Gu Family Book: Who's The Monster And Who's The Man?
I've just finished Gu Family Book. What I could admit is that it's a pretty good story and I can't put it down. True, it's got a lot of crack but again, what do you expect when it's a fantasy-based sageuk or Korean period drama. It's not your typical historical series but it's sort of like Inuyasha but given a Korean twist. Okay, I haven't seen Inuyasha so I'll just focus on Kang Chi's character. Maybe I might make a few Super Sentai references due to similar characters such as Yamimaru from Turboranger or Eiji Takaoka from Boukenger.
But I'll talk about how this TV series tries to focus on who's the monster and who's the man question with its characters. Kang Chi is born a result of a romance between a Gumiho and a human woman. This results to the birth to what some Super Sentai fans may call a Nagare Bouma. Kang Chi was to be raised among humans unaware that he's a Hanyo. It's only years later that he learns that he's a Hanyo. He has a troublesome reunion with his biological parents who he never knew were them until later.
Warning! Spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk!
Note: The rest of the images are taken from Drama Beans
The love story of Seo Wa and Wol Ryul is pretty much the start of the first two episodes. Seo Wa lost her family no thanks to that bastard Jo Gwan-Woong who lusted after Seo Wa. The tragic story happens because Wol Ryung himself intervened with human affairs. He doesn't reveal himself to be a Gumiho which leads to shock. This leads to Seo Wa's betrayal and an attempt to kill her soon-to-be born Nagare Bouma child. But deep within, Wol Ryul still develops feelings towards Seo-Wa which the show touches upon in later scenes. I feel a lot sorry for these two as to how they are trapped in this predicament and how their child Kang Chi suffers from it.
The biggest challenge is you know one of you will die but will you pursue it?That's the dilemma that Kang Chi and Yeo Wool are facing together. They have an ill omen. They must face it that one of them will inevitably die. They are given signs by the wise monk to avoid but they can't avoid it. They try to fight against fate but they try to face it together. But Yeo Wool is no coward. She may be a damsel in distress at times but she's also a tough chick at the same time. Seeing Suzy Bae and Lee Seung Gi kick ass was pretty much fun. They are more than just eye candy for men and women as they can freaking fight. We know one of them will die in the end and it was pretty much expected so regardless who died isn't a surprise.
He's one evil bastard and a real monster of a man...
Jo Gwan Joong showed what it means to be a monster. He's a manipulative bastard that makes you question whether or not there's still hope or humanity left. He degrades himself when he rises up in the ranks and just keeps taking everything that's not his. He wants something and he would do anything to get it just to satisfy his greed. He proceeds to do whatever he wants even sell the whole of Korea to the Japanese in exchange for power. I feel he's probably one of the best villains in Korean fantasy drama. You can't get any worse than that, can you?
The contrast between Gwan Joong and Kang Chi is showing what it means to be a monster and what it means to be a man. Gwan Joong is a cowardly and despicable monster. Although Kang Chi is a Nagare Bouma but he shows more humanity than Gwan Joong. It's amusing to see how Gwan Joong always sets up the mood with his sinister schemes and he makes such a splendid villain. He thinks he should own everything and that greed ends up destroying him in the end. I wish that he died a more painful death than just poison since he deserves a more painful death. I would have probably have him escape the arms of the law but he soon gets murdered by people who held a grudge on him as a more appropriate ending. Getting hanged is too merciful for this villain.
The ending is pretty much on crack...
The ending pretty much has Yeo Wool reincarnated still carrying the same name but with no memories of her past. She's reincarnated as a police officer which is quite fitting. I find the whole ending to be on crack but it's far better than what Kamen Rider Ryuki offers no thanks to executive meddling. It's true that everyone forgot their past lives but Kang Chi's character development stays intact. But everyone else got hit by the reset button and even the post-credits epilogue really has all the character development thrown out as soon as everyone's reincarnated. But it's still way better than Ryuki's ending. Ryuki had no excuse to throw all character development out of the window since no one was reincarnated centuries later for the ending. But it was still pretty good though they could have worked on the finale better.
On the other hand, here's how I wish the ending happened but it would contradict the canon source material... but here goes my rather imagined far-fetched ending:
Kang Chi dies somewhere in between but he is reincarnated as a human known as Jun Masuda and joins Solbrain. It's the year 2001 and he has no memories of his past life as Kang Chi. Solbrain soon gets reorganized and he's assigned to a new branch. The Solbrain team emerged victorious against the schemes of the final villain Ryuichi Takaoka. Let's just say that Jun (the reincarnated Kang Chi) climbs the ranks up and some time later runs into someone from the past.
Yeo Wool gets reincarnated as Hiroyo Hakase in Akibaranger. Memories of the past life are triggered. Maybe, they meet after the Akibarangers meet their unexpected demise in the final episode. Given the time between Solbrain and Akibaranger (in terms of setting) it would be at least nine years. So maybe, Jun was 20 last 2001 and he would be 30 by Akibaranger. He meets Hiroyo who would probably be in her early 20s which past life memories will be triggered.
My imagined conversation would be that maybe Jun might comment how Hiroyo was once a tough girl in her past life has turned into an eccentric Tokusatsu fan. Hiroyo may get her past life vibes and use a wooden sword. Only this time, they will be able to fulfill what they couldn't fulfill when they used to be Kang Chi and Yeo Wool.