Korean Drama Review of Arang and the Magistrate



Genre:  Historical, Romance

Number of Episodes:  20

At the time that I am writing this review, the series is only halfway through.  In other words, I am currently watching it, and I am liking it so much, I couldn’t help but review it. 


Story Premise:  Set in the Joseon period, a Virgin Ghost with amnesia shanghaies an apathetic Magistrate into helping her solve the mystery of her murder.

Synopsis:  Arang is a virgin ghost that died three years before the story begins.  She has no idea how she died, but she suspects it was murder since her ghostly body has a stab wound in her side.  Having escaped from the Death Chasers the night she died, she has wondered the hills and forests around her hometown trying to figure out who she is, if she has a family, and – most importantly – how she died.

Kim Eun Oh is a “Young Lord” who almost died as a child and has been able to see ghosts ever since.  As a child, he helped the ghosts around him resolve their grudges, but when people began to call him “the haunted child,” he decided he would no longer get involved with ghostly business – or even human business – ever again.  All he wants is to find his mother who abandoned him three years earlier because she did not want him to be raised as the child of a slave.  (In other words, his mother was a slave and his father was a lord.)  And yet, Eun Oh is determined to find her and spend the rest of his life living with her instead of his father.

However, when Arang finds out that Eun Oh can see ghosts, she continually badgers him about helping her find out who she is.  When Eun Oh makes a reckless promise to her that he would help her only if he ever became the Magistrate of the local town, Arang manages to maneuver things in the human world just enough to shanghai Eun Oh into becoming the Magistrate.  Still, even as the appointed Magistrate, Eun Oh has no intention of helping Arang, until he discovers that her death has a mysterious connection to his mother’s disappearance.  Together, the two work to find out Arang’s identity, how she died, and what mysterious connection it all has to his mother’s disappearance.


What I like about this K-Drama:  This has to be one of the most fascinating Korean Dramas I have ever seen.  The story is a really interesting blend of the Korean beliefs of life, death and the afterlife.  While I am not incredibly familiar with what Koreans believe, I have seen enough Korean Dramas to notice certain cultural rituals – like the way Koreans serve food to the dead on the day of their Death Anniversary – and this show explains a lot of the beliefs behind those rituals.  There are so many elements of the different beliefs (or mythology) mixed into the story that you can’t help but be fascinated by the whole tale in general.

For example, this story has explanations for Death Chasers (i.e. the Korean version of Grim Reapers), Ghouls, Ghosts, Shamans, Talismans, Yin and Yang and even the River Styx.  It goes into the belief of Heaven and Hell (or the nine rooms of Hell) and the two Gods pulling the strings on everything – The Great King Jade and the Great King Yeom La.  It is a really fascinating blend of a lot of supernatural elements, so if you like any of that kind of stuff, this is a great drama to watch.

Plus, there is a lot of GREAT Romantic Tension between Arang and the Magistrate.  

What I did NOT like about this K-Drama:  So far, there isn’t anything I don’t like about this drama.  It can be a little nerve-racking at times since it does get into the supernatural, but it is still mild on the “Scary Scale” in comparison to American shows.  If I had to say I didn’t like something, it would be how overprotective the character of Dol Sue is to his “Young Master” Eun Oh.  He treats his “Young Master” like a son when he is supposed to be a servant, and it can be a bit irritating at times.  But all in all, the character of Dol Sue does have an interesting subplot going on with a female Shaman, so it’s nothing bad enough to avoid the show.

Favorite Scene(s): There are a lot of scenes I like from this show, but without a doubt, one of my favorites happens right in the very first episode.  According to this story, ghosts are just like humans and they can be hungry or get rained on just like any ordinary person.  The scene I like is where Arang takes shelter in the same hut that Eun Oh and Dol Sue are taking shelter in, and she begins to take off her wet clothes, only to see Eun Oh staring at her in shock.  When she tries to test if he can see her, he pretends he can’t see and silently begs her to leave him alone.  It’s hysterical.  Click the Play Button below to watch.  (The scene starts ant 16 minutes and 19 seconds into Episode 1.)  

What Other Reviewers Are Saying: 

Going Immortal with Arang and the Magistrate Midpoint Review

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Watch This Show on My Favorite K-Drama Site:



Korean Drama Review of: To the Beautiful You


Genre: Romantic Comedy

Number of Episodes: 16

Story Premise: A female track star travels from America to Korea and disguises herself as a boy in order to attend an all-boys high school and help her idol – a Gold-Medal Olympian high jumper – start jumping again after an injury.

Synopsis: Gu Jae Hee is a girl that felt like she never fit in at her school in America. She was constantly picked on for being different and just wished that some miracle would happen and make her like everyone else. Then one day, she was watching the Olympics on TV and she saw a high jumper (Kang Tae Joon) win the Gold Medal. After winning, Kang Jae Toon said into the camera, “A Miracle is another name for Hard Work.” That simple phrase was enough to give Jae Hee the courage to change her life. Soon after, she joined the track team at her school and began making friends who were different, yet still liked her for her.

Meanwhile, back in Korea, Kang Tae Joon suffers a great loss when his mother dies. On top of it, he gets injured and begins to question whether he should ever jump again. Returning to his high school, he finds he’s been relegated to “superstar athlete-jumper” and yet he doesn’t want to jump anymore.

And this is where story begins.Gu Jae Hee chops off her hair and binds her breasts, then shows up at Kang Tae Joon’s door as his new roommate. While she hadn’t expected to be his roommate, she quickly takes advantage of the situation and begins doing anything she can to help Tae Joon get his desire for jumping back. At first, Tae Joon resists Jae Hee’s attempts to inspire him, but when he finds out she’s a girl and how much she gave up to help him, he pretends he doesn’t know she’s a girl and uses her story as a reason to do what he loves once again.

That’s the basic storyline. However, there are a lot of little interesting subplots going on as well. Firstly, you have Eun Gyul who is a talented soccer player and who quickly becomes Jae Hee’s best friend. When he finds he starts having feelings for Jae Hee, it shakes him as he starts to believe he is gay. There is also a character who was Eun Gyul’s best friend before Jae Hee and who had an actual crush on Eun Gyul. He doesn’t like Jae Hee and begins to pick on him in hopes of making him look foolish. You also have a Gold Medal gymnast named Hana who has been in love with Tae Joon since they were both little and who is practically psychotic in her obsession with being Tae Joon’s girlfriend. Another high jumper who desperately wants to beat Tae Joon.

All of this takes place at All-Boys Athletics school, so there is a whole bunch of Immature Testosterone thrown into the mix (which is always just fun).

What I like about this K-Drama: I find myself watching episodes from this series over and over again even though the story is not yet done. While the hero does not show a lot of emotional depth and tends to keep his emotions deeply under wraps (since he is always in the lime light and ending up in the news), the viewers do get to see what he is thinking and you can’t help but like him despite his standoffish mannerisms to everyone. On top of that (and despite what other descriptions of this show says), Gu Jae Hee is not a girl who is actively out to win Tae Joon’s heart. She just honestly wants to see him get back on his feet, and that emotional support spreads to anyone in her circle. Plus, Eun Gyul is just adorable and you can’t help but love how freaking cute he is.

What I did NOT like about this K-Drama: While Eun Gyul is one of my favorite characters, I don’t like how much he likes Jae Hee. It’s not because I don’t want to see a love triangle…it’s because I can’t stand the thought of this really sweet character getting his heart broken. Also, the character of Hana is a little too hardcore-obsessive for my taste, but it does add conflict to the story. Those are the only things I don’t like about the show…which pretty much means I like everythingabout the show.

Favorite Scene(s): There are so many fantastic scenes in this show that I find at least one scene I love in every episode. So here’s a quick rundown of ALL my favorite scenes so far and which episodes they are in… (You’ll know if you see them.)

Episode 1: The fencing match with the plunger. Ep. 2: The marathon race with the sprained ankle. Ep. 3: The falling umbrella in the rain. Ep. 4: The Fight Scene with the rapist. Ep. 5: The near drowning experience. Ep. 6: The “Who is the Prettiest AS a Girl” competition (all the competitors are boys except for Jae Hee – who loses). Ep. 7: Searching for the Lost Ring. Ep. 8: The “Crazy” Paintball Commando scene AND the Tent Scene. Ep. 9: Tae Joon finds out who Jae Hee’s “First Kiss” was. Ep 10: The first “Non-Date” Date scenes.

What Other People Are Saying About “To The Beautiful You”:

To the Beautiful You OST Will Be Officially Released on September:

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To The Beautiful You Review Halfway Point Kawaii Kiwi Kowboi:

To the Beautiful You has Been a roller coaster for me. It has me squealing at some parts and turning away in horror at others. Either way I’m still watching this drama and I plan to do so until the end. First of all what’s been.…

allkpop TV Guide To the Beautiful You Episodes 1-10:

Warning-there are spoilers for the first ten episodes of To the Beautiful You ahead Due to what is either poor planning or unfortunate timing the idol-laden KBS drama To the Beautiful You has been struggling to gain.…

Where to Watch:

Click here to watch this on my favorite K-Drama website:  AllAboutKoreanDramas.com