Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
A magical encounter between a musical and K-drama took place on Netflix. The Sound of Magic, a drama adaptation of the webtoon of the same name, is the first Netflix Korean series to challenge the musical genre. The show captures the magical moments that follow the meeting of Yoon Ai (Choi Sung Eun), who realizes the harsh reality after her many misfortunes, and the mysterious magician Ri Eul (Ji Chang Wook). Top star Ji Chang Wook and Choi Sung Eun, who showed potential in Ten Months and Beyond Evil, unravel a fairytale-like story, and the musical scenes in every episode double the beauty of the dreamlike mood. However, some worried that such an attempt may damage the overall perfection of the project. So, did The Sound of Magic really create an even more enchanting moment than magic, just like the title?
Ji Chang Wook and Choi Sung Eun’s Magical Ensemble
The story centers around Yoon Ai and Ri Eul. It delicately depicts Ai, who learns of the cruelty of this world before learning of the resentment towards her father who disappeared after the bankruptcy, recovering her self-esteem through Ri Eul’s magic and moving forward. And obviously, Ri Eul’s magic is a major part of The Sound of Magic, and Ji Chang Wook’s handsome face and acting that raises curiosity within us make the character’s performance even more captivating.
Ri Eul is a mysterious magician living in a deserted amusement park. The drama never reveals why he’s living there or what his history is. But his magic goes beyond mere tricks, enough to be called a superpower, only doubles the questions we have for the character. While comforting Ai with his warm smile, he puts on a stern face to those who don’t trust his magic, giving off a mysterious vibe. Ji Chang Wook portrays the character’s double-sidedness according to the situations, solidifying his narrative. There were concerns about the character being too surreal to blend in well with the story, but Ji Chang Wook’s presence itself has the powers of persuasion. Ji Chang Wook, the only cast member with experience in musicals, adds strengths by flawlessly presenting the musical numbers and dance moves. His job as a magician also catches the attention as it melts right into the fantastic aura provided by the musical.
The rookie actress Choi Sung Eun also starns out. Yoon Ai, the role she played, doesn’t have a day where she doesn’t cry. Without her parents, she barely manages the harsh reality and the piercing eyes she gets in the school. Ai even commits the immoral task of manipulating Na Il Deung (Hwang In Yeop)’s test scores for money to pay for her brother’s school trip. And Choi Sung Eun’s emotional acting makes it impossible to condemn the character. She showed sincerity in the scene where Ai complains about her life to Ri Eul, letting the viewers get absorbed in her story.
Musical that Became the Theme of the Show, Going Beyond a Spectacle
The musical part makes the show special, of course, but there’s also a clear downside. Sometimes, the performances take the center, upstaging the overall flow of the plot. But still, there’s no doubt that the beautiful melody and just-right dance moves and directing double the charm of the fantasy genre. The Sound of Magic particularly makes good use of these musicals. They appear at the critical moment of each episode, wrapping up the story neatly.
For example, in episode one, Ri Eul comforts Ai who was sexually harassed and hurt by a convenience store owner, and the song he sings for her is full of comfort. The musical takes the place of the viewers, who want to comfort the main character. In episode five, the song that scolds Na Il Deung, who only chases after conventional goals like money and good grades, is also impressive. Along with the performance that symbolically depicts the character’s values, the songs pleasantly deliver even the critical messages. The didactic aspect of the project is naturally revealed while comforting or criticizing the thoughts of the characters. This is the reason why musicals are more important than show-offy directing in dramas.
Overall, The Sound of Magic does not miss the sensibility of the original webtoon, all the while enhancing the perfection with fantastic musicals and the passionate performances of the cast. The last cookie video, like a curtain call from an actual musical, allows a subtle afterglow while maintaining the fun atmosphere – just like the kind message of the drama flutters the hearts of those who have struggled with the tough reality. Now, the magician Ri Eul asks us the question: “Do you believe in magic?” After watching the show that touched us and impressed us, I think I can give the nod as an answer. (8/10)
Editor Hwang Hong Sun: A Korean movie buff who wishes that the warm messages in good works will warm up this world at least by one degree Fahrenheit.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.