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105

School 2017: Episode 1

It’s too early to form a concrete opinion about School 2017, but I think it’s got plenty of elements that work for it so far—an adorable, youthful cast, an intriguing mystery, and just enough substance to make a memorable statement past all the fluff. While the dramatic plot has me a little worried, as long as the show can balance the mystery and realism, I think it’ll be a fun show to watch.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We open on a class of high school students in the middle of a tense exam. Our heroine, RA EUN-HO (Kim Se-jung) narrates: “Exams. In this suffocating situation, we all imagine the same thing: a sudden catastrophe to let us escape this test.”

Right on cue, the sprinklers suddenly erupt across the school, completely ruining the exam. As the elated students jump up and dance around in delight, Eun-ho continues: “…And one of us made that imagination come true. My ordinary eighteen-year-old life has become unexpectedly entangled.”

We jump back five days earlier. The second-year students rush out of their classrooms to the cafeteria, racing each other for a place in line. When they reach the cafeteria, however, a teacher informs them that the order of admittance will be based on their school rankings.

Eun-ho and her best friend, OH SA-RANG, watch in dismay as the top ten students in their grade enter the cafeteria—including consistent rank number one, SONG DAE-HWI (Jang Dong-yoon), who throws them a sheepish smile as he shuffles past.

Eun-ho and Sa-rang sigh as they head to the back of the line, wondering if there will be any food left for them. At that moment, a classmate strolls past them into the cafeteria despite his low rank, though no one makes a move to stop him.

This is HYUN TAE-WOON (Kim Jung-hyun) whose father is the director of the school board and gets to act however he wants without consequence. The students watch in annoyance as Tae-woon cuts the line and even gets an extra fried egg with his lunch.

When Eun-ho and Sa-rang finally sit down with their lunch, Eun-ho frets over her appearance, complaining that she has to look good for “Jong-geun oppa,” whom she plans to skip class to go see.

So when Eun-ho starts to escape after lunch, Sa-rang helps her by throwing her bag out the window. Unfortunately, the bag isn’t zipped up, and it spews the flyers that were inside all over the ground.

As Eun-ho begrudgingly begins picking up the flyers, model student Dae-hwi strolls by to help, and even promises to cover for her if she gets caught. As Eun-ho hurries away to her appointment, Dae-hwi looks up at Sa-rang with a sweet smile. What a heartthrob.

Dae-hwi meets with his homeroom teacher, SHIM KANG-MYUNG (Han Joo-wan) to discuss an essay contest he’ll be entering that afternoon. The contest is hosted by the prestigious Hanguk University, and if he does well, he’ll have strong chances of admittance.

Dae-hwi isn’t nervous, but Teacher Shim is nervous enough for the both of them. He gives Dae-hwi tips on breathing exercises and even some money for a taxi.

Eun-ho, meanwhile, checks her reflection on her bicycle when Tae-woon comes by for his own motorcycle, planning to ditch class as well. Eun-ho complains that it’ll be too obvious if both of them leave, but he simply retorts that her absence isn’t that noticeable before taking off. Lol. Whining that his motorcycle engine noise is too loud, she hurries off as well before the teachers can catch them.

Eun-ho rides through the city with a huge smile on her face when suddenly an aggressive couple of motorcyclists rip by, chasing after a third. Startled, Eun-ho loses her balance and tumbles off her bike. The third motorcyclist starts to escape before stopping by Eun-ho to make sure she’s okay.

Eun-ho recognizes the third motorcyclist as Tae-woon before noting her broken bicycle, complaining that she’s late. Tae-woon offers to give her a ride, and without a choice, Eun-ho gets on behind him. He does a sick wheelie to get away from his pursuers before racing away. Um, I have no idea what’s happening, but okay.

Tae-woon brings Eun-ho safely to her destination, where the first thing she does is touch up her lipstick in the reflection of his helmet, lol. When she asks if she looks cute, he snorts back that she looks like a kabuki.

Before she can make a retort, her phone rings with a call from her boss. The conversation sounds suspiciously inappropriate to Tae-woon, however, with comments like: “Do I have to wear my uniform while I do it? It’s kind of embarrassing,” and “Will I still get paid on time?” LOL.

Tae-woon stares at her in scandalized horror, asking how she can say those things so casually. Oblivious to his meaning, she just tells him that the pay is good and that they prefer employees to wear their uniforms. Before he can lecture her any further, however, they’re interrupted by another phone call—this time from Jong-geun oppa, telling her their meeting location. As Eun-ho hurries away, Tae-woon stares after her, telling himself to snap out of it.

Eun-ho and Jong-geun oppa (cameo by Kang Min-kyuk) meet on his college campus, where she shows him her sketchbook full of drawings of him. Jong-geun flips through the sketchbook, praising her talent.

Eun-ho finally confesses that she’s liked him since her freshman year (it could be interpreted as her liking art since freshman year, though he seems to catch her meaning). He just tells her that she should be busy studying for college at her age. He says that there are so many fun things about college, and that it was his dream to be a campus couple one day, and Eun-ho dissolves into a fit of embarrassed giggles. He tells her to focus on studying so she can get into a good school like Hanguk University and attend school with him. Eun-ho agrees, hearts in her eyes.

Suddenly, Tae-woon storms up to them, grabbing Eun-ho’s wrist with a furious expression on his face. When Jong-geun stops Tae-woon, demanding to know who he is, Tae-woon responds by punching Jong-geun across the face: “Does dating a minor make you happy, you pervert?!” Oh man.

Jong-geun starts to explain the misunderstanding, but Tae-woon ignores him before drawing back his arm for another swing. To Tae-woon’s surprise, however, Eun-ho inserts herself between them, shielding Jong-geun with her body and glaring up at him.

After clearing up the misunderstanding, Tae-woon and Eun-ho return to his bike. Eun-ho snaps that he’d better hope he hasn’t scratched poor Jong-geun oppa’s face, to which Tae-woon retorts that he wasn’t that good-looking in the first place. When she counters that he’s one to talk, Tae-woon just reminds her to go pick up her bicycle before racing away, leaving her stranded.

As Eun-ho picks up her broken bicycle and walks home, she receives a text message from Jong-geun, telling her that he’s all right. She giggles happily, reminiscing over her (mistaken) memory of him saying that he wanted to be a campus couple with her.

A second text message from Sa-rang, however, informs Eun-ho that the rankings from the second mock exam will be posted tomorrow.

Sure enough, the students are glum the next morning as they look up at the rankings, publicly posted in the school lobby. They sigh at the injustice of the ranking system, noting that they determine all daily school life, including the order they get their lunch and when they can enter the library. As the students note that good-natured Dae-hwi scored first place once again, Eun-ho sighs as she notes her rank: 280.

In the classroom, Teacher Shim tells the already stressed-out class that there will be another mock exam in three days—the third one that month. When the students erupt in complaints about the unfair pressure they’re putting on them with these exams, Teacher Shim finally agrees to try and bring it up with the school board.

In their built-up stress, one of the students, Yoo Bit-na, begins screaming at her classmates about her missing notes. When no one owns up to taking them, she begins digging through their lockers. As the aggressive tension builds through the class, the negative effect of the exams is made clear.

In the teachers’ office, meek Teacher Shim tries to persuade Principal Yang Do-jin to decrease the number of monthly tests, but Principal Yang is having none of it. Instead, he orders the teachers to increase the tests, insisting that it’ll look good for the school—and the director—if they keep making the kids study and improve their grades.

As the bell rings for class, Principal Yang tells Teacher Shim to hang up a different school ranking graph in the lobby, since the director will be visiting soon.

So Teacher Shim obediently hangs up the poster, sighing at being unable to protect his students from the school’s unrealistic expectations. Just as he finishes up, Principal Yang and the rest of the teachers walk by, accompanied by Director Hyun. They proudly show the director the graphs, explaining that average grades have jumped significantly since they started posting them publicly.

The director nods in satisfaction before noting his son’s—that is, Tae-woon’s—ranking near the bottom. As the smile disappears from his face, the other teachers tut at Teacher Shim as they pass, telling him that he should have hidden Tae-woon’s name.

In class that afternoon, Eun-ho notes that she has to do well on this exam because she wants to get into Hanguk University—a school way out of her reach, as Sa-rang reminds her. Brushing off Sa-rang’s negativity, Eun-ho tells a skeptical Sa-rang that Jong-geun told her he wanted to date her if she came to his school.

Unfortunately, Teacher Gu just happens to overhear Eun-ho’s bold statement, and demands to know her tier rank. When she timidly answers that she’s in the sixth tier, he says: “In terms of meat, you’re not even good enough to be dog food. If you’re sixth tier, you cannot be treated like a human. So how dare you talk in class?!” Damn.

After class, Sa-rang complains about Teacher Gu’s horrible comments like a good friend, except that she calls her sixth tier loud enough for the whole hallway to hear. Eun-ho thanks her for her sentiments, but warns her to keep her voice down: “I’m not depressed, but you’re embarrassing me, so shut up before I kill you.” Lol.

Dae-hwi walks by just then to tell Eun-ho that she might have a chance at getting into Hanguk University: They’ve just opened a webtoon media department, and are having a competition for admittance. Sa-rang reminds him that Eun-ho is in the sixth tier, but Eun-ho is too excited about having a chance at her dream school to dwell on ranks.

Cue: Eun-ho’s imagination as a college student at Hanguk University. As Dream Eun-ho paints a painting on campus, Jong-geun appears behind her, telling her he knew she could do it. He leans forward as if to kiss her… before reaching for her pen and putting a dot on her cheek, in a parody of Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: “I’d marked you as mine for a while now.” LOL.

The daydream shatters when Tae-woon appears in real life, grabbing Eun-ho’s sketchbook out of her hands. Ah, so she was drawing out the scenario in a comic, hee. Tae-woon dismisses the childish story before laughing that the protagonist’s name is “Eun-hwa,” suspiciously close to Eun-ho’s own name. Tae-woon tells her that a story should have an interesting plot before leaving her thoroughly embarrassed.

So Eun-ho consults Sa-rang and Sa-rang’s mom, who works as a cleaning lady at the school, for ideas on an interesting plot. She notes that romances aren’t interesting enough, action is too hard to draw, and medical stories take too much studying. Eun-ho giggles that she could try an erotic story, and Sa-rang just sighs that Eun-ho hasn’t even been kissed yet.

After school that day, Dae-hwi and his girlfriend, Nam-joo, agree to head home early to study. When Nam-joo asks for his exam notes, Dae-hwi hands over the notes without a second thought, even telling her which parts to study specifically.

As Dae-hwi leaves in the car that has come to pick him up, it seems that both Dae-hwi and Nam-joo are pretty famous in the area, as students from other schools gather at the gates waiting for them, gifts and cameras in hand.

Meanwhile, Tae-woon heads to a prep school to enroll in some classes. We flash back to a confrontation between Tae-woon and his father, Director Hyun, who had been livid after seeing his son’s low school ranking. Director Hyun had ordered Tae-woon to register for some academy classes, threatening to take away his credit cards.

When the lady at the info desk starts to explain the classes and prices to Tae-woon, however, he just asks her to register him for their most popular classes. Astonished, she tells him that he should at least see which classes are right for him, but he just says: “I don’t need to study. I’m rich. So just enroll me in a bunch that look good.”

The car Dae-hwi got in, meanwhile, belongs to a rich family with a high school son, Hee-chan, also on his way to tutoring academy. Dae-hwi shows him which parts of the exam material will likely be on the test, explaining in detail what to memorize. Hee-chan’s mother smiles at Dae-hwi, saying that dozens of tutors are no match for him.

As the car rolls up to their destination, Hee-chan’s mother hands Dae-hwi a few bills in thanks for his help. Dae-hwi hesitates before taking the money, looking oddly unhappy for a guy who just earned a few hundred dollars.

As Dae-hwi gets out of the car and parts ways with Hee-chan, he looks up at the expensive prep academy with an unreadable expression. As he turns to leave, however, he passes by Eun-ho, who is handing out prep school advertisement flyers for her part-time job. Eun-ho tells him that the job pays unexpectedly well, and that she plans to buy a tablet with the money she earns so she can draw webtoons.

Dae-hwi smiles brightly at that, telling her that he’s jealous that she has a dream. Eun-ho wonders what his dream is, but he seems unable to answer.

Dae-hwi takes the bus home at night, only to be greeted by his drunk mother gossiping with her friends. This seems to be a regular occurrence, and when his mom’s friends note that she’s been blessed with a such a smart, good-looking son, she laughs and tells them that the idea that one needs money to study is a lie made up by the media: “Dae-hwi doesn’t need tutors or prep classes. He’s fine all by himself.”

Dae-hwi just weathers these comments with an unhappy expression before turning in for the night. He puts the money he earned from Hee-chan’s mother into a drawer before bandaging up his hands, which are blistered and bloody from studying so hard. He sighs at the prep academy advertisement he got from Eun-ho before buckling down for some more studying. Damn, boo, take it easy.

Eun-ho, meanwhile, goes home to a fried chicken shop, where she asks her mother about taking some webtoon prep classes. She insists that she just needs one month to figure out an interesting plot: “And then I’ll be set to go to Hanguk University!”

At her words, Eun-ho’s brother laughs at her like she’s deranged, and Mom snaps that they don’t have money laying around to send her to drawing school. Eun-ho groans that if she doesn’t get to go to a good college, she’ll never meet a good husband, and she’ll live alone forever. As she storms out, Eun-ho’s father laughs at his cute daughter.

Eun-ho retreats to her room to start studying for tomorrow’s test, though of course she just ends up doodling and gossiping with Sa-rang all night. Eun-ho panics when she realizes that it’s 9 P.M., and hurries to make an hour-by-hour study plan… before falling asleep, LOL.

We see the rest of Eun-ho’s classmates, all studying late into the night: some learning from tutors, some working at home, some working at the library. Eun-ho narrates: “We always went crazy during exam time. We’re so young, but sadly, we believe that our lives are determined at the age of eighteen.”

The next morning, the students go through their notes for some last-minute cramming before the exam. Sa-rang is excused from the exam since she plans to take the civil service exam (rather than the college entrance exam that everyone else is studying for), and she tells Eun-ho to do her best before hurrying out.

Scary teacher Teacher Gu comes in with the tests, declaring that the exam results will determine their class rankings: “The stupid and lazy people will suffer and be prejudiced against.” Encouraging words, dude.

As the class takes the test, Teacher Gu keeps careful watch on all of the students. The moment the clock strikes 9 A.M., however, a loud screeching takes over the PA system before erupting in exciting dance music. The students look around in delight and confusion, and then suddenly the sprinklers open, spraying water all over the class and their exam papers.

As a furious Teacher Gu storms out, the students leap around the classroom in delight, realizing this means the test is canceled. Some of the students guess that it must be the doing of their “hero,” who is famous for playing pranks across the school, though this is certainly his biggest trick yet.

As Teacher Shim heads out into the drenched hallway in a panic, a beautiful lady in a police uniform strolls up to him, holding an umbrella. “This school is pretty amazing,” she notes. She strolls away, leaving him confused.

Principal Yang holds an assembly that afternoon, enraged at the students for allowing this kind of disruption. He declares that another mock test will be held in a week as scheduled. The students groan in dismay.

Eun-ho, however, is too busy doodling a picture of the furious Principal Yang to pay attention. As she draws, an idea for a webtoon plot dawns on her, and she spins around to exclaim to Sa-rang: “A prep class superhero romance! The principal is the villain, and…”

She finally realizes she’s speaking way too loudly when the whole room turns to stare at her. As the teachers look at her in disapproval, Dae-hwi and Tae-woon smile in amusement.

The teachers get to work drying off the teachers’ room, slipping and sliding across the wet floor. Principal Yang interrupts to introduce them to their new school officer, HAN SU-JI (Han Sun-hwa), before launching into a tirade on the dismal state of their school.

The teachers sigh that the school must do their best to catch the culprit, noting that it doesn’t seem like a single student anymore or a simple prankster, but a premeditated crime. When Teacher Shim meekly suggests that the culprit may not even be a student at their school, urging them not to blindly suspect anyone, Principal Yang quickly shuts him down and pairs him up with Officer Han to catch the culprit.

Officer Han gets to work, asking what kind of pranks exactly have occurred in the past.

In response to her question, Eun-ho narrates the “hero’s” crusade of pranks across the school. We scroll through a webtoon-style illustration of the hero’s deeds: doodling all over the principal’s portraits, corn syrup on the bathroom floor, decapitating the school statue, and of course, the sprinkler incident.

The students note that no one knows who the hero is or why he’s doing this. Dae-hwi notes that it doesn’t seem like it could be the work of a single person, while Hee-chan guesses that it must be the work of a secret organization.

Eun-ho, meanwhile, tells Sa-rang that she’s certain that the hero is a single person: “Heroes are always lonely people,” she insists, “It’s cooler that way.” Eun-ho thanks the hero, begging him to help her get into Hanguk University.

That night, a group of unidentified students text each other in a school study room, telling each other to lay low for the time being. Hmm. Interestingly, Dae-hwi appears to get up from the texting group before heading outside, where he runs into Tae-woon.

They both hide their phones before Tae-woon storms past, muttering that it’s truly a shitty day. Dae-hwi, however, retorts: “Do you like living that way?” Tae-woon turns back to confront Dae-hwi, snarling that it would be great if the students could see their student body president’s true face. Dae-hwi snaps that he must miss his fist. They stare each other down before Dae-hwi walks away first, each muttering that the other is a crazy bastard. Interesting.

Teacher Gu gives an assignment to the students in class the next morning. Eun-ho, however, is too busy drawing her hero story in her sketchbook again, and doesn’t notice when Teacher Gu sneaks up on her and snatches the sketchbook away.

Before she can make an excuse, Teacher Gu tells her that she can pick up the sketchbook when she graduates. As the bell rings, Teacher Gu snatches Tae-woon’s phone out of his hands as well, taking both items with him.

As the class leaves on the bell, Eun-ho scampers after Teacher Gu, begging him for her sketchbook. Tae-woon follows, looking hardly worried as he asks for his cell phone back, pointedly noting that the phone was a gift from his father.

At his words, Teacher Gu immediately gives back the phone, much to Eun-ho’s outrage. When she complains at the injustice, he just notes that if she feels wronged, she should find a connection of her own: “A connection powerful enough to defy the rules.” Teacher Gu notes that even if it’s unfair, it’s the reality of this cruel society.

Eun-ho becomes livid at that, insisting that she shouldn’t be told to accept injustice, and instead to fight until everyone is equal. Teacher Gu tells her she can only say those things once she has power: “And what power do you have in this school, Rank 280?” Tae-woon watches as Eun-ho follows after him, begging all the way down the hallway.

It seems that begging Teacher Gu doesn’t work, because Eun-ho targets Tae-woon next. She insists that a word from him would be enough to get her sketchbook back. When Tae-woon stubbornly tells her that he has no reason to help, Eun-ho tries to convince him to fight the injustice like their hero. Tae-woon doesn’t budge, however, and just races away on his motorcycle.

Eun-ho is a nervous wreck that night at the library, too nervous to work without her sketchbook. She jumps up, determined to sneak into the teachers’ office to get it back and get into Hanguk University.

So Eun-ho sneaks through the school in the dark, tiptoeing through the dark hallways. When she reaches the teachers’ office, however, she notes ripped-up papers all over the floor. Looking closely, she sees that they’re the remnants of the class ranking graphs.

When Eun-ho turns the corner, she turns to see a hooded figure burning papers in a fire. Eun-ho gasps at the sight, and when the figure turns to look at her, she gasps: “You…?”

 
COMMENTS

Ahhh, who is it? An outsider? Dae-hwi? Tae-woon? Teacher Shim?! While I can’t yet say for sure how much I like the direction the plot is heading in, I do find myself interested to see who the “hero” is. The plot is certainly intriguing, if a bit unrealistic and unrelatable at times—so while I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to stay invested without more heartfelt characters and relationships, I’ll certainly be sticking around to see who this hooded figure is. I’m secretly hoping that it is a lonely, heroic figure instead of a secret organization, since it would give us the potential for more character investigation—but I also wholly welcome the drama to surprise me in any way possible, so I won’t shut down any potential avenues yet.

Still, I’m a little disappointed that School 2017 seems to be following in the footsteps of Who Are You–School 2015 in terms of its dramatic plot instead of its predecessors’ tendencies toward a more introspective, slice-of-life storyline. I can’t honestly say that I like the new direction of the franchise, especially since the older series gave so much natural potential for genuine, character-based stories, but School 2017 does at least seem to have guaranteed a fun conflict with an adorable, youthful cast. Kim Se-jung in particular seems to be doing a really solid job with her character, with a natural charm that makes her fun to watch in every scene and gives her inherent chemistry with almost everyone.

While I don’t have many complaints about the actors, I do wish that the characters were a little more interesting or layered. I’m sure that we’ll get to see more sides of each character as the plot progresses, but I find myself uninterested in most of the characters we’ve been introduced to, save for one or two. I was pretty disappointed, for example, that Eun-ho’s main motivation for getting into Hanguk University wasn’t her own dream of becoming a webtoon artist, but an avenue to get to some guy she has a crush on. At the same time, I did appreciate the smaller moments the writing snuck in to demonstrate Eun-ho’s adorable character, such as the friendship between Eun-ho and Sa-rang, and the on-point illustration of how Eun-ho studies (or doesn’t study, LOL). Those little details did add a lot of dimension to her character, though not quite enough for me to love her just yet.

Dae-hwi, meanwhile, has totally captured my heart already. I think this episode did a great job at showing the many, many different sides to his persona: the secrets he’s hiding, his good-natured humility, his dreamless existence, his hardworking personality. I especially liked that Dae-hwi isn’t just naturally and effortlessly smart, but someone who has to work hard for it—but without a dream, why is he working so hard in the first place? He’s smart and hardworking, but not so competitive as to refuse to help others. He doesn’t come from money and seems to resent his mother, but still appears to crave her attention. He’s sweet and nice to everyone, but that just means he gets easily taken advantage of by everyone and their mothers (literally)—even though I’m sure he’s smart enough to know when he’s being used. Is it that he truly doesn’t care enough to fight them on it, or does he have some overarching plan? Though I can’t really tell how School 2017 will pan out until the next few episodes, I can only hope the characters will become interesting enough to draw my interest.

 
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I just feel this franchise has lost its soul. This is just a typical, unrealistic school drama. I think I need to go back and rewatch School 2013.

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That's how I felt. Maybe they are making them too often, because of their past success. Once every five or so years would be enough.

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I watched the 1st week and its terrible. Its not like School 2013 is awesome but this show is surely making school 2013 look like above average show.
Heroine is likable but that' it. I give 1st week 5 out of 10. Generous score.

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School 2013 is awesome imo!!
And I have watched the original school series as well.
School 2013 is so subtle yet its magical, some viewers might feel its flat, but that is deliberate like DB said back then.
I loved how the director just slightly lifted up the veil to show regular lives of students and teachers, the problems never felt far-fetched and yet had this impact on me, and the bromance ofc :D
I'll go rewatch it now!!

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Agree. The way I see it, it's like Who are You-School 2015 rom-com version minus the twin. Aside from that, why are the students can go out of school as they like.

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Where there school franchise dramas before school2013?

I never really got into school2013....I tried like five times over the span of a year to watch it and I always lost interest really quickly. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

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School 1 (KBS2 / 1999)
School 2 (KBS2 / 1999-2000)
School 3 (KBS2 / 2000-2001)
School 4 (KBS2 / 2001-2002)
School 2013 (KBS2 / 2012-2013)
Who Are You: School 2015 (KBS2 / 2015)
School 2017 (KBS2 / 2017)

Notable actors from earlier series include Bae Doona, Jang Hyuk, Ha Ji Won, Jae Hee, Jo In Sung and Lim Soo Jung among others.

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In short School 2013 picks up from about episode 3, hail Park Heung Soo as the bad boy that got me into School -- well not literally just into the series. And when the two boys, Go and Park, about 8-episode- tension-packed-arc is sort of resolved we go back to is it episode 12 or so where the pace is dreary and the youthful teachers Kang and Jung's 5 minute sililoquy often felt like space fillers and not how in real life where a caring teacher just cares and that's the end.

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It was a solid episode, not great, but solid. I hope they continue to exploit the pressures the students have to get good grades and get into college. It's really like this in Korea? Because it really makes me feel sorry for the students there. I just want that they focus on the school problem.
What happened between the guys? Why so much hate? Angst in a bromance and I'm in. I'm easy that way.
Eun-Ho have some exaggerated expressions, but the actress have a good charisma with the camera that makes me forget those moments.
Thank you for the recap. <3

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I always had a thing for bad boys ?

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Team Tae-woon all the way...or should I say Tae-swoon... XD

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Yey for Tae-swoon all the way, even if this ship sinks.

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Oh, I also like Tae Woon since the first time he appeared :D

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Bad boy on a motorbike, prickly but with a good heart just saying ? . There are some exaggerations like the rank rules at the canteen, but I'm taking this drama like a cool breeze in summer : appreciate it without too much thinking ?

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I walked into this show having low expectations (i just want them to recreate the magic that was school 2013 but if I continue to compare it to that show I know I’ll be disappointed). But I really enjoyed the first episode. And that scares me a little because there’s so many directions this show can take and I don’t want this show to break my heart.

There’s nothing really new about this show in terms of plot or characters but I like the switch between comedy and serious issues. THAT DAYDREAM SCENE HAD ME ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING AND 12 MINUTES INTO THIS SHOW I WAS ALREADY SHIPPING THEM SO HARD. But at the same time we’re thrusted into a school where you rank factors into when you get to eat, and the image of the school is more important than the actual students. I honestly can’t wait for this school to turn into chaos and our heroine to dive further into her webtoon career *her constant drawing reminds me of Yeo Jin in Forest of Secrets*

*fingers crossed they don’t focus on a love triangle* This show has the potential to be an enjoyable watch and I hope it delivers.

One more thing: Kim Jung Hyun is really nice to look at ? and he exudes this aura that screams “look at me”

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I... didn't like it. I struggled through the first two episodes (almost dropped it after 15 minutes), because, mostly, I was bored?

I think the School series is a great thing and loved the 2013 installment. 2015 left me with mixed feelings (it had a lot of potential, but fell apart the longer it continued), the 2017 didn't even hook me (which 2015 still managed to do). It's just that everything seemed pretty cliché / it's been done before / nothing really refreshing there. The acting didn't really impress me (it was okay, but nothing to write home about), I didn't get the sense I was future great stars, but being a springboard for talent was always a great part of the School franchise. It was just... bleh.

I don't find the characters interesting so far, with Dae-hwi being the only exception. But everyone else... I don't really care about? I mean, I don't need to love them after two episodes, but my interest in their stories should at least have been piqued? And some scenes were just lame – the aggressive two motorcyclists?!? And who leaves a bike on the middle of the road somewhere, not even locking it up? And throws a hissy fit later when it's at the school later, chain broken? (Was it supposed to magically repair itself?)

And: oh my goodness, other than Eun-ho being a total airhead (I don't mean her being at the bottom of the scoreboard, I mean her drawing in the middle of lessons as if she didn't know any better?), that girl is so whiny! I don't like her at all and she's at the centre of it all.

The casting is weird too – actress playing the policewoman is the same age/younger than some of the students and she looks it.

Normally I give dramas 4-6 episodes, but the other new dramas started off in ways that were more interesting (Man Who Dies to Live) or simply fabulous (Reuniting Worlds), and Forest of Secrets is keeping me busy as well. I'll read the recaps a little while longer, but at the moment this is off my watch-list. (Haven't tried The King Loves yet.)

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I'm happy to say that it was a good pilot eps. So far the characters are interesting and I like the blend of mystery subplot with an overall light tone of this show. I'm excited to notice that our lead girl has a best friend and they are really behaving like a BFF, that the school golden boy isn't an annoying stuck-up, that the bad boy isn't the big bully, and that while those students blew up in frustration over exam and ranking, they are back to being friend when all is said and done. Hopefully it stays enjoyable till the end.

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I loved the part where Eunho was puppy-eyeing Sarang ? We need more girl friendships to take the spotlight, please let us see more of them!

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I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. I'm not expecting anything profound, but I found it more entertaining and charming than I had anticipated. I don't usually go for this kind of drama at all, so I'm surprised that it hooked me, but I'm in so far.

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I've enjoyed first two episodesan easy watch.

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I guess gugudan isnt enough to keep sejeong busy

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Oh, it reminds me a lot of my middle school days, I was such a day dreamer with books, pen and pencil in my hands. I even cut my hair really short for new beginnings at the end of it (remember to sit in a barber shop with some guys before their mandatory enlistment, joking with them and telling the lady that she has to cut shorter and shorter and even shorter - I finished with 1,5 cm of hair on my head and lots of people'd mistaken me for a guy and girls in the bus were looking at me with interest and my grandma said: "You would be so pretty if you were a boy!") High school was on a different level and I'm so sorry for korean children to waist their young lives for their mother's dreams...
I'll give a try, just for nostalgia.

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i've watched both episodes but let me share what i noted throughout this episode:(though few things got sort of thwarted in ep 2)
-so many familiar faces..i had no idea that they were going to star
-Produce 101 connection (name Dae-whi and Se-jong) :)
-both Daewhi and Eunho possibly working up for Hangkook University
-Seo ji-hoon(the guitar guy) going completely unnoticed (purposely ignored?) the whole time (he was seen ditching class with Eun-ho and Tae-woon too)
what i suspect:
-there IS definitely a group of student Xs but there could be the leader
-one of the leading boys must be in the group though not the leader
-the guitar guy is my primary suspect..the leader at that because he has been purposely ignored throughout the episode and the actor playing him i.e. Seo ji-hoon is one of the rising young actors and he can't be playing some insignificant role right??
-the class teacher could be the suspect too..he can't be that naive..i think!
-or Rowoon (sf9) who is yet to be revealed but the height difference between the suspect and Eun-ho seems to be quite bigger than her being around other boys (he's super tall)..or maybe its the angle
what i wish:
-Seo ji-hoon's role to be highlighted too (i love that kid <3 )
-Taewoon to be a bit more generous towards Eunho..i know they bicker like close friends but still, it feels a little distant
-Daewhi's gf seems shady and using him..so i want him to DUMP her soon....
aa..a..and to be with Eunho!!! :)
Yep...I have already have an OTP....Eunho+Daewhi <3 <3

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We're going to see more of him! ^^ I was reading the character descriptions and the character map on the official site. You can see the map here but I must warn that it comes with spoilers.

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so Ro-woon's going to play a singer(i think the news said so) and Ji-hoonie is an aspiring(?) musician and they're both going to aim for Sarang's 'sarang'? :D

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i am wanting Daewhi to be the male lead. but in the pictures and news it was the other boy.

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The first episode is indeed easy to watch and quite entertaining but it's not the best premiere episode maybe that's why I still haven't get myself to watch the second one. Guess it's just not for me or maybe I had high expectations cause I saw the other "School" series, my bad.

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Feels off watching episode 1. Directing or editing isn't smooth. I was cringing while watching some scenes. Plot was too much for school franchise. Maybe because of the hasty preparation (if not mistaken, the first shoot started off 20 June and there was change of writer too). Hopefully (especially the plot that criticized hardly by knetz) it can be fixed. So the ability of actors who act as student isn't wasted. I like their performances in other dramas.

I enjoy the appearance of Han Joo Wan here as a cute teacher (?). Haha. I'm looking forward too to his chemistry with students and Han Sun Hwa. I love already the friendship between Eun Ho and Sa Rang! And Min Sun Wook as PE teacher? Drama better gives more of his scenes than that literature teacher (?), Mr. Gu I mean.

But Episode 2 definitely better than this episode. Only the plot is a letdown for me. But likely, I will continue because I adore these cast.

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I agree that episode 2 was much better. What I liked about it was.... Don't worry no spoilers.... The fact that if you watch closely the guy students who fit the height description of the "dark clothed vigilante", are almost always never to be found whilst the 'prank' is being executed. At least the boys are not seen together. So it is possible like others have suggested and that the show itself suggests in episode 1 already that there is some sort of tag-teammathon going on.

And that maybe Seo Ji Hoon's character is being bullied in some way to be the third team member, mainly as a lookout for the main members. Because he always seems to appear out of the blue .... thinking back.

What he keeps in that guitar case, let's hope there is no Contraband, but he could possibly be transporting and hiding things at school for easy access for the actual assailants later.

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The timeline was actually quite okay, I think. Dramawiki says that the writer was suddenly changed the day before the first scriptreading took place, which didn't seem likely, so I dug a bit into Korean news.

The change of screenwriter was first reported in late April, before production began, and the director clarified that although the original writer Im Soo-mi pitched several ideas, they were not able to find a good fit for the tone they wanted (a comic, light-hearted one). So they got writer Jung Chan-mi on board instead.

In terms of filming, they had about a month's lead, which unfortunately is considered quite generous for Kdrama live-shooting systems. I'd peg the writing issues more down to the conceptualisation and desire to achieve a comic tone, rather than a tight schedule.

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I haven't watched any of the previous School dramas so I had no preconceived notions about the series. I thought I would give it a try and so I did. I watched the trailers and was worried that the leading actress would be terrible. However, I was pleasantly surprised by her acting. It wasn't amazing but it wasn't bad at all. The only cringeworthy moments with her were when she did aegyo(spelling?), and I can't really hold that against her since aegyo it's just not my thing.
At this point though I don't really like her character. Eun Ho is just lazy and disrespectful of every authority figure in her life. Actually being lazy and disrespectful isn't enough to throw me off her character completely, but the fact that she has a total victim mentally about the repricusions of her actions and her lack of effort. This characteristic is even more evident in the next set of episodes, so I won't go into detail. However she takes zero responsibility for her own actions. Thus, I find it hard to root for her at this point or care what happens to her. DH is like the antithesis of her, so naturally I like him much better.

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Whoever down voted me, I would genuinely like to hear your input? Did you identify with EH character? Did you find her charming? I'm not being sorcastic. Sometimes others peoples views are refreshing and help me see a character in a new light. Futhermore, I know that if her character experiences a lot of growth during this drama I could end up really liking her.

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I'm surprised someone downvoted you. I thought Se-jeong is doing a pretty decent job too, and like you, I didn't end up liking the EH character much due to her inability to truly understand cause and effect. Then again, perhaps that's why she places at spot 280.

I think EH would have worked better in an outright comedy, though.

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Don't take it personally. Every person on this comment section that has said that she/he doesn't like the program or something about it has gotten downvoted.

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I'm sure it's not personal, but it always makes me curious ;)

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I know. I've never downvoted anyone because I disagreed with their opinions. I save downvotes for spoilers and trolls. It just seems silly to downvote others just because they think differently. How silly would it be if I went through and downvoted everyone that liked the program, just because I didn't!

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It happened during BOTWG first few eps where people got downvoted for liking the show and satisfied with the actors. And in this show, the opposite happens!

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Sejeong is doing a pretty good job, but I'm having trouble connecting with her character because of the way Eunho is written, at least in this first episode. Because a lot of the show's humour seems to be hinging on EH, EH's characteristics and her reactions are exaggerated by the writing, which Sejeong's acting has to deliver.

I really wish that her crush were just a catalyst, and not the sole cause of her aiming high for a prestigious university. It's a very reductive kind of characterisation (being motivated solely by romance) that female characters suffer from a lot. Any kind of nuance will help, such as showing her actually studying hard but just not being able to translate that into grades.

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I downvoted you for several reasons. First, because your comment about her being lazy and disrespectful to every authority figure in her life was something I highly disagreed with. Just look at the way Tae Woon treats adults, or the delinquent trio, or even Dae Hwi at the beginning when his teacher is trying to be encouraging about his essay... instead of humoring him, he makes him feel small, leaves in the middle of their conversation and then accepts money from him for a taxi.

I'm not trying to attack his character, I'm simply pointing out a very important fact: they're only teenagers. They're all going to be a little selfish and disrespectful at times because almost everyone at that age is. {MINOR SPOILER} And yet, the fact that she managed to bow respectfully to her teacher even after the unfair events of episode two, tells me she's much more respectful than you give her credit for. {END SPOILER} So if Eun Ho's disrespectful, so is every single teenager in her class. Which brings me to yet another point: You can't measure hard-work by academics alone, and it's clear Eun Ho works her butt off when it comes to her true passion, art, so how can you call her lazy?

And secondly, she had every right to play the victim because she IS one. If you had watched school-based dramas before, maybe you'd know that breaking into a teacher's office to take back confiscated items is a common occurrence in this genre, and much less severe than being accused of malicious mischief and anarchy. What you failed to note, is that she's also vulnerable, brave, and not afraid to stand up for herself or those she cares about. And that's a heroine I have no problem getting behind.

Oh, and I happened to find her aegyo absolutely adorable. So that was strike three.

Now, send all the downvotes my way. I'll eat them for breakfast!!

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<it's clear Eun Ho works her butt off when it comes to her true passion, art, so how can you call her lazy?

I wasn't that impressed. To be honest, I was a bit surprised that despite her apparent talent she apparently can only come up with super-cliché stories – I mean, if that's really her one talent and passion, I would have expected her to also be more imaginative and creative on the storytelling side also. Fortunately, that's something she can still learn (let's hope that's part of her arch).

But the other thing that bothered me was that she spent more energy and time on trying to get her notebook back... rather than just sitting down and redrawing it. I mean, it's not like the notebook that was taken away was a tome of 1000 pages of months of work – it seemed more like she'd sketched her basic story in a day or two at most (if that). But she should be able recreate that and even improve it that way. This is to me where the writing fails. I mean, sure she's an impulsive teenager that just wants her stuff back because it's oh-so-unfair (it is indeed), but why wasn't there more at stake here? Like the final, fully polished version of the story she was going to submit, packed up with the deadline a couple of hours later? Or at least something she had been working painstakingly on for weeks?

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Just because her story ideas aren’t any good, doesn’t mean she’s not working hard to come up with them. Writing is hard, and like she said, her passion is drawing, not words. But to reiterate what you said, that doesn’t mean she won’t improve or shift her focus/genre to tackling the realities of high school instead. She’s just a beginner, after all, and she has vast room for improvement. And the fact is, she’s clearly trying. And effort takes work, which is the very opposite of laziness.

And to be honest, in the context of the drama, her idea isn’t even all that cliche. She’s literally pulling inspiration from real life as it happens - and like writers are always told - “draw from what you know.”

Also, I don’t think it’s fair to disregard her notebook so easily. I’m no artist, but I think anyone who has ever lost a story, an essay, or a letter to a computer glitch, can attest to how devastating it can be. A lot of work goes into creating something from nothing. For an artist, I’d imagine it would be absolutely gut-wrenching. Sure, it might not be the finished product, but she put work and effort into every line she drew, and starting from scratch is never a guarantee she’ll be able to capture that same feeling again. And all we saw were a few pages. For all we know, that entire notebook could be filled with her contest submission drawings; for her, that might be the finished work.

So I think my points still stand.

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<A lot of work goes into creating something from nothing.

Yes, but the drama could have done much better at establishing that.

At this point I'm not even convinced she really really loves art – her motivation for drawing and going to college is a guy, not her love for art. It's just half-baked characterisation.

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She's not choosing to become a webtoon artist because of a guy. She's choosing to attend a particular *university* because of a guy, and since it has a suitable program catering to her dream, why shouldn't she go there? He may be a great motivator, but it's clear her passion for drawing isn't due to him alone - even when she skips school, it's not to date, fool around, or to eat. It's to show someone she likes her art. Besides, it's her class president who actually tells her about the competition in the first place, making it clear that her drawing skills/passion is something that her classmates are well aware of. And seriously, this is only the first episode. I'm starting to think you'd be critical even if she were given a musical number where she could make paintbrushes sing and dance at her whim.

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Yeah, well, I have high standards for writing and find this half-baked. You needn't agree.

No worries, I won't stick around either – I give dramas a try and if they don't work for me, I leave them to the people who enjoy them. But I think voicing one's opinion with explanation is still allowed...

Enjoy the drama :-)

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Yay, thanks for replying. I love your guts, and your screen name is pretty humorous. I'm not being sarcastic I feel like I keep on having to say that because it's so hard to perceive intentions on the Internet. Anyway...
To your first point -No doubt The other highschoolers, can be disrespectful. The teachers can also be disrespectful. You are right EH wasn't the only one. However, since she is the lead of this story, and I got to see her being disrespectful more often, and it didn't work to endear her to me. But okay- I understand what you mean if you think I'm just singling her out.
" they're teenagers, they're going to be disrespectful" Maybe, maybe not. For me, her character was a little excessive and off putting.

2nd point- the bow seemed sarcastic to me but I could be wrong bc that's a cultural nuance that I'm not qualified to interpret. You might be right.

Point 3 - I agree that you can't measure hard work by academics alone but you can measure hard work by work ethic. She says that she wants to study but she doesn't. She skips class instead (regularly?). She draws when the teachers talking instead of studying. She pretty much does everything instead of studying and we CAN blame her for that (unless she has a learning disability which doesn't appear to be the case).
As for her passion, it seems as though it would quickly shift to something else if another guy was in the picture.
But what really bothers me about her is not that she's "lazy" or "disrespectful" it's because to her everything is someone else's fault.
Her class rank: someone else's fault. Her broken bicycle :someone else fault. The reason she got framed for the fire, not because she was somewhere she wasn't supposed to be but because of this great injustice.

Anyway, she IS bold and brave and I do admire that... so one point for her. If you like her aegyo then more power to you. I hope I'll start to because I don't think it's going away. ;)

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To be fair, I may be a little bias when it comes to disrespect, because I work with a population of troubled/abused youth who swear, fight, and turn being rude into an art, so my threathold is pretty high. Once you're called a b$*% for simply asking someone to put away a dish, a scene of a high schooler innocently drawing or daydreaming rather than studying, doesn't exactly set off my radar. Still, just the fact that so many of the students, teachers, and parents are depicted as selfish, cold, and spoiled, tells me that there's a message the writer's trying to get across, and it's not exactly a flattering one. So why should Eun Ho strive to be like the other students? Frankly, school isn't for everyone, and not everyone is good at studying, so when she tries, gets distracted, and fails, it just endeared her to me that much more. Especially since we've already seen the other extreme - the ones who do study to excess - so the fact that she isn't shackled to the expectations of her school, that she even has the strength to point out that the ranking system is wrong, tells me she's someone with conviction who isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in. And that trumps good grades any day of the week.

As for the bow, I didn't get that impression at all. I was actually impressed that she managed to maintain her dignity in such a horrible, unfair situation. And I found it telling that the teacher couldn't even meet her eye.

Actually, her passion for art isn't because of a guy. The only thing he's influencing is what university she wanted to attend - and since it offers a great program for aspiring webtoon artists, why shouldn't she go there? In fact, it's her class president who even tells her about the competition, so her classmates are obviously aware of her love for drawing, otherwise how else would he know to suggest it to her? And even if she didn't get into that particular university, I don't see her dream of being a webtoon artist changing anytime soon -- she'd just go somewhere else, or draw on the internet and gain fame the old fashioned way on Naver lol.

She never blamed her low rank on other people though. What she was fighting against was the importance the school places on that rank. After all, what they're doing is breeding an atmosphere of unhealthy competition and greed: And why should something so arbitrary dictate basic human rights/needs anyway? They might as well just let the rich students eat first and leave those who are poor to starve - which, ironically, is pretty much what happens, because the rich can afford tutors and have pushy parents who can throw their money around to get what they want. Tae Woon and Dae Hwi are the extremes of this system: one ranks horribly, but gets to enjoy the same benefits of the higher ups because he's rich, while Dae Hwi studies his ass off to stay number one, but finds himself having to tutor his competition due to his poverty. For him, it's probably a...

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{CONTINUED} For him, it's probably a horrible, stressful, uphill battle, where he's always under pressure to maintain that rank. Meanwhile, you have poor Eun Ho who just wants to draw, and suffers because she isn't as keen to "play the game" like everyone else.

As for the bicycle, I guess I'm confused as to why that's her fault? The reckless motorists were definitely to blame. I mean, if this had happened after school, would this criticism still even exist? Part of me thinks people are just blaming karma, but I strongly believe those irresponsible bikers aren't free from culpability just because she wasn't where she was supposed to be. If she'd been skipping school to attend to a sick relative, or to work a job to provide for her dying sibling, no one would say, "Well, she should've been in class." The fact is, some teenagers skip school. Heck, I skipped school a few times when I was her age, yet I still managed to graduate college without any issue. In the end, it doesn't make her any better or any worse than her classmates. It might explain her last-place ranking, but that's about it.

And being accused of being the vigilante IS a huge injustice. Yes, she made a poor decision by breaking into the teacher's lounge, but that doesn't mean she deserves to be forced out of school, bullied, and humiliated because of it. She just wanted her notebook back, and if Tae Woon had used his influence in a positive way for once, none of it would've even happened; seriously, noblesse oblige exists for a reason LOL.

And no, I don't think it's going away. ;)

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The-evil-down-voter,

That's certainly comendable work that you do and with a demographic that most people wouldn't want to have anything to do with. The world really does need more people like you. Your ability to empathize is amazing and I wouldn't want to try to talk you out of that. Not that I could. Ah, your positions make sense, and I can see why you like her. Alas, I do not. Yet. That could change. Till next time, it's been a pleasure reading your replies.

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I think as dramamama said. The fans (presumably of some of the actors, seems there are idols among them? I wouldn't know...) are out and don't you dare saying anything negative.

I couldn't care less though. I don't just say "I don't like it", I say "I don't like it, because x y z". If all you can do with that is give me a downvote, I'm not interested.

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Aaaaand... sometimes I wonder if I've ever downvoted anyone, even though I've never had any intention to.

Fat fingers on a phone y'all! Don't fret to much about this!

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Yes, that's how I feel about Eun Ho/Kim Se Jung too - the actress is ok, her acting really isn't bad but her character is written so stupidly that you just want to smack her head, it's hard to sympathise with her.

And last-place student heroine's don't have to be written like that, look at Sassy Go Go. Eunji's character there, was also last place, not a good student etc but even from ep 1 she was written in a way that makes you understand her and feel her pain.

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True. I recently watched Sassy Go Go and I was cheering for Eunji from beginning to end.

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At least half of that was from Eunji, because roles like that really heavily rely on the actor to have charm. But the writer and director at least made it so her falling-on-top near-kiss was cute and swoony, not totally contrived-looking like the bike/motorbike rescue scene in this ep. Interactions need to be natural so you actually believe in them, not like this.

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Noteworthy comparison. Yes, I totally loved Eunji.

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I was curious about Se-jeong, because I love this girl and I find her more natural when her masking smile turns off. Her character suits her because she's comming from poor backgrounds as well.
The first episode was not so convincing, but it shows what money can do with personal values - if you're rich there is no need for good behaviour. I don't find Eun Ho disrespectful altought I found the principal, teachers and parents disrespectful. What's the reason to succeed in your life? To have a great life or to have lots of money and no morals. One can be happy with not a lot of money but with plenty of dreams, good friends and a skill. Eun Ho has a skill - she knows how to draw and needs to make it work. She is a teenager, so hormonal "love" interest is like stimulus behind the real desire = drawing. She has determination for studying but fails - her brain si occupied by something else. Fortunatelly people are not machines and there are lots of schools which are producing robotic people, but that's not the aim of education and a good teacher knows it and knows their students. He/she needs to find a way how to push the limits of the students who are lost.
80% of my high school class were rich children of their parents. The poor ones were working hard and some of them are doing great right now, but those rich kids are earning plenty of money with no effort right now as well. We had a reunion two years ago and I was amazed where they are and what are they doing, but the ordinary workers are not even paid the minimum wage. That's not fair. So you don't need to study hard when there is everything already decided...

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From a person who spent all her school days drawing on her notebook I can say that this here is accurate reaction. The note book is not just something you can easily replaced. The thing is the notebook is her portfolio. Drawing is skill that gets better in time. She may have other notebook around but bet my ass the drawings won't be as good as her "current" notebook. I believe it's also her idea book/ concept. Their is a reason artist have to carry round things to draw. Because idea is overflowing and flitting, what she had there she may not be able to remember or recreate. She literally will need to start from scratch.

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I like this drama it is sort of the half way path between school 2013 and 2015: WAY.

I am glad that there is the element of mystery, the arsonist, even though there probably won't be a late entrance of yet another bad boy circa, School 2013.

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Kim Woo Bin didn't even appear in School 2013 until the end of episode 3, but here we got two guys already so I don't think we get another one after this week.

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That's one of my issues... it actually feels copycat. Like, "Oh let's reuse the bad boy persona and the two boys having some dark past between them b/c everyone loved that in School 2013". We don't know the details of that past yet, but the hints they gave seemed to overlap with School 2013, except that it was all as if fast-forward. Introducing Kim Woo Bin's character only in the 3rd episode was actually really effective and created a lot of tension.

But mostly, I just wish they had done something different then "top student that's like a saint with a dark past that no one knows about".

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A dark past? Ha? Is he maybe covering for someone like an older brother or brother-like figure that has a knack for setting off alarms etc, and doing it so sloppily however that he nearly got caught not once, but twice in two episodes by the same person, Eun Ho, or does that say something about her luck being more prolific than her determination.

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Sure this is different from the past franchise but i like how light and comically fun the story goes. At least we're sure some of the characters will have their own story unvail in the next episode with Daehwi quite intriguing enough and his beef with Taewoon, i hope we get a past friendship gone wrong with these two like the two male lead from School 2013. I was really surprise with Sejeong's acting and how she acted that crying scene with her mom at the teacher's office when she was about to get expelled, i thought she did a great job for a first timer. Cant wait for the next episodesm Definitely i would recommend this drama.

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we have same mind about 2 boys and Se Jeong's acting. i was waiting for awkward crying but she did good.

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I liked it! The show somehow reminds me of those slice-of-life Japanese school dramas - Gokusen, Nobuta wo Produce, Hana Kimi or Great Teacher Onizuka where some plots might require a stretch of beliefs but there's always hearts in the stories. I'm liking the mysterious X which i assume are a group of anonymous students who are fighting against the oppressed (the teachers/school management) ala Hong Gil Dong.

Since this show is a franchise, i kinda get it why some found it unrealistic, but I like seeing it being on its own and not being compared to its predecessor. Each school series had different approach and vibes and this one is no different.

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kim jung hyun in uniform is the only thing i love in this school series ,,,?

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Hahaha same!

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I've watched some (not all) of the School shows and I'm happy with how this one is going. Some of the characters are a little flat, but I agree that Dae Hwi is the most interesting (so far). I am so curious about the relationship between him and Tae Woon. There's so much hate between the two and I'm dying to what promted that kind of relationship. I also like that Dae Hwi is not from a rich family, but is top of his class while Tae Woon is and is near the bottom. Usually you see the opposite in school-centered dramas and I'm liking the reversal. I'm also warming up to Eun Ho, I like her sunny outlook even though everyone else thinks she has no hope whatsoever. I feel super bad for Teacher Kang Myung. I can totally relate to his shyness in the public and the inability to speak up in front of the bosses. Hoping all goes well!!!

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School 2017 feels nothing like School. Eun Ho's character is too fluffy and idealistic. School ought to be realistic like Overachiever Bit Na having a meltdown at her notes being stolen or the iljin trio bullying the students. I'm not a fan of the mystery as there's too much focus on Mrs. Miss Cop Suji solving the case. I'm going with the obvious and saying Suspect X is Tae Woon; though it could be Student Body President Dae Hwi who is my favorite character already. I love how Dae Hwi's smart but not snooty, cute but not a nerd, gets along with everyone and jokes around, and doesn't know what nervous is.

Did the writers change their minds about not having a love line? Because it's pretty obvious Eun Ho is ending up with Tae Woon with the way they bicker. At least it seems there will be no love triangle as Dae Hwi has a girlfriend... who better not be using him for his notes. Acting-wise, Kim Se Jung is natural, but that's because she's playing herself. Sadly, I find Kim Jung Hyun looks too old for school especially next to Jang Dong Yoon who even though is a '92er, he has a baby face. I love guitar-playing Seo Ji Hoon, and Seol In Ah is still expressionless as she was in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. Looking forward to RoWoon's appearance. Thanks a bunch for the recap, @hanshimi!

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<Dae Hwi has a girlfriend...

The impression I got was that there's not much love between Dae-hwi and his girlfriend. Like, he has a girlfriend because somehow that benefits his status at the school (how could the perfect, handsome top student not have a girlfriend?) and maybe the cover-up from the past he's hiding, but he doesn't actually see interested in her and she seems just be using him.

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Glad to see the sassy secretary from Radiant Office here as the heroine's best friend. I find DH fascinating and I really like TW. I wish I can like EH, but I'm put-off by her reason for wanting to get into Hankook University and how she seems to think it's a breeze to get in.
She does get better in episode 2.

I'm still on the fence about this drama. I think this drama wants to be a lot of things and that's fine, but I think it's having trouble meshing all those things together. At first, I thought it was aiming for dark comedy - with all the charts and forcing students to do things in the order of their ranking. Then it was a comedy. Then an intimate look into the pressures high school students feel together. Then the mystery of the school hero. So far, I think the mystery has caught my eye the most.

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The directing was impressive. It perfectly balanced the comic tone with a grittier undercurrent (especially in Daehwi's character, and that tense run-in between Daehwi and Taewoon), and swept me along by orchestrating the mood even where the writing fell short.

I can see how the setup is disappointing as part of the School series, given that the franchise has made a name for itself through tackling realistic, contemporary school-related issues. Some of the plot points—the ludicrous thundering principal and evil school executives, preferential treatment based on grades—are wildly exaggerated, and I'm honestly not a fan of that, but it felt like part of the webtoon vibe. One of my favourite dramas, Hogu's Love, started out this way and steadily gained more depth. So it's quite possible that School 2017 can become more nuanced later. It's a bit too early to assume the show has nothing of value to portray, so I'm not dropping it just yet.

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Unlike most of the beanies, I really enjoying the show. Perhaps unrealistic but light and fun.

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I actually find it quite relatable, even if the details are overdrawn, it's still the same struggle.

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Me tooooo!

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I'm not gonna lie, I come to this recap only to find out about Eun Ho's imagination scene with Jong Geun. I knew that must be a parody of another drama, but I couldn't point it out. I thought it was from an old 90s or early 21th century drama, It's surprising to know that it was from MDBC (I haven't finished the drama)

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I quite enjoy the first episode, not really gripping but interesting enough to hold my curiosity. Kim Se Jung's doing fine, and Jang Dong Yoon's acting is much more smooth than Kim Jung Hyun. Idk if it's because his character is supposed to be like that, but Tae Woon looks too stiff and awkward and not convincing enough as a high school student. I'll check next episode and see whether it'll change my current opinion or not..

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I liked the drama so far. The story and flow of the series got better in the 2nd episode. It is more lighthearted compared to the School 2015. Thought Kim Sejeong's acting was good for a rookie actress especially her crying scene in the teacher's office in the 2nd episode. Liked the chemistry between Sejeong and her BFF. They are both kind of funny and fun to watch. I'm sure the character development for the leads will come as the story progresses so i hope people don't write the series off so soon. Am definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.

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Ahh thank you for recapping this! I didnt watch any of the previous School series, so I don't have a benchmark for comparison. I didn't think I would enjoy watching any of it (simply because I'm too old for it? lol) BUT BUT BUT ahem I actually enjoyed this first episode and was actually looking forward to the next! My fav character for now is Dae Hwi. Hard worker, nice boy (on the front at least), intriguing and mysterious. And of course, good looking.

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Decent pilot, not exactly the best, i am hoping they explore the grades/ranking system more as this is a big issue in most Asian countries.

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I love love love episode 1. It's really cute and fresh! To me, Kim Sejung may not be the best actress, but I can accept her acting. She's cute and fits with the lovely character of Ra Eun Ho. I'm just scared that there will be love triangle between Eun Ho, Tae Woon and Dae Hwi. I love both of the guys, please don't break my heart.

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Such a weird first ep.... directing is weird, editing is weird, all that stuff with the students eating in order of rank and all. In real life high schools also there's grade discrimination and different treatment if your parents are rich and powerful but eating in order of class rank is just too unrealistic.

The acting is ok though, Kim Se Jung is charming and mostly natural as Eun Ho, only the direction makes her character look random and a bit forced. The two boys are good too. But do we have to have a love line?

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Ok... i get it school franchise has always been about highlighting the problems that teens face at the threshold of adulthood but this ranking system is crazyyy!!!
I really dont like that teacher Mr. GU now?

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I came to this show for Kim Jung Hyun a.k.a Mori only without expected anything on the plot so I'm happy for whatever I got. I'm not a huge fan of School series or any high school drama, as long as I can get into the storyline I'll be fine.. Se Jeong as Eun Ho is quite OK so far, she also said this character is close to herself in real life so it is helping her to perform better. She is supposedly to be the heart of this drama so I think she is doing well so far. Our two male leads are doing good too imo. Considering this drama is full of rookies, except the teachers, I think it is a watcheable drama so far. I am not expecting this drama to be a good one (of course to get a good one is a bonus), so as long as it still give some school vibe, I'll be gladly to continue watching.

Looking forward to next epi!

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I really hope the plot and directing gets better. The actors are decent, even if Kim Se Jung is acting as "herself" she does it well , I think the awkwardness i feel in the drama is more from the writing and not the actors.

Kim Jung Hyun looks a bit like Kim Woo Bin in some pics, never seen him in anything but he's ok as the bad boy. I just hope the plot doesn't become completely unrealistic though, at least like you said, it should give the school vibes.

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I am enjoying the drama. and rooting for the boys all the same. But class president looks handsome than bad boy in my book. He seems have his own secrets too.

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am wondering who the leading man between
Tae-woo and Dae-hwi??? help me guys

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it wasnt the best but it was ok...i hope this story wont focus on love triangle and explore more school problems and issues that student deal with as teenagers
i also think the lead gal is ok but her character is the last in class bcoz she is focusing on other stuff nt studying like she wants to go to a university so that she can date her crush?seriously?i hope she gets better motivation in her future with good character growth
as for he male leads they are both awesome but i want more

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the story doesn't seem as interesting as the other 'school' series but it's not that bad. I didn't like the tea woon kid at first but by the end of episode i developed a small crush so i'm looking forward to the next episodes cuz of him.. the homeroon teacher also is just so adorable!

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I'm ambivalent about this pilot episode. The lead actress is charming and all the actors are pulling their weight but so far nothing stands out to me in this series. It's like every other high school drama out there and I do hope they do away with the potential love triangle. So far, the drama has yet to find its footing but I expect with time, subsequent episodes and the writing should show us why School 2017 is unique and different from all the other dramas in the School Series.

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I am liking the overall feel of this show. I havent seen the other School series so unable to compare it like the rest of the beanies. From what I have seen, its a promising start. Eun-ho is the typical sunny but not so school smart lead girl. Then the rebel Tae-woon who has a massive chip on his shoulder and rich. Then Dae-hwi the perfect class president who is smart but poor and has mother issues. I am most interested to know the history of the two boys.

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Firstly, why would anyone go to such an outrageous school!!! Don't they know if even normal schools are terrible the way they are, then why would anyone willingly go to this school which is far worse. hmph!

Secondly, this school ranking style reminds me of the anime called Assasination Classroom, the school in that anime was so horrible it gave brain damage (figurative) to the students studying there.

Thirdly, I think the hero is not one person but an association of rebels, each donning the mask of the "hero", like Healer or The Phantom. I maybe wrong, its just a random guess from the first episode only.

Finally, this maybe diverting more from the previous School series theme, but I'll keep watching because mystery draws me in.

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You didn't even mention Tae Woon in your comments section.....no likey? I do, I like him already :) I also don't have that much problem with the characters not being layered enough because it feels like there is still some backstory and development to explore. It was a good start for me at least! :)

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Jang DongYoon has a very long neck.

I didn't realise it in Solomon's Perjury because he was all covered in scarves.

That's my takeaway this episode...

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Too many exams. Who writes these exams anyway? Don't they get tired?

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As they say, different strokes, different folks. I'm not completely blown away by School 2017 but I was pleasantly surprised because I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I came into school 2015 for the bully issue and dropped it for the same reason (because it was realistically portrayed and I was greatly affected by it - a compliment), it has nothing to do with the love triangle which I could care less about.
I tried to pick up School 2013 but didn't enjoy it as much as many beanies here. Now that I am under Bae Doo-Na's charm I will make sure to check out the earlier series of Schools after FOS ends.
Back to School 2017, I personally find much of the criticism here valid. The story writing and editing are not smooth and there tends to be an over-reliance on slow-mos in the first episodes, so much that the pace seems lazy and it has potential to become a snooze fest. I like the second episode much better. The show also relies a lot on building up dramatic tension, to the point that it feels like Angry Mom. I loved Angry Mom so perhaps that's why I find the unrealistic, dramatic narrative in this series bearable. The show didn't use the first two episodes to build upon the exam pressure which can be, let's admit it, suffocating in many East and SE Asian countries. I've been there so I know how it feels. This perhaps explain why all the mystery and stuff might fly over some beanies' heads, especially if they are not familiar with the extremely exam-oriented nature of some of the East and SE Asian educational systems. I however hold the writer responsible for this missed opportunity. I also hold the director for liking to delve on thrills and tensions rather than taking a more realistic approach to the story. The issue of destroying stuff and interfering with exams, however, is not at all unrealistic and overly-dramatic. Back when I was at secondary school, one of my classmates (no one knows who it was until this day) stole the class' report log. The log books recorded our attendance and overall participation in each class, as well as our preparation for all the classes within that day. It also recorded marks given to us when we were asked to repeat the previous lesson's content, which we were supposed to learn by heart at home, at the start of each class. The homeroom teacher was furious but all of us was secretly thanking whoever stole that log book because some of us was recorded in there for chit-chatting during some lessons and that would bear some kind of penalty and consequences on our year-end review, which would be disclosed to our parents. Or we would pester some of our teachers into telling stories or stuff and they ended up forgetting about the 15-minute or 30-minute tests they had planned for that day. We did have a lot of those mini-tests and mock tests during our last year at high school. So overall I can completely relate to the situations in this drama. It's not the subject that is unrealistic;...

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It's not the subject that is unrealistic; it's the director's handling of how the scenes are played out that is to blame.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the acting, especially by Kim Se-jeong. I was worried watching the trailer but the girl put my concerns to rest. She's nothing spectacular, but very watchable in this role and I agree with @hanshimi that she's got natural chemistry with the majority of the cast. It's true that I find some scenes cringe-inducing (especially those interactions with Min-Hyuk and the fight that follows) and some acting OTT but overall they do not mar my enjoyment of the story. I hope the story will be tightly written and narrated later on. For now, I'm in for the entertainment.

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I completely agree with everything you've written so far. I too am a big fan of the franchise and saying that i loved the 2013 version is an understatement.

I watched one episode of 2015 and quickly surmised it was not going to be what it should be at least in my opinion as a fan anyway so i didn't go there.
So far the vibe i'm getting is that this 2017 version is going to be a like a mashup of 2013 and 2015. A dose of reality as well as fiction. While that idea in itself doesn't rock my boat either, like you i'm drawn in by Eunho and Dae-hwi characters so far and am curious enough about them to keep watching. So for now it's a pass from me.

I prefer if the show just highlights the real life struggles of the students, teachers and families similar to 2013 and it's predecessors. It's like watching a documentary k-drama style so it's not a complete snooze fest. I feel like when the more fictional aspects and romance are emphasised it minimises the effort to highlight real issues. I noted in myself when my attention shifted to really wanting to know who the hero was and what their motive is after really trying to understand the plight of the students. My concern is there will be too much kdrama in this one with little real aspects which would make 2 shows in a row that have been a disappointment as far as the plot goes.

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I'm not even going to pretend to be objective about this drama. I have already made a commitment to watch the whole thing just to support Kim Se Jeong. I am just glad that her acting is pretty solid and the drama itself is good so far. It's no masterpiece but at least they have a "who could it be" plot that can hook you in much like the Reply series. I see a lot of comments down here relating to School 2013. I think that drama has been put on a pedestal already so it'll be just unfair to compare the two.

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I felt that the acting was really awkward

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Okay I must say I never suspected Mr Shim to be the culprit... Mainly because he is just waaaay too meek in my mind to be able to do something like that.

But then yet again that just might be the perfect cover.

I have to admit though I wasn't all that keen for this season of School but I was glad that I had such terribly low expectations. I am not sure what it was but I just never really warmed up to the idea completely until this episode. I love every aspect of it and I cannot wait for the feels to hit me like a soccer ball.

But show if you choose the wrong guy again I am gonna punch you right in the nose.

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I found daewhi boring at first but he's got me interested in the second half of the episode. I like that they have already revealed to us his different layers.

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Hopefully this will fill in the withdrawal from Weightlifting Fairy! I'm captivated and look forward to more hehe

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