Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
The newly premiered ENA series Moon in the Day explores the dangerous and poignant reincarnation romance between a man murdered by his beloved and a woman who has lost her memories of a past life. Based on a still-popular webtoon of the same name, there were concerns among fans about the adaptation, especially with the character settings revealed prior to airing being significantly different from the original. The question arises: does Moon in the Day manage to satisfy its audience?
Firefighter Kang Yeong Hwa (Pyo Ye Jin) saves everyone in an accident without any casualties, earning the moniker “Miracle Firefighter.” Yeong Hwa, having gained public attention through a broadcast, is cast for a public service advertisement and meets top star Han Jun Oh (Kim Young Dae). From their very first encounter, Yeong-hwa clashes with the self-centered and rude Jun Oh. Following a sudden accident that plunges Jun Oh’s car into the Han River, Yeong Hwa heroically rescues him, but he eventually dies. However, the story takes a turn when the ghost Do Ha (Kim Young Dae), who’s been lingering around Yeong Hwa, possesses Jun Oh’s body, reviving him. Do Ha, now in Jun Oh’s body, starts approaching Yeong Hwa, who is the reincarnation of Han Rita (Pyo Ye Jin), the one who killed him 1500 years ago.
The drama kickstarts with Silla general Do Ha invading and ultimately leading to the downfall of Daegaya at the king’s command, and Gaya general’s daughter Han Rita, who barely survives only to witness her family’s execution. Unfortunately, the first episode struggles to engage the audience. Kim Young Dae’s exaggerated delivery in the opening scene where Do Ha addresses the people of Gaya impedes immersion. In the modern setting, Han Jun Oh’s character is highly unlikeable as he comes off as an inexplicably arrogant person, fixated solely on spending time with his girlfriend, Jung Yi Seul (Jeong Shin Hye), and shirking all other responsibilities. With such a setup, Jun Oh’s death and Do Ha’s subsequent possession of his body will create a stark contrast, yet this extreme characterization of Jun Oh makes it difficult for the surrounding events and characters to fully capture the audience’s attention.
Fortunately, the drama gains interest following the possession, exhibiting a completely different personality and abilities. Do Ha, retaining the memories left in Jun Oh’s body, speaks in a historical tone and even showcases the martial art skills of a general to escape kidnappers, which is entertaining. The foundation of the relationship between Yeong Hwa, who seeks to save lives, and Do Ha, who uses his limited lifespan and her reinstatement as leverage, is also intriguing.
The most interesting aspect, however, lies in the story of their past lives. Unlike the original work, where Do Ha and Han Rita meet as the master and slave without knowing each other’s true identities, the drama begins with both aware from the start. Han Rita knows Do Ha is responsible for her family’s death, and Do Ha is aware that she, who attempted to take his life, is the daughter of the general. This seemingly impossible love story between the two, shown through intermittent memories of their past life, culminates in Do Ha’s death at Han Ri-ta’s hands, arousing curiosity about their tragic love story.
Moon in the Day, with its entangled relationships between Do Ha/Jun Ho and Rita/Yeong Hwa, has stepped into a new direction. One thing’s for sure: Pyo Ye Jin and Kim Young Dae’s visual chemistry is quite appealing. But there is a mix of concern and anticipation for how their romance will unfold. Starting with a markedly different plot than the original webtoon, it remains to be seen how the story of these two characters will unfold. But one can’t help but hope that it’ll be as compelling and unique as the much-loved original work. (5/10)
Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.