KDrama Review: Mawang 마왕 ‘The Devil’ (2007)

January 22, 2019

It has been 12 years since this KDrama was released. Funny as it seems but it might not be a coincident watching this KDrama. If you happened to have watched Mawang / The Devil, you’ll probably know why 12 years is a very important thing.

The main reason why I decided to watch Mawang was I was bored. I actually have a week left with my term break and I have no decent internet connection in my house in the province, so I have nothing to do. I checked my hard drive and was looking for something to watch. And that’s when I saw Mawang.

My friend has been recommending me this KDrama before but because of time issues I was not able to watch it. To be very honest, I have no idea on what this KDrama is about. All I know is that Shin Min Ah’s character here is someone who can see happenings by touching objects. With that in mind, I thought that it would probably be like Voice or While You Were Sleeping. But this KDrama was actually different. And I can say that it is now one of my most favorite KDramas of all time.

I have a lot of things in mind but I don’t know if I can simply put all these things in words (especially in English). But I’ll my very best to explain my thoughts well.

If you haven’t watched it and have plans to watch this KDrama, I’ll be giving you a heads up. This review will contain spoilers. But if you have watched it already, then it won’t be a problem. I’ll be tackling a lot of things about this drama, my thoughts, reactions, and everything, so it might really be long. *Be ready*

SYNOPSIS

Mawang is a story of revenge. It is about a police detective, Kang Oh Soo, who had a dark past. He was a bully in school and ended up killing one of his classmates, Tae Hoon. 12 years has passed and Kang Oh Soo suddenly received a mysterious package which contains a letter with a tarot card from an unknown killer. Seo Hae In is a girl with psychometric abilities and the one who drew the images on the tarot cards that Kang Oh Soo is receiving. She decided to help Kang Oh Soo in solving the case. Meanwhile, Oh Seung Ha, the lawyer who defends the cases of the suspects also had a dark secret.

STORY LINE

Like what I said earlier, the first thought that come to my mind was the KDrama Voice and While You Were Sleeping wherein they had this supernatural power – can hear noises very well and can predict what may happen in the future, respectively.

This KDrama also had a supernatural power. Seo Hae In can see such happenings by touching objects that are related to it. Although she has limited power on what she sees, it is still helpful for the casts to have a subject on what or who they need to look for.

I was actually expecting that this story will focus on Seo Hae In but I was wrong. On the first few episodes (especially the first episode), I honestly thought that Seo Hae In was the main character since she was the first one to discover a crime scene which has happened 12 years ago. But as the story moves, I realized that this is not her story and she is just merely a helper, or someone that could help ease the pain.

The KDrama actually focused on Kang Oh Soo and Oh Seung Ha. Like what I said in the synopsis earlier, it is a story of a revenge. For a simple explanation, one guy entered a dark tunnel which he cannot escape. Another guy followed. Both of them tried were stuck in the dark tunnel. And the only way for them not to fight in the dark is to be able to go out of the tunnel.

It was actually kind of boring on the first two episodes. But I guess, that was needed to fully explain what the plot is going to be.

The fun part in this drama is that it is already giving the viewers very visible hints on who is plotting all of that is happening to the characters. Although, I’m gonna admit that I was really hesitant at first because I love Joo Ji Hoon (yes him, not his character haha). It took me about 10 episodes to finally accept the fact that it was really him. I actually even doubted Seo Hae In’s friend there.

For me, the interesting part started during the death of the lawyer of the Kang’s family. Cause of death was a stab, which reminds of everyone the past that Kang Oh Soo is trying to run from.

The story itself is ironic. I believe that the main reason why Oh Seung Ha chooses that kind of revenge is to see Kang Oh Soo crumble down with all the things that is happening to him and make him realize that he cannot run away from his past. But it somehow came back to Oh Seung Ha.

First death was an accident. Second death was not intentional. And Oh Seung Ha somehow realized it when Kang Oh Soo happened to tell him these lines: *insert lines from the drama*

The only thing that I did not like in this drama is the romance parts. I mean, the drama can be effective even without the romance part. I’m still trying to convince myself that it can be a really great factor for Oh Seung Ha’s change.

Thoughts on the ending *SPOILERS*:

This was actually the most satisfying ending that I have ever watched in my whole KDrama life. No, it’s not a happy ending which everyone wants or perceives it to be. But it is an ending that I am really looking forward to see. I mean, c’mon, a lot of things has happened, and it won’t give justice to the plot if it simply ends like them forgiving each other and have a good life afterwards.

Though I believe that it is still a happy ending because they finally had the chance to get out of the tunnel. It may have an open ending – both Oh Soo and Seung Ha can be alive or dead, but both of them learned a very great lesson, to forgive others and also to forgive themselves.

What adds to it was the words flashed on the screen. I don’t know if my translation is right, but this is how it goes (the first two sentences), “The end can start a new beginning. Be happy”

ACTING SKILLS & THEIR CHARACTERS

I honestly want to praise Uhm Tae Woong and Joo Ji Hoon for their great acting skills. They have both delivered their character very well.

Uhm Tae Woong

You can definitely feel his character’s guilt for running away from an accidental crime. You can feel that he feels sorry for everything that has happened. He was so good to the point that I can imagine his attitude in real life is like his character in the series. He really did a good job making Kang Oh Soo’s character alive.

I feel pity for Kang Oh Soo tho. He also lost everything he had when in fact he was very apologetic of the things that has happened. I can actually feel his desperation when he said that he thought God would forgive him.

Joo Ji Hoon

I love him as an actor, but I badly hate his character in this drama to the point that I badly want to hate him as a person as well. Lol. He was really good in this drama. He was able to show the coldness of his character Oh Seung Ha.

The main reason why I hate his character here (and why I badly want to hate him too) was because his coldness overpowered him to the point that he never smiles while talking. Yes, I find him creepy and at the same time irritating. Like hey, I want to slap you in the face badly! Haha. But it only means he is a very effective actor. I will be looking forward to his new KDrama *Item*

Shin Min Ah

I like her as an actress but her character here is just so plain. Although she was able to help others, I still find her character a bit lacking. That is the main reason why I cannot write more about her. Haha.

CAMERA SHOTS

For a 2007 series, I find the camera shots, angles, and styles really effective. It seems like everything was planned well from the very close up shots to shaky camera movements and even the transition of it.

To be very honest, I actually find the camera movements a little disturbing. Most of the close-up shots were shaky. The zooming of the camera was not smooth. And also, they use a lot of negative spaces. But as the drama progresses, I suddenly had a thought in mind.

“What if these movements were actually a part of the story? What if it’s actually part of the plan and not coincidental?”

That’s where my mind got blown. I suddenly thought that what if the shaky camera movements were a point of view of a being that cannot be seen? (I’m actually having some goosebumps while writing this). That there is a being who keeps on watching what they are doing. Which also explains the negative spaces. It seems like a being is staring at the characters and there are a lot of things that blocks the view (like the window, the grasses, the jail bars).

While the unsmooth zooming was like a person taking a photo with a very old camera.

I don’t know. These are just some of my assumptions. But I find it really interesting how these things can still be a part of the story.

CONCLUSION & LESSONS

I actually am very sorry because I really cannot explain the things I wanted to say very well. I don’t even know if this is an actual review or more of the things that is currently running in my head as I watch this. But of all the KDramas that I have watched, Mawang is a really great one! It is currently one of my favorites now – along with W and Scarlet Heart.

I liked how they were able to incorporate the tarot cards and at the same time some references of famous literature in the story. It was really well thought and well written. I was too preoccupied with the story that I was not able to find some holes or flaws in it. I believe there is, but I think I need to re-watch it to find one. Haha.

This drama made me think, “Who is the real evil?” Like what Mr. Kang said, there are times that we thought that the things we are doing are in a straight line, but it is actually the crooked one. We are all blinded by the truths that we want to believe in.

No one is good and no one is evil. We are human beings who makes mistakes, intentional or not. It is not about what the wrong thing we did, but it is about what we do after committing those mistakes.

Another lesson here is that, we should learn to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we made. That is the only way to get out of the dark tunnel. Forgiving ourselves is the greatest thing that we can give to ourselves. It will be hard, I know. But we can go through it, somehow.

P.S. Somewhere over the Rainbow will no longer be the same again.

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Do you have any KDramas or KMovies that you can recommend? I would love to watch and write a review about it.

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