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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ma Boy (2012)


Country: South-Korea
Format: drama in 3 episodes
Genre: gender-bender, school, romance
Cast: Kim So Hyun, Sun Woong, Min Hoo, Kim Ha Yun, Kang Hyun Joong, Park Hee Gon, Kim Hye Ji, Lee Jong Min,
Synopsis: Jang Geu Rim gets transferred into "idol's high school" in order to become an idol. She is full of happiness and optimism to find out that she is in the same class with her idol-crush Tae Joon, but things do not go so well for her when she has share her dorm-room with Female CF star Irene. Even though all Korea loves Irene,  Jang Geu Rim's first impression of her is an impolite, spoiled girl who does not talk to anyone. But first impressions might be very wrong, especially when one night you find out that your roommate, Korea's little mysterious sister, turns out to be 100% guy... 
Rating: 4/5
We are used to gender-bender dramas, but "Ma Boy" turns the usual fundamentals of gender-bender up-side-down with turning a guy into a girl in order to help his uncle/boss.
The main character is Jang Geu Rim, played by Kim So Hyun. It is her first time to play in youth drama and for the first time she got the lead-role. Most of people are used to see her in historical dramas or in more serious roles, but her character in "Ma boy" is really comical. You can see that there is plenty of room for her to develop her comical-acting, but I give her thumb up for pretty good performance here. I really hope she gets more roles in comedies. but back to Jang Geu Rim. I like the fact that she is not that usual naive, desperately in-love type. She is more independent and now to think of it.. she a bit reminds me Lee Kyu Won from "Heartstrings/You've fallen for me", but Jang Geu Rim did not have these hopelessness-moments (maybe it was because of there was no time to be crybaby). She was one character who did not have any development with time going by, which makes her a bit left aside and not so noticeable.
The star of the drama is definitely Sun Woong (from TOUCH, his band mates played the part of Hyun Woo's dance crew) who was Irene and Hyun Woo. Even though he does not seem much in first episode, he starts to show his abilities from the second episode where both sides are clearly presented. It is difficult to believe that these characters are played by one guy, because even their way of walking and eye look are different.
As Hyun Woo he is manly, usual teenage-boy who likes to impress girls and is into guys stuff, but when he is Irene, he is all sweet and adorable, his/her walking is light as a butterfly and he/she has that certain aura of loveliness. Only two things are that will give him away as Irene - Sun Woong has very manly hands and they were unable to change Hyun Woo's voice, which is the reason of Irene being silent all the time (she did all her school-work only in written-way)  But as thoughts run in my mind usually, I started to think that his legs were REALLY smooth and I wonder what underwear he wore under his skirt, because we can all see really impressive scene of Calvin Klein boxers in first episode when he is still Irene.. :P
Hyun Woo's personal growth is one of the high lights of the drama. He is not just pretending to be and trying to hide being Irene as it is common in every other gender-bender, but he also has identity-crises due to it. As Hyun Woo he has failed every single audition, but as Irene he debuted with one single photo-shoot, which leads to thinking "what would I be without Irene?". I have not seen in any other gender-bender that character starts to think of her/his other life. What also is a bit weird, is that they never put Sun Woong to sing. he dances a lot, but not even once sings...
Third really important character is Tae Joon, the one everyone has a crush on. The funny thing is that he resembles Tatewaki Kuno from "Ranma 1/2"(manga by Rumiko Takahashi). He thinks that is worth more than he actually is. Compared to other Korean dramas, he is not some kind of bastard - he is goofy and nerdy around Irene and there is no logical explaining for his actions when he tries to appeal to someone. I like this unusual love-triangle, because it just does not fall under the most common standards. Tae Joon's part is acted by Min Hoo (please do not confuse him to Lee Min Hoo!!)  from band called EXCITE. I really like his voice and he is the hot-face of the drama.
It is the first drama produced by Tooniverse. I hope they made it so short in order to test if they will have viewers, because I really liked it and I hope there will be more that great dramas by Tooniverse. At the same time, it did not annoy me that it had only 3 episodes. Compared to usual 16- or more episode long dramas, it had all the things needed and it had been cut down on long pointless just-music-scenes and "beauty shots". I think there was a bit less drama and not even once I thought "Oh! Gyoza, move faster~!". As I said, everything was tip-top-okey :P But as usually I cannot say just great words about changes.
The fact that it is much shorter also makes many things unexplained - why boss had dept, why that paparazzi was so furious to ruin Irene's career and etc? but then again, these are just small things that we can make up ourselves! Doesn't it make it even cooler if each of us thinks their "OWN" story lines to it? Maybe boss had dept because of gambling or wrongly made investments? WOAH, there is a lot of room for fanfics! The reason why I am telling you this is because I am tired of hearing that people want more and more. I know, I want them to do more episodes too, but I am just saying that actually the less might be a good option too.
That should be it.. sooo if you want to have a change into casual Korean dramas and want see something short but sweet, then this might be for you :D

SPOILER-review: If you are interested in her illness, then she had leukemia. Maybe a lot of watchers were hoping for a real kiss-scene, but I must remind you with 8 year age gap, Kim So Hyun 13 and Sun Woong 22 (at time of filming he was 21), it would have been too inappropriate, that I totally understand why they went with just forehead kiss. 

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