So, if you’re like me the last few Wednesday nights just haven’t been the same as they used to be. Something’s missing and it’s quite obvious what it is. Inspiring Generation is off the air and you’re having serious Ahjeossi withdrawls. Song Jae Rim, Yoon Hyun Min, Uhm Tae Goo, Kim Sung Oh, Cho Dong Hyeok, and of course Kim Hyun Jung just made the mid week…inspiring. Aside from the awesome weekly double dose of man-candy I actually really liked the storyline from the show and more than catching up with another currently airing drama or soon to air drama I’d like to see more of the 1930’s and the Koreans who made such a difficult time in Joeson history such a big deal. I went out looking for a drama that was known for its action, production, and of course the time period I personally enjoy, the 1930’s. I was able to find one drama that fit the bill, Gaksital/Bridal Mask.
There are quite a few similarities between the show. Firstly, they’re both epics. Inspiring Generation ran for 24 episodes and Bridal Mask for 28. The time period and sets are also quite similar so if that’s your thing Bridal Mask will feel right at home. Both shows are very much action thrillers. IG was a bit more on the realistic side and BM much more traditional in the East Asian sense. These characters can fly and perform amazing uncanny stunts. There’s also a familiar face…one I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see.
About ten minutes into Bridal Mask who should show up but the overly whinny and always in the way Kim Ok Ryeon! She was my least favorite thing about IG, until the second to last episode…but, you know what Jin Se Yeon (the actress I’ll forever call Kim Ok Ryeon) is sooooooooo not weak and in the way. Her character Mok Dan kicks serious booty. I wish we could have seen Kim Ok Ryeon be such a bad ass. If you loved or hated Kim Ok Ryeon you should definitely check out Jin Se Yeon in Bridal Mask because she is just so cool.
As far as the differences go…
Bridal Mask doesn’t really have the production or budget as IG. The sets looks very modern (or simply don’t look aged) and are rather theatrical. There are lots of bright colors and the sets are gorgeous, they just don’t look like they were made in the 1930’s. It’s a very small issue, but one that I noticed. IG, for me, was very much about the players in the show. It knew where it took place and the politics of the time shaped the environment, but the focus was generally on the characters. I liked that aspect of the show where history can be referenced and utilized, but not the central issue at hand. Bridal Mask on the other hand feels very political. The first episode left me with a very pro-Korean, anti-Japanese, and nationalistic Korean pride as the driving force behind the show. Yes yes, I know the Japanese invasion and occupation of Korea was disastrous and insanely inhumane. I’m all for using actual history as a reference, but when it’s used in a overtly political way…well, I didn’t quite like the tone of the first episode as it went way beyond “Coreya Hwaitting!” and on a different level. One interesting perk of this though is the Korean Freedom Forces, who kicked serious butt during the occupation get to come to the forefront and that’s where we get our titular character, Gaksital. He’s like a Korean superhero if the Shadow met Jacky Chan…very cool. Aside from the tone and slight production differences the shows feel very much the same. Except for the man-candy…
The two leads of Bridal Mask appear to be Joo Won and Park Ki Woong. Two certainly handsome men, but not quite on the same level as Kim Hyun Jung and definitely not as mysterious as Song Jae Rim. They do have a close relationship and I saw a budding bromance, for sure. The cutest moment of the show, if there was one, was when the two of them are sleeping together in what appear to be Gap T-shirts circa winter 2011. Once again…production values.
Overall, I liked the show and I’m likely to throw it into my Wednesday and Thursday night rotation. With 3 Days ending in two or so weeks and my interest in following it waning considerably it would be nice to see a show at my own pace, rather than feeling like I must see said show.
Gaksital – Episode 1 8/10