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Title: 돌아온 일지매 / The Return of Iljimae
Chinese Title : 一枝梅归来
Also known as: Iljimae Returns / Moon River
Previously known as 일지매 / Iljimae
Genre: Historical, romance
Episodes: 24
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: 2009-Jan-21 to 2009-April-09
Air time: Wednesday & Thursday 21:55


The story is about a man fighting against the selfish and corrupt government to save the ordinary peasants. Iljimae was abandoned by his birth father and adopted by a Chinese couple. He returns to Korea to find his birth family and realizes how unjust the world really is. He watched as his first love, Dal Yi, was wrongfully put to death. Iljimae then vows to help the commoners from the corrupt government officials.


Jung Il Woo as Il Ji Mae
Yoon Jin Seo as Dal Yi / Wal Hee
Kim Min Jong as Goo Ja Myeong
Jung Hye Young as Baek Mae

Extended Cast

Lee Kye In as Jeol Chi
Park Geun Hyung as Kim Ja Jeom
Park Chul Min as Wang Hyeong Bo
Oh Young Soo as Monk Yeol Gong
Kang Nam Gil as Bae Seon Dal
Kim Yoo Hyun as Princess Mo Ran
Lee Hyun Woo as Cha Dol Yi
Sandara Park as Rie
Jun Soo Yeon as Soo Ryun
Lee Ho Jae as Kim Joong Hwan (Iljimae’s biological father)
Jung Joon as Kim Joon Seo (Iljimae’s half brother)
Seo Hye Won as Choon Wol
Hwang Jung Ri as Miyamoto Masai
Harisu as Ki Seon Nyeo
Kwak Min Suk as Cham Mo
Yoon Yoo Sun
Park Chan Hwan
Jung Yoo Chan
Lee Ga Hyun
Jung Min Sung
Kim Yoo Hyun as Princess Moran
Noh Tae Yub
Jung Hee Tae as Woo Dol
Kwak In Joon as adviser

Production Credits

Original work: Comic by Ko Young Woo
Production Company: Group Eight
Director: Hwang In Roe & Kim Soo Young
Screenwriter: Kim Kwang Sik & Do Young Myung

Episode Ratings

Date Episode Nationwide Seoul
2009-01-21 1 18.5 (4th) 20.1 (3rd)
2009-01-22 2 17.1 (4th) 18.4 (3rd)
2009-01-28 3 16.6 (5th) 17.1 (4th)
2009-01-29 4 15.1 (5th) 15.6 (6th)
2009-02-04 5 13.7 (9th) 13.7 (11th)
2009-02-05 6 15.3 (10th) 15.2 (9th)
2009-02-11 7 10.7 (11th) 11.5 (9th)
2009-02-12 8 13.1 (10th) 14.1 (10th)
2009-02-18 9 10.0 (13th) 10.6 (12th)
2009-02-19 10 11.0 (11th) 12.1 (11th)
2009-02-25 11 10.8 (11th) 11.6 (11th)
2009-02-26 12 10.5 (12th) 10.5 (13th)
2009-03-04 13 8.9 9.4 (16th)
2009-03-05 14 9.1 (16th) 9.7 (14th)
2009-03-11 15 8.1 (20th) 8.2 (18th)
2009-03-12 16 7.6 (<8.4)
2009-03-18 17 8.7 (19th) 8.8 (17th)
2009-03-19 18 8.5 8.7 (19th)
2009-03-25 19 6.9 (<8.0)
2009-03-26 20 8.5 8.7 (19th)
2009-04-01 21 7.8 8.5 (16th)
2009-04-02 22 8.2 8.8 (17th)
2009-04-08 23 7.5 (<7.8)
2009-04-09 24 8.2 (18th) 8.9 (16th)

Source: TNS Media Korea


– Both MBC & SBS will air their own version of Iljimae in 2008 & 2009.
– MBC has the copyrights to the original comic book.
– The director of this drama is Hwang In Roe, who directed both Goong and Goong S.
– The title was changed from “Iljimae” to “The Return of Iljimae” to avoid confusion with the SBS version.
– Drama will be filmed in Japan.


Related Photo

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146 Responses to “The Return of Iljimae”

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  1. 101
    tc Says:


    Unfortunately YJin Suh was not the lead actress in Fugitive B. However, I find myself more drawn to her romance with her detective boss than the main OTPs. One word of caution though, if you are ready for heartbreak do watch the drama for her sake. Otherwise, I will not waste my time coz the drama although has a lot of slicks actions but soulless!

    @Hi Agave

    Happy to note you have similar views about this drama. This is one of my favorite sageuks with happy ending!

  2. 102
    agave Says:

    @KDaddict (#98), hi

    Good point about the bookending aspect of the first scene and the last scene with IJM and WH talking about his concern that the world will still need a protector and that his future self will still need to answer that need.
    That first scene introduced viewers to characters that didn’t mean much to us at the time, therefore, it was only after watching the entire series that the full circle aspect of that first scene hit home. Another thing I didn’t realize until my re-watch was that the narrator was the modern-day Wol-Hee.

    Part of me wishes that we could have gotten a few follow-up episodes on IJM and WH’s modern day counterparts. On the other hand, everything about RoIJM was so well done that I believe this would only have worked if the PD had planned a follow-up from the beginning. I think one of the reasons why RoIJM was so well done is because there were so many delays that the PD had time to flesh out details without having to worry about ratings.

    Another benefit from the delays is that they ended up with the perfect actor, Jung Il Woo, to play this IJM. The actor they had cast originally wouldn’t have been the best fit for this role, IMO, because that actor is mostly cute and quirky, whereas Jung Il Woo was able to bring a much broader (and sexier) range to the role. If RoIJM had aired in 2008, as planned, I doubt that I would have enjoyed it as much because the PD would likely have tried to make the original boyish actor fit this role and it wouldn’t have come off as well, IMO. Or, they may have changed the characterization of the role a bit to suit that actor.

    Also, I love your idea about checking out the end of a drama before watching because I’ve been disappointed in the past. Sometimes I love/enjoy a drama until the end and sometimes a drama will start to lose steam by the middle and never get back on track. Chuno and Hong Gil Dong are two that I enjoyed until the very end. Warrior Baek Dong-soo falls in the second group where I thought it started strong, but then it ran out of steam pretty early. I kept waiting for it to get better, but except for a couple of episodes in the final few, it never fully recovered.

    The good news is that I usually watch dramas after they’ve already aired, so if I start to feel uneasy about the storyline’s direction, I check out the spoilers before continuing. Sometimes, it’s easier to read about a bad ending than to actually see it. For instance, I still have seen the last episodes of Hong Gil Dong’s or Warrior Baek Dong-soo.

  3. 103
    agave Says:

    @KDaddict (#99/100)

    Yes, I also believe that IJM and ROI mostly appeal to different age groups and that this is partly why ROI had such a tough time with ratings. For instance, almost every review site for ROI includes posts from seemingly young IJM 2008 fanboys/girls who were disappointed that ROI wasn’t a sequel to IJM 2008. Also, the same sites include posts from those who almost didn’t bother to watch ROI because they thought it was a sequel to IJM 2008 and they didn’t like IJM 2008.

    As for me, after watching Hong Gil Dong, I read about other dramas based on this type of character and decided to check them out. I started with IJM 2008 and although I liked it, it wasn’t interesting enough to hold my attention. I watched 7 episodes before I became distracted by Warrior Baek Dong-soo, which, after a promising beginning, turned out to be disappointing.

    Because of this, I almost didn’t bother with ROI because by that time, I had had enough. That’s when I read Dramabeans’ reviews. Like you, I don’t always agree with Dramabeans’ reviews, but something made me take a chance on ROI and for that, I am grateful because I’ve now added another favorite to my collection.

    Like you mentioned, IJM 2008 is a pretty straightforward, simple storyline. Although it has some heavy issues, that IJM is a fairly simple character, unlike the complex IJM in ROI. Since I stopped at episode 7, I’ve read how IJM 2008 ends and that’s another negative about it for me. In addition, when I read the episode reviews I came across several of the same kind of complaints that viewers of Warrior Baek Dong-soo had – that it didn’t appear as if those behind the scenes a firm plan for direction of the show. The common complaint was that it seemed as if the writers were just throwing stuff at the wall to see what would stick.

    I also loved Yoon Jin Seo as Dal Yi because she was so natural and refreshingly real. I loved seeing how she didn’t hide her attraction to IJM. It was hilarious to see how off balanced he was around her because although he was probably used to girls being attracted to him, as we saw in the earlier episodes, they admired him from a distance. In contrast, here was Dal Yi treating him like he was her personal doll. Loved it! I also love the role she played in IJM’s journey to becoming a protector of the people. or as the Monk Yeol Gong put it in one of my favorite scenes in the later few episodes, a mountain ridge, which is destined to be the first to feel the wind and the rain.

    As much as I love Yoon Jin Seo as Dal Yi, I love her more as Wol Hee because that was a much more difficult character to portray. Where Dal Yi was a refreshingly open mountain girl with a strong sense of herself and her world, Wol Hee was a woman bound by the constraints of gender and her station. Even though her family was ruined, she was still a part of nobility and therefore was expected to, as her uncle mentioned, get married and stay indoors.

    I think part of why she was so attracted to IJM was that being with him offered her a way to avoid the restricted life she was expected to live. As we saw when she helped her father as a transcriber and when she started her paper mill, she had a good head for business, but as a married noble lady, those opportunities wouldn’t be available to her. In addition, judging from her comments to that creep in the bookstore, she had a healthy belief of fair treatment for all even before she met IJM.

    What makes this character so fascinating to me is the seeming disconnect between that independent spirit and her dependence on IJM. Although she was ready to move on when she realized that IJM still had unresolved feelings for Dal Yi, things changed when she no longer saw Dal Yi as an obstacle to their relationship. As a result, whenever she felt uncertain about IJM’s feelings for her, she became obsessed with being near him, however, once she was certain of his love, and that he would return to her, she went on with her life and got busy with surviving and contributing to society. Very interesting character.

  4. 104
    agave Says:

    @Hi, tc

    Thanks for the warning about YJS’s character in Fugitive Plan B. I’ll proceed with caution if I ever decide to watch it.

    As for ROI, the happy ending just make this wonderful drama even better. I was expecting a sad ending, so I was prepared from the start, so it was an unexpected and pleasant surprise to have a happy, satisfying ending instead. In fact, I thought it was perfect. No bells and whistles, no big dramatic moments – just two hardworking, self-sacrificing people sharing their thoughts and spending time together in the final scene before the narrator’s closing comments and the transition to the modern-day IJM keeping watch. It was incredibly moving to see IJM finally feel relaxed enough put aside the world’s troubles for a moment and rest with his head in Wol Hee’s lap.

    Beautiful, just beautiful.

  5. 105
    KDaddict Says:

    @agave, Oh, agave,
    Where have you been all my KD career?
    It’s a joy to have sb to talk to in depth, n in all seriousness abt our fav dramas!
    I just got home. Will get back to u tmr!
    Which other dramas do u love best?

  6. 106
    KDaddict Says:

    Which actor was originally planned to play IJM? Who is IMO?
    YOu don’t appear on these pages much, do you?

  7. 107
    agave Says:


    The original actor chosen as IJM for ROI was Lee Seung Gi, who starred in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010). There were so many delays that by the time ROI was ready to begin, LSG was no longer available. Here’s a link to one of the articles about his casting and the delays:


    And here’s an earlier article:


    LSG even had a few scenes in his 2010 drama where he’s dressed up as a warrior so I got an idea of how he may have looked as IJM. Although he was cute, he just didn’t have that smouldering, sexy quality that Jung Il Woo was able to bring to the role.

    LOL! I’ve been checking these pages more since you began posting your reviews of ROI and exchanging posts with tc. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to post until now. You’ve done what I would like to do at some point, re-watch ROI and post my thoughts on each episode.

  8. 108
    agave Says:


    Oops, I just noticed your other questions. “IMO” is “in my opinion”.

    What are my other favorites? That’s tough because I like, even love, several, but there are only a few that I can re-watch and continue to enjoy as much or more than the first time. One is You’re Beautiful. You’re Beautiful isn’t complex or groundbreaking, but it has tight writing and a great cast. And, I think Flower Boy Ramen Shop may join this list. I’ll know for sure after I’ve seen the last 2 episodes.

    Among those that I’ve really liked, flaws an all, are Chuno, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, Jejoongwon, Personal Taste and a Man Called God. A Man Called God was my first Korean drama, so it has a special place of honor for me.

    There are also many that are on my must watch list that I haven’t had time to watch yet. That list includes Jumong, 49 Days, Coffee Prince, Damo, The Princess’ Man and Jewel in the Palace, among others.

  9. 109
    KDaddict Says:

    @agave, tc,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this drama n for the articles on casting.
    RoIJM is turning out to be one of my favs. Mine are in chronological order: Winter Sonata, Secret Garden, n The Princess Man.
    This drama is a slow-burn. Hence there were a lot of complaints abt it being boring. (LeeJK’s slap-stick IJM is surely more mass-market.) But I appreciate its steady-handed, honest story-telling n direction. You r absolutely right that JIW makes for a perfect IJM, esp compared to LeeSK. Lee wouldn’t have been able to project that complexity, turmoil n sexy melancholy that JIW has brought to it, thereby making him less of an attraction n good match w Wol Hee.
    I love the actress most when she plays Dal Yi, becos I love DY, who is as fresh as a mountain stream, more. She is as exuberant as Juliet at 15, simple, honest, open and Perfect.
    Wol Hee is a more difficult char to portray. I see her as loving IJM more than life itself. Even after she was sure of his love, she became beside herself whenever she couldn’t see him for a while. Her love is like an addiction, a necessity; to her IJM is like air. She could only hold her breath for so long. If it is dependence, like you called it, then it is like a Substance Dependence. Ha ha ha. During the war, after she had their son, that love became sublimated. She was able to pour her energy into raising their son, making paper, helping the refugees, rising above her addictive love, all the while being sure that he would return. She had to be sure of it, or else she couldn’t go on. Like I asked b4, it is a great love, but it is painful to love that much, Would You like to have a love like that?
    WH is no doubt an unconventional girl. That was why she could go all out for her love for IJM in historical times. Have you seen an old French movie called The Story of Adele H? Adele loved sb the same way, but without a son, a wise monk, a loving beggar ajussi by her side, she finally went mad becos of her unbridled passion. Somehow WH brought to mind Adele H for me. Your reasoning abt why she was so attracted to him is right on the money.
    Like you, I’d like to see a few eps of them in contemporary times. But that’d mean their having to conjure up a modern day super hero, a la Spider man. So, they r right to leave it to our imagination.
    I’m not yet done w RoIJM. 3 more eps to go: 21, 22, 23.
    Looks like you like sagueks. Be sure to watch The Princess Man. It is exceptionally well done. tc and I, plus a few others met on that thread when we were watching it during its broadcast period.
    In the last couple years, I’ve the habit of leaving a comment after each ep of the dramas I watch. It lets me run it thru my mind once. And I watch many dramas. 🙂 Hope to run into you again soon on some other threads in future.
    I finished Ramyun Shop, but it hasn’t done anything for me, except turn me to RoIJM!

  10. 110
    KDaddict Says:

    On the matter of Bad Endings:
    Bad endings make you feel so cheated for having been invested in the story n chars.
    IJM, Hong GD, City Hunter, all have bad endings. Of the 3, IJM’s ending is the most infuriating. I left 3 comments on its thread to complain. He didn’t have to die. He spared the Chief Assassin’s life, only to turn his back n be slashed to death.
    When a story can have a happy ending, but the writer n PD say: We just aren’t going to give it to you. See how cool we r? That Pisses me off royally.
    I’m not saying that the hero shouldn’t ever die. I understand that there r times when the hero Has to die in order for the story to make sense. I’m fine w that. E.g. City Hunter can’t possible live after that shoot out; and he Has to be there for his foster father. So it makes narrative sense. I actually like the way they show him standing alone in the night: his spirit lives on in the city. Just like JIW’s IJM stands guard over the city.
    HongGD met w a bad end in a what the F way. It seemed like their resistance was child’s play. That cheapens everything that went b4 by making a joke of it. This is like the resistance effort in Chow Yun Fat’s Anna n the King. It WAS child’s play; it demotes the rest of the film down a notch, n makes it impossible for me to it seriously, which I had done hitherto!

  11. 111
    joo raim Says:

    Yesterday,I watched it the first episode on mysoju.com but the second episode was Jdorama and I tried on dramaload but that’s not free. Can you or someone give suggestion where I can watch TRoI for free?

  12. 112
    KDaddict Says:

    @joo raim:
    I’ve been watching this on dramaload for free. This is the link:
    Scroll down the page. The eps are all there.
    It is free to Watch (stream) on dramaload. it is only Not free if you want to download. Like I told you, the problem w them is that they cut off the last few mins. of some eps.
    Maybe one of the other folks, tc or agave watches it on other sites that are better.

  13. 113
    KDaddict Says:

    Ep 22:
    End of ep 22–I’m glad he finally got to meet his mother, but the price is too steep! Poor Chief Gu paid for that reunion with his life! Couldn’t they have let Gu n Baek Mae live happily ever after? They both deserve it; 2 ppl who suffered so much for so long.
    I still feel sorry for Chief Gu’s young female assistant. Young unrequited love will remain painful for the rest of her life.

  14. 114
    joo raim Says:

    Thank you for the link. I tried to watch the missing part on mysoju.com but I must give more patience because it really tricky. I need to start it again and again in order to watch it completely

  15. 115
    KDaddict Says:

    @joo raim:
    Just click on the link; no need to go thru mysoju. Does that work better? It worked v well for me. If not, then it’s your internet connection. Good luck.

  16. 116
    KDaddict Says:

    Ep 23: Spoiler:
    I hate it when a show is consistently being unkind to the same good ppl, giving them painful fates thru and thru. How much pain and suffering can a person endure, be it saps the will to live out of them? It applies to Chief Gu–we haven’t seen him had a moment’s joy; it applies to Baek Mae-we haven’t seen her get any comfort. No doubt that plays a part in the decisions they make.
    IJM gets to come home to Wol Hee n son. But can’t you give him parents too, show? Is that too much to ask?

  17. 117
    KDaddict Says:

    Ep 23:
    Wol Hee is pregnant! What I don’t understand is When? She jumped down a cliff n was lost to him. Then he was outside protecting the ammunition workshop. AFter that, the place was discovered, attacked, n he was on the run. She insisted on waiting for him, as he told her, n was caught. He went to rescue him, n He was caught, n put in prison. Finally Gu saved him, n he ran to his mother’s residence, where she died, n he was devastated. He went to see the monk, then to see the good official, who advised to go to Ching China. So when did WH had a chance to get pregnant?
    The show is killing off every good guy, except for the OTP, the beggar and the old monk. Why does Gu’s female assistant had to die? These writers are entirely too fond of killing. She could kill off the witch (shawoman instead). Damn.
    IJM has a sword wound, n the girls who are tending to him put him in a tub of hot herbal water. What kind of therapy is that? Are you supposed to keep a wound dry?

  18. 118
    KDaddict Says:

    Went back to look at the beginning of ep 1. WH is the journalist who takes pictures of him. She even has the musical instrument that WH plays. IJM nim, is dashing as ever. I am now in love w JIW, heeheehee. It’s great to have one more Korean actor to love! Looking fwd to his future projects! Just hope we don’t lose him to the movies, like so many actors b4 him!

  19. 119
    agave Says:

    @joo raim:

    Try dramafever for ROI episodes. Here’s the link:


    @KDaddict (#109)

    Regarding criticism that ROI is too slow – that seems to be one of the main complaints of those who said the didn’t like it. I’ve also seen complains that its beginning was too confusing, especially for those who loved the simpler, more basic 2008 version. Although I disagree with this criticisms, I have no problem with those who feel this way because we can’t all love the same shows.

    I always give a show several episodes before I decide if I’m going to continue watching. That’s been a good strategy for me because the first episodes rarely impress me upon first viewing. Just thinking about two of my recent favorites, You’re Beautiful and ROI, if I had judged them by their first episodes, I would have moved on the the second episode.

    It funny now, but I wasn’t impressed by the looks of either of the lead actors. I mention their looks simply because they were each considered so good-looking in each drama. However, my opinion changed as I continued to watch each show. Now, I think both actors are 2 of the most attractive, and talented, actors in the business.

    Regarding The Princess’ Man, I’ve heard great things about that drama and I became even more interested when I found out that the main actor was IJM 2008’s brother. I liked him in that role.

    Regarding Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, if it led you to ROI, then it’s all good. 🙂

    @KDaddict (#110)

    Regarding bad endings – I agree that a bad ending can ruin the entire show for me, no matter how good the rest of the drama is. Fortunately, I can tolerate a bad ending better if I know about it ahead of time. For instance, I’m currently watching 49 Days and I’ve allowed myself to be spoiled enough to know that a disappointing event will occur, but I’m prepared for it. This is one reason why I don’t rush to watch a new drama while it’s airing.

    It’s interesting that you mention City Hunter’s ending less than satisfying and I was glad that I was warned before I saw it. I remember reading that it may be a good idea to watch up to episode 18 and to imagine your own ending. After watching all 20 episodes, I wish I would have taken that advice. Like you, I also don’t have a problem with character deaths, but I have when their deaths seem to be done for shock value or because the PD/writers ran out of ideas or time.

  20. 120
    agave Says:

    Ep 22:

    Yes, the whole storyline of IJM, his mother and Chief Gu was tragic. I was expecting something like this in the beginning when I saw how much he loved Baek Mae and how hard it was for her to even think kindly of him because of her trust issues with men. It appeared that the most she would ever feel for him was pity and gratitude and I felt sorry for both characters. However, when I realized that she wasn’t as indifferent to his love as I had thought, I started having hope that they would get to spend more time together as a couple.

    Sad, sad turn of events, but perhaps it was for the best because when she started having feelings for him, she did note that as much as she wanted her son back, she wanted GU, too. If she had found out that Gu sacrificed himself to save IJM, she probably would never have forgiven herself.

    Still, it was beyond sad that Baek Ma and IJM had so little time together as mother and son. It was probably especially painful for IJM to later think about all the opportunities they missed to be together earlier.

    Also, poor, sad and misinformed Soo-ryun. As sad as Baek Mae and Gu’s situation was, at least Gu discovered that Baek Mae loved him before the end, and Baek Mae realized that she was able to love and trust him before the end. Soo-ryun never got that and to make matters worse, her subsequent actions went against Gu’s final wishes. So instead of honoring the memory of the man she loved, she did the opposite by going after IJM in wrongful vengeance. This act not only jeopardized IJM’s life, but also the fate of their entire country. She screwed up so royally that I felt sorry for her.

  21. 121
    agave Says:

    Ep 23:

    I’ll admit that Wol-Hee’s pregnancy surprised me too, at first, because, as you mentioned, a lot had happened between the last time we knew they had been intimate and IJM’s return to China. However, I later realized that I don’t know how much time passed between when they arrived at the ammunition’s factory hideout and all the other events that happened before he left for China. If not much time passed, then Wol-Hee could have gotten pregnant during the time she was staying in the temple where she helped IJM heal after his gunshot wound.

    Also, it’s possible that more happened during their time at that factory hideout, during the middle of the night. If he was able to slip into Wol-Hee’s room unnoticed to retrieve that note, then it’s possible that they could have had a little alone time at least one other time. When I watch it again, I’ll see how plausible this scenario is to me.

    I agree that it was sad to see so many good characters go by the end, but as sad as I was by each death, they didn’t feel gratuitous to me, so they didn’t turn me off to the story. Looking back, I’m not surprised by Gu’s fate because as the series went on it was clear that either IJM had to die or Gu, and Gu had decided long ago, that IJM was gong to live long enough to reunite with his mother.

    As for Soo-ryun, the minute she shared that story with Baek-Mae about how she settled the score with the person who killed her brother, and how she would never forgive IJM if Gu died because of him, her fate was sealed. It was sealed because it was connected to Gu – if Gu died, she was going to go after IJM and that meant she would die. The way she died was sort of how I expected it because I figured that she would either decide not to kill IJM, because she realized that he wasn’t the bad guy in this mess. Or, that something would happen to make her see the bigger picture and realize that the country needed IJM alive. As a result, I expected that she would end up doing what GU did and sacrifice her life for IJM’s.

    The only death that surprised me was Bae Sun-dal’s, however, sad as it was, it didn’t make me angry because it seemed to serve a bigger purpose. Not only did it surprise me because Bae was a mostly comic relief, supporting character, whom I expected to live, but also because Bae’s death made Cha-dol more determined to chronicle the life if IJM because it was Bae’s dying wish.

    If Bae had lived another 10 or 20 years, we don’t know if he would have remained as determined to publish books of IJM’s life because IJM had likely gone mostly into retirement after the return of most of Korean POW’s. As the years went by, Bae would probably have talked about doing this someday, but may have never gotten around to it. Especially, since he would likely have become a close friend of IJM’s and may have been concerned about causing him renewed, unwanted attention.

    Also, I think Cha-dol saw this as mostly Bae’s project, so without Bae pushing him, Cha-dol probably wouldn’t have completed this after Bae’s death. So, in that case, Bae’s death, at this time, served the purpose of ensuring that books about the life of IJM would be made available to the public for generations to come.

  22. 122
    agave Says:

    @KDaddict (#118)

    Isn’t it interesting to go back to the first episode after having completed the series? I still can’t believe how unimpressed I was with JIW at the time. Yes, I thought he was good-looking, but K-dramas are full of good-looking people, so that wasn’t enough to impress me. Besides, I didn’t think he was all that hot then. Boy, did that opinion change by the end of the show!

    Now, I’m a fan of JIW and plan to watch all of his past works and look forward to his new projects. If not for him, I would never have watched Flower Boy Ramyum Shop because I’m not usually interested in dramas that mainly feature modern-day teens. I hope we don’t lose JIW to movies, too, however, if he does decide to do more movies, then I hope he mixes things up by alternating them with TV dramas.

    Also, in re-watching the first episode, I love, love those little details I missed upon first viewing, like Wol-Hee’s musical instrument and the books about IJM that were bound like the originals. I also found it interesting that modern-day Wol-Hee, as a journalist, was still involved in a job that involved reading and providing information to the public. I love how those details connected the past with the present.

    And, I also noticed how, even though she did not know modern-day IJM yet, she was already experiencing some of that burning obsession that original Wol-Hee had for original IJM. I also loved seeing how modern-day IJM felt drawn to her, too. I especially love the scene where, after he gave her back her cell phone, he started to leave, but then stopped, turned back and gave her a smile. It was as if he wanted to make sure she remembered his face, so that she would know him the next time their paths crossed.

  23. 123
    KDaddict Says:

    I take my KDs seriously. And it’s obvious that you do too. You’ve a good eye for details, n we are on the same page when it comes to what they mean. I agree w all your interpretation on RoIJM.
    You make good pts on Gu’s female asst’s death, n Sun Dal’s as well. I only finished watching it today, n haven’t had time to ponder what lies behind those deaths yet. But I did pick up on the way modern day IJM n the journalist interact. There aren’t very many KDs that give us such points to reflect upon, n not many viewers care to.
    The Princess Man is one such KD that pays strict attn to details in the writing; it rewards discerning viewers by giving us much to chew on. I love it to pieces, for so many reasons.
    Re City Hunter’s Ending:
    I actually appreciate the way they did it. They killed him off, yet the way they wrapped up the show after the big shooting scene was both thoughtful n artful. I commented on it on that thread at the time. Some viewers who insist on seeing him alive can talk themselves into believing that he is. Those of us who have less wishful thinking can see the ending for what it is. I don’t have a problem w it. That is one Bad ending that I don’t find less than satisfying.
    Now 49 Ds is a diff animal altogether. I felt cheated, completely! Why would you put sb thru test after test for 49 Ds, and then kill them off 1 D after they pass the tests? That’s excessive cruelty, to the char, n to the viewers. I ended up being quite angry w the show.
    Abt Hot K Stars:
    The ones that break out have good looks + charisma + screen presence. Like u say, pretty boys r a dime a dozen. But does the pretty face come to own the screen, command your attention, bring the char alive? Those r the Qn’s.
    I confess that I didn’t think that much of JIW’s looks at first. Korean eyelids, baby face, v fair complexion don’t add up to my idea of a hot guy. But after seeing Cha Chi Soo n Iljimae, I think differently of course.
    Lee Min Ho looked strange to me in BoF’s on acct of that head of permed hair n dead raccoon on his coat collar. But as City H, he has style, flair, pathos. (I think he is still a little weak on the pathos). Handsome is way too 2-dimensional. There must be sth else.
    Like Hyun Bin as Kim Joo Won! All that class, Cool, n that look in his eyes that is nothing short of magnetic!
    As for Park Shi Hoo, I like him a great deal in TPM; As for the actor himself, needless to say, he is one of the most handsome guys around, n I think he is sexier than I don’t know what! But I’m still pondering on what else he brings to the plate.
    What other KDs can we chat abt?
    Merry Christmas!

  24. 124
    KDaddict Says:

    Flower Boy Ramyun Shop is a show I truly don’t get, as never b4. I love Cha Chi So, but basically can’t stand the rest of the show, esp. the lead actress. PPl say it made them laugh. I didn’t laugh once watching it. I’d like to get enlightened. Would u like to go over to that thread n tell me what’s so good abt it?

  25. 125
    KDaddict Says:

    Another show that is a MUST is Padam Padam. Take a random look at it anywhere from Ep 2 onwards. (Ep 1 is setup). If it doesn’t get you hooked in 10 mins. on acct of Jung Woo Sung’s superb acting, I’d be surprised!

  26. 126
    agave Says:

    @KDaddict (#123)

    What should we discuss next? Well, on this thread, I plan to go back and read your impressions of the earlier ROI episodes and comment on them because their are a lot storyline issues that I haven’t touched on yet. So, brace yourself for more long-winded ROI posts from me. LOL!

    I keep hearing great things about The Princess’ Man, so I’m really looking forward to it. Like you mentioned, I’ve heard that this drama pays careful attention to details and I love that.

    About City Hunter, I almost didn’t remember the ending until you mentioned it because I watched that drama in bits and pieces. Also, the main site I watch it on didn’t have the last episode, so for episode 19 was the last episode to me for several months. When I finally watched the last that last episode, it felt like a different show to me. Especially, since I didn’t believe that the prosecutor had actually died.

    As a result, when I finally got the chance to watch Ep 20, I was stunned to find that he had died and disappointed that City Hunter went in the direction it did in the end. Perhaps, if I re-watched it from beginning to end I would feel differently.

    Now, for 49 Days – I just finished Ep 19 and I can see where this is going. Although I didn’t have the details, I knew coming in that this would be a heartbreaking drama, so I’ve been preparing myself for any possibility. However, if I had been watching this during its airing, I probably would have been screaming at my screen in disappointment at the direction the storylines were heading for several of the characters. I’ll post my thoughts in the 49 Days thread after I watch the last episode.

    I agree that to grab attention in this business, good-looking actors need to have more than good looks. If those good-looking actors don’t also have star quality, then they will quickly fade into the background as soon as the newest crop of good-looking actors arrive. As you mentioned, to make an impression on viewers, actors need to have screen presence, charisma, and it also doesn’t hurt to have acting ability, or at least show the promise of acting ability.

    Going back to 49 Days, in the hands of a lesser actor, Jung Il Woo’s role as the Scheduler, would not have been nearly as impressive. I noticed that his character was prominently described as a pretty boy-type, but thanks to his great work in ROI, the commentators also recognized JIW’s ability to bring that character to life on screen.

    I think, in terms of his future projects, that JIW’s work in ROI was the best role to show future casting directors his range as an actor. I remember reading some of the early comments when he replaced the other actor, where some posters didn’t believe that he could handle this role well. So pleased to see that he proved them wrong.

  27. 127
    agave Says:

    @KDaddict (#124)

    Re: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

    If you don’t like the rest of the show or the lead actress, then I don’t think this will ever be a show you could like. There are a lot of dramas where I struggled, and sometimes failed, to give them my usual 5 episode chance before giving up. If there is something that I really dislike, I may stop watching before I even complete the first episode.

    There are two things that a drama needs for me to remain interested, characters that I find engaging and a storyline that I find interesting. Also, if the leads are to be romantically involved, then I have to find them appealing as a couple.

    If I felt the way you feel about FBRS, I wouldn’t have made it to the 2nd episode because the way you describe your reaction to FBRS is the way I feel about The Coffee Prince. Yes, I know it’s one of the most loved dramas around and because of this I keep trying to watch it because I want to understand its appeal. Unfortunately, the problem for me is that I don’t find the lead actor appealing as the romantic lead. Sure, he’s good-looking and has a great body, but he just didn’t work as the romantic lead for me.

    @KDaddict (#125)

    Thanks for the Padam Padam recommendation. I’ve seen the title, but don’t know anything about the storyline. Isn’t Kim Bum also in this?

  28. 128
    KDaddict Says:

    I’m still mad at 49Ds. I already posted my comments there while I was watching. I liked Nam Gyu Ri in Beautiful Days, but her excessive plastic surgery changed her looks by the time she appeared in 49Ds, a short few months later. I like many K actors, Jo Hyun Jae is not one of them. Lee Yo Won looked sleepy thru the whole show. It made me sleepy just to watch her. Maybe she was supposed to be sleepy, but still! It was punishing for the audience. I never saw Queen Seon Duk, so I didn’t have a chance to fall in love w her b4 hand.
    What is funny abt a toilet plunger held up high as if it was a weapon is beyond me! I know it is toilet humor. I just find it crass.
    Or a lead female char who is likened to Chicken feet when the male lead is to caviar? Grates on my nerves. I loved Cha CS too much to quit watching; hated Yang EB too much to enjoy it, was my dilemma on that one.
    Padam Padam:
    Yes, Kim Bum is in it too. He plays a human in the process of morphing into an angel. He sheds 20 lbs, loses his star looks, n we find an actor underneath! I posted a few comments on that thread.
    Coffee Prince:
    was way overrated, becos of Yoon Eun Hye. She has a huge fan following. I found it forgettable at best. Gong Yoo was far far far better in Hello my Teacher aka Biscuit Teacher Candy Star. He played a 19 year old so well. I love that one.
    K Actors:
    Screen presence and bringing a char to life depend on acting ability. But few actors can act like Jung Woo Sung is acting in Padam Padam. You must see it soon! Then we can talk abt it. 😉

  29. 129
    joo raim Says:

    @KD & @agape :
    Thank you for the link. Now I have some links to watch KDrama. I also thank for your brilliant review of KDrama. I enjoyed to read both review and I understand how both of you love the same dramas or have different feeling about the others. I think both of you can consider to make a blog about KDrama like dramabeans or soompi do and if you really do it please make me the first visitor of your blog. I hope to read again your, both of you, reviews.
    By the way……………Happy New Year…………..(it’s still first month of 2012,right? ^________________^)

  30. 130
    agave Says:

    Happy New Year!

    So far, I have been so busy that I haven’t had much time to post, but I plan to begin again soon. I still want to comment on each ROI episode before the end of this year.


    I finished 49Days and will comment more in that thread. Surprisingly, the ending didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, but that is probably because I knew it was coming.

    Regarding FBRS, I finished it and it will now be added to my favorites list, even though the ending seemed kind of rushed to me.

    Although I love FBRS I agree with you that the toilet humor was a bit too much. As much as I loved seeing Yang EB take control of the situation and go to retreive her man, I kept going “EWWWW”! everytime I saw her with that nasty used plunger. *shudders in disgust*

    Thankfully, the good in FBRS vastly outweighed the bad for me. 🙂

    @joo raim

    Thanks for the kind words about starting a KDrama blog. Ever since ROI kicked my love for KDramas into high gear, I understand why sites like Dramabeans and soompi got started. When you really love something, it is great to have a place where you can share your thoughts.

  31. 131
    joo raim Says:


    I also finished 49 days……I hope you will write soon on 49 days side cause I want to read your review. I hope you will also finish your review of ROI cause I still on episode 19 (I can’t finish it early cause I also watch MTF and now I am watching OB)

  32. 132
    ELIZA Says:


  33. 133
    Charlie Says:

    Gee, you gals had a party here. Where was I?!
    Some comment mentioned the unexpected bed scene that happened too soon.
    But there is a scene I don’t know if you noticed. When Iljimae went into her room, Wol asked him to sit at the spot where it was warmer, and when he lifted the blanket, there was a covered bowl.
    In Korean culture, if the hostess is wishing for someone’s unexpected visit, usual it is her loved one, she’d leave a bowl of rice at a warm place so if that someone comes to visit, she’d have the food table ready for her loved one, because other vegetable dishes are usually premade.
    In this case, Wol was living alone and she has a bowl of rice waiting for someone, and from her acts toward him, Iljimae knew he was that someone special. So they went straight to bed shortly after.
    Fast, I hope the answer is hum, it is understandable.

  34. 134
    Daphine Says:

    ohhh.. its very nice drama..
    congrats.. dara…!

  35. 135
    agave Says:


    It’s never too late the join the party. 🙂

    I love the detail you provided about Korean culture and the symbolism of having a warm container of rice available for welcomed guests. I didn’t have a problem with the speed of Iljimae and Wol Hee’s skinship because it was 3 years in the making as far as I was concerned.

    I believe their skinship was long overdue because before Iljimae went to look for his adopted father, he stopped by Wol Hee’s house and noted to himself that he will return when the time is right. It was much too soon after Dal Yi’s death for him to see Wol Hee then because not only was it hard on him because she looked like Dal Yi, but, after I watched the entire series, there seemed to be something more going on between Iljimae and Wol Hee from the beginning.

    I used to think that his immediate attachment to Wol Hee was because she looked like Dal Yi, but now I wonder if they had a deeper connection that had nothing to do with her appearance.

    I love the way both Wol Hee and Dal Yi were written regarding skinship because although Dal Yi was a bit bolder than Wol Hee in the beginning of her relationship with Iljimae, both women were not shy about letting Iljimae know that they wanted him.

    I thought it was refreshing to see sexuality handled in such an open and direct way in a Korean drama. I especially loved seeing the leading female characters written as being openly interested in skinship because this is so rare in a Korean drama.

  36. 136
    agave Says:

    @joo raim #131

    I hope you were able to finish watching RoI. I still haven’t found the time to write the recaps I said I would do, even though I have re-watched several RoI episodes since the beginning of the year.

    I don’t want to do my episode recaps until I have time to re-watch the entire series from the beginning to the end and take notes while I am watching them.

    As a test, I took notes while watching one episode and was amazed at the level of detail I picked up when I did that.



    Yes, RoI is a very nice drama. I wish more dramas had the time to complete, or almost complete, filming before they air. I think the lack of outside interference is why I found RoI so satisfying. The PD had a vision for RoI and was able to follow through to the end without input from the network.

    By the way, who’s dara?

  37. 137
    agave Says:

    I love Yoon Jin Seo in RoI, but I had never seen her in anything else until now. I just found out that she finished a romantic comedy called Twelve Men in a Year. This show aired on cable in March and finished its last episode last week.

    I just finished the first episode of Twelve Men in a Year and loved it. Yoon Jin Seo’s character, Na Mi Roo, is a mess. She’s quick-tempered and impulsive, so her actions will definitely drive the storylines in this drama. Yoon Jin Seo is such a good actress and her role in Twelve Men is a big change from her role in RoI, so it’s fun to see her let loose in a modern adult romantic comedy.

    I love that this show aired on cable because the first episode reminds me of Sex and the City, so there is a better chance that a cable channel will not shy away from adult sexual themes.

  38. 138
    ayu edogawa Says:

    come on…just watch n see..
    jung ill woo has give best acting here
    at least we have to appreciate his hard work

  39. 139
    HELLO Says:

    I think my favorite part of this drama was that everyone was in love with Iljimae. <3

  40. 140
    witlily Says:

    this drama very good comparing with other iljimae version (very unique interactive narrator (^o^)b ).

  41. 141
    shiro Says:

    I think Lee Joon Ki’s iljimae is better than Jung Il wo’s.
    that’s why rating of Iljimae is better than the return of iljimae 😀

  42. 142
    zarima Says:

    i agree with you shiro.. iljimae of LJK IS MUCH MUCH more better than the return of iljimae…. the first two ep is too boring

  43. 143
    Maggi Says:

    I like this drama. It’s very touching.

  44. 144
    cyberspace092886 Says:

    one of the best korean ever…i feel the love,anger,and sorrow of this drama.also,the best drama project of Il Jung Woo i see maturity side of him and i hope he will have another project.

  45. 145
    fizzybae Says:

    I really like ur performance, nd i think u guys ar really doing ur best to move d world, wishing u gudluck.

  46. 146
    Korean Drama I’ve Ever Watched | My Life My Journey Says:

    […] The Return of Iljimae Rating : 1 out of 5 […]

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