Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
From Our Beloved Summer that thrilled the drama fans earlier this year to the recently-ended hit series Extraordinary Attorney Woo, we’ll take a look at the K-drama couples that made our hearts flutter this year.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo
Extraordinary Attorney Woo follows brilliant attorney Woo Young Woo as she tackles challenges in the courtroom and beyond as a newbie at a top law firm and a woman on the autism spectrum. On the first day of work, Woo Young Woo (Park Eun Bin) meets Lee Jun Ho (Kang Tae Oh) when she has trouble walking through the revolving door. Young Woo has a habit of talking about whales at every chance she gets and sees the images of different kinds of whales at crucial moments, but Jun Ho, unlike others, listens to her stories and supports her unconditionally. Nicknamed the “whale couple,” these two gradually realize their “extraordinary” feelings for one another, and this is their unique pace in this world where meeting and breakup are decided so easily.
Alchemy of Souls
Alchemy of Souls tells the stories of the people whose fates have been twisted due to the “soul shifting” magic. Jang Uk (Lee Jae Wook) and Mu Deok (Jung So Min) start a disciple-teacher relationship for the good of each other. Mu Deok has to recover her energy and return to being an assassin, and Jang Uk sees this as a chance to learn magic, which his father has banned. Secretly going back and forth between master-servant and teacher-disciple relationships, the two always keep each other’s side and even risk their own lives. After going through many ups and downs, the two slowly build up affectionate feelings for one another.
Yumi’s Cells 2
Yumi’s Cells follows Yumi (Kim Go Eun), who eats, loves, and grows with the cells in her brain. In this worldview, everyone has something called a prime cell, and Yumi’s prime cell is none other than the love cell. Season 2 starts after Yumi’s breakup with Goo Woong (Ahn Bo Hyun) and paints out her new romance with Yoo Bobby (Park Jinyoung) and another breakup. Besides the love story, the series also deals with the realistic concerns of Yumi, who is now in her 30s. Bobby’s tearful proposal to Yumi raised expectations for a happy ending, but the two eventually parted ways, amicably supporting each other’s future.
My Liberation Notes
Set in Sanpo, a village no different from the countryside, My Liberation Notes tells the story of three siblings seeking to find fulfillment and freedom in their lives. Yeom Mi Jung (Kim Ji Won), the youngest of the three siblings, lives quietly, just doing her part without ever standing out from the crows. Mr. Gu (Son Suk Ku), who does all kinds of grunt work at her house, is an alcoholic who never lets anyone come close to him. One day, Yeom Mi Jung tells Mr. Gu – “Worship me” – and that brings the two closer. Their unremarkable lives where nothing was happy and enjoyable start to change little by little as they quietly walk together after work and share a drink or two at night.
Twenty Five, Twenty One
Twenty Five, Twenty One centers around the youths growing up against the backdrop of 1998 when the IMF struck Korea. Na Hee Do (Kim Tae Ri), a high schooler whose life revolves around fencing, meets Baek Yi Jin (Nam Joo Hyuk), a man in his 20s who had to live apart from his family because of the recession. Supporting and cheering for each other, the two define their relationship somewhere between friendship and love as a “rainbow.” But Baek Yi Jin soon responds to her, “I don’t need a rainbow. This is love.” Though their love story saw a sad ending, the most brilliant times of their youths captured in the drama will remain forever.
Business Proposal depicts the delightful romance between GO Foods CEO Kang Tae Moo (Ahn Hyo Seop) and his employee Shin Ha Ri (Kim Se Jeong). Their romance begins when the two meet on a blind date without knowing each other’s identities. Kang Tae Moo went on a blind date because his grandfather pressured him into getting married, while Shin Ha Ri posed as her rich friend for money. This quick meeting turned into “contract dating” per Tae Moo’s request, and the two pretended to be an item, going on “fake” dates. And of course, this “fake” relationship has them confused about the “real” feelings they start to feel for one another.
Our Beloved Summer
Our Beloved Summer tells the story of a man and a woman who reunited ten years after their breakup. Choi Woong (Choi Woo Shik) and Kook Yeon Soo (Kim Da Mi) first met in high school when they appeared in a documentary about a student with the top grade and a student with the worst grade. The two fell madly in love after the filming, but they eventually broke up, leaving deep scars on each other’s hearts. But this documentary went viral years later, and they find each other standing in front of the cameras again – the student with the worst grade as a well-known artist and the student with the top grade as an ordinary office worker. Shooting the follow-up documentary, the two realize that they still have feelings left for each other and the truth they didn’t realize in the past.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.