DRAMA|Memories of the Alhambra First Impressions

DRAMA|Memories of the Alhambra First Impressions

Oh! Finally, a live action post from Minty! I know… It’s been a while since I’ve done an in-depth live action post. I’ve been so incredibly behind of doing live action posts… There weren’t that many dramas that piqued my interest. There also weren’t that many series that were able to keep my interest. There was also that fiasco with the demise of DramaFever. I just kept putting it off. Although, I probably should do my final review post on the dramas I did talk about… I’ll get to those later… Eventually… Probably…

The pretty smiley version of the promo poster…
Everything seems so bright, happy, and sweet…

Anyways, I finally thought I’d try to start a new drama series. Now, I remember seeing talk and promos of Memories of the Alhambra for months. Still, I wasn’t sure if I would invest my time into it. Since I was on holiday, I finally had some free time. So I decided to give it a shot. Mostly because I absolutely love Park Shin Hye. She’s one of my K-Drama and all time girl crushes. She’s just so freakin’ pretty.

She. Is .So. Freakin’. Gorgeous.

알함브라 궁전의 추억 (Alhambeura Goongjeonui Chooeok) is a Korean drama that started airing on December 1, 2018. It’s official English title is Memories of the Alhambra. It’s currently airing on the tvN network, which is also known for Goblin, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, Flower Boys Next Door, Cheese in the Trap, and Hwayugi. Well, shit…I did not realize that I tend to watch alot of tvN dramas… It’s currently being released internationally through Netflix. Netflix is basically picking up on some of the Asian drama simulcasting since DramaFever is dead… It is slated to have a total of 16 episodes. New episodes are currently being aired on Saturday and Sunday. Netflix releases the episodes, fully subbed, about an hour after the original airing.

PLOT

The more serious/mysterious version of the promo poster…

PYoo Jin-Woo is the CEO of a famous tech investment company. While on business in Spain, he’s suddenly contacted by a programmer by the name of Jung Se-Ju. Se-Ju emails Jin-Woo a game he’s created. It’s a groundbreaking AR (augmented reality) game that uses the gaming optic lens from Jin-Woo’s company. However, Se-Ju sounds like he’s in a rush and tells Jin-Woo to meet him in Granada. Jin-Woo suddenly finds himself in the beautiful and historic city of Granada, Spain. Here he experiences the magic of Granada through the game. However, Se-Ju is nowhere to be found. Instead, Jin-Woo finds Se-Ju’s older sister, Jung Hee-Ju. Hee-Ju is the young and beautiful owner of a local hostel, and is a talented guitarist as well. However, the magic of Granada and the Alhambra are just beginning. Jin-Woo and Hee-Ju become entangled in several mysterious incidents, and the line between the real world the the game’s AR world starts to blur.

The drama get’s it’s name from a famous classical guitar piece called “Recuerdos de la Alhambra”, or “Memories of the Alhambra”. It was composed by Francisco de Asís Tárrega y Eixe in 1896, and in the city of Granada. It’s known for the usage of the tremolo technique that’s used by advanced guitar players. Yes, this song plays into the series as well. I honestly, wasn’t expecting much from this drama. I was let down by alot of dramas after Goblin (I’m looking at you Hwayugi). So I try not to get my hopes up. Still, I was excited because of Park Shin Hye. I’m also not typically into Sci-Fi. Still, I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed this series quite a bit. It’s got mystery and suspense.

So you’ve got some pretty big names in the cast of this drama. They’re basically names and faces well known in Korean media.


CHARACTERS (Some Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Park Shin Hye as Jung Hee Ju

Jung Hee Ju/Emma
Our leading lady in this drama is Jung Hee Ju. Hee Ju is portrayed by the lovely Park Shin Hye (박신혜). Hee Ju is young and beautiful owner of a hostel in Granada, Spain. She’s the oldest child in her family. Due to some circumstances, she’s the one who has become the breadwinner and head of her family. Hee Ju works incredibly hard. She’s kind and optimistic as well; Although she can seem pretty naive as well. The 27 year old is also a talented classic guitarist. Hee Ju has no idea that her younger brother created a groundbreaking AR game. She also appears in the game as an NPC named Emma. In the game, Emma appears as a beautiful guitarist in a tavern.

Park Shin Hye as Emma

What first drew me to the drama was my K-Drama bae Park Shin Hye. If you watch K-Dramas and don’t recognize her name, then you must have been sleeping under a rock. Park Shin Hye is considered a veteran actress. She’s had a long and well known career since she started as a child actress in dramas like Stairway to Heaven and Tree of Heaven. She’s most well known for starring in well known dramas like You’re Beautiful, Heartstrings, Flower Boys Next Door, The Heirs, Pinocchio, and Doctors. I love her. She’s absolutely gorgeous, and known to be beautiful inside and out. I will admit when she started, she was a bit awkward (particularly with kiss scenes — The deer in the headlights kind of scenes). However, I’ve literally watched her grow up and mature in her career. She’s improved so much. She’s also multi-talented. She can sing, dance, and play a couple instruments. Her company originally planned to debut her as a singer. Epik High originally wrote their hit track “Fly” for her. She focused on being an actress instead, and she’s come a long way. She still performs some tracks for her acting projects though.

Seriously thoughPark Shin Hye is forever my K-Drama bae~
Hyun Bin as Yoo Jin Woo

Yoo Jin Woo
The male lead is Yoo Jin Woo. He’s portrayed by Hyun Bin (현빈). Jin Woo is the CEO of a well known tech investment company. He’s incredibly smart, pretty cynical, and fearless. He’s also incredibly proud. He doesn’t have much patience or people skills though. He cares deeply for those close to him though. However, he’s also incredibly cold and bitter towards those who’ve betrayed or hurt him. He originally started his tech company with two close friends. Unfortunately, one of those close friends had an affair with and married his first ex-wife. They’ve had a bitter rivalry ever since.

Hyun Bin is another A-List actor. He’s well known for movies early Hallyu movies like Daddy Long Legs and A Millionaire’s First Love. He’s most well known for hit dramas like My Lovely Kim Sam Soon, Secret Garden, and Hyde Jekyll, Me.

EXO’s Chanyeol as Jung Se Ju

Jung Se Ju
Se Ju is portrayed by Park Chanyeol (박찬열) of the K-Pop idol group EXO. Se Ju is a programmer and Hee Ju’s younger brother. He created the AR game, “Memories of the Alhambra”. He suddenly contacted Jin Woo about the game in the middle of the night. He stated that Cha Hyung Seok, Jin Woo’s rival and ex-friend, was looking to buy his game. However, he doesn’t seem to trust Hyung Seok and would rather meet with Jin Woo to discuss the game. Se Ju seems a bit jumpy and scared, and cuts the phone call short. He tells Jin Woo to meet him at a hostel in Granada. However, Se Ju seems to have disappeared as he never showed up in Granada. Se Ju is the only boy in his family. So his family doesn’t seem too concerned about his absence, as he tends to go off the grid quite a bit. Ya’know how Asian families are. They’ll freak out over every little thing for girls, but for dudes it’s like, whatever. He’s your typical shy, quiet, and reclusive gamer and programmer. The plot revolves around the mysteries surrounding Se Ju’s game, as well as the search for the missing programmer himself.

Chanyeol is one of my favorite members of EXO. I loved him in the show Roommates too. He seems like a sweet and hard-working dude, so I was thrilled to see he was included in this.

Park Hoon as Cha Hyung Seok.

Cha Hyung Seok
Hyung Seok is portrayed by actor Park Hoon (박훈). Hyung Seok is Jin Woo’s rival. Like Jin Woo, he is also very proud. They used to be best friends before they were rivals. They had even started Jin Woo’s tech investment company together. However, that was before. Their friendship ended after Hyung Seok left the the company. It seems that he had something with Hyung Seok’s then-wife. Hyung Seok married her and started his own company, rivaling Jin Woo’s. Their friendship ended on a very bitter note. The two former friends are now incredibly competitive with one another. They strive to outdo the other, and to get whatever the other one wants.

Park Hoon may be familiar for his role in Descendants of the Sun.

Sir, why you seem so shady…?? Why do you always look angry?? Would you like a Snickers bar???

Cha Byung Jun/Professor Cha
He’s portrayed by actor Kim Eui Sung (차병준). He’s the Professor of Business Administration at Korea University. He’s also Hyung Seok’s father, and seems to be like a father figure for Jin Woo. However, he seems kind of shady. The man had no problems kicking his son out of the company. Seriously though, dude seems shady AF. 100/10 would not trust him. Seems like a dude who’d easily stab you in the butt/back.

Kim Eui Sung may be familiar due to his roles in Architecture 101, Train to Busan, W, and Mr. Sunshine. I found it funny that at the press conference he was like “?? Why did you all automatically assume I’m the villain???” Apparently, he’s played alot of villain roles in the past?

Seo Jung Hoon/Secretary Seo
He’s portrayed by actor Min Jin Woong (민진웅). He’s Jin Woo’s optimistic and loyal secretary. He a loyal bro and a nice dude.

Park Son Ho/Director Park
He’s portrayed by actor Lee Seung Joon (이승준). He’s a close friend and university seonbae (senior) of both Jin Woo and Hyung Seok. Together, they started J One Holdings. He’s currently the Director of J One Holdings. He seems to be caught in the middle of Jin Woo and Professor Cha. Despite the pressure from Professor Cha, Director Park tries to hold onto his loyalty and trust in Jin Woo. Also, why does this dude look so different without his glasses??

Lee Seung Joon may be familiar due to his roles in Descendants of the Sun, Hyde Jekyll, Me, Misaeng, and Mr. Sunshine .

Choi Yang Joo
He’s played by actor Jo Hyun Chul (조현철). He’s the head of the Research & Development team at J One Holdings. He’s your typical nerd/geek.

There are alot of characters, but these are some of your more central characters. I’ll talk about some of the other characters in the later posts.


The cinematography is beautifully done, and the shots from Spain are stunning. I think I’m also enjoying it because it gives me some similar feels to the Goblin drama. Everything, especially the scenes in Spain, are so wonderfully shot. It honestly really makes me want to travel to Spain. It’s now on my travel bucket list with my besties. It’s surprising for me since I’ve never really had much of an urge to travel to Spain before. Asian countries took up most of my bucket list. I figured it’d be easier and more comfortable for me. Still, I’m now craving churros with hot chocolate, paella (Thanks Jess), and the beautiful sights and sounds of Spain.

I’m also quite interested in it because of the gaming aspects. It’s really an interesting concept to be able to game anywhere with a contact lens like device. The other interesting concept was the idea of a game truly working with your surroundings in the real world.

The idea of such an interactive and realistic AR game is also really intriguing. Although, I also have alot of questions and skepticism; Mainly because I’m that person that can’t help but think pretty logically/realistically. More on that later though.

Enemy stats
Also, the fucking bathroom scene had me dying. Dying because it’s fucking hilarious, and dying because I know that pain haha.

Still, as a gamer (or at least someone who enjoys gaming) this was a pretty fun and interest idea. I enjoyed the “gaming” bits. It was interesting to see Jin-Woo try to level up, do quests, and find weapons. It’s something that gamers were quite familiar with, and it was interesting to see. It was also fucking hilarious to see the random people (aka the normal people) who were oblivious to him playing an AR game.


THE SOUNDTRACK

The soundtrack has been top-notch as well. It’s pretty solid and I love just about every track so far.

U Seungeun (유성은) and Loco (로꼬)
(Little Prince) |”Star (Little Prince)”

I’m particularly in love with the first track called “별 (Little Prince)”, or “Star (Little Prince)”. It’s by U Seungeun (유성은) and Loco (로꼬). If you didn’t know, Loco is one of my favorite Korean Hip-Hop artists. I’m glad he got to be a part of this before his mandatory enlistment. It’s a stunning track though. U Seungeun’s vocals are amazing. The track gave me a similar vibe/feel to the soundtrack from Goblin as well.

Ailee (에일리)
Is You

Another song I loved is “Is You”. It’s sung by Ailee (에일리), one of my all time favorite Korean artists. She also contributed to the Goblin soundtrack as well. The Korean-American diva is once again proving that aside from her signature powerhouse vocals, she’s amazing at emotional ballads as well.

Elaine (일레인)
백일몽 (Daydream)

This track by Elaine is rather beautiful as well. It’s got that whimsical and romantic feel to it. The instrumental is really pretty to listen to on it’s own as well.

George (죠지)
Memories of the Alhambra | 알함브라 궁전의 추억

I really liked this track as well. It samples a bit of the original “Memories of the Alhambra” guitar piece. It then transitions to this R&B track with George’s smooth vocals. I’m for it. This kind of music is definitely my style.


FINAL VERDICT

Throwing in a random and cute pic of my K-Drama bae. Have a wonderful day.

So my final verdict? Is this worth a watch? Yes. Truthfully, I’m all caught up on the available episodes. I’ll be going more in depth in my mid-series and final reviews at a later time. However, based on the beginning portion of the series, I’d say it’s quite an interesting drama. It has an interesting concept for a K-Drama. It has wonderful actors. They’re known as some of the best in the business. The cinematography was beautifully done. I truly do wish to travel to Spain now. Are there some flaws in the drama? Sure. There are some minor continuity errors. There are also some K-Drama LOLs (see below). Still, it’s been an enjoyable series. I will say, the thing that irks me the most would be the ship. I don’t hate it, however, I’m not in love with it either. I feel like they didn’t really spend any time in building the ship at all. It was basically, “Here you go. Here’s the ship. Ship it.” I didn’t really see or feel that spark between the characters. It just suddenly (and I mean SUDDENLY) went from, “You’re incredibly unpleasant to deal with” to “You’re (for no reason) on my mind”. Literally. No. Foundation. I was expecting something a bit more solid to support this ship. Instead, I feel like it’s a bit weak. So personally I find that the focus in this drama is more on action, mystery, and suspense than the romance. Still, it’s worth it because of the action, mystery, and suspense. However, I will warn you that it can be a bit “slow”. “Slow” in that for a good chunk of the episodes you’ll be basically seeing the same certain time span. However, there’ll be alot of going back and forth to show new information and different perspectives. So if you’re not a fan of that, maybe this isn’t for you.

TDLR; Worth it. Watch it. For once the ship isn’t a driving force for me. However, I’m staying for K-Drama bae, the story itself, the mystery, action, and suspense.

Also, I’m not really spoiling it. However, I will warn you that the drama had been tagged/advertised with the following genres: fantasy, romance, suspense, and melodrama. “Melodrama” worries me. I don’t know where we’ll go, but prepare your hearts friends. K-Dramas don’t play. I should know. I survived the great 2000-2006 melodrama period of K-Dramas…

Who’s watching this series? What do you think so far??


Extra Stuff| Wuht…? (K-Drama LOLs)

Who remembers K-Drama LOLs (Lapses of Logic) on YouTube? I miss those…too bad DramaFever took those with them #ForeverSalty

Warning: There may be some minor spoilers ahead

Now for the “Wuht…??” moments. I enjoy dramas and all, but I also tend to think pretty logically. I can go with the flow, but I’ll still question things…

-So you’re only using the game lenses right? How the hell can you hear anything from the game, or talk to anything in the game…??

Bruh. How unsanitary. Wash your hands first. You nasty. 

-Speaking of the lenses…they’re basically contacts, right? Y’all have some nasty hygiene habits then. You really should be washing your hands first before sticking your fingers to put in or take out those lenses in your eyeballs… You’re gonna make yourself go blind from unsanitary practices.

-Dude…Those lenses are a piece of electronic tech, right? So does it not burn out your eyeballs after prolonged usage? I mean, normal electronics can get pretty hot after you use it for a long time. Dude be playing the game all night long until it was morning. Also at the beginning he literally told his developer dude that the lens was feeling a bit hot… So…??

-Bruh…you left in one taxi, but arrived at the hospital in another taxi? Don’t think I wouldn’t notice the obvious change in the license plate. Seriously though, one shot was right in front of the license plate. I get it, IRL they wouldn’t use the same taxi during filming. Still, they shouldn’t have filmed it where the license plates were smack dab in my face.

Ok…so your “spark of interest” started with Emma the NPC and not the actual Hee Ju…?

-Are we gonna talk about the development (or rather lack of actual development) in the main ship?? Like they went from typical awful first impressions and disliking each other. And within less than 24-48 hours, dude reveals he’s a famous and rich dude who wants to buy her building. (Spoiler: He has some ulterior motives, and no…it’s not due to some interest in her). So now she’s rich and suddenly can’t stop thinking about him. Also he suddenly has her on his mind after seeing Emma in the game…? Um… I get K-Drama logic is wonky. Still, the pacing of the romance here is like WTF? Let’s be honest, this ship didn’t really have any real foundation. It was just kinda like, “Here’s the ship, ship it.”


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