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Monday, August 5, 2013

Monstar (2013)


Country: South-Korea
Format: drama in 12 episodes
Genre: music, school, romance
Cast: Yong Jun Hyung (BEAST/B2ST), Ha Yeon Soo, Kang Ha Neul, Da Hee (GLAM), Kim Min Young, Park Kyu Sung, Kang Ui Suk, Ahn Nae Sang, Moon Yong Suk, Kim Yoo Hyun, Yoon Jong Hoon, Lee Hee Jin, Kim San Ho, Kim Sun Kyung (guests: Lee Joo Yeon (AFTER SCHOOL), Lee Min Hyuk (BTOB), Im Hyun Shik (BTOB), Lee Chang Sub (BTOB), Yook Sung Jae (BTOB), Natthew, Ivy, Kim Tae Hyun, Jung Joon Woong, Nam Ju Hyun, No Min Woo, Kim Jin Pyo )  
Synopsis: Yoon Seol Chan is Korean idol from band Man in Black. His cynical and hot tempered personality has gotten him too much negative publicity, which makes his agency to send him back to high school to improve his social skills. To the same school arrives Min Se Yi - unusual girl who has lived last 5 years in New Zealand. Through unwanted trouble they end up with 5 classmates in a mess where they must start their own band to save their reputation.
Rating: 5/5
I would have regretted it for a life time if I had declined Dramafever.com offer to join their Monstar dramaclub (Clicking will lead you to our last review, but there are the links for previous reviews!)  which I did with E-kun and Lore. I am thankful to Dramafever, because they gave me the best Korean drama I have seen and I am thankful to E-kun and Lore for doing it with me. Be ready for one of my longest reviews because I have a lot to cover.

All characters are amazing. They have their faults and good sides, but they and their stories are very realistic - some more than others but still. Even when some character seems very annoying or bad then they give another reason to show that there are some good sides too. Our group starts to become closer when they must start a band and with each episode you can discover more and more things about them. In the end they became really precious to me. Many cast members are rather new to acting or are on the rise, but I believe that we can hear a lot of them in the future.
Seol Chan is hot tempered, but at the same time he almost never raises his hand against others. He
has difficulties with expressing his real feelings, but once he starts to trust someone he is able to open up to them. Seol Chan's actions toward others are basically 4 ways: bitchy if he does not like someone; fan-idol-relations with all who are fanning him; friendly with people who spend more time with him and finally Se Yi-mode. Under his idol-appearance is a caring young ordinary guy whose heart is bigger than it is for most of the people. He is suffering from childhood trauma, but being different from other "dramatic childhood victims" he is very polite with his parents and has done everything to conquer his barriers with world. He became quickly my favorite character, because he knows how to have fun and how to work hard. Besides with everything that goes on in his life he does not forget that he is an idol. Through out the drama you can see and cheer for what he is going through.
Seol Chan has already made it into several upcoming lists and TOPs on other blog. Yoon Seol Chan is played by Yong Jun Hyung. It is his first acting role and he did an amazing job. He delivered Seol Chan's expressions and feelings just the right way that made Seol Chan so cute. Lastly, it does not happen often to me that male lead will make me become a fan of a band (It actually has happened only once before with NEWS and thanks to them I am here writing reviews). After I spent 2 months reviewing "Monstar" twice a week, I became fan of B2ST but I have a long way to go before calling myself a B2UTY.
Min Se Yi is definitely a different leading lady than what I have seen. One of the funniest things
about her is that you really cannot tell if she is joking or telling truth with things. She has a big heart,
at first sight rather sees good in everyone and her straightforward honesty is difficult to beat. She lived in New Zealand for 5 years because her mom brought her there for mental recovery after Se Yi and her dad had a traffic accident where her dad died. Se Yi goes back to South Korea because she overhears her mom saying things that were not meant for her ears.
Se Yi tries her best to smile and fight against life, but she has her moments when the world seems to collide. Being the new girl in town gives her a lot of unwanted fame, not to mention having a fierce attitude, beautiful cute face, amazing voice and becoming Seol Chan's desk-mate are not helping her to have a peaceful life. There is more than one guy who takes interest in her, but the fight sets off between our two leading man who make Se Yi spend time with them even against her will. It is Ha Yeon Soo's second role in entertainment industry (the first was a supporting role in "Very ordinary couple" in Spring 2013) so we received a great newcomer from this year!
Seon Woo is the respected class president, a member of school's orchestra All for One and
outstanding student, but he is also very distant, silent and cold to everyone and what made me angry
was that despite his position he was overlooking school violence in order to not change things how they are. From the moment when Se Yi comes to school he is starting to act differently with her, because they have more connections than meets the eye. He is also a former best friend of Seol Chan, but due to misunderstanding they went from friends to enemies. In a way he was a sad character for me, because with time passing by his actions become more desperate. There are moments when he moves your heart, but mostly I thought that he is looking at wrong girl. Kang Ha Neul is on the rise and I will definitely write more about him in future in other reviews. Seon Woo was not my favorite character, but Kang Ha Neul was incredible.  
Kim Nana is a tough girl whose background is unknown. There are rumors of mafia, street fights and underground nightlife around her. She is the character who will surprise you the most when you discover her true nature by small steps. She became my third favorite character and the character I felt most pity of and I was most cheering her on. She is giving her best to live her life and be as normal as possible, because in the end she is only 18 year old girl with her own dreams and feelings. Nana is played by DaHee - GLAM's most glamorous and feminine member. The way how she pulls off Nana's character shows her amazing acting skills, because even some GLAM's listeners did not recognize her at first sight.
Eun Ha is major Seol Chan fan, so it is like a dream come true when she has the possibility to become friends with him. At the same time, fan's love will stay fan's love - fragile and easy to disappoint. We all know that there are fans who are asking for "Stars to stay up high in the sky" and when The Star starts to show more humane characteristics they might lose a fan to anti-fanside. Eun Ha becomes the best friend to Se Yi - at first the reason might have been that Se Yi was new and Seol Chan's desk-mate, but it is difficult to not like Se Yi. She represents the fan and idol relationship in drama and as a fellow fan there where things that I did approve and things that I disapproved of her actions (I bet most of you know that I am not an extreme fan). She is one character that made a big fuss in Monstar dramaclub, but everyone have right for their own opinion. I think that her way of thinking and actions were the most childish ones.
Kyu Dong is character who puts the little drama family and their story to roll. He has a dream of
becoming a singer, but due to several things it seems like a dream out of hand reach. He gets bullied
at school and he does not have friends before Se Yi finally sticks by his side. Kyu Dong was able to shock me and make me cry, because no matter what you cannot overlook what he is going through. He was best friends with Do Nam but due to one wish that went out of his hands their friendship was broken off immediately. Do Nam is violent backup of school bulling which victim Kyu Dong is. As it is in real life anger and violence are just the tip of the iceberg, but the reasons behind it lay deep under the sea. Of course the reason is connected to Kyu Dong when they were only kids, but there are things that have changed ones life too much to simply forgive as nothing has happened. Do Nam needs a big shock to finally start to behave like a normal person and then he turns out to be even considerate and kind.
Ahjussi is one of the most mystic characters. He is messed up by his past, unrequited love and former fame. He is human wreck who gets caught by ghosts from past. Se Yi and kids give him a start to move on with his life, but at the same time ghosts like to reappear from time to time. I think he makes the biggest change in the whole drama.
The whole thing behind Se Yi goes back to her parents school time. Se Yi grew up as daddy's girl and was more distant with her mom. The views on this subject are mostly given us from Se Yi side, but I admit that mom cannot be as bad as it looks at first, because in the end she was her mother. I know
that Korean dramas tend to have the cruelest mothers in the world, but for once there is a drama that shows respect, worries and love between child and parents. I already mentioned that Se Yi has a good heart and she is a good girl who knows that there might be other possibilities and explanations too.  
All for One members are arrogant son of a bitches, but even they have their good moments. I feel that they just never have gotten scourged in childhood (It is just an expression in my country) or rather than that their parents have raised them so that they have started to think that they are the best and rule everything. But the truth is that despite having family name and connections and outstanding skills in music and studies, they are nothing as a human being. That is why I enjoyed when I was able to see a bits of humanity in them.
If you are wondering where comes the name of "Monstar" then it is put together from "monster+star"
as Seol Chan is very hot tempered star. I did not like that official reason so I made a cuter version of the meaning. In French "My" is "mon" for masculine words and "Star" as an idol is still "Star" (star in sky is "├ętoile"). Seol Chan is a Star and male, so if we put those words together we get "Mon star" ("My Star") as "Monstar". This was almost the only thing I remember from learning French. *Sends best regards to French teacher Audrey who also watches Korean dramas!* As you see it is much cuter version than implying Seol Chan to be monster, because he actually is not like monster at all.
I cannot forget to mention that we are still dealing with music drama. It has THE amazing music - I
know that it is not correct English but it needs "THE" to give at least a hint how great it is. They have chosen a wide range of music performances, which makes it better to watch. We also have two singers in the cast and other cast members are also picked to appeal to the singing. I was most amazed by Kang Ha Neul singing, because he has an amazing voice for an actor. Also I must mention that in the end of the first episode I wondered why Ha Yeon Soo did not debut as a singer.
Drama keeps you captivated the whole time. I have watched every episode at least a 3 times and I will watch it again as soon as my older sister comes home. Every question will find its answer and I actually liked the outcome. I know that maybe if I re-watch everything in one row I might find faults, but at the moment I do not feel that if it really was rushed or had an bad ending. Especially because "Monstar" does little like other dramas - they have found the way to do things other way around and maybe extreme Korean drama cliche lovers to not like the new-wave, but I find it refreshing. It is definitely the best Korean drama I have watched so far and I hope you will like it too!


SPOILER-review: If I were to mention one fault they did in drama, it was that teachers line was left unfinished. They were hinted to have a love-line, even when it was only one sided. The more they headed toward end, the less they brought in teacher's subject. Even the personal issues of Dok Go Soon were not touched again.This drama contains some almost-kiss-scenes, hand holding scenes and one real kiss scene, but there is no biggy-packing and no hug scenes between main couple. The reason behind that might be that Seol Chan never received that kind of love from his mom so all expressing his feelings or comfort with hugging and touches was unfamiliar to him. Person who has never gotten that kind of treatment does not know that sometimes it works miracles. But him just staying beside Se Yi and later just holding her hand meant even more than a mere hug. As for ending I liked it. It was easy and simple and gives a lot to play around in fanfics and possible sequels - as for me I prefer 2 hour special more than a whole new season. Seon Woo turns out a total bastard - dude does not know when to stop or neither how to decline girl's feelings politely and in a proper way. He lost all his good guy points in last episode. I like that they did not bring in Seol Chan scandal of having a girlfriend etc things, because in last episode they showed that they both are considering their position as Se Yi is looking the best ways how they can be together while not putting Seol Chan and their relationship in danger. I liked that they did not give exact things what will happen to them in future, because in last episode Seol Chan even says that he thinks that god is giving them as much as they can handle. It is a coming-of-age drama and just like that the future is opened to them and even they are not sure how it will go on. For more spoilers and reviews per episodes read on Dramafever Monstar Dramaclub.

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