For sheer entertainment value, I’m Not a Robot is an fun way to spend 16 hours of down time. From beginning to end these friendly, personable characters will capture your interest as you watch them overcome life’s obstacles and grow from their own personal challenges.
An amazing, new artificial intelligence (AI), created by Professor Hong Baek-Kyun and his Santa Maria team members, is ready for testing so they turn to the chairman of KM Financial, Kim Min-Kyu. He agrees to test the robot to decide whether or not his company should fund the manufacturing of more Aji 3s. However, the day before the robot is to be delivered to Chairman Kim, some liquid accidentally gets into the android’s gears, shutting it down. Knowing Kim Min-Kyu would see the malfunction as a reason to not fund the project, Professor Hong decides to send in the person he used as a model for his AI, Jo Ji-Ah. For the right amount of money Ji-Ah agrees to be the fake robot knowing once it is fixed, she’ll be swapped out for the real Aji 3 and no one will be the wiser. But although Ji-Ah tries to be as robot-like as she can, her human side is impossible to hide and Min-Kyu finds himself falling in love with the “friend mode” of Aji 3. Can the Santa Maria team and Ji-Ah fool Min-Kyu long enough for them to be able to get funding for their AI project or will he discover their charade and pull the plug on the whole thing?
Handsome 28 year old Chairman Kim Min-Kyu’s parents passed away on his 13th birthday. Due to a life threatening physical illness, an allergy to people, Min-Kyu has been isolated from all humans for the past 15 years, only venturing out to work when his path through the building has been cleared of all people. For his own protection he wears gloves, carries a police baton, and his clothes cover his entire body. Only a tiny handful of people even know of his illness, most just assume he is weird or eccentric. However, his allergy hasn’t deterred him from being an excellent businessman. He is almost entirely responsible for KM Financial’s success.
Jo Ji-Ah lives with her older brother and his family. Although she doesn’t have the know-how to create the things she imagines she truly is an inventor at heart. She thought up the idea for an umbrella that goes from opaque to transparent with the simple push of a button and is currently trying to sell her “heart ball” idea – two lamps that are connected to each other even when separated. Ji-Ah is a people person, able to bond with others through her sympathizing heart and trusting nature.
The man ultimately responsible for the creation of Aji 3 is brilliant Professor Hong Baek-Kyun who patterned its physical appearance and human-like characteristics after his ex-girlfriend Jo Ji-Ah (hence the name Aji). He regrets the fact that they broke up and would like to begin their relationship once again. He designed his robot with the hope of people being able to emotionally bond with it, therefore helping those who may need that kind of support in their life.
Kang Ki-Young plays the part of Hwang Yoo-Chul, the second in command at KM Financial. He and Min-Kyu were best friends growing up but Yoo-Chul did something that ruined their relationship and now they are rivals for the top seat in the company and the same childhood sweetheart.
After his mother sent his picture to an ad agency, Yoo Seung-Ho (who plays Kim Min-Kyu) began his entertainment career at a very young age by way of a cellphone commercial. His acting debut was in the TV drama Daddy Fish and two years later he was in a film, making a name for himself in the motion picture The Way Home. As a teenager he was cast in the drama Master of Study (I loved that show) and then accepted his very first leading man role in the romantic fantasy Kdrama Operation Proposal (another great drama). That’s where I fell in love with his acting. His crying in that show is heart wrenching. He’s also wonderful in the legal thriller Remember.
Chae Soo-Bin (born Bae Soo-Bin) was literally discovered on the street by a casting director. Her acting debut was in 2014’s motion picture My Dictator. In 2015 she won the Best New Actress award for her roles in House of Black Bird and Cheer Up! 2016 saw her take on the role of a princess in Moonlight Drawn by Clouds and she was in the Chinese-South Korean webdrama My Catman. She has also performed on stage in two theater productions. 2017’s The Rebel was her first staring role in a prime time drama. As for her roles in I’m Not a Robot, I thought she was much more attractive as Aji 3 than as Ji-Ah. I liked how she looked with bangs and long hair and the make-up they used on her robot face made her eyes more pronounced and gentle. She did a wonderful job acting like an android.
The 1995 stage play of Richard III was Uhm Ki-Joon’s (whose character is Professor Hong Baek-Kyun) acting debut. He stayed in that particular genre for many years doing hit plays and musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain, Greese, Jack the Ripper, The Three Musketeers, Catch Me if You Can, The Count of Monte Cristo, and many others. After years of being on stage he decided to try TV in 2006 with Drama City‘s Who Loved Her? Film naturally followed with a part in the 2010 movie Man of Vendetta. My first memory of him is his role as a bad guy in the crime drama Golden Cross. He really has an unsettling smile in that show. He also did a superb job playing a spooky, psychotic killer in last year’s Defendant.
I would like to have seen Uhm Ki-Joon and Kang Ki-Young swap characters. I’m used to Uhm Ki-Joon playing the evil character (which he does so convincingly) and Kang Ki-Young being the nice guy (which manifests in his sweet face) so their roles in this drama just didn’t fit in my mind. I’ll admit I enjoyed seeing Uhm Ki-Joon in the role of a good guy but he’s amazing as a scary character. And Kang Ki-Young just doesn’t seem to have what he needs to come off as a good villain. His eyes are too kind.
I felt very much the same watching I’m Not a Robot as I did while viewing Save the Last Dance for Me – this is so far fetched but I love it. Min-Kyu is an extremely intelligent guy and it just didn’t seem reasonable to me that he would fall in love with his robot. But then I began thinking about his background. He had lived the last 15 years of his life alone, without being emotionally close to anyone. Relationships were foreign to him so the fact that he wasn’t able to see signs of a “real person” in what he was told was a robot made me into a wannabe believer.
Although Kim Min-Kyu’s allergy to people could kill him it is entirely psychosomatic, brought on by a feeling of betrayal at a time in his young life when he was the most vulnerable. Allergies are strange things, manifesting themselves in various ways. Min-Kyu’s allergy causes him to breakout in a horrible rash, his heart rate increases, and he has difficulty breathing. It’s his love for, and trust in, Aji 3 that helps tame his symptoms.
A big shout out goes to I’m Not a Robot‘s wardrobe folks. The show takes place during the cold autumn and winter months and Kim Min-Kyu has tons of wonderfully awesome sweaters! Long and short, plain and multi-colored, baggy and form fitting… there are lots of them and Yoo Seung-Ho looks incredibly handsome in each and every one.
The music fits very nicely with the show. There weren’t any songs I found obnoxious or any I thought were overplayed. Loving a Thing With All One’s Heart, performed by Damsonegongbang, is soft, slow, and very pretty. Something, sung by Sung Hoon, has an electric guitar, rock ‘n roll, 60s sort of sound to it – pure fun! And Stella Jang sings the one that comes to mind when I think of the show, Do You Know Me. It’s my personal favorite.
If you’re under the impression a drama filmed during the winter would have dull scenery, think again. There’s lovely, fresh snow in the background of many shots throughout the last few episodes, a trip to a quaint harbor sea town, and Min-Kyu’s jaw-droppingly beautiful mansion complete with a tremendously huge card castle and a bookshelf where Aji 3 has arranged the books into the shape of a giant heart. Sadly, there is one outside scene near the end where you can tell it wasn’t really filmed outdoors. It looks like it was shot inside a studio with a green screen behind the actors. There’s always the possibility I’m wrong, but that’s what the meteorite storm scene looked like to me.
Although I’m Not a Robot didn’t do well in the ratings (only averaging 3.22% nationwide) it is a fun little show. Nothing about it is great, but it is entertaining in its own way. I say, watch it but don’t expect wow.
Handsome Yoo Seung-Ho and his emotional acting
Friendly, personable characters
Not a heavily themed drama
Kim Min-Kyu’s awesome sweaters
Pretty winter scenery
Nothing really bad, just not a lot of wow