[K-DRAMA] Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (2016)

warning: may contain spoilers

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A girl crossdresses as a guy and becomes an eunuch of the Crown Prince..

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Plot:

Hong Sam Nom (Hong Ra On) is a 18 year old girl who lived her life as a guy since she was young. He was separated from his mother and his father died a long time ago from the rebellion. Since then, Sam Nom was making a living for himself and for the ‘father’ who adopted him. One day, the debtors found him and since he doesn’t have any money, they sold him to become an eunuch. He miraculously passed all the tests, and successfully became the Crown Prince’s personal eunuch. The Crown Prince liked to make fun of him, but realised that he’s falling for him. The Crown Prince then found out that Sam Nom is actually a girl. What’s the reason behind Sam Nom crossdressing as boy? Will his life be in danger after people will find out that he’s a girl? And will the Crown Prince be able to handle all the political chaos inside the palace?

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Opinions:

One of the main reasons that made me watch this drama is because of its popularity in Korea. Of course, I was curious with what’s all the fuss about this drama. Park Bo Gum is literally the talk of the town and the perfect guy in Korea. I was looking forward to his main role after Reply 1988. But what made me look forward to the most is Kwak Dong Yeon’s participation. I haven’t heard from him in a long time since Adolescence Medley, and his appearance in Inspiring Generation was lacking. The actors were all so worth the hype, so it eventually led me into watching this sooner than planned.

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All I know about the plot is that the female lead crossdresses as a guy. It also has three male leads in a historical plot during Joseon Dynasty. This looks like Sungkyunkwan Scandal 2016? lol I can’t help but compare it with the then hit drama of 2010. As I continually watched, it was no way comparable to the said show, but the crossdressing was the only similar thing. This sageuk also had the usual political story, with the stupid king and his staff leading him. But what sets this historical drama apart from others is that they gave spotlight to the eunuch or servant. In other major dramas, usually there’s only 1 servant that stood out, but this drama takes it into another level by giving them a lot of  emphasis. Moreover, the female lead’s role is a Crown Prince’s eunuch. Their thoughts and feelings while taking care of the royal members of the palace are finally said out loud. The bickering and talks among the eunuchs were worth seeing this time.

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There were many striking and unforgettable phrases in the drama which were a hit among Koreans and International viewers. Most of these were cheesy lines said by the Crown Prince. I admit that I unknowingly smiled and my heart also fluttered when he said those lines, but when too many cheesy lines are said, it went overboard. I kind of hated how cheesy the Crown Prince was, but okay he’s forgivable since he’s the Park Bo Gum. Also, there were episodes that got boring and draggy especially during the middle. I think it started to run downhill when the Crown Prince confessed to Ra On. I know that things will start getting messy with that confession, and people will eventually find out her gender.  I also hated the fact that they used modern words or language and even gestures. I’m no expert in Korean language, but after being exposed to K-culture for more than five years, I picked up at least a hundred words. I am sure that some words and gestures were just popularised after Joseon period, so I wished they acted according to their time.

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The main actors were all well chosen. Their acting was satisfying and they were eye candies which made me appreciate them more. The other supporting characters were also great, but there were a few who tried to stood out by overacting. The queen was exaggerating her eyes when she was mad, and it seemed like her eyeballs are going to pop out soon. One of the cronies of Premier Kim was also overacting when he was often found whispering with his companion. I felt that his commentaries were unneccessary. Nonetheless, the rest did a great job to make the drama more fun and appealing.

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The chemistry between the leads was so good. Since they are both handsome and beautiful, they naturally clicked and matched well. More than 5 years of age gap was barely noticeable because of Bo Gum’s youthful looks. I know that a lot of people loved and enjoyed these two together and so the drama focused on them too much, leaving little moments for the female lead to bond with Byung Yeon and Yoon Sung. It’s a pity that Yoon Sung was never given a chance from the very start. At least in other dramas, the second male lead was given a chance to spend some time with the girl. I couldn’t remember a special scene wherein they had a good time together. Was it the time when Sam Nom was trying to catch a chicken from the roof and she fell down and Yoon Sung caught her? I demand more scenes! lol Yoon Sung only appeared ever time he saved her. I wasn’t even given a chance to fangirl and have a second lead syndrome at all. As a fan of second male leads, I thought that his appearance wasn’t enough. Too much scenes were given to the main leads. I also hoped that there would at least be a bromance among the men, but sigh, we were only left with hope. Crown Prince saying that he trusts Byung Yeon the most doesn’t even count. I wished that the Crown Prince could’ve questioned his sexuality at least once. lol This is why I enjoyed the romance and bromance in Sungkyunkwan Scandal more. In general, Sunkyunkwan Scandal was a lot more fun and interesting.

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Characters:

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Park Bo Gum as Crown Prince Lee Young — Still remembered how he was just an emcee in Music Bank, and he slowly started to become trendy in Reply 1988. He chose another good project this time and it was the perfect timing, because this drama turned him into a ‘Song Joong Ki level’ of actor. He’s now on the same page with Song Joong Ki and he’s practically everywhere in Seoul right now. I can’t complain, because he’s really a puppy! Since he has the perfect visuals, we could at least find something ‘imperfect’ on him, but no.. can’t really find anything bad about him. Even his co-workers praised him for his good manners. His acting is also impressive. I mean, I just can’t help but smile when he smiles on screen. He’s really the perfect guy to date. I’m looking forward to his future works. I don’t mind another rom-com, before he jumps into another genre or challenge himself to try a mature character.

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Kim Yoo Jung as Hong Sam Nom / Ra On —  I still remembered her in The Moon Embraces that the Sun along with Kim So Hyun, and I can’t decide which is prettier or the better child actress between the two. They have grown up beautifully and she’s still a minor too. Kim Yoo Jung’s acting skills are very well honed. She proves that age is not a factor, but it’s by the number of years spent on the industry. She is even better than other older actresses. She and So Hyun are both lead actresses worthy. Although acting as a guy was quite challenging, and it was obvious that she is a girl, I can feel her emotions and sympathise with her. I can imagine her to be one of the most popular actresses in a few years time.

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Jin Young as Kim Yoon Sung — As a member of B1A4, he doesn’t really shine much except for being the leader and a genius songwriter. I didn’t know that he started his acting career years ago. He finally got a major role through this drama and I heard good feedbacks from his acting. I love his acting too, since a lot of idols are actually awkward in acting, but he’s good from start to finish. I also pitied his character the most, and he needs more screen time. With him doing well in this drama, I can’t wait for B1A4’s comeback and also for him to take another major role in a drama. Hopefully, a modern time series!

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Chae Soo Bin as Jo Ha Yeon — I haven’t seen her before except for her guesting in Running Man. I really liked her lovely and innocent face and she did well in this drama too. She wasn’t annoying as a rival of the female lead, and she doesn’t play foul. I wished she was given a decent love line aside from the Crown Prince who didn’t give her an ounce of chance. I think she’d match well with Yoon Sung. All in all, I think she’s a nice addition to the cast.

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Kwak Dong Yeon as Kim Byung Yeon — As I’ve said earlier, I was really anticipating for his drama. I’ve been following him in Twitter all these while and remembered how he was so interested in working out. I suddenly miss the kiddo Dong Yeon who looks like a high school student. He really matured this time and he grew up well. I’m glad that he joined this drama to get his name out there. He may not find success as a musician, but finally  he found his path as an actor. He has a lot of potential and this role gives no justice. His character was the more mysterious type and he couldn’t be open with his feelings. He needs to stay cautious all the time to not be caught as the ‘spy’. I wished that he had more screen time and I wished that his character was utilised more. And I wished there were more moments of him and the Crown Prince. I hope FNC Entertainment, his agency, continues to choose good projects for him. I mean, he’s not a nobody now, so I hope he use this time well to be more popular.

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Ending:

The last episode was quite rushed since they were still fighting during the last episode. I thought Byung Yeon was going to die. I got a mini heart attack when he was stabbed, but sighed a relief that he was still alive. It turned out that Yoon Sung died instead. His death was unnecessary since he deserved a happy ending too. At least make a love line with the former crown princess instead or just make him happy. Having him die was unreasonable. I also felt that justice wasn’t served when Premier Kim opted for suicide. I guess he can’t bare to face the consequences. Usually a public execution along with the 2 cronies would be a better way to teach them a lesson. Also, the Baekwoon rebel group just vanished after the leader got stabbed and died. I wished there was an emphasis or end story to the rebels. They all vanished like bubbles. As for the couple, it was a happy ending for the both. Ra On was granted free from all her mistakes including her crossdressing as a man, since she kept peace in the palace. Although Ra On was living a simple life outside the palace, then Crown Prince, now King, visits her. I wished they could’ve shown more than just that. I’m so curious with the life after this. I mean, if Ra On is just an ordinary citizen, then there’s no way that she could marry the King freely. I wish that there was an answer to this question, but I guess this leaves a mystery and it’s open for a sequel.

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Final Thoughts:

Having watched many sageuk or historical dramas, Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds’ plot didn’t really left a big impact on me. I actually preferred Moon Lover’s storyline over this. I was drawn more into the actors for their impressive acting and looks. A girl crossdressing as a guy isn’t something special, but being the eunuch or servant is a new and interesting topic to dwell on. Looking for a historical drama with a girl crossdressing as a guy? Watch Sungkyunkwan Scandal instead. I do understand that the high ratings were because of the lead actors, and the viewers preferred light comedy and romance. There was really not much going on during the middle, so it wasn’t exactly my  type of drama. I recommend this though if you want the perfect visuals paired with great acting. Can anyone tell me which girl didn’t become a fan of Park Bo Gum after watching this drama? 😉

Rating: 6/10

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