I Really Really Like You Vol. 2
YA Entertainment // Unrated // $99.99 // December 16, 2008
Review by John Sinnott | posted January 6, 2009
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YA Entertainment, the major publisher of Korean dramas on DVD here in the US, has recently released the second half of I Really, Really Like You, a charming and enjoyable show that's a lot of fun to watch.  I reviewed the first season earlier (read the review here) and have been looking forward to the conclusion.  I'm happy to report that the second half is even more engaging than the first and, like the earlier half, contains several twists and surprises for poor Bong-soon.
Series background:
Yeo Bong-soon (Korean pop-idol Eugene) lives in a small hut-like house with her grandmother in the remote mountains of Korea.  Life is hard there, and the two barely scrape by.  While taking a walk one afternoon, Bong-soon stumbles upon a hiker, Jang Joon-won (Ryu Jin), who had an accident and is unconscious.  She manages to carry the handsome tall man back to her house where she nurses him back to health.  He has a sprained ankle and can't walk down the mountain, so he spends some time recuperating in the small shanty.
Unbeknownst to Bong-soon (and just about everyone else in the show), Joon-won is actually the son of the President of South Korea and a medical doctor to boot.  Once he gets word back to his father, a body guard (the equivalent of a member of the US Secret Service) is sent to help retrieve him.  This comes in the form of Nam Bong-ki (Lee Min-ki), a lazy, self-absorbed and stubborn young man who is really upset that his vacation with a hot girl had to be cancelled in order for him to perform this seemingly inconsequential task.  Once Bong-ki actually meets Bong-soon he takes an instant dislike to her.
As they are about to go, Joon-won discovers that Bong-soon's grandmother is seriously ill and near death.  The entire group travels to Seoul, where the old lady dies soon after she gets to the hospital.  With her dying breath, she reveals a secret to Bong-soon:  she's not really her grandmother!   When Bong-soon was a baby her mother abandoned her and she was taken in by the person she thought was her grandmother.  The only clue that Bong-soon has are two pictures of her as a baby with her parents.  Her mother is a very attractive young lady, and the man identified as her father is none other than the President of South Korea!  Is she his illegitimate daughter?  And who is her mother.
Moving to Seoul, Bong-soon, still not aware of who Joon-won really is, starts falling for the tall handsome doctor only to discover that he's married.  Not only that, but his stunningly gorgeous wife had an accident that left her with severe brain damage.  Joon-won spends all of his free time nursing his ailing wife.
This volume:
Like the first half of the show, these last 16 episodes are packed with a lot of surprises, twists and turns.  (Which makes it really hard to write about.  I'll do my best not to include any spoilers.)  In the first episode presented here, Bong-soon finally discovers if her father is really the president or not.  It was nice that they wrapped up that storyline, but rather than simplifying the poor girls life what she finds out makes it more complicated.  She continues the search for her mother too, and with a little help from her friends finally finds meets that lady... only to discover (as was foreshadowed in the first half of the show) that he mom is an out-of-work actress/con woman who owes money to many people including some loan sharks who want to cut off her hand if she can't pay up.  She instantly sees her newly found daughter as a new mark to hit up for money, or at least a place to stay.
She's still pining for Dr. Jang, as she calls him, even though she realizes they can never be together.  To make matters worse though, Nam Bong-ki, who has been a constant thorn in her side, finally starts to realize that the 'hick chick' as he's dubbed her, isn't nearly as bad as she first seemed.  As a matter of fact, she's quite attractive and appealing.  At this same time Joon-won starts to realize he has feelings for Bong-soon too which makes him feel very guilty, especially when his mother-in-law insists that he divorce his wife so that she can take care of her daughter.
I enjoyed half even more than I did the first.  The show really keeps viewers on their toes since there are a couple of major storylines and several minor ones advanced in every episode, but they also make sure that the various stories don't stagnate and just run through the same points over and over.  They will also wrap up one story just to take the show off in an unexpected direction.  While there were several plot points that were easy to foresee from a long way off (what happens to Dr. Jang's wife for example) there are many events, both big and small, that were unexpected and quite surprising.  Ironically I found the less significant subplots some of the most interesting, and funny, parts of the show.  I absolutely loved the parts involving the large cafeteria cook who falls in love with 'robocop', the most handsome and efficient member of the Presidential Bodyguards.  The the mini-love triangle between the official photographer, the president's nutritionist, and Bong-ki also made the show a lot of fun.
Some of the complaints I had with the first set still hold though.  I thought Eugene was only an average actress.  She did fine in most of her scenes, but her voice has a whiney quality too it that really drove me to distraction.  Her character isn't quite so naïve in these episodes, which is good because she came across as being rather stupid at the beginning of the series.
Being a Korean drama there are many scenes of people pining for the one they love or worried about a mistake they've made.  I generally like these since it's something that's rare in American dramas; no dialog just a chance to empathize with the character on screen.  Having said that, these scenes generally ran a bit too long in this series, especially when you watch them one episode after another.  They use the same few songs over and over too.  It's a minor complaint however.
The DVD:  

The final 16 episodes that make up this set come on six DVDs which are housed in two single-width triple DVD cases.  These two cases fit nicely in an attractive thick cardboard slipcase.   I really like the space-saving way that YA packages these sets, and the sturdy slipcases are always nice too.
This show comes with the original Korean language audio track in stereo and optional English subtitles. The audio track fits the show very well, with the voices being easy to hear and the music mixed at an appropriate level. Common audio defects such as background noise, distortion or dropouts were absent making this a nice show to listen to. The English translations were pretty good over all. There were a couple of oddly worded sentences scattered through the 16 episodes, and I wondered about some of the translations but at no time did the subtitles pull me out of the moment or wreck the atmosphere of the show.
Shot in HD, this series is presented with a nice 1.78:1 anamorphically enhanced image.  The picture is sharp, the lines are tight, and the colors are solid and bright. The show was recorded on video tape so it doesn't have that warm look of film and that lead to a couple of scenes where the lighting was a little harsh. The whites are also a bit bright throughout the series resulting in some light blooming and loss of detail.  On the digital side things also look fine. There is some minor aliasing and when the camera passes over vertical blinds in the background they tend to shimmer just a little. It's never distracting however.
The only extra is a half hour preview to Be Strong, Geum-soon.
Final Thoughts:
While this series started off a little slow in the first volume, it soon picked up and turned out to be a fun and enjoyable show.  This second set of shows completes the series and is even more enjoyable than the first.  If you saw the first have and are on the fence about picking up the second half, I'd recommend that you do so.  The plots generally move a bit faster and the situations are just as enjoyable and heart-breaking as the first half.  Overall this series gets a very strong recommendation.

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