[K-DRAMA] Nine: Nine Times Time Travel

warning: may contain spoilers

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A one of a kind time traveling drama. Definitely should not be missed.

Plot:

Park Sun Woo is a famous news anchor who traveled to Nepal to claim his older brother’s belongings. Unfortunately, his older brother died while climbing the Himalayas. Sun Woo didn’t have any idea though as to what his brother was up to. He later found out about the incense stick that his brother was holding until he died. He lit it up and he immediately time traveled to 20 years ago. After 30 minutes or when the incense stick has been used up, he goes back to present time. In order to continue his brother’s quest, he diligently went back to Nepal to search for the rest of the incense sticks. There on top of the mountain lies a cottage 20 years ago and a tube filled with 9 pieces of incense sticks can be found in one of the rooms. He successfully brought the tube to present time. As he tries to change things in the past, he realises the consequences that he has to face in his present and future life, and also affecting his family, friends, lover and the people around him.

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Opinions:

Time traveling dramas became popular after successful dramas like Rooftop Prince and Queen In Hyun’s Man. But have you ever watched a Korean drama that doesn’t time travel from Korean history like Guryeo and Joseon Dynasties? Yes, I watched Marry Him If You Dare but it was a failure for me. They clearly didn’t make good use of the time traveling plot. This time Nine offered a much more relatable and realistic time travel to 20 years ago. I also think this is the best time traveling drama out of all that I have watched because there’s a distinct way or method of time traveling. In other dramas, they suddenly appear out of nowhere without chanting some mantra or doing something. In Rooftop Prince, the rooftop seemed to be their location of going back to past and future. In Marry Him If You Dare, an elevator was used. Totally ordinary and uncreative. The funniest of all was Dr. Jin when he jumped from the building. It doesn’t make sense at all. This drama totally made sense and it sounds so real. With the use of incense sticks, he can time travel to 20 years ago. I guess this is one of the best selling points of this drama. The title itself is very intriguing. I mean, he can only travel nine times? I’m sure once you have read the synopsis, you will also be interested to watch this drama.

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The plot is definitely one of a kind. It’s something that I’ve never seen in other Korean or even Asian dramas. The first time I’ve seen and knew about the abilities of the incense sticks, I was as amazed as Sun Woo. I wanted to use these sticks immediately! Sun Woo used the incense sticks hastily without even thinking carefully during the first few episodes. If I were in his shoes, I’d probably do the same because I want to see the magic of it. I’m sure as you watch this drama, you’ll also think and imagine about the things that you would do if you have the incense sticks, because I also thought about those regretful and embarrassing moments that I wanted to change. Nine is definitely more realistic as there’s a space for imagination for the audience. Those time traveling historical dramas are hard to relate to especially when you’re not Korean and have never worn Hanbok or Korean traditional clothing. I really applaud the writers for their creative yet coherent writing. Here goes a fictional time traveling drama that actually makes sense.

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Incense sticks may make or break you. As Sun Woo’s best friend had said, these incense sticks were a curse. You’d get nothing from it. Well it’s true. Their memories have messed up after Sun Woo used those incense sticks to change the past. Now, their present and future plans are now ruined as well. One of the heartbreaking moments for Sun Woo would probably be knowing who killed his father. It was better for him to not know about the truth. But the most heartbreaking one would certainly be Min Young becoming his niece. She was supposed to be his lover, the one he would be marrying and living together forever. Due to him changing one thing about the past, his present and future were affected as well. After learning about the consequences that one could receive when he will use the incense sticks, one could stop, think wisely before using it. Well if you ask me, I’d still go for the time traveling. I guess there were too much regretful things that I’ve done in the past. I’m only in my early 20’s yet I have a lot of these thoughts. lol I’d probably use those 8 incense sticks wisely and leaving the last because I don’t want to experience what happened to Sun Woo in the end. How about you?

Characters:

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Lee Jin Wook as Park Sun Woo — Another hottie alert! Lee Jin Wook caught my attention back in 2012 when he guested in Strong Heart along with his best buddy, Kim Ji Suk, but I never really did paid attention to him since I haven’t watched him in any drama yet. I really regretted why I didn’t took notice of this cutie back then. Lee Jin Wook really caught my heart with this drama as Park Sun Woo. Sun Woo isn’t a perfect guy as he could be clumsy and could make mistakes, but he’s a character that you can easily fall in love with. That first scene during the first episode was a warm-up. Kissing scene right at the beginning? Why not? Sun Woo doesn’t have a strong character that stood out but I really loved how Jin Wook brought him to life. Lee Jin Wook is another underrated actor in the Korean entertainment industry. Hey, he has a great smile, great body and great acting! One of my favourite scenes during the drama was the morning bed scene when it was Min Young’s birthday and this couple had a cute fight. When Min Young left for a while, her parents made a surprise visit to her apartment where the couple is staying at. Morning look at its best! We see Sun Woo in boxers, disheveled hair and a surprised cute look.  I guess he was too serious throughout the whole drama, he deserved to smile and be happy as well. Those happy scenes are really fulfilling and satisfying for Jin Wook’s fans. I can’t wait for his new project this 2014. Maybe another lead role for a non-cable drama this time to gain more popularity? I’m also putting I Need Romance 2 in my “must watch asap” list.

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Spell A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E.

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Jo Yoon Hee as Joo Min Young — The girl’s face is really familiar and it seems like that I have seen her somewhere. After reading her biography, I found out that she was the supporting female character in Lie To Me. No wonder she was so familiar! She had long hair back then and she was really feminine. I didn’t like her character at all. This time Jo Yoon Hee portrayed Joo Min Young, a short-haired girl with little to no femininity. It was refreshing to see her in a whole new character that’s different from the character that she portrayed before. My first impression of Min Young was also not a good one. I thought that she would just be a typical girl full of aegyo or cuteness. I learned to love her character as the episodes passed. I think I can understand what Sun Woo was trying to say about Min Young; that when he is with her, he will never be lonely or sad. Joo Min Young always have a happy and cheerful aura. I can totally say that Jo Yoon Hee did well in portraying her character.

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Lee Jin Wook and Jo Yoon Hee pairing — During the beginning, I wasn’t really a fan of this couple. Why pair Jin Wook with a not-so-famous actress? He deserved a better leading lady. During the first few episodes, I really thought that Sun Woo was forced to like and date Min Young since it seemed like Min Young was the one chasing after Sun Woo. It turned out the other way around. I felt that Sun Woo loved Min Young more. Maybe because of Sun Woo’s timid personality so he wasn’t able to express his love for her unlike Min Young. As the story progressed, and as this couple was trying to build their chemistry together, I learned to appreciate and like this couple. The happy scenes were the memorable ones and I can say that those were their best scenes together. Those scenes seemed realistic and cute. I can’t deny that my heart fluttered while watching them. It wasn’t cheesy but it was just right for your heart to flutter and smile. I’ve also seen their photos together when they shot for a magazine. Those photos are really beautiful and they make a lovely couple. Not really a big big fan of this pairing, but I loved the chemistry that they have shown in this drama.

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Park Hyung Shik as Park Sun Woo (teenager) — I just had to special mention him because his acting surprised me. Similar to my comments about him in The Heirs, I’m really surpassed by how well he could act. I think he really portrayed his role really well as he showed his foolishness and clumsiness when he was a teenager. Thumbs up to the casting team as well for finding a Lee Jin Wook lookalike. In certain angles, these two sort of looked alike. Even for Sun Woo’s best friend, the teenager and present best friend were also lookalikes. I really like the fact that Hyung Shik is getting a lot of attention these days and I hope he could continue to make a name for himself as well as his group, ZE:A. I’m anticipating his upcoming projects as well.

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Ending: (spoilers)

The ending can be interpreted in many ways based from one’s perspective. My take on the ending? The one that we actually saw during the last episode is the teenage Sun Woo from 1992. And the little girl that we saw on the telephone booth finally grew up as well. Those happy scenes that we see are people not from the ‘present’ but actually from the ‘past’. I think you’ll understand what I’m trying to say once you watch it until the end. The very final scene wherein an older Sun Woo appears and meets up with his older brother on top of the mountain is very intriguing. I want to be optimistic so I interpreted it as the ‘present’ Sun Woo who is stuck in the past has found a way to go back to present time. Probably with the help of the ‘past’ Sun Woo? I believe that the ‘present’ Sun Woo is still alive even though it is hard to believe especially when he already lost a lot of blood during the crash. Although the ending could be confusing, I still loved how the staff ended it. The start of the drama was filled with mysteries and the ending was still a mystery. Open ended stories usually leave me disappointed, but definitely not this ending. I hope they could do a sequel with the same characters.

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Final Thoughts:

Nine: Nine Times Time Travel is the best time traveling drama I have ever watched. It has a clear and distinct method of time traveling, but there’s also mystery within these time travelings. It’s unique, suspenseful and mind-challenging. There are so many possibilities in the ending and it’s really hard to grasp everything in just one watch. Nine is worth watching for the second time and probably nth times, in my opinion. This is how much I love this wonderful drama; that I could watch it more than one time if only I have many free time. This drama deserved more attention and popularity in Korea and even overseas. This is another underrated drama that I wished many would be able to learn about and watch it. There are so many great reviews so far, but this drama could be more successful if many would watch it. You will definitely not regret watching Nine. It’s a masterpiece, perfect in so many ways.

Rating: 10/10

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Recommended Korean Dramas (2013) | My Asian movie & drama
  2. Alicia
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 16:28:55

    Wow I’m glad I found your blog! I’ve just started watching Nine so thanks for the spoiler alert or else I would have blindly read everything lol

    Would be browsing through your reviews for all the dramas I’ve watched to see what you think of those since I like your way of reviewing. Other reviews on kdrama I’ve read so far only know how to praise dramas blindly. Even the worst actors are great to their eyes. I like how your review isn’t based on your opinions alone but also some other factors like comparison to other dramas with similar theme which kinda like act as the ‘base’ of your opinions.

    I’ve rambled too much didn’t I? lol Anyway, good job!

    Reply

    • rockkstarr21
      Feb 28, 2014 @ 17:49:08

      aww thank you so much! :”> though I think I need to improve my writing skills. glad you liked my review 🙂

      Reply

      • Alicia
        Mar 04, 2014 @ 15:22:13

        Hi! I’m back! LOL

        Finished this drama yesterday and boy I’m in love! The storyline was so good and it saved the drama despite the cliché theme. I love how it was not too slow or too fast. The best part was that there were so many surprises that worked for me. Having watched so many Kdrama all this while made it easy for me to predict what was gonna happen throughout most dramas, including Nine. Surprises or the so-called plot twist in most Kdramas never really worked on me. But in Nine, most of the ‘surprises’ did work, especially with the change of the future and all. Even if I could predict some of the plot, I was never 100% sure of my prediction. For example, I knew who killed his father way earlier before it was revealed but I was still wondering if I were right. The way the writer wrote the story towards the revelation left questions in my head so I was only 50% sure with my guesses. Unlike other Kdrama, for example Five Fingers, I predicted almost the whole story from the beginning til the end and I was right every single time (which I knew I would be seeing how that drama was like a mashup of soap clichés). And like you said, this drama is definitely watchable for the 2nd time or more.

        And the ending! I love open ended endings since they allow me to continue my imagination for the storyline and not have it ‘forcely closed’ by the scriptwriter. My interpretation for the ending was that the past Sun Woo, now living with the memory of meeting the future Sun Woo decided not to travel back in time knowing that he would die there as told by Min Young. And now that both the past and present Sun Woo were adult, if he saved the stuck-in-the-past Sun Woo things were gonna get messy so he probably chose not to save him. But after his brother died, something might have happened later that he decided to find a way to go back to save his brother. One thing left unanswered for my interpretation was that since the incense stick allow you to travel 20 years back, the Sun Woo that his brother saw was already 58 lol! But all in all I’m glad that this drama didn’t dissapoint me from the beginning til the end. It’s in my top ten list at the moment.

        P/s: you’d be seeing me around your blog often because I really love your review. And don’t worry about your write-up. An honest opinion doesn’t need fancy wording ^.~

      • rockkstarr21
        Mar 05, 2014 @ 18:04:25

        I really like unpredictable plots in K-dramas. You should watch Heartless City too! It’s also a 2013 K-drama that I personally love. Yeah, that’s what I like about open ended endings. We all have our own versions/interpretations ^^ Nine was really a great drama! I hope writers can make more dramas like this 🙂

  3. ellaverina96
    Apr 23, 2014 @ 09:34:25

    It sounds interesting to be watched. Gonna watch it, thanks for ur review! 🙂

    Reply

  4. Trackback: [K-DRAMA] Queen In Hyun’s Man (2012) | My Asian movie & drama

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