Rants and Weekly Raves (RAWR) #428

Anne: Welcome to an additional RAWR focusing on the short-short dramas that I have enjoyed this past year. With the way my work schedule has been, these dramas became one of my favorite things to watch. They are usually only 3 to 12 minutes long, usually only about 24 episodes, and quite a few have interesting twists to the usual genre of the longer dramas. Now, into this categories, I'm also adding in the BL dramas, but I'm limiting it to the Taiwanese, Korean, and Chinese ones, which can be anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes. The Thai based ones are usually much longer, sometimes up to 45 or 60 minutes, and I normally don't watch too many of those (and most of the times I'm watching for the skin-ship more than the plot 😉). So here are some of the more noteworthy short dramas this year. 

BL shorts

For our first category, I've selected two, one from Taiwan and one from Korea. I've written about both of these in earlier posts. So if anyone has missed the earlier discussions, here's an update in case you want to check them out. For this recap, it will focus only on the main CP. 

About Youth (< 25 minutes, 8 episodes)

This one I did start based on the synopsis. It was fairly typical, a rich and popular boy who is the "star" of his school falls for the school wall flower, who turns out to be much more of a "star" outside of school. The cliché part of this plot is that the wall flower has been in love with school star for quite a while, after a chance encounter. And the wall flower has been sending love tokens, in the form of  a drink. Which of course always comes with a note, but never a name.

During a recent birthday, when our school star had to spend it alone. After a series of unfortunate events (normally insignificant, but added all together on this particular day, they pushed the poor boy over the edge) and he was feeling sorry for himself, the wall flower "catches" him in his lowest point. This chance encounter was the start of the friendship.

One of the main reasons that the school star fell for the wall flower was due to the unconditional support the wall flower provided. Whereas the school star's parents are always pushing and pushing for his to achieve their vision. And even from the beginning, the audience and the wall flower's friends and his mom, knew whom he liked, and how much.

This is a great coming of age drama, that is super sweet. And as I have said previously, the BEST part is Shen Jun, who plays the wall flower. He has one of the best smiles I've ever seen. I don't know what it is, but his smile is just so full of warmth and innocence.  

Roommates of Poongduck 304 (<30 minutes, 8 episodes)

While this plot setup is cliché
 outside of BL, the "forced cohabitation of a rich player and the poor innocent" found ways to make this refreshing from the very beginning. For example, the rich Ji Ho Joon, after getting kicked out by his father, did his searching of an acceptable living space by the water pressure of the showers. (Remember the importance of this from Seinfeld? Apparently this issue is universal 😋). 

And the only reason the "poor" Seo Jae Yoon ended up with this particular roommate was because his parasitic friend, rented out the room without the owner's permission because he could and did steal the rent money. You might be asking why the "poor" person is renting out the room? Not exactly for the reason you think. He doesn't just own the apartment, apparently (according to the Viki translators) he owns the entire building. Yes, he needed the money. But the poor guy has a good head for investment.

Of course, to add to the conflict and plot, the rich boy has been appointed to be the leader of a team, of which the poor boy is an employee. This play on who is over whom gets switched back and forth depending on whether they are at home or at work. The relationship development is fairly natural despite the fact that our rich boy never had a romantic interest in man before. But as we all know, a straight man can be turned by meeting his destined person. As I've told my husband just recently, far east Asian dramas focuses on recognition of the soul and not the body. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

Historical/Fantasy/Costume Shorts

And here is my favorite genre, the costume category. It is true that a lot of the full length dramas do tend to follow well known paths, the short dramas are able to take more of a risk in testing out different story line setups. I have definitely watched as lot of these through the year, but the ones listed here left me with the deepest impressions. 

The Killer is also Romantic (< 12 minutes, 18 episodes)

This was my favorite short drama of the year! I loved everything about this one! The characters, the comedy, the "secret", and the plot. As I've mentioned this before, this is about a pair of assassins who fell in love while in they were on the job, but remained in their cover identities, and got married. Their personal servants are quite cute, both very loyal to their master while thinking it was such a "waste" for marrying a "commoner" who didn't know their awesomeness. The FL has a younger, blind, sister who is her weapons' specialist.

In order to prevent each other finding out their true identities, there is a lot of "cover". Even on their wedding day, both of them were sent out on a "mission". And they changed into their wedding clothes at the same "tower" as they were racing back to their wedding. The LIES when each other wondered why the other one was here instead of at the wedding. So they performed their wedding ceremony where they were, just the two of them. They snuck back into their bedroom, much to the surprise of both personal servants! Of course, they forgot to remove a few weapons...and each went to their side of the room to unburden themselves of a small arsenal. Then they both had to learn to sleep next to someone and try not to kill the "intruder".

The are so many funny moments, including when they both "accidently" dislocated both shoulders of a man. And then BOTH of them secretly sought out the "victim" and put the shoulders back! Everything i just so cute! Highly recommend this. 

A Familiar Stranger (< 18 minutes, 18 episodes)

Unlike most of the other shows, I only started this one when I saw the ratings.  First, the synopsis didn't really grab me, there is nothing that is different. It's a marriage escape drama that seems so similar to other similar full length dramas. But then I got bored with whatever I was watching and decided to see if this was worth all the hype. And then I realized that the same director and the same actress was in this as the above...well...I didn't hesitate anymore!

The story was interesting...it's like an ancient "face-off" but with NO idea how this was accomplished, with the exception is that it was some "secret" technique. So the "artist" is now married to the general, whom the original bride (the prime minister's daughter) did not want to marry. The prime minister's daughter was in love, and was already pregnant with the Prince's child. On the wedding night, we realize that the artist actually knows the general, with a back story to be explained later.

I really enjoyed the plot. Within this 180 minutes, they covered secret back stories, palace struggles, secret identities, background plots, betrayal, blackmail, and a pair of completely insane secondary CP (yes, BOTH of them are crazy as in asylum crazy). The comic relief was the general's strategist, who complains from beginning to end how he was slowly becoming less important and demoted ever since the general got married. 

If you like complicated plots that throws in a lot of incredible stuff, but still makes a hell of an interesting story, you will like this one. And the romance also pulls hard at the heart strings in all the right ways.

And these 4 are what I think is the most memorable from this year. Of course, I've only watched a small portion of what was broadcasted. Please let me know if anyone have any others to recommend. In the next post, I'll go over what I found most memorable of the full length dramas.