Arang and the Magistrate [Arang Saddo] – Introduction and Characters
Arang is the tale of a ghost named Arang who was killed and now part of the undead, she doesn’t remember how she was killed or what her identity was. As a ghost, she haunts the magistrates and pleads with them to find out the truth about her case and bring justice. The character of Arang is played by Shin Mina while Lee Jun Ki plays the character of the latest magistrate- Eun Oh, to be haunted by Arang.
Arang has been described by Mina as a “fantasy-melo sageuk seasoned with comic elements.” Junki on the other hand, said, “After receiving the scenario, from the perspective of an actor I thought it was extremely fresh and original. I became curious about what kind of drama would come out of this premise.”
It is based on the legendary folktale of Arang-a beautiful and kind hearted girl who was the daughter of a local magistrate but who was raised by a cruel and ambitious caretaker since her mother was dead. The caretaker conspired with another servant to have the girl raped and hence ruined. However, things went wrong when she resisted and instead of simply ruining her, the servant stabbed and killed her, leaving her body to rot in the woods.
Her father was dishonored when he heard that she eloped with a man and so resigned his position filled with shame. Thus every time a new magistrate came to Milyang to fill the position, Arang’s vengeful ghost appeared to tell him her story. But all magistrates would flee in terror of the vengeful spirit until one day a new young magistrate cameto town. Like the others before him, Arang appears and instead of being afraid of her, he sympathizes with Arang, and promises to find her killer and avenge her death.
Arang– Shin describes her character, Arang, as a plucky, bright personality, in a different approach from the typical ghost character. “She’s cynical and coarse and reckless, and strong-headed to boot, but not in a hateful way; she’s a lovable character. She doesn’t remember who she was in her life, and struggles to get by in this world, desperately wanting to know the reason for her death.” Moreover, the ghost doesn’t exactly get a free pass for everything and despite her non-living status, her experience is of one “struggling to live in this world.”
And she’s also on the run-from the grim reaper. Haha! Staying here in the realm of the living means she is cheating death and not going to the otherworld like she is supposed to which is why she’s on the run from the reaper who has to make sure she crosses the ‘river’ to the afterlife. And her favorite pastime? Spooking the locals! She dogs Eun Oh like all the other magistrates she dogged before and pleads with him to find out the truth about him.
Eun Oh: Eun Oh, played by Junki who describes his character as a man who relentlessly pursues clues about his mother’s disappearance because to him, nothing else matters in the world besides that. His character as cynical and brusque on the outside, but much warmer on the inside. Junki says, “It seems like he treats people coldly, but he feels a lot of sorrow and sympathy for them; ‘Eun-oh’ is a three-dimensional character.”
Poor guy has the ability to see ghosts which means he is constantly followed and pestered with requests. Usually, he ignores them and pretends he can’t see them although despite his best attempts to do just that, he can’t ignore Arang.
Joo Wal: Joo Wal is a nobleman and son of a wealthy man of influence and the evil character. He is described as a ‘cold city man’ and becomes Eun Oh’s rival politically and also for the girl… uh, ghost. And the ten minute preview shows one scene where my interest in this guy skyrocketed since it seems he knows Arang from her past and is somehow involved in her death.
Bang Wool: A shaman who is not truly a shaman. Her powers are limited and she’s only half-talented since she can hear ghosts but is unable to see them. She helps Arang.
Dol Swe: Loyal side kick to our hero Eun Oh, a simple fellow but strong and loyal to a fault. With that smile on his face, he is definitely going to be fun to watch!
The Gods- Twin brothers- the Jade Emperor who rules over the celestial sphere and the King of the Underworld who naturally, rules the underworld. Although both are twins, the Jade Emperor has retained his youth and everlasting beauty due to the fact that he’s emperor over life, nature and beauty whereas The King of the Underworld looks like an aged fellow. And how awesome that the younger brat plays the sensible mature elder one while the older looking King of the Underworld is typically almost a brat?
Since both don’t seem to have much to do-both worlds exist in balance and are like two sides of the coin (if something does go wrong, we’ve got minions, ne?), both brothers are at most times, resting on the suspended bridge between heaven and hell (in the clouds) and playing a game of badook! And yes, the Jade Emperor is better at the game and typically an ass about almost everything. How awesome that he can even wrap the King of the Underworld around his little fingers-in the manipulative sense! Haha!
Grim Reaper and his minions: Moo Young is the grim reaper who has the duty to guide souls to the afterlife-hence he is after Arang so he can take her to the other side. Him and his party of minions roam the land guiding souls to the afterlife. While he’s the right hand man of the King of the Underworld, Moo Young is also said to be the most trusted friend of the King of Heaven.
Ghosts of course, remain in the same getup in which they were killed-hence Arang’s same hanbok at all times. Ghosts also sleep and feel hungry and have to eat and drink-which leads to battles between the undead over the… food n water they can find as offering. The drama also delves into the mythological motif that peach is the fruit of heaven and hence eaten by the Jade Emperor. It means that any dead thing touched by it can be scarred and injured. Also, the black colored tattoo can be seen on any dead person, including the reapers which signifies their non-living status. On the dead, it is on their neck-like Arang, while on the reapers it is on the back of their hand.
At the end of the special, the crew shares a photograph in which they can see a shadowy figure in the background and hence there’s this little speculation that they have a live ghost with them and scare the cast members! Hehe!
For now, Ja Ne and enjoy this extended preview of 10 minutes! I must say, my curiosity is piqued! And I hope the language throughout the drama is just as easy since I easily understood the whole preview! Yaaayyy ! ^^