Summing It Up: September 2016

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Hello, hello! Hurrah, Autumn is finally here! If you guys know me well then you’d understand my excitement. Fall is my favorite season because the weather is so nice where I live. Plus, all the seasonal drinks are back in cafés (and most of you probably know of my great addiction to frappuccinos by now).

September was a pretty intense month since I had my first round of major exams, but I’m happy to report that I survived! As predicted and conveyed in August’s Summing It Up, I didn’t prioritize a lot of my time to blogging. However, I’m happy to announce that I’m finally, finally out of the reading hangover/slump mess I was in for the past few months. I’m reading again (so I may feel inspired to post reviews more than I have been), and I’ll be participating in a few blog tours this month in October.

And…. I don’t know how I managed it but I also watched a ton of stuff, which I’ll share later after my favorites section below. 😄

September Blog Posts*

*in publication order

*I stopped cross posting my reviews from Goodreads because either they’re more school related or manga series that are still ongoing. I only want to publish reviews on Xingsings that I know I won’t make significant changes to and that are more relevant to you guys. So yeah. Haha, I hope that makes sense!

Favorites

 

Not that you can see it from this shot, but I got the iPhone 7! I’ve been needing a new phone for a while because (this is ridiculous but) I used all 64 GB on my old phone. So that was the main incentive for upgrading.

I’ve never been much a phone user since I rely on my laptop for everything anyway, so I don’t have much to say about the new phone. It comes with iOS 10 preprogrammed, so there are a lot of new features from that software update. (But, to be honest, you could just download that to your current iPhone if that’s all you want.) As my Instagram post mentioned, the iPhone 7 (regular, not the plus) looks exactly like the iPhone 6, which is larger than the 5. The only big difference (from the 6 to 7) is that the earplugs plug into the charging port, which isn’t a big deal to me. An adapter also comes with your phone (as well as new earplugs that do fit) so all the old headphones you have are still usable… although you have to remember the adaptor, which may be a pain to some. And lastly, I do admit the quality of the camera is fantastic.

Video Favorites

Infinite has a distinct musical style compared to most K-pop groups. The songs are much more dramatic and heavily influenced by instrumentals. To be honest, I never understood the hype for this group because all of their songs sounded really similar albeit catchy to me in the past. However, I really, really loved The Eye-not enough to be called an Inspirit, but I’ll definitely keep a look out (see what I did there?) for their future promotions in the future! Oh and I chose to include a stage performance because the dance is really good, as expected of Infinite (I knew they were great dancers). However, the MV is really cool, too. I’m sort of clueless of what’s going on in the actual music video (but technically all K-pop videos have some element of confusion) but it’s also an interesting concept? And this song gives me all the feels because it totally reminds me of the old K-pop sound back in the day (when I was like a hardcore fan of the genre and kept up with all the groups of the 2011/2012 generation).

I also was never a massive fan of 2PM like my other friends, but I did appreciate some of their songs. I still think A.D.T.O.Y. was their best release, but this song really rivals with the former according to my iTunes replay count. I really like that the MV is about a guy willing to change for a girl because he’s that devoted to her, but then viewers see that three of the guys are with their significant others while the other three clearly made efforts but were still rejected. I think the message it’s trying to send is that changing yourself into someone’s ideal may work out, but sometimes it doesn’t either. It’s good to be yourself. And the transitions between each scene is so clean and pleasing to the eye. Also, I think this is 2PM’s last comeback before the majority them enlist into their mandatory military service.

Favorite Korean Hip Hop piece of the month! Mino totally reminds me of G-Dragon because they’re so alike in appearance, but I also thinks he resembles G-Dragon for his strong charisma. Also, what makes things more impressive is that he cowrote the song and wrote the lyrics; the wordplay with “mom” (body) and “dali” (legs) is genius. Between the collab album, Mobb, between Mino and Bobby, I have to say I enjoy this single more. The flow is more my style.

Gah, this song is so smooth, and the soft piano keys are subtle but nice touches!

I still don’t understand what Epidemic Sound is… Are they just a company where individual artists record and sell their songs? I’m not sure… but I really enjoyed this song so much. The vocals and background piano is so soothing.

In addition to a number of the 2PM members, Ryeowook of Super Junior (and I think another SJ member) is soon enlisting, and this was the last recorded song before he leaves. I adored this video; the cinematography is so aesthetically appealing. I thought the story about fated lovers meeting by chance time and time again was clever and fit well with the song. Also, the guy with long hair is gorgeous. How does he keep his locks so luscious??

I’m sharing this video because this is such a happy song and I thought Yoo Jae Suk did a phenomenal job. He’s my favorite Running Man member, and his hard work and commitment towards this project was evident when the episode of Infinity Challenge aired. I’m so happy that he got to perform alongside Exo at one of their concerts; I’m sure it was a great experience for both parties. Also, I’m so surprised by his voice! Sure, there must have been some work done, but wow! I’m still really impressed.

1Million Dance Studio is so dedicated with their posting schedule that I can’t keep up anymore! I liked Eunho’s choreo for Caroline this month though; he’s just a great choreographer and performer.

With everything else (like watching dramas and reading again) I didn’t really keep up with Hit the Stage either. Of the performances I did watch, I was amazed by Got7’s Yugyeom. I didn’t really know much about the maknae aside from his dance skills and it was great seeing him represent his group at something he’s good at. Also, of the other performers competing with him, I felt like he pulled his weight the most (and didn’t let the crew do all the work).

Haha, before this choreography showed up in my Subscriptions I was already a fan of the song so seeing a dance created to it was a major plus!

Like I said, I spent another month indulging in quite a few dramas. One of them was Ryeo: Scarlet Heart, which was just meh. The cast is beautiful, but the storyline and emotions pales in comparison to the Chinese original, Bu Bu Jing Xin. But more on that later in the What I’ve Been Watching segment of this post. Anyhow, this song was super addictive.

WHAT I’VE BEEN WATCHING

As mentioned before, I watched a ton of stuff this month, but I promise I wasn’t glued to my computer because of dramas. >.< Like the dramas I kind of watched in August, I mainly skipped around for the juicy, interesting bits. I couldn’t be bothered with wasting my time with boring scenes when I had so much other work to do, you know… (This is exactly why I cannot watch movies/dramas with my friends; I’d be that annoying friend that wouldn’t sit still.)

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Chihayafuru: Kami no Ku – 7.5/10 [Completed]

I’ve been waiting for this live action movie for literally years, and I have to say the wait was so worth it. The casting was near perfect and though there were variations to the plot it did stay pretty close to the anime/manga without dragging out the movie. I was also impressed with the karuta scenes; the cinematography was well done, surprisingly. Overall, an incredible adaptation and I’m so looking forward to the second part, Chihayafuru: Shimo no Ku. However, I do have to admit that I don’t think non-fans of karuta or Chihayafuru will love this movie as much as I did… It’s one that I think fans of the series and game/sport will appreciate more.

From 5 to 9

From 5 to 97.5/10 [Completed]

This is a fictional story that is absolutely unrealistic and cheesy, but charming and full of humor in its own way. Also, I found the female lead to be so gorgeous (I can’t believe she’s in her 30’s) and her English to be pretty good (her role is an English teacher so). And there were so many adorable scenes that had me swooning!

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Good Morning Call – 2/10 [Dropped]

As others have mentioned this is a cross between L-DK and Itzura na Kiss. While I had problems with the other two, I still enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for this one. Everything about this was so cringe and eyeroll worthy. I couldn’t stand the female lead’s character. She was so head over heels for the “bad guy,” which is so typical in a shoujo, but she was also a spineless, complete pushover. She never spoke her mind so there were a lot of easily avoidable miscommunications, and, I don’t know, I rarely felt sympathetic towards her when she cried (which was like all the time almost). It also didn’t help that the male lead’s character was totally cardboard (my term for two dimensional, flat characters); also, I didn’t really find the actor to be that attractive either. Hard pass.

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Imperial Doctress, The4/10 [Skip Completed]

So many people have recommended me this drama because they know that I adore Liu Shi Shi after Legend of the Condor Heroes (2008), Scarlet Heart, and Sound of the Desert. Plus, historical/period/wuxia dramas are my comfort genres. AND a woman in medicine during the Ming Dynasty? Yes, please. But, my gosh, I am still so butthurt by how much this flopped for me. There were certainly some interesting parts. But I hated the guts of the majority of the cast and I couldn’t get over my spite towards them. (Ugh, it’s truly ridiculous how many unlikable characters there are though.) There is an awful rape scene-awful as in I totally never saw it coming between the two characters-that I don’t know how I caught since I was jumping between episodes (because this is too long of a drama (50 episodes) to commit if I don’t 100% love it)… The only good thing about this was seeing Liu Shi Shi and Wallace Huo acting together again after The Vigilantes in Masks, which I loved many years ago. And the medicinal remedies were intriguing (until I learned that they were purely baseless, fictional concoctions and weren’t truly used back then). This one left me so bitter and disappointed.

Just One Smile is Very Alluring8.5/10 [Completed]

Among the mediocre dramas I’ve been watching, this one shined. The banner itself is quite cheesy and portrays the actual story so poorly, but it was so cute, fluffy, and gave me all the fangirl feels. It’s about two people that meet through a online wuxia game. The mythical gaming scenes and effects were so incredibly well done, and the outfits are absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend this one if you’re into romantic dramas and gaming. However, it is also important to not take this one too seriously as you watch it because, obviously, online dating (though there have been plenty of success stories, too) can be extremely dangerous and not at all the sunshine and happiness as the main couple’s relationship in the drama suggests.

Kurosaki-kun no Iinari ni Nante Naranai

Kurosaki-kun no Iinari ni Nante Naranai4.5/10 [Skim Completed]

I know, the double image looks so bad but I couldn’t find a horizontal banner for this drama. This’ll have to do, because it’d probably bother me more if I used a vertical poster instead. >.> Anyway, for lack of better words, this one was just okay. It’s another typical shoujo where the heroine has difficult expressing herself but overcomes the barriers by the end. It does involve a love triangle between two guys friends, and, once again, the “bad boy” wins the girl’s heart, which is so unrealistic in real life. Overall, this one was unmemorable among the many shoujos I’ve seen but somewhat entertaining as I was watching it.

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Moonlight Drawn by Clouds6/10 [Dropped]

I’ve already talked about this one in last month’s Summing It Up post. The storyline is so cute and super addicting but I think the plot is starting to slow down. So I’ve sort of lost interest and don’t see myself continuing it.

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Ryeo: Scarlet Heart5/10 [Dropped]

So I’m pretty far along with this one, but I think I’m going to drop it for a few reasons. If you are a hardcore fan of Scarlet Heart, this adaptation totally does not live up to the original. The scenery is gorgeous, the period outfits are stunning, and the cast are all beautiful, but aside from the beauty this rendition lacks depth, emotional impact, significant historical themes (political unrest, palace disputes, etc), subtle humor, and romanticism in the script and encounters between the characters that the Chinese version did possess. Also, it’s weird having history and Tong Hua’s original story changed into more of a reverse harem situation. But I do think many viewers will appreciate the Korean one because it’s incredibly fast paced for a historical drama (as it should be since there’s only 20 episodes compared to the 35 of the Chinese version). So, like I said, Scarlet Heart: Ryeo probably is a satisfying and even great drama for those that never saw the Chinese one first. I mean, Lee Joon Ki is pretty to look at (and there’s Baekhyun from Exo and so many hot actors and pretty actresses) but I don’t think this will be enough for me to continue. However, I may return to this drama and just watch the last episode because I REALLY want to know how this ends (and if it’ll be anything like the Chinese one because I sobbed really hard in the latter. The ending for that one rivaled with Titanic for me. /sniffles/)

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Sukinahito ga Iru Koto5.5/10 [Skim Completed]

Okay, so I mainly watched this because I thought the cast was pretty good looking (Kento Yamasaki has been so popular for the shoujo live action male roles lately). Initially, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, but the later episodes soon got increasingly cliché and ridiculous. And so many commonly used tropes were utilized as an attempt to build romantic tension between the main characters; all it really ended up achieving was making me irritated (because the drama started off in such a good direction!)… In the end, I finished this 10 episode show by skimming the last few episodes to get the gist of how things went down.


Phew! Well, gosh, congratulations if you made it to the end of this post, lol. I didn’t anticipate on writing as much as did, but I guess I just had a lot of thoughts on all the K-pop comebacks and Asian dramas I’ve been watching. But anyways, thank you so much for tuning in! I’ve truly missed blogging and chatting with all you all. T_T I hope that you guys are all still doing well. As always, take care and until next time. 😀

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18 thoughts on “Summing It Up: September 2016

  1. Carolyn says:

    I discovered and loved Promise I’ll Be this month too!! I really need to get into more of 2pm’s stuff. And I loved Dancing King too!! It feels like more of a different style than what I’m used to from Exo. But I mean..what do I know about Exo lmao. Omg, my friend was recommending Moonlight Drawn from Clouds but I wasn’t sure if I should watch it..
    I’m definitely checking out Just One Smile is Very Alluring. It sounds right up my alley!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      I didn’t even notice that about Dancing King, but you’re so right. I do think that Exo tries a diverse range of genres though (with R&B with What is Love, some screamo in Mama, singer/songwriter (well kind of) in Sing For You, hip hop with Overdose, trap-like stuff in Monster, and 90s/early 20s pop with Call Me Baby). 😄 And tbh, Moonlight Drawn From Clouds was interesting for the first 5 episodes but it got pretty boring for me. ):

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alicia @hashtaglovebooks says:

    Your Korean Obsession is so cute!! I hope your exams went well and a big HAPPY FALL from me!! OMG! One Million is my absolute favourite dance studio my favourite dancer is Mina Myoung! I don’t really listen to kpop but my friend got me obsessed to Blackpink!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Hehe, well thank you, Alicia! I guess it’s winter now, so HAPPY WINTER to you. And I adore Mina Myoung, she’s just effortless sexy in a good way. I also love how healthy she looks and, of course, her choreos never disappoint. Ah, I’ve also been loving BlackPink. Those girls are so talented for a debut group. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lais says:

    I’m glad you had a great month! I am also really slow at reading recently, but I hope I can pick up the pace for the next months.
    Also, yes for Infinite being amazing. I think their music feel more rock to me than pop, which I admire a lot. Their previous album, For You, is full of masterpieces! I really recommend it.
    I’m currently watching Scarlet Heat Ryeo. I have never watched the original Chinese drama, so I’m really enjoying it. Although I have some problems with the main character and the love triangle, I still found it very entertaining and fast-paced.
    I hope you have a fantastic October!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Ah, well I hope that your motivation to read has picked up by now, Lais! If not, you have all of 2017 to improve your reading speed if you still wish to.

      I agree with you on Infinite’s musical style. I don’t know why I overlooked them for so many years; they’re so talented. I’ll definitely be looking into their album, For You. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Hehe, many had similar thoughts to you about Scarlet Heart: Ryeo. I’m happy to hear you were enjoying it though! Did you reach the end? ^.^

      Aww, thanks so much! I hope these past few months have been fabulous for you as well. 🙂

      Like

  4. Liam @ Hey Ashers! says:

    Oh, man. I need to get ready for bed, so I’ll try to keep this brief.

    1) I watched Dancing King with a dumb grin on my face. It fills me with so much joy.

    2) How have I never heard of 1Million Dance Studio?? I’m a failure as both a dance nut and a K-pop fan. My shame, it will kill me.

    3) Loved the Hit The Stage video! I’ll have to poke around and find out more about Yugyeom.

    4) Nooo Scarlet Heart and Moonlight Drawn by Clouds! They’re both high on my to-watch list. I mean, I expected to be annoyed with the unrealistic cross-dressing in MDbC, but still. I had hopes! I’ll probably still give them both a shot, but my faith in both shows is deeply wounded by your inability to finish them.

    Thanks for sharing so much great stuff! Glad your September was pretty great. =D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Hehe, well thanks for reading this post and sacrificing some of your time for this comment, Liam! (Sleep is important. >.<)

      1) Right! It’s such a feel-good song. Anyone that watches that video with a straight face must have no soul.

      2) Oh my gosh, well I can’t wait for you to see more of 1Million’s dance videos if you haven’t already.

      3) I’ve always overlooked Yugyeom in Got7, but, wow, after that video I found him so charismatic and attractive. But I think he’s younger than me. And I don’t know why but it bothers me to stan K-pop idols that are younger than me, lol. >.>

      4) Yeah, sorry to disappoint you! But I just couldn’t with those two dramas. But don’t let my opinions stop you if you’re still curious. Though, beware, there’s a ridiculous love polygon in Scarlet Heart. LOL. Same, the crossdressing attempts in dreamland never cut it for me either. Moonlight Drawn By Clouds overall didn’t have many flaws; it just didn’t hold my interest when I reached mid-way into the series. Anyway, if you do end up watching them, maybe you’ll like them more than I did. ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

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