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High School Return of a Gangster (Drama Hangout)

Welcome to the Drama Hangout for Wavve’s body-swap youth drama High School Return of a Gangster, where gangster Lee Seo-jin is now inhabiting the body of downtrodden teen Yoon Chan-young.

This is your place to binge and chat about the drama. Stay tuned — we’ll have a First Impressions post coming soon!


Beware of spoilers! This thread is for discussing the entire series.

 
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I liked the first 2 episodes, i appreciated the fact that the main character was quickly able to acclimate to his new environment and that the fish-out-of-water trope was not dragged out too much.

Also..... did anybody else detect some weird romantic tension between Deuk-pal and Se Kyung... or am i hallucinating?

I said the same thing about Ji-sung and Jinyoung in "The Devil Judge" and my drama watching friends said i was crazy

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Your instincts are right. The original novel is BL - it's tagged 'Censored Adaptation of Same-sex Original Work' on MDL. In the original, Yi-heon liked Se-kyung and was bullied and ostracised for his sexuality.

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I came here to say exactly what @miso2019 explained lol
The webtoon is touching (I'm not far into it because I'm reading it in Korean and my Korean sucks dramatically) because at first Deuk-pal is desperate to get out and get back to his own body (unfortunately, his approach is to repeatedly jump off a bridge, so he ends up being back into a hospital bed and missing the funeral of his adult body). Anyway, that's when he discovers the diary on the tablet and the diary is, just as @miso2019 says, explaining that he was bullied not because people called him stalker but because they discovered he was attracted to Se-kyung. Deuk-pal needs perhaps the best part of 0.1sec to decide that he will stay in Yi-heon's body and give him the life, love, and respect he deserves. There's not even a pause to think in the webtoon. He just goes from "I want to get out of this body" to "my mission is to protect this kid"
So, I think for me, it wasn't even the BL that won my heart, it was the complete, total support, understanding, and even acceptance that Deuk-pal is giving to a teen he doesn't even know.
So anyway, to confirm, you're not crazy and I suspect both the actors know the source material.

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My respect for Deuk-pal had gone up dramatically. 🙌

I was happy that he felt he had to protect Yi-heon but this acceptance is another level of wow!!

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Gonna pass on this one, I heard good reviews but It just doesn't sit right with me that this is censored queer media. There are MILLIONS of novels they could have adapted, but they chose one with a gay couple just to cut that out of the story because they were worried it wouldn't become popular because "bl is a niche genre". Isn't the whole point of an adapation of another media that it already has an audience and is less risky financially because it's already popular?? Not to mention queer media, ESPECIALLY bl is probably the most profitable it ever was in it's entire history.

These days some shows become popular BECAUSE they have good writing for their queer characters (recently in western shows dead boy detectives).

This all just seems like a shitty excuse so that they can bait queer and bl fans while also not pissing of conservative viewers. If think queerbaiting can be an overused term, but THIS is queerbaiting to me!

I also heard that fans of one of the main actors did not want him playing a gay character and harrased the drama producers for it, this is probably why they toned down even the bromance?

Don't look at the mdl page of this show though. It's full of really vile and crazy people. And homophobes who make fun of people who are rightfully disappointed by the changes and want to boycott the show. Not only because of the censorship, but for the fact that this is one of the kdramas that once again hired the known rapist Lee Kyung Young.

Sorry for the little rant, just had to get it out of my system. I am very disappointed in south korea, I thought they were going in the right direction and three steps forward for good queer content, now it seems like they go three steps back instead.

And just to clear up some misunderstandings, the romance in the webnovel is between two students! I heard the false information that it's between the gangster and a student, that's wrong! Homophobia has also a storyline in the web novel, which seems quite ironic now.

Obviously I wish the people who are still watching and enjoying this (despite everything) a good watch! I just can't stomach it myself and don't want to support it, I'm not here to ruin it for others.

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Don’t be sorry as this is not a rant. You’ve written a cogent and informative comment.

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Gross.

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Gross? Gross what? Did you look into the mirror and just had to write what you saw?

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I am looking forward to seeing where they go with this one as the two main characters are lost souls who need to have genuine friends to survive the school and family dramas they are currently facing.
I particularly like that the original soul has made an appearance I was wondering how he will get back to his body if he was trapped elsewhere.

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I was actually confused by that but it is nice to see how the actor acts differently when playing Yi Heon vs Deuk Pal.

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Where are people even watching this?

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Episodes 1-2

These were a nice set of introductory episodes with the story moving along at a fairly fast clip. After all we only have 8 episodes.

We got to know the main players and a basic background of their lives.

Lee Seo-jin made a great impression as Deuk-pal. A hardworking, salt of the earth, risen through the ranks gangster. I'm sad that courtesy the second ToD he now won't have a body to go back to after Yi-heon's spirit comes back - hopefully to a happier life. Guess the good deeds of the ToD stopped with Lovely Runner. 😟 At least uri Ahjussi Gangster will get to live out a cherished dream of his life. It hit hard when he worried that he may not be good enough in studies to do as well as Yi-heon. Not for a moment have we seen him bemoan how his own life was cut short. He is trying his best to ensure that Yi-heon gets to live a life he deserves.

Yoon Chan-young is great as the Ajhusshi High Schooler and the conflicted young boy. Not a fan of his hairdo but I understand that's his way of trying to be *invisible* - if I can't see them, they can't see me.

I'm looking forward to seeing how uri Ahjussi Gangster fixes Yi-heon's life with his out-of-the-box solutions. One would have never put him down as a man who visits music rooms. 😂 His handling of the school bullies and sympathetic understanding of Se-kyung is fun to watch. I love how uri Ahjussi Gangster has endeared himself not only to the teachers but also the girl gang.

Se-kyung may not be bullied in school but he definitely has been pressured since childhood to conform to his father's will. There does seem to be a bigger secret and I'm talking about the censored dropped storyline. I wonder then what was the secret Yi-heon apparently threatened Se-kyung with on the evening he jumped off that bridge. I bet Se-kyung will recognize  Yi-heon right off the bat when he returns.

Looking forward to more Deuk Pal shenanigans. While I shouldn't laugh at what he did to the gangsters in the sauna it was funny seeing Yoon Chan-young pat their cheeks and give them pocket money. I wonder now what became of his gang which has now apparently bifurcated. Guess if the new gang leader is serious about honoring Deuk Pal it will go a long way in helping him face Yi-heon's Chaebol father who is surely to be in cohoots with Se-kyung's prosecutor father.

See you soon Ahjussi Gangster. Till then *salute*. 🫡

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It's sweet (to me) how the gangster earnestly values education and teachers and wants to go to college.

That makes me like him already

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I saw the first two episodes and so far, I like it or at least, I'm interested and intrigued.

How will Deuk Pal handle his former subordinates being his new adversaries? Or will they be his adversaries? Will he tell them who he is and explain that he's in an incredible circumstance? Either way, will the former guys be receptive to him or will they feel like now is their time to shine? I also wonder if Deuk Pal will tell Se Kyung about his situation.

I don't know what to say about Se Kyung (I think that's his name) because I feel like my preception might be affected by others talking about this being based on a BL and the backlash/upset/etc over the changes. I'm kinda disappointed that I had to see/know about the backlash before I got to see the episodes for myself but whatever.

Anyhoo, if I *hadn't* known about the show's source material, I think I would've wondered if there was supposed to be some romantic or "more than friends" vibes between the boys. Honestly, I could've also seen it as admiration and desiring friendship because if you're a bullied loner with a lonely home life and you see someone who seems to be the total opposite of that, you could wish you were in their orbit and can't help but be drawn to them.

I'm not sure how they're planning to adapt the story (and I don't know what happened on the source material) but if they're taking out the BL element then are Se Kyung and Yi Heon talking about something other than potential gayness when talking about knowing each other's "true nature"?

I wonder how abused, manipulated, and controlled Se Kyung is and if Deuk Pal will be able to help him somehow.

There's alot of things I'm curious about so far.

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I could see the actor playing the lead bully Jae Min having a future playing the goofy support characters. The way he rolls his eyes or gets words wrong (and the mix of embarassed & "it doesn't matter cause you know what I mean" look) are chuckleworthy.

I hope this guy doesn't get typecast in bully roles

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The one liners, quips, mistakes in words & phrases all amuse me haha
"You don't let anything slide except your grades"
"You cyberpath -> you cyber pass"
"Look at your mammoth acting"
[Deul Pal discussing fighting techiniques] Se Kyung: "This doesn't suit you; it requires a lot of thinking
[Se Kyung in english] "You don't even understand, dumbass" [Jae Min] You just swore at me didn't you?!

Haha
Ahh

I'm scared future episodes won't be as funny haha

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When Se Kyung speaks english, it seems so dubbed to me haha
Like they really had him do ADR just to say some insults? Haha

I know what's not what likely happened since I think the actor is actually fluent in english (I think) but that's still the way it comes across to me and it just makes the situation(s) funnier to me.

Like the added effort just to insult someone haha

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Regarding the first episode, while I got that the subordinates were grieving, I was kinda annoyed that they were apparently harassing the hospital staff and then the recently awakened Yi Yeon (Deuk Pal).
He had JUST woken up and they hit him, dragged him to a memorial, and then berated him over not acting the way they felt he should be acting. After he JUST woke up! Even under normal circumstances, a person might not be firing on all cynlinders and as if it wasn't bad enough they did it the first time, they came back to harass him for an apology after he was hospitalized AGAIN.

Again, I get that they were grieving but it was still so irksome and immature to me. I'm glad the big boss just told Yi Yeon to just go.

These types of actions is probably why the big boss didn't let these guys take over the group and they just formed a new group.

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Each week I'm surprised by how wholesome and good this show. Deuk Pal really is just a good guy, even if he was a gangster, who tries to look out for kids. He has such a paternal and caring streak to him.

One potential issue, in my opinion, is Deuk Pal is such a good character that you kinda don't want him to go. Especially when the only thing we know about Yi Yeon is how beaten down by life he has been. It might seem jarring for him to come back and be all passive and introverted when dealing with others.

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