Magic (2004)

In a nutshell, Magic is another Kdrama about a tangled web of unfortunate fates.  Throw ten people together, and make their lives hell.  But more appropriately, it's about a man who wants the wrong things and makes the wrong choices, a man who is so loved but still thirsts for it, a man who wants so much that when he is without his ambition, he ceases to exist.  Episode 1 introduces us to Cha Kangjae (KDW) and his hoodlum of a father.  Whatever daddy issues Kangjae might have, he's not painted as merely a wounded hero coupled with a tragic past.  He doesn't close himself off, project spikes, or spouts venom to protect himself.  No, he spins webs, lays traps of honey, and cut you loose once you become undesirable.  An anti-hero, even better.  The road to redemption is going to be long and sweet… or so I thought.

Because he grew up with a trouble-making father in a less-than-desirable environment, Kangjae has always shown ambitious tendencies.  He's not malignant, but he's definitely self-serving.  He's never hostile, but he's often unkind.  There's a curious sense of detached interest in everything he does.  He'll do something if he feels up to it, but he's not afraid to break your heart when his interest is gone.  When I watched him throughout the drama, I desperately wished they'd allow someone to come save him.  But alas, they did not.  I waited for redemption but he was never written with much redemptive quality.  He self-destructs right to the end, with only himself to consider.

Due to circumstances, Kangjae embraced a kind man as his surrogate father early on in the series.  The man's own son has left to become surrogate family to someone else (yes, only in Kdramas~).  So with fervent effort, Kangjae tries to win over his father's heart.  That is his mistake number one.  There are things hard work cannot yield results.

But sometimes hard work (and careful manipulation) does yield results, and Kangjae finds himself scoring an advantageous future via the daughter of a large corporation.  Despite being talented and successful himself, there's a continual need to heighten his success.  He doesn't like the idea of limits and caps.  He lays on the charm and wins Yeonjin over with ease.  This is his mistake number two.  Fooling someone when he hasn't fooled himself first.
Mistake number three?  Turning away the one relationship that was mutual.  Danyoung comes into his life unlike anything he's ever known.  She worships the ground he walks on without him ever having to convince her.  She adores him even through all his bastardly flaws.  She tells him off, but never abandons him.  She's the only one he would smile to genuinely, the only one really on his mind when he's alone.  And yet he doesn't need her affection.  In his world, it isn't beneficial thus it's disposable.
So where's the drama in all this?  Remember when I said this drama is one of those where all characters get intertwined in some crazily crappy fate?  Well his corporate girlfriend happens to be the sister of his true heart's desire.  And as bad as cheating is normally, it's doubly bad when you two-time a pair of sisters.  There are certain points in the drama when things could've been done to intercept the oncoming trainwreck.  Somewhere along the way the producers could've helped Kangjae out before everyone reaches a point-of-no-return.  But I guess that wasn't their objective.  They just wanted to maim these people's hearts and leave them all broken… in the name of tragic melodrama.

The one good thing about Magic is that KDW and Kim Hyojin have awesome chemistry.  It makes me sad this wasn't a rom-com.  The first seven episodes felt like it could almost be one 😦  I'll post the caps for those episodes tomorrow and we'll pretend that's all there is to the story.

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