K-Drama Review: “Extraordinary You” Endows Unique Youth Love Story Made More Endearing By Its Spirited Cast
Thanks to its stable takeoff, Extraordinary You sustained its wobbly waning episodes to seal its endearing story.
As MBC’s sole youth and school drama this season, Extraordinary You ran on saccharine highs and skids on emotional conflicts that thankfully are not school bullying related.
Title: Extraordinary You
Theme: School, Youth, Fantasy
Length: 32 (Back-to-Back episodes)
Broadcast Date: 02 October 2019 – 21 November 2019
Main Leads: Kim Hye Yoon, Kim Rowoon, Lee Jae Wook, Lee Na Eun, Lee Tae Ri, Jung Gun Joo, Kim Young Dae
Highlights: Chaotic yet sweet plot, vibrant young cast
Drawback: predictable plot cliches
Delving to connected manhwa worlds has been the charm and crux of Extraordinary You. With constant onslaught of twists simultaneously thrown in the “shadow-stage” plot of the story, a moment of missing an episode might lead to “wait-what-happened-moment”.
Quick Plot Roundup
Born to a rich family, Eun Dan Oh (Kim Hye Yoon) attends a school for the elites and has been set for an arranged marriage with Baek Kyung (Lee Jae Wook).
Having a congenital heart disease since she was young, she has been sheltered and pampered, but is in constant sour side with her supposed fiance. Things change when Dan Oh notices strange things happening in her life.
Aside from seeing visions of the future, she also notices time jumps and missing memories. Inevitably she realizes she is a character in a comic book. And not the main one either.
Soon, she stumbles on another “extra” character in the story. As they get close, she names him Ha Ru (Kim Rowoon). Together, they set forth to challenge the manhwa world created by the writer.
Chaotic yet sweet story
Keeping the thrilling ride, Extraordinary You takes the shadow-stage plot as the driving point of the series. Since Dan Oh’s awakening of her existence in a manhwa world, the rest of the main characters follow suit. Crossing mid-way, the love triangle involving Dan Oh, Ha Ru and Baek Kyung escalated with the latter also fighting for his feelings for Dan Oh in the shadow scenes.
Aggravating the situation was Dan Oh’s known dying condition because of her heart problems. Just when the love conflict was creating a sweet mess, the plot introduced another manhwa story that links to the trio’s past – and the events, including the agonizing ones that do not favor the main characters were happening again.
Indeed, it was a crazily woven plot. One that is not for the impatient viewers. But all the drawn love stories, left a lasting impression – of love that is forbearing, love that is willing to give and love that is fated to happen.
A love pairing to root for
The initial conflict of Dan Oh’s ticking time in the manhwa world really yields pressure not only to her and the boys who cares for her; but also to me and probably its drama followers. Living in a labyrinthine world, Dan Oh’s tenacity to have a life that is entirely her own spurs encouragement.
Adding to that, her eventual stumbling on a love that needed three imaginary worlds to be fulfilled made her love story even more endearing. Her pairing with Kim Rowoon effortlessly encouraged cute squeals for any romance story craver. Blushing about the thought of Rowoon will make me lose my credibility, but I am really rooting for what more he can do in the future as an actor.
To be fair with the rest of the young actor cast, they had equal sharing of shining moments. Nevertheless, it was really the heart-fluttering moments between Dan Oh and Ha Ru that sedated the drama’s followers in moments when the story movement was shaky.
Feel-good cast & romantic drama treat
Relatively banking on its young cast, the featured problems that are mostly young love related set the tone for the engaging drive of the series. Presenting two love triangle stories in stage and shadow scenes easily drew attention owing to its vibrant cast. The young actors ensured nailing their moments well. Having a tricky flowing story, it was worth acknowledging.
Both love triangles were deemed predictable yet endearing nonetheless. While the Namju-Juda-Dohwan reflected the “friend-zoned” young love type, the Haru-Danoh-Kyung displayed the tried and tested “fated love”.
Just as Kim Hye Yoon proved her efficiency as an actress, Kim Rowoon and Lee Jae Wook will surely be set for more projects in the future. Likewise, budding actors Lee Na Eun, Jung Gun Joo and Kim Young Dae will thread the same.
Predictable plot clichès
Amnesia when inserted to imaginary content has to achieve careful and meticulous planning to make it fitting to the narrative. In the case of Extraordinary You, with established fictional manhwa worlds as the setting, it was definitely a risky move.
In the last stretch, the pandemonium of the conflicts surrounding Dan Oh’s numbered webtoon days was made even more painstaking by the unclear direction of the love triangle. That when she too fell victim to amnesia, I was gripping my white towel tightly to endure the remaining episodes – all for consideration on how in the most part, the actors have done their best and I had gotten plenty of laughter.
Definitely the redeeming moments of Baek Kyung drove me up the wall because out of all the characters in the story, he has shown solid dimensions.
At the end of it all, the rules set on the “stage-shadow” plot inevitably was trumped by the power of love. True, that the drama fans hoped for a happy ending – but a safe one after all the ruckus, naturally would yield nothing but a heavy sigh because it was a half-baked closure.
I honestly don’t have much tolerance now on the plot that youth and school-set drama typically use. Picking up Extraordinary You was mainly because of the story. As long as no bullying or no crappy school officials would be presented in a drama, I’m good. I have a happy school memory. Hence, I don’t want to taint it.
Bribing me with cute boys, the frequent aigoo moments down the wire of the series helped me a lot in not giving up in the story. Albeit the congested storyline with complex bends and plot elements in a realistically speaking simple love story, the engaging momentum drew strength from its peculiarity.
While I appreciate the ambitious plot, it faltered in a way that a drawn manhwa world presenting two minutes of happy ending bliss for Dan Oh and Haru can’t make me feel better. Nevertheless, for a first love story that usually takes uncomplicated route, the drama challenged a winding path that made it vulnerable and engrossing at the same time.
Despite the evident plot inconsistencies, Extraordinary You had enough happy moments to get it through the bad drama times.
Fans can watch the series on VIU.