Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Yu Jin Kim
tvN’s new weekend series Alchemy of Souls is a fantasy romance drama, written by Hong Jung Eun and Hong Mi Ran. Although themes like soul-changing magic could be a bit unfamiliar, the drama surely displays the colors that the Hong sisters have shown in their works so far. Despite the complex relationships among the characters who have their own personal stories, the drama unfolds quickly and unexpectedly. Plus, the lines that the stars exchange with one another make viewers tune into the story. This heightens viewers’ anticipation and makes them wonder how the story will pan out in the remaining episodes. If you are a fan of Alchemy of Souls, don’t miss out on another fantasy drama by the Hong sisters, Hotel Del Luna. The mysterious and dreamlike vibe alongside the delicate emotions that the stars share with one another will make you fall in love with this fantasy drama that could be quite different from Alchemy of Souls.
A Thousand Years Timeline: Previous Life vs Present Life and Afterlife vs Real Life
Hotel Del Luna is the last place where the dead stay before passing on to their afterlife. Jang Man Wol (played by IU) began living as the owner of the Guest House of the Moon while waiting for someone she met a thousand years ago, and she is currently the owner of Hotel Del Luna. The hotel, whose name and size have changed as time passed by, operates at night and provides service to wandering spirits. After receiving the service, the hotel staff members and envoys send them off to the afterlife.
The hotel has a divine tree known as the Moon Tree (Wolryeongsu Tree), which has been bare for over a thousand years. However, it finally blooms its flowers as soon as a new manager named Gu Chan Sung (Yeo Jin Goo) arrives. The role of the Moon Tree stands out in the show as it informs Jang Man Wol of the remaining time that she can stay in the real world. Jang always visits the tree and recalls her happy memories from the past. Each episode conveys different stories of Man Wol’s past and present, from when she was living in the kingdom of Goguryeo to her current life at Hotel Del Luna, and tells the stories of people she meets in her life.
IU’s Starring Work Following ‘My Mister’
Go Chung Myung (Lee Do Hyun) is Jang Man Wol’s past love whom she loved most, yet she resents the most. Mago Goddess (Seo Yi Sook), whose role is to send spirits safely to the afterlife, makes Gu Chan Sung the hotel’s new manager in order to send Man Wol to the afterlife. Jang Man Wol feels the need to protect Gu Chan Sung as he is a weak mortal, but at the same time thinks he is the only one who can save her. In episode 9, Gu Chan Sung encounters the Spirit of the Well and realizes that his biggest fear is Man Wol’s disappearance from the real world. The two finally confirm their love for each other in episode 10.
IU led the drama as she well-depicted her character Jang Man Wol, who is stuck in between life and death due to the Moon Tree. The drama sheds light on the change Man Wol goes through in her mind as the plot progresses. She, who seems to enjoy her extravagant lifestyle and never shows her true feelings to anyone, begins to open her heart to Chan Sung near the end after realizing her feelings for him. IU, who starred as the dark and weathered girl in her 2018 drama My Mister, managed to create another hit show with Hotel Del Luna as she nailed to express richer and deeper emotions for the character in the show.
4 Outstanding Co-Stars That Run Hotel Del Luna
The overall setting of Hotel Del Luna is in line with previous fantasy dramas that the Hong sisters wrote. Including The Master’s Sun in 2013, the story of consoling souls who died in a big shopping mall, and The Korean Odyssey in 2017, a modern spin-off of the Chinese classic Journey to the West, Hong sisters’ projects have been widely acknowledged by many people up until now. Plus, the characters’ performances have played a big role in making these fantasy dramas stand out to the viewers.
Hotel Del Luna’s Kim Seon Bi (Shin Jung Geon), Choi Seo Hee (Bae Hae Sun), and Ji Hyun Joong (Pyo Ji Hoon) help run the hotel by greeting guests, assigning rooms, and providing other customized services. Like the guests, the staff members are not of this world, and they are staying in the hotel for their own reasons. Kim Yoo Na (Kang Mi Na), a strong candidate for the hotel’s next manager, has a painful past of being killed by her friend in an accident. Likewise, the dutiful staffs have their own heartbreaking stories, and Hotel Del Luna looks into what happened to each character by shedding light on their accounts. With this, viewers get to understand why the four staff members take utmost care of the wandering spirits in the hotel.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.