“I’m just 18, too young to lose anything,” or so she thought. Na Hee Do (portrayed by Kim Tae Ri) is a high school athlete who’s part of the fencing club—she’s young and hopeful—but suddenly gets stripped off her dream when the IMF crisis in Korea mandated several schools’ sports clubs to close down due to the country’s financial situation.
In an attempt to join another school’s fencing club, Na Hee Do plans different (not-so-good) ways to get expelled and be forced to transfer. In the middle of it all, she meets Baek Yi Jin, a 22-year-old part-timer whose family lost everything, forcing him to fend for himself and not be a burden to his parents.
Here’s a take on the first episode, with 10 reasons why you should start watching the series on Netflix.
1.) A Nostalgic Series That’s Relatable In The Present Time
Set in the 1990s, during the IMF crisis in South Korea, the series has a nostalgic feel—the props used, the clothes they wore, and the way their daily lives unfold. Yet the series is still relatable even in the present time, especially now that people are going through another crisis globally—the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though, it’s not just the “times” that felt familiar. In the series, Na Hee Do’s “child” (as we know), Kim Min Chae, is going through some sort of “slump” just like her mother when she was 18. Despite the difference in “times,” everyone goes through almost the same kind of experience when one is trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do. “Twenty Five Twenty One” tries to convey that to the viewers. As if it’s saying that you’re not alone, there are people in this world figuring out who they are, whether it’s in the 1990s or in the present year.
2.) Diary Perspective
Na Hee Do’s life is being narrated through her diary when she was in high school, as read by her daughter. This makes the writing of the characters even more interesting, as—so far—it’s not just a simple backstory. “Twenty Five Twenty One” is a memoir written by one character. Hence, this makes the characters in the series a version seen from Na Hee Do’s eyes. They are who they are based on how they made her feel and their interactions with her.
Still, whether the series will end up being told outside her diary is also something to look forward to. The stories of the other characters, that only they know, would be something interesting to watch unfold.
3.) The Youthful Plotline Set In The 1990s
The series is another refreshing take on teens turned adults. If you love coming-of-age dramas, this one is for you. Additionally, there several dramas in the 1980s tend to have a sad premise, but not a lot set in the 1990s. Still, “Twenty Five Twenty One” seems to focus more on Na Hee Do’s journey rather than the historical aspect of the series—without forgetting to mention what happened in history. (Here’s to hoping for a happy ending!)
4.) A Drama That Defies Age
Kim Tae Ri (32-years-old) portrays an 18-year-old high school student, Na Hee Do, who is four years younger than Baek Yi Jin. Nam Joo Hyuk (28 years old) portrays Baek Yi Jin, and, in reality, the is actually 4 years younger than Kim Tae Ri.
There’s just something appealing about dramas that cast women based on their acting skills and youthful appearance, even if they’re in their 30s. (Because that’s how it should be.) Kim Tae Ri is such a good actress that she really seems like a high schooler in the series.
5.) Kim Tae Ri As A Versitale Actress
Kim Tae Ri is such a convincing 18-year-old. This is not the first time she easily pulled off a role: from “Mr. Sunshine” to “Space Sweepers,” the actress has been proving just how good she is at any character she portrays.
6.) Complicated Family Relationships
“Twenty Five Twenty One” zooms into the different types of mother-and-daughter relationships. From a mom who fully supports her competitive yet insecure daughter, to a mom who hardly showed support to her daughter’s passion. A classic and relatable (for most) storyline that still breaks and warms our hearts.
7.) Blooming Friendships
A new squad—Na Hee Do (Kim Tae Ri), Baek Yi Jin (Nam Joo Hyuk), Ko Yu Rim (Bona), Moon Ji Woong (Choi Hyun Wook), and Ji Seung Wan (Lee Joo Myoung)—is about to bloom in “Twenty Five Twenty One.” What makes this squad interesting is the mix of friendly rivalry, possible romance, and Baek Yi Jin’s age difference with the four students.
8.) The Refreshing OSTs
The beginning of the drama, when you clicked at the first episode, felt very welcoming. The OSTs, “GO” (by SEVENTEEN’s DK) and “STARLIGHT” (sang by NCT’s Taeil), already give off the overall vibe of the series—youthful, fresh, nostalgic.
9.) Highlight On Fencing
There are a couple of sports-themed Korean dramas, but rarely has one featured fencing. It’s nice to see dramas exploring different types of sports.
10.) The Benefits Of Being 18
Sometimes it might be the “times” that crushes “your dreams,” but, at 18, you’re young enough to find where you stand. You have a whole life ahead of you and enough time to start over. (And it’s the same principle for those who are 18 at heart.)
“Twenty Five Twenty One” is now streaming on Netflix.