Immediately we get straight into the main hook of "Love Manipulation: Cyrano"- the manipulation of love, or at least the tail end of one such gambit. Likely fans are apt to wonder- what is the main difference between this drama and the film, "Cyrano Agency" on which it's based? The main difference manifests itself quite quickly- the schemes involved in this drama are a lot more convoluted.
Granted, the entire concept is pretty convoluted. Hiring actors to stage overly romantic encounters to maximize the possibility of a passionate relationship? That, on its own, sounds pretty crazy. But even by those standards "Love Manipulation: Story" is pretty out there. The company here doesn't just manipulate its own sets and interfaces- they even mess around with unrelated, uncontrollable third parties, and rather unsubtly mess around with the sense of smell to get the right phermonal reaction.
Seo Byeong-Hoon (played by Lee Jong-hyuk) is now less of an eccentric actor and more of a Holmes-ian level super-deductive genius- a change I find strangely appropriate. Think about it. What happens more often in the real world- super complex murders that require amazing detective abilities, or lonely people trying to find love? Byeong-Hoon's talents, far from being wasted, are quite prescient here, and watching him apply cold logic to something as inherently wacky as love is a lot of fun if only for the contrast.
Gong Min-Yeong (played by Choi Soo-young) quickly proves adept as his foil. She has more of the sunshiny, romantic attitude we might expect from someone who dreams about being able to bring people together in happiness, and is more than willing to break the rules in order to achieve this. Her clumsiness and apparent pitfalls only magnify the fact that Min-Yeong is completely committed to the ideals of the Cyrano Agency, even though she's only just recently found out about them and is (understandably) dubious about Byeong-Hoon's role as the grand chessmaster of romance.
In spite of all these absurdities, the show is still fairly well grounded to earth and as cool as Byeong-Hoon tries to be, it's clear he's not logistical genius about everything. The next episode looks to get action really rolling as we hit stronger moments in the serie's second love manipulation scheme. The previews make this follow-up look to be unnecessarily action-packed and intense- but the first episode has prepared me, at least, quite well for this kind of outrageousness.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Love Manipulation: Cyrano": Episode 1"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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