19 October 2012

아랑사또전 Arang and the Magistrate

Title: 아랑사또전 Arang Satto Jeon
English Title:
  • Arang and the Magistrate
  • The Tale of Arang and the Magistrate
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year: 2012
Episode: 20
  • 신민아 Shin Min Ah
  • 이준기 Lee Jun Ki
  • 연우진 Yeon Woo Jin
  • 권오중 Kwon Oh Joong
  • 황보라 Hwang Bo Ra
  • 유승호 Yoo Seung Ho
  • 박준규 Park Joon Gyu
  • 한정수 Han Jung Soo

이준기 Lee Jun Ki - 하루만 Haruman (One Day)
Arang has been a ghost for three years and she has no memory of her life as a human. She remains in this world because she wants to find out who she is and why she died, but she has to constantly evade the grim reapers.

Kim Eun Oh is the only human who can see ghosts and grim reapers. Eun Ho embarks on a journey to find his mother who ran away, which takes him to Miryang.

Arang meets Eun Oh in Miryang and she finds out that he can see ghosts. She asks him to help her find out her identity but he refuses to help her.

When Arang is running away from the grim reapers, Eun Ho notices that she is wearing his mother's hairpin and he saves her. In order to find out his mother's whereabouts, Eun Oh promises Arang that he will help her find out her identity.

I think Arang and the Magistrate is one of the best Korean dramas ever. I am more than satisfied with all aspects of the drama; from the directing to the writing to the acting.

It has a very interesting premise, which is based on a Korean folktale. The script is well-written because the mysteries are unfolded one at a time, and the characters have witty and enlightening dialogues.

When Kim Eun Oh confessed his feelings to Arang, she kept denying that she also loves him. The shaman Bang Ul Ri helped Arang figure out why denying her feelings for the magistrate is not the right thing for her to do if she's really thinking about him.

Bang Ul Ri: Don't be like that. The magistrate is holding it in by himself and you are wandering alone like this. Don't you think it's a waste of the time that's left? Don't you feel so sad to let time run out, day by day? Are you doing that because you're worried he might have a hard time being left here? It's not just the magistrate that's left and you gone. There's always someone that's left and someone that goes. What I'm saying is that this is something that everyone experiences. What should they do when the person who leaves and the person whose left are scared? It's not like I know exactly what you feel but don't be like that. If you're really thinking of the magistrate, then you should have something to leave him with. The same goes for you. If you leave for the underworld, with what strength will you live there? You think you won't be able to bear breaking up after showing all your feelings? You think that if you put your hearts out there and then separated, you wouldn't be able to handle it afterward, don’t you? Well, you draw on that strength and live on. You think if you leave, he’ll be inconsolably sad, don’t you? Being able to live with that sadness is what being human is. That is love, memories, and recollection. If you have one of those, that becomes the strength to live on for the rest of your life. Now, if you have absolutely nothing -- then you really won't be able to live on.

I'm not really sure how I feel about the lead characters reliving their lives as reincarnated beings. I do want Arang and the Magistrate to have a happy ending but I don't really want them to have one in another lifetime because I feel that even though they retain the souls in the next lifetime, the people are still different.

However, it is also built into their world that lovers get reincarnated three times because of their deep connection. So in a way, it's something that happens in their world so it's something that must be accepted as a given.

One thing that's noticeable in the drama is that the earlier episodes seem more polished than the latter episodes and it's probably because the earlier episodes are filmed prior to the air date. I do wonder how the drama would have turned out if the whole thing was filmed prior to airing.

아랑사또전 Arang and the Magistrate