Title: The Legend of the Blue Sea (푸른 바다의 전설 or Pureun bada-ui jeonseol) (2016-2017)
Also Known As: Legend of the Blue Sea
Developed by: Park Young-Soo
Written by: Park Ji-Eun
Based on: Eou yadam by Yu Mong-In
Starring: Jun Ji-Hyun, Lee Min-Ho, Lee Hee-Joon, Shin Won-Ho, Shi Hye-Sun, Lee Ji-Hoon, Na Young-Hee, Hwang Shin-Hye, Sung Dong-Il, Choi Jung-Woo, Moon So-Ri, Pak Hae-Soo, Park Ji-Il, Shin Rin-Ah, Hong Jin-Kyung, Shin Eun-Soo, Park Jin-Young, and Shim Yi-Young
Country of Origin: South Korea
Original Language(s): Korean, English
No. of Series: 1
No. of Episodes: 20 + 1 Special Episode
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Melodrama, Romance
Running Time: 60 minutes
Original Network: Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)
Inspired by a classic Joseon legend from Korea’s first collection of unofficial historical tales, about a fisherman who captures and kidnapped a mermaid, this drama tells the love story between the son of a Joseon noble family named Kim Dam-Ryeong (Lee Min-ho) and a mermaid he named Se-Hwa (Jun Ji-Hyun). When Dam-Ryeong was a kid, he almost drowned but was saved by a mermaid. Following the incident, they became friends and Dam-Ryeong named her Se-Hwa, after his younger sister. They ended up falling in love, but one day, Dam-Ryeong was forced by his family to marry another girl. Devastated by the news, Se-Hwa decides to leave Dam-Ryeong forever and erased all his memories of her and their love. However, fate brings them back together and they tried to escape from humans who were going to separate them. Fearing that the same ill-fate that afflicts himself and Se-Hwa will replay itself, Dam-Ryeong sends an artefact to be discovered in the future to try and warn his future self.
The fates of Dam-Ryeong and Se-Hwa become entwined with their modern-day incarnations. Dam-Ryeong was reborn as Heo Joon-Jae, a charming con-artist. He meets a mermaid who looks like Se-Hwa (whom he later named Shim Cheong) in Spain, and she was quickly besotted by him. Linked by dreams and mysterious artefacts, Joon-Jae learns of Dam-Ryeong’s world and his own fate, as he tries to prevent the same tragedy from befalling.
I think The Legend of the Blue Sea took the longest time for me to watch. About a week, I think, where I usually finished a drama for three days at the most top. But I watched this Korean drama for five days. That’s kind of rare. At first, I thought The Legend of the Blue Sea is a bit boring and confusing. Many characters are introduced at once that I found it hard to follow. I am not a fan of Jun Ji-Hyun and Lee Min-Ho and therefore, not too excited about watching this TV series. Although I love mermaid stories, I am a bit bored about The Legend of the Blue Sea at first. However, as the episodes gone by, the story grew more and more interesting.
“The easiest thing in the world is getting disappointed by another person. Even after liking someone after his/her outer appearance, one will quickly be disappointed. That’s how human beings are.” – Heo Joon Jae
I think Jun Ji-Hyun is such a great actress that she doesn’t even hold herself to act as ridiculous as possible. She looks okay doing all those ridiculous acts and that’s made her a great actress. Her acting skill is flawless and her comedic act is enjoyable to watch. She is funny in her own way yet still can look sophisticated and beautiful at the same time. I am sure playing a mermaid is not an easy thing to do. First, the way mermaid swim is different from the way we swim. It’s also hard to breathe under the water without giving too much bubble. I have never watched her dramas before and never really like her before but playing in The Legend of the Blue Sea has definitely changed my mind about her. There is no doubt she is one of the greatest actresses in South Korea, even from what I heard, greater than Song Hye-Kyo who basically is the queen of dramas, who doesn’t know her? But apparently, Jun Ji-Hyun managed to top her. I still love Kim Tae-Hee more or Song Hye-Kyo more, but Jun Ji-Hyun also looks beautiful, especially when she used makeup. Her natural looks is already beautiful and that is why the makeup enhanced her beauty.
To tell you the truth, I also never watched Lee Min-Ho’s dramas before. Even with all the hype of Boys Before Flowers (2009), I have never watched that Korean drama. My sister is such a fan of him but I have never put much interested in him. I don’t how good is he as an actor. When I watched The Legend of the Blue Sea, I can see that his acting skill is no doubt. He can play alongside Jung Ji-Hyun really well, balancing the ridiculous moments with her. Although not as ridiculous as Gong Yoo in Goblins (2016-2017), still, Lee Min-Ho is good.
I like the chemistry between Lee Min-Ho and Jung Ji-Hyun. As Dam-Ryeong and Se-Hwa or Joon-Jae and Sim-Cheong, both of actor and actress have shown an excellent chemistry. Either romantic or ridiculous moments, they both nailed it. Although to be honest, their chemistry is not as sweet as I was hoping for. I smile and laugh when they are together, but the reason is not because of their sweetness, but more of their ridiculous and funny moments together. However, they are still good together.
“For someone to be reborn, wouldn’t that mean there’s a dream that has not been fulfilled yet? That dream could be an unfulfilled love or an unappeased greed.” – Professor Jin Kyung-Won
I like the idea of the story of a mermaid falling in love with a human. Although I like the idea of the forward and reverse plot, there are some scenes that to me doesn’t make any sense. I know this kind of story never makes any sense, it’s just some scenes are just weird to me. The CGI effect of the mermaid tail is nearly flawless. I said nearly because there are some times that I found the tail is not real. However, most of the times, the mermaid tail looks pretty real to me and I think it was amazing. The dress looks beautiful too, unlike any mermaid dress I have ever since before.
There are some moments in this Korean drama that make me laugh or smile. However, in terms how funny the whole story is, I think, Goblin is still funnier. It’s rare for me to laugh out loud when I watched TV series, by means throughout the whole episodes from the beginning till the end. The first TV series that did me justice is Merlin (2008-2012). Goblin nearly did it but it still not as good as Merlin. The Legend of the Blue Sea is funny indeed but not as funny as Goblin, in my personal opinion. However, I like the ending of this drama better! Surely The Legend of the Blue Sea has entertained me in its own way. There are some flaws, some questions left unanswered but still entertaining and worth to watch.
All the other supporting cast also played their part really well. Some of the characters also gave me some laugh too. Some gave me doubts as well, but I think that’s their point. To make us doubt to certain characters. And as always, Korean drama managed to pick a beautiful setting. The houses look real, the scenery in other countries looks beautiful, every setting is really being paid attention to detail.
To be honest, for a drama that doesn’t make me interested at first, The Legend of the Blue Sea really nailed it. I enjoy it very much. All the actors and the actresses have done a great job to entertain the audience. The story, the setting, the legend, and all, are very well executed. Some minor faults are still there but I think I can overlook them.
I give The Legend of the Blue Sea 8.5 out of 10 stars.