We’re near the end of October and I’ve only given out one perfect score this year (Defendant) – that is, until now. The second 10 of 2017 goes to Splash Splash Love, a wonderful, excellent, entertaining, romantic/fantasy webdrama! Yes, a webdrama (from 2015), the first to get a perfect score from me. Jang Dan-Bi is a high school senior who, in trying to avoid taking the SAT, runs all the way to the Joesen Dynasty.
On the day of the big SAT test Dan-Bi tries to postpone the possibility of failure by sitting in the rain, wishing she could disappear. As she rests on a bench, clouded in worry and despair and wondering what to do, a strange puddle seems to beckon to her. When she gets close to it she sees a scene in the water. Curiosity takes hold as she dips her foot in the puddle, discovering she can’t touch the bottom. Then with just a slight hint of hesitation Dan-Bi, quite literally, takes a leap into the unknown and finds herself in the Joesen Dynasty, mistaken for a eunuch. Will she be stuck there forever or will she be able to get back to the future before anyone notices she’s missing?
When Dan-Bi comes face to face with King Yi-Do, she has no problem admitting she’s from the future. Even though math is her most difficult subject, she still knows more than the scholars of that period and she’s able to use that knowledge to her advantage. However, when the people surrounding the king come to the misguided conclusion she is a eunuch, she decides to go along with the idea and keep her true gender a secret in order to survive.
King Yi-Do values intelligence, surrounding himself with the smartest mathematicians and scientists he can find but not a single person is able to figure out the things he desires to know. When he discovers the new eunuch has knowledge from the future he assigns him (her) tasks that challenge the poor high school senior’s educational skills. Through it all, it doesn’t take long for Dan-Bi to become King Yi-Do’s personal teacher, best friend, and eventually his first love.
Yoon Doo-Joon began his career as the leader of the Kpop group Highlight, formerly known as Beast. He wanted to be a Physical Education teacher but changed his mind when he saw MTV’s Big Bang Documentary. He was first a trainee of JYP Entertainment, then switched to Cube Entertainment. He debuted as the leader of Beast in 2009 and when Jang Hyun-Seung left the group last year they changed the name to Highlight. His acting debut came in 2010 with a reoccurring role in the daily sitcom More Charming by the Day but his first role as the main male lead character was in the Kdrama Let’s Eat and he reprised that role a year later in Let’s Eat 2. In this webdrama he plays the part of King Yi-Do perfectly – an excellent balance of royalty combined with “ordinary man.” Yoon Doo-Joon – singer, actor and he’s modeled for Buckaroo brand jeans.
If you want to know a bit about Kim Seul-Gi, who plays Jang Dan-Bi masquerading as Eunuch Jang Yeong-Sil you can read about her in my Second to Last Love review.
The story is fictional, of course, but based on real historical characters and events. When the show was over I did some reading about King Yi-Do, known as Sejong the Great (who appears on the 10,000 won bill) and Jang Yeong-Sil. As in the drama, King Yi-Do really did make up the Hangul alphabet, and Jang Yeong-Sil was the person in real life responsible for coming up with the inventions depicted in the show – the celestial globe, the self-striking water clock, and the rain gauge. Pretty cool!
Splash Splash Love has a bit of Coffee Prince (I’m a man who loves women but I’m falling for another man), Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (I’m attracted to my eunuch), and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (I come up out of the water and I’m now living in ancient Korea) all rolled into one. King Yi-Do and Don-Bi/Yeong-Sil’s relationship is absolutely charming. It develops quite quickly but it has to because this is not a normal 16 hour Kdrama. It’s heartwarming to watch them flirt, tease, play with, and depend on one another. The romance is wonderful and the kisses are pretty decent. I’ll admit, I was a tiny bit jealous of Don-Bi.
The only thing I found that was “wrong” was the fact that Don-Bi emerges from being completely underwater (on two different occasions) and in mere minutes she’s just very damp. If I was an actress and the script said my character was supposed to be dripping wet, I’d insist on being completely soaked when the scene was shot. These actors and directors need to step things up a notch.
Splash Splash Love was originally aired as a webdrama on Naver TV Cast and later broadcast on MBC in two, one hour, episodes. You can see it either way on Viki.com.
The music is great! I loved every song, and there’s a lot more of them than what you’ll find on YouTube. There are only two listed on the website I found – Kim Hyung-Joong and Remi each sing their own version of the song called Fondant to You (a male version and a female version, kind of like Hyun Bin singing That Man and Baek Ji-Young singing That Woman from Secret Garden) and Jung Ji-Chan is credited as the artist for Don’t Go.
You wouldn’t know this show was a webdrama by its scenery. The palace and surrounding area is beautiful, not any less quality than Queen for Seven Days‘ was. The costumes are normal historical ones, another thing that gives this drama class.
Splash Splash Love is excellent entertainment and the first webdrama I’ve ever given a perfect 10 to. I feel bad it took me almost two years to see this wonderful romance. If you haven’t taken time for this show yet, don’t wait one minute longer. It’s really that good.
Engaging, romantic storyline
Fun way to present historical facts
Endearing chemistry between Yoon Doo-Joon and Kim Seul-Gi
Relationship/chemistry between King Yi-Do and Dan-Bi
Don-Bi’s soaking wet clothes and hair dry unrealistically fast