Apple TV Pachinko, First Impressions

“Pachinko”is based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name, written by Korean-born author Lee Minjin, chronicling the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family over four generations as they leave their homeland in an unstoppable quest to survive and prosper. It features a host of world-renowned actors, and is a global project produced in English, Korean, and Japanese. This first season will have 8 episodes and it was said that there will be another three seasons, but nothing has been clarified about the cast that will participate in them or when we will have news about them. The production cost for this season is approximately 80 million USD, that is 1 million USD for each episode and that they couldn’t film in Japan!!

The plot begins with a forbidden love story between the characters of Lee Minho and the protagonist of the story played by Kim Min Ha, chronicling war, peace, love and parting, victory and judgment in Korea, Japan and the United States. The cast includes Lee Minho playing the role of Hansu, Kim Min Ha in the role of Sunja in her adolescence, Mrs. Youn Yu Jung in the role of Sunja when she grows up, Soji Arai like Mozasu Jin Ha like solomon, Jung Inji like yangjin, Kaho Minami like Etsuko Noh Sang Hyun (Steve Sanghyun Noh) as Isak, anna sawai like Naomi, Han Jun Woo like Joseph, Jung Eun-chae like Kyung-hee jimmy simpson as Tom Andrews Jeon Yoo Na like Sunja as a child, and more.

This Post Contains SPOILERS!!

Like any migration story, it brings with it sadness, poverty, nostalgia for those who were left behind, abuse, discrimination, etc. The narration makes transitions without any warning between 1910 and 1989, at least in these first three episodes, where the search for improvement is still present in Sunja’s family, the protagonist of this story. For me that is attractive because they change the mood for the viewer with that rhythm and at least for me, it immerses me in the story allowing me to enjoy it, without noticing how time passes. Sunja’s father was a marginalized man, his very poor wife feels appreciated and cared for by him, but both are immersed in the poverty and oppression that the Korean people experienced while the Japanese empire occupied their territory. They survive by keeping their heads down and earning a living while running a humble guesthouse on Youngdo Island. Sunja’s father is a tender and affectionate man who believes he has been abandoned by fate until he realizes that he had to earn good things on his own. He cares for and protects Sunja as her greatest treasure and she grows up feeling safe and loved. But the man dies and then we see young Sunja helping her mother. She is in charge of shopping at the market and there she meets Hansu. What everyone says about this man is that he is cruel and cold, although fair with the merchants. Sunja knows a new side of this man and a forbidden love arises between them. Sunja ends up suffering from Hansu’s coldness and objectivity. It’s a difficult time for Korea, there weren’t many chances for a love match, I could even say that looking from afar, that was a teenage dream. What Hansu offers Sunja is not the best for her, but a new person comes into Sunja’s life: Isak, a man who comes from far and wants to go even further, is the salvation for Sunja’s desperate situation??

Lee Minho develops for the first time a practical, cold and passionate man but of course macho. What he wanted was considered his by right, so he relates to the innocent Sunja without any problem. I liked how they both conveyed the emotions of their characters and how their intimate scenes weren’t Western-style at all. Hansu only allowed himself to be him with Suja, but he knows that he cannot offer her what she wants and even he is cruel to insult the heroine’s father, without any need. Only it seems that he wanted to put his feet on the ground, noticing that she was escaping from her hands. Mrs Youn Yu Jung shows Sunja living in Japan with her son who manages a “Pachinko” that is, a place of games and bets that many Koreans who lived in Japan were in charge of. Although we see Sunja living with certain comforts, it is obvious that he has not forgotten his language, his food and his customs. Even at his age, he lives a busy life, taking care of food, family and his dying sister-in-law. In an eternal sacrifice in favor of others, something that even his grandson without any shame demands that he continue doing so that he can be a successful man, as if his elders had the obligation to let themselves be stepped on so that he reaches the top, although them entails discarding and ignoring their roots and that land that Sunja still longs to set foot on again. Well, it is a journey, without a doubt emotional, but let’s say less emotional and dramatic than a traditional Korean drama that if this were a Korean production, there would be topics in which they would have stopped excessively, making us shed liters of tears and painting us the characters who fled Korea as traitors. But no, this story is told from the point of view of those who were forced to seek survival rather than think about the liberation of a country or the struggle for independence. None of that appeared here and I appreciate that too. Not everyone seeks to be a hero for a homeland that has abandoned them, which is how many Koreans must have felt during the Japanese occupation. The South Korean filmmaker Kogonada and justin chon they would be executive producers and directors, each directing four episodes with the former directing the series pilot. soo hugh He is an executive producer and screenwriter. As I mentioned in the note on “Pachinko” “trivia”, this first season is supposed to cover up to book 3 of the novel,

PS: Oppa unlocked Steve Sanghyun Noh (who plays Isak Baek), is 31 years old, is a model and actor. He appears in the MBC drama «XX“and soon he will be seen in the next drama”Blood Riding Love» from jTBC. HERE his instagram

Veronica Troncoso

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