Category: Reviews

Review: First Love

Posted March 16, 2023 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

First Love

Starring: Mitsushima Hikari, Satoh Takeru, Yagi Rikako, Kido Taisei, Kaho, Minami
Year Released: 2022
Number of Episodes: 9
Genre: Drama, Melodrama, Romance
Country: Japan
Director: Kanchiku
Where to Watch: Netflix

In the late 90’s, Yae and Harumichi met and fell in love. After graduating from high school, Yae went off to college in Tokyo, while Harumichi joined the Self-Defense forces as an aviation student, and like that they separated.

One day, Yae suffered a tragic accident, and 20 years passed without their lives intersecting again. Now, Yae works as a taxi driver and Harumichi has become an employee at a security company after serving in the Self-Defense forces, both in the same city. About 20 years after their unfulfilled first love, fate brings them together once again…

I’m too lazy to look for pictures so you get just my straight up thoughts on this one today. Therese and I watched this show last month and I had heard that it was such a great show and so I was pretty stoked to start it but we struggled with getting through it. As a whole, the show was good but each individual episode was kind of hard to get through and though we liked certain things about the show, it’s not a show that I’d say that I loved. The first few episodes set up the show and I thought they set up the show pretty well. We were curious about everyone and the way that they kept missing each other but literal seconds had us on the edge of our seat but the longer they went without connecting and then the longer they took to get their shit together and get together, the more frustrated we felt.

My favorite part of the show was seeing the two main leads as teenagers. I was much more invested in them when they were falling in love with each other and when they were in the midst of young love. When we see them again as adults, they’re completely different people and the male lead came off low key creepy to me. The way that he got close to the female leads son in the beginning and then the way that he did his girlfriend and the female lead left a sour taste in my mouth, especially considering I didn’t think it did anything to further the story.

This is my second Japanese drama, so I wasn’t familiar with any actors or actresses in this show and I can’t say that anyone outside of the teenagers in the cast caught my attention. I did think that the female lead was cute and super pretty but other than her, nobody stood out to me. That’s not going to stop me from watching more shows from Japan though.

Overall, this drama was good but it’s not a drama that I would watch again. It’s not a show that I can shout my love for from the rooftops but it wasn’t the worst drama ever. The story being told, one of first love is a good one and if the entire show was them when they were teenagers, I probably would have liked this one more. I liked some things but mostly, this one just didn’t hit for me as much as I thought it would. So…yeah, that’s what I thought.

Final Rating

3 out of 5

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The Seventeen Listen: Boys Be

Posted March 15, 2023 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Welcome to my deep dive down the rabbit hole that is Seventeen. I’m going to try to write out my thoughts on the different albums coming out from both BTS and Seventeen since right now, they’re the only groups that I actively stan but I’m also going to start my Seventeen journey for record keeping on the blog.

This week, I’ll be discussing their 2015 release Boys Be. The only song off this one that I’m familiar with is Mansae and I already love this song so while I’ll still listen to it and watch whatever I can of that song, I’m going to be checking all of the other songs as well. Hmm..anyway, let’s jump in, shall we?

Boys Be

Release Date: September 10, 2015
Track List: Fronting, Mansae, When I Grow Up, OMG, Rock
Favorite Song: When I Grow Up

Boys Be is the second extended play from South Korean boy band Seventeen. It was released on September 10, 2015, by Pledis Entertainment. The album consists of five tracks, including the title track, “Mansae”.

There are only five songs on this album so it’s another short one but it was another enjoyable one so I’m not that mad about it. The repackaged albums..are those the albums that throw all of the short albums together? I’m guessing that might be the deal but anyway…let’s get to the songs.

Fronting: This is a catchy song and though some of the lyrics made me roll my eyes, I can’t even stay mad about them lyrics because the song is too fun and lighthearted, kind of like War of Hormones by BTS. This song is about high school boys that can’t control their feelings for their crushes and it makes me laugh because the lyrics convey that very well. This is the kind of song that I’d expect of some very young boys but it’s got a catchy hook and it’s fun so yeah, I like it.

Mansae: This song is catchy as hell and just a whole lot of fun. I really like long haired Jeonghan and he was a highlight in the music video for me. I loved it when I first heard it and I still love the hell out of it now. Such a great song that just makes me happy.

When I Grow Up: This is my favorite song off the album. This is my kind of song in every way. I’ve always loved the softer songs that are kind of cheesy, lyric wise but the difference with this song is that the lyrics are super sweet, not cheesy at all though I’m sure others will disagree with me but dude, this sons is SO CUTE! Its a vocal line song and this is another song that I absolutely love. Gah, love it so much.

OMG: This is a performance team song and I’m starting to realize that I enjoy their songs more when I’m watching them perform it. They performed this song really well and while I liked the song fine, it’s not a favorite of mine. It’s a solid song though.

Rock: I liked this one. I really liked the bridge and just listening to Seungkwan and DK doing their thing. The way that DK can sing those high notes? I’m here for it. This is definitely going on my playlist cause I did really like this one. The performance that I watched…they are babies in this performance. They’re such great performers too. I can see why they’re so popular.

Overall, this short album was cute. I didn’t love every song but I did enjoy it as a whole. I’m really excited to dig more into the lesser known songs that I’m missing out on. Seventeen is my kind of group so I’m pretty stoked to be listening to more of their stuff. There’s lot of hidden gems. I definitely recommend this one if you’re interested.

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Buy the Album

iTunes | Target | Weverse

Final Thoughts

3.5 out of 5

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Review: Alice in Borderland

Posted March 14, 2023 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Alice in Borderland

Starring: Yamazaki Kento, Tsuchiya Tao, Murakami Nijiro, Morinaga Yuki, Machida Keita, Miyoshi Ayaka
Year Released: 2022
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Drama, Action, Science Fiction, Thriller
Country: Japan
Director: Sato Shinsuke
Where to Watch: Netflix

Arisu Ryohei—a listless, jobless, and video-game-obsessed young man—suddenly finds himself in a strange, emptied-out version of Tokyo in which he and his friends must compete in dangerous games in order to survive. In this strange world, Arisu meets Usagi, a young woman who’s navigating the games alone. After a dangerous game which tests Arisu’s limits, the two set out together to unravel one mystery after another as they risk their lives and confront what it means to live.

I have been meaning to watch this show for a while but never got around to it but when my friend DJ recommended it, I knew that I had to get it done, and while I didn’t end up loving it the way that everyone on the internet did, I still rather enjoyed it. It was crazy, it was thrilling and it was compelling as hell and I’m not mad at all that I watched it. I started watching it with my best friend, Theresa but after the third episode, we had to take a break because OH HELL NO, not the friends! Therese ended up not finishing it out, but I did.

The Story

This drama had some serious Hunger and Squid Games vibes with our cast playing deadly games to stay alive. I guess this drama was adapted from a manga that was loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland. There’s a lot of violence, a lot of gory death, and let’s just say that this one ain’t for the kids. None of that bothered me and I think a lot of it worked well with the story being told. Our main characters, Arisu and Usagi are thrown into a world of deadly games where they have to keep winning games to stay alive. It was crazy that we actually saw the losers get eliminated from each game and that amped up my anxiety but also kept me invested. I needed to see both Arisu and Usagi succeed and take the gamekeepers down. That was where I was interested in from beginning to end.

The Cast

This is one of the first J-dramas that I watched so everyone was brand spanking new to me. I can’t say that anyone stood out to me. I was more invested in what was going on instead of who was who. I did enjoy Arisu and Usagi though. I also really liked Arisu’s friends from the very beginning but aside from them, nobody else stood out that much to me. I liked seeing Arisu, who I thought wouldn’t really amount to anything when we first meet him but holy cow did show me. With each game that he played, he kept right on impressing me. Same with Usagi, when we first meet her, I knew that she was going to be a big part of the game but I didn’t realize how much I’d come to love her character. She had a huge heart and when she wouldn’t leave that kid, I became a huge fan of hers. She was pretty great. Everyone else kind of reminded me of like a modern, fucked up version of Alice in Wonderland.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was a solid drama. It wasn’t my favorite but I did enjoy the Arisu and seeing him battle day in and day out to survive. I don’t think that I could have survived that madness because each game was crazier than the last and I had hella anxiety watching because I had no idea how the hell Arisu was gonna beat the game. Both seasons were crazy and I’m glad that I watched them both. Did I mention how much I hate how Netflix splits up seasons? Cause I hate but lucky for them, I watched this when both series were already out so I didn’t have to wait to see how everything turned out. As solid as this drama was, the effects were pretty awesome but there were episodes that I struggled to get through and there were some characters that I didn’t care about but overall, I’m not mad that I watched it and I would recommend if you were in the mood for something on the crazy side.

Final Rating

3.5 out of 5

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The Seventeen Listen: 17 Carat

Posted March 8, 2023 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Welcome to my deep dive down the rabbit hole that is Seventeen. I’m going to try to write out my thoughts on the different albums coming out from both BTS and Seventeen since right now, they’re the only groups that I actively stan but I’m also going to start my Seventeen journey for record keeping on the blog.

This week, I’m going back to the beginning and will be sharing my thoughts on their first album, 17 Carat.

17 Carat

Release Date: May 29, 2015
Track List: Shining Diamond, Adore U, Ah Yeah, Jam Jam, 20
Favorite Song: Adore U
Favorite Line:

17 Carat is the debut extended play by South Korean boy group Seventeen. It was released on May 29, 2015, by Pledis Entertainment and distributed by LOEN Entertainment. “Adore U” serves as the lead single for the extended play.

As a non-Korean speaking person, what I’m doing with each song in each album is looking up lyric translations, watching performances of the songs on YouTube on top of listening to the songs on Spotify and whatever CD’s that I have (being a new Carat, I don’t have all the albums yet but I’m working on it…and it’s a lot harder to get some of the older albums which makes me sad.) Alright with all of that out of the way, let’s jump right in.

Shining Diamond: So what I’m taking from this song is that it’s an introduction to Seventeen. The way that they slid in with that “Slip into the diamond life” made me laugh because hahaha, okay?? Don’t mind if I do? Haha. I’m digging this song. It’s not my favorite song or anything but it’s a solid introduction to the guys. Stepping into the diamond life is not a bad decision and I’m glad that I did. I love that the boys are committing to getting better and making sure you don’t regret becoming their fan in the lyrics of this song. Vernon stands out the most to me in this one, what a cutie.

Adore U: This is one of the songs I’ve heard before, I’m not super familiar with it but I do like it. Listening to it again (and again and again) only makes me like it more. I watched the MV for this one and holy cow, they’re freaking babies in it! I am LOVING baby Seungkwan! Vernon’s hair!! Jeonghan’s long hair!!! The song itself is such a cute song about having a crush and all of the feelings that come with realizing you adore someone and seeing baby Seventeen performing this one was so stinking adorable. I can’t get over baby Seungkwan and DK. Their strong singing skills were completely evident even back then. This is hands down my favorite song on the album. Love this one!

Ah Yeah: This is a hip hop team song so no singers, just the rappers and this is one of those songs that after just listening to it on Spotify, I liked it okay but it wasn’t until I listened to it a couple more times and then saw them perform it that I really started to like it. Seeing baby Vernon, S Coups, Wonwoo, and Mingyu perform this one was a lot of fun. They really do know how to put on a show.

Jam Jam: This is a performance team song, well the performance team and Vernon. It’s a nice song to dance to and the performance of this song was a lot of fun. Vernon is a lot of fun and he really shines in this song. I liked the dance but the song itself isn’t something that I would regularly listen to but it’s definitely on my weekend clean the house playlist. It’s definitely fun, that’s for sure.

20: I’m really soft for this song. I think it’s such a cute song and the OT13 performance that I saw made me love the song like a hundred times more. I also watched the vocal line perform this one on their own and loved it just as much. I really love Woozi and Jeonghan on this song, they really did their thing on this one.

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Buy the Album

iTunes | Amazon

Final Thoughts


This album was a great introduction to Seventeen. It showed their earnestness and they’re desire to work hard, do well, and their invitation to join them on their journey was great. I’m excited to deep dive into the rest of their music and enjoy my own journey through their history.

Really Liked It

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Review: The Forbidden Marriage

Posted March 7, 2023 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

The Forbidden Marriage

Starring: Kim Young Dae, Park Ju Hyun, Kim Woo Seok, Yang Dong Geun, Park Sun Young, Choi Deok Moon
Year Released: 2022
Number of Episodes: Drama, Historical, Comedy, Mystery, Romance
Country: South Korea
Director: Jung Hoon, Park Sang Woo
Screenwriter: Cheon Ji Hye
Where to Watch: Viki, Prime Video

Lee Heon is the king of Joseon. 7 years ago, when he was a crown prince, his beloved wife died. To this day, he has not been able to get over her death. For the past 7 years, the royal family and government members have tried to get King Lee Heon remarried without success. The nation has also implemented a geumhonryung edict, which is a ban on all single women marrying during this time when the king has not married. People are furious over the marriage ban. One day, King Lee Heon hears of a woman named Ye So Rang, who claims the spirit of the king’s late wife exists within the royal palace.

Meanwhile, Ye So Rang is a swindler and claims to interpret marital harmony signs. She is arrested and jailed where Officer Lee Shin Won works. To get out of her predicament, she pretends to be possessed by a spirit in front of Lee Shin Won. During her ruse, she mentions that the spirit of King Lee Heon’s late wife exists within the royal palace. She is then brought in front of the king and he asks her if she can really see his late wife’s spirit. To survive, Ye So Rang acts like her body is possessed by the king’s late wife. Ye So Rang’s lies get bigger and more audacious.

I love me some Kim Young Dae so after watching Shooting Star, I patiently waited for him to come out with something else and this was it. I’m finding that I’m watching more and more shows for the actors that star in them and not the plot or anything like that. I promise I’m not shallow, haha. I do love me some Park Ju Hyun as well so this was a pairing that I didn’t know that I needed. And in a rom-com? Yes, please!

The Story

Kim Young Dae plays a King who has not gotten over his dead wife. He’s still grieving her death and put a law into effect that bans marriage so for the last seven years, everyone has not been able to get married. What everyone doesn’t know is that the King is being haunted by his dead wife. He never gets any peace because his dead wife is always around. So when he meets Ye So Rang and she claims that his late wife is in the palace, he keeps her around so that he can talk to his wife through her and their whirlwind romance takes off. Ye So Rang is battling her own things and is in hiding because she’s never been safe. She’s become a con artist in order to survive and seeing her battle day in and day out made me love her more and more with each episode.

As much as I enjoyed the main romance, the story itself moved slow at times and there were a few episodes where it was so slow that it was very easy for me to be distracted with everything and anything under the sun while the episodes played. That was a bit of a bummer but overall, I did like it.

The Cast

There weren’t too many faces that I didn’t recognize from this drama so it felt like catching up with friends and I enjoyed everyone’s addition to the cast. My favorites of the bunch outside of the two main leads were the second lead, Lee Shin Won, (though I never rooted for him to get the girl, sorry!), and the two palace workers, Se Jang and Won Nyeo, who were trying to steer the King into falling in love so that the marriage ban can be lifted. They were a lot of fun and entertained me with their charm.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this drama was an enjoyable one that made me laugh, made me get teary-eyed, and entertained me. Though there were slow parts of the show, I still enjoyed it. I liked the romance between the King and and So Rang, I liked the second lead, I loved all of the people we meet from So Rang’s life but from the King’s life as well (except for all of those fuckers that were trying to do him dirty) and a giant fuck you to the woman and her daughter that was trying to do So Rang dirty too. I’m glad that when all was said and done, my girl got her happy ending and was able to return to the person she’s always been and was able to step into the light without hiding anymore. I was glad that the King was able to finally move on from his first love and find love again with my girl. There’s enough here for viewers to enjoy and I thought the visuals (not just the actors but the setting as well) were beautiful and I am glad that I watched it.

Final Rating

3.5 out of 5

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