What a drama! This k-drama completely took me in for a ride and I genuinely loved every second of it.
To start off, this drama initially began as your basic gender bender. Typical. However, as you find yourself deeper into this drama you find underlying in that plot is so much more. There is a balance between your heart fluttering moments of pure fluff, moments that will make you laugh and the absolutely heart-wrenching moments-- this balance continuously plays with the viewers' heart, and it's exactly what keeps them wanting more. Since it was a romance historical drama, there was plenty of political elements to follow along with as well. I myself am a huge sucker for historical dramas, so naturally I found that this particular plot wasn't that hard to follow along with. But for someone who doesn't find much interest for them, they play a huuuuge role in the plot development - so I probably wouldn't recommend it.
The only portion I had dissatisfactions with was with how the story carried out towards the end of the drama. It dragged on for a little bit and then at the very last episodes everything felt very rushed to tie all the loose ends. There were a couple story arcs that they could have expanded on a little more which was disappointing. If they had cut the filler episodes a little short and was a little more detailed in the ending, it would've been absolutely flawless as a drama. But overall, the story was nothing short of amazing.
The general performance of the whole cast was exemplary, having both a reputation for their acting and endless eye candy! I even found myself becoming a Park Bo Gum fan in the process.
For starters, Kim Yoo Jung never fails expectation, upholding her crown as one of the best upcoming actresses with yet another hit drama to her lengthy list of filmography. Her character Ra On is a charming, optimistic and extremely outgoing. As having one of the more complex back stories in the drama, there were a few plot holes dealing with her family but nonetheless, it was carried out very well.
Park Bo Gum's presentation of the crown prince Lee Young was all in all praise worthy. I didn't feel much awkwardness from him even though he isn't nearly as experienced with historical dramas in contrast to his cast members. His tone, stance and relaying of emotions (his eyes I swoon every time), were executed in a manner that truly brought his character Lee Young to life. Not to mention, he suited the hanbok extremely well (and was very good looking in it). Although he was one of the more dull character archetypes, it was still entertaining to watch him grow from a childish troublemaker to a mature and refined crown prince.
The romance between the two was also lovely to the eyes, and although there is a bit of an age gap I didn't feel it as the chemistry between Bo Gum and Yoo Jung strongly made up for it. Although the romance did over shine the development of the friendship plot.
I definitely wish they would have shone a bit more light on the other characters Byung Yun and Yoon Sung. There was a lot of potential that the writer could of utilized to enhance the plot. These two character archetypes were definitely more on the complex side and it would've been really interesting to see more of their development and more of their story all in all.
The music in this drama was definitely really lovely to the ears, nothing really too special but they did include an OST by Park Bo Gum himself which was definitely a treat.
Another thing that I would like to make note on is the cinematography. I absolutely adooooore when producers pay respect to these aspects and I was taken by surprise at how stunning some scenes were. From the first episode until the very last, it was extremely extremely beautiful.
On the whole, this drama was definitely an exceptional coming of age drama deserving of all the hype and you should definitely give it a chance.