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Jungle Fish 2 (2010)
Genre: Drama, school
Broadcast network: KBS2
Broadcast period: 2010-Nov-04 to 2010-Dec-30
Jungle Fish 2 begins with the mysterious death of a female student at the top of her school building. What was actually happened? Was it an accident or was she killed or did she commit suicide? Who was involved in the incident and what was the reason for their involvement? The drama unfolds as her ex-boyfriend searches for the answers. Viewers are also able to meet and get to know other main characters; who are also the friends of the boy and the girl, take turn getting featured front and centre by episode.
This drama reflects on the dark side of today’s teenagers which focuses on the issues they face such as friendships, family problems, money matters, teenage pregnancy and educational corruption. Moreover, the burden of keeping a dark secret from best friend, the struggle of pleasing parents with straight As, the difficulty to find a proper job as a dropout, the feeling of guilty for letting the parent down and the rebellion against the school rule are some of the examples shown in the drama which make me realise that the life of teenagers are not always sweet and innocent.
Despite focusing solely on the prime subject of the story i.e. the girl who died, using several episodes in the beginning to introduce all the other main characters one by one seems to be a smart approach taken by the writers. Not only it manages to avoid characters confusion (about who is who and please note that this drama has 6 main characters) but also it manages to keep viewers’ interest to watch it till the end as hints for the mystery are given along the way. Having only 8 episodes, it is short yet compact without having unnecessary dragging and repetitive scenes.
The language used is simple with urban style to suit the youth setting. However, the use of internet language instead of the appropriate “real-life” language especially during internet and phone messaging scenes receives criticism from Korean netizens.
Though each main character is unique and given enough details, they are not too new and can be easily found in other high school drama. However, the writers are clever at manipulating the characters to blend in perfectly with the plot to make the story interesting.
Hong Jong Hyun as Min Ho Soo (ID: stranger_a)
Park Ji Yeon as Seo Yool (ID: bluepills)
Lee Joon as Ahn Ba Woo (ID: CinderellaMan)
Shin So Yool as Lee Ra Yi (ID: Indiedol)
Kim Bo Ra as Yoon Gong Ji (ID: BloodyMandoo)
Han Ji Woo as Baek Hyo An (ID: JungleFish)
The entire cast of this drama deserves praise for a great and convincing performance in making the story very realistic and believable. Special attention should be given to Ji Yeon and So Yool whose characters involved in many heavy-emotional scenes. So Yool is doing unexpectedly well in displaying various emotion such as happy, caring, worried, depressed and guilty. Her touching scenes were mostly captured when she was with her mother. While Ji Yeon and Lee Joon should be regarded as examples of idols turn actor and actress who are doing well, there is still room for improvement - especially for Lee Joon’s acting.
Jungle Fish 2 has a cinematic feel. It is quieter and less bright compared to many other Korean dramas; which suit its gloomy storyline. The visuals are well-shot and great in quality. The OST and BGM of this drama are also well-chosen and they work effectively in boosting the “desired” emotion of a scene. Since Jungle Fish 2 is a drama about teenagers, its OST features a young and fresh line-up of artists including Min Ah (Girl’s Day), SuperNova, Taru (The Melody), Kim Yeo Hee @ Apple Girl, Yoo Seung Chan and Xena. Ji Yeon (T-ara) who plays one of the main characters also sings a song for the OST entitled ‘Little by Little’.
Though Lee Joon is the reason why I watch this drama at first, I realized that this drama has more to offer beside him the moment the drama started. Its realistic way of showing the life of today’s teenagers acts as a charm that keeps me watching till the end. Even though at times this drama is hard to watch because it's hard to even think that many things portrayed in the drama are actually happening, watching this kind of drama really opens my eyes to the fact they do occur in reality and something need to be done about that. Therefore, despite being real, it was criticized for depicting high school students in a sexually suggestive and aggressive way. For this reason, I do think some scenes may offend or annoy some viewers. Hence, parental guidance is advised for some audience.
Despite being a depressing and gloomy drama, it’s just ironic that Jungle Fish 2 has K-pop idols Ji Yeon (T-ara) and Lee Joon (MBLAQ) whom are usually seen with a bright and cheerful image as its main character. This proves their good acting skill anyway. This drama also has a strong ‘independent’ feel which can be noticed through its dialogue, cinematography and limited number of cast used. It is not typical and easy to watch. Therefore, it is sure not everyone’s cup of tea. However, its great cast with great acting skill and solid plot with a blend of various emotions makes it is worth trying!
Overall drama rating: 9/10
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