Written by: Franz Darwin V. Ignacio

“18 Again” is a Korean drama based on the U.S. movie “17 Again” starring Zac Efron.

It tells the story of married couple Hong Dae-young (Yoon Sang-hyun) and Jung Da-jung (Kim Ha-neul) who had children at a very young age, namely, Hong Shi-woo (Ryeo Un) and Hong Shi-a (Roh Jeong-eui).

Jung Da-jung worked hard as a newbie announcer. She wanted to get a divorce because they could not see each other’s point of view and arguments were not resolved. Meanwhile, Hong Dae-young’s life became miserable when he got fired from his job. His children started to ignore him.

Furthermore, Hong Dae-young regrets his life. After throwing the ball into the basketball ring, his 37-year-old body miraculously transformed into the body when he was 18 years old, but his 37-year-old mind remained. Hong Dae-young (Lee Do-hyun) changed his name to Go Woo-young and studied at Serim High School, his twins’ school.

Aside from its family story, the drama also showed a story about friendship, forgiveness, sacrifices, genuine love, and dreams. 

I love this drama so much. The drama has an excellent cast, a beautifully written storyline, wonderful cinematography, and mesmerizing OST such as “Hello”, “The Only One”, and many more. What a good ride on a roller coaster of emotions!

Lee Do-hyun and Kim Ha-neul did not disappoint me to fall in love with their chemistry.

Kim Ha-neul is an amazing actress. She made me love her character. Yoon Sang-hyun is a brilliant actor. His eyes were very expressive when he was acting. I truly admire their characters’ journey.

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I would like to applaud Lee Do-hyun for portraying two characters: a young father and a friend to his children.

He gave justice to his character. He did well particularly in the last part of episode 15. For me, he was the star of the show. He managed to act effectively with his fellow actors/actresses.

Because of his excellent portrayal, he recently received two “Best New Actor” awards for his role in “18 Again”, both at The 7th APAN Star Awards and The 19th Korea First Brand Awards.

To add to that, my favorite scenes that really broke my heart are when Hong Dae-young (Lee Do-hyun) was with his son, Shi-woo, and with his father, Hong Joo-man (Lee Byung-joon), on the basketball court. These were so sentimental. Why? Watch it!

The most heart touching scene for me is when Hong Dae-young held an umbrella over his children and let himself soaked in the rain. It hits differently.

There was also a bit of second lead syndrome with Ye Ji-hoon (Wi Ha-joon), a popular baseball athlete. He takes care of his niece, Ye Seo-yeon after her father died because of an accident and her mother abandoned the family.

Moreover, I also appreciate Go Deok-jin (Kim Kang-hyun) and Choo Ae-rin (Lee Mi-do) in the series.

Go Deok-jin is the CEO of the game company and Hong Dae-young’s rich best friend, and eventually became Go Woo-young’s father. Choo Ae-rin is a lawyer and Jung Da-jung’s best friend. They are two of the best-supporting characters I have ever seen.

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Apart from Hong Dae-young and Jung Da-jung’s love story, I could not contain my smiles and kilig whenever Hong Shi-a and Seo Ji-ho (Choi Bo-min) had romantic scenes. Seo Ji-ho is the twins’ childhood friend.

Meanwhile, Goo Ja-sung (Hwang In-yeop) is a basketball captain who goes from the school bully to a good teammate to a Shi-a’s love interest as well.

In addition, my favorite ahjumma is also here. At first, Yeo In-ja (Kim Mi-kyung) was very dismayed with Jung Da-jung’s teenage pregnancy while she was at school. But later on, she decided to support her daughter. She never failed to make me cry in her dramas.

I also commend young Jung Da-jung (Han So-eun) for portraying such a convincing and emotional character. I was always affected and hurt every time I saw her with her twins. She and her daughter, Shi-a, had some similar physical characteristics. They really looked alike.

The most remarkable line that struck me was: 

There are some things you notice only after you have lost them. 

I believe that these scenes can support these lines.

Let us admit that at some point in our lives, we suddenly forget the important things we have and regret the decisions we have made.

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Hence, this drama taught us to reflect and realize that we must not do something that we will regret in the future. And, we must be responsible for changing ourselves to better human beings.

Honestly, I did not want this drama to end because it would make me miss all the characters, especially Lee Do-hyun’s.

I would like to thank all the cast, the director, Ha Byung-hoon, and writers, Ahn Eun-bin, Choi Yi-ryool and Kim Do-yeon, for giving us such an unforgettable drama. It was really touching and manifested the real-life struggles of parents and their sacrifices for their children. Plus, it did not only portray teenage parenthood but also achieving your dreams no matter what the obstacles are and no matter how old you are.

I can proudly say that this is one of the best dramas I have watched and I will never forget this. I hope this gets more recognition.

I want to end this review with what Hong Dae-young said:

There is one thing I learned after getting young. No matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. If you think of it as a regret, that’s the end of it. But when you think of it as a lesson learned, it brings a new beginning.

I hope you give it a watch. You can binge-watch it on Viu, iQIYI, and Netflix.

My rating: 10/10

Images courtesy of JTBC Drama/iQIYI

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