Set in the backdrop of the mid-to-late 1980s, the drama tells the story of students at an agricultural high school in Chungcheong Province. Jang Byung Tae is a small and weak boy living in Onyang in South Chungcheong Province. He is at the bottom of the school’s social ladder so he transfers to the neighboring Buyeo Agricultural High School. There, he faces an unexpected incident that becomes a turning point in his life. (Source: Soompi) Edit Translation
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Cast & Credits
Boyhood : A Roller Coaster of Comedy, Action and 80s NostalgiaBoyhood is a coming of age comedy action school drama set in 1989 in Chungcheongnamdo. It follows a socially awkward boy from Onyang who becomes a transfer student to Buyeo, only to be misunderstood as a troublemaker overnight. This leads to various comedic and action packed adventures.
The show was a wild ride. The first five episodes were hilarious, but Episode 6 took an unexpected turn, shifting from joy to tragedy. Despite the roller coaster, it kept its comedic vibe, making me switch between tears and laughter.
Each character shines uniquely, especially Jang Byungtae, the once targeted weak student who embarks on a hilarious and action packed journey after transferring to Buyeo. Among the dramas i have watched this year, Jang Byungtae's character stands out as one of my personal favorite. Quirky, funny and relatable, he faced bullying from his childhood due to his weak physique. However when mistaken for strength he cleverly used it for good. Jang Byungtae's transformation felt authentic, a gradual process mirroring the impact of a lifetime of bullying.
Im Siwan's outstanding acting, seamlessly transitioning between comedy and emotional depth deserves every award for his portrayal of Jang Byungtae.
The second character is Jung Gyeongtae, who brings some crazy twists in story. When he entered, i thought he was just a street smart thug whom everyone fears but he might actually be good at heart. However the way he flipped in Episode 6 quickly turned him from my most favorite character to the most hated one. From that episode, i just wished him to live a nightmarish life until he dies.
Lee Siwoo really nailed this character. When i realized he played the brother of Ha Doyoon in SYIM19L, i couldnt really believe it, as that character and this one are totally poles apart, and Lee Siwoo played it with conviction.
Two female leads, Jiyoung and Seonhwa. Seonhwa is a bad bi*ch from the start and i suspected some gold digger tendencies in her character from afar. Jiyoung was a badass queen, she was the one who encouraged Byungtae to get his revenge. I really loved her character but she had very little screen time to explore her character. I would have loved to see more of her than Seonhwa.
Each episode of the show is engaging and it never bores you even for a minute. My personal favorite episode is Episode 6. That was quite an insane episode, not gonna lie.
The setting of the show in the 1980s is quite believable. It actually gives the feel of the 80s. The styling and setting are very appropriate for the times of the 80s. The music also helps to give you authentic vibes of the 80s.
This was one of the few dramas this year that surprised me in a good way. For me, it was a 9.5/10.
Im-Siwan giving another iconic character: Jang Byung Tae, the dogged warrior against bullying!After the iconic Jang Gu-Rae (Misaeng), Si-wan has given us another legendary character as Jang Byung Tae. Words would not be enough to praise this idol-turned-actor for every diverse role he undertakes. At 35 years of age, he plays a high-school boy with such finesse which I doubt actors of that actual age would be able to deliver. His latest work, Boyhood, deserves to be added into his ever-growing list of amazing works & personally for me it has wrapped up my 2023 Drama-Year beautifully!
⭐ STORY SUMMARY:
In first half - we meet Jang Byung Tae, a meek school-boy, oppressed all his life by bullies, no matter how many school he changes. He has been "whooped" so much that he and his family assume it to be his destiny & he has no other meaning/dreams from his life. By a comedic chain of events - in his new school he is mistaken to be renowned bully/fighter than being someone who is bullied. He gets to live life on the other side - but all good things must come to an end, right?
The second half - reveals the truth & once again Byung Tae is miserable as bullies oppress him and his friends. He reaches his breaking point & when his friends/family make Jang Byung Tae realize that his life is meaningful & he is not someone that should just be bullied. He vows to fight the bullies to end this cycle of violence so that one day he and others can wake up to enjoy life as they should. But in face of the oppressor, can Byung Tae emerge victorious as a true Dragon Warrior?
❤️ BEST PARTS OF THIS DRAMA
In short - EVERYTHING! But let me break it into main TOP 3 (rest under detailed review)
1. Hitting the right notes of nostalgia through the music, cinematography, story & acting by all that made me experience 1989!
2. Balancing the serious issue of bullying with apt comedy, action, cute romance & friendship of youth!
3. Im-Siwan: he proves his acting chops again. Dialogue, face expressions, dancing - is there anything this man is not good at?
Very rarely you come across dramas that remains true to its premise & expectations. Boyhood manages to deliver it through the acting, action, music, story, friendship and romance - making it one of the best dramas of 2023 for me! It wrapped up neatly in 10 episodes, which ensured no dull moments, even pace & satisfactory conclusion. While Si-wan is the highlight for me but the above factors intertwined with his character's journey beautifully making this a delight to watch.
Would highly recommend to watch, it would be worth your time & I am confident land up as a drama high-rated on your individual lists.
Im-Siwan, yet again has all my heart ❤️ what a talent! He already has recognition for his work, cannot wait for it to go to another level/global in his future work (especially counting it for Squid Games 2)
❤️ DETAILED REVIEW - of parts that I loved in this drama
• The Dogged Spirit: Laughing in the face of bullies
Throughout the series, it delves on bullying & it's effects which we face head-on with Byung Tae & his friends. The gravity of the bullying will make you somber & is more prominent in the second half of the show. The seriousness is cut through with apt comedic situations, dialogues & acting - making it a perfect blend of comedy . The show will give a lump in our throats, misty eyes but loads of laughter!
• Im-Siwan as Jang Byung Tae:
In his role as Jang Byung Tae, Siwan is exemplary right from his dialogue delivery, his stances (as the bullied guy & then the change as he learns to fight), the pouting, the crying, the cute dances. Literally everything this man does is par excellence & a delight to watch. TBH, I would just ask the readers to simply go & watch the show only for Im Si-wan. He is one of those few talents that are rare and needs to be watched, re-watched, recommended at every opportunity we have.
• Soundtracks, Cinematography & Acting:
Without downplaying anyone - I consider Byung Tae as the only main cast & rest support him in his journey. The story of Byung Tae & his youth cannot be told unless sharing about the bullies, families & friends. The actors in these roles all bring in their A Game in execution, making us relive the 1989 rural life of Korea through their adventures. Their unique stories & characteristic quirks blend seamlessly in Byung Tae's personal journey from being bullied to fighting for justice! Aiding the acting is the right location, make-up, fashion, camerawork & props that is sure to hit the nostalgia button - as you watch their school life, places the gang hangs out in and the awesome fights!
The music is diverse: tracks that are plain fun, soulful renditions that define our relations of our youth - friendships & romance, & dance hits of 1980s K-POP. All the tracks may not be memorable, but each of them fits perfectly into the scene that is playing.
1. I wanted more romance between Byung Tae and Ji-Yeong:
They have a lot of sweet moments which are cute & so wholesome. But since we are used to K-dramas having a confession/kiss scene initiated by the ML, I blame this unconscious bias of mine for finding fault here. Right from the start we know they are tight & even without the drama explicitly showing it - I know where these two are headed in future, in terms of romance. But human me is unable to overlook this minor thing.
2, What is the ending for Jung Gyeong-Tae and Kang Seon-Hwa?
Given the evil forces they are - again I know where they could be headed, but I guess I would have liked it to be shown that being implicit/open-ended.
The above issues are very minor, personal opinions and it does not impact the overall magnificence of this drama. It still remains as one of the best dramas of 2023 for me! This drama had everything - good storyline, great acting, fitting soundtrack, beautiful cinematography - truly a hidden gem of this year & I cannot wait for more people to discover & enjoy it! ❤️