K-Drama Review: “100 Days My Prince” Keeps You Comfortable With Humor And Romance
Oho! We’re sure 100 Days My Prince is one of the 2018 K-dramas you would never forget!
The tvN drama which took on the historical, comedy, and romance genres all in one go proved that it is possible to mix all three without sacrificing quality. Showing how the mind might forget but the heart doesn’t and how love triumphs all – as cheesy as both may sound, 100 Days My Prince royally whisks us away to a one-of-a-kind take on sageuks.
Title: 100 Days My Prince
Theme: Historical, Comedy, Romance
Length: 16 episodes
Broadcast Dates: 10 September 2018 – 30 October 2018
Main Leads: Do Kyungsoo (EXO’s D.O.), Nam Ji Hyun
Highlights: Unique take on sageuks, Characters to root for
Oh no Moments: Weak Ending
This series breaks away from your typical historical dramas which leave you emotionally drained with their heavy scenes and plots. 100 Days My Prince centers on humor and romance to remind you that even the most royal kings, queens, princes, and princesses are humans too. Yes, some might be the vilest, most cunning, and power-hungry people you could ever think of, but some are also out there struggling to hide their hearts and suffering because of the loneliness and unhappiness that surviving in a place as vicious as the palace entails.
Characters to root for
The story made it so easy to root for Do Kyungsoo’s Prince Lee Yool/Won Deuk and Nam Ji Hyun’s Hong Sim. We mean, they’re childhood sweethearts, they met in the strangest way possible, they fell in love without knowing each other’s real identity, they were willing to sacrifice anything and everything for each other. The list of reasons goes on, and you’d probably have a heart of stone if you can’t see why we just want Lee Yool and Hong Sim to live happily ever after together.
We also got second lead syndrome over Jung Je Yoon (Kim Sun Ho), whose pure and innocent admiration for Hong Sim just made our hearts go “aww!” every time. His respect and loyalty towards Prince Lee Yool – to the point of humbly letting him get the girl and even helping him in doing so – made him very admirable in our eyes. And hey, he’s very smart, funny, and charming, so you can’t really blame us!
However, even the “bad guys” in the story had us cheering for their own happy ending. Crown Princess Kim So Hye (Han So Hee) and Moo Yeon (Kim Jae Young) might have been people we hated at first for the cruel things they’ve done and had attempted to do. But when we got to see their points of view, everything just started to make sense.
After all, they were just two individuals yearning for love. However, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time as they drowned in palace politics and were forced to pull all stops in order to survive. Without giving spoilers, all we can say is: what a shame things had to end that way though.
A more “human” sageuk
Besides the romance that had us gushing all throughout sixteen episodes, the show’s use of humor also had us enjoying every second of each episode. 100 Days My Prince lets us take a break from all sageuks giving serious takes on palace politics and the hardships of being born royal. It keeps reminding us that these people, despite the majestic blood running through their veins, are just humans like us, too.
They are moved by their pain and sorrow and will do what they can to combat their loneliness. They cry and mourn for their losses. We mean, not everyone is desensitized to the fact that their loved ones had to be executed after being caught in a mess they may or may not have intentionally gotten themselves into.
Nonetheless, they also laugh and joke like we do. They fall in love and yearn to fight for the people they hold dear if needed to. They need people to hold on to in times of hardships, friends to laugh with in times of happiness, and allies to count on in times of trouble. By putting the comedy and romance genres in the mix with the historical genre, 100 Days My Prince was able to show the “human” side of the kings, queens, princes, and princesses – even assassins – that we usually don’t see much in sageuks.
A “meh” Ending
Ahh, the common flaw of dramas – the ending. 100 Days My Prince had a good start and an even better mid-series point. And as good as the build-ups towards the ending were, it simply did not match up to the bars it raised itself. The ending just seemed so anticlimactic. As cute as the entire last episode was, it did not seem to give justice to what the past fifteen episodes of the drama had offered.
Despite being Joseon’s Crown Prince, Lee Yool lives an unhappy life thanks to the scarring experiences he had as a child when his father (Jo Han Chul) claimed the throne. His strength, handsomeness, and intelligence get pushed aside by his extreme strictness and aloof behavior. People, especially those in the palace, dislike him for these traits.
He is betrothed to Kim So Hye, the daughter of the Vice Minister Kim Cha Eon (Cho Seong Ha) who pushed Lee Yool’s father to assume kingship. However, he shows no love or adoration to her, and neither does she. In fact, in order to evade the requests of the council for Lee Yool to sleep with her so that they could have a child (which they think the lack thereof might have been causing the extreme drought that Joseon has been suffering), the Crown Prince even sets a royal declamation ordering all single men and women of age to get married.
Things get heated in the palace, and during his trip to the rain ritual, Lee Yool faces an assassination attempt. He barely escapes it with the help of his trusted right-hand man Dong Joo (Do Ji Han) and ends up unconscious on the mountain of Chunwoo.
His unconscious body is found by the adoptive father (Jung Hae Kyun) of Joseon’s oldest unmarried woman Hong Sim, who takes him in and takes care of him out of the goodness of his heart. However, he finds out that Hong Sim, who continues to refuse marriage and uses a fake absentee “fiancee” to get out of it, was getting flogged down at the capital as punishment. So he convinces Lee Yool, whose memories got wiped out after the incident, to assume the identity of the absentee “fiancee” named Won Deuk.
The prince then lives the life of a commoner and soon gets married to Hong Sim. The loss of his memories takes a toll on him though, as he is rendered unable to do a lot of mundane tasks. This makes the other villagers laugh at him – and worse, take advantage of him.
Despite the rough start they had in their relationship with each other, Hong Sim and Won Deuk eventually get closer. And what was supposedly a marriage done to escape punishment starts turning out to be real. However, the lovely husband-and-wife relationship takes a turn when Won Deuk starts recalling his memories. He is then left to make a decision: should he keep on living with the love of his life as Won Deuk, or should he take responsibility and return to his rightful duties as Crown Prince Lee Yool?
If you’ve grown tired of watching the same story about people having bloody and scheming fights over the throne – whether it be Joseon’s, Goryeo’s, or Silla’s, then 100 Days My Prince’s slightly fluffier take on palace wars is definitely for you. The drama focuses more on the love story between its two lead characters, rather than the fight for the throne.
Beware when we say fluffy though. Because as light-hearted and funny the most of the drama is, there were also several moments where we almost wanted to enter the screen and show the characters a piece of our mind. Hint? Well, we all know that historical dramas are not historical dramas without character deaths which crush our hearts, right?