Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Cho EK
The witch’s food grants the wishes to people. It can make any wishes come true, from those that make people happy to those that can harm others. This is the story of TVING’s drama The Witch’s Diner. Suppose you were given a chance to turn your life around. Then, what would it be?
Based on the novel of the same name, The Witch’s Diner is an omnibus series. Every episode, different guests come to the restaurant and order meals completely bewitched by Song Ji Hyo’s mysterious introduction to her wish-granting food. Though the food grants people the desires of their hearts, the customers have to pay whatever the price may be for their wishes. Every episode concludes in the same way, but the exciting elements of the work enable us to get immersed in the drama series without even realizing it.
The story of the guests at the witch’s diner catches our eyes. The wishes they have in their hearts are nothing grand such as ‘conquesting the world.’ Instead, they have relatively ordinary desires that everyone has dreamed of at some point, such as ‘winning the lottery,’ ‘having a second chance with their loved ones,’ ‘getting their revenge on fraudsters or criminals.’ Behind their wishes, the characters have tragic stories that we often see around us. And thus, it makes us feel for those characters and it makes us feel the vicarious satisfaction when their wishes come true. However, even after getting the long-cherished wish fulfilled, not all episodes end happily ever after, and the fact gives an unexpected twist and fun.
All the cast, including Nam Ji Hyun and Chae Jong Hyeop, showed impeccable performances. Still, Song Ji Hyo stands out the most in the drama. Her gorgeous outfit and makeup that no one can imitate, her warm personality beneath the cold exterior, and her identity of being ‘a witch’ make her a fantastic character. Jo Hee Ra is a character that can make people easily cringe, but Song Ji Hyo has perfectly pulled off the character and led the drama. In some of the flashback scenes, she shows a different aspect of her character from what she is now. There are enough reasons why Jo Hee Ra is called her best role so far in her acting career.
In addition, the chemistry among the five characters, Hee Ra, Jeong Jin (Nam Ji Hyun), and Lee Gil Yong (Chae Jong Hyeop), are amazing. The narrative of Hee Ra and Jin is based on their mild hatred toward each other. Jin, who is on the verge of bankruptcy due to a scam pulled by the previous restaurant owner who sold the space to her mother, asks Hee Ra for a wish to get revenge against the fraudster. Soon, Jin is shocked to find out the owner is dead, and Hee Ra laughs at her hypocrisy. Although they had a rough start, the two run the restaurant together, become closer, and lighten up the mood of the drama. In particular, when the drama begins to unravel their untold stories, it shows an obvious yet touching moment between the two.
Unlike Jin and Hee Ra, Jin and Gil Yong share sweet romantic chemistry. Jin runs into Gil Yong while he was working as a part-timer at a convenience store. Gill Young falls in love with Jin at first sight and decides to protect her. He even makes a wish, saying, “I want to be around Jin’,” when he is about to give up his dream of going to sports university due to an injury caused by the school bully. The relationship between the two that swings back and forth between the friend zone and romantic relationship gives freshness and excitement to viewers. Jong Hyeop being like a giant puppy chasing around Ji Hyun is just so adorable to watch.
It is a well-received work for its exciting story, wonderful cast, convincing characters, and flawless VFX. But there are some downsides of the drama as well. As mentioned earlier, the plot is flat and repetitive, so the drama may be a little slow depending on the viewer. Plus, the drama’s somewhat unrealistic settings and stereotypical lines, and parts of the ending scene may make you a bit cringe. It’s a little unfortunate that some of the character’s emotions and the show’s flow are not smooth at times.
In the last episode, Song Ji Hyo leaves the restaurant to Nam Ji Hyun, and Chae Jong Hyeop stands by her side as an assistant. Just like Song, Nam Ji Hyun will offer irresistible food to her guests and grant their wishes. What kind of stories will Nam Ji Hyun come across next? I hope the second season will continue to tell new stories.
Verdict: Song Ji Hyo met the best character of her life. I hope there will be a season 2. (7/10)
Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.