Twenty Five, Twenty One
Starring: Kim Tae Ri, Nam Joo Hyuk, Bona, Choi Hyun Wook, Lee Joo Myung
Year Released: 2022
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Comedy, Romance
Country: South Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: N/A
Who I Watched It For: Nam Joo Hyuk, Choi Hyun Wook
In a time when dreams seem out of reach, a teen fencer pursues big ambitions and meets a hardworking young man who seeks to rebuild his life.
Na Hee Do is a member of her high school fencing team. Due to the South Korean financial crisis, the high school fencing team gets disbanded. Getting through all the difficulties, she becomes a member of the national fencing team.
The South Korean financial crisis also causes Baek Yi Jin’s father’s business to go bankrupt. This leads to a life change for Baek Yi Jin, from living the life of a wealthy person to a poor person. While studying, he works part-time jobs like delivering newspapers. Later, he becomes a sports reporter for a broadcasting network.
I wanted to watch this show because both Nam Joo Hyuk and Choi Hyun Wook were in it. I was still riding high on my love of Racket Boys and wanted to support Choi Hyun Wook’s new project so as soon as the drama dropped, I was on it.
This drama follows a young protagonist who is determined to be the best fencer in South Korea. She meets a young man named Baek Ye Jin and becomes fast friends with him. Na Hee Do was such a vibe. I loved the hell out of young Hee Do. I also loved the hell out of young Ye Jin. Seeing them meet, bicker, and then become friends before developing romantic feelings for each other was a whole lot of fun. I adored the first half of this show. Seeing high school Hee Do battle her Mom to be able to keep fencing and seeing Ye Jin struggle to find his place in the world now that he wasn’t the rich kid anymore made tuning in every week a lot of fun. Things were hard for Ye Jin but I loved that he didn’t give up and he just kept right on grinding, even though he kept getting kicked down. I loved the friendship that blossomed between him and Hee Do, too. The faith that Hee Do had in him gave him the wings he needed to find his footing. I cheered for the two of them on their own and I cheered for them together.
The romance between these two was one for the books. I adored every moment they shared with each other when they were young. I was oohing and ahhing over every journal entry right along with Hee Do’s daughter. I kept hoping that they would somehow find their way back to each other even though current Hee Do and Ye Jin didn’t seem to keep in touch at all…and that’s where a lot of my issues with this show started and ended. The reasons they broke up and couldn’t be together made no sense with the kind of relationship that Hee Do ended up in. So they had this intense love affair and were each other’s whole world but couldn’t be together because they couldn’t do the long distance thing….and then Hee Do grows up and has a husband that works abroad? How does that make any sense? Grrr….I’m still not over my attitude about that. It sucked that we spent an entire season cheering for a couple, only for them to not end up together in the end. And the reason is just too stupid for me to understand.
Now, aside from my attitude over how everyone ends up when they’re older, my very favorite thing about this show was these guys…
This squad was everything. I absolutely adored these guys. It took me a little bit to warm up to Yu Rim but once she joins the squad, I came to really love her. Things were hard for her and my heart hurt for the sacrifices she felt she had to make for her family but I loved that she was just Yu Rim to these guys and even though I was really shipping Ji Woong with Seung Wan, I wasn’t mad that he ended up with Yu Rim.
As much as I loved everyone in this show, my favorite character was Moon Ji Woong. Hee Do was great. Seung Wan was great. Ye Jin was great. Yu Rim ended up being great. But Ji Woong? He was the best. He was funny. He was sincere in everything he did and I absolutely loved his man crush on Ye Jin. Every time he showed Ye Jin how much he loved him, I laughed so much. I loved how he showed up for his friends and I really loved the way that Seung Wan showed up for him. They were the definition of best friends and I really enjoyed their relationship.
There was a lot to cover in this drama and I thought the actors handled their jobs incredibly well. Had this had a better ending, this would have been very high on my favorite dramas of 2022 list. But I couldn’t get over that ending and the second half of the show made me want to kick a wall so while the first half was great, the second half wasn’t and that bummed me out.
There’s some great music on the OST though I haven’t added any of the songs to my k-drama playlist. Maybe that’ll change, I’m not sure yet.
3.5 out of 5