Welcome back to another Korean drama review where I talk about another one of my favourites so far! This was the fourth Kdrama I watched and I did not expect that I would like it this much.
My luck with Kdramas was so good in the beginning, though? Out of 4, I really liked THREE. That’s a very good number. Amongst the Korean dramas I’ve reviewed till now, I rank them as:
W: Two Worlds and While You Were Sleeping are very close because I love them both equally and the only reason W is #1 now is because it’s in the genre that I’m totally into at the moment.
What’s the drama about?
OKAY SO GUYS THIS DRAMA IS AWESOME. I have absolutely no clue how to describe it properly so forgive me if I’m confusing.
It starts off with the author of a VERY popular webtoon called W going missing. The people working under him were right outside his room and even they don’t know where he’s gone.
His daughter Oh Yeon-joo, our female lead, starts looking for clues in his room. While doing that, a bloody hand caches hold of her jacket and pulls her. Next thing she knows, she’s in the rooftop of a building next to a man lying on the floor with stab wounds. Being a doctor, she does something to make him better and runs to call for help.
And after a few minutes, she’s suddenly back in the real world, in her father’s room, where she finds out that a new episode of W has gone up. And the episode describes EXACTLY what happened when she was in the rooftop.
That’s how she figures out that she was IN THE WEBTOON. She got pulled into the webtoon through her father’s drawing tablet in his room. The injured man was the main lead of the webtoon, Kang Chul.
What the heck, you say?
The drama is about two worlds—real world and the webtoon world. Oh Yeon-joo gets dragged into the webtoon world again and again and eventually becomes a part of it. Whenever the episode ends (with a big scene like episodes usually end), she’s back into the real world.
And so began their love story.
It is way more than romance, though! It was sci-fi, thriller and romance all rolled into one with twists every where! Within 16 one hour episodes, SO MUCH happens that once the show ends you’re just blown away by thinking what all happened.
Honestly, I can’t even begin to explain all the details about the show because I could write a whole post just about it.
What I loved
- It’s FANTASY, y’all. And it’s the BEST fantasy.
It’s an amazing story about murder, villains, love and it takes place in TWO worlds. So you go back and forth, you get to know both worlds, you see how complicated it all becomes and you are at the edge just waiting to see what happens next.
I devoured this drama as fast as my mind could keep up and still stay sane. Because let me tell you, you won’t even feel like all of the story happened in ONLY 16 episodes. There’s so much.
- Have you ever imagined what it would be like if you met your fictional crush? Because that’s exactly what happens in this show. Kang Chul is the fictional crush of many in the show’s real world, including Oh Yeon-joo. So just imagine yourself in Yeon-joo’s place getting to meet Kang Chul, who is the BEST to have a crush on.
- Han Hyo-joo acted SO WELL as Oh Yeon-joo. I loved the parts when Yeon-joo is confused what to do when she’s in the fictional world, what to say about herself whenever Kang Chul asks and how to get back. It was quite funny to watch her.
- The drama also asks questions you ask yourself about every fictional world. And at those moments I really started thinking myself and fell in love with the show more because it’s literally our dreams.
What happens when the story ends? Does the world stop, frozen forever? Or does it go on?
- The plot is just CRAZY. If you don’t watch the show for anything else, just watch it for the plot. The are so many ups and downs and twists. By the end all you can expect is that there will be more unexpected things happening, right until the end of episode 16.
- In fact the plot is so good, I actually even missed some details which I thought were plot holes simply because I was too into the main story and was waiting to see what happens next that my attention wasn’t on the details.
- Kang Chul’s relationship with Oh Seong-moo—his maker—was so complex and fascinating. At one point Kang Chul comes into the real world and meets Seong-moo and everything that follows got me so interested.
The relationship started out with Seong-moo wanting to kill the character that he made and end the webtoon. To Kang Chul, Seong-moo is the one who gave him a tragic life story but it became so much more including Seong-moo being the father of the woman Kang Chul loves. Honestly, I cannot say much without spoiling something.
- The father-daughter relationship portrayal was so nice. Oh Yeon-joo and Oh Seong-moo’s love for each other kept driving them to save the other. Seeing Seong-moo’s love for his daughter made me so emotional. I don’t see this much focus on parent-child relationships so that was really nice.
I cannot say anymore because spoilers but just know that if I could, I would rant for 3000 words.
What I didn’t love so much
- The plot holes. I caught quite a few plot holes in While You Were Sleeping but they didn’t bother me much unlike here where all of the plot holes bothered me! Especially the big ones that are the catalysts of the plot. They’re the reason the plot exists and they aren’t explained at all.
- I’ll admit, at one point I got pretty bored by the show. It was all fast-paced and fantasy elements then suddenly all we saw was romance which I was NOT into. But they did recover fast—within one episode! Right as you think everything will end well, BAM, another twist.
There are things that aren’t explained well. The plot might seem far-fetched in some points.
It’s fiction and it has the freedom to break barriers so just enjoy it.
I LOVED Kang Chul. This character is very different from other roles I’ve seen Lee Jong-suk play. In the others, his character is unsure, clumsy and can mess up. But here, he’s the PERFECT male lead—strong, confident, rich, with a tragic past and a life quest. Lee Jong-suk played him better than I thought he could.
Kang Chul is an award-winning sharp-shooter who pursued Computer Science in academics. His whole family was murdered by a sharp-shooter (and by the same gun Kan Chul used during the Olympic competition) so the blame came upon him. Everyone thought he killed them after having a fight with his dad for wanting to study CS.
He’s now the CEO of a company and has also started a broadcasting station called W where people solve unsolved cases. He thought this might help find the person who killed his family.
W. Who and Why. Who killed them and why did they kill them.
Oh Yeon-joo, played by Han Hyo-joo, is a doctor and daughter of the artist of W. Her parents are divorced and hence she doesn’t get to see her father as much as she would like. In the beginning, she’s meek and shy and wasn’t very captivating. Even though she had more screen time than Kang Chul, I didn’t like her then.
But later I grew to like her because I could clearly see character growth and growth is what I like. She grows from the very uncertain and jumpy girl to one who deals with villains, death threats and doing anything to keep her loved ones safe.
This next character isn’t considered a main character but to me he is one because his role is as big as Kang Chul’s and Oh Yeon-joo’s. Oh Seong-moo, artist of the webtoon W and father of Oh Yeon-joo, was played brilliantly by Kim Ui-seong. His role was complex and included multiple personalities. Just, wow.
The other supporting characters were played really well too. My favourite supporting characters are Seo Do-yoon, Kang Chul’s bodyguard and Park Soo-bong, one of the artists under Seong-moo.
Discussion (INCLUDES SPOILERS)
If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.
Okay so can we talk plot holes and things that weren’t explained??
- The screen to the real world. The explanation we got later was that the screen appeared in front of Kang Chul when he realizes that he’s a fictional character. So then he can step through the screen into the real world. But that doesn’t explain how the screen appeared in episode 1 when he did NOT know that he’s a fictional character.
- Talking about the same scene, why was Kang Chul dying? All the previous times he rejected death by changing the scene so why couldn’t he do that here? What’s the logic?
- We were told that Oh Yeon-joo gets dragged into the webtoon world (after the first time) whenever Kang Chul thinks about her. But what about after they rewrote the story? How did Yeon-joo get dragged into the world when Kang Chul did not even have memories of her? It’s said that she probably remained in his head unconsciously but it still doesn’t make sense because it was more like time rewind than memory erase.
- Oh Seong-moo disappeared in the webtoon world. He didn’t actually die. So Yeon-joo could have just drawn a little more and changed her father’s fate? Why wasn’t that thought of. He just disappeared! Plus, Seong-moo wasn’t even really a webtoon character so how did he disappear like a webtoon character that’s not required anymore?
CAN WE TALK ABOUT SEONG-MOO BECOMING THE VILLAIN? The actor changes roles so fast and brilliantly played both roles that I just? was blown away??
I also loved that a villain was made as the webtoon progressed? It’s not a simple find the villain, catch the villain and happily ever after. I found it interesting with the prosecutor/politician’s addition and how he gradually became a villain because he’s against Kang Chul.
I loved the show! So much is packed into 16 episodes that I got so sucked into it, I didn’t even notice the background songs much. I binged it as fast as I could and was taken on a roller coaster ride.
Definitely recommended! Especially if you love fantasy and would love to see fictional and real worlds getting mixed.
Other Kdramas you might like:
Doctor Stranger (also stars Lee Jong-suk!!)
Kill Me, Heal Me (the main character has SEVEN personalities)
Extraordinary You (similar story of blending reality & fiction) (supporting characters are the main characters!)
Have you ever imagined meeting your fictional crush? About going into your favourite fictional world? What comes next in that story? Tell me in the comments!