Finally finished a Korean drama that I feel like reviewing! It’s been quite a while to review a Korean drama; I always felt like there’s more to say about Jdramas and Jdramas need more love in the drama community. However, this drama took me by surprise with it’s simple setting of a sports campus students’ life and turrned it into something so relatable whether or not you like sports.
(This review may contain spoilers, read at your own risk ! :D)
My favourite upbeat song in this drama 🙂 Captures the youthful mood quite well!
From left: Sung Si Ho, Jung Joon Hyung, Kim Bok Joo, Jung Jae Yi
A little bit of introduction: Titular Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) is a weightlifter enrolled in Haneul Sports University. By certain misunderstandings, she somehow meets her long lost primary school class mate, Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk), a swimmer also enrolled in her campus. Fear not, misunderstandings clear up as fast as they come and we get into the sweet motions of a budding love. In Joon Hyung’s case, he had had a crush on Bok Joo since they were little; she padded him from a fall while he was bullied. Total karma payback for Bok Joo as Joon Hyung has grown up handsomely after since. The drama pretty much chronicles their friendship which naturally turned into something more and also some side character appearance to help lengthen plots. Bok Joo initially develops a crush on Joon Hyung’s cousin, Dr. Jung Jae Yi, who works in a weight consultation clinic. She gets into enough trouble trying to lose weight to please the doctor but it brings hilarity to the situation. We also get a desperate ex-girlfriend who wishes to get back with Joon Hyung, Song Si Ho (Kyung Soo Jin). Si Ho is a gymnastic athlete troubled by her past failures but thinks that patching up things with Joon Hyung may fix things.
I must say, I watched this initially to see what Lee Sung Kyung would do with this character. I’ve seen her in It’s Okay It’s Love, Cheese in the Trap and Doctors. She played a troubled teen in the first, ballistic crazy (you don’t want to incur her wrath) girl in the second and the second fiddle to Park Shin Hye who never really got to do anything significant as a nemesis in the last. Then, she appears as Kim Bok Joo with description as a short-haired frumpy weight-lifter. BAM. I had to watch. I was not disappointed. She branded Kim Bok Joo very well and made her lovable because we all saw ourselves in her. She was also what I think we wanted to be more like at that age: confident, passionate about what she did, brave enough to sidle up to her crush, protective of her squad etc.
Nam Joo Hyuk is not new to this role honest to say (see Cheese in the Trap, Surplus Princess, Who are you: School 2015 – good lord he was a swimmer here too!) but with the amount of times he had to play the role, he perfected it.After the disappointing Scarlet Heart Ryeo performance he did, he has redeemed himself here by playing in safe territory once again. It’s a safe character but it’s a wise choice. Credits to his team for picking this drama. I think the best parts for him was when he was conflicted about his birth mother abandoning him and facing the issue again when she comes back. Memories of his mother affected his swimming performance but they did not angst up that part too much and let him pass the hurdle quite soon enough.
We cannot forget about the sports element in a drama set in the sports campus, can we? The drama has picked up some relevant issues that athletes may face in pursuing their paths. Bok Joo faces her slump and deals with chronic back pain, Joon Hyung with his trauma, Seon Ok (Bok Joo’s good friend) with her mother’s disagreement but Si Ho gets the most problems of the lot. I think Si Ho sometimes deserves the criticism for getting in the way of our OTP but she was such a real character, stripped raw by the stress she faces. It’s pity on one side but she hates exactly that from anyone because of her pride. Just because Bok Joo and Joon Hyung had good camaraderie with their fellow aspiring athletes, Si Ho was planted in a total opposite situation. There were no flowers and candies (or sausages) in her world of gymnastic but she gets isolated and her coach uses her quite literally. I also feel her frustration when she realizes that she sabotaged Bok Joo out of jealousy. Very often we find ourselves doing something wrong but realizing only after that it’s not what we wanted to stoop to. There’s also the issue with her binge-eating which she is subconsciously aware of but as usual denies it when confronted, because we all know that pretending it didn’t happen makes the problem goes away. Not. Despite being a third wheel in the beginning, the drama turned its wheels to focus on Si Ho dealing with her problems so she wasn’t as annoying midway through. Can I say how proud I am of her when she made the conscious choice of letting go? It was a beautiful moment of what if and what if not. She knew what she was doing and the repercussions but it felt SO GOOD to see her walk out of the mess.
Family is a heavy theme in this drama as well. All our youth deal with family problems of their own. Bok Joo faces the dilemma when she heads into a slump but with her supportive father and uncle, she made it back on track.Si Ho on the other hand gets plenty of ‘support’ from her mother but it backfires as her family’s happiness is staked as well. Joon Hyung grew up in a loving family consisting of his aunt, uncle and cousin but could never shake off his mother’s abandonment. Although he played the filial son, his breaking point was nicely done and I loved that because flaws are what make characters real.
The tone of the drama was light and fluffy despite veering into some deeper issues. It’s one of the first college-themed Kdrama I’ve picked up for a while and one that will stay lovable for quite long. Kudos to Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk for being the power lovebirds and the side characters round up the story perfectly. There are just a couple side character lines that I felt wasn’t as well developed such as the coach couples, Bok Joo’s uncle and cameo by Kim Seul Gi. But with the major focus on other things, I’m happy to let these matters pass.
- All the cute and humor of college life right here. Pick this up, sit back and relax.
- You thought sports drama was never your genre, this is a good place to start.
- Lee Sung Kyung in a pretty normal character but still rocking it.
- Lee Sung Kyung in short hair and LOVABLE.
- Nam Joo Hyuk and his packs.
- Nam Joo Hyuk in water.
- Nam Joo Hyuk winning the best boyfriend award.
Yes, this is to lure you doubtfuls out there.
Why not to watch?
- College and youth drama not your cup of tea/coffee
- You don’t like the cute or the funny.
- You don’t like Nam Joo Hyuk and his packs.
- Just bookmark this for a time you need the cute and heart-warming stuff in your life, will you?