Review: Age of Youth

ageofyouth2016
Genre: Teen, School Drama
Written by: Park Yeon-seon
Directed by: Lee Tae-gon, Kim Sang-ho
Starring: Han Ye-ri, Han Seung-yeon, Park Eun-bin, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo
Number of episodes: 12
Average rating: 1.608% (TNmS)
Original network: JTBC

First of all, let me state that this isn’t your typical K-drama but honestly I can’t recommend it enough! 

Perhaps because I’m a college freshman myself, I feel so related to almost everything there. This drama’s fresh and light but trust me, it’s so damn powerful that I couldn’t help but drawn into it even though this isn’t something I usually watch. I also learnt so much.

Keep reading if you’re now slightly bit interested.

What’s it about?

Five young girls living together as housemates. A girl whose motto is ‘I’m strong enough for this’, a girl who mastered faking smiles, the ice queen who’s warm as the autumn light inside, a girl who longs for a daring adventure, and a plain Jane who thinks too much. They’re ordinary girls, but their story definitely aren’t the average one.

What to expect?

  • A slow-paced but worth following story
  • Strong personality heroines
  • Really good soundtrack
  • Something that makes you reflect on your life despite your age
  • Heartwarming scenes (it’s the little things that actually matter right?)
  • Soft and subtle romance

What not to expect?

  • Getting all your questions answered (but trust me, you don’t actually need them)
  • The perfect happily ever after kind of resolution
  • The Boys Over Flowers kind of men
  • Something amazing that makes your heart race or butterflies in your stomach

My long review starts here

Spoiler alert.

I think this is one of the most realistic K-dramas I’ve come across. Everything’s so ordinary and close to our lives but it doesn’t even close to make you bored. 

I love how strong the sisterhood bond our heroines share even though they  aren’t always together all the time. They have secrets they don’t tell, they have their own friends, they need their own space, but at the end of the day, they need each other’s presence otherwise it doesn’t feel quite right.

The first episode’s really close to heart. I could relate to what Eun-jae’s feeling and fearing. I still remember the first time I went to college to start the orientation. Months before, after I graduated from high school, I’ve set ton of goals for myself later in college. I want to make as many friends as I could and have all the fun until I graduate. But thinking about it and actually experience it are a whole different story. I remember how my voice trembled when I introduced myself to my classmates for the first time and how uneasy I felt knowing that I’m going to experience something completely new and different in awhile. I’m still living with my parents as for now, but things they portrayed in the show are exactly like how I imagined living with roommates/housemates would be. Having quarrels over food and drink, having late night conversations, borrowing each other’s clothes, debating who should use the toilet first, etc. 

I love how we could get to see things from each character’s perspective and the fact that the transition happened really smooth.

Each of our Belle Epoque girls has their own vibe. Senior Yoon gave me the gloomy kind of feeling and her story reminded me once again to be grateful of my life. Her story’s the bittersweet kind of story. She had her downs in life constantly that she thought that life’s nothing but a series of obstacles to endure, but she has people around her who sincerely care about her like her daddy long legs and her sisters. Her story made me tear up and I truly hope that everything’ll turn out well for her from now on.

Ye-eun made me realize that love’s something so strong that it could make you blind. She may not be everyone’s favorite character here but I think that she’s also a strong human being in her own way. This show showed us that everyone’s has their own circumstances and problems to face in life. And just because your problem seems less than others’, doesn’t mean that it’s nothing. Ye-eun has her own way in coping (by some sort of faking smiles) and that’s completely okay. There’s no right or wrong in order for you to feel better.

My favorite character here may be Kang Yi-na. She’s someone with scars in the past and she has her own way dealing with it. There’s nothing wrong in wanting for a better life for yourself so I won’t say that her “past life” as a mistake. She took the alternative path but now she wants to live differently. She’s still constantly torn about living her dream or do something that’ll pay you well off. I believe there are people out there who are already past their 20s and still haven’t figured out what they’ll do with their life like Yi-na. That’s a lesson not to waste your valuable youth since it happens only once in a lifetime. Try to think of what you wanna do later on and take steps to move forward. She’s also a big sister to our girls, not in the Mamma Bear kind of way but she’ll always reach out for you before you fall. And may I have the whole Kang Yi-na’s closet pretty please?

Eun-jae for me’s someone who appears plain and boring outside but she has her inner strength. She doesn’t have a perfect family nor a happy past but she still has hopes.

I thought that I was the only one who was holding back. I thought that I was the only one who felt uncomfortable at times. I thought that I was the only one who was being wary of others. I thought that it would be of no use, even if I did say something. I was scared that I would be hated if I did say something. I assumed that they’d laugh at me. In that way, I assumed that other people were completely different from me. I thought that they were ruder than me, and more reckless than I am. I thought that they wouldn’t care. I was being arrogant. Others are just like me. Other people are people, just like I am. They feel uncomfortable as I do, and hesitate, just like I do. There are plenty of people who are as nice as I am. — Yoo Eun-jae

Eun-jae, I completely understand how you’re feeling. Being awkward and having low self-esteem aren’t something people should make fun about. There’s always a reason behind everything. So people, don’t judge her too quickly and take your time to get to know her. She might be the best friend you’ve ever had.

My second favorite character is our Mamma Bear, Song Ji-won. Seriously, she’s like a sister I never had. She’s someone who longs for some excitements because she couldn’t bear living a stagnant kind of life. I love how she always be the one to cheer everyone up. She never cries nor having so much in her plate that need others to worry about. Her character’s my happy pill throughout the show.

Also, not everything took place within this drama could lead to an exhilarating adventure. Like the ghost thing, seriously Song Liar?

The thing about romance in this show, it’s not the romance you usually find in K-dramas. It’s something more simple and innocent everyday romance. We don’t have Romeo and Juliet kind of romance. You won’t find Song Song Couple here. The guys and the girls aren’t the best looking actors and actresses out there. But how they portrayed everything’s so precious. Our Senior Yoon has the most heart-breaking and painful love story there, following by Ye-un who fell for the wrong person, the “co-worker” relationship of Yi-na and Dong-joo, the “club buddies” relationship of Ji-won and Sung-min, and Eun-jae’s innocent and pure first relationship.

This drama doesn’t give everyone a happy ending, in fact, life still goes on. Senior Yoon may or may not work out well after she came back from China, Ye-eun’s trauma may last forever, Yi-na may not be successful as a designer and goes back to her old life, Ji-won may not find love even after she graduates, and it’s possible that Eun-jae may break up sooner or later. The thing with life’s, we never know what’s going to happen. Everything could go either way for them and us.

The final moment of this drama’s given to our Belle Epoque’s landlady. I don’t know how to describe it, but there’s always something comforting about this woman. She’s like a guardian angel toward our girls here. She wasn’t always there to help out our girls, but somehow I felt like she knows everything but she trusts the girls enough to solve everything on their own. She’s the perfect role model for our girls to follow: be kind and live your life to its fullest even though you could only do it alone.

One more thing, I just wished to see some problems regarding our characters’ studying side. Like how stressed out they are during exam week, or how they’re having a hard time because bad grades, etc. I honestly think that it’s another important aspect of their life too. After all you went to study in college right?

There are still flaws here and there, but the fun fact is I don’t even care much. I think they deliberately created this drama with few unanswered questions to indicate that we can’t always figure everything out in life. There’ll always be things we can’t and won’t understand after all.

Rating

Objective: 9/10
Subjective: 9.75/10

Last but not least

I’m looking forward for more character-driven dramas like this one in the future. And I honestly think that everyone should watch this drama, it may not excite you much but you’ll learn something.

Don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts or recommendations below! I’ll be more than happy to interact with you guys.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Age of Youth

  1. Can I just say that I absolutely love the way you’ve broken this down and formatted it. Your whole blog is so visually pleasing. I just want to continue looking at it. I’ve never heard of this drama but you are really selling it to me here. I kinda like that it’s not your typical drama. I sometimes feel like i’m watching the same thing over and over again but with a different cast. Anyhow, fantastic post and blog.

    Would you be interested in sharing your work on Moviepilot/Creators? I’d love to hear from you so I can expand on that, so feel free to shoot me an e-mail. My contact details are on my blog.

    Like

    1. Hi there, first of all your kind words just made my day! Thank you so much 🙂

      And yes, this underrated drama’s really worth checking out! I feel the same about watching the same thing over and over again, especially what happened with this year’s drama.

      I’m interested in sharing my work elsewhere, even though I haven’t heard of either Moviepilot or Creators. Wait for my email ok?

      Liked by 1 person

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