As the last scenes roll in, I’m finishing up my coffee, by then quite cold. I closed my laptop. I love it. I was eating lunch by myself but it’s like I’ve spent time with a friend leaving town, sending him/her off, for good.
It dawns on me, my experience watching NG elicits the feelings and my habits of reading a good manga. I love NG, but there’s a safe distance between me and the drama, vis a vis manga reading when new volumes may take an indefinite wait, and I read the first few pages recollecting myself but in no time I’ll be totally immersed, entering into an imaginary world of the characters, foreign yet I’ve infested so much intimate time with and have delved so deep into their psyche that they are my kin. And I know them well, I’ve put in my side of the bargain fleshing them out of the pages of black and white in my mind. With the medium of manga, there are many epic thoughts conveyed through a freeze frame, many spoken words are expressed in a bubble above the characters’ head, there is always a stoic artistry we can take our time and linger on a page, a frame. With Nice Guy, many shots are succinctly framed, with characters talking and thinking in their bubbles, leaving blanks for us to fill in, where we’re equipped by writer with the history and knowledge of the characters as we go.
There are twists not exactly I panned (I still would prefer it darker as much as I love the ending), but as it happens, I’m fine with what transpired. I fussed a little over minor points here and there like how did a grown-ass baddie guarddog type got manhandled by a twig that is EunGi.
And how MaRu can totally not see EG, the only one not strolling, even if it’s her back:
*SO PRETTY THOUGH*
She is an inch from all the happening of a stabbing, a perfusing wound…and not batting an eyelash. There are a lot of those warts and a few loose ends dangling but I love what writer puts a priority on and the choices she made to leave out less important threads behind because it happens to align with my sentiments. I don’t care much about EG’s mom (and her dad and the company’s machination for that matter) and who did what past conniving deeds. The dead is dead, baddies had done bad things, damage is done and lets focus on the now.
Do I wish there is more JH, yes and no. Her story is complete. One of the things I love about NG is the refrain in writing. The characters r clearly constructed, at times too confining, the story as well, even if it’s not hole-proof. But the sum is greater than its part and I appreciate the work and the thought behind. JH is not an innocent, she was deprived, clawing through mud to survive and she is filthier than shit in her own eyes, craving all things material and superficial in her security umbrella to hide under. But she is not born a lady Macbeth, her moral compass is always wavering just rarely pausing at right. There is a spark in her vulnerability there to do the right thing, to start anew, but once you’ve dribbled in what you desire and grappled onto materialistic fantasies way above ur station, diamonds, designer clothes, mansions and boardrooms and use those as visual, physical tit for tat for the void in your heart, your hands meddled in blood too many times no simple discarding and washing can take out the stench. After all the shortcuts she’s taken in life, when she’s not given any growing up in a gutter, it’s mighty hard to take the long-winding path full of falling boulders, esp when there are always men, plenty of them with shoulders to lean on, wrist-grabs to rescue her at the crossroads. This time she’s decidedly alone, and she’s going to still make a last swindle, to get the best profit out of the barter, all her life’s luxuries for MaRu’s love (worthy) and her conscience (not worth much to her). She had not learn her bartering ropes going beneath what she can profit out of. And it must hit her how in his ways he’s loving her as a caring friend, just being there stubbornly nagging, holding her straight, reminding her by stripping all the years of facade built-up, there is still his noona underneath. PSY is AMAZING. Totally a class act. Yang Ik Joon (I have to wiki the actor/writer/director/editor) he is the biggest surprise of all the good acting around. He has few scenes in between but he manages to steal EVERY freakeN second of them. I can watch a very weird dysfunctional family daily of these two.
He’s never lost all hope of her, when she had. Yes, Noona. Noona, noona. Noona. MaRu calls her. And when it’s out of genuine care and concern, it sticks, it festers. Just that little shove (and most glorious, my vote for best acting scene in 20 w/ her Bigbro), ignites what she thought is a hope snuffed forever. A career criminal, a hitman for hire, her scumbag of a brother who must’ve sold her off multiple times for tricks, her blood and kin, has a beating heart and an unyielding conscience way underneath it all. She must have one, too. She can feel her heart wincing in pain and her face wet from tears, finally, when MR and his happiness is about to dissipate, for real and for good. It’s her one last chance and she knows it. All along the prize has been about what she can get, her conscience, MaRu the trophy of her innocence. Now unlike the ignorant desperate woman she was 7 years ago, she recognizes fully and painfully how much MaRu means to her. He alone can make a tiny wire-thin ring of plated gold worth more than carats of flawless diamonds. This time at the familiar crossroad, there’s no MaRu promising her anything, none of the men, she’s decided to rescue herself instead, standing on her own feet. It warms the cockles of my heart.
And excuse us, the silly shoujo fiend in me is lapping it up like CANDY. ME GUSTA! It has all my kinks:
I LOVE where they can spot each other across 10 lanes of traffic. And LKH surprisingly giving me the exact Kdrama sappy playbook of lover’s reconciliation *I truly was biting my nails off thinking they’ll be failed frogger frogs* Smoldering their eye sockets out waiting for the fateful green light, and meeting at half point. And Hugging. Give it all to me. The color-coord. CP outfit helps. I LOVE CP outfits with the matchy color scheme of the rotten autumn leaves in the scenery!!
And to top the angst cherrycake off, EG grabbing a kiss. There u go, gf. It is a tiny frustration that writer has to hammer in MR and EG r so much alike in character, how they will both use their heads before their loins, why is the need to ask ANY question, let alone I dun get why that Q is so freaken important like an ‘Am I fat?’one, and there lies the frigidity of their romance, plus the word they scream most to themselves is obviously REVENGE! And now because of the Terminal Illness, all is forgotten. But y, EG, you’ve never feared his life in any danger messing around JH and Ahn?!*Not that I don’t enjoy the frustrating angst btw, it was as close to UST we’re ever getting*
*If it’s up to me, it can ALWAYS be MUCH more urgent and angrier and hotter and more grabbing and biting and getting hands inside that grandma crochetty thing even if it’s in the middle of traffic and there is bleeding going on, because she should be the hand that’s stopping the bleeding and it’ll lead to bandaging and nikkid SJK and makeup/last nite on earth sex* *I kid. Not really. But I do hate it more for character-kipnapping for sake of fanservice at the 11th hour. They r both blockheads in romance dept. Stay that way.* *But then where is the logic behind EG leaving him instead of boyfriendsitting him back to hospital and stay the night holding hands and whatnots?!?!*
btw I enjoyed this line too much in 19:
The end scene is GORGEOUS. I like the amnesia, a clean slate, nth we are not expecting as a plausible ending, even though it’ll be more befitting a shoujo manga than a LKH drama (but come to think of it the first thing coming to my mind hearing ‘MaRu’ is a sweet soft round ball of marshmallow, just like the texture I imagine of SJK’s face. Writer must be hinting on sth fluffy and sweet ) I’ll be the last to be bothered though. I don’t see it as perfectly happy ending per se. It’s a re-start. I doubt MR’s amnesia is entirely reversed (where is Choko and fam in his orbit 7 yrs later?) and I prefer never regained, some hatchets are better left buried. It is intensely romantic and staying true to writer’s notion even when all’s gone: memory, lives, castles crumbling down……love is too precious and impossible to be forsaken. But who knows how compatible they are in a simple love affair like us normal folks. Those little touches of their new budding romance is SHOUJO HAVEN, even if it is another beast fr the hours and minutes prior. I can read ALL the fanfics/fanmangas dedicated to this:
EG sets up shop, the exact aroma of the coffee they used to drink permeates. ‘Come with me. Run away with me.’ Yes. And Yes.
She is a terrible baker, she can’t cook and loves the way she is. He’s the one who made breakfasts and handed her cookies and warm milk…and coffee. Rain or shine he drops by, her only loyal customer eating her stale pastries for reasons unbeknownst to him. She still uses the camera, everyday, 7 years, keeping memento in his mind’s place. She eavesdrops his office visits. Through the door, his voice chimes ‘I’m well.’ ‘Have you eaten?’ ‘I love you’ to her ears.
He can’t remember, except the cool salty sea breeze brings him raw foreign feelings, unfamiliar warmth mixed with frigidness, and sometimes a tear out of nowhere, somewhere. He likes it, even though he can’t recall, his life prior lingered. He doesn’t know why he forms a habit of the bland coffee and the lousy cookies, and why the oranges and bright yellows, purples and pinks decorating the walls of her shop reminds him of home, the color of his home he’s forgotten. The bumping into her, the Stalkerlady who snaps mundane shots of him , is now a new comforting routine. There’s nothing to think much into, drawing blanks. He prays, another old comforting taciturn habit and he wonders what his old self prayed for.
This, the same prayer. Her same prayer.
[credit: All pics and gifs fr tumblr. THANKS OP]