Twenty 5 Twenty One: An emotional masterpiece; Nam Joo-hyuk and Kim Tae-ri’s uncooked romance is a painful trip


It’s over and we are able to heave a sigh of reduction. Twenty 5-Twenty-One has come to an finish, after conserving us on our toes for 16 episodes. The writers have been merciless to the viewers — they didn’t give us the solutions we so craved since Episode 1, and as a substitute stored taunting us with cruel hints. The strain and suspense in regards to the destiny of the protagonists stored constructing slowly from the primary episode, reaching a crescendo until the finale, that had atoms of candy, in a lot bitter. The trip has been breathless and brutal, if I could also be sincere — however oh, the emotional pay-offs have been so fully price it. Whereas the romance felt consuming, the great thing about the present was that it was about a lot extra, that by the tip you simply really feel somewhat drained and exhausted.

Who knew {that a} seemingly innocent-sounding drama could be one thing just like the Squid Recreation of romances? At its coronary heart, Twenty 5-Twenty One juggles with many themes — the game of fencing, the totally different phases of affection, unconditional friendship, the compulsion to mature throughout excruciating circumstances, the choices that may wreck a person emotionally and but chart their profession, and residing throughout politically charged occasions.

We’re launched to the present by the eyes of a younger youngster named Kim Min-chae, who discovers her mom’s diaries from the 90’s. It’s by her that we meet the rebellious and overtly blunt Na Hee-do (Kim Tae-ri), whose ardour for the game of fencing doesn’t let her see a lot else. She befriends the somewhat battered Baek Yi-jin (Nam Joo-hyuk), who’s struggling to construct his life once more after the disastrous IMF monetary disaster in South Korea. An unlikely but therapeutic friendship is shaped between the 2 of them that isn’t hampered even by distance or sudden disappearances.

Nam Joo-hyuk Nam Joo-hyuk and Kim Tae-ri (Photograph: Netflix)

It’s the time of the 90s when the world was with out the web and Whatsapp, and but these two discover a strategy to be of help one another by way of payphone calls, once they can’t be close to one another. You recognize they’ll fall in love ultimately, however that isn’t the purpose of the present. There’s something lovely in watching this unusual and humorous friendship evolve over a span of a number of years, with out expectations and profound explanations. The chemistry is addictive, nearly hypnotic between Nam Joo-hyuk and Kim Tae-ri. The love for one another is embedded in every smile, head shake, and their lingering hugs. The magical and unconditional love that’s so central to Korean dramas isn’t born immediately, not even when Yi-jin confesses his love merely to Na Hee-do the primary time. She is aware of she feels strongly for him, however is it truly love, she wonders. Slowly, she finds the reply herself, as she waits for him as he struggles to make a profession. We study along with her as nicely—the totally different colors of their love, similar to the rainbow, in entrance of which they confess for the primary time. It begins with friendship, grows right into a deeper attraction, after which the gradual understanding of romantic love, with its ache and bittersweet heartbreak. However the love of your youth just isn’t the bliss you dream that it’s—-and the younger characters are unsure whether or not they can carry one another’s exhausting burdens. It’s nearly exhausting to look at, and dread begins to seep in as you begin questioning, will this relationship survive?

Friendship and rivalry is sports activities is central to Twenty 5-Twenty One. As her faculty shuts down the fencing membership, Na Hee-do is transferred to a different faculty which homes her idol within the sport, Yu Rim. Yu-rim is chilly and seemingly bitter, as a result of she has needed to develop up faster than others, and shoulders extra burdens than any 16-year-old ought to. The 2 spar on quite a few events and their conflicts are taken to the worldwide enviornment, when a small second throughout an important fencing match ends in a victory for Naa Hee-do, one thing that Yu-rim can not settle for. But, by a sequence of healthful and truly hilarious circumstances, they change into pals, nearly sisters. There isn’t any room for pettiness; life is simply too quick for that. Maybe, it’s simply simpler to make recollections.

(Photo: Netflix) (Photograph: Netflix)

Life comes full circle once they spar as soon as once more, this time for various international locations. Feelings run wild, and the ultimate victory doesn’t style candy. Their friendship is highly effective in entrance of the media of each the international locations that had labored exhausting to pit them in opposition to one another, and in one of the heart-wrenching scenes of the present, they break down and hug after the match. The price of the match is seen of their tousled hair and tear-ridden sweaty faces as they take off their masks and face one another. As they are saying, nobody will understand how exhausting this match was for each of them.

The restlessness, and want for solutions units in early within the present. The knife twists brutally at occasions simply after enjoyable comedian scenes, with out you anticipating it, and your creativeness begins to run wild. By Episode 7, we’re dying to know if Kim Min-chae is Yi-jin and Na Hee-do’s daughter, and Yi-jin’s whereabouts within the current. The suspense is an excessive amount of to bear, and the innumerable theories thrown by followers on Reddit and YouTube are testomony to that. Did he die, did she get amnesia, or did they divorce? Ah, for these solutions, you could endure the identical trip the remainder of us did, and watch the present. We’re all Kim Min-chae by Episode 14, attempting to piece the puzzle collectively, bawling on the separations and the reunions of our lead couple. But, the present reminds us, life isn’t about that ‘completely satisfied ending’. The ending is a punch within the intestine; it’s a brutal realization that life isn’t a fairytale. Typically, probably the most therapeutic moments are non permanent, although the results resonates all through our lives. The unhappy half is, we don’t need the realism. We wish the fairytale. The ending nearly looks like a diabolic betrayal and I nearly didn’t wish to settle for it, as a result of I refused to consider that after eight weeks of wholesomeness and the seeming consolation of a romcom, this is able to the way it finish. Who needs realism, isn’t life sufficient?

Bona Bona and Kim Tae-ri in Twenty 5 Twenty One (Photograph: Netflix)

Twenty 5-Twenty One is a surprising, healthful, and but bittersweet portrayal of friendships that wrestle to face the take a look at of time. The refined nuances to every character brilliantly shines by, from Yi-jin’s desperation to do something to keep away from falling again into the pit of despair from which he had climbed out of, Na Hee-do wrestling along with her love for fencing, her father’s sudden dying, new points of interest, and her sisterhood with Yu-rim. The expansion in every character is seen all through the course of 16 episodes, and at occasions it’s nearly painful to look at. Na Hee-do’s perky and chirpy perspective slowly ebbs away as she learns the price of fulfilling goals and a relationship that was simpler as a friendship, whereas Yi-jin realizes the emotional toll of being a reporter throughout a devastating world disaster. Nothing comes straightforward for anybody — not even when you’re world-champion in fencing, or a reporter who has the entry to finest exclusives. Goals could persist; actuality is one thing else. But, with slightly bit bit of affection and friendship, you may discover a purpose to carry on.


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