[K-DRAMA] Winter Sonata

warning: may contain spoilers

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The setting was so romantic, but the plot was too mellow for my liking. Still one of the classic melodramas that’s worth remembering.

The drama started with a flashback to high school days. Kang Joon Sang transferred to a high school in Chuncheon for the reason of searching for his father. His mother always told him that his father died already but in reality she wants to hide the truth from him. Joon Sang met and was welcomed by his classmates and this included Jung Yoo Jin, Kim Sang Hyuk and Oh Chae Rin. Yoo Jin and Joon Sang eventually developed feelings for each other after some time. On New Year’s Eve, they promised to meet each other again. However, Joon Sang didn’t show up as he was involved in a car accident. His brain was damaged, and he suffered from amnesia. His mother, in the hopes of wanting him to forget his bad childhood memories, asked the doctor to hypnotize him and give him a new life. They then moved to United States with Joon Sang having a new identity as Lee Min Hyung. He left his friends in Chuncheon, believing that he already passed away.

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The third episode started during present time, the day when Yoo Jin was going to get engaged to Sang Hyuk. However on her way, she saw Lee Min Hyung. Through him, she saw too much resemblance from Joon Sang. She was completely shocked that she was unable to think properly, causing her to forget about the engagement. They coincidentally met again when Yoo Jin started working for Lee Min Hyung. Their frequent meetings eventually led to Min Hyung liking Yoo Jin, and then Yoo Jin told him how he looked so much alike with her first love. This also led to Min Hyung to go back to Chuncheon and search for his past. He found out that he was actually Joon Sang and his mother had asked the doctor to brainwash him. He also heard that his father was the deceased father of Yoo Jin, and they were siblings after all. Joon Sang had no choice but to break off their relationship. Sang Hyuk’s father was curious so he asked the mother of Joon Sang, since Sang Hyuk’s father, Yoo Jin’s father and Joon Sang’s mother are good friends during their high school days. Sang Hyuk’s father found out that Joon Sang’s mother lied. Sang Hyuk’s father was actually the real father of Joon Sang. Joon Sang and Sang Hyuk were the real siblings, and not Yoo Jin. After finding this out, Joon Sang still decided to leave Korea as he was suffering from an eye problem. He might get blind due to the accident that had occurred in the past. After some years, Joon Sang went back to Korea and stayed at a house that Yoo Jin designed. Yoo Jin didn’t know about it, but saw the house in a magazine. She decided to visit the house. Fate brought them together again as they coincidentally met in that house.

It was a mistake that I didn’t watch the Endless Love series in order. I first watched Summer Scent before I watched this. I appreciated Summer Scent and quite enjoyed it, well at least during the first half of the drama. While watching Winter Sonata, I found so many similarities between the two. The plot was almost the same. Now, I understood why Summer Scent didn’t get high ratings, because it was somewhat a rip-off of Winter Sonata. The lead guy fell in love with the lead girl knowing that she’s in a relationship. The lead girl as well gets confused and had feelings for the guy. The second lead guy knew all of it, yet pretends that he’s okay and remains his relationship with the lead girl. The plot was the same old drama. Add the whole amnesia thing. I started to get bored at Episode 3. I didn’t quite understand why¬†Winter Sonata became a hit across Asia. Maybe because of the wonderful sceneries and the mellowness of the story? I thought that having amnesia was so ordinary and old already. Blamed myself for not watching the seasonal series in order, because I appreciated Winter Sonata a little less than Summer Scent.

The actors showed brilliant acting. My mom was carried away by their crying scenes so she cried too. The chemistry between the two main leads is spectacular. They look good together onscreen. They were a perfect match; probably one of the pairings that I will always remember in Korean dramas. The cast overall was satisfyingly good. Each was suitable for his or her own role.

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Bae Yong Joon as Kang Joon Sang / Lee Min Hyung — I don’t really understand why he became so popular among Japanese and Asian fans. Maybe, he has the look of an anime character? I rather thought that he was overrated. He displayed great acting skills in this drama. The emotions are heavily conveyed along with his co-stars. Right, he’s a great actor, but I can’t just seem to understand his popularity. I thought that Park Yong Ha deserves a share of his popularity.

Choi Ji Woo as Jung Yoo Jin — Jung Yoo Jin’s character was similar to Hye Won in Summer Scent. She’s rather innocent, but her actions doesn’t seem to be. She knew she was in a relationship yet she goes on with liking another guy. Choi Ji Woo’s acting skills are exceptional though. She could easily cry, very natural. I just don’t like her acting when she takes phone calls. It’s so awkward and looks fake. Besides that, she’s a great actress.

Park Yong Ha as Kim Sang Hyuk — Park Yong Ha portrayed Kim Sang Hyuk as a reliable, trustworthy friend. He’s so similar with Jung Jae’s character in Summer Scent. He was the fiance of Yoo Jin but Yoo Jin doesn’t really love him. His actions sometimes made Yoo Jin dislike him, but that was only because he doesn’t want Yoo Jin to leave him. I love how well he cries, especially during the hospital scene when Yoo Jin visited him. It was a touching scene. He’s also a great actor who deserved more attention. In my opinion, he looks more appealing than Bae Yong Joon. It’s a pity that he had to leave this world so early. I will always remember him from this drama.

Park Sol Mi as Oh Chae Rin — Park Sol Mi portrayed Oh Chae Rin as someone who has high aspirations. She isn’t the meanest girl around. I thought that by her looks, she could be someone who would ruin the life of Yoo Jin. Unexpectedly, she retreated quickly, but she got really hurt. I have to say that her acting skills were fine. She showed her potential as an actress in here.

The ending was quite a twist. I didn’t expect that Joon Sang would eventually go blind. It was also heartbreaking to see him end up that way. Nevertheless, the director ended it happily by reuniting the lovers. Even if he goes blind, nothing matters. Yoo Jin still loves Joon Sang despite everything. It was such a happy sight that finally after all those trials that the two encountered, they endured them all. It was a nice reward for the both of them.

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The soundtrack is simply a classic. “From then until Now” by Ryu is a memorable song; from the first few notes, anyone would know that it’s from Winter Sonata. Other tracks from Ryu are also nice. The soundtrack is a must listen. Background instrumentals will also let you remember the touching scenes from the drama.

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Many may think that this is a classic. Yes, it’s true but nothing beats Autumn in My Heart. I loved the cast and their acting in Winter Sonata, but the plot did not attract me at all. It appeared to be too old school for my liking. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of the Endless Love series, you shouldn’t miss this drama. For newbies in Korean dramas, it might be too mellow; get ready to cry bucket of tears. For the curious like me, it wouldn’t hurt to watch and adore the beauty of the sceneries, and of course, Nami Island.

Rating: 5/10

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For a review of the complete Endless Love series: http://wp.me/p1O4OA-5j

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