Drama Review: Reply 1997/ Answer Me 1997/ 응답하라 1997
(16 episodes / aired in 2012/ watch on DramaFever.com)
No matter how old you are and no matter where you’re from, you will certainly like, if not love, this drama: Reply 1997 aka Answer Me 1997.
I started watching this drama only knowing that it’s about a group of teenagers learning about friendship, love, and relationships. I also expected that it will have a good amount of “fan-girling” moments from the main character. I honestly thought that it will be the typical school-based drama that we’ve seen so many times before. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there are a lot more emotions and life lessons that you can put in a plot like this one.
So, are you curious yet? Yes? Maybe? If you’re looking to watch something about love in February, I highly recommend this drama. Read on and find out what this is about! ^^
Some synopsis writes that there are five main characters in the story. I like to list all six of them: Shi Won, Yoon Jae, Joon Hee, Yoo Joong, Sung Jae and Hak Chan. Meeting again at their high school reunion dinner, this group of friends fondly reminisce their fun and exciting youth! The story takes us to previous years, all the way back to 1997, to reveal how they all met, grew up together, fell in love, worked separately, and found each other’s company again.
Shi Won 시원 (A Pink’s Jung Eun Ji/정은지) is the tough and crazy H.O.T fan. She does not do very well in school. In fact, she’s ranked last in her class. She’s likeable most of the time but she’s also mean and bossy. Her burning love for H.O.T can cause madness in their house and almost everywhere! She’s very close to Yoon Jae because of the tight bonds between their families.
Yoon Jae 윤재 (Seo In Guk/서인국) is the perfect student. He’s class president, he’s super smart, he plays sports, he sings, and he’s handsome. What more from a student can you ask for?! He is also a loyal friend and loving brother. Everything seemed perfect for this guy until he falls in love.
Joon Hee 준히 (Infinite’s Lee Ho Won/이호원 aka Hoya/호야) is the ideal guy. He’s smart – he’s #2 in class (bested by Yoon Jae), he’s charismatic, a little mysterious, and he’s very polite to girls and elders! To me, he’s the voice of reason and conscience in the drama. Find out why I said that, and try to find out his secret, too!
Yoo Joong 유정 (Shin So Yool/신소율) is Shi Won’s best friend. She’s an H.O.T fan too but not for too long. Her change of heart shook their friendship – but they realized that their bond is not based on what posters they have on their walls. See how they support each other in the most touching ways.
Sung Jae 성재 (Lee Shi Un/이시언) is the sidekick. He’s average in most things. He’s just the total opposite of Yoon Jae and Joon Hee. But they are close friends. What’s admirable about him is his diligence. Yes, he whines a lot, but who doesn’t? He endures and succeeds. Go Sung Jae! Fighting!
Hak Chan 학찬 (Eun Ji Won/은지원) is the transfer student. He’s the city boy, ace-student, and awkward outsider, who turn out to be a perfect fit for this Busan group. He’s weird and shy but deep inside, he’s a true gentleman.
Although it may be hard to identify yourself with any of the characters based on their personality, I am sure you will be able to relate to their experiences: first loves, rivalries, secrets, family struggles, personal sacrifices, etc. This is why I think the drama was able to reach out to a big audience – it has a lot of sincerity in the situations they presented.
Majority of the story takes place in Busan. (Sidenote: When I say Busan, I think of Busan F4: Yonghwa, Jonghyun, Kikwang, and Sam D. Anyone else who has this syndrome? ♥)
I also admire the support cast in this drama: Shi Won’s mom and dad, Yoon Jae’s brother, Shi Won’s classmates/rivals, and the cameos! ^^
The main actors, Seo In Guk and Jung Eun Ji, who are also both singers, recorded a couple of songs for the OST. Listen to “All For You” and “Just the Way We Love”. My favorite track that was used in the drama is Jinusean’s Tell Me. It just has that nice vibe!
This drama is like one long movie. The story has a good flow and all episodes contributed to developing the characters and the plot. What’s also fascinating is that it keeps you interested until the very end – as some aspects of the story are not revealed until the last episode. It evoked all sorts of emotions in me. Be prepared to laugh, cry, laugh some more, be mad, confused, shocked…
And oh, after watching this, I must admit that I now have a bit of a crush on the lead actors namely, In Guk and Hoya!
If you were actually in high school in 1997 or late 90’s, you would enjoy this because it is nostalgic. I was very young in 1997 and I find it funny to see a lot of obsolete things, like cassettes and beepers! I owned a couple of cassette tapes but I never had a beeper. Add to that, I was also living in Asia and Tamagochis/virtual pets was huge! If you are from Korea, I think that H.O.T. and Sechs Kies references in the drama are enough reason to love it.
If you were born in 2000’s, well then, consider this a period/historical drama. LOL. Just kidding!!! ^^
Happy watching everyone!
This post is by Noreen, one of our new writers who will be writing a regular column about Korean dramas (or K-dramas). Stay tuned for her bio coming soon. ^^