Thursday, September 20, 2012

Arang, Meet Buffy—You Have a Lot More in Common than You May Realize


  For anyone who has watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's pretty obvious that Arang and the Magistrate bears any number of similarities to that series, especially when it comes to characters. I'm not saying that they are the same show, or that Arang is derivative of Buffy, since both have their own distinct mythologies and flavor, but there are just too many similar characters to be ignored. For fun, I wanted to outline these characters. (Spoiler Alert.)

  At first, I thought it was obvious that the character of Arang mirrored Buffy. They're both strong female characters with supernatural abilities. Buffy loves to shop and be girly, while Arang gets a new hanbok every other episode. They both have bright, bubbly, and brassy personalities. But I realized that Buffy actually has much more in common with Eun Oh than she does with Arang, while Arang shares many characteristics with Angel. (I've listed the Buffy character first, then their AatM counterpart.)
  Buffy Summers: The Slayer. Moves to Sunnydale, aka Home of the Hellmouth. Has supernatural powers and fights vampires, demons, and other forces of evil, but wishes she were a normal girl. Knows martial arts and loves fashion. Everyone with any connection to evil wants her dead/gone from Sunnydale. Buffy is able to rally people around her and sees past the superficial. Falls in love with Angel, but it's a love that shouldn't be, since he's a vampire. Weapon of choice: wooden stake, anything stake-like, her body. 
  Eun Oh: The Magistrate. Moves to Miryang, aka the Hellmouth/Pit of Doom. Has the ability to see, hear, and touch ghosts and reapers, but wishes he couldn't. Has awesome fighting/martial arts skills, and is a meticulous dresser. Everyone wants him dead/gone from Miryang. Decides to work hard for justice. Falls hard for Arang, but she's a ghost, and it's very complicated. Weapon of choice: awesome fan of awesomeness, the weapon that is his entire body.
  Angel: Undead vampire who gets a soul. Before he was turned, he was a boring, studious man. Fights on the side of justice, atoning for his past after wandering the earth in darkness for centuries. Has awesome regenerative powers, but kinda wishes he could die. Also, he loses his soul a couple of times. Loves Buffy, but tries to fight it. Weapon of choice: fangs, vampire death glare, superhuman strength.
  Arang: Murdered ghost who gets a body. Before she died, was a boring hermit (we think). Wandered the earth as a ghost for 3 years, and wants to find out about her past and avenge her death. Her shiny new body keeps dying and regenerating, but she just wants to live. Loses her original body and her memories. Probably likes Eun Oh, but fights it. Weapon of choice: Eun Oh, but will use her teeth, feet and hands if absolutely necessary.
  Willow Rosenberg: Smart, talented young woman who develops great powers. She prefers doing research as a way of fighting baddies. Has a crush on Xander. Weapon of choice: knowledge/books.
  Bang Wool: Smart young woman who desires great shamanistic powers but hasn't had her breakthrough. However, she can hear Arang in her ghostly form. She's the go-to girl when trying to understand supernatural mysteries. She's no good in a fight, but has good intentions and tries hard. Has a thing for Dol Swe. Weapon of choice: talismans, her book of spells.
  Xander Harris: Sweet, bumbling Xander. Always tries hard to be in the thick of things, but frequently manages to screw things up. Has questionable taste in objects of devotion (i.e. Dracula, Bug-lady Teacher, Cordelia, Peruvian Soul-sucking Mummy), which causes him to be easily led astray. Has a crush on Buffy, and is typically jealous of any man who comes near her. Especially Angel. Weapon of choice: humor.
  Dol Swe: Sweet, bumbling Dol Swe. Tries really hard to help his master, but is quite the scaredy-cat. Is often led astray by his good intentions, especially when it comes to dealing with Arang, which gets him in trouble. Has a man-crush on Eun Oh, but a regular crush on Bang Wool. Is incredibly jealous of Arang's relationship with Eun Oh. Weapon of choice: his fists.
  (I'm convinced that Dol Swe and Bang Wool are what would have been if Willow and Xander had ever gotten on the same page. Except Dol Swe and Bang Wool have an adorably creepy kind of love.)
  Giles: Buffy's Watcher and teacher. Has been trained somewhat in dealing with the supernatural. Trains Buffy in martial arts. Weapon of choice: books.
  ?/Arang's fake dad: (No image available.) Mysterious monk who lives in the mountains. Trained Eun Oh in martial arts and gave him a mystic fan and a hairpin. Weapon of choice: we don't really know.
  Spike: Calls himself the Big Bad, but known to serve The Master. Has killed 2 Slayers. Vampire with a chip on his shoulder and one in his head (to keep him from biting humans). Generally works for evil, but due to the chip in his head, sometimes helps Buffy and the Scooby Gang (Willow, Xander, Giles, and various characters who come in and out) "out of the evilness of his heart." Also has room for some redemption. Has a seriously complicated relationship with his insane sire, Drusilla. Weapon of choice: fangs.
  Joo Wal: Works for Lady Seo, aka The Big Bad. Abused young man who just wants her approval. Has killed several young women for her, including Arang at least once. Possibly wants to help Arang, but also needs to bring her to Lady Seo. Hopefully we'll see some redemption for him. Has a seriously complicated relationship with Lady Seo and his "father" Lord Choi. Weapon of choice: silver dagger.
  Drusilla: Spike's sire and fellow vampire. Insane. Masterminds several attempts on Buffy's life. Weapon of choice: stupid vampires.
  Lord Choi: Joo Wal's "father" and fellow servant to Lady Seo. Also crazy and suffering from a "spiritual disease." Tries to mastermind attempts on Eun Oh's and Arang's lives. Weapon of choice: his little henchman, wood block.
  The Master: Big Bad and super-old vampire. Very creepy. Is confined near the Hellmouth, so he uses agents to do his bidding. Opened the Hellmouth in Sunnydale. Weapon of choice: lesser vampires.
  Lady Seo: Big Bad and super-old. . . something. Also very creepy. Also uses others to do her bidding, as she is mostly confined to the Choi estate. May have created the Hellmouth/Pit of Doom in Miryang. Weapon of choice: her own creepy reapers, weilding her custom-made swords of evil.
  The Trio (Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew): Three nerds who try really hard to create havoc and rule the world. Almost completely inept in their planning and execution, they do manage to build the Buffy-bot. They have differing levels of evilness. Weapon of choice: science.
  The Bang Trio (Lee, Ye, and Hyung): Three officials who try really hard to line their own pockets and rule Miryang (under Lord Choi's supervision). Completely inept in everything, but they did manage to roll out a red carpet. They, too, have different levels of evil. Weapon of choice: words (I'd say hands, but they never manage to actually use them for evil).
  And then we have Moo Young. The head reaper who may be related to Lady Seo and is currently working for the Jade Emperor. I feel like he bears characteristics of multiple Buffy personas, but is most like Faith. She's the renegade Slayer who works for the evil mayor for a time, which is consistent with Moo Young going rogue and possibly forming a future alliance with Lady Seo. Faith also targets Angel early on, determined to slay him and rid the world of one more vampire. Moo Young doggedly hunts down Arang at the beginning, desperately trying to send her soul onward. Moo Young and Faith both have awesome fighting abilities as well. Faith's weapon of choice: wavy dagger. Moo Young's: reaper net, special sword.
  There aren't really characters in the Buffyverse that coincide well with The Jade Emperor and The Lord of the Underworld. They'd be more represented as ideas or forces than people. Buffy is all about the good vs. evil, and subverting ideas of which is which in character stereotypes, but there isn't really a God or a Devil. Anyways, JE and LotU aren't really Good and Evil either. They represent opposite yet harmonious forces in the world. JE is definitely not all good, and LotU isn't evil, but they are those who rule heaven and hell, respectively, working together to find the proper place for each soul.
  So there you have it: my list of Arang and the Magistrate and Buffy character similarities. (I didn't include Lord Choi's minion, since the character he most resembles is Harmony, but they aren't really that similar.) I love that since both shows deal with supernatural elements, they are able to incorporate such strong and interesting characters.


  1. Great post! I never watched a lot of Buffy, but I can definitely see the similarities now that you pointed them out.

    "Dol Swe and Bang Wool have an adorably creepy kind of love" - So true and so funny.

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    1. Thank you. Sometimes I comment on other related blogs, which can bring readers here. Some other blogs have linked to my blog. Mostly, though, I just let google do the work for me. I may start a facebook page someday, but I haven't decided on that yet.