warning: may contain spoilers
Innocent Man / Nice Guy is a melodrama that involves romance, betrayal and revenge. Does a nice guy like Kang Maru truly exists in this world?
The Korean title when literally translated means “Nowhere in the World Does a Good Man Exist”. The first half of the drama emphasised on the character of Maru. He was too stupid to go to jail for the girl that she loves. Even after he went out of the jail, he always fell into Jae Hee’s trap. He’s always her lifesaver despite of ruining his life. The power of love..sigh.. Truly, Maru is a nice guy that doesn’t exist in the world. I would say that Maru’s actions were ridiculous and unreal. I mean, who in this world would be as kind and as nice as Kang Maru? I love that this drama does not center around the antagonist but rather on Kang Maru, the victim, the nice guy.
Finally I was able to watch this drama after a long time! After watching Secret and Queen of Ambition, I became a fan of ‘revenge’ dramas. I decided to watch this because of Song Joong Ki and because some say that Queen of Ambition stole their concept from this drama. However, I felt that revenge and thirst for power wasn’t very strong in this drama. There were many times when Jae Hee’s feelings and desires wavered. Rather than hate, it was more of pity and sadness. As episodes passed, I realised that Jae Hee wasn’t that bad, but Secretary Ahn was the evil one who pushed her and encouraged her to do bad things. If you were to ask me, QOA didn’t exactly steal their concept. It’s hard to judge because Innocent Man was aired first while QOA was based from a web comic. But if you’re going to ask me, I liked QOA better than this because revenge was utilised to the ultimate level and the storyline was more polished than this one.
As I’ve said, the storyline could have been better. There were times when it was draggy and boring. 16 episodes could have been enough already instead of 20 episodes. There were so many misunderstandings between the characters because they hid their true feelings and thoughts to themselves. I was sometimes left confused on what the character was thinking or planning. I had to read comments by other viewers to get opinions and understand the story fully. The dialogues and their talks are so important; it seems like if you missed a word or two, you’ll miss a lot. I had to depend on the english subtitles most of the time, and you know there are times when it’s hard to translate a language to another. Maybe if I know Korean and didn’t depend on the translation, I could’ve enjoyed the drama more.
Despite the story being a bit boring, there were so many things to look out for. One is real-life best friends Song Joong Ki and Lee Kwang Soo. I love the friendship that they showed in real life and in this drama, we can attest to it. I just didn’t quite liked Kwang Soo’s overacting sometimes. But seriously, his character in this drama was very similar to him in real life. Another catch is actress Lee Yu Bi. She’s so pale and pretty. I think she became known because of her character here as Kang Choco. Also, the chemistry between Song Joong Ki and Moon Chae Won was great. I couldn’t imagine the both of them actually as a love team when I haven’t watched the drama. This opinion changed after watching the drama. There’s something nice while watching them act side by side. They may not be the best pairing out there, but they worked for me. Lastly, I noticed that they sleeping on the floor or ground, whether outdoors or indoors. Not really interesting, but I just had to mention it because I find it funny. lol
Song Joong Ki as Kang Maru — Song Joong Ki is a cutie that I discovered way back in Sungkyunkwan Scandal and Running Man. Ever since Sungkyunkwan Scandal, I’ve been waiting for his chance to shine because I felt that he did so well there. It would be so much waste if he would be another supporting character. Finally, time has come! I must say that he chose his first lead acting project very very well because Joong Ki is so perfect for this character as Kang Maru. He has a “nice guy” face. His character in Sungkyunkwan Scandal as Yong Ha and in here as Kang Maru was so different. Obviously, he improved so much. He can handle such a serious and mature role. Even if it was a depressing character, he showed so many emotions. Also, Kang Maru was a stupid character that you’ll love and hate at the same time. But I’m sure that I loved him more than hate, because he’s the Song Joong Ki! Can’t wait for him to get out of the army and have a tv drama comeback.
Moon Chae Won as Seo Eun Gi — I like Moon Chae Won a lot because she’s so different from other Korean actresses. Love her natural acting and beauty. Her role as Seo Eun Gi was quite similar to her role in Good Doctor though; man-like and calm. It’s a pity that I didn’t took much notice of her before. She’s really suitable for mature and professional types of roles. You know those girls who are cute and overflowing with aegyo, sometimes they’re too annoying. I love how Chae Won looks so elegant and simple all the time by the way she talks or dresses. She may not be as famous as other actresses, but she definitely stands out with her elegance.
Park Si Young as Han Jae Hee — I see Park Si Young as the best actor/actress among the cast members. She even outshines both the lead actors. She has the face of an antagonist that you can like and hate at the same time. Her image is devious and foxy. She’s a great actress. I can feel anger and sadness in her eyes especially when she cries. Terribly a waste because of the drug scandal that she had to stay inactive. But I heard that she will be starring in a new drama this 2014? I hope the scandal doesn’t hinder her job because she is really good. Even in My Girl, the drama where I first saw her, she left a deep impression on me.
The ending was subjective because it depends on how one interprets it. There’s no definite answer to the questions. Jae Hee and Secretary Ahn was sent to jail, but 7 years of being in jail wasn’t enough for all their wrongdoings. We don’t really know if Maru really forgot about her or just faking it. In my opinion, he was only faking it though. It was also expected that Maru will make it alive. I’m used to lead actors being alive at the ending despite being shot, stabbed, hit, etc. I wanted something different, but Maru deserved to be alive for being such a good and “nice” guy. It’s an open ending as we don’t know what will happen to Maru and Eun Gi. I guess them moving to Busan signifies a new start. At least it ended happily and peacefully.
There are two albums which contain several tracks. The main theme song of the drama, “Love is Like a Snowflake” is a wonderful song by JYJ’s Junsu. A typical ballad that appears in Korean soundtracks, but very well sung and overflowing with emotions. lol “Nice Girl” by Lee Soo Young attracted me with its intro. The tune can be heard in the drama many times. While listening to the song, I can instantly remember the sad scenes in the drama. Song Joong Ki’s fans will be in awe while listening to the soundtrack because he contributed his voice by singing “Really”. It’s a light but soothing song. Hey, it’s not that bad considering he’s not a singer. Other songs are also great; even the instrumentals left a big impact on me. It was a well-produced soundtrack because the instrumentals helped the scenes in the drama in adding up the emotions and mood.
I usually like melodramas, but this one was not my favourite. I love the choice of the actors and their superb acting. It was like their roles were really meant for them. The storyline though, could be more polished. 20 episodes seemed too long, and it would have been nice if they cut short or deleted the boring or draggy scenes. It was also somewhat predictable and at the same time confusing. Song Joong Ki was a big help in making this drama popular and a success. I mean I couldn’t imagine another actor portraying the role of Kang Maru; and I think the audience’s response would’ve been different if another actor was chosen. Joong Ki’s fans must not miss this drama! One main keyword of the drama which is ‘revenge’ was not used at the extreme; I would say it’s a light revenge. If you prefer intense or want to watch other revenge dramas, try Secret or Queen of Ambition.