Arang and the Magistrate

Arang and the Magistrate

Arang and the Magistrate finally comes to an end this week, a gut wrenching sobbing end…oh wait…that was me!

There were moments where I thought I was going to lose it laughing, or crying and sometimes both during the last few episodes. But it was an emotional ride of the best kind because any Kdrama that can have characters falling in love while fighting supernatural evil, well, that’s a win in my book.

The Leads:

  • Eun-oh (Lee Joon gi):A love starved mama’s boy.
  • Arang (Shin Min a):An amnesiac ghost with balls of steal. Really. BIG. Balls.

The Story:

Eun-oh is a man with one purpose, and that’s to find his mother who has run off, coldly leaving him behind. Arang is searching for answers about her death, because you see, she can’t remember a thing of her past life or how she died, our girl has amnesia of the supernatural kind. Things get tricky when these two meet and mysterious circumstances reveal that Arang has the answers to Eun-oh’s questions about his mother’s disappearance. The big problem? You guessed it, Arang doesn’t remember anything so it’s up to our man to help jog her memory.

But Arang isn’t the type of girl to give anything away for free, she’ll help him, but only if he helps her unravel the mystery of her death… smart girl. This sets off a journey of discovery for both our leads where they not only discover the answers to their big questions, but our leading man learns a little humility and kindness and Arang… well she’s always been balls out crazy, so she just keeps on keepin’ on.

The Supporting Characters:

  • Joo-wal (Yeon Woo-jin):The world’s most pitiable man. We love to hate him, but then feel bad when we do.
  • Dol-swe (Kwon Oh-joong):The manliest scaredy-cat I’ve ever seen. How’d that happen?
  • Bang-wool (Hwang Bo ra):The worst shaman ever.
  • Mu-yeon (Kang Moon-young):Evil fairy or worst mom known to man, take your pick.
  • Mu-young (Han Jung-soo):Reaper with a sister complex.
  • Jade Emperor (Yoo Seung ho):Pervy God of Heaven with a bad wig. Yes, I said pervert AND a bad wig, this shouldn’t be so shocking.
  • Hades (Park Joon-kyu): God of the Underworld who desires the Jade Emperor’s body. (Not in that way! I know what you were thinking!)

What I liked:

Baddies with minions, interfering all-knowing gods and a second lead love story full of laughs and heart. Awesome. No really. AWESOME. What Arang and the Magistrate was so great at, was using the supporting cast to it’s fullest. I don’t think I have ever felt so sympathetic and sorry for a character the way I felt for Joo-wal, and this was because he wasn’t just a token rival where he’s the sweet to the male leads jerk. Joo-wal had issues, bigger issues than not getting the girl and you felt his pain the whole way through as he’s used by the higher-ups, not getting the girl was just salt in the already ripped and bleeding wounds.

Don’t let the drama of it all fool you though, if anything Arang and the Magistrate is a romantic comedy of the first order. Dol-swe and Bang-wool had me laughing the entire time. Some of the funniest scenes of the show for me were the Dol-swe / Bang-wool interactions, second only to the Jade Emperor / Hades dynamic. These gods are sneaky and hilarious, but at the same time they are giving off life lessons in ways we mere mortals can’t comprehend, and just when you think you have them figured out, that Jade Emperor pulls one over on you. Ornery God!

What I didn’t:

Honestly there wasn’t much. Sometimes I felt the evil mom / fairy bit was way over the top, but then we would see Joo-wal and how she really dug deep to manipulate his emotions, or her complex sibling relationship with Mu-young and it brought it all back around. I guess I can rag on the Jade Emperor’s horrific man weave, but really, bad hair is a small sacrifice to pay for such a good drama, especially when it’s on Yoo Seung-ho.

The verdict:

Overall during the entire drama, whether it be the good guys or the bad guys, they all played their strengths and weaknesses well. I felt sad with them, angry with them, and happy when things worked out for them. Arang and the Magistrate is just one of many historical Kdrama’s I’ve seen, but as rom-coms go I think it’s my favorite by far, and in a year where the historical rom-com has made a big appearance, that’s saying something.