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2006  

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Series cast summary:
Yuka Hôshaku
(11 episodes, 2006)
Terunosuke Takezai
(11 episodes, 2006)

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Action | Drama

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15 January 2006 (Japan)  »

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Yuna Choi (Choi Ji-Woo) is a Korean who come to Japan. See more »

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awesome show; deep plot & gr8 acting with a tasteful mix of comical dialog!
4 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Possibly the best TV drama addiction I've experienced, "Rondo" (2006) is very well-written, portrayed, and captured. The complex storyline unfolds brilliantly, keeping you in gut wrenching suspense of what's to come, and truly distinguishes this drama from other LIGHT love stories or TV dramas in Japan.

This seems like a huge production for a TV series, truly on an international scale (more than just cast/staff, plot, locale), and embodies a wonderful collaboration (which I'm sure wasn't easy, but deserves admiration).

Underlying issues of trust/betrayal, communication across cultures, parental love, shortcomings of (or the frustration with) the justice system, international relations, among others resurface throughout the 11 episodes and make this an interesting AND realistic drama. The comical moments and inevitable love story also add warmth to this production. It's quite addicting, and once you start picking up on the details, multiple viewing becomes a must.

The three main stars (Yutaka Takenouchi, Ji Woo Choi, Hyeon-Jun Shin) give such wonderful performances that I wish this show were internationally available (to be elaborated below). I've glanced at articles of Japanese fans not liking Choi for being different from her character in "Winter Sonata" (a Korean drama that was HUGE in Japan, apparently), but such a statement dismisses the fact that Choi attempts a multi-faceted role and does a great job communicating her emotions to viewers in a foreign language (with subtitles, of course, but you still understand her!). Takenouchi and Shin both have such memorable roles and performances; when they're on screen, you just get sucked in. Takenouchi emotes so well, I can't even describe it; you see and feel everything he goes through. And Shin has some of the best lines and deliveries that you end up falling for him, too. They complemented each other very well for being such superb actors – they couldn't have been better cast.

The supporting roles (rather a star cast, I must say) are all vital in what they contribute to the screen. The younger sister, the neighbors, the mother, the bosses and head honchos, friends and co-workers (good or evil) are all so human that you can't help growing attached to them.

I saw the original Japanese broadcast version (w/ Japanese subtitles for parts spoken in Korean), and later bought a DVD with Chinese (S&T), English and Malay subtitles. I don't know about the Chinese and Malay, but the English translation does not do justice to the writers or the actors. Some translations are too literal, if not blatantly wrong, and the nuances are completely LOST! The comical aspects of conversations in mixed Japanese & Korean are not captured either. I hope better versions are out there b/c more people should see it.


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