It may be known only for being an “idol” drama, but High School – Love On is one of the cutest, simplest dramas on air today. It has everything anyone can ask for – romances, complex family issues, fights, magic, and chaebols with too much money and daddy issues. The drama is mostly about high school, making it one of the first dramas this year to focus on student life.
High School – Love On isn’t going to become the next The Heirs, gaining international love, because it’s just too low-key. The characters are realistic (with the exception of the angel,) it’s as if the audience can actually imagine the kids in their high school class are in the drama- bullies, princesses, low-key hard workers, nerds, dorks, etc. There’s something for everyone.
Contains slight spoilers.
1. It’s Like Death Note, With Rainbows
Instead of writing down names of people to die, the angels in High School-Love On escort the dead to the afterlife after the humans’ names appear in their death books. Lee Seulbi escorted human souls to the afterlife, watching humans (and their dramas) as she did so, but never interacting with them. By chance, Lee Seulbi becomes human after losing her death note, and a whole whirlwind of romance, adventure, magic, and love. It’s a cool twist on the angel of death, and brings a darker, more mysterious side to a drama that could have been very typical.
2. And What School 2013 Would Have Been If There Were Love-lines & Magic
Following that same train of thought… School 2013 was one of 2013’s great dramas, because it depicted modern day classrooms in Korea, with a particular emphasis on bullying in Korean schools. Bullying occurs in many high school-related dramas, but usually because of wealth or issues pertaining to romance. In High School – Love On, there is bullying throughout the show, and other numerous issues. There are constant references to parents’ harsh standards for their children in school.
The very first episode depicts a student attempting suicide because the pressures are too high. There is levity and romance, but High School- Love On is very much about the relationship of high school students to their peers, their educators, and their parents.
3.Compelling Family Issues
And, speaking of parents, if you want two brother’s (by Korean standards) going to school and not knowing that they’re siblings, they’re here for you. There’s also an elderly grandmother who had to raise one of those said boys on her own because his mother abandoned him and his father is living in the US. It doesn’t hurt that these two dramatically related characters are also both in love with an angel.
Oh, and let’s not forget the chaebol’s son who may not actually be a son of that chaebol.
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4. Kim Sae Ron
Usually the male leads make these lists, but the main actress is definitely the most stand out actor in High School – Love On. She’s only fourteen but doing a great job at playing an innocent high school-aged angel who is confused with what life has to offer her. While the age difference is a little bit disturbing (considering that the male leads are both over 23 years old,) she keeps up with the older actors and it’s a real show of her talent that she is able to take control of the scenes despite her age.
5. INFINITE’s Sungyeol and Woohyun
Have I mentioned that the main male leads, the boys who are connected, are INFINITE’s Woohyun and Sungyeol? Even if you’re not a fan of the idol group, the two are great in their roles as rival-friends. The two retain their first names, as a nod to their role as idols, but that’s where the relationship stops. Woohyun and Sungyeol have both acted in dramas before, but this is a real turning point. Woohyun’s acting in the first few episodes are amazing, and Sungyeol plays the brooding second lead who knows he won’t end up with the girl but still helps her with all of her problems.
6. Cute “What Would Happen In A Drama?” Moments
Before she even has a name, Seulbi is seen living vicariously through dramas. As an angel, she obsesses over them, wondering why humans in dramas do certain things. As the drama progresses, the character asks herself “if I were the female lead in a drama, what would I do?” multiple times. The other characters end up doing it a few times, too.