Like many stories, this is a coming-of-age tale for the majority of the characters. Except the kids in Taereung have already had larger-than-life expectations thrust upon them. Hong Min Ki is good at judo, except for that little problem that he becomes physically ill before every single match. Bang Su Ah won an archery medal at the last Olympics, but she's showing signs of a slump this time around. Her boyfriend Dong Kyung is a swimmer who's reaching past his prime before he could ever achieve something glorious, and little Ma Ru is the best gymnast in the village with the whole world in front of her. Don't expect miracles out of everybody. This is a highly realistic snapshot of 4 completely different athletes who are thrust together due to their relationships, and the world makes what it will of them.
Lee Min Ki practically glitters throughout the whole drama. He's hyper, alternately cute and annoying, and makes no secret of his crush for the former gold medal winner archer. He's at his coolest though (meaning dorkiest) when he confronts that girl's hulk of a boyfriend. I'm biased of course, but Lee Sun Gyun is fabulous. He also acts the same as every other time I've seen the man act: confident in the spotlight, with a twinge of vulnerability when he's not. It's not groundbreaking, but always appealing. I give this show bonus points for the bromance. When the two aren't nose to nose, about to come to blows, they're sheltering each other from life and all its dirty little tricks.
Su Ah snuck up on me as one of my favorite characters, mostly for how she maintains her confidence in the midst of career slumps and love troubles. She goes from being a clueless bystander in her own relationships, to seriously considering the whys and hows of all her issues. All this without becoming jealous or vindictive of her rivals in both areas. Her roommate Ma Ru is initially typecast as the clingy would-be girlfriend to Min Ki but for a timely plot device that kind of made me love her. Life works us through many kinds of trials, and Ma Ru went through the pits of character hell into looking and acting like a real human being.
Why watch? I don't know. If you love the actors, if you're in for 4 hours of slice of life. If you're up for watching people learn and grow, and act natural, and still be funny. There's something peaceful about this drama. After the glitz and glam of Kdramas, it was a refreshing, homey watch, and evidently pinned by a production team that knew what it was doing, despite receiving probably no extra promotional material to work with.
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