Not sure why it took me so long, but Itaewon Class was the first Korean TV drama I ever watched – and it left a strong impression on me. First came for the nice soundtrack – later stayed for the story which I wanted to end well no matter what. I will point out six things that struck me the most during the series that I binge watched in less than a week.
Park Seo-joon (Park Sae-ro-yi) and his 뭐 (What?). The endless amounts he made his dumbstruck face expression whenever faced by an uncomfortable question – I got so used to it that it made me giggle every time it happened. Simple, but absurdly comedic trait.
But speaking more seriously about his character development – it was absolutely carrying the show from the very beginning. Like some Naruto from a classical shonen manga/anime, Park Sae-ro-yi depicts a workaholic who has absolutely nothing, who takes on a hopeless fight against powerful super-villain, while also showing an almost absurd degree of naivety and nobility. He was carrying the theme of friendship from the very beginning on his back – all against the corrupt system that made him lose again and again – but he still shows his almost insane stubbornness and never gives up on his dream. Very inspiring story – from nothing to everything.
There is nothing else I can wish for every guy out there but a girl in his life like Jo Yi-seo (Kim Da-mi). Putting aside her great acting, the story of the selfless and loyal love was my favorite part of the second part of the series. As opposed to the Oh Soo-ah, who was liked by the main protagonist since high school, Yi-seo’s feelings were never accepted the same way over the many years, despite playing a crucial role in his company and life. Nevertheless, the same way Park Sae-ro-yi was stubborn to get his revenge no matter what, Jo Yi-seo was the same way stubborn in her love and did all she could to help him achieve his dream, even after being rejected multiple times.
Villains succeeded so many times in this series, and Park Sae-ro-yi kept neglecting the person who loved him the most really got me worried for the happy end in this series. I just wanted these two to get together somehow to make me feel satisfied about the whole show. I am glad the stupid kidnapping and second hit-and-run accident actually failed and we got the perfect ending. I applaud for how anxious the series made me about their relationship (and even lives towards the end), but it was all worth it to get these nice touching endings for all the sub-stories that developed from the very beginning in one last episode. It really felt like a well-written emotional goodbye episode that wrapped it all up.
Crazy amount of great actors and their contributions to the story. Particularly how many social issues were positively but realistically portrayed by the according actors: the transgender chef and discrimination after it became public, the Korean from Africa and racism, the ex-convicts including the main protagonist, and where it all began – the bully and the bullied. Many different themes covered and none of them was too much. But maybe some of them didn’t get enough show time?
But the most important and most inspiring to many watchers including me is the main topic of building your own business from scratch. I myself have always wanted to build my own start-up and have my own team to work on things, I have seen comments who also reacted the same way: I’m tired of my job, after watching this series I want to start my own company. Inspiringly but realistically enough the show depicted how much you can achieve if you put enough determination, have a fair long-term plan, have enough luck, and most importantly talented people who support you on that way. Would DanBam ever succeed as a pub if Jo Yi-seo didn’t step in as a manager? Probably not. Would Park Sae-ro-yi have it easier if he wasn’t constantly put down by his powerful enemies? Definitely. But he would also never be this determined without his seek for the revenge towards them.
My conclusion is, look forward to my start-ups in the future! And big thanks to this series for waking me up a bit. Probably not gonna watch another K-drama soon no matter how much I loved this one. Cheers.