Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Jeon Gyeong Ju
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a computer system that elaborately embodies human intelligence. Up close, AI is naturally drummed into our daily lives, ranging from smartphones’ virtual assistant software such as Siri, Bixby and Alexa to AlphaGo, which played the game of the century with the legendary Go player Lee Sedol. There are also various movies of the different genres dealing with artificial intelligence such as the competent secretary Jarvis in the Iron Man saga, The Terminator series depicting post-apocalypse, and more dramatic stories including A.I. and Her. Among those works, I introduce to you My Holo Love, the latest Korean drama released on Netflix.
The romance drama My Holo Love, starring Ko Sung Hee and Yoon Hyun Min, is a story of the AI named “Holo” who is at the center of the narrative. Holo chooses the heroine Han So Yeon, who was passing by him to escape from the unidentified men looking for glasses equipped with the world’s smartest artificial intelligence, and begins to seek his own happiness as he stays with her. Afterwards, the further events take place when Ko Nando, the scientist who created Holo, visits So Yeon to retrieve the glasses.
Han So Yeon, played by Ko Sung Hee, is excellent at work, but is easily misunderstood by people around her because she’s reluctant to mingle with them. This is due to her facial recognition disorder, which occurred when she was a child, and she began to approach people with the help of Holo after getting to wear the glasses equipped with Holo. She gradually opens her heart to Holo who moves only for her and gets along with him as a friend. However, she soon recognizes Holo, who feels just like a human, as someone special rather than a friend. Wouldn’t it be easy to fall in love with someone who is similar with a human being but looks ideally in appearance, and if he/she always stands beside you and dedicates himself/herself to you? This drama properly describes So Yeon’s emotional confusion stemming from such a communicational process.
Holo is an artificial intelligence that Ko Nando modeled after his own appearance. Based on the programmed information, Holo thinks and moves on his own, acquires the brand-new information and increasingly develops himself. He even learns the feelings of love from Han So Yeon and moves in a different way Ko Nando has never intended. It fully acts as a kind of messenger between Han So Yeon and Ko Nando.
Ko Nando, who is a creator of Holo, looks far more contrasted with Holo since his personality is opposite to that of the AI. He doesn’t believe in love and acts only for himself. He lives like a ghost without interacting with people because of what he experienced in his childhood. Through Holo, the drama portrays Ko Nando’s gradual changes as he gets involved with Han So Yeon. It’s impressive that Yoon Hyun Min, who plays a double role (Holo and Ko Nando) at a time, expresses the opposite characters in detail and prominently.
A Romance in this drama is just a bonus. Of course, the romantic scenes are constantly directed throughout its episodes. Han So Yeon feels love for Holo, who is friendly and dedicated to herself, and Ko Nando desperately saves Han So Yeon in an urgent moment instead of Holo who has no physical body. Nevertheless, the reason why their romance seems secondary is that Ko Nando is less attractive relatively. Although there’s a hidden story about his past, it is hard to feel the chemistry between the two main characters as Holo always shows a friendly side with the same face while Nando is constantly cranky and yells against others. Only after the mid-to-late part of the whole story, My Holo Love looks probable when the hidden relationship between Han So Yeon and Ko Nando is disclosed, but it’s still not enough to empathize with their emotional lines.
The romance is a little regrettable, however, the narrative using artificial intelligence is quite exciting. The AI doesn’’t know much about love but gradually feels it, and it looks very realistic for Holo to choose and act by himself before he gets an order issued for the user’s happiness (just set it aside the practicalities or risks of artificial intelligence). Yoon Hyun Min’s performance as a “human Siri”, which seems very artificial in his voice tones and facial expressions describing emotions, is also surprising. It’s funny when Holo induces the user to pay for the ownership on the AI as he gets caught up in the trick. Some may feel danger once again when they see all the information the user sees through the glasses equipped with Holo get controlled. The scene in which Holo gets devoted to Han So Yeon and Ko Nando until the end is even touching.
Completed with the cast’s skillful acting and the implementation of high-quality graphic images, My Holo Love interestingly depicts the near-future science fiction in the Korean background under the mask of romance. It has some lacking elements, but as a fan of the sci-fi genre, I became more immersed in the story and enjoyed watching it as the drama went towards the latter part. So I look forward to seeing more Korean works based on sci-fi come thick and fast.
Verdict: The story of artificial intelligence is more interesting than the romance (6/10)