye Sun was adorable, plucky, and proved she could also bring it to the melodrama table with some outstanding emotional performances.  I also loved the teen versions of these two, whose story took place in the first two episodes.  Kang Ha-Neul and Nam Ji-Hyun were sooo cute together.

Overall Rating – 10/10.  Organ Donors Are Confidential For A Reason.

More About Angel Eyes and Why It Is Amazing (with spoilers spoilers)

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