Monstar


Reviewed by: sukting

May 11, 2014

Rating: two

How long
12 episodes

Foreword
The drama is about how a group of teenagers are healed through the power of music. Xue Can, a member of Korea's most popular K-pop boy band Men in Black, is provoked into pushing one of his crazy fans. When that goes viral, his reputation goes downhill. As damage control, his agency tells him to quietly attend school for a while.

Meanwhile, Shi Yi, a new transfer student from New Zealand, draws attention in the school for both her talent and oddness. She doesn't mingle with the crowd. Misunderstandings occur between the two and their other classmates.

But in the midst of all the chaos, some students find a common interest which connects them to each other: music. Every character has his or her own untold stories, which have had significant impact in their lives. But as they gather together to sing and play the music they love, they learn to soothe the pain inside them, and to open each of their souls.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Yong Jun-hyung of Beast as Yin Xue Chan
Xue Can is the main singer of a 6 person group, men in black. He is very fussy and has a poison tongue. He will never reflect his own actions and thus doesn't show genuine feelings towards his fans. He is a popular idol and due to his good family background, he isn't afraid of anything. He looks aloof but he is very mature for his age after being in the entertainment circle for long. To him, the others are very childish.

He is mistaken for injuring his fan and refuses to apologise to her. This causes him to be punished to return to high school. He finds it tough to readjust and feels insecure despite getting mobbed by fans daily. He becomes curious of Shi Yi. She knows nothing of his music and keeps to herself. When seeing her singing with her guitar and he joins her, he will forget his star status and becomes only an ordinary member.

Xue Can has a painful past. He is actually adopted and his present mother doesn't know how to communicate with him initially to send him back to the orphanage. That leaves a scar on him although she gets his back again. He is always unable to overcome this barrier and confides in Shi Yi. Shi Yi helps him to overcome this. Jun-hyung is quite natural in his acting as the spoilt brat.

2. Ha Yeon-soo as Min Shi Yi
She returns from New Zealand but is weak in English as she only has chances to talk to sheep. She looks innocent but is very strong. She seems indifferent to what is happening around her but will stand up for friends. She talks little and doesn't know how to sweettalk to others. She knows how to understand and heal others and guys like to be with her.

It is fate that she knocks into Xue Can on their first day of school. They are then arranged to sit beside each other. Many think that it is an honour to sit beside a big star but to her, it is very simple. He is only a person who is rude to snatch her handphone and is more like a sexual harassment pervert. She can't wait to get away from him but she becomes very busy with him and music later. This actress is very sweet. Although she doesn't really have a fantastic voice, her appearance makes up for it.
3. Kang Ha-neul as Zheng Shan Yu
He is a person who has the ability to give others pressure with just a sentence. He is very attractive with his mannerism and many like to be with him. He plays the cello in the group, all for one. He is very talented and can play other musical instruments too. Although he is also good in singing, he keeps a low profile.

He comes from a rich family and his chauffeur ferries him to school. His parents have taught him to give model answers since young. He is intelligent and good in studies. He has thought to become a doctor after losing out to Xue Can in playing the piano since young. The two have known each other from young. When Shi Yi comes to his class, his plans change. Within one glance, he recognizes her as the girl he likes when he is in primary 5 with her then.

Seeing Xue Can making his moves, he decides not to sit back anymore, he joins their band, Colour Bar and also becomes Xue Can's love rival. Shan Yu explains to Shi Yi that his mother is overly concerned about him as his younger sister dies of leukemia. Thus, Shi Yi is like someone close to him. Ha-neul is also an excellent actor. He oozes his charm throughout the drama, almost upstaging Jun-hyung in the process.

4. Ahn Nae-sang as Han Zhi Xiong
He has a cold heart and doesn't talk much. He is once a famous song writer and producer but is now in retreat. He actually has a sad past. He is arrogant when young. One fateful day, he drives his car with a female fan when drunk. The woman dies in the car crash and from then on, he lives in shame.

A group of intruders invade his home, eyeing his storeroom as their music training room. No matter how he tries, he fails to drive them away. When Shi Yi mentions the CD and hums the song, he recognizes her. Out of remorse, he gives in to them. These intruders do not just want his room but to combine as one with him. Slowly, he teaches them how to play musical instruments and also to sing to become their instructor.

5. Dahee as Jin Na Na
Her father is an underworld boss and her mother is his mistress and a dance hostess. She grows up with her mother but they never register her birth. She is brought up as her maternal grandmother's child. She dresses like a gangster like Dao Nan, often unbuttoning her blouse to reveal a t-shirt. Still, her father often steps in when anything happens or she is troubled. That sends the guys to mistaken that she is being kidnapped.

After knowing her identity, they do not look down on her and she slowly shows her talents in singing and sewing. She wants Shan Yu to date her in exchange. He obliges by providing dating coupons but she knows that his heart is with Shi Yi. Despite of this, she sews him a shiny stage jacket and he likes it.

6. Kim Min-young as Shen Yun He
She is a gossiper and follows whatever news that she learns. Unlike her name, she doesn't resemble the famous actress. She is plain looking and is slightly plump. She doesn't have any musical talent and only wants to graduate earlier to become a writer instead of getting into university. She is Xue Can's ardent fan so she is very shattered to know that Xue Can dates Shi Yi. It takes her a long time to forgive them.

7. Park Kyu-sun as Che Dao Nan
He is strong and is recognized as the action chief. He likes to bully others and listens to Cai Lu's instructions. He is betrayed by Kui Dong once and often picks on him. He actually dislikes using violence and is an introvert but bullying others becomes his common habit. Most will give up without a fight.

Kui Dong apologises to him and he joins Colour Bar. He is a born rapper and all will not hesitate to pass the microphone to him to bare his talents. His hairstyle is terrible – can't they change it at the end?

8. Kang Ui-shik as Piao Kui Dong
He has a nice voice but others treat him as a pet to scrutinize him. All like to make fun of him to treat him as their sidekick. He keeps saying that he knows and it doesn't matter but this is not the case. He nearly wants to kill himself but Shi Yi saves him. When young, Dao Nan and Kui Dong are supposed to perform an item together but Kui Dong backs out last minute so he hates him from then on. It takes time for both of them to reconcile.

9. Moon Yong-suk as Ma Jun Xi
Like Shan Yu, he is a rich man's son. His parents own more than 10 houses so he never experience hardship. He thinks that it is natural for others to serve him. He seems to be approachable and polite on the surface but he often plants poison daggers to be lucky not to be caught.

Ever since Xue Can appears, he is against Jun Xi. Jun Xi can never preserve his image anymore. His confidence is shaken and he retaliates. To him, Xue Can is only a singer who knows how to dance. He ruins Colour Bar's chance of performing to take over. Shan Yu dislikes him and only returns to All for one to perform for a while due to Xiao Lin's request.

10. Kim Yoo-hyun as Ma Xiao Lin
She is part of the orchestra all for one to play the violin and is Jun Xi's younger sister. She is the top beauty in school and all set up a FAN CLUB to make her their perfect love idol. Like Jun Xi, she is arrogant but Xue Can wins her heart through an audition for a performance against All for one. She has thought lowly of their standard but never expect them to do so well.

11. Yoon Jong-hoon as Shen Cai Lu
He is the drummer of all for one. He is a bad boy right beside Jun Xi. He knows how to manipulate others and digs fun at Kui Dong. He likes to bully the weak to make up for his loss. He has the sports physique but is quite weak in fighting. That is why he has to depend on Jun Xi and Dao Nan.

12. Kim Sun-kyung as Cai Qing
Qing and Shi Yi's father are actually Shi Xiong's friends but Shi Xiong shoot to fame first. She is Shi Yi's mother who doesn't reveal to Shi Yi about her father's death for her own good. She has gone to Zhi Xiong to try to promote his CD but Zhi Xiong throws it aside. Shi Yi's father takes it hard and brings Shi Yi out for a spin. Shi Yi throws tantrums in the car and they end up in a car accident. Her father dies while protecting her from metal poles from being pierced into her.

Shi Yi has lost this part of the memory after the accident but keeps the CD with her to keep playing the music to herself. Qing has brought her to New Zealand, hoping that she can forget it but music genes grow in her. Shi Yi even returns to Korea without telling her and refuses to pick up her calls.

The accident truth hits her when she overhears it from a reporter. That happens right before the final competition but Shan Yu manages to calm her down to participate in the contest to win. Qing gets to meet Zhi Xiong and both decide not to reveal the truth to Shi Yi.

13. Lee Hee-jin as Dugu Shun
She is Qing's friend and accepts Shi Yi reluctantly to stay with her when Qing makes the request. She teaches in the high school and is also the singers' form teacher. She actually roots for Colour Bar and tries hard to fight chances for them.

14. Kim San-ho as Choi Jun Jiu
He is the PE teacher who is interested in Shun. He is also concerned about Colour Bar and teaches them techniques. He gives both bands equal chances for the auditions.

15. Jo Jae-yoon as Manager Hong
This poor manager is treated more like a pet dog. He fetches Xue Can to and from school. Poor him, imagine his shock when Xue Can grabs Shi Yi into the car to tell him to drive off but the school thinks that he is a kidnapper! He is at Xue Can's peck and call all the time. He can see that Xue Can is interested in Shi Yi so he creates chances for them.

16. Kim Hee-won as CEO Gao
He pampers Xue Can but discovers that Xue Can is becoming snobbish. Thus, he decides to teach him a lesson. When he improves, he takes him back.

Interesting facts from Wikipedia

Below are the awards nominated and won :

2013 Mnet 20's Choice Awards 20's Hot Cover Music "Past Days" - Yong Jun-hyung Nominated
20's Booming Star - Male Yong Jun-hyung Nominated
20's Booming Star - Female Ha Yeon-soo Won

Korea Drama Awards
Best Couple Award Yong Jun-hyung and Ha Yeon-soo Nominated
Best New Actor Yong Jun-hyung Won
Best New Actress Ha Yeon-soo Nominated

APAN Star Awards
Best New Actress Ha Yeon-soo Nominated

Most favourite character
Shan Yu, he is caring towards all members of Colour Bar. But a pity that it doesn't pay to be nice when his feelings are not reciprocated by Shi Yi.


Conclusion
I don't understand music that well and it doesn't move me that much. The songs are not appealing to me so I get bored easily. The storyline is also confusing. The part on Kui Dong and Dao Nan is confusing. What pain are all of them going through? It is not done in depth and all parts seem abrupt. I have no inking why Kui Dong must sing all the time to get ridiculed. Still, the young cast has tried their best to act well.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : ** (Scale of 5)


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