GFriend’s Reality Show – “Where Are You Going?!” Review

GFriend – Where Are You Going?! (Full Playlist; Eng. Subtitled)

GFriend
Where Are You Going?!

Reviewed on August 7, 2016

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“All
in all, from a superficial stance, WAYG
does seem rather enticing; there are many places that GFriend visit and
coupling that with the ladies having fun with games and of course being
together, the show seems to excel in the realm of reality shows. However, as I
will argue, this is not the case: Where
Are You Going?!
is a rather repetitive, boring show. Even if GFriend
themselves provide appeal on the basis of their own acts, the show’s structure
greatly hinders the potential of the show.”

Personal
Message:
Although I
was—and am—going to review GFriend’s “Navillera,” due to preparing for a summer
class final and currently attempting to revise the current song review outline
so as to make it more concise (and to soon continue with subtitling a video
project for Fiestar’s subbing team), I have decided to review a show in the
meantime as a bonus. Besides, if anything, this review will create anticipation
for GFriend’s upcoming review as it clearly does involve the ladies. And before
continuing further, the linked playlist is an official upload by MBC, a
broadcasting station. English subtitles are also included from MBC and thus,
every reader here has no excuse to not watch it—or is that actually the case?

Explaining the prior statement and
in regards to why I have even decided to review Where Are You Going?! (which will be abbreviated as WAYG for the purpose of ease), while I
have been watching many videos on GFriend as of the late (indeed, I am now a
huge fan of them), this is the first show of any K-Pop group where I have found
it to be rather lackluster. Indeed, harshly said, this might be the first show
where I advise readers to not watch.
Now certainly GFriend in of themselves make the show as fun as possible and of
course fans are always grateful to have the members on any show, but WAYG is perhaps the most redundant show
I have yet to watch. I personally felt the urge to constantly skip ahead
throughout the show because, comically yet seriously said, WAYG is essentially a running show; if readers have ever been
curious as to what runners experience, then WAYG
provides an answer. A vast majority of the episodes simply involve walking or
running, and although interesting events still happen throughout said walking
and running along with some form of variety, this show is simply too lacking
and does not expand on multiple activities even when there are certain moments
for that to occur—an example being showcasing more footage from GFriend when
they were resting and talking to one another versus having even more footage of the ladies running and
walking.

And so to answer where GFriend is going,
while there are truthfully many answers, if we changed the question to “what are you doing” then problems arise as
there are only minimal answers—and generally said, that does mean a show would
lose appeal.

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Plot
Summary:
For the
following plot summary, I will reveal the main highlights of what occurs in the
show, but of course details will be saved for those who desire to watch the
show. In terms of what WAYG even is,
it is a reality show with some tints of being a variety show as there are games/missions
involved. Nevertheless, given that the main focus is on keeping the footage as
“natural” as possible and that they are not in a studio such as in Weekly Idol (or basement if we want to
be accurate), “reality” is an appropriate label. As for, in a summarizing
sentence, what the show is about, WAYG
follows GFriend as they travel around to various locations—examples being a
beach, landmarks, and so forth. Furthermore, however, the ladies are split into
two teams that compete with each other in various tasks. Predictably, winning
or losing the tasks results in punishments or rewards. A simple example is that
the losing team would have to walk and use buses to get to a landmark while the
winning team gets a personal ride there.

All in all, from a superficial
stance, WAYG does seem rather
enticing; there are many places that GFriend visit and coupling that with the
ladies having fun with games and of course being together, the show seems to
excel in the realm of reality shows. However, as I will argue, this is not the
case: Where Are You Going?! is a
rather repetitive, boring show. Even if GFriend themselves provide appeal on
the basis of their own acts, the show’s structure greatly hinders the potential
of the show.

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Overall
Value: 4/10
(4.00/10
raw score) – “Slightly below average”

– Entertainment Value: 5/10

– Structural Value: 3/10

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Analysis:
Although as mentioned show reviews
are mere bonuses and therefore the ratings should be taken lightly, WAYG does rate as slightly below average—and
agreeably so. In regards to the issue with the show’s format, as discussed
earlier the show lacks variety and depth in its content. Now certainly there is
some variety as noticed by, for examples, how the ladies are seen picking
tangerines to then jump-roping on a beach to then bicycling to then running and
seeing a landmark (and even much more), but if we are to gauge in a more
critical, open view then these activities are not as different as expected. The
following are still unappealing points that are not addressed even with
supposedly the variety of activities introduced: all of the activities are
based as games—there is a winner and loser; the teams’ compositions do not
change throughout the entire series; and lastly but arguably most importantly,
all of the activities are still too akin to one another.

To elaborate on those points, the
first one may appear confusing; why is there an issue with having the
activities all take the form of a game? After all, doing this allows for
viewers to become immersed in the competitive side of GFriend and likewise provides
incentives—goals, even—for GFriend and thus viewers are doing more than just
watching GFriend walk around and exploring sceneries. These are all valid
points but one aspect is overlooked: repetitiveness; mundaneness. It is not
inherently bad at all for games to occur—in fact it may even be beneficial.
However, when an entire reality show series revolves itself utterly on games,
one could not help but wonder if the series is even a reality show as much as a
variety show (though not to say that variety shows are bad). Perhaps as many
could agree to, with WAYG, it might
be expected that besides competing against each other, GFriend would still have
many moments of eating, touring, or exploring new places. But, with much of the
emphasis being towards the competitive side, WAYG soon feels more akin to a fancier game show than a show that
would bring various angles to GFriend. In terms of the second point, although it
is a weaker critique, randomizing the teams throughout might have also provided
more variety—and with how repetitive the show becomes, every bit helps.

Taking a look at the third main
critique, this is where I find the show most troubling. On the surface, yes,
the show is varied; it sounds extreme to say that the show lacks diversity in
its activities when quite blatantly the ladies do partake in many. Where I would challenge that notion, however,
is that quantity is not quality—as cliché as this is; it does not matter if
GFriend is shown running, walking, bicycling, taking buses, and so forth when
all of the activities are ultimately for racing against each other.
Furthermore, even within the different games—who can pick more tangerines, jump-rope
more, and so forth—there could have been much more competitions. For example,
it would have provided more appeal if some games were not “quantity-based” and
instead—to draw a sudden, random idea—were that of judging which team made the
most appetizing “eating-broadcast” (I will hope some readers understand that
term) or even the best sand castle. Again, the overly emphasized point of games
and that said games are not even diverse are the main culprits to the lower structural
score.

Optimistically, though, for where
the show still flourishes, GFriend is always entertaining. From their jokes to
how intense they can get with desiring to win, the ladies do provide purpose to
watching. Also, even if I do harshly bash the show’s structure, there still are
moments where the show provides what very much has lacked: moments of simply
GFriend being together and talking; moments of GFriend enjoying food and not
running out of breath; moments where usual touring and exploring occur. Additionally,
for a praise to the show itself and not the participants, WAYG should be credited for its simply layout: no ostentatious
captions; not relying on the constant use of songs (though admittedly hearing “Me
Gustas Tu” ‘s introduction for the hundredth time proved vexing after a few
episodes); not having dramatic footage editing of the ladies; and so forth.
Especially as many reality shows of the late are focused on providing as much
appeal as possible through excessive stimuli, watching WAYG does provide a relief through its clean, sharp delivery.  

In the end, for my personal recommendation,
I will boldly say this show is worth skipping over unless if one is a fan of
GFriend. Watching for the ladies themselves does prove worthy, but if one is
simply looking around for reality shows to watch for be it in hopes of getting
into GFriend (or a group in general) or for plain entertainment, there are many
other shows to look forward to instead. Of course, though, it should be kept in
mind that this review may come with much heavy bias—even if reviews are
innately going to be biased. Since I currently lack the skills to find what are
in fact strengths and weaknesses to shows, many of these points might be rooted
moreover in my take than in more serious, neutral reasoning. (This is why show
reviews are bonuses, after all, compared to that of song reviews.)

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As always, thank you for reading
even if this is moreover a bonus review. Since a reader is curious on a review
to GFriend’s “Navillera,” I will work hard to quickly finish the review. That
said, I am also looking to further concise reviews as it would be extremely
pleasing to be able to release a review per comeback, but nothing has been
finalized yet. At most, I am considering keeping the outline the same but to instead
change my analysis so that it is not so much on each aspect to a song, but
instead the points that provide the biggest discussion. Social digressions will
continue, though, whenever appropriate as I do find it a responsibility to
discuss topics that arise in pop culture. (An example is I might finally
discuss “slut-shaming” and even double-standards in Hyuna’s recent comeback.)
Point is, more experimenting will take place to see how reviews change. GFriend’s
“Navillera” might have to be the unfortunate test subject.

Overall, to answer where we are
going, look forward to GFriend’s “Navillera” to come, and afterwards I very
much plan to review Stellar’s “Crying” before focusing on more recent songs.  

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.”

Fiestar’s Reality Show – “Channel Fiestar” Review

Reviewed on April 7, 2015

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Though I did not necessarily intend to review this show (nor in this order; this review was to be after an album review, sorry to the reader who requested it), for the purpose of adding variety to the blog and to experiment with show reviews (and, in truth, a shorter write), one will be conducted. However, unlike past show reviews where, truthfully, merely summarizing the show occurred, I will now focus moreover on my opinion regarding the show. Nevertheless, minimal summarizing will occur to bring in context, and, for what many readers desire, pictures (on the subject of pictures, I am utterly grateful with my friend creating multiple blog icons, and after some debate, I have settled down with this current one). With all of that said, the show of focus is Fiestar’s reality show: “Channel Fiestar.”

Addressing why the show is labeled as such, it is due to exactly that; “Channel Fiestar” is as if Fiestar possessed their own TV channel. As a regular television channel, many different “shows” are in one channel: variety game shows, sports, interviews, or even traveling. Expectedly, “Channel Fiestar” replicates those different shows in their own reality show. Ignoring confusion of how the reality show consists of shows in the show, due to the unique take, while “Channel Fiestar” may be labeled as a reality show, a more accurate label would be “variety reality” as there are a plethora of different, entertaining activities done, all within a reality show perspective. Brushing aside technicalities, a brief summary will still be conducted of the show, but afterwards, my overall opinion regarding its entertainment value and potential criticism will be given.

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Firstly, to clarify the “shows in the show” concept, I will utilize a few examples. One particular segment of “Channel Fiestar” is the section labeled as “Korean Reading Glasses.” Simply stated, this segment discusses Korean slang. Through a hypothetical situation/skit, a few Fiestar members act a potential scenario involving a certain slang word, and after the [s]questionable[s] utterly stellar acting, one member will arrive amidst the chaos and clarify the slang’s meaning. In multiple ways, this is similar to Fiestar’s mini-series, “A-ha,” and potentially, the idea for “A-ha” might have derived from this segment of the reality show. On the subject of “A-ha,” I will recommend readers to watch the mini-series. Like “Korean Reading Glasses,” the sections are short yet highly jocular. At the very least, the behind-the-scene footages for “A-ha” are incredibly humorous and worthy of time.

On topic with “Channel Fiestar” ‘s segment regarding slang words, in terms of how it holds, due to being unique, on the level of industry and individual, it is a welcoming segment. Elaborating why it remains highly distinctive, seldom does an activity simply orientate towards acting skits; often time activities solely involve games, athleticness, or even singing and dancing. As a result, a simplistic skit is, despite being plain, incredibly delightful.

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Now of course, games are utilized in shows for a reason: entertainment. “Channel Fiestar,” in addition to their acting, participate in a copious amount of competitive games. For example, a “phrase-transfer” game was played, the objective: carrying a phrase accurately to the next person via yelling through earbuds and headphones. As anticipated, comedy ensued. In addition to the simulation of how rumors begin, other games were played and of equal, if not more, humor, such as the “Ostrich” game or even simply guessing words, which, as seen by Linzy’s “pengun” pronunciation, can be difficult. With a large quantity of variating games played, and of all being highly intriguing due to a combination of the game itself or laughter, “Channel Fiestar” does excel with the “variety show” aspect.

For a slight digression, one of a more serious tone, the imitation/”Ostrich” game does elicit an important, previous discussion. Though slightly discussed in my review of Fiestar’s latest comeback, “You’re Pitiful,” this moment will provide a prime example of my prior claim: sexualization is moreover the consumer’s take versus purely the delivery (but the delivery can still be rendered as a factor). To clarify the “Ostrich” game, one player creates a pose with solely their body, and afterwards, the opposing player is blindfolded and has 30 seconds to touch the poser in order to exactly imitate their pose. Unfortunately, a simple, fun game has been construed by a few as one that is sexual; the touching occurring during the 30 seconds is no longer for a game, but rather, exaggerated and seen from a sexual lens. This reiterates my prior claim of how sexualization is not necessarily what is delivered, but instead, what viewers themselves construct.

Of course a more technical and critical discussion should occur such as addressing the delivery of content, but I will limit the discussion and redirect readers to my review on “You’re Pitiful.” During that review, the music video for “You’re Pitiful” is discussed. Unlike the “Ostrich” game, the music video is explicitly emphasizing sexual components, but as an overall point, even with the certain emphasis, it does not constitute belittling the incredible ladies of Fiestar as mere objects for reproductive purposes. After all, claiming Fiestar, a highly admirable, talented, and intelligent group of ladies are “sexy,” physically and non-physically, is more realistic and appropriate than “those chicks have hot bodies” (for even more advertisement, refer to my review of Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love” for my take on the word of “chick”).

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Ignoring the short digression that, blatantly, became somewhat lengthy, other activities existed besides acting skits and games: cooking, a dating game/scenario, “secret cameras,” and more. To slightly expand those various activities, a cooking tournament was held among the 6 ladies. In addition to the competitive cooking side of Fiestar, the more romantic side was seen; earlier episodes of “Channel Fiestar” consisted of scenarios where the members were paired up with dating partners. Many other activities were also showcased, be it hidden cameras capturing Yezi’s fierceness and willingness to stand up for others, or the group’s own take on interactive plots and weather forecasts, both of which were once more, questionable laugh-inducing, even if arguably overly corny.

As for how these other activities aid “Channel Fiestar,” variety is key. Every episode, and in fact, more accurately, every part to an episode remains individually appealing (one episode is split into 3 parts). “Variety reality” becomes a viable label due to the differing events that occur, and with every activity remaining enticing, in sum, high entertainment is kept.

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Transitioning to another prominent aspect of “Channel Fiestar,” sports and athletic related activities were also featured. With “Channel Fiestar” ‘s recording taking place in the winter, many outdoor activities utilizing snow occurred. However, for moments away from the cold, bowling was a highlighted, intense game due to Yezi and Linzy providing vigorous rivalry. Overall, by factoring in the more physical-intensive incidents to “Channel Fiestar,” further variety is gleaned. Every activity possible in a variety show does occur in the group’s reality show, and thus, constantly possessing high appeal exists.

Returning to the topic of anxiously close games, tying in a previous review of “My Type” by Jessi, Cheetah, and Kangnam, the point of underrepresented female sport players does come to mind. Sport competitions among highly skilled female athletes, regardless of the sport itself, are entertaining and worthy of spectating, but unfortunately and interestingly, male sports remain as the highlight for sports in general; despite how both males and females are capable of displaying excellent games, both to an equal caliber of competition and adeptness, solely males’ sports are invested into (certainly figuratively with attention, but also potentially quite literally with money).

To spare readers from a lengthier digression (though it is still worthy to ruminate over), the linked review does partially cover the topic. Nevertheless, it remains highly absurd and disturbing to witness the current lack of equality and equity among genders in sports. With gender being the sole difference between male and female games and not competition or talent, it brings the questioning of why such is the case, and sadly, a simple answer exists: as a society, collectively, a decision has been made, unspoken or transparently stated, that males’ sports, or even more generally, males, deserve priority, regardless of whether it is even about sports or not. As mentioned in the review of “My Type,” challenging the current system by being attentive to both male and female sports will be a way to disassemble the current structure that holds.

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Since the review has already slightly side-tracked, which is, overall, fine as this is moreover a bonus review, I will already leave my current opinion on my show reviews. Personally, I am in truth rather flustered and frustrated at myself; I currently lack the adequate skills to properly deconstruct shows in order to give a more constructive, clear opinion regarding my stances on them. As a result, show reviews will still exist, but solely for the sake of variety. Manipulating “Channel Fiestar” as an example, show reviews will be the equivalent of a game segment on the show. Of course, however, the more realistic and proper approach would be to view this review as a learning moment, and thus, to build upon current mistakes, but with song reviews being highly more organized and desired, rather than allocating time to improve show reviews, it would be more beneficial to augment song reviews.

On topic with Fiestar’s reality show, and to strive for a sufficiently satisfying end, the final main component to the ladies’ show is the segment labeled, peculiarly, as “Goosebumps Experts.” Although it did take a while to understand to show’s title, this segment has yet to be deciphered in terms of why it is called as such. Nevertheless, the segment consists of two members interviewing one victim lucky member and subjecting them to a barrage of either serious or jocular questions. Due to such, the entertaining aspect from jokes and genuinely learning more of the members’ personal lives is gained.

Biasedly, I have found this segment to be the most promising as it provides an entire spectrum of solemnness to lightheartedness. Despite two heavily contrasting points, one consistent aspect, personally speaking, does occur: this segment induces tears. Whether it is due to being overly humorous or rather melancholy, both instances did bring slight tears. For example, the interview regarding Fiestar’s leader, Jei, proved to be incredibly ridiculous yet jocular: a poor dance battle took place along with a prestigious lesson regarding proper texting etiquette in the context of flirting, and of course, adolescent stories and experiences from Jei. While I may be akin with Jei in terms of receiving the identical scolding of “you don’t think” due to texting manners, without even the context of flirting (truthfully, thinking of the idea of flirting is rather alien), the texting teachers of Yezi and Cheska did elicit, once more, a moment worthy of digression: ensuring that a boy is truly interested in the conversation, in the context of flirting. In short, the ladies mentioned that if the scenario of flirting does occur through text, the boy must be checked in terms of being certainly interested in the relationship.

Of course, the ladies may be referring to this as a general statement, but it does shed light onto a topic worthy of discussing, the topic of how males have been socialized to, literally in a few cases, chase females in order to fulfill current ideals of masculinity. To offer an actual example, an experiment (though arguably a method) that has been executed by two friends, an interesting one that female readers could attempt (males should also feel free to attempt this, but if predictions are correct, the specific outcome should occur less frequently; I will address why that may be the case) is faking, or truthfully, mentioning a relationship partner (the latter being what my friends have done). Now, to bring in further context and clarification on what exactly is happening, if a male is overly friendly, to the point of being suspiciously friendly, often time, unfortunately (unfortunate in the perspective of a social lens; this is great for expelling unwanted attention), the simple mentioning of a partner will instantly repel the “interested” male by a significant amount if not entirely. What is disturbing is attempting to unpack why this is the case; through glancing at why males will often time fade away once hearing of a partner, and even why males are overly “friendly” in the first place, discloses many upsetting points.

For one, the idea of possessiveness becomes rife, even if highly discreet. Males being absurdly exceptionally friendly to a female (context is key; for clarification and in defense of male readers, there are men who are very genuinely sweet people, do not mesh them into the same category) in an attempt to garner affection simply perpetuates the idea of ownership; rather than viewing females as actual human beings, a trophy is seen instead, and thus, a desire to “win” a female is created, and as a result of that, being exaggeratedly nice occurs. However, upon hearing the female has a partner, and humorously phrased, “taken,” that drive to “win” ceases as this female has already “been claimed.” As clearly depicted, both cases have instances of ownership occurring, as if females are trophies to be obtained. Interestingly, should we reverse the situation of genders, as stated, the idea of “ownership” will most likely be less common, and to answer why, it has to do with how society socializes different genders accordingly so; males are taught to “chase” females while females are taught to be “passive” and such. Gender roles and masculine and feminine will be further discussed in the second upcoming review of Minah’s “I Am A Woman Too.”

On this note, I will also address the fun and, harshly stated, stupid topic of “friendzone.” Nevertheless, to address this topic, the concept of “friendzone” exists on the sole premise of giving a false reason to the previous idea of ownership; many males will utilize the friendzone excuse in order to justify their exaggerated kindness, or in certain cases, lack thereof and direct attempts to “obtain” a female. Clarifying what the “friendzone” concept is, in summary, it perpetuates a highly false idea that females will not be in a relationship with a male who is a friend. If the logic behind that does not sound ridiculous, then my review of AOA’s “Tricked Again” might as well be rendered as sincere.

Explaining why the friendzone concept is erroneous, its sole purpose is to justify males’ behavior towards females, as mentioned; sudden, intrusive behaviors or any forms of undesired attention are now considered reasonable as the male wants to “obtain” a female but can only do so if not a genuine friend. In short, being able to objectify females and to view them as trophies become legitimate as the friendzone concept exists. Quite obviously, the friendzone idea is false. A partner relationship does not develop from a person entering a relationship with dating in mind; partnership occurs over time, a long period of time, where two people begin to equally feel the same for one another, all without extraneous influences. As a final point, challenging the root, the idea of masculinity, will be the method to address the current situation of males discreetly or blatantly “owning” females.

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OVERALL:

In truth, I am slightly laughing as this review has been arguably the worst I have ever written. While the review itself is not necessarily over, the amount of digressions in juxtaposition to what is truly reviewed is astounding; I have spent more time on the digressions than addressing “Channel Fiestar.” Compensating through the upcoming album review and “I Am A Woman Too” will be the solutions.

With the major components to the show being covered, I will now give an overarching stance regarding the show (which I should have done versus any of the summarizing). Firstly, to address the entertainment value, “Channel Fiestar” is, by a vast amount, the most entertaining reality show I have yet to see. Every part of an episode remains varying from other parts, but furthermore, every activity conducted is appealing on its own. Accounting for both of those aspects, individually solid and individually unique from the rest, it allows “Channel Fiestar” to thrive with constantly remaining appealing. Furthermore, with an overall lighthearted tone (minus the single sole moment regarding Hyemi’s interview), the show emanates with positivity and humor.

Swapping to over to the more subtle details of the show, the structural side (non-entertainment) versus the mechanical side (entertainment), “Channel Fiestar” wavers with different aspects. In terms of being a reality show, the variety show style is a differing take; often time a reality show features a camera following a group/idol, as seen in other ones such as “The TaeTiSeo,” “Hyuna’s Free Month,” or “Jessica & Krystal” but in “Channel Fiestar” ‘s case, the camerawork was orientated towards being purposeful and directive, as if shooting a variety show. With the topic of reality show versus variety show, for where Fiestar’s show lacks, the “reality” is nearly nonexistent. Simple, daily tasks would have been preferred over the constant games and activities; witnessing the group’s dance and singing practice sessions, interactions with staff members regarding their industry work, and such, would have significantly augmented the show. If that were to exist, “reality and variety” would definitely hold as accurate as both aspects would be apparent. Unfortunately, the lack of that makes “Channel Fiestar” moreover a “variety reality” than the prior.

Overall, Fiestar’s reality show of “Channel Fiestar” is still worthy of watching if entertainment is a priority. Readers and fans seeking for a behind-the-scenes aspect to Fiestar will feel rather bleak. At the very least, the members’ closeness and affection for one another is displayed, but regarding their industry work (yes, technically we are witnessing the “broadcast” work of their jobs), there is none. While it does possess the role of being the most entertaining reality show I have watched, I will still claim “Jessica & Krystal” holds the throne for being the overall best reality show I have watched. Perhaps I may be biased as “Jessica & Krystal” made me bawl a river (though as stated, Hyemi’s interview in “Channel Fiestar” did induce a few tears, and furthermore, Fiestar’s anniversary video did so as well) it is exceptionally produced in terms of maintaining high appeal while keeping a reality show theme and perspective.   

With this being the end, as always, thank you very much for reading. This has been a horrible review in honesty. I will blame a naive mindset of diving into the review with absolutely no planning whatsoever. At the very least, I have learned prior planning is crucial. Nevertheless, for readers who have managed to read this, thank you very much. Show reviews are bonus reviews, and in that sense, I do hope readers enjoy the variety versus the poorer content and writing.

The next review, one that should have been finished significantly sooner, is a requested review on Miss A’s mini-album, “Colors.” Afterwards the long awaited review of Girl’s Day’s Minah’s first solo, “I Am A Woman Too,” will be published shortly. Stay tuned and keeping checking back. I will return to where I feel most natural and content: music reviews.

OnStyle’s Reality Show – “The TaeTiSeo” Review

Reviewed on October 16, 2014

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First things off, I am trying a different place to do reviews (document file versus live posting). This is to address a feedback of how posting “[UNFINISHED]”/“[WORK IN PROGRESS]” tends to leak a review/post. To ensure things go well (and if it doesn’t go well), a show review will be my prototype. That way, if it works, perfect. If not, show reviews aren’t as in-depth as my song reviews, so nothing majorly lost. In terms of upcoming songs, I have two songs that should vastly differ from other songs I’ve reviewed. Furthermore, a “Halloween theme” is attached. I won’t be releasing the song titles yet, but please look forward to them.

Anyhow, the show for review today is “The TaeTiSeo”. Their comeback of “Holler” (check out my review of it) was also accompanied by a reality show. And, as I stated in my other show reviews (refer to my Archive page for “Jessica & Krystal” and “Hyuna’s Free Month”), I do not possess a show review outline. As a result, if the writing becomes incoherent, forgive me for not having an organized structure. Anyhow, this review will probably be posted later than expected; I still have two episodes to finish. This also reminds me, I prematurely reviewed “Hyuna’s Free Month”. I stopped at episode 3, but it turns out there are other episodes as well. Overall, nothing would be significantly different in terms of my review. The only change was finally seeing some interaction with 4Minute members (and that interaction was humorous; they sarcastically addressed comments of “4Minute members aren’t close to one another” by complimenting each other’s “acting”).

Also while I’m at it, I feel obligated to share a quick rant: males watching this show. As I mentioned in some other review, a friend of mine teased me for watching this “girly” show. Also, keep in mind I will practically repeat the same things I told her, and in no way am I trying to vilify her. Anyhow, my question in retaliation was, “What is a ‘girly’ show?” That’s something I feel people should ask (along with a whole lot of other questions). Firstly, thinking of “The TaeTiSeo” as a pure females-only show never crossed my mind. A large portion of this show may be focused on clothing, nail art, and other cosmetic-related topics, but that does not mean males should automatically be deterred away, nor does that mean females should naturally want to watch this show.

My own take on why I decided to watch this was primarily due to being a fan of TaeTiSeo along with the OnStyle production crew. However, before I knew it, I actually enjoyed watching the cosmetic sections. Perhaps I am just a strange, outcasted male, but speaking personally, I would heavily prefer watching Taeyeon do her nails for 30 minutes versus, for example, watching a “male-orientated” show such as a sports game for just 5 minutes. Actually to add another small rant, “male-orientated” shows tend to repel me the most; I find no fun in cringing every minute at the sight of gore and corpses (and another thing to question is why “male-orientated” means explosions and blood). To cut to the point, watch whatever you want; social barriers shouldn’t hinder what you enjoy to do nor should they define you. The idea of “masculine” and “feminine” should be less restrictive (and therefore, hopefully one day, I can share how if I decide to have kids in the future, that if I want two daughters, I won’t have friends/teammates giving me the equivalent reaction of “You want to kick a puppy?”). And for those wondering, no, I did not cry (or at least not yet since I haven’t seen the last episode). This is just a little joke ever since I shared how “Jessica & Krystal” made me bawl.

Ignoring the very huge digression and silly jokes at the end, let’s start this review of “The TaeTiSeo”. The ladies of Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun had a very impressive comeback. To add onto their album release, they have decided to release a reality show as well. OnStyle is the producer, and recalling them from “Jessica & Krystal”, a solid production is expected. Is the personal side of TaeTiSeo revealed? We shall see.

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“The TaeTiSeo” takes viewers for a behind-the-scenes look at their promotions, and it also unveils the personal sides to the ladies. In terms of their work, viewers will see the preparations leading up to “Holler”. Examples are music video filming, song recording, and of course, choreography practice. When it comes to observing their personal lives, viewers are able to see the ladies’ affection for each other. In addition, “The TaeTiSeo” also reveals the ladies’ preference/advice when it comes to cosmetics; make-up, clothing, nails, the three of them cover those topics.

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To dive deeper, a large portion of the beginning covered the fashion side of the show. Clothing was discussed; each member shared her style. For example, Seohyun and Taeyeon addressed how Tiffany was a huge fan of wearing the primary colors. And of course, considering it’s Tiffany, her usual pink obsession was seen. Any Girls’ Generation fan will know of that; if something is pink, Tiffany loves it (perhaps that was her lucky boyfriend’s idea on winning her love; use pink). Continuing on, viewers are able to see Seohyun and Taeyeon find their own clothing. Taeyeon preferred the simple, comfortable outfits; a single color and being soft and cozy. Now while the older ladies had no issues finding items, the sweet, lovable maknae (youngest person) was seen in a struggle. Seohyun would tediously go back and forth between changing outfits. She would find something, try it, but then try another set of clothing.

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Seeing the beloved members go shopping wasn’t all, however. The experience of getting to stores, and in some cases, away from the store, was quite jocular. As many fans will know, Taeyeon and Seohyun aren’t the most experienced drivers. During a shopping time in Korea, it took Taeyeon 10 minutes to start up the car (although understandable considering it was a hybrid and that it was not her original car). Eventually, though, the car rolls smoothly. Until Seohyun drives. On the way back home, instead of the ladies normally chatting with one another, it was dead silent once Seohyun got behind the wheel. Nevertheless, it was still funny seeing Tiffany, who seems to be an experienced driver, and Taeyeon overreact to every little thing Seohyun did. At least Seohyun threw in a disclaimer of, “Unnie, you’re risking your life with this [driving]” (Note: “Unnie” is literally translated as “older sister”, but pretty much it’s a younger female referring to an older female).

In terms of them having a serious moment during the beginning, the ladies of TaeTiSeo did address the difference between shopping in South Korea and in Los Angeles: they were able to in L.A. Briefly, they discussed how in Korea, the only possible way to publically go shopping was to be utterly disguised via hats, masks, and by having only a few members attend at a time. This explains why their shopping went smoothly on film (although when they did go in Korea, the store was seemingly “reserved”).

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Besides clothing, another aspect “The TaeTiSeo” revealed on the group’s style were their nails. Taeyeon was the first member to show off her nail art. With setting up a camera in a room and by using nail tools given by fans, she set off on showing viewers different nail arts. With this setup, Taeyeon showcases numerous chic designs. Commentary was also added; she explained her mentality per nail (and what to do if there’s a mistake; it happened to her) and addresses a few questions. For a moment, she discussed how her nails were mainly done for the sake of performances or schedules (interviews, etc.). However, she still preferred casual nail painting even if there was no work.   

In Tiffany’s case, she was seen with a professional. This moment would disclose how TaeTiSeo’s nails are always perfect; professional nail artists handle it. Another nail-related question was asked during Tiffany’s session. Viewers and fans had the question of how Tiffany took care of her nails. After all, considering how often the members of TaeTiSeo do their nails, it can be concerning. Thankfully, Tiffany reassured fans by explaining that proper care and advice from professionals allows the ladies to still possess healthy nails.

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Now besides the fashion side of the show, “The TaeTiSeo” also reveals the behind-the-scenes footage of their comeback. The making of the music video for “Holler” is seen. While the music video came out as glamorous (although I have yet to watch the entirety of it), the filming did not reciprocate that; it was a harsh, tedious process. Going back and forth to find the perfect clip required a lot of patience. Make-up had to be reapplied and any minuscule lack of synchronicity would result in another take.

Furthermore, safety, shockingly, was an issue; the most prominent example being the scene where the ladies dance on a circle glass with surrounding shallow water. Considering they were wearing exceptionally tall high heels (a lot of people forget how talented idols are for performing in them; even males with insoles go through the same challenge), the environment created a risky scenario. The glass circle itself was already unstable, but coupling the fact of how the water made the surface even more slippery, it created a lot of anxiety among both TaeTiSeo and staff members. On the positive side, accidents were minimal; Seohyun was the only one who slipped, but at least she caught her balance. In the end, removing their heels when a shot didn’t include their feet was a solution. The ladies proved to be quite admirable through their hardwork and perseverance.

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When it comes to song recording, “The TaeTiSeo” discloses that process. From this section, the ladies’ impressive vocals are heard. However, that aspect is not the only one; a large portion of this section covers how they composed lyrics, the issues that occurred, and TaeTiSeo’s perspective on singing. Going on a tangent, Tiffany’s voice is exceptionally soothing; although her unique tint of huskiness may derive from a vocal disorder she had years ago(?), her voice still remains very unique and versatile. Listening to her speak proved to be quite delightful. Whether she was speaking English or Korean, it became utterly infatuating. In short, Tiffany’s voice is amazing; I personally remain envious yet captivated by her seducing voice.

To focus back on this review, in terms of composing lyrics, it proved to be very intriguing. Seohyun and her manager were seen at a table discussing different lines for Seohyun’s own ballad composition. Her song, “Only U”, had to be revised. Seohyun’s original line went along the meaning of “I will protect you” (going off memory), but she believed the lyrics weren’t “feminine” enough for listeners, and thus, Seohyun modified it. In the end, “I will stand by your side” is what the final revision became. While most viewers will glance over this section quickly, this scene showcases how the K-Pop industry potentially exploits songs (although keep in mind, this isn’t always the case; Girl’s Day’s “Don’t Trust Her” had the key phrase of something similar to “Don’t go to her, I will protect you from everything”) to make them follow the standard cultural norms. This is something to keep in mind for song meanings in K-Pop, and it’s great that “The TaeTiSeo” reveals this tiny yet vital aspect.

Peering back at the actual song recording, the ladies’ issues were observed. Multiple trials were needed for every member; Taeyeon in specific had quite a bit of trouble at first. Their song, “Adrenaline” (have not/don’t intend to review it; not too solid) entangled Taeyeon. No matter how hard she tried, the flow/melody was off. Eventually, though, she did find a solution: changing the lyrics. After that, a huge improvement was seen. For the other members, Tiffany and Seohyun went through the same tedious process; perfecting their recordings required patience.

Lastly for the studio section of “The TaeTiSeo”, the three ladies got to share their personal stories of what singing meant to them. All of them expressed the similar idea of passion; Taeyeon, Tiffany, Seohyun, they all loved to sing. Even from their blossoming ages of still being girls, singing remained a prominent activity. Sticking to what they loved and continuing to pursue it allowed the ladies to stand here today as TaeTiSeo; following what you love and are passionate about is the crucial, needed message that they gave through their interviews.

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Adding on the last highlight this review will bring, choreography practice. Here, OnStyle unveils the rigorous and daunting task TaeTiSeo encounters for creating a flawless, perfectly synced dance. They practiced all the way into the late night time. Beat by beat, flowing with the melody, the ladies showcased how adept they were with matching up to every choreography. While it was a tiresome routine, they still decided to keep spirits high; Taeyeon went on a fun spinning spree with a camera, and upon hearing that “Whisper”, the ballad song of their album, took first place on a music chart, they all became recharged with energy and joy. Anyhow, the hard work the ladies invested in order to improve their skills is very respectable. Despite how harsh and aching dance practices are, they continue to strive for the perfect execution.

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With all of those highlighted points, that brings this review to the end. Keep in mind, of course, I am barely breaching the surface of the reality show; OnStyle reveals a lot more. This review intends to go over my perspective on outstanding parts along with adding some of my opinion. And as stated earlier, if this review comes out as confusing or unorganized, I put fault in the lack of a show review outline. I still do not intend to seriously review shows as it’s a very long, excruciating process. In addition, unlike K-Pop songs, giving numerical scores and creating categories would be mundane (or in honesty, quite lacking since I have zero ideas).

Overall, I find this show very amusing. Does it top “Jessica & Krystal”? Not quite, but it does come quite close. The biggest strength to “Jessica & Krystal” is the main focus on their relationship. It was about seeing the two sister’s love for one another. Unfortunately, “The TaeTiSeo”, similar to “Hyuna’s Free Month”, does come off more as a side promotion. Thankfully, though, OnStyle does a significantly better job of revealing other sides besides the topic of their comeback. Viewers are still able to see the personal sides to the members. Their workday schedule is seen along with their sweet and hilarious interactions. In addition, the shadier sides of the K-Pop industry is unveiled, although in tiny doses. In the end, I believe it’s a show worth watching. It provides entertainment, insight, and of course, no lady or gentleman can resist the amazing idols of Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun.

As I always do, thank you for reading. This review took a long time to write; the biggest hinder being the time it took to actually catch up on episodes. Again, another reason on why I loathe reviewing shows. It drains the luxury of watching freely with no time pressure. Anyhow, I hope it’s not too incoherent. This will be the last show review I do until perhaps a month (and watch how as I say this, T-ARA will suddenly release a reality show. Though if that were the case, I’d be extremely pleased to make a review). Once more, I highly recommend this show.

In terms of my next review, since things are out of order, Boyfriend’s “Witch” will be reviewed. It has already been started, but I hope to finish it within a few days. Also, I am testing this review on a separate document, so right now, I’m really hoping I can post this with no format errors.

The end has arrived, so thank you once more for reading. I hope you find this interesting and sufficiently detailed. Again, “The TaeTiSeo” proved to be an outstanding show. Stay tuned for upcoming Halloween themed songs of Boyfriend’s “Witch”, and revealing another, Orange Caramel’s “Catallena” (spelled correctly?). This also reminds me, I did receive a song request, so I will squeeze that in as soon as possible. Anyhow, stay tuned. Thanks for the support and time, keep checking back for the usual K-Pop song reviews.

OnStyle’s Reality Show – “Jessica & Krystal” Review

Reviewed on August 14, 2014

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Alright so I don’t know exactly what I’ll be writing for a show “review”, but perhaps this might just be my personal opinion of the show. Anyhow, this is by far one of the better, if not, the best (reality) shows I have ever seen. It’s heartwarming, funny, cute, dorky, and full of emotions. Heck, this is the first show I’ve watched that made me genuinely cry, and although I can get emotional easily when watching things, I’ve never shed an actual tear until this show. So props for that.

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Anyhow, what is “Jessica & Krystal” about? Well as some of you may know, Jessica is a member of Girls’ Generation, a veteran group of the K-Pop scene (Check out my review of “Mr. Mr.” by them) and Krystal is a member of f(x), a solid quintet group (And see my review of “Electric Shock”). And of course, Jessica and Krystal are both sisters; the Jung sisters (last name). While they both work and perform for the same label company of SM Entertainment, they hardly have time to truly spend time with one another. Nevertheless, their affection and love for each other only grows stronger with being apart. For this show, the crew takes us on a ride. We get to see the real sisters; not the singers/dancers, but the actual, sweet independent ladies they are.

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What’s great about this show is it breaks a lot of the created images of them. People have known Krystal as rude, arrogant, etc. and some have thought that for Jessica as well. However, through following their actual lives and seeing their hectic schedules, people are truly able to understand what they go through and how they truly act. Krystal is a reserved, shy person, not someone who refuses to talk since they’re rude.

Another great thing is they show being an idol isn’t all fun and games; it’s a job. A hard job. Although, in my opinion, the show makes lightly of how busy they are, at least they reveal that. There was an episode showing Krystal getting only a few hours of sleep (2 to 4?) and then having to film and practice for the entire day. This also includes running straight into nighttime. After all the work is done, she has time to sleep for a few hours, and then it repeats. A tough job it is, even if it looks glamorous and fun on the outside.  

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Now besides seeing an idol’s personal life, what this show does focus on is their relationship: Jessica and Krystal. It is extremely heartwarming to see how close they are to one another. They eat together, laugh together, cry together, they share so many moments with each other. Of course, being able to do this was thanks to the show. Without spoiling anything, pretty much the ladies have thanked the show for allowing them to spend time together, since normally they would never have time to do that. Anyhow, their love for each other is something everyone can feel and reflect upon. Love truly is everything. I think that’s a message people forget, so remember to love those who are close to you. 

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Well I guess I just covered points on highlighted things of this show. I sort of just went into this post with nothing in mind, but hey I wanted to share it with you guys. This show is just awesome, it really is. Full of charms and laughs, it provides entertainment and it provides a great behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the Jung idols. I really wish they went for another season, but in reality, this show is meant as a one-time deal; going further wouldn’t have the same, momentous effect it currently has. 

If you haven’t seen this show, check it out. In fact, there are some English subtitled videos for it, so that’s neat. 

Anyhow I’ve come to really love this show and adore these sisters. I’m still shocked that “Jessica & Krystal” made me cry, but that goes to show how genuine the show is and such. 

As usual, thanks for reading. Even though this isn’t the usual music review, I hope you find it just as entertaining. This is more of just my opinion on the show and such, but I hope it’s insightful. I didn’t go into much detail, since spoiling this incredible show would be dishonoring. Check it out for yourself to see. 

For my upcoming review, I’m making a complete change of plans to f(x)’s “Red Light”. That’ll be a really, really fun and critical review, so stay tuned for that. I’m also going to post an “Upcoming Song Review” blog for those wondering what my future plans are. Adding diversity is my main goal. Anyhow, thank you for reading this, check out the ladies’ amazing show. For now, I’m actually going to finish the remaining, precious 8 minutes or so left of the last episode. See you in the next review!