Gaksital: A Drama With So Many Possibilities
Because I’m so behind on Gaksital (a.k.a. Bridal Mask) and the progress is going so slowly, I decided that I should just post what I can instead of waiting to catch up. Screencaps are from episodes 1-2.
I didn’t know anything about the storyline except that it was about a masked hero when I started watching the drama so I watched the first five minutes thinking that Joo Won was Gaksital. So imagine my surprise when he slapped Mok Dan.
And then Gaksital showed up to rescue Mok Dan to leave Joo Won screaming his name.
Kang To wholeheartedly cheering “Banzai!” What a way to set up the hero as a thoroughly despicable person in the context of Japanese-occupied Korea.
Woohoo! Joo Won using his musical background skills.
I love Big but, as I have commented before, the plot in the drama feels very thin. So there are so many moments in an episode when the story drags and I feel like nothing is happening. With Gaksital, there are layers upon layers of complicated relationships that create an intricate drama in which every moment is significant and engaging. Of course as a drama set in a turbulent era, this is easier to do. Stakes are high when the a nation’s future hangs in the balance and lives can be blown out in a second like a candle. So when you have so much at stake, all embedded in the layers of relationships that weave throughout the story, you produce a drama that has so much possibility. It’s not just about whether the hero and heroine will end up together, but about whether anyone will remain alive by the end. And to get to that answer, the journey will be turbulent and twisty, heartbreaking and breathtaking. What a drama to look forward to.
The first layer: Lee Kang To’s family. Lee Kang To is the son of a revolutionary hero in Korea’s independence movement against the Japanese. His older brother was a top university student made into an “idiot” by the Japanese. His mother was once the wife of a wealthy nobleman but now sells rice cakes on the streets, bullied by other Koreans because her younger son is a detective for the Japanese-controlled police.
The second layer: Kimura Shunji’s family. Shunji is a gentle teacher who is best friends with Lee Kang To. He is a thorn in his father’s side. His father is the police chief, Kimura Taro, who also happens to belong to the nefarious secret club, Kishokai, the club that Gaksital is out to destroy. His brother is another police office, Kimura Kenji, who hates Lee Kang To with a passion. Can you say dysfunctional?
The third layer: Lee Kang To is desperate to capture Gaksital who is actually is “idiot” brother. This boy is going to need therapy for years when he finds out what he has been trying to do all this time.
The fourth layer: Shunji and Mok Dan. Shunji is in love with Mok Dan, who 1) is the daughter of a revolutionary leader, 2) has on crush on Gaksital, and 3) also longs for Kang To, her childhood love, albeit unknowingly. Yeah, Shunji really knows how to pick a girl.
Gaksital and Dan touch hands. I love the shot.
The fifth layer: Mok Dan and Kang To. Dan hates Kang To with a fire of a thousand suns because 1) he has tried to kill her father and 2) he has also arrested and had her tortured. But she is also in love with him, or rather his child version, and later on with his alter ego, Gaksital.
The sixth layer: The friendship between Shunji and Kang To. A bromance of loyalty, trust, and unspoken understanding. All that stands between the these two and the title of “Best Friends Forever” are their families that stand on opposite sides of the political war and love for the same girl. And did I mention one is going to try to kill the other, albeit unknowingly?
The seventh layer: Lee Kang To and Korea. Yeah, the Korean citizens hate him as the police detective but they will love him as the masked hero, Gaksital, later on. They will alternate between throwing rocks or flowers at him.
Can I also just say how much I love how certain shots capture Joo Won’s intensity so perfectly. I love the angle and lighting in these scenes. Joo Won looks beautiful, even with all the bruises and blood.
Confident and cool even in jail.
More Gaksital please!