Tag Archives: inspiring generation

Missing Inspiring Generation? Check out Bridal Mask!

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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

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Inspiring Generation – Episode 24 – The Finale

What a way to end a show. Completely satisfying and an emotional roller coaster from beginning to the heart warming conclusion Inspiring Generation is a wonderful show. If you haven’t seen this show yet start watching now. After three long months this show has made the beginning of my year a wonderful delight and I think many of you out there will find this to be just as good as I have.

I began writing about this show with a post called Heroes which defined the term and I used it to describe Shin Jung Tae whom I thought would be the sole hero of the show. Oh, how wrong I was. Yes, Jung Tae was an exceptional hero, but he was surrounded by men and women who were also exceptionally heroic. Mo Il Hwa, Jung Jae Hwa, Ok Ryeon, and even Gaya were all incredibly heroic and as a cast made this show epic in every sense of the word.

The finale, as I said was satisfying and it gave us the deaths of our villains.

Wang Baek Sang…dead
Seul Bang Joo…dead

Seeing them perish at the hands of Bangsamtong’s citizens was a completely gratifying way to finish the show. No one deserved to die more than them and I was cheering as they met their end.

Since the early episodes of the show I’ve been calling for the writers to bring Jung Tae’s sister, Chung Ah, back. For me it was a glaring hole that never went answered or explained as to where she went. In the final moments of the show we were left with an awesome moment where Gaya returns Chung Ah back to him. Tears fell. Many tears.

Gaya…thank you for that!

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Inspiring Generation – Episode 23

SPOILERS

I’m going to come right out of the gate and say that Ok Ryeon deserved better. Flat out, she deserved to have a happy ending and for that matter so did all of us. That being said, I did not expect for her to go out like that. In no way, shape or form have I ever seen a lead character leave a show in such a devious and heartbreaking manner. Whoa. The first fifteen minutes of Inspiring Generation this week are intense and you should ready a box or two of Kleenix. You will cry…

Buckets of tears.

Ok Ryeon is an interesting character to me, now in hindsight, because she wasn’t very likable. She was too pure, too kind, and in the end the most selfless person imaginable. That’s a situation that puts many people in an awkward position because Ok Ryeon was a shining light in a cesspool of nefarious people. For most of the show she did not fit in with the rest of the cast and more often than not was in the way of the man she loved, Shin Jung Tae. Honestly, I didn’t particularly like her and in the end I pitied her and cried for her. For a show called Inspiring Generation Ok Ryeon has gone down as truly inspiring. What she did for Shin Jung Tae and the love she felt…that is an inspiration.

I said previously that the first fifteen minutes of the show are intense and will make you an emotional wreck which made watching the rest of the show very difficult. Kim Hyun Jung was excellent. His character has experienced so much loss it’s amazing that he hasn’t crumbled under the massive weight of his grief. Kim Hyun Jung portrayed heavy emotions in a realistic way that made me question if he’s ever lost someone he loved. When you compare his scenes in this episode with the entirety of his body of work this role is going to go down as the role that took him from idol turned actor to full fledged actor. He’s reached another level folks and it’s a terrible delight to witness.

Heads are going to roll and I can’t wait to see how it goes down tomorrow night. I want to see copious amounts of anguish on the faces of Wang Baek Sang and #DonkeyFace Seul. In a happier moment I can’t wait to see Jung Tae reunited with Chung Ah. They’ve been separated for so many years and after watching Jung Tae suffer for what seems like a decade, literally, is it too much to ask to see him cry tears of joy to end this awe-inspiring show?

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Inspiring Generation – Episode 22

What a happy ending…

Wait, did I just watch Inspiring Generation? How can this show end on a happy note? I do not understand.

I think, this was a filler episode…pretty sure I just watched a filler episode. I’m not sure and this confuses Sifu because Sifu is always sure. Two thirds of the episode was devoted to Shin Jung Tae’s plan rolling out without a hitch which was pretty cool to see go down. All the key players executed their roles perfectly and BangSamTong will be better off for it. How cute were So So and Baek Chi Gi as they worked the phones, I was dying!

I really enjoyed this weeks show, but I wish Mo Il Hwa would have had more to do. How cool would it have been to have Aoki show up at the telephone operator and fight Mo? It’s one fight we won’t get to see at this point and it would have been epic.

Who else got excited when Gaya tells Jung Tae, “live so you can receive the one you seek most.”? For the rest of the show I was thinking Gaya knew something about the location of Chung Ah. Sadly, she was referring to Ok Ryeon…who makes me want to pull my hair out. I wish she would have left the show with Kim Jae Wook, drowned on that rickety boat, or something…anything.

With one week left Jung Tae isn’t out of the woods yet. He’s literally in the Dragon’s cave and I suspect that HwangBang isn’t going to let him out easily. There’s but one fight left for Jung Tae and that’s the final showdown with Wang Baek Sang. No problem, Jung Tae has his number.

After three months I’m excited to see this show end. It’s been a fun ride and one hell of a commitment to follow. It’s a beast of a show to get through with all the death and loss our hero has had to face, but a beautifully produced one nonetheless.

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Inspiring Generation – Death, Part 2

Shin’ichi…

I didn’t always like you, but I’m glad you were there. Your skills with a sword were unrivaled and you protected Gaya over all else. For that all I can say is…

Thank you,

I’m going to miss you.

This is the second character killed off in Inspiring Generation whose death was felt by many and especially one of our leads. Gaya and Shin’ichi did not always get along, but they did care for each other in the end and were willing to give their loves for the other. Shin’ichi’s death reminded me so much of Poong Cha and found it fitting they should leave the show in a similar manner.

“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”

– Martin Luther King

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Inspiring Generation – Episode 21

Inspiring Generation – Episode 21
SPOILERS

I can finally wield my sword against you.

– Daeguchi Gaya

Episode 21 of Inspiring Generation was epic in every sense…let me count the ways.

1. Kim Hyun Jung vs. Wang Baek Sang
2. Gaya in the red Kimono
3. Aoki, boss status achieved
4. Song Jae Rim, enough said

We’ve waited weeks to see the events of this show take place. From beginning to end the show was a thrilling and heartbreaking affair. Gaya breaking rank and went into the dragon’s den at HwangBang and saved Shin’ichi. You will die only by my sword. Did you cheer for her courage and cry for her loss? I sure did.

I don’t know what it means between Gaya and Shin Jung Tae, but he saved her at HwangBang and took on Wang Baek Sang and walked away unscathed, identity in tact. This is the fight I’ve been waiting for ever since HwangBang’s assistant leader showed up many weeks ago. Jung Tae held his own and nearly defeated the #DonkeyFace Baek Sang. He’s gotten so much stronger from the kid we met over two months ago.

Aoki won me over in this episode. I’ve liked the character for the role he plays, but he’s done nothing to make me like him as a person until now. He opened the door for Gaya’s survival and for that I’m incredibly thankful. His actions weren’t completely unexpected, but I was surprised by his direct approach.

Shin Jung Tae’s master plan is about to go down and I can’t wait to see how all the pieces fall once these factions go to war. In the end I was hoping to see Jung Tae and Gaya stand and fight together, but I’ve little hope to see that wish come to fruition.

Lastly, speaking of hope…I’ve got none that Jung Tae will ever find Chung Ah. That’s very disappointing to me, but the writers have done such a good job with the show I’m almost okay with this glaring omission.

Episode 22 starts…now!

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Inspiring Generation – Episode 19 and 20

This was not my favorite week of Inspiring Generation yet. Episode 19 felt like a filler episode. I’m not the biggest fan of filler, but after seeing episode 20 it all made more sense. This weeks shows had more synergy between the two hours than previous weeks and these two began to wrap up the series. I’m sad to say, but there are only two more weeks left, it was a relief to see certain plot points come to a head.

The big news of the week was Denkai arriving in Shanghai and disrupting the status quo within this segment of Il Gook Hwae. Gaya and Shin’ichi are in the frying pan and Denkai is not happy. I think I know how this will unfold, but finally Gaya put the red kimono back on…you don’t even understand how had I fan-boy’ed when the red kimono made a comeback. For me, it’s synonymous with Gaya kicking butt and if you’ve been reading this blog you know that I have been eager for some Gaya badassery! Is it strange I’m actually sad for
Shin’ichi? He’s become a rather pitiful character, I do in fact pity him. Next week, I suspect these two will have their storyline wrapped up.

Song Jae Rim’s Mo Il Hwa has become such a important part of this show I think it might be the biggest comeback in a Korean drama ever. The guy was written out and gets brought back and in my opinion is the most enjoyable part of the show. His mannerisms and facial expressions are priceless and his bromance with Jung Tae is too cute.

Jung Jae Hwa. I’m going to miss him.

The next two weeks should be action packed and hopefully well see Gaya, Jung Tae, Il Hwa and a returning Jae Hwa come together…please? It’s not too much to ask is it?

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Inspiring Generation – Episode 17 & 18

Inspiring Generation – Episode 17 & 18

This weeks shows were stellar. I waited till Friday night this week to check out the show. I was feeling a bit thrilled out after 3 Days and God’s Gift 14 Days and I’m glad I did wait to watch Inspiring Generation. Neither episode was as good as the God’s Gift or episode four of 3 Days so, a bit of a breather was required to fully enjoy the show and it was so much better with a short break.

There is so much action and thrilling dramas airing right now that it’s hard, I’d imagine, for most to keep up with it all. Inspiring Generation is unique amongst the overwhelming number of great dramas on tv. It’s got a ton of action, it’s thrilling, it’s got a decent romance storyline, and it’s a period piece. This show stands out from the crowd in all the right ways. I absolutely enjoy the set design and art direction of the show. The budget for the show is one of the largest ever and it pays off. When you’re in Shanghai you feel like you’re actually seeing Shanghai and the same can be said for Shineuijoo and Osaka. Now, the show has filmed in all these places, but it’s set in the 1930’s and that the part that blows me away with the art direction. It’s not that you feel the spirit of the geography, but that she show evokes the spirit of the time. Club Shanghai’s grand opening had the bright lights, music, and feel of the swing era. It’s was believable and for that I think the show deserves a huge round of applause.

I didn’t think that this was the best week of the show. Not at all, but it did get two this right. First, we got the epic showdown between Mo Il Hwa (Song Jae Rim) and Shin Jung Tae (Kim Hyun Jung) which I think was the best fight scene in the show yet. The second also featured Song Jae Rim and was his sequence with Gaya way back when she was still relevant. The other aspect of the show was the storyline developing. Everyone is out to get Jung Tae. He’s a wanted man and it’s been exciting just to see how many traps can be set for him and watch him escape every time. Il Gook Hwae’s Shin’ichi and Aoki have both attempted to take down Jung Tae in recent weeks and failed…this week he did get some much needed help and from a rather unexpected source, Gaya. You’ve got to watch, trying to avoid the spoilers.

Speaking of Gaya, I’m disappointed with what has transpired with her character over the last eight episodes. She was a bad ass, a killer, a heroine easily rallied behind and since her initial arrival in Shanghai has accomplished not a damn thing. This needs to change next week. I would love to see her stand with Jung Tae and fight against Il Gook Hwae. How epic would a Jung Jaw Hwa, Mo Il Hwa, Shin Jung Tae, and Daeguchi Gaya fighting team be? Oh, if only.

After watching my big three shows, next week, I’m most excited for Inspiring Generation. All three of my big action thrillers are excellent, but Inspiring Generation has something special. It’s a head above the rest.

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Inspiring Generation – Episode 16

Inspiring Generation – Episode 16 – The Man is Back!

Drama fans,

It is time to rejoice! Song Jae Rim has come back to Inspiring Generation and has made waves in the Shanghai underground. The writer’s must have listened to us and our calls to bring him back. His role on the show was supposed to be completed as of his last appearance way back in episode eight or nine and has been brought back to train our hero and cause waves at Club Shanghai. Bangsamtong will never be the same.

His presence instantly shakes things up as both the Hwangbang and Bangsamtong are leery of his intentions. He gives nothing up and immediately saves the day helping Jung Jae Hwa and Shin Jung Tae in an epic battle as Club Shanghai is set to open. We do know how he feels about Jung Tae giving him several hugs throughout the episode. He’s shown back up to make a play for Club Shanghai and wants to become Shanghai’s owner. At the end of the episode we’re left with a super cool showdown between Mo Il Hwa and Mr. Baek. The stakes are at an all time high as Hwangbang has left Mo Il Hwa with an ultimatum. Kill Jung Tae or lose his entire family. The sword is out of the sheath and I can’t wait for next week to see what happens!

With one month left of the show I am beginning to wonder if Jung Tae’s sister, Chung Ah, has been completely written out. I hope the writers at least explain where she went if she’s alive at all. This is one loose string that needs to be tied up.

Inspiring Generation was an incredible two hours of content once again this week. Did you see the show? If not, all I have to say is…Kim Hyun Jung shirtless doing pull-ups. Go watch.

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Inspiring Generation – Episode 15

Inspiring Generation – Episode 15

What an episode! It’s hard to imagine that three weeks ago I was ready to walk away from this show. Tonight’s episode was fantastic. Visually there was a ton to look at. From Gaya and Jung Tae at the memorial hall, Shin’ichi and Aoki at the lake and the father-son ceremony the night was filled with beautiful imagery. It hasn’t been this beautiful since episode five when Gaya walked across a railing 1000 feet over a cliff. I was blown away by the crisp bright colors. The producers must have wanted to capitalize on Man From the Stars ending and grabbing some viewers before we all head over to 3 Days with Yoo Chun. Anyway, the action tonight was…pretty good. Not the best, but good.

The sequence of Jung Tae remembering his fight with Baek Sun struck me as a unique way to show how Jung Tae’s mind works. I liked the black on fun metal effect as it added a special quality. It was nice to revisit the Baek Sun – Shin’ichi fight as well, these two were spectacular together…I want more. The boxing scene was also very well done. I loved the red gloves, mural on the wall, and the ads. It all felt very authentically 1930’s. That was probably the best set design we’ve seen in the show yet.

Ok…why isn’t Gaya doing – anything – at all? Am I the only one annoyed that we have a kick ass female lead, who kicked serious ass the first 10 episodes of the show and then has done nothing since? A bit of a let down. I expect more from her.

Speaking of expecting more…that cameo of Song Jae Rim as Master Mo was not enough. There had better be mo’ Mo on my screen tomorrow night. This was my favorite character until they wrote him off and then so wisely listened to me and brought him back.

The show didn’t inspire me like it has with previous early episodes, but that’s ok it is a thoroughly entertaining hour of television.

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