Rooftop Prince

Reviewed by: sukting

July 13, 2014

Rating: three

This is a fantasy romantic comedy about a Joseon crown prince who, after his wife dies mysteriously, time travels to the future where he encounters familiar faces, modern-day devices, and corporate intrigue. Can he find the real killer in the end? The love entanglement of him and two sisters never ends and continues here.

Story/Introduction on characters
1.Park Yoochun as Prince Li Ge/ Long Tai Rong
He is the Crown Prince in the Joseon era. He has perfect looks and is daring in making decisions. Intelligent, kind, wise, cautious and exercises good judgment, though arrogant to think highly of himself. He likes to stand alone by the lake and looks lonely. He stresses a lot on looks and is devastated upon knowing that his beloved wife is mysteriously drowned in the lake. The face is unrecognizable but he recognizes her clothes.

He is determined to find out the killer with his 3 subordinates but is pursued by his elder half-brother's killers. He keeps the butterfly handkerchief with him. The Crown Prince finds himself time travelling 300 years into the future and confronts considerable challenges as he adapts to 21st century Seoul and Piao He. A butterfly lures him here. This is the butterfly that Tai Rong has drawn for He when they meet in New York.

Tai Wu, after killing his Tai Rong in the United States at sea, returns to Korea, claiming that he cannot be found in New York City. Two years after Tai Rong's disappearance, four men dressed in Joseon era garments, fall onto He's rooftop house. Hungry, homeless and having nowhere to go, the four men decide to stick with her. They love the tomato egg rice wrap that she prepares for them.

Tai Wu wants to claim the successor position in the company. Feeling suspcious, Ge starts to impersonate as Tai Rong as he realizes that the Joseon era and the modern era holds similarities that will bring him closer to solve his wife's death. He slowly falls for He and starts hesitating to return.

The feelings develop when he saves her from a fire. The loneliness of the two years without the crown princess fades. One day, Ge sees Shi Na who is the spitting image of his beloved wife. He is convinced she is his wife's reincarnation. Meanwhile, company president Lu mistakes Ge for her grandson, Tai Rong, because of their exact same appearance, and believes that her long lost grandson had finally returned.

Ge realizes that he has time traveled 300 years to 2012, Seoul, to search for the truth behind the mysterious death of the late Crown Princess. In order to approach Shi Na, who is also President Lu's personal assistant, Ge pretends that he is Tai Rong. He also provides jobs for his entourage.

Ge is determined to seek the truth. This is nonsensical to him as he tries all ways to return to the past. It is hilarious when he is disallowed to return to his palace. Ge in initial episodes wears a red tracksuit. He soon realizes that his modern era counterpart is Tai Rong and in order to get back into the past, he has to know the truth of the murder.

Tai Rong is later found to be in a coma. Ge knows that he gets closer to the truth as sometimes he becomes transparent. Although he meets Hua Rong whom he misses deeply, it is strange that he feels insecure without He. When He is sleeping, he wants to wake her up. When she smiles, he wants to make fun of her.

He learns that Fu Rong dies in Hua Rong's place in order to save her clan. Knowing that her family intends to posion Ge, she eats the poisoned pancakes and throws herself into the lake after wearing Hua Rong's clothes. Ge makes sure that Tai Wu is punished by the law before he returns to the past.

He is disappointed to learn that Hua Rong is a nasty person and discovers that he loves the kind He. He becomes thoughtful and gentle to her but still disappears in front of her. He leaves her a note that he writes 300 years ago under a tree, bringing tears to her eyes.

When he returns to the past, he arrests all the rebels. It pains him to remove the mask to discover that Hua Rong is behind it, pretending to be Fu Rong. This shows that she isn't genuine to him and He's pendant has protected him from an arrow. He pines for her silently near the lake and meets her at the place in the present as promised. Yoochun is splendid in the role. He has the makings of a crown prince. His crying scenes are convincing and indicate that it is a right decision to cast him in the drama.

2. Han Ji-min as Piao He / Hong Fu Rong
She is strong, resilient and not discouraged by setbacks. He has endured many hardships and trials in the US since she is separated from her family at age 9 when she is playing with her stepsister. She is adopted by a divorcee to go to the US but when her foster mother remarries, she is alone again. She meets Tai Rong one day in New York and he draws a sketch of her, including the butterfly.

Her father remarries when she is 4 so she has a stepmother and an elder stepsister by 4 years, Shi Na. She has been looking out for herself ever since. She helps Ge and his entourage to live in the modern era after they appear at her home. She drives a lorry and dreams of opening her own eatery as she cooks well in order to reunite with her father. She is upset to learn that he has passed away.

She is filial to Man Yu and is peeved to know what Shi Na has done to her. Man Yu dotes on her as she often visits her. Tai Wu nearly knocks Man Yu down one day and seeing how filial He is to Man Yu, he offers her a job in the company. Shi Na is shocked when she sees her but He is determined to stay.

Meeting with Ge is a disaster. Still, she can't help missing him when she doesn't see him. Upon getting rich, he helps to renovate the rooftop and provides her a warm home. She dreads to think of life without him around. On the other hand, He is shocked by the news that her new friend who calls himself the Crown Prince is, in fact, the grandson of the CEO.

But her feelings for Ge blossom and she is hurt when she finds out that Ge, who still holds very tender memories of his dead wife, is courting Shi Na. Ge also believes that marrying Shi Na in Seoul year 2012 will bring him closer to solving the mystery of the Crown Princess' murder in the Joseon era. However, he calls off the wedding after knowing how nasty a person she is and turns his affections to He.

Her Joseon era counterpart, Fu Rong, is shy and elegant. She is the smart younger sister of the Crown Princess Hua Rong who harbors strong feelings towards the Crown Prince. She is the intended betrothed of Lee Gak, until her face was burned purposely by Hua Rong. Thus her chance is ruined and Hua Rong replaces her. She wears a face mask to hide the scar on her cheek but her intelligence can't be hidden. Ge enjoys talking to her and both are able to recite poetry together. The butterfly is actually sewn on her favourite handkerchief. Ge recognizes it when he picks it up to return her as back in the past.

At first, I have thought that she is Kim Jung Eun (the lead actress in Lovers in Paris) as they look alike. She is quite natural in the role but she isn't as strong as she is supposed to be in some scenes. But this character is too nice to be true and should have a bigger impact instead of having so many crying scenes.

3.Jeong Yu-mi as Hong Shi Na / Hong Hua Rong
Shi Na is He's gorgeous older stepsister. She works as the secretary at the company owned by the cousins' grandmother after being her nurse. Thus, she sticks by the chairman's side. Ambitious, intelligent, scheming and vengeful, she has relied on Tai Wu in the past to advance herself. She is a sweet-taker and lies her way through. She claims that her rich family is overseas. In reality, her mother is only a greengrocer. She doesn't even want her to live with her in her elegant private apartment.

Meanwhile, Tai Wu has been having a secret affair with her, who, in turn, runs into her long-lost stepsister He. Shi Na helps Tai Wu in many ways. He has been missing for a prolonged period of time and it is revealed that she is in the US after Shi Na abandons her on the streets at age 9. She loathes He and has done many things to make her sister's life difficult.

She turns her target from Tai Wu to Tai Rong upon knowing his status as he is most likely to be the next successor. However, Ge is fast to notice that their affinity isn't as close as he thinks. Like Tai Wu, she is afraid that her past will catch up with her. She steals He's identity to be Chairman Zhang's daughter.

As Hua Rong, she is Ge's wife, the Crown Princess, and Fu Rong's older sister. Equally scheming and Fu Rong is willing to die on her behalf in order to save them. Still, Ge doesn't hesitate to throw her into prison upon knowing the rebellion. Yu Mi's acting is only passable. She is unable to handle evil scenes that well.

4. Lee Tae-sung as Yong Tai Wu / Prince Mu Chang
He is Tai Rong's cousin and Shi Na's secret lover. He holds a high position in the company and is not lacking in skills nor industry. Tai Rong's and Tai Wu's grandfather's had a transgression with another woman, which resulted in the birth of Tae Wu's father to be an illegitimate child.

Tai Wu is cold and is a workaholic. He has the face of a model and female employees refer him to a fashion king. He is polite but distant to all.

There is no blood relation between Tai Rong's grandmother, who is also the CEO of the company and him. As a result, Tai Wu has always been sidestepped in favor of Tai Rong.

Thus if Tai Rong is first in class, he must become the first in standard. Smart and ruthless, he resorts to whatever means necessary to get what he wants. Tai rong goes to New York to learn art but he goes there to learn business management. From here, he realizes the fact that he can never win the biological grandson.

Thus, he gets rid of Tai Rong. Tai Wu, believing that he already killed his cousin in New York, lives in constant fear of his devious act being discovered by the family and "Tai Rong" who claims not to have remembered the event. Tai Wu has always been jealous of Tai Rong's favored position in the family and is of course unwilling to return it to him.

He nearly tears his hair when Ge displays his intelligence in solving crisis and comes up with new ideas to impress all. He loves Shi Na with his heart and vows to make the company his due to her. However, his plans clashes with Ge's appearance and starts to suspect Ge when he doesn't behave like Tai Rong. He kidnaps He when his wrongdoing is revealed but luckily Ge saves her on time.

His Joseon era counterpart (as revealed in the last episode), Prince Muchang, is Ge's half-brother. Scheming for the throne, he plans to assassinate him. However, Ge's subordinates save him and he is severely punished. Tae-sung looks better than he acts. I think he is not evil enough.

5. Lee Min-ho as Song Wan Bao
One of Ge's entourage. A child prodigy, he has become proficient in all fields of study by age 22. However, because he is an illegitimate child, he cannot sit for any government exams and thus, cannot take a position as officer. Because of the hopelessness of his future prospects, he has abandoned the study of the classics for an immoral lifestyle until Crown Prince Lee Gak enlisted his help to solve the Crown Princess' murder. (In the initial episodes, he wears the green tracksuit.)

He has good memory skills and whatever numbers, drawings or words that he sees, he can remember at once. He makes the right judgment and is Ge's guide. He often wants to return to the past as he misses his younger sister. He adapts fast in the present world and Ge finds it scary. He has handsome features and women fall for him. He works in the company as an analyst.

Knowing that Ge misses He as they return, he learns how to make the tomato egg wrap to smash fresh tomatoes instead of using tomato sauce. Soon, this dish becomes so popular with the commoners and the two other guys help him to set up an eatery to sell it.

6.Jung Suk-won as Yu Long Yong
One of Ge's entourage. He murders the nobleman who kills his mother and rapes his sister, as well as the nobleman's guard of about 15 others. He is very skilled with the sword. When later questioned by Ge for his crime, he says that he learns to fight in order to protect the innocent, his nation and his king. His intentions are true and the Crown Prince saved him from the executioner's axe. Ge appoints him as his personal bodyguard. (In the initial episodes, he wears the blue tracksuit.)

Long Yong is very loyal to friends but is very shy. When he meets He in 2012, he starts to know the feeling of love and blushes in front of her. He is 6 feet tall and moves faster than he talks. Thus, he is able to protect Ge from harm at all times. Ge finds him too wooden but he is also smart. He works in the company as his designer manager.

7. Choi Woo-shik as Du Chi San
One of Ge's entourage. He is smooth with the ladies and skilled with men. Chi San works at the largest brothel in Joseon. From the palace to the bedroom, Chi-san is wise in the ways of the world. Ge appointed him as palace eunuch to discover what the people are saying about the Crown Princess' murder. (In the initial episodes, he wears the yellow tracksuit.)

Anywhere with him will be noisy. He sometimes disguises as a woman to get information for Ge. He feels that he is the person to understand Ge most.

Women love to talk to him as he knows them well. He has the best dressing sense among the 4 men. He works in the company as the sales manager.

8. Kim Yoo-suk as the King, Lee Ge's father
He is a wise ruler and wants the best wife for his only son. He sets eyes on Fu Rong as the choice but as Ge prefers looks, he changes to Hua Rong. He shakes his head upon seeing how much Ge pins for Hua Rong after she dies. That proves to be a fatal choice when he is nearly killed.

9. Gil Yong-woo as Lord Hong Man Biao
He is the sisters' father and Left State Minister of Joseon. He conspires with Mu Chang to overthrow the emperor. He uses his daughters as his chips. Hua Rong is willing to work for him and is the one who prepares the poisoned pancakes.

10. Kyeon Mi-ri as Lady Jiang,
She is the sisters' mother. She doesn't know about Lord Hong's scheme and doesn't even know that Fu Rong is the one who dies.

11. Song Ok-sook as Kong Man Yu
She is Shi Na's greengrocer mother. Zhang is her friend. She is silent and doesn't want to affect Shi Na's prospects. Yet, she is also reluctant to let He go and lies to Zhang that she doesn't know where she is. It is through He's own photo that she finally reunites with her mother.

12. Kim Hyung-bum as Officer Hong Na Xun
He is the sister's brother and head of the royal police. He is also involved in the plot and that is why Fu Rong is so determined to save her whole family.

13. Kang Byul as Lady Mimi
She is He's close friend. She is also a cartoonist and offers to help the 4 men to earn a living by being street hawkers. Ge refuses to do it as this is against his identity but later gives in upon seeing what circumstances they land in. Wan Bao falls for her.

14. Guzal Tursunova as Becky
She is also He's friend. She is a foreigner and works hard. Thus, the guys help her out and they become good neighbours. Chi San falls for her.

15. Ban Hyo-jung as Chairman Lu Ji Nan
She is the chairman of the Home & Shopping Network and Tai Rong's grandmother. She intends to give everything to Tai Rong and discovers Tai Wu's plot. Shi Na kills her by mistake and later surrenders to the police to atone for her mistake as the guilt is never removed from her heart.

16. Ahn Suk-hwan as Long Dong Wan
He is Tai Wu's father who wallows in self-pity due to his own parentage. Thus, he wants Tai Wu to do well. Shi Na's secretary position isn't good enough for him – he wants Tai Wu to marry a rich heiress. Upon knowing Man Yu's job, he reveals the truth to Tai Wu, wanting him to see how his beloved woman has lied.

To his dismay, Tai Wu even forgives Shi Na to even cook up the fact that she is Zhang's daughter to change Dong Wan's impression. Why does this actor always offer stage-like acting in every drama?!

17. Park Joon-geum as Long Jin Shi
She is Dong Wan's single aunt. Although she is old, she likes to dress young. She is sad over Tai Rong's mishap and is interested in Yin Kui. She tries all ways to attract him in vain.

18. Lee Moon-sik as Piao Zhe Xiu
He is one of the company directors. He is a close aide to Lu. He suspects Tai Wu's motive and tries his best to save the company. He works with Ge to uncover the evil plot.

19. Na Young-hee as President Zhang
She is He's biological mother. She divorces He's father and he forbids her to take He away. She remarries a rich man but doesn't have any more children. After the man's death, she comes to look for He and is astonished to know that Man Yu marries her ex-husband.

She is back to seal a business contract with Lu. She knows that Shi Na isn't her daughter but later believes that she is under Tai Wu's arrangement. Tai Wu has seen the same photo that He owns. She is happy to get He back when she nearly leaves Seoul with Shi Na at the airport.

20. Maeng Sang-hoon as Piao Yin Kui
He is He's biological father and is shattered that He is separated from him. He dies without seeing her for the last time and He sobs at his wake.

Interesting facts from Wikipedia
Despite average ratings of 16% in South Korea, the drama was popular overseas, especially in China and Japan. Fans from 35 different countries have visited the filming set. Filming was temporarily rescheduled due to the passing of Park Yoochun's father but Park resumed work a few days later as the pilot episode was scheduled to air soon.

It only had 3.2% difference from the no. 1 drama "The King 2Hearts". Many liked the storyline of travelling to the present from the past and the jokes on how the ancient men try hard to get used to the modern era. They regard it as a comedy. This drama made Yoochun scaled to greater heights.

Awards won :
2012 (7th) Seoul International Drama Awards
Best Korean Drama
Outstanding Korean Actor (Park Yuchun)
Outstanding Korean Actress (Han Ji-min)
People's Choice (Park Yuchun)

2012 (5th) Korea Drama Awards ##Top Excellence Award, Actress (Han Ji-min)
2012 (1st) K-Drama Star Awards ##Excellence Award, Actress (Han Ji-min)
2012 (1st) German Remarkable Korean Awards ##Best Korean Drama ##Best Actor (Park Yuchun)
2014 (10th) USTv Students' Choice Awards ##Students' Choice Award for Best Foreign Drama

2012 SBS Drama Awards
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special (Han Ji-min)
Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special (Park Yuchun)
Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special (Jeong Yu-mi)
Top 10 Stars (Park Yuchun)
Top 10 Stars (Han Ji-min)
Popularity Award (Park Yuchun)
Best Couple Award (Park Yuchun and Han Ji-min)

Most favourite character
Ge, he can be annoying at times to throw his head around but he is kind to all. You will laugh when he can't change his habit of putting his hands at the back to show his authority even in the present day.

Most hated character
Shi Na, She is too much. She isn't grateful to Man Yu for bringing her up but is too shameful to admit her presence. She also seeks to get anything she wants and doesn't feel that she is wrong till she kills Lu.

It is a lighthearted comedy to throw some mystery on a murder case although it is predictable and becomes slow towards the end. It is quite entertaining and I am sure you will like the story. The chemistry between the leads is good, especially the guys. It is hilarious to see the four guys in bright coloured track suits. They are not bought by He as she herself has to make ends meet. She finds them from the recycling centre to bring home for them.

Yoochun is the main lure in this drama. The close relationship with his entourages and the two sisters make you completely forget that he is also a singer. His male co-stars are great – their makeover in present dressing will sweep your feet away but the others can be better. I can't help feeling disappointed as the actresses have not given in their best. They lack the punch. Maybe their characters are not completely explored.

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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