Hello again! I’ve been watching Extraordinary You, also known as July Found by Chance or Haru Found by Chance. When I was wondering if I should watch this drama, I was hooked by two things: the trailer and the blurb. Just the still from the trailer was enough to draw me in! I love dramas about books and fantasy worlds. On top of that, the art style is so lovely. So, I want to share my top reasons this drama is so addictive!
The main leads
(Left) Oh Nam Joo played by Kim Young Dae. Our rich male lead part of A3, the wealthiest and best-looking guys at school.
(Middle) Yeo Joo Da played by Lee Na Eun. Our poor scholarship student catches the attention of Nam Joo when she stands up to him.
(Right) Lee Do Hwa played by Jung Gun Joo. Our second lead that is best friends with the main lead, part of A3 and falls for the same girl.
But wait! Our main leads are these three!
Eun Dan Oh played by Kim Hye Yoon. The rich girl that has a weak heart, and a ten-year one-sided love for Baek Kyung.
Number 13/ Haru played by Ro Woon. A nameless character that's part of the crowd, blending in too well. By the way, Haru is a name, but it's also another word for "day" which is how his name gets understood and misunderstood in conversation.
Baek Kyung played by Lee Jae Wook. The recipient of the ten-year one sided-love from Eun Dan Oh and pressured by his family to reciprocate her love. Angry with a sad backstory.
Characters with a set-up
There are different types of people and situations that we’re familiar with, but why do we see them so often? You’d think it would get old, seeing the same story or the same type of character. But! That’s where writers can make or break a story. We’re all familiar with these types of characters and situations, in the same way that we’re familiar with an empty apartment. Do we get tired of an apartment quickly, though? No! Well, maybe some. It’s the furnishings, the little touches that make a place home and make a character real. What do they think about their own set-up? Why are they really acting that way?
This drama perfectly gives us an opening to see how much more a character, and a person, is than their set-up. Yes, Eun Dan Oh is a rich girl with a weak heart and a ten-year crush on someone who doesn’t seem to care about her. And yet… Why is she still going after this crush? What’s motivating her? Who is she as a person, and how does she make the best of her situation? Or will she despair? I think most of us would despair and this comparison from the character to us makes this set-up interesting. Of course, what happens if you could change your set-up?
Breaking character or not: the Shadow and the Stage
Everything moves on the “stage” as the writer creates each scene. This is the Stage where every action is determined by the writer and time skips as the writer progresses the story. In the first episode, Eun Dan Oh experiences possibly one of our greatest fears during high school. She hears the mid-term test is coming up and before she has time to even study, she’s suddenly in the classroom with the test in front of her. She doesn’t remember studying or getting to the classroom. Just when she’s about to panic, another blink and the whole test is finished with her handwriting although she doesn’t remember writing any of the answers. That’s possibly our greatest dream during testing season. However, these time-skips signal something strange. What are these gaps in her memory?
This is where I want to talk about the “Shadow”. Or, in another way, an iceberg. The writer has made this world and showed us just the tip of the iceberg. Everything else is hidden from the reader but experienced by the characters. If you’re aware during this time and place, not actively controlled by the writer, you’re in the Shadow.
So if you know you’re a character with a set-up in a book, are your reactions yours or part of this iceberg? Are you breaking character or not? Eun Dan Oh and Haru are the greatest examples of this because they try so hard to break character.
The comic book scenes
With every scene appearing on the pages of the comic book as the stage is over, we get to see what the reader sees. The limited few pages that so deeply control the characters lives. The art style is so nice, and it’s an interesting way to see how the whole scene played out as it was intended in book form. The different cuts as they are acting the part, without seeing these pages, still introduce comic book cues. Halos of light, flowers that appear out of nowhere to surround the main characters, special effects that aren’t in real life suddenly are the norm in this world. If you’re a part of it, you don’t even notice that it’s strange.
An angry kitten: my analysis of Kyung
When you have a character that gets to you, don’t you want to analyse them? Why did you make such a decision? No, really: why? Maybe it’s… This is exactly what I’ve been doing with Baek Kyung. He’s so angry and bitter about so many things. It’s a set-up and character we’re familiar with, and we just know he’s going to have a sad backstory. And it delivers. So, seeing his arrogant and angry ways, immediately he comes to mind as an angry kitten. Well, maybe it took a few episodes to see he’s softer than he appears.
That’s normal for his type of character, however. Why a kitten? They’re scared and don’t know what is happening or what to do, so they lash out. We’re all human, all making mistakes and learning from them is the only way to grow as a person. That’s where angry kitten comes in and shows you that they’re stuck in a younger mindset. Their family as well is usually stuck in their ways, ways that clearly aren’t working. Why is Kyung so stuck in this lashing out and can he break free? In this drama, what’s at stake if he can’t control his lashing out? He’s not only hurting himself but everyone around him.
Adaption from the webcomic series
This drama is adapted from the webcomic series "July Found by Chance” by Moo Ryu/ Muryu. I haven’t read this webcomic, so I’m in for a surprise every episode. Suddenly everyone’s comments make more sense! At first, I thought everyone was expanding theories really fast. The author has also been in close contact with the creation of the drama. The director has balanced the set-up of the comic with a convincing adaption. So an interesting side for the readers and viewers is looking at the differences in story between the webcomic and drama. Once this drama finishes airing, I’ll go back and start reading!
Final thoughts: There hasn't been a dull moment! I'm interested to see how much influence each character has. Also, do we ever see the writer? I'm looking forward to so much!
What drew you into this drama, or are you ready to give it a go?
Thanks for reading!