Supernatural Showdown: Goblin vs. Mermaid

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I’m loving both Goblin and Legend of the Blue Sea — and it feels like such a blessing to be given both in one drama season — but which is the superior? Which should you tune into every week? Let’s fasten our tails and dive right into it!

STORY

Goblin: It’s amazing how the promotions for this show built it up to the highest level of epicness, and it actually delivered every ounce of that epicness. Like, damn, Show. Way to go. I have a ton of praise ready for the story and its execution, but I’m afraid that if I start, I may never stop. So I’ll just say this: I never knew I needed a goblin clashing with a grim reaper in my life. But here we are. And now I need more.

Blue Sea: I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a big mermaid fan (I blame Disney for that), but it is a bit tiring to see the same story being used time after time: Mermaid meets human, mermaid then wants to become human, etc, etc. It’s a story we’ve heard a thousand times and a story we’ll hear a thousand times more, but we keep coming back since we love it so much. It’s how they tell that familiar story that’s key, and I must say that I’m liking Blue Sea‘s interpretation. The little details (such as kissing leading to amnesia and tears leading to pearls) make the mermaids unique and interesting, along with Jeon Ji Hyun‘s hilarious actions and facial expressions. At first, Jeon Ji Hyun was the only thing keeping the show afloat for me — everything else just seemed dull in comparison. Then Lee Min Ho started acting cute. Then the twist with the past lives showed up in episode 8, and now I’m DYING with curiosity. Nice job there, Writernim. You got me.

Winner: TIE

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VISUALS

Goblin: Omo… so pretty. *drools at all the pretty* The flashbacks into Shin(Gong Yoo)’s past have such an intense cinematic feel, I almost forget I’m watching a drama. They tone it down a bit with the modern day scenes, but it’s still a feast for the eyes. It makes me want to take hundreds of screenshots and set them all as my desktop background.

Blue Sea: The mermaid special effects! Oh my goodness, I love them! Jeon Ji Hyun obviously looks beautiful as Chung, but I was extremely impressed with the design of her tail. The look of the tail was my first concern when the drama was first announced, and I was glad to see how natural it looks. When she’s onscreen as a mermaid, I believe she’s a mermaid. Very well done. This show has wonderful cinematography as well, but I gotta give the point to Goblin. Sorry, Chungie.

Winner: GOBLIN

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MUSIC

Goblin: Perfect music choices. The instrumentals are enchanting and evocative, and the show uses them at the right time. It sounds like a weak compliment, but a lot of dramas these days really rely on the OST in order to get a certain reaction from us viewers. Sometimes it works, and sometimes we just have a loud-as-hell love ballad playing when two characters are just staring at each other. Goblin has its love ballads, but I think those ballads match the cool, dark tone of the show. (Favorite tracks: “Stay With Me” and “My eyes“)

Blue Sea: Perfectly fine music choices, I’d say. There are some really good songs, and thankfully, they don’t get overplayed as much as most dramas. The only problem is that these songs are pretty disposable. I don’t blame the show for that — with the same singers taking part in every popular drama, the songs are sure to sound similar. Either way, Blue Sea‘s musical strong point is definitely with its instrumentals. The cute mermaid theme music and sound effects make me smile every time I hear them. (Favorite tracks: “You are my world” and “Somewhere Someday“)

Winner: GOBLIN

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ROMANCE

Goblin: I think the growing relationship between Shin and Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) is adorable, but they don’t exactly feel like lovers, or even potential lovers, yet. To me, it feels more like Shin has found a lost puppy, and the more he’s around Puppy Eun Tak, the more he feels the need to protect her. And like most puppies, Eun Tak is a cute, warm bundle of sunshine that seems to brighten Shin’s life the more he comes to like her. It’s incredibly sweet, but it just doesn’t feel like a romance yet. Even though we’re only four episodes in, I think we should feel something romantic, right? I don’t know — as of now, I care more for the three-way bromance between Shin, Reaper, and Duk Hwa.

Blue Sea: Here, I felt the romance in the very first episode. And that’s mostly because the writer kicked off the romance much earlier. We dived right into the past lives’ love story, which I expected, and then we dived right into the main couple’s love story, which I didn’t expect. I love that Chung got attached to Joon Jae right away (*My Girlfriend is a Gumiho flashbacks*), and that Joon Jae immediately cared for Chung even though he couldn’t figure out why. The two started off cute, and they’ve only gotten better with each episode. What’s great is that their cute crushes on each other is slowly shifting into mutual love, and gahhh, it tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways. Where this show falters in story, it definitely makes up in romance.

Winner: BLUE SEA

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SIDE CHARACTERS

Goblin – This show is full of so many colorful characters that there’s hardly ever a minute where I feel bored. Of course, we have our grumpy neighborhood goblin, and then we have an amnesiac grim reaper, a chaebol/butler to the supernatural (hee), a seductive chicken shop owner… just to name a few. I’m intrigued with every single character’s storyline, but the real magic is when they interact with each other. Duk Hwa with Goblin, Goblin with Reaper, Reaper with Sunny, Sunny with Eun Tak — no matter who it’s with, the conversations are totally engaging. You’d think a show with this many quirky characters would feel overcrowded, but the writer makes it work.

Blue Sea: However, with this show, I think the writer gave so much care to the main couple, that she actually neglected the side characters. The side characters aren’t necessarily bad — I just don’t care about them. I only care about Chung and Joon Jae (and their equally engaging past lives Se Hwa and Dam Ryung). Cutie-with-a-crush Tae Oh is great, and the cameos are great, but when we cut to any other characters, I find myself wanting to fast forward. Like I said, they’re not badly written, but they’re all characters we’ve seen before — the estranged dad, the evil stepmom, the questionable brother, and so on. Maybe the side stories will pick up in upcoming episodes, but for now, I’d rather focus on the lovebirds.

Winner: GOBLIN

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OVERALL SQUEE FACTOR

Goblin: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Blue Sea: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Winner: TIE

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FINAL SCORE

Goblin: 5

Blue Sea: 3

It looks like Goblin won this one, but in my opinion, these are both crack dramas worthy of your time. On a technical level, yes, Goblin is the better drama (so far), but both are plenty awesome in their own special ways. I guess it depends on what you prefer — goblin antics or mermaid antics — but why not watch both? That way, it’s nonstop fun every Wednesday through Saturday. Now we just need some other supernatural creature to fill up Monday and Tuesday, and then we’ll have ourselves a party.

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About SailorJumun

Psh, who said you're too old to fangirl over fictional characters?
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