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

Janggeum’s Dream: Episode 2 Commentary

A Court Lady Selection Test

Collage of Janggeum's Dream screenshots.

Dongi is one fit boy, able to run so fast, so far, and that bridge jump, too. Judging by what his father says about raising Janggeum, she must have lost her parents when she was very young.

Hopefully Jeong-ho doesn’t suspect Janggeum and Dongi as being with the enemy. He wants to learn about them and the ring in private, while the young king is eager to meet with the children who helped him.

The test brings a colorful cast of characters, some sure to be main characters, the rest secondary.

At the test, the court lady unsure of Janggeum’s ability was not present, but the court lady who gave Janggeum a chance was. As well, there’s a strict-looking brown-haired lady, and the strict-for-sure black-haired lady, Eun. After her introduction, four girls are shown, and they are given prominent placement throughout the episode. Finally, there’s another guard or warrior of the castle. Hopefully I don’t confuse him with Jeong-ho. This guy looks to be less serious, and able to have a good laugh.

The purple-haired Choi Geum-young shows a lot of skill for someone her age. She may represent the type of cook Janggeum can become, excepting that Janggeum will have her own (perhaps more simple) style. The overly weighted Lee Changi will bring to the table presentation for the meals. Lee Yeonsaeng looks to be a potential best friend for Janggeum, starting with Janggeum returning her turtle friend, and keeping it a secret. Otherwise, Yeonsaeng goes all out when it comes to chopping those veggies. Yun Yeongro of course will be the troublemaker. She made it in with no ability of her own. Right? Or perhaps she knows which foods to put together to make a proper meal.

If these five can put their skills together, they should top the random others named. With Yeongro’s choosing the dishes, Yeonsaeng’s chopping, Janggeum taking the basic parts and Geum-young hanging the exquisite, Changi is able to bring it all together. The question is: will Jang Eunbee, Lim Yeonhwe, Cho Rok-yee, Oh Jeonghee, Kim Nanyoung, and a few others, the random-named test passers, have any part, or will they simply be in the background?

Still used to Japanese outfits, I enjoy seeing all the outfits worn in this series. Dongi and his family, Janggeum and all the other girls, and the soldiers and court ladies, all have wonderful outfits.

Even Mongmong gets a variety of outfits. This time around, he’s wearing less saturated colors. I can’t help but wonder if the colorful outfit he wore in the first episode suggests Dongi’s family is well off, at least above “middle class” a little.

Hopefully other characters will get a variety of outfits. The interesting thing about Janggeum’s outfit is it’s the same style as pretty much every female character wears. There haven’t been enough male characters to properly compare with Dongi’s outfit. Most male characters have been royalty, guards, or assassins.

Side-observation: Janggeum and Dongi both wear their hair the same way, long and braided, with a cloth tied on the end. Actually, all the girls at the test appear to have this style. Was this the style for Koreans to wear at one time, or was it a way to keep costs down by designing two similar outfits (one male, one female) and reusing them for all characters? Nah, that can’t be it.

Nonetheless, the color of Janggeum’s outfit is perfect for her character. Her plain brown outfit goes with her style of making the base foods. Likewise, Jangi’s overly loud outfit fits with her presentational abilities, and a green outfit for Geum-young just calls out, “out of the ordinary”. (Let us never mind Dongi’s mother wearing green, I’m trying to make a connection where there is none here.) Yeonsaeung’s style is simple as well, as I could see myself easily mistaking her for the main character if I looked at artwork of the girls standing side by side without knowing who any of them are.

If Yeongro is the trouble-maker, will the freckle-faced girl cause difficulties for Janggeum and Yeonsaeng as well? Her name is unknown, so it’s yet to be seen if she made it in, and what her style is.

The ninja assassin knows Janggeum all too well, and knows where to find her. I’m waiting to see if his boss is someone inside the palace.

The Korean names are just killing my spell checker. I hope I didn’t misspell any and add the misspelling to my spell checker. Actually, I did that once already with Janggeum’s name, so I need to find out how to remove it. The spellings I’m using are the ones found in the English subtitles, so I hope they’re accurate enough. I’ve seen Janggeum’s name spelled “Jang Geum” at places such as Wikipedia (while confirming the series title), but the sticker on the DVD set box as well as the subtitles uses “Janggeum”.

I sat through almost an entire episode of a cook-off, with little happening. This is not a bad thing, as the episode was enjoyable, and its focus was in part on introducing Yeonsaeng, Yeongro, Changi, and Geum-young. And one day I’ll know who’s who without keeping a cheat-sheet of names. It took me only two episodes to learn the names in Bottle Fairy, and one episode to spell “Janggeum” rather than “Jangguem”. I expect to have the names for the other girls down by the end of episode five, assuming they’re given enough screen time.

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