From initially captivating us as the shy yet musically-gifted Kim Pil-sook (or Gelou) on her first-ever drama stint Dream High which was also broadcast by ABS-CBN in 2011, top Korean female idol Lee Ji-eun, or more popularly known by her screenname IU, is now sending chills down our spines in her latest series Hotel Del Luna.
As it started airing on the Kapamilya network last week, we have witnessed why it’s undoubtedly one of the well-loved and top-rating K-drama of 2019 and here are the reasons:.
The unique narrative
Through the years, we’ve seen a lot of Korean dramas that engrossed us with stories ranging from romance, drama, fantasy, action, and historical. And seemingly, it’s our first time to see a series that’s able to combine the ideas of horror, comedy, fantasy, and romance in one.
Hotel Del Luna gives us a one-of-a-kind experience of how does it feel to check in a one-of-a-kind world-class fictitious inn located in Seoul which, unlike other hotels, only accommodates ghost clienteles and is not visible in its true form during the day.
The series opened by showing lead female protagonist Jang Man-wol (IU) as a courageous rebel during the Goguryeo era. As she embarked on a perilous journey of finding the famous “Guest House of the Moon”, she met an old woman who gave her a liquor that instantly turned her into the immortal owner of the guest house wherein she got stuck for 1,300 years.
Fast forward to 1998, we’re able to meet the young Nathan Koo and his father who’s willing to do everything just to provide him a good life despite their poverty. Desperate to give his son at least a simple present on his birthday, he robbed a store but got into an accident as he fell down the stairs while escaping from the police and hit his head hard on the pavement. He then found himself in Hotel Del Luna wherein he came face-to-face with Man-wol, who gave him a second chance to live in exchange of giving his son to her after 20 years to work for her.
Two decades after, the deal finally took effect as Man-wol started tailing the now grown-up Nathan (Yeo Jin-goo), who just arrived back in South Korea to work as an assistant manager for a top hotel after residing and studying abroad. He tried to snub her and the evening primrose she sent to him, but Man-wol was really eager to compel him to accept the managerial post that her most trusted aide for 30 years Manager Noh (Jung Dong-hwan) was about to vacate due to his impending retirement. In his continuous refusal, Man-wol was prompted to give him a different kind of present for his birthday – the ability to see dead people.
Nathan attempted to escape from her and the entities he encountered by paying off his father’s debts to her and convincing her that he could conquer his fear of ghosts after succeeding in her test, but she just grew more persistent to bring him onboard.
We then witnessed how they’re able to help the wandering soul of the Baekdu tiger, who caused the sickness of the chairman of the hotel where Nathan works, got back to its original habitat by Man-wol’s acquisition of the painting of Mount Baekdu displayed at the chairman’s house.
Upon knowing this, Nathan suddenly had the urge to help the eyeless ghost who’d been following him. Besides, his conversation with old Manager Noh before it passed away seemed to convince him a bit to take over Hotel Del Luna.
The enthralling performances of the actors
Aside from the unique, refreshing storyline, what makes this Hallyu drama a sure-fire is its impressive roster of actors who impeccably breathed life to the characters they portray.
Lead star IU was indeed a great choice to be the apathetic yet admirable hotel owner Jang Man-wol because her versatility as an actress, not to mention her sweet yet fierce façade, makes her fitting for the role.
The same goes for her leading man Yeo Jin-goo, who was able to absolutely complement her and create an unmistakable chemistry with her despite only working for the first time.
The impressive overall production
Being a fantasy and supernatural drama, it’s delighting that the creative people behind Hotel Del Luna really paid attention both to the minute and huge details of its CGIs (computer-generated imageries) and cinematography, as well as to the musical scoring, set design, and costumes and makeup of each cast, regardless if they’re part of the main roster or not.
Keep on watching Hotel Del Luna on ABS-CBN, weeknights after The Killer Bride on Primetime Bida. ...