AESTHETIC, AESTHETIC, AESTHETIC
If I could describe this show in three words, that would be it. This show has one of the most beautiful visuals I have ever seen in a K-drama. Right from the cinematography, the backdrops, locations, to the outfits and accessories – this show is as visually enticing as it is with its plot, story line and an ensemble you can’t help but love.
It almost felt inviting to enter the beautiful Hotel of the dead with the colorful bar for drinks.. The cinematography is nothing short of brilliant – the subtle changes of aspect ratios giving it a 3D effect without you even realizing it, the unsettling camera angles keeping you engaged, the depth of the scene to make you curious, and the vibrant colors and color palates befitting the mood of the scene.
So here are the TOP 10 Most Visually Enticing Scenes and Frames of the show:
**Note: these aren’t in order of rank, they are just listed. The Order of the episodes they show up in
10. The First look of Justice (Episode 1)
Jang Man-wol’s (Played by IU) entering the scene to show her way of justice for the victim for the first time is an obvious spot on this list. The violet dress in a sea of black-ties, the oversized hat and the embellished vintage gun; all intended to give you an introduction to Man-wol’s personality – Vibrant, Extra, Bad-tempered and would go to any length to settle a grudge. You instinctively know that this is one woman you shouldn’t mess with.
9. The Terrifying Present (Episode 1)
The First Encounter of Man-wol with Koo Chan-seong (Played by Yeo Jin-goo) has us holding our breaths. There is no indication of what she intends to do with him yet. The emptiness of the cart, the flickering lights of the tube, the restless frame and her birthday gift to him layered with a foreshadowing of doom is enough to have us at the edge of our seats.
8. The Mystical Freedom (Episode 2)
Wild animals are not meant to be caged, they are not toys to be possessed. The pain of being taken away from its home made it live a lonely life up until the end. Now, even though the tiger is dead, the chains of the memory of its lost home won’t let it rest in peace. Chan-sung and Man-wol manage to set the tiger’s spirit free into its original mystical home through a painting. The symbolism of a lost home – resonating with Man-wol’s own past makes you connect with Man-wol emotionally.
7. The Cursed Room 13 (Episode 4)
A dark tunnel, a depressing room, and the heavy mist of grudge over everything. That is what Room 13 and it’s dangerous guests signify. Though eerie, you cannot take your eyes away from the screen, representing the “guest itself”. Anyone who looks into the eyes of the guest, gets driven into madness yet you can’t help but want to look. Blame our human curiosity. Similarly this scene was not intended to be beautiful. It was intended to be frightening. To grip you in irrational fear. And it delivers beautifully. Especially when amidst the gloom comes Man-wol as the knight in shining armor, or or in this case the Savior Dame in a Gleaming Dress. Also, hello their First Kiss.
6. The Amusement Park of Despair (Episode 8)
This time, you are treated to a vibrant, colorful background with the lit up rides. An amusement park to make joyful memories in. Every child’s dream-come-true. Except, the scene completes with Man-wol dressed in all black. As we see the complete contrast, you know that this time, her purpose isn’t exactly to bring light but despair. To curse. To settle her grudge and get her revenge. This along with the 3D effect of light slipping out of the screen with brilliant direction makes you feel the misery of the loss of hope intended.
5. The Veil as Red as Blood (Episode 8)
Red. The color of passion. The color of love. But also, the color of danger. The cause and effect with contrasting colors, scenery, time periods and characters is brilliantly plotted in this episode. The red bridal veil on her face is lifted to reveal bloodshot eyes looking at betrayal. This is the place which started it all. Her loss of love, her destiny and her punishment. A broken sullied Man-wol under the bright red veil.
4. Man-wol’s Fate (Episode 9)
“What I have is hell, experiencing Hell together isn’t better.” The shortness of this scene provides you a foreshadowing of how little the time that Chan-sung and Man-wol have. This scene has the depth of the frame as deep as the scene. As you see Man-wol’s soul withering away, you feel the same helplessness that both of them feel.
3. The Kiss….Duh! (Episode 12)
The kiss and the acceptance of their feeling along with the inevitable. This scene is both tragic and beautiful.
2. The Bridge to the afterlife (Episode 14)
Bridge scenes are usually a symbol of overcoming an internal conflict. This scene, despite its simplicity, paints Man-wol‘s struggle with letting go of her past. It is portrayed with a minimalist set but filled with subtle tension elements to feel the struggle. She is faced with a choice – to cross the bridge with her first love and or keep her promise to Chan-seung and return to the world where he patiently but anxiously waits for her.
1. The Outfits, Accessories and Nails!!!
This post wouldn’t be complete if we were to miss out the aesthetic cherry on the cake – Man-wol’s wardrobe. It was a truly tough choice to pick the best. These were just too many. I’m just gonna let the pictures do the talking ’cause *chef’s kiss*.
There are more that I couldn’t fit this list so here are some HONORABLE MENTIONS:
This show not only had a great plot, character driven story and concept, but it made sure to grab us visually as well immersing us in the experience. Loved watching this show. Let me know what were your favorite scenes or moments from this show.