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Hajimemashite minna san....welcome to my site on my fave Japanese Pop Culture likes such as dramas, movies, magazine scans, promo events etc. Mainly concentrate on my faves...Keyakizaka46... Erina Mano... Nogizaka46!.... C-ute.... Lee Yeon-Hee!.... if you're a fan at all of any of them then you've come to the right place(!) but many others are featured here besides them. Do mainly quick reviews on things I've watched, try to make the reviews brief, quick to read through with not too many spoilers, just whether they're good or bad and why I thought so plus whether you may find them enjoyable. Many, many screenshots are included from everything I've watched plus any video trailers if they're available. Hope you find something that interests you, don't hesitate to comment, arigato gozaimasu!

Also these days(mid-2017) have many posts for Korean actresses, dramas and films that are worth checking out as over the years have become a much bigger fan of Korean dramas versus the ones from Japan.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Korean drama "Signal": episode one recap and screenshots

 Air dates: January 22 to March 12, 2016 on tvN  Average rating: 8.8%

Main Cast:

Lee Je-Hoon as Park Hae-Young
Kim Hye-Soo as Cha Soo-Hyun
Cho Jin-Woong as Lee Jae-Han
Jung Hae-Kyun as Ahn Chi-Soo
Kim Won-Hae as Kim Gye-Chul
Jang-Hyun-Sung as Kim Bum-Joo
Lee Yoo-Joon as Jung Hun-Gi
Jung Han-Bi as Oh Yoon-Seo

 Bit of a different drama for here and should be watching more of these. No faves or Idols, just an intense thriller or at least I think it will be. Have to face the facts, Korean dramas are so much better than the ones from Japan these days and it's really no competition. Most of the Japanese series these days are just so boring and fluffy, too many are aimed at viewers with an IQ of zero or less.
 Meanwhile so many shows from Korea are very intense and interesting. Do have a problem watching an entire season as the episodes are so much longer plus there's usually 16-20 shows. However when I do end up watching an entire season I'm usually rewarded so plan on doing it so more often. Actually my plan is to just watch dramas regardless of who the stars are, too many of my faves are the ones who are in those boring and fluffy dramas, wasn't like that for them years ago.
 Didn't read any of the recaps too closely as not to spoil it for me but every one for this show was so positive, was looking for a series to watch so decided why not. The drama aired on tvN which is a cable network so a rating of 8.8% is quite impressive. Didn't know any of the cast coming in but for an older woman Kim Hye-Soo is really attractive though sadly she doesn't dress like this at all in the show as you'll see in the screenshots.

 The series starts off on July 29, 2000 at the Ginyang Elementary school. An eleven year old girl named Yoon-Jung tries to become friendly with the outcast Park Hae-Young. Say he's an outcast as he wasn't playing with any of the other children during their break period nor do we ever see him with any other students. Park ignores Yoon's advances at the playground but later on they're the last two at school as both are waiting to leave but because of heavy rain seems they're stuck together.
 However Park pulls out an umbrella, instead of inviting Yoon to share it with him Park leaves the school. But he does hang around for a bit as he notices a mysterious woman with red shoes waiting for someone, That someone was Yoon and the pair leave the school grounds together. Later on Park sees on the news that Yoon had been kidnapped and the suspect is a young male.
 The suspect demanded a 50 million won ransom which was paid but however Yoon wasn't delivered back safely, instead she was dead! The police felt 100% certain the kidnapper/murderer was a 21 year old medical student named Seo and were hunting him down. Park knew who the real criminal was, it wasn't Seo but the mysterious woman who picked up Yoon in the pouring rain. Many times Park went to the station and tried to tell the police who the real kidnapper is but they wouldn't listen to him.

 Fast forward fifteen years and it's now July 2015 and there's only three days left for the statute of limitations for the murder. Park, who noticed the real kidnapper, is now a lieutenant and superb criminal profiler for the police force. Though he joined the force Park still carries much hatred for the system as no one believed his story fifteen years ago and the real killer is still out there.
 Those feelings of Park has him doing some sleazy activities such as selling confidential police info and other dirty tidbits to tabloid magazines. One day though he was caught in the act by a detective named Cha Soo-Hyun and she brings him back to her station. There Park is grilled by Cha and her partner Kim Gye-Chul, the trio have many words but there's nothing they can charge Park with. They don't know then but the trio will soon be part of a team to solve the 15 year old murder.
 Cha is the head of her small unit which is responsible for solving violent crimes and cold cases. Cha was on the force fifteen years ago when the murder took place, the detective she was seeing at the time was the only one on the force who didn't think Seo was the kidnapper. This just being the first show have no clue what happened with her back in 2000 but we do know what happened to the detective who was Lee Jae-Han.

 As Lee was the only one who thought Seo was innocent he has to work solo. He's dug up some clues which has led him to the rooftop of the Sunil Psych. Hospital. In a manhole on the roof he discovers something quite gruesome.... the body of Seo hanging by a noose! Lee quickly uses his walkie talkie to call back to his team to tell them what he's discovered but it's not them he reaches.
 Meanwhile Park has been set free as Cha couldn't charge him with any crime. But in his attempt to leave his car is blocked by a security van and he's stuck there. From the back of the van Park hears some strange sounds and finds a walkie talkie in one of the bags. He answers it but has a hard understanding the other person but does pick up a bit of it such as the call is coming from Sunil hospital, unknown to him is that the person is Lee talking to him from fifteen years ago!
 The connection suddenly goes dead and there could be two reasons for that. It appeared as though Lee was conked over the head but we never see any more of that scene with him so we're not sure what exactly has happened to him. Park brought the walkie talkie to his station to have it looked at, why did it suddenly stop working? His good mate there Jung tells him there's an obvious reason for it not working as there's no batteries in it, the mystery here really starts to grow.

 Sorry for such a long recap, the others shouldn't be like this but so much happened in this episode. Park does a little investigating himself about Seo and ends up at the same hospital, which is now closed, where Lee found the hanging body of Seo. On the rooftop Park looks in the manhole and discovers bones at the bottom of it, could it be the remains of Seo? Park quickly calls his discovery in, Cha and her unit are the ones assigned to the case.
 Cha still doesn't like Park at all and is very suspicious of him, especially because of him somehow finding the bones of Seo. He won't tell her at all the reason he came to the hospital was because of the phone call he received from Lee, he did have a point about not telling anyone about that. The bones were brought in to the morgue and they did belong to Seo. Now the question is, among many, is what happened to Lee on the roof after he discovered the hanging body of Seo?
 There's only 29 hours to go until the statute of limitations end and the police have now closed the case due to their find. Park is furious at that and thinks the higher ups are just covering up for not finding the real kidnapper of Yoon. Shortly after the case was closed there on the front steps of the station Park told the horde of media people the real truth, the real kidnapper wasn't Seo and he had evidence who the real culprit was.

 Park is an excellent profiler and has put together most of the pieces of the mystery though with very little evidence. But what's really helped him is that Cha is now on his side and believes his story about seeing the real kidnapper along with what may have really happened. Cha convinces her supervisor to let her continue investigating the case, though reluctant he agrees as deep down he also thinks Seo may not have been the real kidnapper.
 Park has worked out that it's a nurse who worked at the Sunil hospital fifteen years ago. She had cut off Seo's thumb with a scalpel and had used the thumb for fingerprints to frame him. No time for sleep as the the deadline to find the killer is down to 25 hours and there were over a hundred nurses who had worked at the hospital back in 2000.
 But Park's speech to the media wasn't all because he was furious with the case being closed, he wanted to alert the public of the killer being a nurse hoping they would call the station with evidence. The team received many tips but the final one looked to be the real deal as there was nurse who had worked at the hospital many years ago and was still a nurse. A colleague of Kang had called in to say she was very suspicious and the police picked her thinking the case was now solved.

 At first it appeared the team had found the true kidnapper but it wasn't so, Kang denied everything and her story matched up. Now what to do as there were just a few hours left until the deadline to catch the real kidnapper. But Kang was helpful, when they showed her pictures of her locker at the hospital she told them it wasn't her locker but it belonged to a fellow nurse named Yoon. That was also the name of the kidnapped girl but don't think there's any connection to the names.
 Park used his brilliant mind again to figure out where Yoon may be as there was only two hours left to catch her. He figured she had such an ego she would be near the station to gloat in her victory and he was right as her car was picked up via camera in the vicinity. The team quickly dashed out in the rain to find her, Park thought she would be in the back of the station where she could watch Kang being grilled and he was correct as he found Yoon watching from a cafe.
 However she was able to elude him and it seemed she would escape as Park watched helplessly as she ran away. But out of nowhere jumped Cha to confront her and Park was able to catch up with the duo. There's now less than two hours to charge Yoon with the kidnapping and murder charges, it doesn't appear as though time is on their side as this very long episode finally comes to it's conclusion. There's also one more twist I almost forgot to add, fifteen years prior Yoon was Seo's girlfriend so she's actually on the hook for two murders.

 Whewwww, that was easily the longest recap I've ever done and hopefully you didn't nod off too many times reading it. This episode ran for 76 minutes which is one reason for it being so long, the others will be shorter as most of the shows are about 65 minutes. Still a ton of questions to be answered, to me that's a sign of a solid show and this first episode was really quite superb.
 The main premise of the drama is the walkie talkies and how conversations take place between 2000 and 2015. But in this first show there was only that one brief scene with them, fairly sure that will become a big part of the story. Don't know if it's true as I didn't read other recaps as I prefer not knowing what's going to happen.
 Next post has the recap for the second episode, haven't viewed it yet but will once this tome is done. Will be doing two recaps at time and have a feeling this is going to be such a fantastic watch but it is going to be tough to top the "W" drama.

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