“Why is it that humans never think about their wrongdoings, and only blame others?”
Hotel del Luna (2019), the South Korean supernatural romantic series, is centered around the lavish womb of Jang Man-wol’s (Lee Ji-Eun) hotel for ghosts in central Seoul, only visible to those tiptoeing on the severed edge of death. The devilishly alluring and intimidating owner is chained to the morphing walls of the building, breathing anew when fresh guests stumble in to fulfil the dreams of their lost lives.
The twisted roots of her past, stuffed away behind a pair of angelic eyes and a biting tongue, are sneakily unearthed when Gu Chan-sung (Yeo Jin-goo), a young Harvard MBA graduate, is sucked in as the missing human puzzle piece in the hotel’s management. His handsome and compassionate soul seems to exist to grate Man-wol’s stone heart, only to challenge it in the end.
The series delves into the idea of reincarnation and serves as a warning against letting resentment boil our lives down – until all we are left with is steam. Unlike some other Korean dramas, this one stands out for its acting, music, stunning picture and philosophical questions. They sneak up on you, leaving you to reassess your own ties to this world. Most importantly, however, the romantic connection between the two leads operates on a foundation of split power and authority, proving that harmony is the juicy fruit of exhausted turmoil.
The series is artistically holistic in its approach to story-telling, delivering hour-long episodes that enthral as visually and emotionally as a high-budget film would. We shiver from from the vengeful ghosts breathing down our necks. We choke on swallowed tears when faced with relatable dilemmas of losing loved ones and failing to move on. We sit on the edge of the sofa, waiting for souls to edge through time.
KissAsian, Rakuten Viki, Netflix