LumiLens: We Broke Up Review

Korean dramas have been taking over the Asian entertainment business by storm for the past couple of years. From their beautiful and talented actors to the complex plot line, these shows have captured the attention of millions around the world. Although there are amazing shows out there today, some viewers might think that it might take too much time to watch each episode. However, there is a new type of drama has found its place in the limelight. “Web dramas” are shows that are much shorter, estimating to be about five to fifteen minutes per episode, compared to the long and heavily detailed 45 minute dramas. Even though web dramas are much shorter in length, they are still able to tell their stories beautifully and capture the hearts of their viewers. These shows are perfect for those who want to watch a show but do not want to invest too much time in them.

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Produced by YG Entertainment’s model management company, YG KPLUS, “We Broke Up” is a web drama about a couple that recently split. Former 2NE1 member, Sandara Park, and Kang Seungyoon of WINNER take the lead roles of Noh Woori and Ji Wonyoung, respectively, in this melodrama.

Woori, a college student, meets Wonyoung, the lead singer of his band at one of his small gigs. Their relationship moves quickly and soon begin living together. Due to various problems, they decide to break up. However, they remain to live together under the same roof until their housing contracts end. To keep each other out of their lives, they try to distance themselves and go as far as to make a list of strict rules to not bother each other at home. However, Woori becomes concerned when Wonyoung suggests to not interfere in each other’s love life, thinking that he’s started dating other people already. As the two begin their lives apart, they meet new people, which causes tension between the two.

You might think that this 10 episode series will be depressing and filled with lots of tears and heartbreak, but it isn’t. Each episode is actually quite comedic because of the petty, yet silly, actions Woori and Wonyoung do towards each other. Despite the crazy antics they get into, there are times where they’ll reflect on their past relationship. The longing Woori and Seungyoon have for each other feels so real. You could feel your heartstrings being pulled whenever our star couple missed each other. For those who have experienced a breakup, you might begin to reminisce the feeling of breakups and the longing you may had for your ex-significant other. Throughout the series, the directors really capture the residual feelings one experiences post-breakup. Little things such as Woori worrying if Wonyoung ate yet or Wonyoung wondering why Woori hasn’t come home yet, really tugs at your heart, making you wish that they have a chance to get back together at the end of the series.

The biggest takeaway from this drama was to cherish your relationship!

The experience outweighs the outcome. Be fond of the memories you made with that special someone. If you do find yourself at the end of a relationship, don’t worry. You will feel sad and upset. You will wonder how you’ll continue with the most important person in your life, gone. You will ask yourself when you’ll stop missing them.

It’s okay to feel sad and cry.

Give yourself time to heal.

It’ll be okay.

You will be okay.

I really enjoyed watching “We Broke Up.” The storyline was well thought out and the actors were able to tell the story seamlessly. Those who have experienced a breakup would enjoy this because they will be able to empathize with the ex-couple and understand their feelings. Anyone who likes a more serious drama with bits of comedic relief would enjoy this as well! Since each episode is about 20 minutes long, it’s a good series to watch during your lunch break or right before bed – perfect for any Lumi-readers who are busybees.

Be on the lookout for more web drama reviews from the Lumi team!

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LumiScope: Alan Z

Asian artists are surely taking the world by storm. Most recently, South Korean boy group BTS made a breakthrough to mainstream listeners above the massive fanbase they already held in a less known scene. While the world of KPOP is considered highkey to those already part of this domain, American audiences are still unaware of the impact Asians and Asian Americans are having on the music industry.

Among the US streets of Atlanta, Georgia, another artist has garnered his own fanbase with fans traveling to see his shows, purchase his albums, and support him in any way they can. I first came across Alan Z when he attended a smaller function in Virginia. He held a strong presence without as many words needed compared to others, and it was more than obvious that he was an artist, ready to stand out and stand up for the Asian American music scene with his original productions and hardworking image.

Alan recently released a new music video for his song “Touch and Go” – a trendy, modern tune that he produced and a video he co-directed. We were lucky to be able to catch an interview with him!

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Has your original image/vision for your music changed since you started?

Alan Z: My vision for striving to be a household name and pop sensation never changed, but my image definitely changed throughout the times. When I was younger, I had different management teams, and they pushed me towards either the “grown and sexy” suited-up look, or the preppy, teenage Justin Bieber look. I hated both of those looks for me. Then I started wearing hats and baggy pants, but unfortunately, the classic hip-hop style was out. Fast-forward to now, I got my signature wavy hair and fitted jeans. I miss the old hip-hop fashion, but unfortunately, it’s a new world we live in.

You co-directed the music video for Touch And Go; did you ever imagine you’d be covering all areas of production when you first started making music?

Alan Z: I knew I was going to be hands-on with everything, which I believe is the result of being a perfectionist. Well, that and also because I learned that you can’t depend on people for anything. The video concept for “Touch And Go” has been like three years in the making. My best friend Taaj and I first brainstormed about it in 2014 when I first recorded the song, and I finally decided to finish writing the video treatment and putting together the cast and crew this past summer. It features three love interests and our storylines are intertwined within the main narrative. Whoever is reading this that hasn’t seen “Touch And Go” yet, watch it now on YouTube so you can say that you saw it before I become too mainstream and bandwagon fans discover me way later.

Of your songs, I imagine there are some selections that you hold near and dear to you. At the moment, are there any of your songs that are more relevant than others to your life?

Alan Z: I have a song called “Discriminated” on my new EP “First Time’s The Charm”, where I open up about the discrimination I faced throughout my childhood and how it followed me into my music career, which has been an uphill battle due to racism. But in the song, I’m not just complaining; I’m fighting back against anyone that has got a problem with me. I interpolated the Eminem line “have you ever been hated or discriminated against” in the song for obvious reasons. There’s also my EP intro track “No Handouts”, which was my F-U to everyone in a higher-up position or had the funds to help me but flaked on doing anything for me. So the idea is that I will make it with or without them. No favors, no helping hand, no handouts.

When you first started making music, what did you think it was going to be like for you? Did you imagine it would be like how it is for you now?

Alan Z: When I started rapping at 12 years old, I thought all I had to do was be good and I’d get signed, and then I wouldn’t have to finish high school. I was wrong obviously. I grew up to learn this business was 90% business, 10% music. Especially nowadays talent is not enough without popularity, so I work effortlessly to build my buzz and keep my momentum going. Alan Z is going to be a household name regardless.

The term “selling out” often comes to mind as the popularity of underground artists hit mainstream media. What do you think of artists who do sell out, and do you think selling out is inevitable or it can be prevented?

Alan Z: I think selling out is subjective. For example, me making pop music isn’t selling out in my case because I have an ear for making catchy songs and I have the Midas touch with any record I’m on, meaning I can put a fire hook on a beat and turn it into a potential radio smash. My definition of selling out is doing something that you personally don’t agree with, for the sake of fame or money. I’m down with making power moves, getting endorsement deals, acting in film and commercials, and making radio songs; all of which may be considered “selling out” to some people. However, what I will NOT do is portray Asians in a negative light or drop one of my talents to be more easily pigeonholed, whether it be singing or rapping. I don’t need to sell out now for me to pack stadiums soon and sell out crowds (bars).  

Was there ever a time during your career that you considered giving up?

Alan Z: Oh of course. That thought has come to my mind, but no matter how close I come to saying “f— it”, I bounce back and go harder. I’m well-aware that many artists that could be lending a helping hand see me as a threat and just watch me from a distance, and my patience has been wearing thinner by the day by false promises and industry snakes. But my love for music, my never-ending lust for success, and passion for impacting others keep me going. No matter how crazy it may sound to some now, I’m say it here: Alan Z will be a global phenomenon.

Passion in music surpasses any other kind of determination when you start off raw, and Alan Z is a prime example of what hard work can do. Beating the odds and showing his audience that he is capable of doing what he sets out to do, he is definitely one to keep on your radar.

Support Alan Z by following him on social media and by watching his new MV for “Touch and Go”!

Follow L.A. on Instagram: http://instagram.com/ai.lumi
Is there another Asian American artist you think LumiScript should look into? Let us know by emailing LumiScriptOfficial@gmail.com!

LumiLens: Netflix’s Death Note

Time to place this all out into words while it’s still in my head and before I try to completely distract myself with Longguo and Shihyun.

Death Note was one of the first lengthy animes I ever watched. Having been lightly exposed to darker forms of media like Law and Order or Sleepy Hollow as a child, I grew to truly enjoy any kind of entertainment that stimulated my thoughts and made me question, “What would I do in this situation?” Death Note was one of those series. I could rewatch it countless times and never grow tired of the plot, and, to this day, it remains my favorite series. The complexities behind it are what really make this anime famous.

So let’s strip away the complexities and lay out the Netflix rendition of Death Note – because that’s what it is – a rendition.

I was, of course, part of the angered crowd that was frustrated at the thought of there being no Asian American actors in this film. The news became a huge topic in the Asian community, although, if you have seen interviews of the Japanese community in Asia commenting on American casting, they actually have no problem with it. To them, the casting of an American actor with more European features is more accurate to the animation than casting an Asian actor. Keeping this in mind, I pushed aside my prejudice and kept an open mind until I heard more about the Netflix movie.

When the move revealing trailer was released, it suddenly became obvious that this was not the Death Note I had binge watched in the past. This was an American rendition of the concept of Death Note, applied to an American setting. This being said, there was no real reason to keep the same character name “Light” if this was a typical American boy.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

In comparison to the cookie cutter life that Light Yagami had in the original series, Light Turner comes from a broken family; his mother was killed and the perpetrator bought his way out of the indictment. Light Turner holds a heavy amount of anger towards the world, and, frankly, he has an obnoxious sense of justice that earns him a beating within the first five minutes of the movie. In no way is this character supposed to be Light Yagami who is a model student, a good role model to his little sister, and a boy highly sought after by the other girls his age and older.

From the first scenes, Light Turner already displays aggression towards his father, and exemplifies himself as an outcast who has a crush on a girl who’s popular with the athletes in the school. So why does she suddenly find him so attractive at the thought of the Death Note? The next half hour of the movie made me uncomfortable, to be honest. There were a lot of scenes of the two sexually bonding while finding names to write in the Death Note which is… disturbing on so many levels. They bonded over their mutual sense of justice – if you could call it that. It also became obvious that Light’s sense of guilt was higher than Mia’s, and also, what happened to the football player who put his arm around her in the first ten minutes of the movie? She abandoned her former clique for a recluse who just admitted he killed a man on live television?

Past Light, the other key character in the Death Note series is L – the prodigy detective who works privately with agencies all over the world. L is calm and seems to have a robotic-like mind that lacks empathy and sympathy which allows him to take on cases objectively. With L, his assistant and caretaker Watari stays by his side and is the “face” of L in his absence. L also uses a voice modulator to mask his voice – anything to keep his identity a secret.

Netflix’s L was on the same level of emotion as Light Turner. Initially, he acts the same way as anime L, the craving of sweets, the childish behavior, and he even displays an exceptional use of Japanese when speaking to Watari. Upon meeting Light Turner, L is automatically suspicious and aggressively so. This seems to be a pattern with these character renditions – they’re all significantly more emotional than the anime. The stoic persona of the characters in the anime is what added to the ominous air of Death Note. It made one character seem perfectly normal and rational and the other seem odd but very objective and “big picture.” These two were the perfect rivals because as you begin to think one has prevailed – the other makes you question the outcome.

Netflix L does not use a voice modulator, and in fact, he shows himself to Light – face and all – and openly accuses Light of being guilty in front of his father. The only thing missing was his name. After having a public spat with L, Light even uses the Death Note to find L’s true identity through Watari.

THIS WAS MY BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH THE MOVIE.

For those of you who are unaware, L is not a single name – it is passed down as each L dies. Each new L goes through extensive training to be as good if not better than the last. The same concept goes for Watari – this is not his real name. Watari’s real name in the anime is Quillish Wammy and is in fact the founder of the school for gifted children that trained L. So why was Light Turner able to use the mononym “Watari” to find L’s true identity? And if the L legacy is supposed to be passed down with time, why was the orphanage that Watari went to in search of L’s name run down and abandoned? Netflix L’s heavily emotional approach to this case especially after Watari’s death was a clear-cut example of why Mello from the Death Note anime was not chosen as the new L, Near taking his place instead.

In addition to these drastic changes in character personas, there was the addition of a new character – Mia, Light’s girlfriend who joined him after learning of the Death Note. Mia’s deceptive nature, to me, was not as obvious as it should have been. After declaring her love for Light, she puts his name in the Death Note which she will burn to save him only if he passes over the Death Note to her. To counteract this, Light puts a condition in the notebook that if he can convince her not to take the book from him, she will not die. Which… doesn’t make sense to me at all. Putting someone’s name in the Death Note doesn’t come under conditions – if the name is there, it’s there. There is no boolean statement in a Death Note. Again, I’m confused.

L using the Death Note to kill Light at the very end of the movie as well as his emotional display in front of the other officers was so out of character for how L should have been.

At this point, it has NOTHING to do with casting; this was all about plot structure and keeping to the concept of Death Note. This was clearly an adaptation as the story line was barely similar to the anime, but having said that, the names should have been different with the exception of L because he is an international detective. But, again, because of that, his persona should not have changed.

All in all, A for effort, Netflix, but even someone who knows nothing about Death Note would not be impressed by this movie. To me, it looked like two children going head to head in a game of wits without actually knowing what the definition of “wit” is.

1.5/5 stars from LumiScript. Would not recommend.

LumiLens: Andi Mack

Let me start off by saying I am entirely part of the anti Neo-Disney movement. I’m part of the early 90s generation that grew up with Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, and Phil of the Future. That was the time of my life when overly complicated jokes like the ones that grace the script of Archer didn’t really matter, and all I needed was some classic humor and sassy female leads to get my day going. That was the era of Disney that helped shape my personality (I wonder where all the wit came from?). So, again, I am 100% anti Neo-Disney.

But… I freaking adore Andi Mack.

First things first, look at how adorable Peyton Elizabeth Lee is. Her pixie cut was something I didn’t have the guts to achieve until I was a junior in high school, and here she is, just turning 13 (in the show), and she’s rocking it. IT’S THOSE CHEEKS! The cheeks, the teeth, oh goodness, I’m fangirling over her as we speak! Alongside all of those things that she was born with, towards the end of the pilot episode, she sports an aqua blue oriental style embroidered bomber jacket. If I could have a little sibling in another life, I hope it’s her. If only I had that sense of style when I was hitting puberty…

I wouldn’t have paid much attention to Andi Mack had I not seen an article come across my Facebook newsfeed about the amazing plot twist at the end of the show’s pilot. Honestly, I assumed it had something to do with the LGBT movement since the new Beauty and the Beast live action movie announced that two gay characters would be part of the storyline, and the community has been raving about the representation in recent media. This was not the case for Andi Mack.

SPOILER ALERT:

Teen pregnancy as a show hasn’t been a thing since the Secret Life of the American Teenager (of which I only saw the first episode and proceeded to mindlessly skim until I got the gist of everything that happened). It’s revealed in the later half of the pilot that Andi’s badass big sister Bex is actually not her sister – she’s her mom.

Lilan Bowden is gorgeous, and she fits the role of a big sister well. This show actually makes you think from the child’s point of view instead of the mother’s like in the Secret Life. Since Andi is already at that age when she’s starting to declare her independence, you can see it more from how she’s trying to approach the situation instead of her sister’s thoughts. Now, I think Bex’s story could start an entirely other show, but I’m guessing her backstory is going to be revealed as the season goes on.

Congratulations, Disney! I can see the direction you’re heading to. Starting with Girl Meets World, Disney Channel is reaching back to their crowd from the 1990s by approaching them through their children with real life situations. I guess you could consider that a fusion between a kids show and adult life resulting in a valuable life lesson? Teen pregnancy definitely isn’t something you’d want your five year old finding fun, but many parents these days are in their early 20s. These are the parents who grew up with Lizzie as well, and Lizzie’s creator Terri Minsky came back with a huge slap to the Millenial’s warped vision of entertainment with Andi Mack.

Remember the days when even Mom and Dad loved Disney Channel and enjoyed it with you? Maybe it’s time for those days to make a comeback.

Best of luck to the cast of Andi Mack! Looking forward to supporting you through your careers.

You can watch the first episode of Andi Mack here!

Follow Peyton Elizabeth Lee on Instagram!

Follow Lilan Bowden on Instagram!

Make sure to follow LumiScript for more reviews!

LumiLens: Midnight in Paris

Sure, I’m six years too late, but, if you’re like me, I find solace in the movies I’ve seen a hundred times. But every now and then, I get the urge to watch something new. I’d wanted to watch Midnight in Paris right when it came out, but I confess I procrastinated. So when I saw it appear on Netflix, I was ready to jump at it. Let’s dive into this film.

Have you ever heard of a soulmate? I’m sure you have. But I’ve heard one more step into that – I was told once before that if your spirit craves for a place you’ve never been to before, a place that even though you’ve only stepped foot on its soil for a couple of days, and it truly feels like home, it means your soulmate is there. It’s your soul city. It’s the sensation of being homesick for a place that you’ve never even been to.

In Midnight in Paris, directed by Woody Allen, Gil Pender struggles with his one-sided love and passion for the city and his one-sided love for his fiancee Inez. She’s a seemingly independent woman who shows more emotion for her college crush than she does for her fiance, and Gil is a hopeless romantic author who is in love with Paris. She finds his passion for the city childish and can only see the amount of romance one might experience from seeing a black and white postcard of the Eiffel Tower. As his passion carries him forward, at the stroke of midnight, a 1920s style cab pulls up in front of him and he finds himself in the presence of the world’s most famous writers and artists. He is able to find inspiration from their company and their 20s era state of mind.

If I’m being honest, this movie wasn’t amazing. I’m not a huge fan of Owen Wilson, and unfortunately, I know too many girls like Inez that it actually made me angry to watch her character obviously disregard her fiance’s hopes and dreams.

However, this is fuel for a writer. I never take pleasure in calling myself a writer. I haven’t published anything, and I find too much embarrassment whenever someone even attempts to read my writing out loud. But I take pride in the responses I’ve received over the years from anything I’ve written. Writers hold an immense amount of power, and it’s a special type of force that can change their readers’ emotions at the drop of a hat. To conjure up enough sadness from a third person, to make them cry, to make them laugh, to make them feel what your character feels – this is a power not easily harnessed. Authors are the real rulers of the generation. Through writing, cities are moved and passion is born.

And while I confess that Midnight in Paris is not on my list of favorite movies, it inspired me. I haven’t written anything in months, and that saddens me. Sometimes the passion to write can falter because of the obstacles that one experiences in life. And I never like to put out anything that I deem subpar. The words need to be perfectly placed, and I need to be able to read it like I didn’t write it and feel the emotions I was attempting to convey.

Midnight in Paris is the perfect depiction of a modern hopeless romantic’s journey to find the words held back by the life he lived. And in the end, he let go of that seemingly idealistic facade, and found his way back to the romance through his adventures in Paris.

How beautiful.

LumiLens: Everyone’s Getting Married

The first of many! LumiLens will be my series of reviews on music videos, movies, and dramas. Let’s begin, shall we?

I’ve been a fan of the Japanese band ‘flumpool’ for almost a decade. I remember stumbling across their song 花になれ years ago, and I fell in love instantly. Since then, I don’t think I can recall a single song of theirs that I didn’t like. They have a very timeless sound, one that’s fit for numerous moods and occasions. I admit, I have a crush on their lead Ryuta Yamamura. With his classic looks and distinct voice, I wasn’t surprised to find out that he was the leading man in this drama.

Everyone’s Getting Married (突然ですが、明日結婚します) directed by Michiko Namiki is the live action adaptation of the manga with the same title by Izumi Miyazono. I confess, I haven’t read the manga. I’ve been out of touch with any reading for a while (aside from ‘Tales of the Unusual’ which I read to satisfy some dark side of mine), but after watching the first couple of episodes, I might just find a reason to start up again.

This drama follows Asuka, a dedicated banker, who dreams of getting married and being a housewife just like her mother. Upon chance, she meets Ryu, a seemingly cold-hearted show host who refuses to get married. After the breakup with her boyfriend of five years (how dare he), Asuka finds herself being chased after by Ryu, though he still insists that marriage is not for him.

Everyone is waiting on episode 7, and while I’m only on episode 2, I’m already hooked. Aside from being able to watch Ryuta outside of a music video, Mariya Nishiuchi makes her character very relate-able, so it’s easy to see her point of view on this. On the other hand, Ryu’s view on marriage is very reasonable as well. This drama definitely makes one think about his or her goals in life regarding marriage. Especially at my age when you start to realize that in five years or so, I’ll either be married, working, or both. I’m a hopeless romantic, and it’s pretty obvious that Asuka is, too. But for Ryu, who’s damaged from another very realistic situation, it looks like he knows what he wants even though it might contradict his views.

“An old love came to an end, and a new period of my life started.” – Ryu

That might not be an exact quote, but, for me, this stood out a lot. Many young adults my age are either in a relationship, lonely for company, or too focused on their careers for anything else. In my opinion, one always leads to another. This drama was definitely what I needed, and I can’t wait to keep watching.

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