Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk in "Twenty Five Twenty One"

We’ve finally gotten over our K-drama slump with the premiere of “Twenty-Five Twenty-One” on Netflix. The Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk starrer is a breath of fresh air after tackling a high school zombie apocalypse. Here are some of the things we loved about this coming-of-age K-drama.

Kim Tae-ri Is a Spunky Heroine

Only in Korean dramas can we see thirty-year old actresses donning school uniforms. Even so, only a few actresses can effectively pull off their younger characters. Kim Tae-ri is one of those, not just because of her youthful looks but also because of her acting talent. She has totally imbibed her child-like character, from her looks down to the way she talks and even walks.

In “Twenty-Five Twenty One,” Kim Tae-ri is the spunky Na Hee-do, whose world revolves around her sport fencing and comic books. Her dreams are shattered when her school decides to drop their fencing team as an aftermath of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Na Hee-do refuses to give up fencing and does everything to transfer to her idol’s school. Her hilarious efforts to achieve her goal make for a good laugh in the first episode.

Nam Joo-hyuk Makes a Comeback

As much as we love Nam Joo-hyuk, we had to admit that Kim Seon-ho stole the show in “Start-Up.” However, Nam Joo-hyuk is so far proving his worth in “Twenty-Five Twenty One.” The first time he appears on screen will have you take a sharp breath. He’s back and he’s definitely glowing.

Nam Joo-hyuk plays the role of Baek Yi-jin. He’s a son of a chaebol family whose life takes a downturn during the IMF crisis. He takes on various part-time jobs to make ends meet after his family breaks apart. 

There’s just something about Nam Joo-hyuk and sad characters that go really well together. His controlled emotions as he’s confronted by one of his father’s business associates is just so heartbreaking. Guilt-ridden, he promises not to be happy again and to spend his entire life thinking about the pain that his family has inflicted.

Bringing Back the 90s

Beeper? Check. Walkman? Check. VHS? Check. 90s kids will be delighted to watch “Twenty-Five Twenty-One” on Netflix as it takes us down memory lane. This drama also uses real life events in South Korea like the rallies supporting Korean cinema and the gold collecting campaign in 1998 to pay off their country’s IMF debt. 

There’s a good reason why the Reply drama series are still well-loved years after they first aired. Collective memory is such a powerful tool and “Twenty-Five, Twenty-One” banks on that as well. Mixed with heartfelt dialogue, on point visuals and acting, this drama is off to a great start.

New episodes of “Twenty-Five, Twenty-One” are up on Netflix every Saturday and Sunday.

Myla Torres-Eder

Myla writes news stories for a living and watches K-dramas for leisure. She enjoys doing both for Hallyudorama.

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