Tag Archives: japan

Youtube Debut: GenNext’s Response to Find Your Love in Japan’s “3 Questions A Japanese Guy Has For Black People in the US”

13 May

Hello readers!

This is GenNext letting you all know that I’ve opened a Youtube channel that puts my words to voice!

My Youtube Channel will not replace my blog at all. I feel the blog is more effective when it comes to getting my words across. However, it will be useful when I’m trying to respond to certain topics or when I feel something needs to be expressed vocally.

Lately, my first video posts have been to a Japanese man named Nobita from the Youtube channel Find Your Love in Japan. Several months ago, he posed THREE questions for black people. Being an African American myself, I felt that I needed to respond.

As a warning, his perception of black people isn’t very pleasant. I believe he’s reacting to some hate comments he’s received from prior videos about black people.

Even though I’m just now responding, I do feel that the delay was necessary. I feel that in order to change someone’s perception and to educate people on who you are and what you stand for, you have to think clearly and thoroughly about it.

As with everything I do, it’s lengthy. XD I felt that I needed to go into detail to answer his questions fully.

Here’s his video:

 

Here’s MY response:

My Comments Regarding His Thoughts on Black People and Racism…

 

Question 1: Why are [Black People in the US] So Obsessed with the Past?

 

Question 1 (Part 2): Why are [Black People in the US] So Obsessed with the Past?

 

Question 2: Why Do [Black People in the US] Avoid Facing Facts?

 

Question 3: Why Do [Black People in the US] Threaten People Who Disagree With [them]? Why Do [Black People in the US] Get Violent?

 

So let me know what you all think about this discussion. If you were able to read and listen, I thank you. You are free to comment and give your thoughts (but of course, I’m free to respond). Open thoughts are welcome!

I may not be able to respond to everyone right away (because of life), but I will eventually get to you, so hold tight!

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Drama Fever: Introduction + Hana Kimi/To the Beautiful You #dramafever

8 Apr

Introduction 

*You can skip the introduction if you don’t want to read all of this.*

Many of you might think that I am a bit of a Weeaboo, a Koreaboo, and a bit of a Sinophile. I understand that these people are not looked upon very kindly by the public. These people are considered those guilty of “cultural appropriation”. Basically, people look at them as individuals who “think” they are Asian, but are not. :/ To some people, my obsession over Korean entertainment, my personal critical reviews of other cultural art and perspectives, may seem offensive.

Sure, I love J-pop, K-pop, and some C-pop. I even watch dramas from many Asian countries. I do own two Chinese-style dresses and a Chinese-style modern top. I enjoy cosplay of my favorite characters from my favorite video game Kingdom Hearts. I hope to learn at least one Asian language in my life-time or visit an Asian country. I am fascinated by Japanese and Chinese history. I’m new to Korean history and more familiar with their modern pop culture.

Hallyu Wave

But this actually goes for any culture. I enjoy music and shows from France, New Zealand, Tanzania, Peru, Turkey, and many other countries. I am fascinated with Turkey and it’s Topkapi Palace. You can literally say…I LOVE THE WORLD. ❤

If you want my honest opinion, I am not racist. I am an African American who doesn’t think my culture is superior to another person’s. And I don’t get offended when people want to adapt a part of my culture. I actually feel flattered. I see culture as something universal, not something “owned” or “exclusive”, like I’m in some snobbish exclusive club. Cultures have and always will change. Women in many countries have adapted American styles of dress, like wearing jeans and skirts, using westernized mobile phone devices, and other westernized products. You can say these people are trying to be American, but some of these items make life more convenient for others. It does not offend me to see a Korean girl wearing a pair of jeans…It does not offend me to see a girl wearing hip-hop clothing…

But of course, other people will not see it my way.

I treat all entertainment as if they are all the same. I treat it all as if it came from the same country. I am a firm believer in cross-cultural fertilization.  I believe people are the same everywhere; no matter what culture, each person is their OWN individual. There are things that I like and dislike about all cultures, including my own, but I do not think one culture is superior to another. We all have faults…

So why am I saying all of this? Well, because I’m about to go on a looooonggg spill about some Asian dramas I’ve been watching. I don’t want to offend anyone if my remarks seem harsh, judgmental, or a bit blunt. I really have nothing negative to say, but I may say some things that these cultures may find inappropriate.

I love Asian entertainment, but I don’t know everything about Asia. I was born and raised a black American. I do not know the ins and outs of each culture. All I know are people, and people are various. I also know myself, and for the sake of this blog, that’s all I can be.

I used to be one of those uber-obsessed people. At one time, I even wanted to live in Asia. I used to look at Asia as a Utopia, a way for me to escape my weirdness in school, my feelings of being an outcast, and of not really fitting into my complete African American community very well. I was always open-minded, but constantly tormented for being different. Asia seemed like a place I could escape all of my troubles. It seemed like a place that would accept me. First off, it was on the other side of the Earth from where I lived. Second, there was a certain innocence and purity within the cultures that made me happy.

But sooner or later, as I became an adult, I actually met people who lived in my favorite Asian countries and learned that, again, people are people, where ever you go. There are mean people everywhere; there is no escaping that. And I learned that there are social rules and laws in Asian cultures that would not be ideal for me. But I met some really nice friends from other countries, too. Particularly in Korea, I met a friend that told me her brother was going to be drafted soon. My friendship with her taught me the most about Korea. I no longer see Asian countries as Utopias, but real places that REAL people live in.

Still, it would be fun to take a trip and visit some of my friends, eat foreign foods, and get lost in a new city within a new country… (to add, really learn a new language fluently).

I’m a little nervous about actually visiting Asian countries though. For starters, I like to feel like I can be myself. My friend (and other bloggers) have stressed the importance of manners in Asian countries. I have a bad feeling I will screw up and make the people around me hate me…Unless, someone is forgiving. Of course, going to a new country, you can’t completely be yourself. You have to consider the social etiquette of the land. This is very frustrating for me…and nerve-wrecking. I am not good at remembering things. I know I will forget something..

I am also afraid to share my interests in Asian entertainment and fashion. I don’t want the people there to think I’m making fun of them. I want to have something in common and I like what I like. Maybe that’s American of me? :/ I don’t want them to think I’m stereo-typing…

Anyway…

I will be watching many dramas from around the world for the next two months. Mostly, I’ll be watching Asian dramas and discussing them with my readers.

The Hana Kimi Adaptations

Last week, I became really sick with a fever. I could hardly get out of bed for two days. So, I was stuck at home. Being bored at home, I caught another kind of fever. This time it was a good fever. I got “drama fever”. That’s right. I became addicted to dramas.

I tapped into my Netflix and got whatever movies I could get. I also became addicted to Japanese, Chinese, and Korean dramas.

The latest dramas that caught my interest were the many adaptations of Hana Kimi. Hana Kimi (or Hanazakari no Kimitachi e) is a popular Japanese manga series. It was adapted into drama first by Taiwan, then by Japan twice, and then Korea.

hana kimi

Hana Kimi focuses on the story of a young American female (Ashiya Mizuki) who admires a high-jumping athlete (Sano Izumi) that she happens to spot on TV. Somehow, his jumping inspires her to want to meet him in person. She’s determined to see him high-jump. So, she signs herself up to the all-boys’ school her idol attends and pretends to be a boy. She somehow becomes her idol’s roommate, which greatly affects their relationship throughout the story. He’s not the easiest to live with…But eventually, she melts his cold exterior.

She’s not good at acting like a boy, and is considered a ditz with a cheerful personality (not uncommon in anime and manga series). This is why it was so easy for the school physician to notice right off that she was a girl. The physician becomes a good friend of the lead character, and shows a supportive role in helping her keep her secret. There are many others who discover her secret throughout. She’s not good at hiding her feelings, especially when she likes someone. She’s impulsive and easily angered by remarks made toward the people she cares about.

Along her journey as a boy, she meets some new friends. The first friend she becomes acquainted with is an extroverted soccer champion (Shuichi Nakatsu). He eventually starts to develop feelings for the lead girl, which leads to him questioning his sexuality (because she is disguised as a boy). He gets her adjusted to school and introduces her to some of his friends. He becomes a love rival throughout the story.

The school is divided by three dorms. Mizuki, the lead girl, is a part of Dorm 2. Many of her closest friends reside in the same Dormitory.

I happened to watch all of the adaptations. I didn’t watch in any particular order. I watched according to whatever series I found out about first. Though all were adaptations, of course, they were not all alike. Each story had something charming that maybe another story did not have. Some stories stayed more true to the manga than others.

Guidelines:

The genre of this series is romantic/comedy. I am very skeptical of the romantic genre when it comes to manga or dramas. For starters, I’m not a romantic person. I think it’s mushy and to watch it makes me want to puke. It’s very hard for me to get into a romantic story, and when I do, it’s hard to keep my interest. BUT what really turns me off about the romantic genre stories are the following things:

1) Love triangles-I really, really dislike love triangles, especially when it’s involving the main character. I get it. They are supposed to make the story interesting. But for me, all they do is confuse me and make me change my mind about a romantic situation. As someone who is deeply compassionate, I always side with the underdog lover in these “triangles”, and more often than not, that “underdog” is not the main love interest. There are very few stories that turn out the way I want them to. Often, I feel dissatisfied with romantic stories. This was my problem with Twilight…Love triangles do not suit my mentality.

This is especially so if the main love interest is a douche with a bunch of other girls crawling all over him, while the “nice person” or the humble person is finishing last. These kinds of triangles irk me.

I also have a problem with love interests who are unimportant to the overall story. It’s irksome when they outshine someone who is actually important to the development of the story (Ran vs Haibara from Detective Conan would be an example). When a rival character is more important to the story, the development between the main character and the love rival will be even more interesting.

There are only a few distinct ways I can accept a love triangle.

First, I can accept a love triangle if the love rival receives a more interesting love interest than the main character. And this rarely happens.

I can also accept a love triangle if the love rival is completely idiotic, with poorly developed feelings, and a shallow outlook. For instance, all of the love rivals in Ranma ½ were complete fools with mostly bad intentions. This made Ranma and Akane such a well-developed pair, even if they were rather predictable.

I can accept a douche love rival if his story is well-developed and/or his change is so drastic it affects the events in the story. Hana Yori Dango is an example.

My favorite romance story is Cardcaptor Sakura’s Sakura and Syaoran. No romantic story has been able to top it in my book. The manga had hardly any love triangles. But everything turned out unexpected in the end. I never thought the main character would receive the sullen, raggly, uncool  Syaoran as a lover.

Peach Girl also impressed upon me.

2) I dislike a boring, predictable relationship-I don’t like those stories where you already know who will be the love interest in the end. I don’t like when characters fall in love “at first sight”. I don’t like smooth betrothals that turn out peachy in the end (unless the two really hate each other at first). I don’t like when love is predictable. Even though in real life, a predictable kind of love is a beautiful thing, it is not really entertaining in a show.

I also dislike boring or uninteresting partners. If one of those love interests are boring, dull, or too cool, I’m bored. I like people that the audience would least expect to be the love interest.

I don’t hate beautiful/handsome people, but if they have no personality beyond good looks, I do not approve of it. It’s not enough to throw a love rival in there. That doesn’t make a RELATIONSHIP interesting, that makes a story more interesting. But if the love rival is not around, and the relationship seems less interesting than when the rival was around, I can’t enjoy it.

People say a person is entitled to like who they like, but this is a story. It doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it or watch it. It doesn’t mean I won’t have preferences.

Unfortunately, Hana Kimi had many elements that irritated me. It had love triangles, so of course I sided with the underdog as usual. The main love interest was a cool, dull, douche…The exact types I dislike. The main romance story was predictable. The main relationship was boring to me and I found myself skipping all of the scenes that overdid their relationship.

But the story itself was interesting…

The thing that makes me a little iffy is the motivation. A girl, traveling all the way to a foreign country, for some complete stranger that she saw on television high-jumping….And she thinks she’s in love now? And this romance actually works? Despite the fact that she was trying to deceive him by lying and pretending to be a boy? What kind of relationship begins with deception? She’s basically a stalker fan, and rather than being sweet and endearing, it’s a little creepy and frightening that someone would even try this. Don’t try this at home, kids. The best part about dreaming about an idol is never knowing who they really are and keeping the dream alive. Trust me. Not every idol is going to turn out as receptive as Izumi Sano. In fact, most won’t, especially if you try to deceive them.

The Japanese versions do a better job in explaining away this obsession, but the other adaptations, especially the Taiwanese version, do not.

Anyway…

This article is a review of the adaptations I’ve watched.

*The Following Review May Contain Spoilers*

To the Beautiful You (Korean Version 2012)

hana kimi to the beautiful you (1)

This was the first one I watched. Being a fan of f(x), I wanted to watch Sulli act in this drama series. I was introduced to the Hana Kimi series through this drama.

Of all the adaptations, I felt this movie version was the most different from the original story. In many ways, the differences made it better, but in other ways, the differences made the story worse.

First, the story mostly focuses on the athletic Dorm 2 and hardly gives the other dorms any attention or development. Second, many characters that were supposed to be friends of the main character were omitted or combined with other characters. Third, many personalities and relationships were changed. Because this was the first one I watched, I didn’t realize how different it was from the original. But without knowing the original, it wasn’t hard to figure that something was missing…

The setting was ritzier than the other adaptations. The dining area showed wealth and the dorms actually looked up-scale. The dorm room Jae-Hee stays in has two beds. One has a winding staircase leading to almost another room. It’s a more advanced bunk-bed of sorts. The bathrooms even look bigger in the Korean version compared to the other adaptations. It was quite an elite-looking school.

Pros: The story was so engaging. I would say the Korean story was more entertaining than the others. There were serious and dramatic moments that made me want to know what was going to happen next. The Korean version was also a bit more realistic in presenting its school and dormitory than the other adaptations. Jae-Hee was required to bring transfer papers in order to enroll in the school. The other adaptations did not go into detail how the girls were able to enroll in the schools without transfer papers…The Korean version didn’t have the sense of exaggeration that the other versions had. This version was also more modern.

Goo Jae-Hee (Korea’s Ashiya Mizuki) is very cute and lovable. She was so cute that it was believable when random people would find out her identity and when random guys would fall in love with her.

She was careless, but not quite as dumb as some of the other girls in other adaptations (though she was still dumb). There was one scene, a dangerous scene, where she was caught in a car with a stranger. This girl had enough sense to notify someone by phone and was strong enough to fight for her life.

This version, out of all the other versions, focused the most on the romantic story.

I was also happy that f(x) songs were sprinkled throughout the show. F(x) are my baes. I was happy to see Sulli in her glorious lead moment.

Cons: They can stick Shinee’s Minho (Kang Tae-Joon) and f(x)’s Sulli (Jae-hee) in the same room. They can throw in little scenes with Minho taking off his shirt. They can try to over-emphasize the relationship between the two supposed love interests with random scenes of them falling on top of each other every chance they get…And I still did not think they belonged together. I tried my best to be team Minsul…and I just couldn’t hang.

First, of all the love interests in other adaptations, Tae-Joon was a complete butthole. Cha Eun-gyeol (played by Lee Hyun-woo), the supposed love rival, was the main character’s first friend. He was kind to the main character. He helped her feel welcome. When Tae-joon was acting like a jerk and making Jae-hee cry, who was there? Eun-gyeol was there. When Tae-joon left Jae-hee under the stars to run back to the city, who was there with Jae-hee? Eun-gyeol was there.

Eun-gyeol also struggled the most with his feelings, thinking he was gay, and really considering his feelings seriously. I was so impressed with him that moment he found the courage to admit that he loved Jae-hee (thinking she’s a boy), even risking his reputation, considering how homophobic some people can be. He said, “Girl or Guy, I love her”. I felt this character TRULY loved the main character from the inside. In my opinion, he was the strongest character in the series.

And yet, I feel like the lead girl just stomped all over his heart. Even when she gave him a chance, she rudely contacted Tae-Joon while on a date with him. I understand you don’t love him, but don’t agree to go on a date and then contact another man. That’s not even a friendly thing to do. I honestly lost all respect for this character after that. I felt that she was caught up in the glory of being around her idol, but it just didn’t feel like true love to me. It felt like an infatuation with an ideal dream…But not real.

To me, Tae-Joon only started to like her AFTER he found out she was a girl and after he found out that she was there for him. To me, he only loved the attention. Everything else sounded like BS. Eun-gyeol saw what was special about her from the very beginning.

The manga can try and pull that “he was just attracted to her femininity” crap when it comes to Shuichi Nakatsu. I don’t buy it in the Korean adaptation. I, in fact, think Tae-joon (Korea’s Izumi Sano) was just attracted to her because she was a girl and loved having the attention. But I did not think he had the same chemistry with the lead girl as Eun-gyeol.

For this reason, I did not like the main love story. They spent way too much time developing the love rival’s moments with the lead girl. That really prevented me from connecting with the main love story.

Another thing that was really distracting to me was the fact that there truly was nothing boyish about Jae-hee. She, in fact, never even tried to act like a boy. Aside from being super tall, unlike the other adaptations, and having a short hair cut, her personality was just too feminine. I’m surprised that people throughout the story couldn’t even figure it out. I feel that the director should’ve made sure that Sulli (the actress) tried to act more masculine. The Japanese and Taiwanese version recognized this a little more.

I suppose boyish girls are so rare in Korea, girls can get away with being a boy as long as they just dress like one…

And they didn’t even do a good job of developing a motivation for the lead girl. Her reasons for going to an all-boys’ school was even more suspicious than the others. They tried to say she had heard that Tae-joon stopped high-jumping because of an injury and that she just wanted to see him high-jump. But it was clear she was trying to persuade the boy to fall in love with her. Her intentions were really unclear throughout the whole show. I dislike a woman who is not direct with her feelings, especially when she uses deception to win someone over rather than being honest. It’s not fair to anyone and I just couldn’t support a relationship that was developed from that. It is annoying.

The final thing I disliked about this version was the fact that most of the main characters from the manga, some of my favorite characters, were completely omitted. Many of my least favorite characters were added, such as the lead girl’s “first love”. Remember I said I disliked love triangles? Well, I dislike love squares even more…

I disliked the fact that some characters that were considered gay in the manga were either changed or had poor, unhappy endings in the Korean version. I guess it just shows their conservatism.

Overall, this was one of my least favorite adaptations and not because it was a bad series. In fact, the series itself was probably told the best in this adaptation. I just hated the ending and how they changed the characters. I left feeling a little unsatisfied.  First, they pulled a Pretty in Pink on me when it came to Jae-Hee and Eun-gyeol.  Then, the ending failed to show the main character’s connection with the school like the other versions did. She solely seemed interested in Tae-Joon and showed hardly any development between other students. Thus, in the end, she didn’t feel like she belonged there. She just left with poor feelings and never even graduated with the other students. I didn’t feel her connection with the other cast members, so I wondered why they were even in the story.

Characters of mention:

Eun-gyeolIt’s hard to miss him. He’s lively, friendly, and active. He’s also handsome. His struggle with his feelings makes him an interesting character to look out for and really makes the story worth watching. I feel he transforms the most throughout the series, even changing his hair.

Director JangDespite the fact that she was never in the original story, I felt her presence held weight. To me, she almost seemed like a second mother to Tae-Joon. She’s his manager, and manages many sports affairs. She is a reflection of idol life in Korea.

Seol Ha-naA girl who begins as an aggressive pursuer of Tae-Joon’s, she seems a little annoying at first. But as the series progresses, she shows remarkable intelligence and strength. She’s definitely a character that is memorable.

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: Ikemen Paradise (Japanese version 2007)

hana kimi to the beautiful you (2)

The Japanese version is pretty close to the manga, but many things were changed here, too. Many characters and events were omitted, but no personalities were changed. The Japanese version was more exaggerated and comical in the acting style. Most Japanese dramas are like this, especially if there are comical characters in the series.

The setting seemed to be in an old, rustic western style school. It was surrounded by gardens and statues reflecting a calm spirit surrounding the school. The dorms weren’t extremely big and the main character slept in a loft of sorts. Compared to the Korean version, it had more natural surroundings.

The classrooms are ridiculously large for a high school…

Shun Oguri plays in this drama as Sano Izumi…He usually plays “cool, handsome” roles. I remember him from the dramas Detective Conan and Boys Over Flowers.

Pros: I liked that the story actually developed the relationship between the main character and the other students. The cast is large in this series, and yet, each character had a life of their own. At first, I couldn’t see any character being developed in-depth because of the large cast. But I realized that was the lovable part about the Japanese adaptation. The characters were shallow, but they were fun and lively. Eventually, I began to see Mizuki (the main character) as a part of the school. She formed a close relationship with many of the characters, not just Izumi Sano and Shuichi Nakatsu. I liked that she eventually wanted to stay for more than just Sano. She grew to love all of the friends she’d made at the school. The strong bond the cast felt shined in the series, and it made the ending a tear-jerker.

I liked how supportive the school was in the end.

And who couldn’t like the scene where the school broke out as cheerleaders and began dancing to Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend”. XD Completely worth it.

Cons: There are very few cons for me. The thing that I felt was bittersweet was the relationship between Izumi Sano and Ashiya Mizuki. Again, there were moments where I just couldn’t ship him together with Mizuki. Nakatsu also interfered with my interest in this love story but not as bad as in the Korean version.

Both Nakatsu and Sano started off as jerks. Really, all the boys were a bit rowdy when Mizuki first came to the school. So, either one was fine with me.

Still, in the end, I hated the Nakatsu was the one hurt. He had the hardest time expressing his feelings. The difference is he found out she was a girl much sooner than the character in the Korean version.

The girl they tried to pin Nakatsu with (I guess so a rejection wouldn’t feel as bad with the audience) was dull and showed no chemistry with him, but at least a girl showed interest in him. Even in the special episode, she continued to give him chocolates and express her love. Poor Eun-gyeol in the Korean version got a girl who hadn’t seen him in years, which made for an awkward relationship that hardly developed.

The characters were a bit shallow and one-dimensional. Some characters were pointless. I would have liked some characters to be developed more, especially in Dorm 3.

There were also some pretty offensive things sprinkled without. I understand one scene was trying to put on an act, but the use of” black face” cloak in order to pretend to be a black person, along with disheveled Afros (they could have at least combed it), was just offensive.

But there was one scene where they actually had a real African American man named Bob.

And why does Japan always portray foreigners from America, especially White Americans, as having blonde hair? In the special episode, Mizuki’s foreign friend is seen sporting blonde hair. Basically, she’s supposed to be half Japanese and half White. But most mixed children still carry the dominant genes…

The actress looked like a Japanese girl with a wig on…

Overall, I enjoyed this version and would watch it again.

Characters of mention:

Namba Minami-They cast a very handsome man to play him. He is in fact one of the best looking characters. His affinity for women is one thing, but the fact that he has a strong serious side and surprisingly protects the main character and his fellow dorm mates like a big brother throughout the series makes him a character worth mentioning.

Kayashima Taiki-The man who can see spirits and detect auras. Pay attention to him. He knows a lot more than he lets on.

Sekime Kyogo-He seems like a quiet presence, but his presence is also powerful. In this drama, he was actually Mizuki’s first REAL friend. While the other dorm members were going crazy trying to recruit her to their dorm activities, or teasing her and treating her as insignificant, Sekime calmly listened to her woes and introduced her to what the school had to offer. She, in fact, found out what dorm Sano was in through him. Throughout the series, he also showed himself to be a supportive friend of Sano’s.

Nakao Senri-Probably the only completely openly gay character in this adaptation. His feelings for Namba Minami motivate his character. At first, he was the main character’s rival because he saw her as a threat to his reputation as the school “idol” (since he considers himself cute and adorable). But there was one moment in the series where he and Mizuki really bonded and connected. I really enjoyed that scene.

Dean Kitahama-A scary presence in the story. Though his moment was brief, he left an impression on my mind. His anger with what happened in his past really made me interested in him as a character. He isn’t initially likable and misunderstood.

Principal Tsubaki-She was never really a character in the original manga, but she should have been. I noticed one thing about all of these adaptations…We never met the principal of these schools. Isn’t that strange? Well, colleges don’t really have principals, so the Taiwanese version is excused.

Hanazakarino Kimitachihe (Taiwanese Version 2006)

hana kimi taiwan

Of all the adaptations, this was probably the most comical (rather than exaggerated silliness). I felt that this version reflected the manga better than the Korean version. Well, it was the first adaptation. But there were differences from the manga as well.

First off, this version did not take place in high school but in college. Most of the students were 19 years old and older. Basically, they’re all adults.

Second, this adaptation also focused mainly on Dorm 2.

Despite the fact that all of the characters are older, they actually act much younger than those in the other adaptations.

The setting is just like any normal college. Each dorm has a bunk bed and a bathroom. The rooms are very small. It is implied that the school is on a strict budget. Nan makes it clear that the food is not too tasty and that the students have to shower early because the hot water turns off at a certain time.

Pros: Ella Chen was the perfect girl to be cast as the lead female character. She did well in portraying the ditzy character while still maintaining a “boyishness”. Really, she actually looked like a boy. Ella Chen is from the girl group S.H.E. and she is known for her androgynous looks. It’s not surprising she was given this role. I was really satisfied with her portrayal and felt that she conveyed the strongest personality of all the girls cast for the lead role.

What kills me is that almost everyone in this version can almost guess she’s a girl more than in the other adaptations, but she looks the most like a boy than the other girls! Oh, the irony. If she wasn’t such a twat, I would’ve never guessed she was a girl.

While in this role, Lu Rui Xi was portrayed as an energetic, but impulsive girl. That was handled well in this adaptation. She was a little feisty in this role, but didn’t know how to pick and choose her battles well. She had the second greatest personality in this series (next to Xiu Yi).

I really enjoyed all of the characters in this show. They didn’t really add every character from the manga, but they did put in the most important characters. I felt the lead girl developed a strong relationship with her fellow dorm members.

Jin Xiu Yi provided a lot of color to the story and made it extra enjoyable.

What I liked most about the story was the fact that Jin Xiu Yi was treated with better dignity than the other love rivals. Sure, he was in love with Rui Xi. But, of course, we knew she was not interested in him. In fact, she seemed rather annoyed by him. I’m glad they found him an even better love interest, one that made his relationship even better than the main love story. I would really like a separate story regarding Xiu Yi and his love interest.

However, Taiwan did the best of all the adaptations in developing the main love story. I really liked the sensible and perceptive Zuo Yi Quan (Izumi Sano). He wasn’t really a jerk, he was just quiet and to himself. He was a bit of a nerd who liked to read. And his tattoo on his right arm was just everything. ❤ He wasn’t arrogantly jealous like Tae-joon who really didn’t care about Eun-gyeol’s feelings. Quan was more perceptive and helpful.

Cons: The ending was bittersweet. There really isn’t anything I dislike about this version, but I wish it had ended a little different. It really left a cliff-hanger. Now, I want to see more. XD

Though I liked Ella Chen’s portrayal of the main character and felt she acted the most like the manga character, that is just it. She was really annoying in the manga. So, she was really annoying in this adaptation. She really had little clue how to act like a boy and play off the fact that she liked Quan. She also didn’t know how to pick and choose her battles carefully, so she wound up in situations she couldn’t even fight off. And who was the first person she screamed annoyingly for when she got herself in stupid situations? Quan.

I also wish Xiu Yi’s feelings had been taken seriously, but in the end, it all worked out.

I also want to point out that there were quite a few holes in the story and some scenes were just too forced or not explained. For instance, there was one scene in episode 6 where the main character is caught in a situation with a stranger and so must flee for her life. Of course, Quan, being Mr. Loverboy, saves her. He tries to carry her back home, but loses his footing. They end up isolated from others, far away from home, for hours, and the main character develops an illness. Now, by this time, all of the characters have shown that they have cell phones. Instead of using his cell phone or Riu Xi’s, he calls “Help!” over and over again. Not once did he look in his pocket to see if he had his cell phone or look in her pocket to see if she had hers. And okay, say he forgot his phone and maybe she did, too. Why wasn’t that explained? To me, it felt that the scene was put in there to build upon the romance between Quan and Rui Xi, but it was constructed poorly. It was confusing because clearly they both had cell phones…Therefore, it just didn’t feel natural. Maybe Quan wanted to get lost with her, but if he really cared about her, wouldn’t he want her to get home so she can get better? And maybe there was no signal…But these are guesses. It should have been explained.

To add, Xi Yi has a cell phone. While he was sitting at the house, waiting and worrying, why didn’t he call Rui Xi to see where she was? Why did no one suggest to call the missing teens by cell phone? They thought about calling the police but no one thought to call Quan or Rui Xi? It was simply unbelievable.

Just like it was unbelievable that no one went through Rui Xi’s school files. How was she able to enroll in the school? Who helped her forge papers and create a new identity? This was also not explained in the Japanese version.

But overall, the characters were entertaining and everyone lived happily ever after in the end. So what can I say, this version was my favorite. 😉 The story itself was over-comical, but it lifted my spirits.

Characters of Mention:

Lu Rui Xi-She was honestly a girl with a lot of personality. It is hard to forget her. Of all the girls, she showed the strongest individuality and made me fall in love with her. She wasn’t just a cute and pretty face. She was never sober and depressing. And unlike the other girls, she was the most honest with her intentions. They didn’t come up with some lame excuse for her. On the flip side, that also means her intentions were not pure. XD

Zuo Yi Quan-A hot body with a tattoo is one thing, but intelligence, practicality, and sensibility are whipped cream, sprinkles, with a cherry on top.

Jin Xiu Yi-Charming, lovable, and also with a big personality, he was bound to be a favorite of mine. This character comes across energetic and brave, but we also see moments where he is sensitive, caring, and supportive. I also admired his courage when he came out as “gay” (though not really). Watching him in action is very entertaining. He’s also handsome and has a sexy voice.

Mei Tian-Long-haired and sexy, this man is gay and proud. I’m very happy they did not try to change him. He wasn’t stereo-typically gay either. He is handsome, smart, and knows his craft. He was also a good guardian for the main character and got her out of many sticky situations. His portrayal was very interesting.

Da Shu-The man who can see spirits. He is really cute. I’m surprised no one pointed out how cute he was. He was not considered for the school pageant and I kept thinking…Man, he would look good in a dress.

Julia-Rui Xi’s feisty American friend. She is no stereotype. She is part Chinese and speaks fluent Chinese but also speaks English. In fact, she speaks in English often throughout her time in Taiwan. Of all the adaptations, this was the only one that developed Julia as a character. I like her voice.

Shen Le-Initially an irritating butthole who reveals more to him than expected.

Yang Yang-Of all the adaptations of Senri Nakao, he is the perfect depiction of cute. The other guys in other adaptations believed they were cute, but umm…No. This guy is really cute. He’s quite sweet, but has a vindictive side to him.

Wu Wan Juan-A sports journalist who focuses on Quan’s success as a high jumper. She wrote under the pen name “KK” and is actually where the lead character got all of her information. She has an interesting but pretty face. Despite her eagerness to get the scoop, she revealed a moral side.

Yuan Qiu Ye-A mysterious and yet strange photographer. He is quite perceptive and talented. He fascinates me.

Wang Tian Si-Leader of Dormitory 1, he seems mostly like a meat-head character, but he is a character who fights fairly and takes responsibility. I can honestly say I respect him.

Man, there are so many characters that I loved in this adaptation.

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: Ikemen Paradise (Japanese version 2011)

hana kimi to the beautiful you (1)

So Japan decided it would be a good idea to remake Hana Kimi for a modern audience.  But the only thing more modern about this version was the cast and setting. For 2011, it wasn’t over-emphasized with new technology, which was surprising. I didn’t understand why this new version was even made.

But since it was…I gave it a try.

This version was similar to the original, though not as exaggerated and more dramatic.

Someone decided that an Akb48 member should be cast as the lead. That proved interesting.

The setting was just like the original: An old, western-style school with old dormitories. Each dormitory has two beds and a loft of sorts. The difference between this version and the original is that the school was even more worn-down and falling apart. Literally. The plumbing was screwed, students were falling through the floor, and it needed a paint job badly. Still, the students love the school. I’m not sure if the school improved, but apparently the students continued to stay there, despite its flaws.

Pros: Ashiya Mizuki’s role was less annoying than the others. Maybe because she just couldn’t get away with acting dumb like the other girls in other adaptations. With the other girls, it felt that their selfish actions were handled too delicately (I mean a girl sneaks in a school to meet her idol, deceives everyone, and tosses feelings aside for her own selfish feelings…for a guy she hardly knows? And hardly recognizes the dangers? Unbelievable). But in this version, much sooner than the others, she recognized when it was time for her to take her leave more than once. And really, it made her character a little more tolerable (I really despise the ditzy female characters in anime, but especially when she gets away with everything).

Unlike the other girls, she actually met this guy before and had a decent conversation with him. She actually formed a friendship prior to the story. It wasn’t too unbelievable when she wanted to meet him again.

I also liked how well she connected with the rest of the cast, which was just like the original version. They didn’t take that away from the story like the Korean version did.

All of the characters were just as lively and colorful as in the original, and many were better interpretations of the characters.

Though this was 2011, it had a timeless, classic feel that I appreciated.

Cons: This version did a very poor job of developing the relationship between Ashiya Mizaki and Sano Izumi. I thought the Korean version was bad. This one beat the Korean version as having the least developed romance of all the adaptations. And the Korean version wasn’t even poorly developed, just not as developed as the friendship. At least in the Korean version Tae-Joon made many efforts to express his interest in the main character. Sano Izumi never expressed any sort of interest whatsoever besides him yelling at her out of jealousy or anger. He never bought her anything. He never even kissed her properly. There were hardly any romantic moments between them. Most of the times, he made the lead character sad. But oh no. She’ll put up with anything. She’s a martyr. She’s humble and submissive. Somehow, some way, she can just tell that his feelings are sincere (though he never makes clear these “imaginary feelings”). Whenever he gets mad at her, she likes to blame herself because she seems to think his feelings matter more than her own.

Shuichi Nakatsu hit it on the nail many times. Their feelings were TOO reserved. So reserved, in fact, I felt she had an abuse syndrome of some sort. The guy was nothing but mean to her. He never supported her at all. All she did was support him. It just didn’t even feel worth it to me. It felt dull.

And here she has a man, Nakatsu, who is willing to make her happy. She has a man beside her who cries when she cries and laughs when she laughs. And yet, she falls in love with Mr. Reserved and Mr. Shallow. And I know a girl can’t help her feelings, but isn’t she an example of why so many girls end up heart-broken and deceived? Because they blindly go after men that are not good for them, that harm them emotionally. This is another case of the “nice guy finishing last”. Looking at this story, I believe the saying is true. She was in love with a bad boy, a mean guy, the guy she couldn’t have, the idol that all the girls wanted, the complicated one. Not the guy who was determined to protect her, oh no. How dumb can she be?

Still, it didn’t make it any better that Nakatsu never received a proper love interest. I think the original girl that dated him was cute but dull. Nakatsu has such a large personality. He needs someone who makes things more interesting, not someone who dries him up.

Speaking of Nakatsu, I felt this guy received way too much air-time. I mean, he was in every scene. He almost seemed more important than Sano Izumi. He also carried strong leadership abilities…There are hints that these abilities led him to being a part of the “Sakura Committee”. He was always the one motivating everyone and trying to get everyone to smile. And who did that for him? No one. But at least the main character recognized her selfishness, unlike in the other versions.

Another thing that possibly contributed to a poor development of the main love story was the lack of time. In the beginning, everything seemed rushed. The main character’s connection with the school happened fast. Nakatsu’s confession occurred too soon. But unfortunately, Sano and Ashiya’s relationship didn’t happen fast enough. This could be because there were only 11 episodes. Still, it made the story a bit bland and superficial. I couldn’t connect with this version as well as the others, though I still teared up at the end (more than I can say about the Korean version).

What ultimately disturbed me was how they brought back ONE cast member from the old series from Hibari 4. I was happy to see her, but she seemed out of place in a sea of new faces. I placed her with the old cast. Her chemistry with them was so strong; I couldn’t understand why she was even put in this version.

Characters of Mention:

Nakatsu: His energetic personality shines in any version, but in this version, he had an even stronger presence. His leadership abilities were made evident in this adaptation.

Namba-Sempai-As dormitory leader, he always catches my attention in the Japanese adaptations. Even when unexpected things are thrown his way, he keeps a cool head and looks over the dorm like a big brother.

Taiki Kayashima-He’s always interesting, but in this version of the adaptation he was more than just a weirdo. He was the voice of reason and wisdom. He gave many of the characters advice almost like an adult figure. His abilities to see spirits and read the auras of people had more of a purpose in this adaptation and I’m glad they made him more useful. He took the place of Dr. Hokuto Umeda in many instances, who often usually gave the main character advice in other adaptations.

Nakao Senri-Much cuter than usual…In fact, he could also pass for a girl. He was just as short as the main character, so she had no need to feel awkward in that regard. He had striking dimples that made him noticeable.

Kyogo Sekime-He was more than just a friend in this version. He was someone with his own trials and challenges as well as victories. He was also one of the only people Sano Izumi actually smiled at. He hardly smiled at Ashiya Mizuki.

Hanayashiki Hibari-Guess who is back to reprise her role as St. Blossom’s fierce leader? Yes, the same actress from the 2007 version is playing this role, too!

Kishinosato Juri-A delicate flower, a graceful presence, but a vindictive heart. Very complex.

Watanabe Ikkei –I was wondering who cooked the food for all the students. This was the only version that developed the chef as a character.

Itsuki Sakura-One of the headmistresses of the school. She’s a strange woman. Really, really strange. Somehow, though, she sees the potential of her students.

So that’s my spin on the many adaptations based on the Hana Kimi manga series! Have any of you readers watched? If you have, tell me your favorite drama or moments? What do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!

BoA, Korea’s Princess of Pop: The Pop Conqueror

10 Jan

I’ve been having a terrible week, so please forgive me if everything seems a little foggy…

Throughout this terrible week, only one woman has been able to ease my mind and take the stress away. After getting a whiff of her performances, I just couldn’t help but be in awe. She put a smile on this heart-broken face of mine. Her name is BoA Kwon.

BoA is known as Korea’s Princess of Pop. She debuted at the tender age of 13, way back in 2000. She is one of the biggest Korean stars in the world. She’s a veteran by now. As mentioned before, she has a long, fabulous resume, and she is only 28 years old!

BoA is a Pop Conqueror of sorts. BoA, in her lifetime, has managed to not only grab the Korean market, but has also conquered Japanese charts. She has also been one of the first K-pop artists to make their U.S. debut. She was SM Entertainment’s first artist to step into the American market. She was actually SM’s first major international star. SM Entertainment has always been known for their groups, but BoA was their female break-out artist.

What draws people to this diva, of all divas, is not just because of her tomboyish looks, no. Not just because she’s pretty. No. But this woman can SERIOUSLY DANCE, and she sings quite well, too. She has always given dynamic performances.

One day, I hope that I get the pleasure of seeing this amazing woman live.

Because she made me so happy today, I wanted to take this time to share with you some of my favorite performances, music videos, and songs from her. Honestly, when you see her on stage, you can’t help but be entertained. When I see her shine on stage, I always say to myself, “Man, this is how a performance SHOULD be.” I definitely wouldn’t mind spending money to see her perform. She’s amazing, what else can I say?

If you want to learn more about BoA:

A Fun Game: The BoA “Double” Challenge -This was a little game I constructed based on BoA’s music videos. BoA always usually has two different versions for her music videos because she always releases a Korean version and a Japanese version. While many seem identical, there are slight differences. Can you spot them?

BoA’s first U.S. Movie Debut – BoA made her first American movie debut back in April 2014. Unfortunately, tragedy struck one of Korea’s ferries around that time. But perhaps you still can find it on Netflix.

BoA’s Japanese Comeback September 2014 & A Group of Her Music Videos -BoA made her Japanese comeback in September 2014. It was her first album comeback in YEARS. In honor of the comeback, I posted all of her music videos, starting back from debut.

Finally, BoA has made her official KOREAN comeback as well!

I hope you all enjoy the videos I’m sharing today!

My favorite live performances:

BoA has Janet Jackson listed as her inspiration, but she was also highly inspired by Michael Jackson. I remember, in an interview, BoA mentioned how much she loved watching Michael Jackson’s music videos as a little girl. BoA often adopts androgynous styles, and admits that she’s more of a tomboy. These looks suit her so well. The above videos are some of my favorite performances because BoA gave them her all. You can really tell. “Divinity in Motion”-Michael Jackson

BoA has done “Only One” with several SM artists, including some from Super Junior and EXO. But I’m sorry, Shinee’s Taemin is the best to me. He’s smooth in his movements, and he creates the atmosphere while he dances with BoA. They have so much chemistry dancing, and he makes the whole performance sexy. We can clearly understand this song with him dancing. The dancing is so intricate, and yet BoA does it perfectly even while singing!

“The Shadow”, to me, was her best dancing, hands down. I especially love that shoulder move. ❤

This era (2005) was one of my favorite eras from BoA. “Moto” and “Girls on Top” were some of my favorite performances. BoA was just adjusting to her new, edgier image. “Girls on Top” was the song that introduced me to DBSK (TVXQ). I remember them performing it with BoA. That was back in the day. This song showed a tougher side. I love the street style so much.

This is my second favorite era from BoA. She had made her Korean comeback after YEARS of focusing on her Japanese releases. Let’s face it, she’s a bigger demand in Japan. But she FINALLY returned to Korea with Hurricane Venus. I absolutely LOVE this album. I was so addicted to it. Her performances were dynamic.

“Spark” had that twinge of Janet Jackson. She brought the “house down” in this performance. Sexy, sleek, and mature, I love it. “Spark” also came from the “My Name” era when BoA underwent a “transformation” of sorts in 2004.

“Atlantis Princess” was SOOOO cute. I love this dance so much, especially when she wore that ponytail. One part in the dance has her put one leg in front of the other, and flick her head slightly. That ponytail gives it the perfect touch. I remember the album Atlantis Princess. It was my first Korean album, actually.

“Girl in the Mirror” from The Face tour was one of my favorite performances from the tour. Honestly, this was my favorite tour from BoA. She danced so well. So much energy was put into every song she performed on this tour. It just didn’t get the respect it truly deserved. BoA said that she had more of an influence in the performances for this tour. In fact, this was the first album BoA played a heavier hand in.

“Lazer” IS my favorite BoA song. It was my ringtone, my theme song, it was just AMAZING. I love this song so much from her Identity album. A LOT of people had negative things to say about that album, but it was one of my favorites. I liked her image for this performance, but the whole performance was just fun and unique.

“Lady Galaxy” happened before Lady Gaga, I’ll have you know. I love this performance. It was very futuristic at the time. I love the sound. It was from the Made in 20 tour and album. BoA had just turned 20 years old.

“Rock With You” was designed at a time when Pop/Rock was becoming a thing in western countries. Boa designed her own Pop/Rock style song. She gave it her own individual touch. I absolutely loved this song when it was first released. The performances are very creative. The performance shows a combination of Rock and Pop, with the band playing initially, and then later BoA kicking the mic stand down to dance.

This was one of my favorite songs and performances from the Outgrow era. It’s high energy sound and performance enthuses me. It’s sexy, too.

That was my favorite ballad by BoA. It was from her Valenti album, released in 2003. That was the year I became a BoA fan. I just love the lilting melody. It’s wistful and romantic at the same time. It soothes me. BoA’s vocals are amazing, too.

One of BoA’s few English songs. I love this song and Mondo Grosso’s contribution. I was addicted to this song. It was seriously way ahead of it’s time. This kind of music is in popularity right now.

“Look who’s Talking” was originally made for Britney Spears. I absolutely love her performance of this song. I remember when she first performed it on MTV Iggy. I’m telling you, I was so excited. It’s so hard to find MTV Iggy’s version nowadays. “Eat You Up” is one of my favorite English songs from BoA. Her dancing is just spectacular.

Expect is such an epic song. The performance is also epic. From the Love and Honesty (2004) album and tour.

Respect: How can BoA dance like that so close to the edge, doe? “Silent screamerz” is one of my favorite songs from the Outgrow era, even though it was performed for Made in 20.

This song was in honor of 9/11. When I first heard this song, it brought tears to my eyes. This is why I love BoA AND Koda Kumi, a J-pop star.

B.I.O is my favorite song from the album Valenti.

Remember Y2K? That was when BoA debuted. It seems like it was only yesterday. I didn’t become a fan until 2003, but I remember when those clothes were in style and when commercials used to be just like the one above. 😛 BoA showed off her tomboyish charms since debut. For a rookie, she was immaculate in her dancing and performing, and she was just 13. What does that mean for the rest of you rookies out there? No excuse. 😛

My favorite Music Videos:

“Eat You Up” and “Energetic” were both from her U.S. debut. She showed her amazing dancing skills when she debuted in America. Of course, they’re my favorite.

I first heard about “Be the One” because everyone thought it was going to be the opening for the video game franchise Kingdom Hearts. Of course, I knew of BoA long before, but that was the first rumor before the final release of the song. This song and dance is just epic even thought it’s in one completely white room.

You just can’t like BoA and not listen to “Listen to My Heart”. It was seriously one of her break-out songs in Japan. I love this song.

Trivia: No.1 was filmed in Japan for both the Korean and Japanese versions. It gave a glimpse of BoA’s Japanese success and how she catapulted to international stardom.

When I seriously saw this MV, it made me dizzy but I was addicted to it. I loved the mirror effect. It inspired me to make the BoA “double” challenge.

“The Shadow” and “Only One” are two of BoA’s best dance music videos. That dance, doe.

Both songs above are from the Identity album. I seriously loved this era. So mature, so individual. I loved BoA’s new haircut.

“Lose Your Mind” has an edgier sound than many of her works prior. BoA likes that about this song. I do, too. I loved the high-energy dancing.

“Shine we Are!” showed BoA’s excellent dancing skills and she didn’t even have to try so hard.

“Quincy” was the first time BoA tried her new “transformed” image in Japan, back in 2004. It was SO awesome. I love this sound and look.

“Believe in Love” was made for the Astro Boy anime. I simply love it. It’s addictive.

The “Look Who’s Talking MV” is so cool because I get to see how hard BoA has been working, especially how hard she worked for her American debut. Her dancing is on point even bts.

BoA’s debut MV. BoA always worked hard, even as a child. She was very much like Michael Jackson. She had been training under SM Entertainment ever since she was 10 years old. It’s no wonder she is such a genius with performance and music.

Another video that is “Jackson”-inspired. I love the concept for this video.

Some Favorite songs of mine:

I love the Bratz, too!!!!!

BoA’s Comeback: Who’s Back?-A Walk With BoA Down Memory Lane

1 Sep

For the month of September, I focused on BoA’s Japanese comeback! She hasn’t had an album in four years!

For the month of May, I am focusing on BoA’s Korean comeback! She hasn’t had an album in Korea for THREE years!

I’m so excited for BoA! She has been in the limelight for 14 years! She is a pop star veteran, at the age of 27! She has more awards and accolades than many TWICE her age, and she has the kind of resume and experience that makes her a superstar! Many K-pop stars can learn from her!

She is more of an international superstar. Her fame in Japan is even greater than her fame in Korea, though she is pretty famous in both nations. She has had plenty of tours in Japan, and just finally had her first Korean tour LAST YEAR. It’s easy to tell that she is well-received in Japan based on the differences of her sales between the two nations since debut…In Korea, she is in the thousands with hard copies, but in Japan? That’s the millions, baby! Her debut album sales in Japan were much higher than her debut sales in Korea. This is why I’m glad she’s having a Japanese comeback this time around.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BoA_discography

How did I become a BoA fan?

I know. Judging by all of the recent articles on f(x), it may appear to you that f(x) were my first favorite international artists. But no, they weren’t. I just like them A LOT. But BoA was the second foreign artist that I got into (My first was Utada Hikaru). BoA was the artist that introduced me to other J-pop artists. I first heard of her on Bratz “Show Me What You Got” music video. I was a big Bratz fan at the time. She broadened my music world. At the age of 13, I really didn’t know that there were other pop artists around the world besides the ones in my own backyard. And sure, you modern kids may think that’s pretty ignorant of me, but internet wasn’t quite as advanced as it is now, and people didn’t have I-pads and I-phones yet. I just simply didn’t have exposure to world music yet. However, I did learn about BoA on the internet on a Bratz Yahoo Group (a major fan message board at the time). Once I visited BoA’s website for the first time, I kept following her music closely. I started researching other J-pop artists, and found out about Namie Amuro, Crystal Kay, Ayumi Hamasaki, Firstklas, M-flo, Soul’d Out, Koda Kumi, Hitomi, and many others. Even though I knew about Utada first, I knew about her from the English Kingdom Hearts. I thought she was an American artist because she spoke English so well…so I usually consider BoA my first favorite foreign artist. It wasn’t until later that I learned she was actually Korean. Later, when I started getting into her K-pop work, I was introduced to DBSK (or TVXQ, as you all may know them). However, I was still into J-pop more than K-pop until f(x) stepped into my life…But I was, in fact, introduced to f(x) through boajjang.com…a BoA fan website…

So, now that you know my BoA story, you understand why I have to make this month special for BoA’s comeback album and tour.

And in honor of that tour, I am taking you on a walk down memory lane with BoA. I will be posting all of BoA’s music videos from her debut up until now from both Korea and Japan! I am proud of BoA’s success, and I want to share it with fellow BoA fans and new people who are reading (or watching)!

Let’s begin with BoA’s first MV ever, ID:Peace B! Such a long time ago! It’s hard to believe! We were all so young…*Tear* 😥

Korean

Other

Japanese 

*Most of the videos may seem the same, but if you look closely, you will notice the difference in editing in some of the videos that are for the same song.

**Listen to My Heart was posted again because of it’s higher quality.

(My FIRST OFFICIAL BOA SONG EVER is NEXT! So Nostalgic… :’3 )

http://www.jpopsuki.tv/video/BoA—The-Shadow-%2528Japanese-Version%2529/e88dc86aa9b209013b0bf12b81b5bf13

Other

English

Other

(The VIDEO THAT INTRODUCED ME TO BOA is NEXT! OH MY GOD! 😥 Nostalgia for real! )

BoA’s resume is GREAT and this is just the beginning! Enjoy BoA’s years of success as we enjoy BoA’s Anniversaries!

So leave me a comment! If you were already a fan of BoA, let me know what your first BoA moments were. If you are a new fan after watching these videos, let me know your favorite song and/or video!

Keep on the watch for more BoA articles!

GN’s Top 10 F(x) Songs

7 May

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After listening to F(x) for months now, I decided to share with others my top ten F(x) songs. F(x) has some really great songs. They are very original, upbeat, and experimental. This K-pop group is always introducing a new concept.

So, here are my top 10 songs that I’ve been listening to:

10.  Hot Summer

This song is so catchy. I really just can’t get it out of my head. Anyone can enjoy this song, no matter the age, ethnicity, or gender. And it’s a song that comes to mind every time I think of summer. It’s a song that’s fit for a fun occasion.

9. Dracula

Edgy, cool, catchy, and amazing vocals. I ❤ this song.

8. Mr. Boogie

This song is sexy. The song is magnetic. I have literally listened to this song 10 times a week.

7. Red Light

This song is stuck in my head. It was awkward at first, but now, it’s stuck there in my head! I love the pumping sound. I love the Music Video! I love the deep meaning. I love this song.

6. Electric Shock

This song is powerful. It is different from most K-pop female groups in the fact that it sounds more like the “male” groups you hear in K-pop. It’s very lively, catchy, and not boring at all. Sex does not sell in this song, only their choreography and powerful sound. I bump this song loud in my car. I’m not ‘shamed.

5. Beautiful Stranger

Meaningful. This song makes me think. Amber wrote the song, so it really has a personal feeling to it. The sound is very good. The beat is sick. Luna and Krystal’s vocals do justice to the song, even though all the members aren’t singing in it.

4.  Airplane

This song is beautiful. I love the vocals. This sounds like it belongs on an anime. I love the lyrics, I enjoy the melody. The English parts I understand, so I enjoy it more.

3. Pretty Girl

I relate to the lyrics of this song most. I love the vocals in the chorus, the overall flow is excellent. This song has a sick beat, is really catchy, and I never get tired of it. Again, the English draws me to this song.

2. Butterfly

The vocals in this song mesmerize me! I absolutely can’t stop listening or singing to this song!

1. Ending Page

This song, to me, is honestly F(x)’s best. The lyrics are meaningful, the vocals are amazing and show improvement, the beat and melody are just amazing. This song is a piece of art.

For more f(x):

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) Red light Review

f(x) Pink Tape Review

f(x) Summer on GN!

Which f(x) member are you? quiz

f(x)’s charm and Venus

f(x)’s Ideal Types by Sun and Mars

f(x) Around the World

f(x) in the USA

f(x) on Olleh: Korea’s most Unique Girl Group

Just how Talented is f(x) Sulli?

Just how Talented is f(x) Victoria?

Just how talented is f(x) Amber?

Just how talented is f(x) Krystal?

Just how talented is f(x) Luna?

GN’s Top 10 F(x) songs (so far)

Girls’ Generation vs F(x): Chocolate Love

Why does GN love f(x) so much?

Who is your f(x) bias?

Funny Reaction videos to f(x) “Red Light”

GN’s LEAST FAVORITE f(x) album?

EXTRAS

USA’s Nylon writes about Girls’ Generation’s Jessica and F(x)’s Krystal, Jungsis!

F(x) Amber and Got7 on We Got Married Global! Which man wins Amber’s heart (Natal chart reading)?

F(x) Gets treated unfair by SM? And EXO is treated better?

Make Your Move, SM’s first American movie has songs from F(x) and Girls’ Generation in it!

F(x) Amber, a part of androgynous inspiration!

The Korean Wave

Venus signs and Love Stories, F(x) Amber Liu is mentioned

Music Core, f(x) mentioned

Jackie Liu, Amber Liu’s Sister, Gets Hurt by Fan

f(x)’s Amber in a parody Korean drama for A Song for you!

SM TOWN WORLD TOUR 2014! f(x) will perform!

Just How Talented is F(x)’s Chrystal Soo Jung “Krystal”?

5 May

By now, if you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been f(x) crazy for the last two months, and my obsession doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. It won’t slow down until my big “promotional move” I have planned this summer. But that will be kept under my hat until then…

Just remember to #bfx2us and put your town behind it to show where your love for f(x) is coming from, if of course, you’ve fallen in love with this group as much as I have.

Well, this article is a part of that promotion. My goal is to push for an f(x) tour for, at least, next year.

To learn more about K-pop group f(x):

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) Pink Tape Review

f(x) Red Light Review

Just how Talented is f(x) Sulli?

Just how Talented is f(x) Victoria?

Just how Talented is f(x) Amber?

Just how talented is f(x) Luna? 

To all of you who have watched the music videos, and who doubt the talent of the f(x) members, I will be doing something similar to an artist “portfolio”. In this case, I will be showcasing the musical background and skills of each f(x) artist. This resume “portfolio” of sorts will show all readers why I think these girls qualify to be a part of f(x), why I believe them to be SM’s major female multi-national group, and why I think f(x) has what it takes to make it internationally.

Basically, this is why I think you newcomers should hire them as one of your new favorite K-pop groups. 😉

Today, this article will focus on the lovely, ever-popular Krystal Jung!

Chrystal Soo Jung “Krystal”

Krystal is the beautiful “maknae” of the group, which simply means she’s the youngest. She’s always envied for her striking looks. Many people deem her the prettiest member, and she was even on a poll for “Most Enviable Body”.

Krystal is easily recognized as Girls’ Generation (SNSD) Jessica’s sister. But she has formed her own identity.

Krystal is often called “Ice Princess” because she’s a good ice skater and…because some people think she has a hard time appearing sweet and kind, so they might take her as “cold”. She was said to “struggle with an aeygo” on a radio interview, which means she struggles to have a cute and charming personality, even if she appears cute and charming.

I like that about Krystal. It means she’s not phony. She seems like a very honest and straightforward person. Her humor is very cynical and she quickly cuts her eyes.

She has an edge about her, but I like it.

Most people think Krystal is the most stylish out of everyone in f(x). But that depends on your taste.

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Isn’t she gorgeous! I especially like when she smiles, I mean when she has one of her genuine smiles…which is rare to find, but like finding a hidden treasure.

Oh, but enough about Krystal’s lovely edge. Let’s get right to her credentials as a K-pop star!

Krystal Can Sing

Just about everybody knows Krystal can sing. She is often compared vocally to her sister Jessica and to group mate Luna. But her voice is unique and powerful in its own right. She and Luna do many duets together.

Even Amber said she is a fan of Luna and Krystal’s duets, which is probably why she let them take over her song “Good-bye Summer”…

Krystal is apart of SM’s The Ballad

This is a solo song Krystal sang called “Because of Me”

Krystal sang a duet called “Dear Daddy” with Luna for the Nu Abo EP

Krystal sang a duet called “You are my Destiny” with Luna for the single Chu

Krystal sang “Be My Baby” in the drama High Kick 3

Krystal Can Dance

Krystal isn’t given credit as lead dancer or anything like that, but Krystal is a polished dancer! Many people have to recognize that she is a powerful dancer. It just adds to her list of talents. But Krystal is one of the f(x) members who gets the most attention, so…many probably wouldn’t be surprised.

Krystal’s skating helps her to be a graceful dancer!

Krystal danced with Victoria during SMTown Week

Krystal danced pre-debut

Luna and Krystal dance together

Krystal and Luna Dance to Lady Gaga

F(x) had a dynamite dance intro to “The Jump Off” and “Freeze”. Krystal, of course, shined.

Krystal Can play Piano

Unless you are a fan of Krystal or her sister, you probably didn’t know Krystal could play piano. Why? Because SM doesn’t show this talented side of hers very often. That’s why. And it’s such a shame, because Krystal has amazing piano skills.

Please, have a listen. Hopefully, somehow, someway, SM will open their ears, too.

Krystal featured with sister Jessica from Girls’ Generation and showed off her piano skills

Krystal plays a piece on the piano and on the harmonica in the drama High Kick 3

Krystal Catches on to Languages Quickly

Krystal is the best member when it comes to catching on to new languages. She was born in the USA, but was basically raised in Korea. This means she speaks fluent English and Korean. But she caught on to Japanese and the Thai language pretty quickly, too!

Krystal and Amber English compilation

Krystal and Victoria change between Korean and their own native languages

Krystal caught on to Thai quickly

Krystal speaks the best Japanese out of all of the f(x) members, which is why she was asked to sing for The Ballad

Krystal is really talented, isn’t she? WOW. Simply stunning! Beauty and talent! Very hard to find both in one body sometimes…

Krystal is also an amazing ice skater!

Krystal is also quite the actress as well. She’s a very talented person!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) Red light Review

f(x) Pink Tape Review

f(x) Summer on GN!

Which f(x) member are you? quiz

f(x)’s charm and Venus

f(x)’s Ideal Types by Sun and Mars

f(x) Around the World

f(x) in the USA

f(x) on Olleh: Korea’s most Unique Girl Group

Just how Talented is f(x) Sulli?

Just how Talented is f(x) Victoria?

Just how talented is f(x) Amber?

Just how talented is f(x) Krystal?

Just how talented is f(x) Luna?

GN’s Top 10 F(x) songs (so far)

Girls’ Generation vs F(x): Chocolate Love

Why does GN love f(x) so much?

Who is your f(x) bias?

Funny Reaction videos to f(x) “Red Light”

GN’s LEAST FAVORITE f(x) album?

EXTRAS

USA’s Nylon writes about Girls’ Generation’s Jessica and F(x)’s Krystal, Jungsis!

F(x) Amber and Got7 on We Got Married Global! Which man wins Amber’s heart (Natal chart reading)?

F(x) Gets treated unfair by SM? And EXO is treated better?

Make Your Move, SM’s first American movie has songs from F(x) and Girls’ Generation in it!

F(x) Amber, a part of androgynous inspiration!

The Korean Wave

Venus signs and Love Stories, F(x) Amber Liu is mentioned

Music Core, f(x) mentioned

Jackie Liu, Amber Liu’s Sister, Gets Hurt by Fan

f(x)’s Amber in a parody Korean drama for A Song for you!

SM TOWN WORLD TOUR 2014! f(x) will perform!

Video

Attack On Titan, Airing Every Saturday on Toonami!

4 May

To read more weekly updates and reviews, check out the Animejournal Menu above!

“Make Your Move” Movie Review–SM Entertainment’s first U.S. film

19 Apr

 

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Make Your Move was definitely an SM Entertainment movie, and the first one they released in the USA.

At first, I was a little skeptical. Lionsgate dropped this film, so my thinking was that they probably didn’t think this movie was a good one. So, I didn’t come in expecting too much. But after watching it, I was surprised. It was actually pretty good! It was better than the last two Step Up sequels honestly. It got the same reviews…so I don’t understand why Lionsgate dropped this film. I know they merged with Summit, but Summit is doing Step Up: All In, which is due to come out this summer, and I’m sure they’ll be working the same material. The only difference is this dance was unique. I don’t get it…It’s not like critics will be any easier on that movie, and people would’ve enjoyed this movie.

From the director Duane Adler, we get a movie that follows her resume. This movie is very similar to Save the Last Dance and Step Up. In fact, it’s a combination of the two. Combine a classic dance, racial conflict, and some sexy, hip-hop footwork (along with bumpin’ club music) and you get Make Your Move. So if you’re a fan of those movies, this one won’t disappoint.

Make Your Move is the story of a young woman named Aya (BoA Kwon) and a young man named Donny (Derek Hough) who both love to dance. But they both take on very unique styles of dancing: Donny tap dances, and Aya mixes Taiko drumming with tap dancing.

The two meet at Donny’s brother’s club one day, after Aya sabotages the performance on the stage at the time and takes over. Donny then joins Aya in a hot and sexy bar dance. Donny instantly falls for her.

But there’s a problem in paradise: their brothers own rival clubs, and this rivalry is VERY intense. To add, both clubs are threatened by some Wall-Street, rich-guy, douchebag who is obsessed with Aya.

This makes their relationship almost “forbidden” in a sense. This is aside from their own personal struggles and trials (Donny violates his parole in New Orleans to dance in Brooklyn and Aya has to find the money to extend her Visa so she won’t get deported back to Japan).

Inspired from Romeo and Juliet, this story proved itself to live up to former dance movies by the director.

Like I do often, I will review this movie in sections. I don’t want to give too much away. 😉

Story/Plot: I wouldn’t say this had the most unique and thought-provoking story in the world. It was simple enough for the young 10-year old behind me to understand the movie. This concept has been done before. Because it’s a pretty overtly done story, the outcome is pretty predictable. However, the story WAS engaging. You did wonder what would happen next. You did wonder what the two brothers, the rivals in the movie, would do to screw up everything and make matters more challenging. I wasn’t bored watching the movie, but I didn’t leave the movie in contemplation the whole night.

I also applaud the story for being smooth, and not leaving any plot holes. I could keep up. Things didn’t move too fast, but things also didn’t move too slow. I wasn’t confused.

This movie was like a musical, only instead of breaking out in singing, they broke out in dance, often randomly.

The best part of this movie was the dancing. Both BoA and Derek Hough have some SERIOUS professional skills, and it was evident in this movie. BoA and Donny showed off their strong choreography. But hey, this is a dance movie, that’s what they’re supposed to do…though many movies fail in this regard.

This movie definitely brought a new generation of dancing. I learned about a new dance, and saw something that peaked my interest. So I wasn’t disappointed. I was always eager to see how this dance would play out throughout the movie.

This movie seemed catered to tweens and teens, like most dance movies.

Some may be disappointed that the ending isn’t stomping out an opponent, but I think the final outcome of the movie drifts from the way usual dance movies in this day-and-age end…

But honestly, overall, I went in not expecting too much. But the movie was actually better than I thought it would be. Much better.

Characters: While Derek Hough played a very typical romantic interest (an ex-con, homeless man who dreams of dancing), Aya was somewhat different than what I expected of her. For starters, Aya was sexy in a NON-SLUTTY way. I don’t once remember her wearing skimpy clothing, or the camera focusing on her butt, breasts, belly, or anything below her face, though she had some nice outfits in this movie. In fact, she was quite the tomboy. But she owned that tomboy. She made that tomboy look VERY sexy. A new side to BoA stepped out.

Aya was very “gangster” to me. She stood up for herself. I wouldn’t call her a feminist-though those themes seem prevalent in the film. I connected with Aya. She was confident, smart, funny, and daring. She wasn’t sweet and innocent, like I expected her to be.

On the flip-side, I was at first confused as to why it was so difficult for Aya to “find the money” to pay off her Visa. There were easier ways than dancing, but I think that was the point. Aya wanted to get it by finding a job dancing instead of doing something she hated…well, that’s what I got out of it. Maybe Aya couldn’t get jobs easily because she was foreign…But her brother didn’t think it was such a smart idea either, so…

Surprisingly, BoA’s English has gotten REALLY good! Or maybe, it was just the dialogue that was good. But the script was well-suited to the characters’ personalities, and it wasn’t cheesy. Many times when we think of singers acting in movies, we’re often prepared for some poor acting. But BoA was really natural, I have to give it to her. You could tell she was comfortable with Derek.

There were no random filler characters (you know, the random person put in the story for no other reason than to make it funny). Every character served it’s purpose. I wouldn’t call all of the characters unique. The brothers were very typical rivals. I don’t even remember their names, but they served their purpose: to make the two lovers’ lives miserable. I do remember the douchebag Michael, but he’s kind of the main antagonist. Then there are the two ladies who support the brothers’ roles, and they merely serve as people who move the story along.

This story basically focused ON the story and focused on the point: to show a new side to dancing.

I was a little disappointed that Yuhno from TVXQ only made a small appearance, but he danced well, so I wasn’t too disappointed…

Setting: The setting begins in New Orleans, where Donny lives. I wish we could have seen more of him in this place, but I suppose it wasn’t necessary. We see him do his cool tap dance, and then it’s off to Brooklyn…

There were basically two main scenes: the two rival clubs and the abandoned church. Donny was homeless, so he didn’t have a house we could see. Aya lived with her extended family, so I’m sure she didn’t spend too much time at home. Aya did work in a coffee shop…

Of course, the main focus was on the clubs.

OST: The original soundtrack was AWESOME. Yes, we heard songs from American artists, but we also heard songs from some k-pop artists like  f(x), Girls’ Generation, and a nice collaboration with Krystal from f(x), Jessica (SNSD), and EXO-M’s Kris in the song “Say Yes”. So we heard a few SM artists in the mix.

My only disappointment was that we only heard f(x)’s “Nu Abo” over a computer. 😦 I was so hoping they would play it at the end or in a club scene. That song is too smokin’ to just be hiding behind a computer!…

But overall, the OST is fabulous for fans of K-pop and pop or hip-hop music in general.

Overall, on a scale from 1 to 5, I give this movie a 3/5. 1 awful 2  Ok  3 Good 4 Very Good 5 Excellent

On a scale from 1 to 10, I give this movie an 8/10. 1 DON’T WATCH 2 Bad movie, but should watch for laughs 3 had a few good moments 4 I liked just one part of the movie 5 ok 6 It was different and unique 7 Interesting 8 Pretty Good 9 Really Good 10 Go WATCH NOW

This movie was good, it wasn’t boring. It wasn’t the most unique story told, but it wasn’t utter garbage. It was a good movie that I would watch again. Mostly, this movie is good for a DVD release. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact, the movie was better than I thought it would be. The dancing was killer, the story kept my interest, the characters didn’t suck terribly, though many weren’t extremely developed. BoA shined in this movie. This dialogue was to-the-point and not stuffed with crude humor. Every scene was necessary, every character moved the story along. This movie was just like the usual Duane Adler movie.

So, all you lovers of K-pop and dance, this movie is one of the best. I rarely see a good film staring a foreign actor/actress. But this one isn’t disappointing.

Because this is an indie film, I was informed that this movie is NOT showing everywhere. So, check the listings in your surrounding area, particularly, major cities. I had to drive 30 minutes away to see this movie. But that’s better than what others may have to endure to catch this flick…

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

 

The Korean Wave “Hallyu”

17 Apr

I first heard the coined term on an article about f(x) being the first K-pop act to perform at Texas’s SXSW South By Southwest.

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) Brings the Korean Wave to Texas

I know you’re wondering why I suddenly have this inspiration to create an article about the Korean Wave. Well, the other day (as in last week), I was watching Crayon Pop’s song “Uh-ee” and “Bar Bar Bar” when I heard the news that Lady Gaga wants to have Crayon Pop open for her Live Concert Tour. If anyone knows Crayon Pop, they are an all-female K-pop group that went viral awhile back due to their quirky dance moves, bike helmets, and wholesome attire entirely. They are definitely unique, and they seem like they would be Lady Gaga’s taste.

But just hearing how even Lady Gaga is into Korean pop music got me thinking: Just how many people listen to K-pop?

So, I did some research on this subject.

The “Korean Wave” reminds me of the Tulip Era in Turkey in the 18th Century…for all of you historians who are interested…

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What is the Korean Wave?

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It is a sudden “wave” of interest in South Korean “pop” culture. Yes, not just any Korean culture, but “modern” and “popular” Korean culture. And it has developed into a sub-culture with some cult followers in the mix…

The term “Korean Wave”, also called Hallyu, was said to have been coined by Beijing journalists who noticed a growing interest in South Korean culture in China. More and more Chinese people were exporting Korean merchandise, and supporting Korean music and film.

The Korean Wave shows a huge thrust toward entertainment media mostly, but many foreigners are more aware of the lifestyle in Korea as a result, such as the food (I learned about Kimchi), fashion, language, and even literature. The only thing excluded from this category is history, but that may come soon with the rising popularity of Korean dramas.

Due to increase internet availability and usage around the world, and the Technological Revolution of the early 21st Century, K-pop and Korean dramas are more available to people all over the world! So, Korean pop culture is spreading quicker and easier.

The Korean government hopes they can use this “wave” of interest to gain “soft power”. Not the kind of power where you take over other nations, but the kind that introduces Korean beauty, culture, and art to the rest of the world. They hope to make peace through this “wave”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Wave

Where Did the Korean Wave Come From?

After World War II, Japan put a limit on entertainment that came in and out of the country. Once Japan lifted restrictions on international imports (and exports) in the 1980’s, entertainment could be distributed more freely worldwide. This brought about a “Japanese Wave” that was at a much smaller scale than the Korean Wave (mostly due to the fact that internet was a newer concept and not available everywhere around the world), but still, relatively large.

With the “Japanese Wave” came an increased interest in Japanese animation and comics called mangas. Japanese cartoons were fed to children in the 1990’s (I was one of those children). My first Japanese anime cartoon was Sailor Moon. Every day before school, I watched this show! Of course, at that time, the show was butchered so much because they wanted the animes to “relate to American children”. Later, Cartoon Network’s popularity increased as more and more people had access to cable channels in the late 1990’s.

Then came the Pokemon phenomenon, the first major Japanese animation to make millions in the West. It even had a very successful theatrical release! Pokemon is still being aired today.

Cartoon Network began to band together with the popular American animation company Funimation, a company that translated Japanese anime to make it more understandable to American audiences. Toonami, a segment of the day that mostly aired anime, was born afterwards. My next favorite anime to watch on that segment was Dragon Ball Z. This was the start of Japanese influence seeping into the minds of children.

There was also an increased interest in Japanese role-playing games. Sony, a Japanese company, made Playstation and Playstation 2, which made characters come alive on the television screen. The graphics were more real-looking than they had ever been before on any console, controls were easy to use, and Japanese game-makers began to sell their games to the world using this console.

Square-Enix was one such company. They are known for making the popular Final Fantasy series as well as the phenomenon Kingdom Hearts.

Japanese anime brought a wave of interest from the generation exposed to it. Interest in animes like Inuyasha and video games like Kingdom Hearts led to a growing interest in J-pop music (as you can hear an artist at the end of every anime or video game, particularly the legend Ayumi Hamasaki), Japanese food (teriyaki and goyza), Japanese language (Kawaii, Sugoi), fashion (cosplays and lolita came out of this wave), holidays, festivals (like Hinamatsuri), and destinations (like Osaka and Tokyo).

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pan-fried-gyoza

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Bratz tokyo

An interest in Japanese culture, thus, led to an interest in all modern Asian culture.

This is where Korea comes in.

Korean Dramas and Manga

Korean film producers banked on this rising interest in Mangas and Animes. Korean drama adaptations of these animes spurred a fascination for Korean dramas in general. One of the biggest dramas a part of the “Korean Wave” is the drama Boys Over Flowers, based off of the popular Japanese manga series Hana Yori Dango. Meteor Garden, a Chinese version made in Taiwan in 1999, was the first live adaptation of the popular manga series. It was big in all of Asia. Since most southeastern Asian countries speak Chinese, other people were exposed to the drama. The Korean Boys Over Flowers had come out a decade later in 2009, updating the original adaptation and giving a modern feeling. Other Asian countries remembered Meteor Garden and heard about the new adaptation, which exposed many people to Korean culture.

Winter Sonata was Korea’s own major masterpiece, and it equaled the success of  Meteor Garden. This drama was said to have been the drama that launched the “Korean Wave”.

These Korean dramas were popular because of two factors as quoted from Wikipedia:

  • Emotional engagement of the audience with particular emphasis on forging an emotional bond with the protagonist
  • Explicit attention to female sexual desires — Departing from conventional dramas that tend to eroticize the female body, these dramas market the sexual attraction of the male actors, giving women a certain freedom of sexual expression.

 SM Entertainment

“Powerhouse” label SM Entertainment brought Korean music to the world for the first time. H.O.T. was the first all-boy Korean group to perform a sold-out Concert outside of Korea. This group particularly targeted teenagers and were the first of their kind. They were the pioneers of what we know as the “idol group trend”. They were meant to bring K-pop to the younger generation. Their debut was in 1996.

Then came BoA Kwon, the reigning Princess of K-Pop. BoA was the first Korean artist to sell over a million copies of her albums outside of Korea. She was Korea’s first international superstar. She was an extremely young artist, and the youngest artist to debut at the time of her debut (2000 at age 14).

My first taste of K-pop was also through BoA. I was first introduced to BoA after my favorite doll brand, Bratz, did a collaboration with BoA and Howie D (Backstreet Boys) back in 2003. It was my second taste of foreign music (my first was Utada Hikaru from the Kingdom Hearts series, but she sounded so “American”, I didn’t realize she was a Japanese superstar at the time).

I started looking up more about BoA. That’s when I found out she sang the ending song to the popular anime, Inuyasha, which also made BoA more popular. That’s when I realized just how popular BoA was in Japan.

Then I found out she wasn’t Japanese. Little did I know, at the time, I was a part of a movement that shaped the next generation.

She is still the only Korean artist to have six consecutive hits in Japan, and is considered a household name in many Asian countries.

Soon, other K-pop artists from SM began to pop their way to stardom.

The groups I remember distinctly popping up was TVXQ (DBSK), Super Junior, SHINee, and Girls’ Generation. With the Youtube phenomenon, these groups spread Korean pop music internationally. Many of those groups had international members in them. The male groups broke Asian stereotypes around the world, and gave Asian men a “beautiful face” in the Western world.

At the time, SHINee was the most unique. SHINee embraced their more “feminine features” and made it more attractive to girls! They also started the new generation of dance-pop music with complex dance moves. After their debut, the other artists started imitating their style. Originally K-pop boys showed more edge, but SHINee softened their blows, wearing eyeliner, long hair, and shaking their butts in “Ring ding dong”.

Girls Generation brought Asian beauties to international audiences, and paved the way for the female “idol group” trend.

My biggest sweep into the Korean Wave was with the group f(x). Amber was Korea’s first androgynous pop star! Ever since, I’ve been an adamant follower of K-pop “idol groups” rather than Japanese, and recently, C-pop (Chinese pop). I’m just so darn addicted to that group! Once you get swept into the ocean of K-pop, with your favorite K-pop artist, it’s hard to swim back to shore…rather, it’s hard to want to.

The rising popularity of these groups contributed to the “group” trend that is known in Korea today…

Adding these idols to K-dramas spreads Hallyu further.

Psy and Gangnam Style

Psy made K-pop a global phenomenon in 2012 to 2013 with his smash Youtube hit “Gangnam Style”, an upbeat, electro-dance pop/rap song, put to funny, satirical lyrics, and choreographed with humorous “galloping” dance moves. Psy made a statement in Korea, and brought Korea to everyone’s backyard. He was the first viral artist to have over a billion views! He broke a world record!

Unlike most idols, he wasn’t slim-trim, with a “Justin Bieber” haircut, skinny jeans, and hot dance moves. He was an “average” guy. His music also made a statement. He pointed out satirically about the lavish lifestyle in Gangnam, a district in Seoul, Korea, the center of Korean pop culture. This appealed to audiences worldwide.

Psy also put his label, YG, on the map. Korea hopes to use his fandom as a sign of diplomacy and “soft power”.

What Makes the Korean Wave Unique from other “Asian Waves”?

The Korean phenomenon wasn’t the first international fascination with Asian culture. Asian persuasion has been around since the growing popularity of Kung Fu films in the 1970’s and 1980’s, which put Chinese cinema on the map and popularized Chinese culture and history in many parts of the world. The growing popularity of Japanese culture dominated the 1990’s.

But what makes the “Korean Wave” unique is that it is getting popular in an era that is influenced by the “Digital Revolution”. It is spreading at a much faster rate and on a more universal scale than the other two phenomenons.

It’s also unique in the fact that Koreans are popular for their “modern” culture, and not stereotyped, historical depictions of them that may no longer ring true (like all Asian men learning martial arts). Koreans are looked at as more of an advancing society, as their modern culture is more popular than their ancient one, and that’s what makes this “wave” special.

Finally, what makes the “Korean Wave” unique from the other two “Waves” is the fact that the “Korean Wave” shows a huge support from the female audience. Kung Fu movies and the “Japanese Wave” mostly had male audiences wrapped around their fingers. Though, as a female, I’ve been into all the waves at one time…

This also helps to change the world’s views on Asian culture. It helps to diminish biases, prejudices, and stereotypes. It creates mutual understanding and peace between nations.

What are characteristics of those involved with the Korean Wave?

1) Lots and Lots of fan girls-Because of the increased female fan-base, men are more objectified in K-pop and K-dramas, and female sexuality is highlighted. This makes Asian men more desirable to women.

2) K-pop Group biases and fan wars-With the rising popularity of K-pop groups, you find tons of fans defending their favorite “idol” groups. My favorite is f(x) recently. They helped sweep me into this “Korean Wave”. But I hate fan wars.

3) K-Drama discussions-K-dramas can be so dramatic, you will find tons of message boards about them. Prepare to cry.

4) Eclectic clothing-Korean clothing can be trendy and sometimes downright eccentric.

5) A bunch of young college kids-While you might think mostly teenagers are into this wave, sources show that the biggest support comes from young adults in their 20’s. So, this is what the college kids are into. I sort…of…um…am apart of that demographic. :3

Well, that’s all for now folks! Leave me a comment let me know what you think about Korea’s growing popularity!

F(x) Fans concerned: SM Treats F(x) Unfair, and Treats Juniors EXO BETTER?

10 Apr
Help Us! Help Us!

Help Us! Help Us!

f(x) Pink Tape Review 

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) and Venus

f(x) Around the World

Yes, I know. I posted an article last month about f(x) and how we f(x) fans beg SM to give us more f(x). I ranted and raved (well, not really) about how f(x) is being ignored in favor of their juniors.

I also had a peeve about their talents not being conveyed to the fullest potential possible…which I still have a qualm with.

But this time, I’m going to take a new approach to this whole matter. Squash the old article. Squash it like a bug.

I’ve been thinking a lot and doing more research lately. I was once one of those people who just couldn’t fathom why, after 5 years, a group like f(x) never had a concert tour. Was it…

1) The fact that f(x) isn’t very popular?

2) The fact that SM is just ignoring them for newer, fresher, younger groups?

At one time, in my two-month fandom life, these things were brought into question. But after evaluating both questions thoroughly, I realized that my original conclusions were sorely missing the bigger picture. I decided to do what most people can’t trust themselves to do without feeling naive. I decided to put myself in SM Entertainment’s shoes and f(x)’s shoes. Suddenly, I was no longer a fan, but a true idol…in my mind. In fact, I pretended, in my mind, to be each member.

I found that the first concern holds no base.  F(x)’s popularity has been proven. After all, even I, a simple American, know about this group. Many of their music videos on youtube have millions of views. That’s called popularity. Their albums have made millions. That says popular. Imagine if thousands of people were in your house. That would be a lot of people. Millions of people would be even larger! Artists with half of their popularity have had concert tours, such as Puffy Ami Yumi. F(x) IS popular enough to have a tour. So that’s squashed.

Second Concern: While I will admit that SM is always looking for newer, fresher faces, I can see why they consider EXO a good candidate. I can see why because there is ONE MAIN REASON I think SM is supposedly “ignoring” f(x):

THERE ARE TOO MANY FOREIGNERS. 

Now, before you strike, let’s consider this. I’m not here to let SM get away with anything. I’m not the hugest supporter of companies, neither do I have blind belief in any business. I know that there are some things that SM has to take responsibility for. BUT humans are irrational sometimes too, and that goes for fans of K-pop as well. When I say that f(x) has too many foreigners, I’m not out to make SM into a prejudice company. When I say that f(x) has too many foreigners, I realize how this affects the way things are done and how much progress the group makes. Here are common complaints:

1) F(x) doesn’t have a concert tour, but juniors like EXO do.

2) F(x) doesn’t have a fan name.

3) F(x) only has one comeback a year.

4) F(x) gets less promotion than other SM artists.

Let’s address issue #1.

Issue #1-No Concert Tour, but EXO has one?

Now that everyone has heard the news about EXO’s tour, f(x) fans go into a frenzy. It seems completely obvious that EXO is getting the “royal treatment” and f(x) is being treated like a second-class citizen. EXO has only been out three years and has a concert tour on the way and an official “fan name”.

-EXO-3-exo-35381632-1280-800

But there is a solid reason. They have a slight advantage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exo_(band)#Exo-K

EXO has TWO Versions of itself: EXO-K and EXO-M

EXO has an all-Korean boy version: EXO-K. EXO-M doesn’t even have to work that hard. F(x) is splashed with foreigners, including foreigners who struggle with the Korean language, and they don’t have an all-Korean version of themselves. Creating music takes time, contrary to what most people believe. But imagine a foreigner trying to make Korean music. Songs have to be written, translated, understood, and then MEMORIZED by the members so that they can be performed for all of us to enjoy, which holds the other Korean members back. THEN, after memorizing at least ONE song, they can finally match some choreography with it for a video or performance. This only includes one set of dance moves and one video, by the way…

Now imagine having to memorize new Korean songs AND remember all the old Korean songs for a long, city-to-city TOUR. That would not only take a long time for someone who is clumsy with the language like *cough* Amber *cough*, but also it would slow down promotion.

We have the all-Korean EXO group, whose members were all born in Seoul, who help promote EXO-M. EXO-K speaks the language, they understand the culture, they are hot boys… And we have the quirky, multi-cultural f(x), whose members barely know how to eat with chopsticks *cough* Amber *cough* and aren’t the “hottie” types. Who would you promote in Korea if you were SM?

American companies do it all the time. We have popular foreign artists in America, but the ones that speak excellent English obviously get more attention. Why? Simple. Because Americans understand the language, and companies don’t have to work as hard to assimilate them. EXO-K takes half the amount of time to get an album off the ground in comparison to f(x). They don’t have to translate each song and try to understand it. Memorizing is easy for them because Korean is their first language. So, what do we get? Album after album, music video after video, and a major concert tour. Lucky natives. EXO-M can easily just promote themselves in China…or feed off of EXO-K’s success.

While I would think this would be obvious, most fans don’t see it this way. They often forget that Korea is across the globe and not in their backyards, considering how convenient it is to access K-pop. Some remember how far Korea is but they’re not aware of the foreigners in the f(x) group. Well, I’m here to inform you. At the end of the day, Koreans are Koreans, and they will support their own kind before they support a foreigner. Let’s not live in a bubble. I have to even admit that what drew me to f(x) was the fact that my ears perked up when I heard Amber’s English and realized that I could understand it…It’s going to be the same for Koreans.

If anyone remembers that Korean Festival that was mentioned in Invincible Youth, you remember that they mentioned that the festival was to weed out western influences…To “save their culture”…

AND GUESS WHAT? BoA Kwon, the Princess of K-pop, didn’t HAVE HER FIRST KOREAN TOUR until LAST FREAKIN’ YEAR, and she’s been under SM Entertainment since her debut in 2000!

Next issue…

Issue #2-F(x) Doesn’t Have a Fan Name

Why this is important to anyone is beyond me. Britney Spears doesn’t have a fan name, and she is the Princess of Pop music. I get that most Korean groups have nicknames for fans, but f(x), to me, isn’t just a Korean group. They are an international group that doesn’t need to belch out a cheesy nickname like they’re some baseball team. This is the very thing that makes f(x) unique. Nothing HAS to be official with them, we can call ourselves anything we want to. Now isn’t that more fun?

Issue #3-F(x) Only Has One Comeback a Year

This goes back to what I was saying about the concert. F(x) has to write, translate, and memorize the Korean songs. While three of the members may catch on quickly, two of the members will need more understanding. To sink this in people’s brains, I’m going to post a recent interview with Amber on April 1, 2014. She put it simply: It’s a tedious task. Go on, watch and listen for yourself.

Let’s think about the song “Good-bye Summer”. That song was originally written by Amber. But notice the English title is “I Just Wanna”. More than likely, this song was originally written and sung in English. It had to be translated, re-written, sung, and fit with the Korean language and music sound.

Now, if f(x) members had to go on tour, they would have to memorize a song like this one, along with many others. So now Amber and Victoria would have to learn the pronunciation of this ONE song, and then, once they pronounce everything right, they would have to memorize it, and then see if they can perform it with the choreography… If they had a tour, they would have to go back into the archives and remember old songs, songs that they had a tough time memorizing to begin with! Do we see why they only have one comeback a year? I hope I’m making this clear.

It’s also clear why Amber didn’t sing in “Good-bye Summer”, though she wrote the song herself…

Issue #4-F(x) Gets Less Promotion Than Other SM Artists

This one makes me laugh until I crap all over myself.

We have Amber as the MC on We Got Married Global Edition. We have Sulli, Victoria,  and Krystal filming for dramas and posing for ads. Luna has been on Immortal Song 2 how many times? Everything that f(x) gets involved with has millions of views because they have so much personality.

They just finished a photo shoot recently!

We definitely can’t say they get less promotion individually, but maybe not enough promotion as a group.

But again, promotion as a group requires there to be a song that is written, composed, translated, and memorized in order to be performed over and over again at select venues. How can this happen often at a rapid pace when some of f(x)’s members can barely read Korean, let alone write it? Personally, they might have better success in China! Then again, that’s where Sulli and Luna would struggle. Krystal has been around, and she seems to catch on to languages quickly.

That’s like when the non-English girls came to America. People were so angry that none of the girls interacted with fans except for Amber and Luna. But Amber was born and raised in America. Luna was Amber’s roommate, so I’m sure she’s learned more English than the others. Krystal speaks English well, but she’s been living in Korea since she was six! She was raised there! Her culture is still different. But fans couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact that sometimes the idols weren’t being rude, they just have different ways of displaying manners. In this case, they also can’t wrap their minds around the fact that f(x) has foreign members that won’t adapt easily to a new culture.

Look at how BoA was treated when she came to the USA. BoA had a thick accent and barely understood the culture or language. She came out with a USA movie, but how many years has she been working on her American impact? FIVE YEARS. The same amount of time that f(x) has been working on their music. In fact, most of the foreign artists have a harder time coming out with music at a rapid pace and having tours as frequently. Look at Super Junior-M and Electro Boyz. Look at Ailee. Let’s keep it 100% real. EXO-M may eventually suffer the same fate. I don’t honestly think they would be able to stand without EXO-K.

I’ve been watching anime RAW for 12 years now. I’ve learned a lot of phrases, but have I mastered the language? NO. My friends have been taking a foreign language for years, and I have a family member that has lived in Japan for 2 years. Has that family member mastered the language? No. One of my friends is just starting to get the hang of writing the language in it’s actual form rather than with Latin lettering!

So please, before we burst with conspiracy theorizing and flying off in a tangent, let’s step back, and look at the bigger picture.

THE BEST PART

While f(x) may not come out with tons of singles, albums, and concerts every year, we get the satisfaction of knowing that they will take their time to come out with QUALITY work. What matters most? The quantity of how many albums, singles, or tours every year? Or quality work, where they have months to find inspiration for great albums like Pink Tape?

I would rather take the latter. I also have full faith that when f(x) finally does come out with a concert, they will all be fully confident in their abilities, ready to take on the challenge of traveling from city to city, and it will be BIG news considering how long f(x) fans have been waiting. It will also be a concert that is amazing to see because there will be so many songs to hear and so much time and effort will be put into making it an entertaining time. Just look at the bigger picture, then the present doesn’t seem as bad.

So f(x) fans, this is just some words from Generation Next for you to think about. Okay, maybe EXO does get better treatment. But EXO has a Korean group. F(x) is a bit foreign and strange. But isn’t that what we like about them?

F(x)’s Potential

The one thing SM IS guilty of is not allowing the girls’ talents to shine. The girls all have amazing talents that aren’t being conveyed. I posted some articles meant to put some shine on f(x)’s talents.

Just how Talented is f(x) Sulli?

Just how Talented is f(x) Victoria?

Just how talented is f(x) Amber?

Just how talented is f(x) Krystal?

Just how talented is f(x) Luna?

Even though some of the girls struggle with the Korean language, hopefully, the girls’ talents will speak for them. After all, music is a universal language.

Leave me a comment and let me know what your opinions are!

And don’t forget to help me trend #bfx2us on twitter, instagram, facebook, tumblr, reddit, pinterest, wordpress, or any other website you can think of…heck, I’ll even go with Myspace if that’s still around.

Still going crazy over Exo-M member Kris and his decisions? Read a good article on it:

http://twitlonger.com/show/n_1s1pa3b

Still going crazy over Baekhyun dating? Read an article about that:

Baekhyun’s Dating affects Ticket Sales

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