I can’t believe I’m watching a k-drama. It’s been what, 4 years? I can’t even remember lol. To be honest I’m not a fan of k-dramas, mostly because they always recycle their plots and I can never finish them. Yes, I can finish a 80 episode c-drama but not a 26 episode k-drama. Shows how much I dislike k-dramas, lol. But the reason why I’m watching Scarlet Heart Ryeo comes from a conversation I had with a friend of mine. We were discussing the differences between Bu Bu Jing Xin (the original c-drama) and Scarlet Heart Ryeo. Realising the futility of the conversation, since neither of us has actually watched both. We decided that I, the Bu Bu Jing Xin is to watch Ryeo while she is to watch BBJX. I wonder if she’ll actually do it though since BBJX, being a c-drama is like twice the number of episodes as SHR. But I’ve decided to give SHR a try since my many-year k-drama hiatus and here is my first impression. I don’t normally do first impressions since I can’t be bothered and normally I’d want to quickly know what’s happened next rather than blog about it. But with SHR I just felt like I should. Don’t ask me why.
Since the series is adapted from the same novel by Tong Hua as BBJX, I can expect the plot and characters to be vastly similar. Yet SHR manages to distinctly differentiate itself from BBJX (whether in a good or bad way it’s too early to tell). Unlike BBJX, SHR is very fast-paced for a period drama and also adopts a much more lively tone. It’s only after watching this first episode of SHR that I realised how slowly paced BBJX really is, lol. To think I thought it was pretty fast already. But maybe it’s because I watched BBJX right after finishing Legend of Zhen Huan. In SHR, the shots are cut quickly one after another with no time to linger and the characters are quickly introduced. The visuals are also really pretty. I’m especially obsessed with the first scene at the park where Ha Jin (IU) drowns and is transported back to the past. The shots are done so beautifully and quite poetically as well. With the sun and the moon and water…so pretty!
feels as if you’re transported into another world
There’s also some fanservice ala the usual hotspring/bathing scene so often used in ecchi or shounen genres. Except instead of little girls with boobs, we see loads of hotties and their pecs. Damn.
The characters are also vastly different as compared to the ones in BBJX. Mainly, Ha Jin/Hae Soo who is more timid and even naive as compared to Zhang Xiao/Ruo Xi who immediately knows the dangers of living in the palace. The 4th prince is also really different in that Yin Zhen is more cold and slightly moody but still kind while Wang So is practically feared by everyone, not to mention the scar on his face and the villainous mask he wears. In BBJX, we see the slow but tragic transformation of Yin Zhen from the kind but stoic 4th prince to the ruthless Emperor Yong Zheng. Since Wang So is already established as a (sort of) ruthless prince, I wonder how will his character develop. Since I’m not too sure about Korea’s history, I’m not sure how the story will go. I wouldn’t mind if the plot choose to stick to the original novel or strays away. Either way is fine as long as it’s good.
I think 8th prince remains largely the same, except I actually preferred the 8th prince in SHR than in BBJX. For some reason I always found Kevin Cheng’s Yin Si rather creepy and annoying. In fact I never liked him even till the end. I felt there was a lack of chemistry between Liu Shi Shi and Kevin Cheng that was made more obvious whenever she was onscreen with Nicky Wu. Guess now we know why. However with Wang Wook, I really really like him. He seems so sweet and so nice. The acting is good as well, full of subtle hints and gestures that spoke volumes. The chemistry between Wang Wook and Hae Soo was also pretty strong. That scene at the library (?) was so cute! Damn. It’s nowonder k-dramas are so well-known for its romance. But they kind of ruined it with all that close-ups being shoved into your face. Like pleaseeee omg. I find it so suffocating everytime a closeup comes up. Like I just want to push the screen away. But it’s still a cute scene though.
Wang Soo 😥
Then came that other scene with Wang So. The typical hero comes to the rescue on his horse and swoops the heroine in his arms. For some reason I didn’t throw up in this scene. In fact I really like it. The chemistry between Wang So and Hae Soo was intense! Maybe because I have a thing for villainy guys like Wang So. LOL. That mask…omg….hot. Now I can’t wait to see how they’ll progress! But of course Wang Wook comes first. I doubt they’ll do a bromance thing between Hae Soo and SHR’s 13th prince like they did with Ruo Xi and Yin Xiang. I can’t imagine Hae Soo drinking soju with one leg propped up lololol. She’s too pretty and feminine.
IU is so prettyyyy
I noticed the style of dialogue seemed quite modern but since I can’t speak Korean I can’t tell. At least with BBJX I could tell from the speech and even the manner of speaking. Period c-drama women tend to be more genteel and spoke softly without using too much gestures while the men has this way of speaking that is characteristic of period dramas. I’m not too sure about Korean period dramas but the dialogue sounded wayyyyy too modern for me. And they didn’t do much to establish the ancient world of Korea but I guess with just 26 episodes, there’s only so much you can establish.
Overall, it took a while to get used to the pace and style of SHR but aside from the too-modern dialogue and extreme closeups, I’m actually liking SHR a lot more than I thought I would. The series may have start off with a lighthearted tone but I wonder if it’ll adopt a darker tone once they start honing in on the politics. I’m really looking forward to this!