The Return of Iljimae

Due to a prolonged bout of allergic conjunctivitis (non-contagious, but oh, so annoying!), I’ve not been able to do any writing. (My eyes didn’t like my last blog piece, on Chuno, and staged a mini mutiny, causing me to look like Dracula’s bride for days. That also explains why that review feels truncated; it was just too painful, literally, to continue.) Who knew the new constant in my life would be eye drops and daily pleas of “Go away, pollen!”?

I’m still watching dramas, albeit at a snail’s pace (and on the TV rather than computer; it’s kinder to my eyes that way). A few days ago, I started a drama that several pals had been raving about last year; I instantly liked what I saw.

A Kim Min-jong standing unseen outside the room of his beloved made my heart ache for some reason; I know I’m going to root fiercely for this couple. I hurt again when Iljimae (Jung Il-woo) met his real dad for the first time and was unceremoniously rejected, a second abandonment. The first rejection led to him becoming an unwitting seafarer (or riverfarer, to be more precise). In a scene so picturesque it was like gazing at a watercolor painting, our wee Iljimae floated down the river on a basket before he was rescued. I had to pause to take a screencap, so transfixed was I by the beauty before me.

It’s still early days (three episodes down and twenty-one more to go) and I have no idea if I will continue to enjoy The Return of Iljimae. (Have studiously avoided ALL spoilers and don’t have the faintest inkling about the plot or relationship dynamics.) But to make up for the recent lack of posts, I would like to share the drama with you so that you can watch it with me.

EDIT:

All links deleted.

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29 thoughts on “The Return of Iljimae

  1. Didn’t know you are also suffering from pollen at your side of the world!

    What irony… isn’t Iljimae means a stem of cherry blossom sth like that
    and cherry blossom = pollen allergy… wonder if your allergy comes from watching ROI :P

    Cherry blossom are booming everywhere at where I live and yup the stunning sight of cherry blossom = a trip to the pharmacy :( maybe I should just stay at home and enjoy the above “Iijimae” on screen instead of wooing & ahhing at the sight of cherry blossom out on the street ;p

  2. Glad you’re back! I know how annoying conjunctivitis is cuz I sometimes get it too… that yucky feeling in your eyes when you wake up in the morning… grrr..

    I love the new look of your blog.. it feels more vibrant with the addition of gorgeous pictures on the side menu.. ROI has been on my to-watch list for as long as I can remember.. but there’s only so many dramas I can watch at a time and with the upcoming dramas at the end of March I wonder when I’ll be able to finally get to it but you’ve certainly moved up the priority ranking for ROI on my long list of dramas to watch.

  3. Thundie, I just have to squee a little reading your post. ;)

    So sorry that you’ve been suffering miserably, but I am glad that you’ve started watching ROI. I hope you enjoy all of its beauty. :D

  4. Sorry about the allergies, but I’m glad you’re doing better. And thank you for putting up ROI, it’s on my list to watch. Also, like the new changes made on the site. I had to pause and make sure I was on the right blog :) But it looks good.

  5. Hi Janie

    My eye allergies started at the beginning of Feb, so it’s five weeks now and counting. I really hate it because I’m itching to get back to blogging (recaps, Family Honor review, etc.) and I can’t. By evening my eyes are so inflammed I can barely keep them open; the doc says it’s the eye muscles going into spasms because they had to work hard all day fighting the irritation. It isn’t just pollen; other allergens in the air (or even makeup) can trigger it. Feb is the driest month on record in my part of the woods and apparently lots of people are suffering the same thing. No relief in sight, alas, until it rains.

    Hi nabi

    Thanks! I love the new blog look too, hehe. Just wanted a change and am so glad it turned out okay. My allergic conjunctivitis is different from the usual conjunctivitis and I don’t get the gooey eyelids-all-stuck-together feeling in the morning, thank goodness. But I could certainly do without the who-is-poking-my-eyes-with-needles feeling and general eye fatigue.

    Hi hjkomo

    I hope I’ll like ROI all the way to the end! Was just thinking yesterday that it’s been a long time since I watched a kdrama whose ending I loved. The recent ones have all had disappointing endings.

    Hi Taohua

    Yes, watch ROI with me! :D

  6. Funny thing is, I just visited javabeans’ blog and the header that loaded was of ROI and I thought to myself, “hmm… been meaning to watch that one for a while but haven’t yet started.” And then I come here, and looky! Download links! Thanks so much for the goodies, thundie!

  7. Dear!

    Hope you are feeling better. Pray for the very best. It is insane and very painful. I know.

    Thanks for the updates too.:)

  8. thundie! glad you’re back in action!

    lol what a coincidence, ROI is what i’m watching right now (around ep. 11 i think). very pretty, very scenic, but my heart has been rebelliously screaming for kang ji-hwan’s hong gil dong this whole time. :D i’m not sold on this drama’s story (or even jung il-woo’s character) — yet, so we’ll see how it all goes, yes?

    p.s. love your blog’s new look!

  9. Thundie, stop staring and gawking at that beautiful boy in ROI and those abs in Chuno. Your eyes are smarting already!

    On a more serious note, I’ll pray for your recovery.

  10. thundie –

    hope those eyes of your clear up soon, you don’t want to miss out on the wonderful scenery of ROI

    Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :D

  11. I have seen all of ROI and it is a very beautiful drama right to the very end.
    A stunning production with spectacular cinematography.
    Jung Il Woo has done a superb job of his role as Iljimae, supressing that radiant smile of his for majority of the drama was a difficult tasks Im sure.

  12. I chanced upon the opening scenes of ROI and was hooked by its slick production and one of the rarer species of K-drama: a serious and inquisitive heroine.

    That and thundie’s usually reliable good opinion made me start watching ROI.

    Am I the only one who did not like it?

    Yes, totally agreed with the cute leads, spectacular cinematography, pretty scenery and all those. But, for me, this drama has no heart!

    I felt I was just along for a ride in the beautiful countryside. There is no urgency, no compulsion, and no emotional investment.

    Now I am glad for Lee Seung Gi that he did not end up with this one. Script really trumps everything else.

  13. Hi AnnMichelle

    “thundie’s usually reliable good opinion…”

    LOL, I can’t decide if that is a compliment! :lol: But thank you!

    “Yes, totally agreed with the cute leads, spectacular cinematography, pretty scenery and all those. But, for me, this drama has no heart!”

    You know which drama immediately comes to mind when I read that description? Chuno! *ducks poisonous arrows from outraged Chuno fans*

    But seriously, I’m floored that you think ROI has no heart because what I love most about the drama is that it has so much heart. It moved and gripped me more than any other 2009 drama; my heart ached for the characters and instantly missed them when I finished the last episode.

    As for “no urgency, no compulsion,” that is so surprising because my heart was in my mouth every second that Iljimae was in danger! I thought pacing was perfect.

    Been really busy and have not finished ep 1 in my rewatch. But I plan to either recap the first few episodes or write a review when I finish my rewatch. Will post more then. :D

  14. Dear Thundie,
    First a confession – I am only at ep. 5 so may not have given enough ‘nurturing’ to ROI. But, life is short and I have bigger eye problems than yours, hence my decision to abandon the drama.

    Let’s just visit two important plot lines that I think were handled very mechanically. The meeting with the real father and his refusal to recognize his son…This is familiar K-drama territory and both Damo and Hong Gil Dong gave much deeper emotional impact. The way the adoptive parents were ‘ditched’ by our hero was also too convenient (and heartless).

    Then the master teaching him the martial art. Again, I cannot see any purpose or reason behind the act other than to move the plots along. And that Chinese spy character is a nuisance from beginning to end.

    I was hoping there would be some time-warp element to explain the opening scenes. Is there? If so, I will keep my eye-drop at hand and stick it out.

    Love your recaps and devotion to Shining Inheritance. I am still obsessed by it and like LSG’s hair more and more!

  15. Hi thundie

    I’m currently watching ROI too. I’m at ep. 10, I can say that I really like the drama. But Kim Min Jong’s wooden acting makes me uncomfortable. His chracater is interesting but his acting bores me to tears. I also don’t find the ost (which matters to me the most along with storyline) so appealing. These are the only flaws of the drama. I think I’d give this a 9 or 9.5 already now.

    Btw. what does Mr. X think about ROI? He didn’t write a year end review for 2009, so I don’t know. And also I’m curious about his Top 3 or Top 10 fave sageuks hehe..

  16. Thank you so much for the download links! I’m really bad at downloading using torrents (idk they never work for me, hahaha)

    ROI! <3

    TC.

  17. Pingback: Haru2subS – High Quality English Subtitles for Korean Dramas » Return of Iljimae

  18. hi… thank you for sharing the links.

    since you highly rate this drama, i would really like to download this. however, i cannot do so with the links you provided (it won’t allow me and i don’t know why). also, i would rather download torrents. if it’s not so much a bother to you, can you also share torrent links if you have.. or anyone please. thanks!

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