The drama said its goodbyes last month, that I know. That’s why I think it’s time to wrap up my thoughts around it too. I know its hard to bid farewell, but oh well, not all of them can be just sad. There are farewells like this that are necessary and can’t be avoided, but I guess, it’s the right time to say ‘annyeong’ with a smile to our prickly CEO, Lee Yoo Chan and our energy bunny, Kim Bora Bora, and their journey to each other.
Rich Man is the 2018 Korean remake of the Japanese original, titled ‘Rich Man, Poor Woman’. As I mentioned from my ‘First Impression’ post of this drama before, I didn’t watch the original and I still don’t have any plans of doing so. Nonetheless, I can say that I enjoyed this drama more than I thought I will.
Although the chaebol guy and poor girl pairing is already overused in the past, the drama has proven its effect still strong to those who watch it.
Lee Yoo Chan is the prickly CEO who is a genius and a billionaire. He, along with Min Tae Joo, setup the start up company, Next In. On the other hand, Kim Bo Ra is the simple, country bumpkin who is hopelessly looking for a job. She’s not exactly that poor, I guess, and there are no awful monster to-be in-laws to degrade her being poor, but Kim Bo Ra’s struggle is about her being able to find a suitable job for her.
Thanks to her awfully superb memorizing skills, albeit unconventionally, she gets hired as a part-timer by Lee Yoo Chan to help present his ‘Mini File’ project and then later as the story goes, the ‘Big File’ project that Lee Yoo Chan’s friend and business partner, Min Tae Joo, sabotages out of envy.
Next In experiences a breach in security in their ‘Mini File’ project, causing a leak of information on the profiles of millions of Korean citizens. This unexpected hurdle pushes Lee Yoo Chan to strive even better, but just as he was to spread his wings to save the day, Min Tae Joo took it as his role to cut them and kick him out of his own company.
Eventually, Tae Joo takes over Next In, but with his greed and awful leading skills, he experiences a lot of difficulties in running the IT company despite great support from his father’s company, Taesan.
Yoo Chan takes a slump, sells his own car, lets go of his humongous home and barely has any penny left in his bank, but then has Kim Bo Ra to pick him up. Bo Ra leaves Next In to encourage Yoo Chan he can make even better things and though it was hard to cheer up a man who didn’t want to get up and take another leap of faith, she does her best to keep him on his feet with his chin up. She ask for the aid of her sunbae, Cha Do Jin, and eventually Cha Do Jin’s office transforms to their newly established company ‘Dancing Whale’ (name courtesy to Kim Bo Ra–I must admit I cringed at that name) and Yoo Chan and Bora mostly tries to business by personally going to people to promote their new developments. Later, they gain back the Big File team and create more innovative things. This time, however, Yoo Chan doesn’t anymore feel like he was working and that he was responsible alone. He learns to have confidence with his team and that broke the wall he built to ward off others.
In a sudden turn of events, Min Tae Joo confesses his faults. He tells everyone he is the reason to the breach that happened to Next In before and that he was going to make himself responsible for this downfall. He gets locked up in prison. This worries Yoo Chan, however, and with careful consideration decides he can’t just let Next In crumble. He accepts the CEO position again to get the company back to its feet.
However, Kim Bo Ra is conflicted about her own career. She wants to be next to Lee Yoo Chan, but she also knows that can’t happen forever. She’s convinced Lee Yoo Chan doesn’t have strong feelings for her, so why hang around when it’s pretty unsure? Besides, she’s right into thinking her world can’t just revolve around one guy. She is young and there are still so many things she can do. That’s why I salute her for choosing to find her own path and be away with Lee Yoo Chan.
But though this is a silly idea, Yoo Chan only realizes how important Bo Ra is to him when he is about to lose her. I guess, he’s too dense to realize this important feeling and the moment he finds the courage to admit it, he’s about to lose his girl in a freaking airport. Cliche, yes, but the novelty of happy endings often start at the airport in Korean dramas… for some reason–not in all of them but quite often. Well, at least, after that, they all lived happily ever after.
The drama has impressed me quite a bit. Because despite it being only a remake, it managed to make a mark of its own. It’s packed with light drama, fluttering yet prickly romance between the in denial, stubborn CEO and the dedicated admirer, sometimes annoying second leads, very supportive friends and mystery that will make you realize the world is small enough for two unknowing people to meet and maybe that’s what you can call fate.
And though I know I am not in the right position to compare it to the Japanese version, I must say this is worth giving a shot. If you’re up for something cliche but you can relate with, I am pretty sure you can work well with Rich Man. It’s somewhat in the mid-range playing ground if you ask me. Cool but not too impressive. Heart fluttering but not something that you can call unforgettable.
There are a lot more better dramas than this, with a deeper story line and cliche-defying twist that will surely make you gasp in surprise and confusion, I must admit. The production, though, is above average–it’s dedicated and honest. For sure they didn’t slack with the funding.
Plus, using fresh faces for the actors portraying the characters with the additional large fanbase that they carry with their name, isn’t something to overlook. That thought alone will make you want to anticipate such a drama.
The acting, too, isn’t poor, which is impressive already on its own.
Suho isn’t new to the limelight, but I know that this is one of his first attempts into acting with a major role in a drama. I must have mentioned this before and I saw one of his mini series before called ‘The Universe’ Star’ and the guy definitely charmed his way to my heart. I had my fair share of doubts about him portraying the CEO role of Lee Yoo Chan, but I guess nothing could have been more perfect than him to play the role–considering Yoo Chan’s geeky, hedgehog and sometimes childish personality. I had fret for him the entire drama but inconsistency isn’t present. He truly did well and for sure he will do even better in his future roles.
Ha Yeon Soo is, as always, cute and charming. Has earnest eyes and acting that fit the role of Kim Bo Ra, who is honest, dedicated and a hard worker. Plus, I’ve just recently seen a picture of the Japanese female lead and they somehow look alike, but pretty and youthful.
cinematography, theme songs, story flow and pacing
Cinematography – the shots are actually pretty good, but sometimes I feel like they overuse the ‘bokeh’ (I use the AI camera effect in phones for better understanding) effect–it’s when they blur the background to give emphasis to the person being projected on screen–and blurring the background too much makes it feel too unreal for the setting. And certainly, that’s kind of annoying.
Theme songs – the songs are pretty catchy, the lyrics are quite amazing and they fit the scenes and sets the mood of the drama. I think this is one of those dramas that I like the theme songs so much I downloaded them and saved basically an entire album of it in my phone. My personal favorite is Nam Taehyun’s Real Love!
Story Flow – A back and forth flow of the present and past. The beginning is full of mysteries and reminiscence of the past but it isn’t hard to follow through. However, the second half of the series is a bit painful to watch since it becomes rough from there and though it’s a bonus to the drama they added a love line for Tae Ra–which is good for her–but not really something I could care less about–and for Mi So (Bo Ra’s friend)–it is unnecessary. I just think they put it out there so everyone is happy in the end and no one is left behind.
Pacing – the love story between Kim Bo Ra and Lee Yoo Chan is painfully slow that I want to poke Tae Ra’s eyes out for having more kissing scenes with Yoo Chan than Bo Ra has. Plus, the earlier episodes seems lacking with action and thing going on in it compared to the last two episodes which seems rather rushed and full with drama and developments. Not that I’m complaining about it, but I just wanna point out the facts.
Rich Man, as a big picture, is quite good for an average drama with 16 episodes. I must say, however, if we’re going to look into the smaller picture that makes up the entire whole, besides Lee Yoo Chan, the other characters lack build up. We know about Yoo Chan’s character, habits and past, but the only thing we know about Bo Ra revolves around her memories with him.
Mi So is introduced as her friend and later someone that got knocked up by Cha Do Jin, but their story isn’t that well explored, I feel like it would be better if, as second or third leads, their story would have been better told in a different light and isn’t just highlighted when they got married during the ending scenes.
Tae Ra is given quite the character of a sophisticated and spoiled daughter of a sick rich man, however, I didn’t grow fond of her character. At some point, she actually becomes annoying especially when she asked Bo Ra to stay away from Yoo Chan and when she sided with her brother and yet couldn’t stick to her decision in the end when Tae Joo sends Yoo Chan to his greatest downfall.
Min Tae Joo would have been a great second lead if he didn’t go to the dark side–which is too cliche for too good to be true characters that are eventually nice but turns evil after being unfairly treated. His character is one example of a role which I don’t understand. I mean, there must be as irrational people as him who doesn’t think before they act, but to go so far as ruining your closest friend? Not good. But then again, maybe this is where the quote ‘your best friend can be your worst enemy’ applies. Because he knows so much about you that he can use it against you. And yes, his wrong decisions led to useless downfall that made him dig his own grave, but all is well as long as there is forgiveness and acceptance. At least, he still had his own happy ending.
Another thing that I took great notice of is the rushed ending. I feel like they packed everything in the last episode that after watching it, I asked myself ‘is that it? no next episode or anything?’. Though I am happy that everyone has their happy ending, I must admit I feel like there should have been more to it. An episode 17 may not be necessary, but it would have been greatly welcomed.
To sum it up, although there are unsatisfying moments and a relationship that finally blossomed late into the ending, I must say I enjoyed the journey with Rich Man. It didn’t make me tear up, but made my heart flutter and my lips to stretch to a smile. It’s the kind of drama I won’t get a hangover with after watching, but it’s a drama I won’t pass on.
So, I will rate it a 4.2 out of 5 as its final grade.