Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Thousandth Man

Title: 천번째 남자 / Chunbunjjae Namja / The Thousandth Man
Also known as: One Thousandth Man, A Thousand Man
Genre: Romance, sitcom, fantasy, melodrama
Episodes: 8
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: 2012-Aug-17 to 2012-Oct-12

[Details & Image from DramaWiki]

Review and possible spoilers

The story revolves around Mi Jin, a nine-tailed fox or gumiho, and her family of foxes, consisting of her mother and sister, both of whom have already eaten their 1000th liver and have humanized. Only Mi Jin remains in her transformation and if she fails to find her 1000th liver she will vaporize.

The show starts its premise on a plane where we are introduced to Mi Jin and the male protagonist, Eung Suk (who strangely resembles her husband from long ago – their back-story was a nice touch). It starts off hilariously as the plane meets with some turbulence and Mi Jin lands on Eung Suk screaming hysterically to tell him to tell her mother that she wanted to become human.

Episode 1 was funny and throughout the show there were funny situations where Mi Jin finds herself in just to get that 1000th liver. Her mother and sister are frustrated as they are unable to understand her need for love before consuming that final liver. Mi Jin’s mother, Mi Sun is frantic as she tries to find Mi Jin a guy just for his liver. She gets upset each time Mi Jin comes home not human. Mi Mo, Mi Jin’s younger sister also cannot understand why Mi Jin can’t just eat any liver and call her ‘fox’ at every opportunity she gets. But towards the end of the series, the sisters shared a touching bonding moment as they hugged each other and slept (upon Mi Jin’s impending doom).

Eung Suk is a co-owner of an exclusive restaurant called, Last, that only accepts special reservations. The show started off as comical and funny, even cute, but as it progressed it took a turn for the sad. Eung Suk turns out to have cancer just as he is about to find his happy ending with Mi Jin despite knowing her true nature. Mi Jun was just about to have her 1000th liver when she realizes that she loves Eung Suk and eventually gives up her bead of 999 years to save him, forgoing her chance at being human and ultimately losing her life.

It was touching when Mi Jin gave up her life for Eung Suk. But the ending was simply disappointing. Yes, based on the setting of the show it was bound to be a (possible) sad ending. But unlike My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho, there was no magical granny to make her come back to live and to make matters worse Eung Suk actually got married to someone else (I presume as her face was never shown) and had a daughter who has no affinity towards foxes at all. Mi Jin doesn’t even appear as a specter to smile down on her family as her mother and sister happily live out their human lives (without her). It had so much potential, only to be downplayed (more angst wouldn’t hurt at the ending). Although the other characters had the right to be happy and pursue their own happiness, there just wasn’t any satisfaction about Mi Jin’s conclusion (specter, afterthoughts or whatever after her disappearance would have been nice) and it wasn’t really necessary to show that Eung Suk had a daughter (without letting us know who the mother is) right after the scene where Mi Jin gave up her life for him. It was so anti-climatic.


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