K-Drama Review: “Fight For My Way” Threads On Loving Someone Who Has Been A Long-Time Friend
Fight For My Way paces to a vibrant tone, featuring characters who missed their chances to work on their young love and dreams, but finds back the passion to pursue the goals they once gave up
Fight For My Way hits a jackpot while taking the opposite route in picturing a charming neighborhood romance.
Title: Fight For My Way
Theme: Romantic Comedy, Friendship
Length: 16 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 22 MAY 2017 – 11 JULY 2017
Overall Rating: 9/10
Rewatch Value: 9/10
Highlights: Cast Synergy, Feel-good tone, Heartfelt underdog narrative
Oh No Moments: Over extended 3rd Party Plot
Related Dramas: Reply 1988, The Best Hit, Twenty Again
Korean drama viewers are normally drawn to reliable and quintessential rom-coms that usually picture rich-boy-poor-girl or alpha-male-vulnerable-heroine stories.
What made this modestly written K-Drama a hot topic can be credited to the unadorned narrative that describes what regular people do and feel in their mundane living.
The series is like a rejuvenating sleep after a stressful work week. It leaves the followers smiling after each episode. It is like a familiar walk of someone you know or your very own life, while feeling the triumphs and failures experienced by the friendship circle emphasized in the story.
Fight For My Way incidentally creates its own kind of beauty by presenting a cheerful cast, who channeled the honest storytelling to a good-humored spectacle. This leaves lingering lessons on chasing dreams while finding true love.
Charting consistent impressive ratings, the chirpy synergy of four friends living a common life leaves an impression on how love and happiness are always within our reach if we are brave and forbearing enough to claim it.
Park Seo Joon
I don’t think any actor would be able to match how Park Seo Joon brought to life an ideal boyfriend character that is not rich. chuckles He redefines the meaning of dream boyfriend with his uncomplicated approach in life along with those swoon-worthy muscled topless body scenes.
Albeit his simple-mindedness and easy-go-lucky existence, he has a keen sensitivity to know when he is needed by his woman. He secures a poster-boy status of a man, who is always there for his woman.
Dong Man turns to a warm blanket when he is needed to be. But then, he will go suave and vocally cute in being a protective lover. His dream fulfillment in the finale episode induced tears to my eyes, like how I got nervous at the RFC fights inserted in the story. This is one notable performance for an actor who embraced the character so well.
Engaging Love Tales
Dong Man and Ae Ra’s love feelings to each other started at different intervals in their lives, but it was always there subconsciously. It progresses from platonic, to one-sided, and finally to a reciprocated love.
The narrative beautifully captured how all their memories of being together in good and bad times validate the expected romance they overlooked – when they were both not courageous enough to cross the friendship line.
Sul Hee and Joo Man’s romance touches the stigma on being complacent to long-time relationship. I also hated Joo Man for hurting the most understanding girlfriend he could ever have. But there are different levels of trust that only couples in their own relationship can understand.
Sul Hee’s trusting nature pushes Joo Man’s thread of white lies before their painful breakup. Long-running relationship is prone to have deflating love sparks as it turns to be a standard routine overtime. That is highlighted in Sul Hee and Joo Man’s love yarn.
It is nice when the second lead characters do not support the conflict, which is staged for the main love couple. Fight For My Way gifted the viewers with two affectionate chronicles that are coated with relationship pep talks and charming friendship anecdotes.
The Comic Yet Heartfelt Narrative
The heart-warming and quirky romantic story of long-time friends-turned-lovers is a pile of upbeat frames and hilarious side stories. Sometimes, we end up sharing our highest and lowest moments with our best girlfriend/boyfriend because our hearts subconsciously find their warmth.
Fight For My Way deviates from the idealistic rom-com stories by giving us characters living a typical life while adjusting to career pressure and bleak future. The love story rides on an apprehensive note as the main couple works on giving a chance to a love that will break the friendship they shared for a long time.
The transition from friends’ zone to lovers’ zone is a comic spectacle, with how Ae Ra and Dong Man break the awkwardness by enjoying the skinship and smooches they have deprived themselves of.
The approachable framing of the love and life struggles makes this drama a comforting chronicle due to its vivid sketches on how common people fight their ways to claim the love and life they deserve.
Fantastic Four Illustration
The introspective probe to the character sketches provide a connecting moment to the audience, who have experienced career and love failures while building on their life courses. The four friends, thriving on third-rate life circumstances, invoke a hindsight on how things we do not work on when we had the opportunity, will haunt us at some point in our lives.
The individual characters have their own stories to tell. But it is their unique appeals when combined that yield a potent collaboration of laughter-fit scenarios and heart-fluttering moments.
The estranged relationships with their families due to personal pride are limned and capped up, with a satisfying reconciliation that pictures acknowledgment of their failures.
Annoying third-party problems
Dong Man’s ex-flame history with Hye Ran is essential in substantiating the other half of the reason why it took a while for him to grasp Ae Ra’s worth. However, there was a point when the clingy ex-gf’s futile claims are already pointless owing to how Dong Man already reached a firm decision of what he wants.
Same goes with what happened to Sul Hee and Joo Man’s inevitable break-up. Even without the desperately dense intern, Joo Man deserves the break-up because he failed to communicate with her, when their six-year relationship is supposed to be backed with trust and patience.
Dwelling on those annoying girls by providing closures for them is a waste of time when the lead men draw lines already. It should have been used to unfeigned conversations for the second love pairing to get back to the initial charm of their love story, which slowly deteriorates when the writing frustratingly fixates on Joo Man’s quasi infidelity.
Quick Plot Roundup
Growing up together, Go Dong Man (Park Seo Joon), Choi Ae Ra (Kim Ji Won) and Baek Sul Hee (Song Ha Yoon) have been best of friends. Go Dong Man, who was once a promising Taekwondo athlete, was forced to give up on the national team selection to help with his younger sister’s surgery.
A few years later, the childhood friends still live close to each other. Ae Ra, who dreams of becoming an announcer, ends up as a front desk officer in a shopping mall, while Dong Man works in a pest control company. He introduces Sul Hee to his best friend Joo Man (Ahn Jae Hong), who later becomes her boyfriend. For six years, they keep a secret relationship at work. Sul Hee supports Joo Man with his college studies, as he dreams of becoming a manager in the home shopping company they are working for so that he can finally marry her.
Ae Ra, who has also supported a boyfriend of two years, learns of his infidelity to an older woman as Dong Man’s ex-girlfriend, a famous announcer, resurfaces in their lives, and is determined to win his heart back. Ae Ra lands a stint as a mall announcer, but her dream job ends quickly when a younger woman takes the job through her connections.
Dong Man, who got inspired when Ae Ra momentarily took a step to chase her dream, agrees to try Mixed Martial Arts with his old coach. He is intent to settle a payback match with Kim Tak Su, a son of a wealthy man who caused him to give up on his dream years ago.
Ae Ra ironically engages to another failed relationship with a man who holds grudges toward Dong Man. As always Dong Man rushes to be by her side during her disappointing moment.
It is when she makes an outburst on how his protection makes her heart flutter. Dong Man, who wakes up seeing his girl best friend as a woman, braves the odds, and finally asks her to go steady with him.
While the two start on a blossoming romance, things are not going well with Joo Man and Sul Hee, as a young woman is obsessed on becoming the former’s girlfriend. Joo Man, who is constantly torn out of kindness and being a gentleman to the clumsy intern, slowly but surely disregards Sul Hee’s emotions.
He ends up building a pack of lies to avoid hurting her. When he overextends his kindness again, he sleeps over at the intern’s place hitting Sul Hee’s saturation point. Even when nothing happens between Joo Man and the intern, she ends their relationship for good.
Things are falling to pieces for Dong Man as he is slowly being known in the MMA ring. His nemesis Tak Su brings out the game-fixing issue they had 10 years ago, with the intention of coaxing him to fight when he is not yet matured as a MMA fighter.
Dong Man, who knows his capability, succumbs to the long shot of beating the person and the nightmare that has been haunting him for the past 10 years. Ae Ra, who is still working on her announcer dream, is in a dilemma between attending an interview in a broadcast station and being an MMA ring announcer. She eventually chooses the MMA hosting stint, and stands on the ring for Dong Man’s long awaited match with Tak Su.
The two brawl inside the ring working on their game plans. Tak Su, who is at a disadvantage fighting Dong Man while on a higher ground, keeps on urging the latter to battle on a low ground.
With Dong Man leading the bout, Tak Su resorts to cheating by propelling an unintentional head batting move. The game is dissolved with Dong Man’s bloodied face, but Tak Su ends up being rushed to the hospital after losing consciousness.
Ae Ra meets her boyfriend in a worried face, and as she checks and nags at him, his hearing slowly fades.
Fortunately, the hero’s loss of hearing is just a result of the trauma. The doctor warns Ae Ra though that Dong Man has a dangerous skull fracture, which might lead to a lifetime casualty if it gets hit again.
When Dong Man regains his sense of hearing, she makes him choose between MMA and her as she cannot bear the worrying of the unsure perils of his ring battles.
Dong Man chooses to take a shot on his dream. With his family and friends present on the rematch game with his nemesis, he seals a victory worthy of those 10 years. Ae Ra eventually gives in and accepts his marriage proposal.
Fight For My Way deviates from the standard rom-com structure of perfect romance. Instead it gives us a reassuring tale how love realization between friends might fall short on timing, but when it picks up to where it belongs, it will be twice as love-binding than others.
The amusing vibe of the friendship circle in Fight For My Way affirms an engaging invitation to sit on a drama that is coated not with the most fancy things, yet the genuine take will put you on a gratifying bliss. It lets us feel the sentiments of normal people struggling to stay afloat with their lives, and the uncertainty if it is too late for them to still follow their dreams.
The dramadisplays a well-thought scenario, from kickoff to its closure. It is a rom-com delight that draws strength from the realistic and heartfelt conversations. It has managed to avoid K-drama cliches, thanks to the genius depiction of how normal people live to dream and to love.