The Goblin & A Little On Hallyu

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I was in my Asian Cultures class today reading a recap of my current soap opera, or in this case, K Drama. I had my laptop on the dimmest screen hoping no would one catch a glimpse. It's like I'm trying to say "I'm not one of y'all!" 😅  (As I explained in my probably unnecessary blog post a few weeks ago.) (also scroll all the way down for musicccc)

16 episodes, 4 days, 20+ hrs later, headaches and puffy eyes, I'm finally done with ~The Goblin~, or The Guardian: The Lonely and Great God which first aired last December and ended in January. I don't get into shows too easily, so I'm glad this one kept my attention long enough. The first episode was a little hard for me to grasp, but from then on it was nothing but laughs and good times (I'm lying). It's all about the supernatural here, 939 year old goblin, or dokkaebi, his young bride, a grim reaper, reincarnated characters, bromance, DEATH, TRAGEDY, HEARTBREAK. What more do you need?? Oh yes, a handsome chaebol (family-owned conglomerate) heir. . . but he's there and is the cutest.

I got lots of Twilight flashbacks, and you'll see why. But I guess it's only natural with the topics involved. I would classify it as a comedy too, and although I laughed a bunch, I'm sad a lot of the humor was probably lost in subtitle-translation.

Before I watched the first few episodes, I read it was quite controversial because of it's overwhelming product placement. I thought, eh, can't be too bad. Boy was I wrong. It's almost like the products were as integral to the story as the characters themselves ha. It was not subtle. For example, if a (probably) Samsung phone were to enter the screen and it was sponsored, you might expect a close up and quick flash of a logo. Not in this case, it was like a little mini commercial. The owner of the cellphone tried to "impress" the other character by listing all its specs (we see you 👀). There were so many more, but I actually didn't mind and found it a little cute and felt it added to the .. .  yes I'm gonna say it! cinematography and they incorporate it to the story quite well, it doesn't feel out of place. They do so much of this because whatever is on screen, the viewers buy it (duh), but in these cases they (usually) sell it out immediately- $$$$$$$$$$$. I would love to read a little more on product placement trends, but I guess its pretty clear.  

The protagonist also purchased a few plush toys at Miniso (Japanese/Chinese retailer). That were created SOLELY for this drama. . . . . . AND IF YOU THINK I WON'T GET MY HANDS ON MR. BUCKWHEAT SOONER OR LATER YOU ARE MISTAKEN! HE IS SO GOSH DARN CUTE. He's not expensive but shipping is a deal breaker. . soon Mr. Buckwheat, soon...

I'm not one for reviews and recaps, but overall I think it was worth the watch. I also forgot to mention it is the second highest rated Korean Drama in Korean cable history (it was good, but was it that good?).

If you're interested in watching- link
& the detailed show recaps & comments which helped- link

I was wondering if Hallyu, Korean culture trend, is up or down since it's rise in the late 1990's. I'm about 20 years too late to explain it, but I haven't explored it on my blog soooo. . . .

The numbers prove that it's continuing to rise (other graphs I didn't bother to post but you can read their respective articles by clicking the images). For Japan, China, and Southeast Asia, Korean popular culture has widely taken the place of Western popular culture. They look to Korean dramas, music, film, fashion, and video games. It has matched or surpassed Japan's influence of the mid 1990's (video games, consoles, anime, manga, etc).

The more serious side to Hallyu is what it offers S. Korea as a global player. It has some level of influence on its neighbors and especially N. Korea. In the past, China has threatened to limit the amount of dramas shown or concerts held. It's important considering China has censorship capabilities in order to maintain control over their population. So is China, in particular the CCP, threatened over the ideas Hallyu perpetuates? Or does it have more to do with trade deficits and the economy?

I remember I watched a video on a North Korean defector who, when she was still in N. Korea, would watch the dramas in a closed of room, under a blanket. The black market for S. Korean dramas is so widespread that they mobilized squads to execute dvd smugglers. North Korea never shows any stories related to life and love, the rare media is Kim family propaganda. I mean, other Asians that have prospered from the Asian economic growth of the last few decades still feel a longing to take the ritzy places of their favorite drama characters. Imagine being in North Korea with the same longing, but knowing there's not even a sliver of a chance, and who do you blame? No doubt the N. Korean government feels a threat and pressure from the fantasies and lifestyles that S. Korea culture perpetuates. I read that late, former S. Korean President, Roh Moo Hyun mentioned that Hallyu will someday reunify Korea. That's a tall order, but what do you think about that claim? Would it be more of a catalyst or what literally unifies the people? It's been so long that the cultural and language gap is only getting bigger (is K pop culture offsetting this gap?). It's been almost seven decades, those who lived under a single Korea are becoming less and the younger generations are more distant to the idea. It'll be interesting to see what role Hallyu will have on unification, if it is to happen.

I'll link two academic articles on Asian pop culture (South Korea & Japan) and it's soft power potential in case you're interested. (here & here) There's so much more to this of course but that's all the time we have folks.

Since we're on the Korea Train for this post, I linked two playlists 😜. The first is just current Korean hits, and the second is a Korean Drama official soundtrack playlist. The first two songs on the right playlist are from The Goblin. 

I was going to finish it here, but I'm just going to let it all out now: some of my favorite KPOP music videos.

actively resisting the urge to analyze each MV,

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