Fairy tales. Stories that we’ve grown to love as kids and still continue to admire regardless of how many times they’ve been revived on movies or rewritten in books. Tales that end with the ever hopeful phrase “happily ever after” that clings to our very heart as we finish every story. I admit, I may not have outgrown this kind of genre whether it has a modern twist or simply traditional. Isn’t it every girl’s dream to find her prince and have a happy ending? Well..it’s cringeworthy I know, but deep in a girl’s heart, it’s true. We just have different ideas in mind on how our own stories will go.
This K-drama (Korean drama) that I’m going to talk about is among this genre. A fairy tale-like encounter of a prince and a servant that led into a beautiful love story. If you think about it, the idea is a little cliche but you’ll never know until you experience watching it yourself. At first, I just want to quench my boredom so I started searching for new k-dramas to watch. Then I found an interesting title “Love in the Moonlight” also known as “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds” so I had a read-through of its description and guess what? I watched it right away. I came to love fairy tales with brave heroines, just like my favorite Disney princess, Mulan (I have more grown-up examples but I think she’s a character most of us know) and this k-drama has that gender bender twist to it too so I figured it is something I shouldn’t miss.
I will be careful not to give you any spoilers because a lot( if not all) of the viewers hate it and I’m one with them on that note. I’m one of those people who stops someone from talking mid-sentence just to say “No spoilers please!” then let them breathe again once they nod in agreement. So yeah, I feel you. Moonlight Drawn by Clouds(I prefer to call it in that title) is a historical drama based on a novel. I’ve tried looking into the novel itself but it has no English translation as of today, what I know is that it’s slightly different from the drama(I won’t go into details due to spoilers). I’ve watched a lot of historical k-dramas before(partly because my dad likes them too) but this one gives a whole new life to it. Historical dramas tend to be serious because they need to stick to the historical plot revolving around the story so I expected Moonlight Drawn by Clouds to have that same aura too but it gave a breath of fresh air to a supposed to be “dark”genre. It’s probably the reason why it became rapidly popular and still growing up to date.
Before going further through the plot, I guess you’ll understand it more once you know more about the characters so I made a list of the main characters you should watch out for in the drama(also the actors who portrayed them):
- Lee Young (Crown Prince Hyomyeong) played by Park Bo-Gum
He is the mischievous crown prince of the Joseon Dynasty, known for his love for arts and music. His temper tends to scare his servants but his righteousness gained him respect. He tends to sneak out the palace once in a while to observe around and mingle with his own people.
- Hong Ra-On played by Kim You-Jung
A well-known matchmaker who is forced to disguise as a boy since she was young without knowing the reason. She got separated from her mother when she was about 8 years old and other unfortunate events led her to be sold as a eunuch in the palace.
- Kim Yoon-Sung played by Jin Young
He is a scholar and the only eldest son of the main Kim family clan bloodline. He is favored by his grandfather, the Prime Minister(one of the main antagonists). He paints girls as his hobby but he was never attracted to one until he met Ra-On.
- Kim Byung-Yeon played by Kwak Dong-Yeon
The prince’s most trusted friend and royal guard. Everyone is charmed by his cool demeanor and outstanding swordsmanship. He has a mysterious aura that will slowly progress in the story.
There are a lot of interesting characters that will appear in the drama but I’ll leave them for you to discover.
Now that you have a glimpse of the characters, it’s time for a short summary(without spoilers of course). The story revolves around Prince Lee Young and Hong Ra-On who will first meet due to one of Ra-On’s matchmaking escapades. She was then forced to enter the palace as a eunuch due to her debts and there she once again met the prince. They had this owner-and-dog relationship going on while Lee Young kept his identity of being the crown prince. Ra-On became closer to the prince and his royal guard, Byung-Yeon, until they formed an unbreakable friendship.
As the story goes on, complications about revealing identities, love triangles, and political issues will arise which I will not get into details with because I know that you would want to unravel them yourselves. I will now share with you what I love and what I didn’t love that much about this K-drama. Since I’m partly fangirling here, you will not see a lot of cons but I will see to it that I will be reviewing it on every angle.
What to love about this drama:
1. Character selection
When you see pictures of the novel and then compare them to the chosen actors for the drama, you will be able to see that each actor is a perfect fit for their characters. Park Bo-Gum is really the unmistakenly handsome Prince Lee Young especially when he is wearing the traditional crown prince outfit. I can say that he looks the best wearing it among all the actors I’ve seen in historical dramas. One reason why female fans figuratively(or maybe not) say that they faint every time they see the prince. Ra-On was also well represented by Kim You-Jung with her young pretty face and petite frame. Every character wasn’t just good-looking but also well-thought.
2. Superb acting
Characters become more real when they are portrayed so well that you can really understand and feel their intentions. More than looking like them, the actors here really has superb acting skills that make us feel that the characters are alive. They can make you feel happy, sad, angry and all other emotions in just the right moment. Their facial expressions helped a lot in conveying these emotions and I applaud them for that because there are some scenes that don’t even have a dialogue but you can still feel the intensity of the scene.
3. Exceptional soundtrack
I never know the meaning of a Korean song until I google its English meaning (or see them translated in the subtitles) but every time a song plays in a scene, it doubles the feels of it. I’ve liked a lot of K-drama OSTs (Original Soundtracks) in the past but this one seems to bring it to the next level in a sense that they play it at the right time and gives more meaning to the scene. Every soundtrack has something to do with the story unlike in other k-dramas wherein some lyrics doesn’t really match the story. Some of the talented actors also contributed to the soundtrack, Jin Young composed one of the songs entitled “Misty Road” and Park Bo-Gum sang the song entitled “My Person” also knows as “My Dearest”.
4. Eye-catching color schemes
As someone who has an eye for art, I just loved how they artistically filmed this drama. Even if you haven’t watched it yet, the pictures and teasers already fill your eyes with bright colors and enticing backgrounds.The color scheme adds to the positive and youthful energy the drama gives.
5. Wonderfully written
I know it’s based on a novel but I also applaud the writers of the drama because even though they based it on something, they’ve managed to make it their own for the sake of the viewers who are hungry for something unique and engaging. They know how to catch a viewer’s interest which is proven when their ratings doubled as early as their 3rd episode.
6. No plot holes
I will not spoil you with this but let me tell you that they didn’t leave any plot holes until the story ended. Every complication was resolved in one way or another so there were no plot twists left hanging.
7. Sweet, sweet, love
Last but not the least, the major pro for me in this drama is the love portrayed between crown prince Lee Young and Ra-On.Both of them has this pure and unyielding love that every hopeless romantic dream of. Their love isn’t swayed by everything that’s happening and there were no trust issues between them which separate them from the usual unfaithful and jealousy-driven dramas popular these days. The crown prince’s love here is really admirable because it knows no bound. Not even Ra-On threatening him with a knife can stop his love. Oops. .that’s some kind of a spoiler. Putting that aside, Park Bo-Gum’s portrayal of Lee Young is top-notch that he makes all the female viewers(or even the male ones?) swoon on a different level. How different? His mere smile can take our souls out in space for a second and come back to our body which is rollin’ all over the place with an ear-to-ear smile plastered on our faces. I can go on describing that feeling but it will never be enough, you have to experience it yourself.
What not to love that much in this drama:
1. Unpolished editing for some scenes
Have you ever watched a scene where in one moment the camera is in one position then in a split second it transitions in an awkward way? It does happen sometimes in this drama but some of it just make things funny(if you notice them) so it’s bearable.
2. Some episodes are rushed
This pertains to episode 15 to 18, probably because the drama has to end with a certain number of episodes that they needed to make it fast-paced. I was satisfied with how things worked out but it can’t hide the fact that some scenes were cut too short, I just think that some characters need more exposure at the end to really be remembered by the viewers.
3. Needs more episodes
I can watch this drama even if it drags on to 100 episodes if you know what I mean. A good K-drama like this which gets me hooked on and gives me lingering feelings even after I watch it just comes once in a blue moon so of course, I would want more episodes. I can’t really get enough of this moonlight lovebirds especially the eye-candy prince which melts my heart every time he makes that teasing smirk and bright smile. I can go on forever fangirling here..but I remembered I’m in the “not-to-love-that-much” corner.
All in all, this K-drama is a must watch and I’m saying this for all the young hearts out there(also the young at hearts too). It’s something that you can rewatch a lot of times and still have the same feels. I can’t wait for its Filipino version to air so that I can watch it again in my native language( I saw its teaser, I think it will be aired next year in the Philippines). If you’re looking for a feel-good drama with a lot of giddy feels and lessons to learn, Moonlight Drawn by Clouds is definitely worth the watch.
Disclaimer: This review is purely based on my opinion and images used are screenshots taken from the featured K-drama.