[K-DRAMA REVIEW] “A Korean Odyssey”/”Hwayugi” Full Drama Review
“A Korean Odyssey” was one of the most hyped K-Dramas in quite awhile due to it being Lee Seung Gi’s first drama since returning from his mandatory military service. It had a little bit of a rough start with technical glitches and safety issues. However, it still finished pretty strong ratings wise. Read on for my full review of “A Korean Odyssey”.
Male Lead Son Oh Gong
Son Oh Gong (aka The Great Sage and The Monkey King) is a prideful and confident character that starts off as a powerful immortal that thinks about nothing but himself. He first meets Jin Seon Mi as a kid and cons her into a deal with him to set him free from confinement (she can call on him for help anytime, but he removes her memory of knowing his name). Their paths cross once again twenty-five years later; and he has to uphold his end of the deal by protecting his one true love Jin Seon Mi.
Let me start off saying, thank goodness Lee Seung Gi is back!! I honestly have never heard anyone say they dislike him and his acting, so you know it’s going to be good when he’s one of the leads. The role of Son Oh Gong was perfect for him. He got to show off his comedic side along with plenty of serious and romantic aspects as well. I loved how ruthless his character was but by the end, he would do anything to protect those he cared about and loved.
Female Lead Jin Seon Mi
Jin Seon Mi (aka Sam Jang) is a human with special powers to see ghosts. She has a burning tenacity, unyielding, and powerful with everything she does. When she encounters Son Oh Gong later in life, she uses a “Geumganggo” to make Oh Gong protect her like he previously promised. However, this bracelet (Geumganggo) binds them with a once in a lifetime love that will end badly. Seon Mi is known as Sam Jang due to her blood smelling like lotus flowers which draw demons/ghosts to her.
I am now a huge Oh Yeon Seo fan. She brought such a light to the screen with her character, Jin Seon Mi. I’m not sure if all of her characters are like that having not seen any of her other dramas. But, I can say her acting makes her character always stand out even when there are five other characters around. Even in the saddest of scenes in “A Korean Odyssey”, she had a brightness about her (see pic above).
The Rest of the Immortals
If “A Korean Odyssey” had one thing, it’d be a star lined cast. From Lee Hong Ki to Cha Seung Won to Yoon Bo Ra, there was no lack of star power.
Cha Seung Won played Ma Wang (aka The Bull Demon King), and was possibly my favorite character just because of his comedic performance. I read that he improvised many scenes, and that really impressed me. Whenever he was on the screen, you can be he’ll say something or have a facial expression that makes you bust out laughing.
Lee Hong Ki was the Pig Demon, PK/Jeo Pal Gye, that came to be the best friend and eventually falling for zombie Jung Se Ra/Jin Bu Ja. I’ve been a fan of Lee Hong Ki ever since “You’re Beautiful” and these type of characters are made for him.
Ma Wang’s loyal secretary is Ma Ji Young/Dog Demon (Lee El). While her character was not as 3-D emotion wise as the others, she still brought a great component to the show that I really enjoyed.
My one other favorite character from this show was zombie Bu Ja (before she was inhabited by Ah Sa Nyeo). She lived by being connected to Sam Jang. Bu Ja was an adorable character and her friendship with Pal Gye was so cute. I just wished there was a better ending for them.
It’s been awhile since I’ve watched a fantasy/action drama such as this one, and I’ve got to start watching them more often! Each episode had a different demon that Sam Jang, Ma Wang, and Oh Gong had to battle. It reminded me somewhat of the American 90s TV Show “Charmed” (which I love).
I’ll admit the plot got a little slow for me around episode 16. It seemed to be a never-ending circle between Seon Mi, Oh Gong, and Ah Sa Nyeo til the very end. I could have done with a little less emphasis on the Geumganggo continuously as well. However, I did enjoy the story line for the most part. I just simply wish it wasn’t such of a circle towards the end with a more clear cut direction. Also, I’ll warn you to not expect Marvel level graphics during the demon/fight scenes. But, for a TV show with a limited budget, I thought everything was really well done!
I think one of my new favorite bro-mances is now Ma Wang and Oh Gong. They detested one another at the beginning due to Oh Gong’s rudeness and intruding on Ma Wang’s home. But by the end, Ma Wang loved having him around and was lonely whenever Oh Gong was away.
Like I said above, PK and Bu Ja was absolutely adorable. I’m glad PK finally heard Bu Ja’s real feelings in the last episode, but I wanted them to have a happier ending. Then again, I can’t expect too much as this is K-Drama land!
Finally, we have Jin Seon Mi and Son Oh Gong. Most of the show was spent not knowing if Oh Gong’s feelings for Seon Mi were true or the Geumganggo’s power. However, it became very clear of his true intentions and how much he loved Seon Mi. I’m still not completely sure how I feel about the ending of the show just yet. While I was happy that Seon Mi and Oh Gong got a chance to reveal their feelings without any sort of magical overpower, they still didn’t have the best ending. We are left with Oh Gong driving off to the Underworld to rescue Seon Mi. So I’m just telling myself that this could be a set up for a possible season 2.
OVERALL RATING: 7.75/10
What are your thoughts on “A Korean Odyssey”/”Hwayugi”? Which two characters were your favorite dynamic/relationship?