GFriend – “Europe That GFriend Loves” Show Review

Sky Travel – Episode 1 Part 1 (Eng. Subtitled)

GFriend
Europe That GFriend Loves

Reviewed on January 13, 2017

Finally
focusing on the review itself, although many fans (and even myself) found Sky
Travel’s reality show of GFriend to be delightful on a more superficial level,
I argue that if we approach the show with a more critical mind, we would find a
less pleasing reality: the footages are great, but Sky Travel’s own editing is
rather questionable.

Personal
Message:
Edit: This review was meant to be
posted on January 10, but this is irrelevant to the review itself though it applies to the Personal Message. With some days off to reflect over what I wrote in the Personal Message, while I was harsher than intended during my time of writing–due to being in an emotional state–I have decided to still keep it as I find it important to be open and truthful to readers.

If I am on task, there should be at
least three reviews being posted today—this included and the only “bonus.” 

Admittedly to share (and readers interested in just the review should skip ahead), I am writing this bonus review first and not after the two
song reviews as I currently am not in the best state of mind; while nothing
drastic occurred per se minus a very worthless argument, as I do believe in
being honest and to reveal to readers I am definitely far from “perfect” or
“good,” I have a rather poor relationship with my father. I bring this up as, due
to a conflict we had—this being far from “uncommon” as we are bound to clash to
some degree, I am simply a bit angry and thus am not thinking nor even acting
as maturely as I should. Overall, my main message is that since my writing
needs a “break,” I decided to write a bonus review (as I am too inexperienced
to give a thorough, just review of shows) in the meantime.

I only bring up this very
vulnerable, personal information because I do wish for readers to understand me
as any normal human being. I am not “morally superior” or “perfect” at all
contrary to how I unintentionally might make myself sound with reviews. For
example, despite my own teachings of being mature and respectful to everyone, I
very much myself increased my speaking volume and conducted myself in a more
aggressive manner versus being calm and attempting to “talk it out”—even if he has
never done such in the time I have known him. Instead, I succumbed to his
inferior, barbaric level and to that I am very disappointed in myself and I
know I could have and should have
acted better and hope to do so in the future. (And on a side note, I do wonder
if this very intimate relationship being ruined is why I tend to struggle with
having close male friends, and more so with being close to my mother. Barring
my brother, who I sincerely love and am incredibly close with, I find it
difficult to trust and become emotionally close to males. Overall, as some readers
might better understand, my situation relates to Infinite’s Hoya’s own
relationship struggle with his father: we still do care for one another, but
our relationship is awkward and lacks closeness.)

But, for what truly matters and for
what I wish to share and teach from this digression, what matters in the end is
not endlessly holding grudges against people—a rather emotionally unhealthy
route; what matters most is to accept and understand one’s emotions, but to
then take control of those very emotions in a healthy and empowering manner. I
could let this and the past arguments ruin my day or more dramatically my
entire life with wishing for the experience of a true father who did more than
provide me with money, but I refuse to do that. (And on the topic of money, perhaps
crudely said, I still have respect and love to him due to money being provided
from his hard work—and indeed, in the far future, I will pay back money due to
filial duties even if my emotional needs were never met). I refuse to let one
individual have that type of negative influence in my life—this being what I
wish to remind readers (and perhaps even future students). Yes, I understand
where he comes from and why he behaves poorly—his own neglected childhood life
from both parents—but unlike him and
especially with the capacity to critically think, I know I can ethically do
better: instead of spreading negativity, I know I have a responsibility to
spread joy, optimism, and most importantly, to teach others to critically
think. (And on a side note, this is
why teachers mattered in my life; teachers have been the ones who have made me
realize I am not stupid and worthless, and it is teachers who have truly emotionally
and intellectually matured me.)

Pushing aside the more solemn
digression and admittedly a chance for me to immaturely vent and open up more
about myself, let us return to a more cheerful tone: reviewing Europe That GFriend Loves. After finally
finishing the series, I knew I had to write a review for it—even if I have
excessively reviewed shows with GFriend. To explain once again why this is the
case, I have recently been predominantly watching shows with the ladies and
thus, it is only natural that out of every show I could possibly review,
GFriend is automatically the artist involved. Of course, though, given that
show reviews are mere bonuses and elicit minimal discussion compared to song
reviews, I hope it is not an issue with readers that as of the late all show
reviews involve GFriend.

Addressing the link, unlike the
usual protocol of using a YouTube video—and more specifically, a YouTube
playlist of the series—I am instead using the first part to episode one on V
App. Many readers should be familiar with V App, but for those who are not, it
is a website that many idols use for live broadcasts or for uploading dance
practices. Since I cannot create a playlist on the site, I am only linking the
first episode but that said, all of
the remaining episodes can be found on GFriend’s V App page. If that is not
already delightful enough, indeed all of the episodes are English subtitled.
Therefore, readers should all be able to enjoy the show without language barriers
(though, as in the cases of all translations, there are many
lost-in-translations compared to if, say, a fan-subbing team did the subtitles
themselves and were able to explain the translations).

Finally focusing on the review
itself, although many fans (and even myself) found Sky Travel’s reality show of
GFriend to be delightful on a more superficial level, I argue that if we
approach the show with a more critical mind, we would find a less pleasing
reality: the footages are great, but Sky Travel’s own editing is rather
questionable. _______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
Before explaining
my prior point, though, let us first understand what Sky Travel’s Europe That GFriend Loves is even about.

First of all, the entirety of
GFriend was to attend the show, but sadly, due to Umji having an ankle injury
(if correct), she remained at home in South Korea while the rest of the members
went to Europe. There, the remaining five ladies visit three countries for
three days (if accurate): Slovenia, Hungary, and Austria. More specifically,
however, the five members split up into three groups that then visited their
own particular country: Yuju and Eunha visiting Austria; SinB and Yerin
visiting Slovenia; and Sowon visiting Hungary—barring one day where she went
with Yuju and Eunha to Austria. (And as mentioned, she is alone due to the fact
that her would-be partner Umji was injured).

In terms of the events that occur,
while I obviously will not list out everything that happened, the following is
a general outline of GFriend’s activities: eating, sightseeing, visiting
landmarks, attending museums and traditional activities, struggling with
transportation, and so on. Ultimately, Europe
That GFriend Loves
directly follows, if readers have watched other
traveling shows before, the very genre of “travel reality”—there is nothing new
in particular to the show when compared to this genre’s concept.  

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 5/10
(5.0/10
raw score) – “Average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 3/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Onto the review itself, I wish to
return to what I stated earlier and to thoroughly explain what I mean. In terms
of the show’s strength, what occurs
in the show—the footage, essentially—is very much appealing for a variety of
viewers. For example, from the perspective of GFriend’s fans, fans are able to
watch the group’s usual antics. From playfully flirting with each other—or
perhaps that might just be Yerin being “greasy” towards SinB (I mean this in a
joking, friendly manner of course)—to learning more about the ladies’ dorm life
and personalities, fans of GFriend will very much enjoy the show for it simply
sharing more about our beloved members.

That said, for viewers who may not
necessarily be fans or are fans who still equally care about the traveling
aspect (such as in my case), the show is still a hit. While shows at most give
a vicarious experience and will never replace genuine and actual traveling, Europe That GFriend Loves still manages
to capture the experience well. For example, the show’s narration, of which is done
by Umji, added historical context for every important figure or location. Furthermore,
while GFriend members are the main focus, the show still brings attention to
the surrounding and had many wonderful shots of purely locations and landmarks.
Add on the final part of how the seen activities varied—traditional dances,
eating, how GFriend prepared for the trip, and so on—and indeed we come to find
that the raw footage to the traveling show is all appealing.

Ignoring those strengths, however,
for where Sky Travel falters, on a more critical level their editing of the
footages is not impressive. Rather than viewers just purely joining the ladies,
for a large portion of time viewers have to equally endure repetitive, cliché
messages such as—to create an example that encapsulates my point—captions that
read: “And so Sowon becomes independent…learning to enjoy traveling
alone…eating alone…walking alone…but in heart she is with all her members…” Even
the narration—which, of course, is not Umji’s fault—contributes to the overly
cliché messages.

Understandably, readers might be
skeptical about me bringing up this point: Why can’t I just ignore these
moments? They seem meaningless to pay so much attention to. I only bring it up
because I argue it does impact
viewers’ enjoyment of the show. With watching the show, it is reasonable to
expect that the large majority of it consists of GFriend and their traveling.
Post-interviews of course are fine—and those in specific were well implemented
throughout—but when the transitions per “traveling pair” (such as switching
from Yuju and Eunha to Sowon) consists of a minute of replaying the same, prior
footages with the addition of cliché messages and bright, glowing filters, it
does become agitating by the sixth episode. This is not to necessarily bash
those messages; even if cliché, there were some important messages such as how
traveling can expand one’s view of the world and so forth. The issue is how Sky Travel did such: at the expense
of viewers. If the time spent on the messages were shorter, or if the footages
used there were not merely replaying moments already watched, these parts would
have served as great transitions. But, unfortunately, I find that these points
are excessive.

Overall, Europe That GFriend Loves rates as average and to that I find that
I agree. Even if GFriend is entertaining as they always are and that the events
the ladies had in Europe were great, it is Sky Travel’s editing that truly
reduces down a lot of appeal. Perhaps I am overly harsh, but I find that it is
best for travel shows—or for that matter, even reality shows (and I refer to
Korean reality shows as I recently discovered this genre significantly varies per culture)—to let the footage speak for
itself: rather than Sky Travel literally writing how Sowon learned to have fun
alone or that SinB and Yerin gained new insight due to experiencing another
culture, I find it would have been more impactful to have the footages show that the members grew as a result.
And besides, that is why the post-travel interviews were added: to add the
explicit component of how the members grew. Flowery, cliché captions and
narration are simply unnecessary.

Again, it should be noted this
review is far from professional and is definitely a biased take as I do not
understand the artistic and technical work behind producing shows and that I
feel much more comfortable in the realm of music, but I do hope the review
provides some insight as to why I did not enjoy the show as much as I could
have. For the momentous question of whether I recommend watching the show or
not, my answer is simple: for GFriend fans, this show is definitely worth
watching. However, for those who are watching it because they are curious about
certain European countries or wish to have a travel-orientated show, I do not
recommend the show in these cases.

_______________________________________________________

This review will be one out of three
that are posted today. I have many requests to do, but before reaching those
review requests I plan to finish reviews I am almost finished with. As such,
look forward to song reviews and I hope that this review provides some variety
to the blog. Look for SHINee’s “1 of 1” and AOA’s “Excuse Me” as, if I am
diligent, both will be posted along with this current one.

MAMAMOO’s x GFriend’s Reality Show – “Showtime” Review

MAMAMOO x GFriend – Showtime (Full Playlist; Eng. Subtitled)

MAMAMOO
x GFriend – Showtime

Reviewed on September 2, 2016

Without
readers even needing to read further, in a short sentence that arguably
fulfills this review’s entire argument: This show manages to flourish because
it remains highly diverse in its content, but all while ensuring that the
delivered contents themselves are all appealing.

Personal
Message:

University is entirely underway and that said, I am now extremely busy.
Interestingly, though, I no longer have the newbie feelings of being a freshman
and thus, see this return as nothing more than “the usual.” But I digress. This
review included, the next two will be focused on show reviews for the purposes
of both variety and convenience; I personally suspect that readers enjoy a
variety of both song and bonus reviews, and that with still adapting back into
a student mindset, I definitely need to have reviews be a lighter load for at
least the first week. Furthermore I plan to post reviews every five days versus
my prior claim of four days. This will allow the blog to remain active for
readers, but at the same time it allows me to not become overwhelmed with the
many readings and writing I have to do for classes. But all this said, I am
indeed doing well and university is nothing utterly daunting as it had been as
a freshman. (And on highly irrelevant news, for one of my classes, I actually
gave a presentation on K-Pop and why I feel passionate about it.)

On topic with this review, as
clarified in many past ones, show reviews are what I deem as “bonus reviews”;
these reviews are not meant to dive in depth nor should the ratings be
necessarily taken as serious. If anything, these show reviews should be
interpreted as a partially—if not entirely—biased take to a show and whether I personally recommend a show or not.
After all, unlike the two years (and growing) experience I currently have with
reviewing songs and continually striving for improvement, I have no experience
whatsoever with film/shows and admittedly do not plan to invest time to improve
in this regard. With all of that out of the way, let us discuss Showtime’s recent season with both
MAMAMOO and GFriend participating.

Sharing some personal experiences
with the show, to answer the “big question”: no, I did not cry—due to a sad
ending, specifically. Unlike many other reality shows where there has been an
emotional ending—examples in mind include The
TaeTiSeo
, Jessica & Krystal (of
which made me cry a downscaled river) or even EXID’s season on Showtime, in MAMAMOO and GFriend’s Showtime, it has remained incredibly
cheerful and fun throughout. Nonetheless, I do admit I cried during one
specific scene: GFriend’s Yuju facing her fears with
heights via bungee jumping.

(And I will apologize for some self-conceited advertisement.) Other than that,
and to focus on the show itself, I personally thoroughly enjoyed the show.
Although I hesitate to say it is the best reality show I have watched as of yet
because Jessica & Krystal
continues to hold its throne, MAMAMOO’s and GFriend’s season was definitely one
of the better ones. Now let us examine why
I assert that.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
For
convenience, when I refer to Showtime
from here on, it is in reference to GFriend’s and MAMAMOO’s season unless
otherwise explicitly stated. Bearing that in mind, Showtime—in a general sense—is a reality show series that focuses
on idols involved in various activities. Previous participants include
Infinite, Apink, EXID, EXO, Sistar, and others. What is peculiar about this
current season, however, is that it is the first to introduce collaboration:
having two artists involved in a
single season—and of which lasts for typically eight episodes. With Showtime, the reality aspect comes from
how the artists are not necessarily involved in games (think of Weekly Idol), but instead are involved
with activities that stem from traveling or simply hanging out. Addressing these
activities, they are presented to the idols via “Q’s”; through questions that
derive from fans. An example would be: “What do MAMAMOO and GFriend do during
their practice sessions?” From there, an episode would revolve entirely around
a single question. Since readers should have a general idea on how Showtime runs, let us begin focusing on
whether it delivers poor or brilliant content.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 7/10
(7.00/10
raw score) – “Above average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 7/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Without readers even needing to read
further, in a short sentence that arguably fulfills this review’s entire
argument: This show manages to flourish because it remains highly diverse in
its content, but all while ensuring that the delivered contents themselves are
all appealing. This, in a very concise view, is why Showtime is personally considered above average.

In terms of how the show is
structured and why said structuring is beneficial, first as already mentioned there
is much variety given through the “Q’s.” Whether it is a “Q” leads the groups
traveling to New York and Los Angeles, revealing to viewers their dance practice
routines, or facing their fears be it bungee jumping or scary houses, all of
the activities showcased in the show remain distinctive. Furthermore, to better
highlight this point, consider that both MAMAMOO and GFriend receive the same “Q’s,”
but nevertheless there are significantly different outcomes. For example, at
one moment GFriend is showcasing a more serious approach to their dance
practice routine, but on the other hand MAMAMOO is simply causing laughter with
a more lighthearted take to the “Q.” Another example is toward the beginning of
the show where both groups make “healing meals” (meals that are meant to be
soothing, relaxing, and so forth). Although both are tasked with the same
activity, GFriend’s take to it is significantly different from MAMAMOO’s take,
such as with different foods, locations, and the like. And of course, factoring
in that some “Q’s” are slightly varied in of themselves—consider the different
traveling destinations, for example—also helps.

Another excellent structuring method
Showtime does is for the involved
groups themselves. On an obvious level, Showtime
balances the two group so that both receive equal spotlight, but the manner in
how that is done is more than just for purposes of fairness. Specifically
focusing on what the show does, episodes intertwine the two groups—not literally,
that is, unless if considering the final episode or pre-filming press
conference. What I am referring to in this case is that this season of Showtime is not along the ideas of splitting
the two groups’ sessions; in other words, the idea that GFriend’s section is
the first half of an episode while MAMAMOO is the remaining half is false.
Instead, Showtime mixes the two
groups in a perfect balance so that in a single episode the focus alternates
between MAMAMOO and GFriend but all in an appropriate time frame. This works on
every end: fans of MAMAMOO/GFriend can still enjoy MAMAMOO/GFriend without
feeling that they have to “wait”; both groups can be easily watched with how
they handle the same “Q”; and lastly, this manner generates appeal as there is
always new content—both groups and with how they handle their activities.

Finally switching over to how the
content themselves are entertaining, although much of this is based upon the
participants themselves, credit is still deserved toward Showtime and this is where I wish to focus on. After all, as fans
of GFriend and MAMAMOO will know, these ladies are absolutely hilarious and
always engaging. That said, the main strength in Showtime’s layout that greatly augments the show’s appeal is the
room for freedom: “Q’s” are given, but how
that “Q” is interacted with per group is up to their decisions. This, in my
assertion, is why Showtime (and
OnStyle’s reality shows for The TaeTiSeo and
Jessica & Krystal) oftentimes
overshadows many other reality shows. Let us use some comparisons to other
shows to understand why levels of freedom are crucial to appeal.

In
a prior show review with GFriend
, an activity they had to do was pick
tangerines. That was the activity: pick tangerines, though it will be in a
competitive form. But that was it; no more or less. Other activities followed
suit with a strict protocol. The problem with that format is it restricts
groups’ ability to go beyond. An input-output style is seldom appealing, and
with the genre of “reality show” (and note I wish to differentiate this from “reality
variety shows” such as Unpretty Rapstar where
construed editing occurs), the main focus should be in simply watching how a
group would perform a specific task—traveling, eating, talking, and so on. That
is where “reality” comes in: just watching groups be themselves—give or take
their need to be “camera-friendly” for public viewers. (After all, the only true
form of “reality shows” would essentially be stalking a group and installing
hidden, spying cameras to see what the “true reality” is.) Once restrictions
are placed, much potential appeal is lost. Imagine this scenario in Showtime: a “Q” that did not merely ask
what the groups did in the practice room, but instead a “Q” that asked the
groups to rehearse their latest song. While both groups will somehow make it
all entertaining regardless of which “Q,” it is hard to deny that the first
version would provide a larger range of acts to be seen than the latter.  

Overall, for the answer of whether I
recommend Showtime (this season, that
is): yes, I do. It is one of the better reality shows I have seen as of the
late, but of course it is still not the best one I have seen and one that has utterly
surprised me. One of the weaker moments is during the episode where both
MAMAMOO and GFriend swap music videos and attempt to reenact the other’s, and
though it is absolutely hilarious at moments, this moment is an example of
where excess restriction (and for the “Q” itself, being rather abstract) causes
loss of appeal—even if the groups were directing their own parodying music
videos. Digression aside, for fans of either or both groups, this show is
definitely one to keep on a to-watch list. However, for those who are
unfamiliar with both, Showtime is of
the few where I would still recommend it as it can lead to familiarity and, at
its core, it very much entertains viewers.

_______________________________________________________

As usual, thank you for reading. I
have one other bonus show review in mind, and of which will then be followed by
a request (and of which I am very thankful for and do apologize for not being
able to prioritize it). I am currently extremely busy with university, but with
proper time management I expect reviews to continue on a consistent schedule.
Until then, look forward to not
reading the usual, cheesy quoting conclusion. Expect another show review to be
posted in a few days.

GFriend’s Reality Show – “One Fine Day” Review

GFriend
One Fine Day (Full Playlist, Eng.
Subbed)

GFriend
One Fine Day

Reviewed on July 18, 2016

“Bluntly
said, while One Fine Day is expected
to appeal in the aspects of both traveling and variety, GFriend’s episodes are
more reminiscent of an upgraded version of Weekly
Idol
: variety to a higher degree. The emphasis of traveling alongside with GFriend
for an intimate, more personal view of the group—a style that One Fine Day flourishes with based on
past seasons—has been drastically lost. This, I will say, is not a worthy
trade.”

Personal
Message:
To the
requester of Wonder Girls’ “Why So Lonely” (and Miss A’s Fei’s solo debut), I
am indeed amidst reviewing Wonder Girls’ song and, once July 22 comes around,
to begin reviewing Fei’s solo. Nevertheless, I greatly apologize for the delay
and for putting a bonus review ahead of schedule. In doing this, I do not wish to
connote that I am belittling the request in any form. In truth, I am posting a
bonus show review ahead because I will be exceptionally busy with summer class
(and subtitling a video of Fiestar along with contributing subtitles to an
upcoming Fiestar subbing team—though I admit I am not sure if this is supposed
to be leaked or not). Thus, to keep the blog in an active state, this bonus
review will serve as short but still viable content. After all, though I am
writing at nine at night, I expect this to take solely an hour and no more. Finally
to add, some readers may notice some interesting outline changes (the “abstract/hook”
quote at the start), but this will be further discussed in the requested
review.

On topic, this bonus review is on a
group I have yet to musically review: GFriend. I recently have finished this
show along with nearly finishing another (Look
After My Dog
), both of which involve GFriend. I plan to review the latter
show at one point, but more importantly, to review GFriend’s comeback: “Navillera.”
(I plan to review it after the two requests are finished.) Personally, I am in
love with the song and as discussed in
a prior review
, that song is threatening Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” as my
favorite song of all-time. (Remember: favorite is not best; “Navillera” is quite far from the best song I have heard, but
its style is definitely that of my preference.) Furthermore, because of “Navillera,”
this current bonus review is now here as this was the song that finally
convinced me to invest more into GFriend. And without any doubts as readers can
tell, I am indeed a fan of the ladies. After all, GFriend is amazing. They have
done more good in their current lives than I ever will in my entire life—and to
showcase the significance of this, GFriend’s average age is rather young.

For example, I am a few months older than Yuju and yet she speaks
extremely more intelligently and eloquently than I (and simply is more intelligent and eloquent than I),
works and loves others much more than I do, and of course has a very sweet,
charming voice while I unfortunately am not as lucky in that regard. And let us
not include appearances for comparison; I think it is a bit unfair as even with
makeup applied, Yuju’s bare face is still clearer than mine. Such is the
struggle of a boy who strives to be as amazing as the ladies of GFriend—a very
high standard but not an impossible one if we focus on the more important
aspects to model: being kind, open, loving, cheerful, hardworking, caring, intelligent,
and so forth. Those aspects are what fans should concern first when it comes to
having idols as role models; fashion and makeup skills can come, but only as
the next priority.

Self-deprecating humor but hopefully
a helpful reminder aside, I sincerely am still baffled by the younger age of the
ladies. Given their maturity and stamina for their choreographies (and, with
live performances, being able to sing live), I expected the average age to be
around at the very least twenty three. Indeed, to find out the oldest of the
group—Sowon, the leader—is twenty, I was shocked. But, if anything is to be
gleaned, it is perhaps that I am the one who needs further maturing; if GFriend
are already excelling at their age, I should be able to as well. And indeed,
readers who are in a similar case should also feel inspired by the ladies.

Focusing on the bonus review (and to
my embarrassment this Personal Message is most likely longer than the actual
review), I have linked the entire show. Credit must be given to a subbing team
for the videos, so shout-out to the wonderful men and women who have spent
their free time helping out fans who are not familiar with Korean. Subbing
videos after all is not an easy task at all; subtitling is extremely
time-consuming, and in certain cases can be somewhat repetitive. (The latter
being more so if subtitling is occurring after
already watching the video.) Regarding this review, usual protocols are in
place: extremely brief analysis as it is, once again, a bonus and nothing more.
In fact, if I am hasty enough, I will also review Look After My Dog as well.

All that said, let us fly to Cebu
(Phillipines) with GFriend—but obviously in a figurative, vicarious sense.
Unless if a reader coincidentally lives there. If that is the case, the
figurative and vicarious aspect will be in traveling with GFriend. And if
somehow even that is true, then said
reader should probably just stop reading due to my overwhelming jealousy. Jokes
aside, GFriend’s one fine day—or days—in Cebu may be fine for them, but I will
argue One Fine Day’s show layout
particularly for GFriend is a disappointment. Even if fans get more exposure
time to GFriend and if the ending episodes elicits tears from viewers (or that
may just be me, a usual crybaby), One
Fine Day
’s deviation away from their usual structure does limit the appeal
of GFriend’s episodes.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
To best explain
the prior paragraph, I will give the general summary to One Fine Day. Afterwards, I will then explain GFriend’s exclusive
version. From there, we will proceed with the actual review itself and how this
change is not necessarily as appealing as viewers would expect.

One
Fine Day
is a
reality-variety show (yes, reality and
variety) by MBC Music (if accurate) that invites a group/solo artists—past examples
being AOA, Girl’s Day, VIXX, f(x)’s Amber and Ailee, and more—to spend a few
days in a country other than that of South Korea. Essentially, to roughly
summarize a quote from the One Fine Day
staff during GFriend’s episodes, the show is to provide healing,
stress-relieving, and relaxation to idols who otherwise seldom have time to do such.
It is a win-win: idols are able to travel and unwind while fans still gain
content and usually new insights to their beloved idols. Returning back to my
earlier emphasis on reality and variety, I at first classified it as purely
reality; after all, the show does seem to merely record and help out the
traveling idols. However, that is not quite the case as “mission cards”—in
other words, fun tasks—are given and to be fulfilled. Should One Fine Day be a true reality show,
then the former would be what occurred: simply recording idols on their
vacations. However, with the missions involved, the variety aspect is now also
included and thus, reality-variety is the label I have given the show. Is this
necessarily bad or good? In past seasons/series of certain groups, I found
there to be a perfect balance and thus, if anything the combination is a bonus.
Should there be an imbalance or more specifically, a bias towards the variety aspect
if there is to be an imbalance at all, then I would argue some issues hold. And
unfortunately for GFriend, that is exactly what occurred.

While readers could watch the first
episode for this background, in short: GFriend’s company decided that, given
the time of recording the ladies were only ten months past their debut date,
the usual purpose of One Fine Day
would be irrelevant. And perhaps indeed that is a valid claim: though their
trainee days are predictably tiresome and that ten months of actual idol work
is equally stressful, it might be too soon to claim they have worked for long.
Especially when juxtaposed to other groups that have appeared, that very much
seems true. Creatively, though, rather than declining the invitation, GFriend’s
label company requested a change in the show’s format: training GFriend for
variety shows—both indirectly (with this being their first show) and directly
(with lessons). As a result, the show’s core may technically hold as there is
both reality and variety—the “reality” in recording the behind-the-scenes, personal
conversations, and traveling, and the “variety” in them actually practicing
variety show skills—but ultimately, this does hinder the potential of the show’s
appeal. Bluntly said, while One Fine Day
is expected to appeal in the aspects of both traveling and variety, GFriend’s episodes
are more reminiscent of an upgraded version of Weekly Idol: variety to a higher degree. The emphasis of traveling
alongside with GFriend for an intimate, more personal view of the group—a style
that One Fine Day flourishes with
based on past seasons—has been drastically lost. This, I will say, is not a
worthy trade.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 6/10
(5.50/10
raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 4/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Explaining why the
variety-orientated take to GFriend’s episodes is impairing versus enhancing, there
are two main points: one, it becomes excessively repetitive, and secondly, it
steals away from another potentially more satisfying, appealing activities.
Elaborating on the first, the variety-based activities may all differ, but in
the end all render as overly simplistic and in fact, simply silly. Without overly
leaking what occurs, the variety activities range from practicing proper speech—eye
contact, body posture, paying attention, and so on—to athletic ones of getting
across unstable floating water pads, or to making food look even more
appetizing with reactions. Certainly from the surface there is much appeal
given the diverse acts, but if we are to dive more deeply, that is not the
quite the case. For example, the acting practice skits were, while hilarious at
times, unenticing once factoring in the repetitive editing style of replaying
clips. Soon enough, I was hoping for the show to continue on and for other
activities to occur—emphasis on other
as I desired more than just watching GFriend practice variety skills. This
leads to the next point: losing potential on other fun activities.

Imagine this: GFriend practicing
variety skills, but on top of that had a chance to travel around Cebu whether
that is visiting stores, restaurants, sight-seeing locations, and so on. In the
end, all of the variety activities, even if all different, are still generally
one activity: that of “variety.” One Fine
Day
lost the chance to include other important aspects. Even if GFriend
were able to have fun off camera, for the show itself, it is a shame One Fine Day did not include footages of
GFriend exploring a culture and place that is not of their homes. At most,
GFriend was at one point filmed eating at a restaurant, but even so, that is
one moment out of the many unnecessary, overly played variety acts. Also to
credit other interesting parts, indeed the earlier episodes did focus on preparing
for travel and even the travel process and experience, but once again: in Cebu,
the vacation land became a training land. Although this may be a strong
assertion, I believe many would desire to see both GFriend engaging in variety practice but also exploring Cebu. After
all, if given the choice to watch a professional sports player either solely practicing
or to also watch her practice and
travel in a country she has never been in, I personally would choose the
latter.

Overall, for why GFriend’s One Fine Day still holds, the ladies
themselves deserve much respect for providing the most entertainment they
could. From the more personal conversations in their hotel rooms that caused
tears, to the laughter and smiles from their silly antics or newbie travel
mistakes, optimistically GFriend’s happiness and time together are still the
main highlight of the show. These points are what allow the entertainment to
hold, even if the structure to the show falters. This show still does focus on
the members and indeed, that provides new insights for fans and viewers.
Certainly, this show will help viewers see the “regular,” human and relatable
side to GFriend versus that of their raw, powerful dancing skills and solid
singing.

Ending this review, to answer the
question of whether this show is worth watching, I miraculously would still
claim it is—but only to certain extents. Fans of GFriend should definitely
watch this, and likewise for those who desire to partially watch idols traveling. What may be deterring, though, is
the lack of focus on the traveling and the additional emphasis on variety-based
activities. Nonetheless, with the shorter length of the show (four episodes
that are forty-five minutes each), there are more incentives to watch it—even if
it is duller than other shows. (I personally watched it all in two days, but
this may be moreover indicative of my lack of a social life in the summer. At
least watching this with my adorable terrier girl gives me excuses.) All in
all, GFriend’s One Fine Day is ultimately
a worthy show if watching for the
ladies themselves. Otherwise, if there is no care for GFriend, then this season
of One Fine Day is not a loss to
miss.

_______________________________________________________

As always, thank you to those for
reading. To the requester, I will finish up the review on Wonder Girls in one to
two days if I remain on schedule. That will then be followed up by Miss A’s Fei’s
solo, and afterwards I plan to review GFriend’s “Navillera” and of which will
then be followed by Eric Nam’s “Can’t Help Myself.” From there, if there are
still days left in July, I will wrap up the month with a review on GFriend’s appearance
on Look After My Dog and Brave Girls’
“High Heels.” Given that many social digressions are in mind, however, July
might not last for too long. Like the saying goes, writing truly passes time—unless
if you are stuck on ideas, then the opposite holds true with writing merely
stalling time.  

Look forward to the upcoming song
review and of course, for another “fine day.”

Rainbow’s Jisook’s Reality Show – “Coming Sook: Jisook’s Fantastic Life” Review

KStyleTV
– Coming Sook Episodes Playlist

Reviewed on February 28, 2016

Rainbow’s
Jisook – Coming Sook: Jisook’s Fantastic Life

image

Personal
Message:
Although
Stellar’s “Sting” is once again delayed, I have decided to alter the review
schedule as February is coming to a quick end. Through finishing the month with
show reviews or shorter song reviews, the blog will have at least around four
to five reviews, and that will satisfy my personal goal—even if to the lowest
degree. With March, I do plan to continue the current path: to review only
artists who have yet to be reviewed at all. However, MAMAMOO’s latest comeback
of “You’re the Best at Everything” will be heavily contesting that plan, and
similarly, if Fiestar and SPICA have their comebacks within that month. What
will hopefully occur, though, is that during my one-week Spring Break, I will
catch up on multiple reviews. Thus, recent comebacks, regardless of artists,
may still be covered. On topic, for this review, it is not on a song or album:
it is on a short reality show starring Rainbow’s beloved Jisook. “Coming Sook:
Jisook’s Fantastic Life” (I will refer to it as “Coming Sook”) has admittedly
been a show I have been “binge watching.” That is understandable, however.
Jisook is, after all, truly a “happy virus” and “vitamin”; watching her show
will put anyone in a great mood regardless of how they felt prior.

Sharing how I happened to come
across Jisook’s contagious virus, after reviewing Rainbow’s
“Whoo,”
I decided to check out the group since, as stated in that review, I
was quite unfamiliar with them and thus desired to know the group for more than
their music. Somehow, Jisook’s show was the first video I came across. Needless
to say, though, I am exceptionally grateful for this outcome. Jisook has
utterly infatuated me, and after watching her videos, I will definitely look
more into Rainbow—both with songs and videos. Jisook is sincerely, as mentioned
above, a “vitamin.” The only other idol I know that possesses equal high level
of cheerfulness would be Dal Shabet’s Serri, but point is, both ladies are incredibly
positive. I personally aspire to also be full of love and joy like the two, and
admittedly, Jisook is someone I now also look up to. She showcases my personal
idea of a “perfect” life. (However, MAMAMOO’s Solar is my main role model; I
strive to be exactly like her in every possible way.)

For one, Jisook greatly prioritizes
happiness and laughter—two very crucial aspects I would argue that are vital
for an enjoyable life. On that line of thinking, she also cherishes love and
affection for her friends/members, and likewise, those are also essential
aspects to a good life. In fact, it is debatable that what the world needs more
of is just that: love for others and self. And of course, health and hard work
are also valuable points that Jisook lives up to, such as with dedicating
herself to her hobbies to release stress, and for the obvious example, working
hard in her career as an idol. Lastly, on a materialistic level, she has the
best house one could ask for: not a mansion, but rather, a pretty, organized
and comfortable smaller house. Although I do not wish for readers to interpret
the prior and following words as “the right way” to live, I am against
materialistic living (such as prioritizing money as the source of happiness;
for examples, finding joy in owning the most expensive clothing and makeup
products). Instead, at most for a materialistic lifestyle, money should be
orientated towards (after basic living needs) items that help bring emotional
wealth. Returning to the example of owning the most expensive makeup products,
the joy from such should not stem from the value of the makeup product; rather,
the joy in that has to be within the makeup itself. But as said, to each her
own; as long as he finds his own source of happiness and shares love and
compassion, then all is well.

Overall, I do greatly envy and
aspire to have Jisook’s lifestyle and am very excited to begin my own
independent life in a few more years—though “independent” is not quite true as
I do plan, at the least, to live with a dog. (As shared before, I would love to
adopt a child if financially and emotionally capable, even if as a single
parent.) Although unlike Jisook I would not have a career as an idol since my singing, dancing, and
appearance would cause visual and audio related injuries
 I lack the
intelligence and physical abilities. I would be extremely more content with teaching
high school freshmen students with English and dedicating myself to loving
friends, child and dog, makeup and fashion, exercise, hobbies, and so forth.
And jocularly and randomly to share, I have strongly desired a dog lately. I
cannot be blamed though; as the saying goes: “dogs are woman’s best friend,”
after all. (And if I am correct, a few may suddenly claim that the phrase is
wrong as it should be “man’s best friend.” I will discuss in depth this topic
of “gendered” language below.) All in all, Jisook is an amazing human and I
will strive to lead a cheerful, intellectual, caring, loving and compassionate
life as her.

Now, to discuss my prior use of “woman’s
best friend” (feel free to skip to the review now—though to confess, I have
sorely missed saying that very phrase), there is one topic I have surprisingly
never discussed at all before on the blog: the importance of language, and more
specifically, how language is reflective of social power—examples being
“gendered” language or “heterosexist” language. Nevertheless, it is shocking to
have never discussed this. Given my personal passion for English and sociology
(and teaching, as many would guess), this specific topic of language should
have been one discussed ages ago. It is, after all, the literal intersection of
the two subjects: seeing how sociology (social aspects and topics, etc.) applies
to language (words, daily communication, language arts, etc.) itself. Returning
to the phrase of “dog is woman’s best friend,” many would argue that the proper
way to state such is to change the pronoun of “woman” to “man.” After all, there
is no harm to saying “man’s best friend” or even other phrases such as
“mankind” or “man-made.” Words cannot ever be truly influential. This is why
that vapid saying exists: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will
never hurt me.” Unfortunately, though there is no direct harm such as jabbing a
knife into someone, arguably that level of damage is still true with words: it
just happens socially rather than physically.

Language is more than pure
communication, such as with day-to-day conversations; language is more than
beautiful art that can come from great poetry; language is more than mastering
grammar, vocabulary, and argumentative essay formats. Language is, in addition
to the listed examples, also reflective of social equality and power or the
lack thereof. What we say or do not say carries significant social weight, and
from there then are words translated into physical, affecting actions. In other
words, views on gender will influence language, and as a result, language will
influence views on gender. Views on race will influence language, and
similarly, the opposite occurs. There is a cycle with language and social
aspects and thus, it is critical to realize the connection between the two
subjects. Specifically with this digression, although I certainly do equally
hold important the language arts side to language, or the semiotics and linguistic
side to language, I do wish to discuss the sociological aspect to language. And
to begin, “human’s best friend,” a dog, will provide an example.

The largest issue with “man’s best
friend” is it contributes to an underlying assumption many societies have: that
males are automatically the default of everything. To very extreme points,
there are those who even believe that females are “inverses” or “castrated”
males, even though females are simply females—their own sex (and equally
valuable ones; every sex—male, female, intersex—are indeed all worthy). (And,
assuming my biology is not that awful, the mentioned idea is easily disproved
as, scientifically, every human starts out as female. So, if the prior idea is
to be used, it is not females that are “inversed” males, but instead, it is
males are “inversed” females.) On topic, already, there should be a noticeable
issue with having males centered as normal. As a copious amount of reviews have
discussed, males being deemed at the center when, equally and equitably it
should be both sexes, leads to various issues. Androcentrism is a direct
example: the idea that masculinity is the normal for how to think and act. For
a visual example, think of how it is permissible for women to
“cross-dress”—such as wearing a suit—and conversely, atrocious if a man
“cross-dresses”—such as applying BB cream and eyeliner. (Though there are
cultural differences to account for. Yes, in some cultures males using makeup
is nothing surprising versus in, for example, Western cultures. Nevertheless
the same idea holds when it comes to, for a simple example, whether crying is
allowed for males.) This disparity is due to androcentrism: that masculinity is
always accepted, and anything remotely feminine is of lower status and is,
especially in males, never allowed.

Before getting off track, in regards
to language itself, it is important to pay attention to as it provides
reinforcement to social ideas. When societies constantly reiterate “dog is
man’s best friend” or that cars are “man-made,” what messages are being said?
To clarify, I do not wish to antagonize people who do say those phrases. Absolutely,
I do believe that when a person says those phrases, they are connoting: “dog is
anyone’s—man or woman—best friend” and “man-made is something made by
humans—whether man or woman as both are capable of being engineers.” In truth,
many people who say those phrases and other gendered phrases are most likely
very much opposed to sexism. Nevertheless, what I desire to emphasize is that,
intended or not, using gendered language has gendered consequences—again, even
if unintended. Language is more than “colloquial.” By using phrases that
include only males on the surface, no matter how benevolent the intention,
there will be repercussions. The following example might highlight such.

Say that I went to the doctor and
that there is awful news: I am dying from Boa-itis, a rare disease caused by
being overly obsessed with SPICA’s amazing leader. (Alright I admit this is
bad. I will directly apologize for this joke.) Searching for comfort, I share
to my close friend that my doctor revealed to me horrible results. Knowing my
friend, she might eventually reply: “What did he say?” Now while Boa-itis may
not be true despite how
Boa has halted my heart a few times
, if this were to occur, I would
forget my dying state and reply with a sharp: “My doctor is a woman; a she; a
female” (and that is true; my doctor is actually a woman). Notice, though, the
language instilled there: assumption that the doctor is a male. During these
cases, what should be said is “they”—even though, yes, it is plural (but
dictionaries now do define it as both singular and plural). Nevertheless, when
this situation occurs (and it does tend to be somewhat frequent), saying “they”
is the overall best route to take. Maintaining gender-equal and gender-neutral
language is what has to occur if gender equality in an even larger form is to
take place. After all, how can society ever accept amazingly skilled male
makeup artists and hair stylists if everyone keeps saying “she” in reference to
those jobs?

At this point, one may have a keen
reply to the prior example: that it is not language that is influential, but
rather, ideas that then translate to language—and that is it; no cycling occurs.
Perhaps we tend to say “he” for doctors not because of language itself, but
rather because we have a socialized idea of who is a doctor and thus merely
state that. That is certainly a true point, but again, the recycling of
gendered language is important to hold in mind: this is why it is best to say
“they” if the pronoun’s gender is unknown. If it is a held common belief that
doctors are males, breaking down that assumption is to break down the language
involved: using “she” or “they” instead of an automatic “he” when one discusses
“doctor.” And furthermore, on this note, there is one example of gendered
language itself being quite influential: the use of “guys.”

Many readers may now be questioning
their own use of the words or synthesizing justifiable reasons for using
“guys,” but as many may now think after reading the prior paragraphs, the use
of “guys” is the one of the most common examples of gendered language in
English (or at least American society). That said, to reiterate an older point,
using gendered language is not based on intentions; using “guys” does not make
one sexist. Not even remotely. Rather, “guys” has been incorporated into
standard English language—akin to “mankind” for example—and that is what needs
to be challenged. Using “guys” is questionable as it does subtly imply that
males can represent females when that should not be the case, and even if that
should be allowed for whatever reason, the fact that the opposite cannot occur
showcases even more inequality. Take the following example. I can refer to a
group of females as “guys,” and that is acceptable. In fact, that is “normal”
and anything otherwise may seem absurd. Strangely enough, however, should I
refer to a group of males as “gals,” many would find it absurd. To some, even
offensive. And yet, “guys” to a group of females is not insulting as the word
has become normalized despite how “guys” does indeed refer to males. Even if colloquially
“guys” has become connoting of both genders, again as highlighted, should this
be accepted, then “gals” has to also be equally accepted, but as unveiled that
is not the case at all.

In terms of solutions, glancing at
other languages may provide a few answers, and in addition, may showcase how
absurd using “guys” truly is. Cantonese and Korean will be used as examples. In
both of the mentioned languages, from my understanding, “guys” is not used to
refer to any cohort of people; “guys” is used to refer to, as expected, a group
of males—a group of boys, men, males. Only in English (or at least American
society) is “guys,” a word that does indicate only males, used to represent any
group of people regardless of sex. Now, for a predicted disagreement, one may
claim that “guys” is in fact used in Korean or Cantonese to refer to a group of
people. A video subtitle said so. As a response, this is where “direct
translation”—or lack thereof—becomes an issue. (And as a subtitler, I do try to
directly translate whenever possible for this very reason. I wish to respect
what the language itself says.) From my understanding (as said before, though I
am not fluent in Korean, I am confident enough in this regard, and with
Cantonese I am rather knowledgeable with it), the literal word of “guys” in both
refer to solely males. It would be silly to attempt to say “guys” in reference
to a group of people. Instead, for what is said, common ways to address a group
are “everyone” in Korean or “they/they all” in Cantonese. Nonetheless, however,
as disclosed neither Korean or Cantonese follow the unique form of how English’s
“guys” can be used for both.

Clarifying, this is not in any way
to downgrade English and American culture (I am American after all) or to
praise Korean and Chinese language and culture as better. That would be
absolutely pathetic and, from this perspective, arguably racist and for sure
ethnocentric (since, as reviews have discussed, racism is based on “dominant
group,” and with writing in this perspective of Chinese and Korean culture, it
would appear I am bashing non-Korean and non-Chinese cultures). Point is, it is
true that in Korean and Cantonese “guys” is not flexible: this is the point I
wish to emphasize. In English, the word “guys” is indeed rooted as males only—akin
to how “gals” is rooted as females only. Thus, with that holding true, “guys”
in English should not be used to refer to both males and females; it should
refer to only males. If one is to refer to both females and males, more
inclusive terms are always available: “they,” “you all,” “everyone,” and
perhaps for the best solution, “guys and gals” or “gals and guys.” All in all, “guys”
is not worth using unless if it is exactly intended: to refer to a group of
guys.

And so, there may now be multiple
responses. Readers may feel guilty, annoyed, or currently preparing methods of
strangling me for being “overly sensitive” to words. Repeating the earlier
point, this is not to accuse nor cause guilt; this is to bring awareness.
Truthfully, whether my views are accepted or not does not matter to me: what
matters is that readers are critically thinking about my position. Perhaps
using “guys” or “mankind” are indeed acceptable and even empowering to every
sex. Or perhaps that using “guys” should be allowed but that we should now also
start using “gals” instead of utterly removing the current way we use “guys.”
No matter the response and stance readers have, what matters is why they have
their specific stances. Through critically analyzing what I have argued, that
is what I hope for as, if social inequalities are to be solved, mature and open
discussions have to occur. Directly sharing what my own take is, I personally
favor three options: using “all”; using “gals and guys” and “guys and gals”;
and, using “she” and “he” individually yet equally (such as by saying “it’s every
woman for herself; he needs to find his own cup of coffee”)—though there is the
issue in the latter two examples of not including intersex people for example.

In the end, as I encourage in
readers, it is about equality and equity: having love, respect, compassion, and
understanding for everyone regardless of their social attributes, be it
religious affiliation, gender, race, class, sexual orientation, able-bodied or
disabled-bodied, and more. With this digression, I do urge readers to bear in mind
using inclusive language; language that includes people no matter their gender
or sexual orientation or race, and so on. Language has significant social
consequences, but thankfully, language is in control by a vast majority of
people. Using “you all” instead of “you guys” may indeed help contribute to
gender equality in the long run, and so will using “they” instead of
automatically assuming that an engineer is a “he” or that a nurse is a “she.”
After all, every human deserves understanding and compassion, and I can attest
with full confidence that Jisook would agree. Let us all be a bit more like
Jisook: loving, caring, joyful, and thoughtful to others.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
Finally
beginning the review, admittedly I forgot how much fun it is to apply sociology
into (Korean) pop culture. Before entirely beginning, for technical notes, it
should be noted that any review that is not of a song can be considered a “bonus”
review: reviews that are meant to overall be fun and to provide variety from
just songs. Therefore, the following ratings I give are, in full honesty,
worthless; the numerical ratings hold minimal value in terms of giving insight
to the show. Juxtaposing song reviews to this review should reveal why: there
are only two ratings versus the abundant amount in song reviews. And certainly,
shows are as equally complex as songs and should indeed have much more
categories that just the current two I have. Optimistically, however, unlike
past show reviews, this time I am able to link the episodes themselves as this
short reality show is luckily entirely on YouTube—officially, to be specific.
(This means there will not be copyright removals, etc.) That said, I did link a
playlist, but I recommend starting with this episode: “Jisook’s New House Tour.” Reason being
that it provides background to both the show and Jisook herself. Also, for
readers who may hesitate to watch as Korean is not known to any degree, no
worries: there are English subtitles. This means that everyone reading is obliged to watch.
Jisook’s show is more important than caring for children, school work, going to
work—

Focusing on the actual review, as I
have not done so in a while for show reviews, for this one specifically, I do
in fact have pictures prepared for the Plot Summary. Before analyzing the show
itself, it is best to summarize the show so that readers have a general sense
of what “Coming Sook” is even about, and what better way to do such than
through visual aids?

“Coming Sook” is about Jisook, a
member from Rainbow, taking viewers along with her for some of her personal
activities. For one episode, she is touring viewers her new house, but for
others, she may be showing her hobbies or doing other miscellaneous activities,
such as adorably dressing up a dog. Furthermore, personal tips may be given,
such as—for what many men and women may desire to learn of—makeup. That, in
essence, is the show. Nothing more or less. The following pictures will
hopefully grant viewers quick ideas on the show’s aesthetics, format, and so
on. But there is now a very valid question: Why watch this? Is this show worth
an hour or so of my time? On the surface, this show would seem only enticing to
fans of Rainbow or Jisook, but the Analysis category will explain otherwise.

image

Jisook introducing her house.

image

Jisook sharing makeup tips. In this case, she is sharing her tip with concealer.

image

Woori and Hyunyoung, fellow members of Rainbow, visit Jisook’s house. Specifically here, they are looking around Jisook’s bedroom.

image

Jisook shares her playroom to viewers.

image

Jisook shares ways she does her hair.

image

Dali, a model dog, joins Jisook with making dog clothing.

image

With the assistance of a carpenter teacher, Jisook creates a wooden speaker for a fan.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 8/10

“Good; excellent”

– Entertainment Value: 9/10

– Structural Value: 7/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
True, the structure to the show does
appear tedious: Jisook does one specific activity and viewers watch that for
seven or so minutes. Then the next episode is her doing another activity. Then
the same. Then the same. Then the same. The same. Same. How is that supposed to
be appealing in any form? Although the overarching structure is indeed the
same, the change in the content does provide enough variety to provide appeal
(and a score of seven). For example, the camera setup may be the same for when
Jisook explains her makeup or how she styles phone cases, but just the simple
change in topics allows for much variety. How Jisook explains and acts greatly
differs; she is not robotically going through her activities (more to be said
on this later). Furthermore, even in watching the various activities, all are
significantly different. Sure, Jisook is simply covering hobbies she does
versus, for example, one day going out to shop and the next day to a restaurant,
but the change in activity provides for a lot of content. Watching her share
hair styling tips and then later watching her play with a model dog, while systematically
similar, are exceptionally different in content itself, and that is what helps
provide appeal. Additionally, “Coming Sook” is not just of Jisook’s hobbies.
There are episodes where she is up-and-about with touring her house, cooking
snacks, or playing video games with her members and f(x)’s Amber.

As for what truly does make the show
entertaining in whole, even if the structure is slightly repetitive, Jisook is
entertaining in every sense possible: her words; her humor; her wits; her
actions; her goofiness; the list goes on. Jisook knows how to ace her job of
being an idol—a person whose job is to entertain others and to provide
excellent role modeling. At first, readers may be reaping entertainment through
the activities themselves, but after one or two episodes, that source switches:
Jisook herself becomes the main focus for the show’s entertainment. In fact, if
the show still continued, many would still be content even if the show ran low
on new ideas. Essentially, Jisook could be doing anything and she would somehow
make it all entertaining to watch. For all that is concerned, she could be
putting together a table or, for a drastic example, filing away paper and many
would still be invested in watching. It is not the activities that matter; it
is about Jisook doing said activities. She brings entertainment to the show—after
all, “Jisook” is in the show’s title. Overall, she truly is a hilarious and
joyous lady. I have yet to watch an episode without laughing, let alone not
smiling or squeezing the life out of my stuffed penguin at how cute the show
is.

Answering whether this show is worth
the time, I conclude a strong “yes.” The activities she does are entertaining
on their own to many people, but in addition, Jisook herself provides much
laughter and positivity. Every episode is memorable. She is truly a contagious “happy
virus” (laugh included) and can make an episode of watching paint dry turn out incredibly
funny and entertaining.

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Regurgitating what is usually but
sincerely said: thank you so much for reading. Whether read in full, skimmed, I
appreciate any given time to the blog and review. For readers interested in
upcoming reviews, I do apologize for not having a strong finish to this month. The
past days have been full of essays and studying for upcoming midterms, hence
why reviews have been slow. Or perhaps that this review being around 4,500
words could have been two reviews. But as said, March is where I have a week to
catch up on reviews, and thus, I will do my best to do so. Especially as song
reviews are becoming much more concise, there are a lot of expectations to be
able to review numerous songs within a month. For an idea as well, I also plan
to experiment with how often social digressions occur: rather than including
them in every review, I will only include them for every third review. This
way, various readers will have enjoyable content: those who desire both reviews
and social discussions receive their share, and readers moreover interested in
reviews have their share. And on my end, I have both sides of being able to
review more song and to write less, but to still engage with important topics
especially if relevant and elicited by a song.

For the next review, it may be
another show review to wrap up the month, or it may finally be Stellar’s “Sting.”
Either way, stay tuned for whatever it may be. It will be “Coming Sook.”

Computer Animation Show – “Miraculous Ladybug” Review

Reviewed on September 20, 2015

Zagtoon/Method Animation/Toei Animation/SAMG Animation – Miraculous Ladybug

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Personal Message: Already answering, yes, this is not directly a K-Pop related review. However, for how it does relate, Fiestar did sing the show’s theme song (and arrogantly sharing my own video for English subtitles). Though Fiestar was how I became exposed to the show, admittedly, I have watched two episodes, and to confess, have greatly fallen in love with it. This may, however, be due to university overly working my brain, and thus, though I am older (eighteen), I am able to find excessive joy in a show that is, arguably, aimed towards younger audience members (I would predict around twelve). Regardless, shows are, indeed, age-free, and most certainly, especially to be discussed later, gender-free (for example, even as a boy, I am entirely envious of Marinette’s beautiful room, even if it is feminine). While I will first digress with life updates, afterwards, as many readers may expect from me, a rather large digression will take place: one that consists of explaining why “Miraculous Ladybug” is an exceptionally important show.

Before continuing with the actual review, for quick updates and clarifications, if not already blatant, this review is simply a bonus. K-Pop reviews will always be of main priority, and in many ways, are going to come rather quickly. F.T. Island’s “Severely” is underway, and after this shorter review is finished, if time permits, the song will also be published in the same day. Song reviews are becoming more concise, and therefore, many more are able to come. To explain my longer absence, briefly stated, I have an abundant amount of university work. Lots of university work. Lengthy readings and numerous essays were the reasons for why my free time was restricted to solely watching videos and exercise. No time was available for writing reviews as, pitifully, my days were very work-orientated (though again, I am enjoying it all). Also, to offer a disclaimer, I do apologize if this review’s writing is to a poorer standard, such as by being incoherent. Due to already investing much towards schoolwork, for this review, I will adopt a more casual, unembellished style. However, that is not to say writing is not fun or that I will give no effort; writing is a very fun activity, hence why this blog exists and this review is being made, and as always, this blog provides a chance to safely experiment and improve with writing.

On the last bit of technical updates, I am now writing reviews in 12 font size (for font type, I was already using Times New Roman, as an older review discussed). Though this is incredibly irrelevant to readers as, when reviews are posted, the blog’s own font type and size are unmodifiable, for those who may have to work with MLA formatted papers in school or elsewhere, accept this as a basic reminder on the actual MLA standards: 12 font size, Times New Roman, and the usual one-inch margins. Embarrassingly, I have always assumed 11 was the standard and am now hoping that my ED class professor is even more amazing by being lenient with my paper’s wrong font size. And, as I have just realized, should there be new, welcomed readers who are solely reading this review because of “Miraculous Ladybug” and not for the usual content of song reviews, I do hope this review provides varying insight to the show on a mechanical level, but also, for why the show is even more admirable. (And, if I feel ambitious, for “Miraculous Ladybug” fans, I will attempt to contact Zagtoon for copyright permission to subtitle the episodes, though that is most likely a futile attempt.)

Finally discussing “Miraculous Ladybug,” for short, personal opinions, as stated, I have watched two episodes: the second and third. Without yet addressing the show itself, for an obligated comment, Marinette is, arguably, my favorite character out of all literatures and films and shows (though, bear in mind, I never watch fictional shows or read books in which there is a casual plot and not one of, for example, social inequities). Marinette can be, overall, summarized in three words: hilariously, awkwardly cute. Unless if she is Ladybug, her quirky acts, as highlighted by her vain attempts to flirt with Adrien (Black Cat, or “Chat Noir”), are simply adorable due to the amount of awkwardness. Personal affection aside, transitioning to a more serious tone, “Miraculous Ladybug” is a French-Japanese-Korean show. It has already begun airing in South Korea (the version I have personally watched; though my Korean is far from remarkable, it is enough to enjoy the episodes and, out of the three languages, the only one I know of), and from my understanding, will also begin to air soon for France and Japan. Other countries will be included as well: the United States, for example, will also have it broadcasted at some point.

To truly embark on the digression now (for readers who are uninterested, skip to the review itself, though I would hope the following words are meaningful), I am yearning that “Miraculous Ladybug” becomes a phenomenal hit; I am hoping the show becomes a huge sensation. Although what is presented in “Miraculous Ladybug” may now be the norm for how shows are conducted, nevertheless, when I began researching of the show and watching it with a critical lens, I became astonished: it is socially empowering as it presents much social equity. There is a copious amount of topics to discuss, but drawing one example, as one of the animation companies’ manager (from memory; she is either a director or manager) said, in summary: “It’s the first time in animation that there will be a female superhero.”

Coincidentally linked earlier, for the song review of “My Type,” in that review I discuss the underrepresentation of females in multiple areas of society, and relating to “Miraculous Ladybug,” an act is being done to combat that disparity by having Marinette, and furthermore, a feminine appeal, be of main attentions. It is a gambling act, considering how shifting away from the “norm” of superhero shows–male based shows–may place “Miraculous Ladybug” at a disliked position due to shifting away from how superhero shows are “supposed” to be conducted as, unfairly, masculinity is portrayed as the standard when, equitably, it should be of both femininity and masculinity. More will be discussed in depth below. As for other aspects, besides promoting that masculinity and femininity are both cherishable, race equity is additionally depicted. Since there is much to discuss, I will now elaborate the main aspects one at a time (and again, apologies for being disorganized; I am still a mediocre writer growing).

First, for perhaps the most projected notion, “Miraculous Ladybug” sends out an invaluable reminder: femininity is good. For one aspect, engaging villains does not have to be grotesquely gory and bloody, as is often time the case as masculinity correlates to such. Engaging villains can be, and more accurately stated, is, also the idea of utilizing a flashy, pink yo-yo as a weapon, and furthermore, pink, glowing magic. Even more momentously, “feminine” fighting, if that term may be used, is also certainly acceptable even in males. Adrien in his transformed form, Black Cat, provides an example: cat combat. Peculiarly, seldom are males associated with cats, and more so in the lens of superpowers as, for what is socialized, cats-related powers are for females. Disassembling stereotypes, however, “Miraculous Ladybug” unveils a capable male hero whose powers happen to fall within a “feminine” category. Thus, overall, in this regard, especially in a highly androcentric realm of superhero fighting, the show greatly challenges current, inequitable standards via including a marginalized perspective: female superheroes can fight, and that male superheroes can equally use “feminine” superpowers as, unlike what society showcases, femininity does not mean weakness and helplessness.

In addition to the fighting concepts, there are also more subtle details promoting gender equity: Adrien/Black Cat is moreover a sidekick, or at least, requires “princess charming” Ladybug to commonly save him. Before diving into the latter idea, for the first one of being a sidekick, it is exceptionally rare for males to receive a less prominent role and for females to adopt the main protagonist role. Interestingly, should rebuttals occur due to this “unfairness,” such as by advocating for both males and females to, simultaneously, be in main spotlight, ironically, very few would challenge current, genuine, unjust trends: males tend to be in spotlight while females are sidekicks. Therefore, it is not necessarily that both males and females need to simultaneously be in spotlight, but rather, that both genders should be able to individually take spotlight on an equal level. It is fine for males to be sidekicks, and also, females to be sidekicks; what is not fine is that, currently, predominantly it is superhero males taking the lead while females take the subpar role, or in certain cases, not even any role.

Delivering a more cohesive message, in “Miraculous Ladybug” ‘s case, while Adrien can be rendered as a sidekick (though I would state both are the protagonists), and therefore, many may become defensive at the supposed lack of equality, that is not true. This is equitable as, it is not necessarily about both genders starring at once, but that both genders can alternate between being the protagonist and sidekick character. And of course, more male sidekicks and more female main superheroes are needed, and “Miraculous Ladybug” is contributing to that neglected side.

Bringing in the second component of how Black Cat tends to be saved often by Ladybug (Marinette, if unclear), a complete reverse to a stereotypical idea is displayed: females are definitely capable of saving others, be it regular civilians or a male sidekick, and also, that it is fine for males to be saved by females. There is nothing “emasculating” in that scenario, unlike what is often time believed. A minor detail to the plot, but as always, the macro level of society as a whole is impacted by the micro level, and the show tackles on those micro-based, personal incidents. Adrien/Black Cat being frequently protected and saved by Ladybug discloses that gender should not–does not, determine who needs to be saved or doing the saving; the two main characters of the show prove that it is absolutely acceptable to not behave within gender norms.

Homogeneously, to continue the prior idea of tearing down gender norms, another one is challenged, and it is one that is not quite reflective of fantasy superpowers: flirting. Specifically, the notion that females can, unequivocally, make the first move. With the targeted audience members being of a younger age, these types of subtle messages are even more important, and even if the notion of protecting is overlooked, for sure, this idea of females proposing first and such will not be. “Miraculous Ladybug” shows Marinette always advancing first to Adrien, and while awkward, it is not due to shifting away from gender norms, but instead, due to the basic awkwardness that emanates in flirting, romantic scenarios. In fact, overarchingly, a positive aura is given as, despite the amount of blunders Marinette commits, it is all endearing and cute–to viewers, at least. And, for a more equal stance, there is still the side of males flirting first, as observed by Blackcat flirting with Ladybug (to prevent confusion, for how the “love plot” works, Marinette likes Adrien, but when they are transformed and each other’s secret identity are unknown to one another, Black Cat likes Ladybug), but, for the main point, it is Marinette’s perspective that is highly emphasized, and thus, the gender restriction of solely males proposing first is disputed. After all, this is a trend that deserves to be broken down and I am hoping for, one day, a female, as Black Cat would say, “M’Lady,” to come and propose to me.

My pitiful romantic dreams aside, for perhaps the final take to the promotion of gender equity on “Miraculous Ladybug,” basic femininity is shown, and not in any mocking manner, as would, sadly, often time be the case, given by how society prioritizes masculinity over femininity (refer to countless reviews I have written addressing that disparity). Expanding this point, Marinette is very feminine–and that is fine, and in fact, good. Being feminine is not bad. More extremely, being a feminine male (as I believe in full honesty with readers, admittedly, such as me) is also not bad. Returning to the earlier statement of how I adore Marinette’s room, and very much, would love to have her room, should moments of disgust have appeared, that is due to the undervaluing of femininity; anything feminine, and more so in a male, is repulsive as femininity in general is supposedly so. Critically, however, should her room be “normal,” or bluntly stated, “masculine” in that it was not as colorful and so forth, my comment would not be controversial as masculinity is seen as normal when that is not a fair standpoint.

Focusing back to Marinette’s femininity, though, and why her being feminine is of utmost importance, in a show of relative violence (this would require a future review to discuss; where is the line for acceptable violent entertainment), often time such would create a “masculine” woman. “Miraculous Ladybug” kept that idea at bay, however, as Marinette constantly remains feminine–inside and outside of battles. This is exceptionally enriching as it delivers the necessary, lacked message: femininity does not mean being incapable or helpless or weak. Flinging around a pink-glowing yo-yo is nothing to scoff at, and for Adrien’s powers, slicing away with cat claws or using a batton versus, for an abstract example, a vicious sword, are acceptable and worthy of rendering seriously for the idea of weapons, even if the listed ones are arguably more feminine.

Considering the digression is running an excessive length, to now transition into another topic, the subject of race is equally important in the show. Already from Marinette, a promising perspective is given: a protagonist who is not only female and feminine, but also, biracial. Marinette is half White and Asian, specifically French and Chinese. Maybe due to being older and simply not heeding attention towards current cartoons/animations/shows (I hope the current, equitable trends are in various shows these days), Marinette is the first biracial protagonist I know of for a TV show. Marinette, herself, combats many unfair standards of what it means to be a superhero. Agreed to or not, for what is widespreadly urged forward and connoted, to be a superhero, it involves being a masculine, White, heterosexual male. This show very much removes that idea as Marinette provides the voice of minoritized people: female, feminine, and biracial.

Of course, to clarify, I am not intending to degrade those who do happen to be socially privileged in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, and so forth (my upcoming review on F.T. Island’s “Severely” will discuss this; rather than hating, it is worth educating, and more clearly stated, it is about hating oppression and not necessarily the oppressors). Rather, I am hoping to bring awareness on a social level. In fact, Adrien provides an example of how it is not necessarily an issue to be a superhero, even with his scenario of being privileged: White, male, heterosexual, and even wealthy, attributes listed above. Nonetheless, it is vital to be aware of what is showcased, and often time, being a superhero involves having “super” social privileges.

Proceeding on, for other examples of racial equity, there is racial diversity among characters, but that in itself is not what is important; what is moreover important is how, with the given racial diversity, the characters are treated and depicted. Bitterly drawing from an atrocious example in the past, TMZ’s incident with EXID proves that it requires more than racial diversity for racial equity. Equality exists, but equity does not. Explaining, and in the context of “Miraculous Lady,” the show genuinely presents racial equity as, while there are characters of multiple races, none are “exotified.” With Marinette’s mother, for example, a perfect example is gleaned: she wears more traditional Chinese clothing, but it is not construed to be seen as comical or grotesque, but instead, “regular” clothing as that is what it is. Differences are accepted and embraced. The idea of “sameness,” a false idea, is not ushered, but rather, the idea of “sameness love” towards actual differences is what is displayed. Considering where this show is aired, whether South Korea, United States, France, Japan, or wherever else, that crucial idea is reminded: everyone is different, but everyone deserves the same love and respect for said differences. (A future review may discuss the issue of “sameness.”)

Other examples exist, but for the purpose of time, I will halt the discussion. The main ideas and empowering aspects of the show should have been addressed. For personal hopes in the show, class and sexual orientation should be, eventually, included or addressed. But, on a realistic side, with how much “Miraculous Ladybug” is tackling, and most likely, how it is facing heavy criticism based on its equitable stance on gender and race, for what is given is more than sufficient. That is not to say, though, that other subjects should remain untouched; for other sensitive social topics that are not addressed in the show, other TV shows should come forward.

Slightly explaining the prior points, for example with class, though many minoritized voices are heard in the lens of race and gender, arguably, poorer people are not quite included. Certainly, Adrien may be wealthy and yet, still suffers due to the death of a mother and is under heavy constraint due to his father, or that Marinette’s home might be an apartment instead of a house (I am unsure on France’s culture regarding houses; as I know I have readers from France, I would be grateful if anyone with knowledge is willing to share), and therefore, implicitly, her family might not be entirely wealthy (though not to say living in apartments definitely correlates to a lack of wealth), but overall, it can be argued that the roster of characters are at least middle-classed. Every character is fashionable, and thus, money is rather necessary, and in other details, Marinette’s room would require some wealth to prettily decorate. As for sexual orientation, as is the trend, non-heterosexual relationships are not openly disclosed.

This is not to say, though, that “Miraculous Ladybug” is lacking. A show can only showcase so much, and for what is showcased, I remain in utter appreciation. Social responsibility is what has to occur next: “Miraculous Ladybug” is paving a way for gender and racial equity, and now for a future show, it is up to that show’s staff and team to either continue the pathway of equity, or to return to the “normal” standards of, for example, having a White, masculine, male superhero who saves helpless females and has a belittling attitude towards femininity. All in all, “Miraculous Ladybug” is truly a show worth caring for, and that is more than the plot and animations. “Miraculous Ladybug” is miraculous; the show, against all odds, strays away from current social norms via embracing differences and opening up perspectives that are often time shunned. Personally, while I will no longer watch its episodes except in secret with my stuffed penguin, I plan to search for occasional updates. Shows with positive, social messages, such as “Miraculous Ladybug,” need to continue and to become popular. Pop culture is influential, after all, and biasedly, I believe it is the best medium to truly transition society towards a more equitable standard.

Miraculously, I have wrote for, relentlessly, approximately four hours. If too much was stated, I will blame university for draining (and growing) my mind, and as an outcome, streams of thoughts are unfiltered. Once again, as the review will finally begin, it will be of shorter length due to this being a bonus review. Afterwards, F.T. Island’s “Severely” will be finished, and from there on, many songs. Stealing Marinette’s words, as I will need extra power to critique the show on an entertainment level, “Ladybug! Transfo–” I apologize for the most horrendous transition ever written. The review will simply begin versus stealing Marinette’s catch-phrases.

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Plot Summary: Truthfully, I am relatively embarrassed on the length of my Personal Message. At this rate, I might as well have created a Blog Opinion post rather than a review, but it would be wasteful to turn around now. Before dissecting the show on a mechanical level, its plot will be summarized and generalized to give readers some ideas as to what the show’s story is about.

“Miraculous Ladybug” ‘s plot revolves predominantly around, predictably, Marinette, an “average” teenage young lady (her age is unclear, though assuming audience members would be around twelve, I would estimate her and Adrien to be of around sixteen or so). Ignoring her superhero side, and jocularly, her occasional, beloved awkwardness, she is rather usual. Marinette attends high school (or actually, it may be college this whole time; readers should feel free to send in corrections), spends time with her best friend, and for future goals, yearns to be a fashion designer. And, as many will experience, she has a love-interest: Adrien, a model who is also her classmate. Unluckily, unlike her superpower of luck that appears when she is Ladybug, she remains highly timid and twisted in the presence of Adrien. Furthermore, for other perspectives, Adrien’s own life is also followed, though to a lesser degree than Marinette’s.

Their casual lives aside, however, “Miraculous Ladybug” is filled with its main conflict: stopping trouble within the city. Humorously and vaguely described, an unknown man in an unknown place possesses thousands of butterflies, but these are not typical ones: the butterflies under this masked man’s possession are “Akumas” (if I heard correctly)–creatures that are imbued with magic, but specifically, “dark” magic from the masked man and this is where seriousness may dwindle for older readers. Brushing aside the personally dreaded, overly used cliche of “dark and light” binaries (this concept is incredibly plain, and as life has it, there is never a “light” versus “dark” side), the masked man is unable to use the Akumas as direct weapons. However, the Akumas, when infused with “dark” magic, are capable of transforming a person, specifically those in deep anger or distress, into a magical being who exploits their newly acquired power for harm, or at least, for selfish, anger-driven reasons. The masked man’s motive for this, however, is to not necessarily decimate the city, but intriguingly, it is in an attempt to steal Ladybug’s and Black Cat’s source of power: their “miracle stones,” of which are in the form of earrings and ring respectively, and those accessories possess the duo’s own Akumas.

Thus, when an Akuma attack strikes, Marinette, through the use of her own Akuma named Tikki, transforms and obtains her powers, and for Adrien, he also follows suit and assists Ladybug by transforming through his own Akuma, Plagg (or Plak, though I am sure the other version is correct), and through such, he becomes Black Cat (or Chat Noir in other versions). The two then cooperate with another to overcome the spawned, Akuma-possessed individual, and once successful, Ladybug “captures” the Akuma and reverts it back to a standard butterfly.

Gauging from three episodes, this structure continues onwards and endlessly: Marinette’s and Adrien’s personal, teenage or college lives are disclosed, and for an episode, an exclusive individual becomes heavily angered or stressed due to whatever circumstances, and expectedly, the masked man sends out a “dark” Akuma to possess them, and then, a battle ensues of Ladybug and Black Cat facing off the newly summoned, possessed individual. From the first three episodes, all have ended in the usual victory of saving the possessed individual and capturing the Akuma. This, overall, is a rough outline to the plot of “Miraculous Ladybug.”  

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Entertainment Value: 8/10

Finally beginning the actual critiquing of the show, for the category of Entertainment Value, as is its title, this is gauging how appealing the show is. This accounts for its plot, its animations, added humor and action, and so on. Offering a rating, an eight for a solid good will hold. Although the intended audience may be for younger viewers, even at my current age and if I am now rather shameless, it would be distasteful to disregard how entertaining “Miraculous Ladybug” is.

Granting one example of an appealing aspect to the show, its minutiae in plot are adored. Given that I am an older viewer and the combat scenes are rendered negligible, for the non-fighting scenes of Marinette attempting to flirt with Adrien or, very comically, attempting to digitally break into his phone with oven gloves on to “prevent crime evidence,” the more minor details to the plot are, indeed, charming. Regardless of ongoing scenes, “Miraculous Ladybug” is filled with its funnier, cuter and unique moments, and with that individuality attached to the show, appeal is granted. In the overarching picture, as to be discussed in the Structural Value category, the show may be relatively stagnant, but when focusing on specific, minimal details to the story, it is highly entertaining.

Peering at other traits, to look into the scenes, “Miraculous Ladybug” discloses a various amount of scene types. Usual fighting occurs, but then, in contrast, the typical daily lives of the heroes are also unveiled. There is never an incident of pure, same events; the occurred conflicts and moments in “Miraculous Ladybug” are always new. With this, besides the appeal of witnessing scenes that range from action to comedy to romance, development of story takes place. Viewers are able to, overtime, accumulate a personal understanding of the show, be it understanding every character’s personality and motive, how the general lifestyle is for the characters, and more.

On this note, in terms of character development, dialogue plays a significant role, and “Miraculous Ladybug” can be greatly praised for its script (this will be based on the Korean version’s dialogue, though I am very much confident that the same, general meanings will carry between languages). The dialogue is funny, witty, but most importantly, natural; the characters’ words to one another or even themselves reflect not a superhero, TV show plot, but rather, almost everyday life in a sense. Excluding catchphrases, that is. On topic, to elaborate, the dialogue presented does not leak artificialness. When Marinette speaks, for example, it feels like Marinette, an average teenager/college student. She stutters, mutters, and squeals in excitement as a normal human would. Distinct qualities hold based on personality, but there is never a sense of being excessively “cartoonish,” an issue that may arise most notably for older viewers.

After two episodes, I have yet to consider the dialogue as overly scripted and vapid, and to that, the show deserves some credit. Juxtaposing “Miraculous Ladybug” to, for example, clips of Korean dramas (I do not watch them, though I have had watched segments with friends), shockingly stated, I will argue “Miraculous Ladybug” ‘s dialogue felt more natural than the dramas, of which are, clearly, showcasing real actresses/actors and not fictional, computer animated characters. Extreme in example, but it provides emphasis on how respectable the dialogue is in the show. In the drama clips I have seen (forgetful of drama titles), much of the dialogue can be considered as excessive, but for this show, that is not apparent for a vast majority of the time (if it does appear, then it is during the fight scenes).

Perfectly timed, for the discussion of animations, the computer animations are impressive. While I would be incapable of truly differentiating “good” animations from “bad” ones, for “Miraculous Ladybug,” it is sufficient, and to be foreshadowed, appealing. Though there are nuisances in the form of, for one take, recycling transformation scenes and other, typical segments (the Structural Value will discuss this), in focus of the animations themselves, it is detailed and smooth. Facial expressions and movement are in tune to the show’s atmosphere, and during combat, maneuvers are fluent.

Reiterating the rating, an eight will be given. Admitted or not, the show is certainly entertaining. It is funny and romantic, action-packed and laidback. “Miraculous Ladybug” does well with maintaining appeal in multiple categories.

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Structural Value: 5/10

An unfortunate decrease in score. Structurally, the show scores at a five for average. Transitions between scenes, how episodes are formatted, and, for the nitpicking part, how vapid the show can be, are a few examples of what the Structural Value includes. Simplified, this category is focusing more on the technical layer.

To begin, undeniably, the show lacks interest in its very general outline. Every episode may be adorable and intense with combat, but as partially revealed in the Plot Summary, “Miraculous Ladybug” is, harshly stated, a basic input-output machine. In essence, all of the episodes are the same. A laughable, personal example will be used to highlight this issue: my own layout of an assumed “unique” episode.

This will be episode 25 of “Miraculous Ladybug,” and it is not a single episode, but rather, a two-part episode bonus so that episode 26 will be included. Following the show’s episodes’ protocol, the daily lives of Marinette and Adrien must first be revealed. After endless days of hopelessly flirting with Adrien, Marinette found her luck: Adrien decides to eat lunch with her. Marinette will be in utter happiness for her miniature date, but now, it is time to create a conflict: another student also has a crush on Adrien, and under intense jealousy, she (we will use a female for now, though being the social challenger I am, I would love for the day to come where a homosexual male is used in this scenario to showcase that, homosexuality is normal and acceptable; refer to my review on Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” and others for discussions regarding homophobia) becomes a target for the masked man.

Now, with being possessed by an Akuma, as seen in episode one to twenty-four, she seeks not to bring back the “miracle stones” of Ladybug and Black Cat, but instead, menacingly, to remove Marinette. Due to gaps in my horrible, instantaneously conjured plot, assumptions will be placed that Black Cat found out and threatened “Jealous Student,” and he is now the target. Fast forwarding, the daily lives’ scenes are over, and now, the transformation scenes–of which have been played twenty-four times already–are played. Fast forwarding, as this a special episode that has to vary from the prior twenty-four episodes, there will be a moment where Black Cat is nearly annihilated, or in more audience-friendly words, will become very hurt. But the varying point occurs: Ladybug takes the hit for Black Cat. Eventually, for whichever reasons, somehow Jealous Student surrenders either due to force or realizing her vile acts. Now, though Ladybug is nearly incapacitated, she still manages to, like in episodes one to twenty-four, say her catchphrases when capturing an Akuma.

“Evil” has been stopped, and now the episode transitions into the post-fight moments and the duo’s daily lives are about to be witnessed again, and as always, a romantic theme is of attention. As this is the bonus episode of twenty-five, to intensify fans’ love, there will be a very intimate moment between Ladybug and Black Cat realizing their love for one another, but, to keep fans constantly in search, the two do not embrace the idea of being in love as, according to Ladybug’s very wise and heroic words, “love will only bring us trouble” or something similar to such as those phrases will always be said. Then, Marinette, who is still hurt from whatever blow she received, limps to school, and Adrien notices and assists her. The two still do not know the other’s secret identity, but this marks another moment of romance between the two. Episode ends with a fade out to the sky and a bird-eye view of the city, and then teasers for “Miraculous Ladybug: Season 2” appears.

If I did not manage to elicit any form of laughter or grinning, I will consider taking comedy classes. Also, if in any way my satirical take on “Miraculous Ladybug” ‘s final episodes are true in the future, then, in addition to proving my earlier point, it will also prove that my spying is of the highest expertise. Jokes aside, this an overly exaggerated view of the show’s weaker structural component: it is predictable. The show is very much predictable. Marinette’s and Adrien’s lives will be followed, but then an Akuma is released, then Ladybug and Black Cat launch into action, succeed, and then the ending consists of more romantic interactions.

A glaring fault to the show, and critically, through an unbiased lens, this will impair the show’s overall rating. Optimistically, however, even with this issue, “Miraculous Ladybug” is still highly enjoyable as, though the outline is stagnant, the dialogue per episodes will, surely, vary, for example, and with my personal exaggeration, it is solely such: a very sarcastic, pessimistic look at the show. For other, minor structural problems, repetition of animations and catchphrases are ones, but accounting for the culture of superhero shows that are geared towards a younger audience, this can be overlooked. Similarly, the dramatic camera angles and poses during fight scenes also fall into the same category. Overall, it is primarily the episodes’ repeated outline that delivers issues. No matter the amount of positive outlook for “Miraculous Ladybug,” there may be a point in which the structural layout is too mundane.

A five will hold for this category’s score. It is average at most due to, sadly, how the episodes are outlined.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score)

In the end, “Miraculous Ladybug” averages a seven for score, and therefore, it can be considered an above average show, and to that I can agree to. Of course, however, as this is a bonus review and hardly in depth, this Overall Score is far from accurate, and most certainly, is based on a personal analysis of the show. Concluding a final message, though, the Overall Score is less important than what was discussed earlier. If including the “Social Score,” a 15/10 would be in place. That piece is what I hope readers extract. “Miraculous Ladybug,” while not flawless on the entertainment level, it is still exceptionally enjoyable, but most remarkably, its empowering social messages is what brings it genuine respect and care. While I doubt I will actively watch more of the show due to time restraints, as stated, I plan to keep track of it (and to watch an episode here and there). On final notes regarding this review, though short and mediocre in analysis, I will urge that it is a show worthy of watching, and as excessively stated, one that needs to be emulated in every other show. The social equity presented is important to perpetuate, and much credit is deserve towards the producers for taking a risk to challenge current standards.

Switching to the end, thank you for reading this review, whether a fan of K-Pop or “Miraculous Ladybug.” I am incredibly grateful to those who continue to return to the blog, even despite it being inactive. University comes first, but reviews will not be abandoned. F.T. Island’s “Severely” will be of review next, and after it, I plan to hastily finish the current schedule of reviewing male artists. I do hope this bonus review, though, was enlightening and delightful for a change in reviews. Leaving an estimated publish date for “Severely,” perhaps next week at latest. I still have much schoolwork to attend to, but I will do my best to still release reviews briskly.

Thank you once more for reading, and as Ladybug would say, “Ladybug, out!” But, she never said those words. This is rather problematic as my iconic closures cannot happen. It will be assumed Marinette stated those words. Stay tuned for the return of K-Pop reviews, and specifically, F.T. Island’s “Severely.”

SBS MTV’s Reality Show – “Hyuna’s Free Month” Review

Reviewed on September 11, 2014

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Before we dive into this show review, allow me to have a brief update. As many of you can tell, I’ve been quite busy with schoolwork, paperwork, E-Sports, and more. Nevertheless, I am still alive. I have three reviews lined up; T-ARA made a very exciting comeback and I have so many things to critique about their latest song, so the review for “Sugar Free” will hopefully be out soon. In addition, I haven’t forgot about Nasty Nasty’s debut with “Knock”. The only thing that has held me back about it was I haven’t been in the mood for reviewing a sexy concept, but I will still get “Knock” out shortly. Another song for review is going to be Hyuna’s “Red”, although that will be later. And actually adding one more song, I did receive another song request, but goodness have mercy. I won’t reveal that song yet, but I will claim it’s the most atrocious K-Pop song I have ever heard.

Anyhow, moving past the quick update, I’m finally going to be reviewing another show. To be honest, I doubt I’ll do more show reviews unless if they involve a group/idol. As a result, I have no template on how I’m reviewing the show. I’ll probably point out the highlights, as I did with “Jessica & Krystal” (check out that review if you haven’t). 

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On to the big question of, “What is ‘Hyuna’s Free Month’ about?” Well for one, it is a free month in multiple aspects. From the start, she was given a special black credit card with no limit on expenses. Viewers will already get a quick taste of her silly personality from the beginning teasers; despite her idea to “monopolize” a store and to purchase a brand new TV, she ended up spending as little as possible. 

For other perspectives on “Free”, this reality show brought the audience down to her own personal life. Partially. Her free time was revealed, although quite limited. She would go around shopping, swim around, and play with her extremely adorable puppy. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else revealed in terms of her hobbies. This also brings me to my next point: free promotion.

While “Hyuna’s Free Month” has a slight objective of showcasing Hyuna versus HyunA (stylized name for stage/industry work), it doesn’t do the best job at all. In comparison to another reality show, “Jessica & Krystal”, this show falters on getting audience members to truly connect with Hyuna. What I personally gleaned from this show was more of a behind-the-scenes look for Hyuna’s solo era of “Red”. Nevertheless, it still shows different sides of our sweet idol, even if it’s not as efficiently done.

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 For what’s personally revealed about her, “Hyuna’s Free Month” showcases her sweeter, kind side. Many people recognize Hyuna for her sexy concepts and stage images, however, underneath all the heavy lipstick and eyeshadow, one must remember there’s a hardworking, smart, and talented lady. Despite the cameras being on, she wasn’t afraid to show her sillier acts, such as dancing on bed with a fake mustache. 

Another aspect about Hyuna that was unveiled were her feelings toward her family; she cherishes them greatly and in fact, shed a few tears after reminiscing about them. And no, for those wondering, I did not cry here nor elsewhere for this reality show. Hyuna reflected on how her family is the driving force that allows her to live her dream. This would also explain her tattoo of: “My mother is the heart that keeps me alive." Family is important, and Hyuna is here to remind us all of that.

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Continuing on, the first episode is practically as close as viewers will get in terms of connecting with Hyuna. The other episodes were primarily focused on her work during her solo comeback with "Red” (which I will review in a week or so). As compensation, however, there are footages of her adorable puppy, Passion (although that might be false translation, so forgive me if I’m wrong). Anyhow, the hectic schedule of training, practicing, and working hard to have a successful stage is shown. For many days, she is seen in the practice room tediously rehearsing the choreography. In addition, she’s constantly monitoring each dance; every movement must be in sync with the song, and every backup dancer must follow suit. 

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Besides dance practice, there are other tasks to handle. As her job is being an idol, photo shoots are quite common. For an entire day, morning to midnight or so, she was subjected to constant camera flashes. Nevertheless, she tackled the job with optimism as she aided the camera crew by offering her own opinion and feedback, and thus, allowed the shooting to progress quite smoothly. 

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Peering at the highlighted components of this show, my final stance is this show is worth watching for those who are fans of Hyuna. Even then, “Hyuna’s Free Month” does a mediocre job at truly showcasing her personal self. This reality show came across as a promotional piece for “Red”, and although there were funny, cute scenes, it focuses too much on her song.

Another issue of this show was it came across as pure fun; there were little to no challenges presented. While it’s understandable that no label company would ever reveal the harsh atmosphere of being a K-Pop idol, I find it completely one-sided to display an idol’s work as utterly glamorous and joyful. There were primarily two struggles presented: composing one of her own songs, and roaming the streets. For the first struggle, a conflict was recorded between her song producer and herself. Hyuna composed her own song with a key phrase similar to, “Screw the haters”, which does come off as rude. Due to that, her song producer tried modifying the lyrics. As expected, Hyuna became heavily upset and some tension was created. When it comes to her second problem, it was rather interesting. Since a plethora of fans recognize her from only her stage persona (extremely heavy makeup, stage costumes, etc.), people around her were dubious on whether she was a random lady, or if she was their loved idol. This proved quite jocular. The only time she became surrounded was when she spoke; her casual makeup and clothing may be vague, but the moment she speaks, everyone knows it’s her voice. Nevertheless, the second issue is something every celebrity faces in terms of becoming followed and crowded. 

Overall, I would still recommend this show. From an entertainment point-of-view, it does its role. Behind-the-scenes are revealed, there is an exceptionally cute, fluffy puppy, and there is Hyuna being her comical self. Scrutinizing it a little more, however, and one can see that the show fails to truly show any significant sides of her life. Furthermore, I’m not in preference for shows disclosing an idol’s life as pure fun and games. If “Hyuna’s Free Month” showcased more of her free time and allowed her to have moments to speak personally to fans, that could potentially help. Also, while I didn’t address this earlier, I was hoping to see some interaction between her and 4Minute. 

“Jessica & Krystal” will still hold its throne of being the best reality show I’ve seen. “Hyuna’s Free Month” remains quite entertaining, but falls short in some places. As always, thank you very much for reading. This review may be quite disorganized or lacking details. My excuses lie in the fact that I have no show review outline (as I don’t intend to review shows) and that I refuse to spoil the show. 

As I mentioned before, I have many song reviews to release soon. Look forward to them. Feel free to check out “Hyuna’s Free Month”. Once again, thank you and I hope this review is still entertaining and sufficiently insightful. Stay tuned for T-ARA’s “Sugar Free” review.