Thursday, February 25, 2021

Drama Review: Live On


Drama: Live On
Hangul: 라이브온
Director: Kim Sang-Woo
Writer: Bang Yoo-Jung
Network: JTBC
Episodes: 8
Release Date: November 17, 2020 - January 12, 2021
Country: South Korea
Plot Synopsis by AsianWiki: Baek Ho-Rang (Jung Da-Bin) is a high school student. Due to her pretty appearance, she is popular on social media and at her school. Yet, Baek Ho-Rang only has one friend, due to her condescending personality. Baek Ho-Rang encounters a problem. She learns that someone is trying to unveil her secret. To find that anonymous person, Baek Ho-Rang joins her high school's broadcasting club. Go Eun-Taek (Minhyun) is the chief of the broadcasting club. He is a perfectionist and respected by the club members.

My rating: 5/5 stars (★) 

I decided to watch Live On because I needed something light-hearted and cute, and with the background of high school students, this drama seems promising. I was also aware that there were at least three idols acting in this drama, and through experience, I usually do not have high expectations for dramas starring idols unless I know their acting skills prior to watching it. I watched Live On without much expectations, and I guess it's a nice surprise to find out that I really enjoyed it!

Despite being popular in school thanks to her beautiful looks, Baek Horang (played by Jung Dabin) wasn't really friendly with anyone. The only friend that she had was Kim Yooshin (played by Choi Byungchan), who basically followed her willingly, almost resembling a loyal puppy. When an anonymous person threatened to expose her secret, she ends up joining the school's broadcasting club, where she met the chief of the club, Go Euntaek (played by Minhyun). She also reunited with an old friend, Ji Sohyun (played by Yang Hyeji), causing old wounds to reopen. 

(Gif by dingyuxi)

I love Baek Horang's character a lot; she might seem cold and rude to strangers, but those were actually the walls she built around everyone because of her past. Being popular comes with its consequences, and Horang never opened up to anyone because she could not trust them. Fun fact: the word "horang" means tiger in Korean, and I think her name fits her character really well. She's fierce when she needs to be and didn't let anyone step on her, and I love her for that.

But no matter how fierce one can be, they probably have something the fear. And for Horang, something traumatising happened to her in the past, causing her to drift apart from Sohyun due to miscommunication and lies. The way she dealt with her trauma can be frustrating at times; she pushed away Euntaek when he promised to wait for her, and she pushed away Sohyun, Yooshin and Jaeyi, the friends who would do anything for her. In a way, it seemed that she didn't feel that she deserved all the love from her friends, and that's heartbreaking.

A high school drama like this usually features a cold top-student male character, but thankfully Go Euntaek escaped the cliché. He wasn't described as the top student (although I don't doubt he is), but he's the chief to the broadcasting club and respected well due to his strictness  with time. He times every single thing he does, down to the very last second. His character is rather unique, without being frustrating. He's firm when he needs to be, but he can be gentle when he wants to. Just as much as I loved Horang, I love Euntaek a lot too.

He's blunt and good at separating personal matters from work matters, which caused confusion to Horang many times. But his bluntness can be heart-fluttering as well; he didn't hesitate at all to confess when he realised about his feelings towards Horang. I honestly could not contain my excited squeals whenever Euntaek casually did something sweet for Horang. He didn't even mind when everyone found out about his feelings, despite Horang not reciprocating it yet at the moment. Quite a dreamy guy, I'd say.

(Gif by dingyuxi)

The other characters are also wonderfully fleshed out. Ji Sohyun seemed to be a hateful character at first when she first reunited with Horang, but when we learned about their past, Sohyun turns out to be a true and loyal friend, from the start till the end. My favourite character is Kim Yooshin, the boy with the brightest personality who pretty much considers himself as everyone's best friend. He has the sweetest smile (this might be thanks to the actor himself, but hey, both are cute anyway) and his adorable antics can make almost everyone succumb to whatever he wants. In a way, I believe he's one of the reasons the six of the main characters were able to become close with each other.

Kang Jaeyi (played by Yeonwoo) bickered a lot  at first with Horang, but eventually they warmed up to each other, and she ends up staying loyal to Horang the same way Yooshin did. Do Woojae (played by Ro Jonghyun) might seem like he just happened to be Jaeyi's boyfriend and Euntaek's best friend, but his presence kind of balanced out the group. The differences between Woojae and Jaeyi that caused them to break up multiple times were frustrating to watch, but it was endearing to see the efforts that they put into each other.

(Gif by httpdrama)

Despite having only 8 episodes, I went through a lot of emotions watching Live On. I love each character and each couple for many different reasons. Horang and Euntaek didn't seem compatible at first, but they were used to loneliness, and they end up leaning towards each other for support. Euntaek was very patient with Horang, and in return, she was there when he needed a shoulder to cry on. I also love Yooshin's dedication over showing his adoration towards Sohyun, and the fact that he never pushed his feelings on her just made me respect him. Sohyun and Jaeyi were ready almost anytime Horang needed support, and it's nice to see a drama depicting good friendship between girls.

(Gif by dingyuxi)

The main issue that caused the conflicts in this drama were all due to jealousy and misunderstanding, and it was infuriating when the whole truth came out. It did however portray the real word; certain people can destroy someone's life without batting an eye simply because they're jealous of what others have. I do think it's kind of ironic, because the villain who threatened Horang did what she did because she craved the same attention that Horang got, yet I never even realised her presence before the revelation. She blamed Horang for the attentions that Horang got, while she herself were not able to make her own presence known.

All in all, Live On is a much more enjoyable drama then I expected. It portrays beautiful friendships and sweet youthful romance that are great to watch if you needed something light-hearted. It also shows the bitter truth about jealousy and being a victim of bully, which I think are important issues to always take note of. The cast did a great job playing their characters, and I do think Minhyun and Choi Byungchan have the potential to become great actors. I would look forward to their next acting projects for sure!

(Gif by dingyuxi)

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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