This is a episode commentary. It is intended for someone who has seen this episode, and will contain episode spoilers.

Janggeum’s Dream: Episode 4 Commentary

Mom's Table

Collage of Janggeum's Dream screenshots.

I had no idea what to expect from this episode, so it was very much a pleasant suprise, and it felt like it lasted longer than it was (which is a good thing!)

For Janggeum to be accused of starting the fire when she was the one whose life was at risk, it’s such a preposterous notion. The guy charging her must have thought this would be a good showing of his ability. He used exactly the kind of tactics one uses when trying to get someone to fake a confession: show that the punishment for not confessing is worse than confessing.

Taking Janggeum from the court and putting her in a place where there is no hope made for a good challenge for her. It also gave what’s-his-name a chance to have a good conversation with her. Has that lower-rank soldier’s name spoken yet?

Jeong-ho continues to play the part of the quiet hero. While what’s-his-name is open about how he views Janggeum, if Jeong-ho is going to feel the same, he’ll be the one who keeps quiet about it.

Yeonsaeng goes out of her way to show why she’s my favorite character. I thought she was being studious in her classwork, only to turn and give her notes to Janggeum, so Janggeum can prepare for the upcoming test.

While the two ninjas continue to bungle things, Janggeum has gained more experience. It’s not just cooking. It’s knowing your audience. It’s learning what to prepare for the individual. This is something Nanacchi learns in Seven of Seven as well. With a good amount of experience now under her belt, hopefully Janggeum’ll be able to return to the court soon. And why shouldn’t she be able to? She’s completely changed the whole mood of the kitchen, changing the views of the cooks and the soldiers alike. With the guidance of Han Sanggung, and Janggeum’s own heart and strong mind, Janggeum will go far. (Being the titular character and main character of the series helps a bit, too.)

And those ninjas? The old one may be a bungler, and less in shape, but at least he knows enough not to call for help when stuck in an outhouse.

After being jaded into not given any food a chance, Jisung has his first mean in a long time, and the best meal since he left home. Hopefully this first good meal won’t be his last after Janggeum returns to the court. With a month’s training, a month of experiences, and notebook full of notes to catch up on, I eagerly await Janggeum’s continued trials.

The ending credits were rather interesting. No credits. Just an ending animation with a theme song (the same as is heard at the opening menu), a nice soothing piece. I’ll have to convert this and the opening theme (which also has no credits on the screen) to audio files to add to my music collection.

With no credits on either the opening or ending, I suppose that takes away the need for adding creditless intro and outro bonus features. The opening theme I now find it the animation shown on the DVD menu.

Having finished the fourth and final episode on the DVD means checking out the fourth menu item now.

The first item here has sketches of characters. What’s-his-name’s looks to read Jang Soo-ro. I’d try and get more names off of it, but they’re small and hard to read for me. If I had kept up my reading of Korean characters, it would be much easier, but being over a year out of practice makes it difficult. It’s a pity, because everyone is named, including the ninjas and the other court girls.

My favorite sketches are the faces with the different expressions. Janggeum and Yeonsaeng are cute in these, and Yeonsaeng looks to be a quiet singer here. …and I see Yeonsaeng’s name alongside her sketches. Given name, only, for her, but it gives a clear view of the written name. What’s-his-name’s name is clearly Jang Soo-ro on his face sheet. That should be easy enough.

For remembering names, I think of mnemonics of sorts. “John Gwen” ending in an “m” is “John Gwem”, or “Janggeum”. “Yawn Sang” becomes “Yeonsaeng”. For Soo-ro, I’ll think “throw” in Japanese pronunciation: “sue-row”.

Interesting to me, Dongi’s name is “Dong” and “i”. It can be written as Dong I, or Dong-i, or Dongi. Changi’s name would be the same. I actually use a mix of things, such as Yeongro rather than Yeong-ro, and Janggeum instead of Jang-geum, and Geum-young rather than Geumyoung as well as Jeong-ho in place of Jeongho. I’ve been following what the English subtitles have used, and they’ve been fine for me. I’m still at a loss as to the young king’s name.

The second item presents more artwork. It looks like it may have been drawn and colored on computer.

The final item, as the SD implied (standing for “super-deformed”, is the “chibi” style character. Geum-young makes for a cute chibi. Naturally Yeonsaeng does, too. Also, this page clearly prints out the young king’s name: Jungjong. The linked Wikipedia article refers to a history Korean figure, Jungjong of Joseon. The subtitles in the prior episode spoke of the king’s land as Chosun. Looks to be two spellings of the same word.

One DVD down, two to go, then the supplement DVD, and that’s the first half of the series. So far, Janggeum’s Dream has been an unexpected delight.

Oh, and uh, yeah, I know, I know, that one dark-haired lady in the court isn’t the butterfly-tattoo ninja. I didn’t compare their names or anything, but she seems too good and helpful to turn out to be a villian.

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