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I spent last week watching a South Korean Drama (KDrama). Haven't been watching much lately because of my on the job training. Since I had the time I was able to enjoy watching this 16-episode 2020 series. Find out what I think of it in my review below.
SPOILER ALERT: Don't read this until you've watched the series, otherwise you will read a lot of spoilers. 😁
Park Sae-ro-yi is an upstanding high school student but is socially inept. One day he gets transferred to a different school where his dad's boss' son also goes. On the first day in the new school he finds out the boss' son is a bully. He stops the bullying and even punches the culprit.
Sae-ro-yi gets kicked out of school even if he was not the one who did wrong. His dad also resigns from work because of what he did. Eventually a tragedy happens and he also ends up in jail. For three years he planned for his success once he gets out of prison by following the footsteps of the boss.
His revenge eventually makes him swallow up and own the boss' company, Jangga Co.
My only complaint in the story is the second female lead got the guy while the second lead guy didn't get any girl at all. As usual. 🙄😅
I really don't like some KDramas that always choose the first lead guy instead of the second lead when he deserves her more than the other. But in this case it's mainly reversed. It's two women fighting over one guy. Unfortunately the first woman didn't win the love of the guy. The story does make sense but somehow I still think it is unfair for Oh Soo-ah.
As we bitter people locally say, when it comes to love, "Walang forever." (There's no forever/Nothing lasts forever.) That's how I see why Sae-ro-yi fell out of love with Soo-ah. Then again, in terms of the storyline, it is understandable.
Yi-seo has always been there for Sae-ro-yi as opposed to Soo-ah. The younger woman does everything she could to make the guy's dreams come true whereas the other one just sits, waits or does nothing. How could a guy see her worth indeed? Men can be practical creatures and in this case, Soo-ah is a mismatch even though they have mutual feelings for each other.
For this I can commend the writer/s for writing well rounded characters. Even if I don't like what happened, it somehow seems better that such happened. It's only natural if someone is always with you, you tend to fall for the person. In their situation, absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder.
The revenge angle of the story is also interesting. Imagine, you would go to jail just because you contradicted someone rich and powerful. The other person did wrong but you're the one who goes to jail for it plus your dad loses his job because you stood up for what's right. Oh how sad. And then your dad gets killed by the same person even if it was an accident and eventually even the police covers up the crime. I mean how tragic can someone's life be? On top of that you plan your success in detail while in prison. Wow, that's the amazing part of the story.
At every turn it seemed Sae-ro-yi had an answer to any move that would happen against him. The best part is, he doesn't do it alone that's why he beat his opponent.
Itaewon Class also has some modern and old themes in the story. One of them is about the transgender member of Sae-ro-yi's company/restaurant and the other is about racial discrimination. It's a good attempt at social inclusion but the two side stories just seemed a bit forced into the series. However it is good in terms of character development. We get to know more about the people who help Sae-ro-yi succeed.
Basically it is about him eventually putting up a small restaurant and turning it into a corporation. Even if it is a food company I never got hungry watching any episode. That's good right? hahaha. They all focused more on the story rather than the food. Good job!
Anyway the ending is satisfying except for the second girl getting the guy. Haha. I just don't like it even if the storyline justifies it well.
What can you learn from watching this series? Well, it shows how perseverance and help from other people can make your dreams come true. If you find people with a common goal as yours then definitely you all can reach the top. Someone who is driven to achieve what they really really want will do everything in their power to have it. In the case of Sae-ro-yi, at least he didn't do it while stepping on other people. He became successful even if he wasn't corrupt nor doing illegal things. That's how it should be done in real life too.
Also, the series shows how love and revenge cannot go hand in hand. If your heart is filled with hatred it can never hold love. One must end before the other can take over. At least that's what happened to Sae-ro-yi.
I have no complaints over anyone's acting. They all did very well. Each of them have convincingly portrayed their characters. Unlike other KDramas, I have not even noticed any acting weakness in any of them whether a major or minor actor/actress. For this I commend them all. It's rare that I watch a South Korean series that doesn't have at least one who can't really act well. Hehe.
This is the fourth Park Seo Joon drama series I watched and he has not disappointed me yet. He's quite a good actor and not over the top at all. I've watched him in She Was Pretty, Fight For My Way, Kill Me, Heal Me and now this one.
This is one of the shows that has pretty good fashion accessories and style for the characters. My eyes would always get wowed by the jewelry of one of the characters. Haha. And I love the overall color themes too! The cinematography isn't that impressive but the production design is the best. As for the music, well I am not a fan of their theme songs but it's still fine for me.
If you're looking for a romantic series, you will be disappointed with this one. It's not really about romantic love at all but it touches on justice and revenge more. In case you like shows with depth and not just about cheesy love stories then you will definitely enjoy this.
Personally it is just an okay series for me. I have yet to write a review for one that I consider the very best of them all. Haha. Anyway how about you? Have you watched Itaewon Class yet? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
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Lead image is a screenshot of Netflix PH's show site. All movie posters are from KDramaPal.