When a high school student comes back Into the World Again after being dead 12 years, what will his family and friends think? This fantasy love story pulls at our heartstrings a bit as it unfolds, making us wonder what might happen if someone we love came back from the dead. (This drama is also known as Reunited Worlds.)
The enjoyment of this particular drama hinges on not having a clue about what’s going to happen next. So, I won’t be able to go into a lot of details in this review and if I happen to reveal a bit too much, please forgive me.
Sung Hae-Sung and Jung Jung-Min have liked each other for quite awhile but have managed to hide it well from the other kids at school. Even the four friends in their tight-knit group think they are just buddies. When Hae-Sung unexpectedly passes away in an accident Jung-Min feels responsible and distances herself from her friends.. Twelve years after his untimely death, through some kind of miracle, Hae-Sung comes back into the world again and he’s devastated when he learns that on the night he died he was also found guilty of murdering a student in his class, which has had serious consequences on the four younger siblings he left behind – all but one of them now older than he is. Now that he’s back will Hae-Sung be able to find the real killer and clear his name so his brothers and sisters can have a better life, not being branded the siblings of a murderer? And what will happen when he reveals himself, still 19 years old, to the family and friends that loved him so much and mourned his death over a decade ago?
Imagine how you’d feel if you woke up and discovered 12 years had passed while you were asleep. It’s not so much that time has passed that Sung Hae-Sung finds so hard to bare as much as it is the fact he was found guilty of murder. His siblings are estranged and he’s determined to fix things for them.
Poor Jung Jung-Won has felt not only the pain of loosing a loved one but the agonizing sorrow at the idea of her causing that death. Because Hae-Sung had hoped to own his own restaurant someday, Jung-Won took over that dream and is now a prep cook at a respected and popular Italian restaurant called SNT. She took out a private loan to pay Hae-Sung’s grandmother’s hospital bills just before the sweet woman passed away, and she’s being hassled by two thugs to pay it off. She can’t even afford to pay her rent. She stayed close to Hong Jin-Joo, a friend from her high school days, but hasn’t been able to face the others because of Hae-Sung’s death.
Soft-spoken, sympathetic, talented, and good looking Cha Min-Joon is the CEO and head chef at SNT. He fell in love with Jung-Won the minute he saw her and actually canceled studying in Paris because he didn’t want to leave her. He has come right out on a couple different occasions and told her how he feels but she “thanks, but no thanks”ed him each time. He has been alone most of his life, taken care of by his aunt and uncle. When his mother died his father remarried and didn’t want to have anything to do with him, keeping his very existence a secret from his new wife and son.
The supporting characters in this drama keep the story flowing at a very nice pace.
Sung Hae-Sung’s younger step-brother, 30 year old Sung Young-Joo, is a surgeon at a large hospital. He hasn’t seen his siblings in many years, preferring, instead, to act like they don’t exist.
Twenty-six year old Sung Young-In is Hae-Sung’s younger step-sister. She lives with, and has taken care of, her younger sister all on her own since the death of their grandmother. She is a sales clerk in a humongous department store.
Sung Hae-Chul is Hae-Sung’s real younger brother. Because of his brother being branded a murderer, Hae-Chul saw no decent future for himself and became a collector for some loan sharks. He is the single father of a darling six year old girl named Gong-Joo.
Hae-Sung’s younger half-sister is Sung Soo-Ji. She is 19 years old (the same age he was when he died) and a senior in high school. Although she is ill she hasn’t mentioned it to her family.
Hae-Sung and Jung-Won’s close friends from high school…
Hong Jin-Joo is a yoga instructor. Ho-Bang claims she is the size of a peanut but her personality is sassy, flamboyant, and larger than life. She would like to have a steady boyfriend.
Shin Ho-Bang is a cop in the violent crimes division. Although he likes Jin-Joo she prefers sparing with him to dating him. He is determined to clear Hae-Sung’s name and find the real killer.
Kil Moon-Shik is the friend that doesn’t have a lot going for him. He’s a simple man who works as an electric service center employee and he doesn’t have a girlfriend.
Cha Tae-Hoon is handsome, charming, kind, generous, and loaded. His father is the CEO of a giant department store of which he is the vice-president. His mother wants him to marry the daughter of a hospital administrator but he likes someone else.
Yeo Jin-Goo plays the part of Sung Hae-Sung. If you’d like some information about Jin-Goo you can read about him in my Circles: Two Worlds Connected review.
You can read about Lee Yeon-Hee, who plays Jung Jung-Won, in my review of The Package.
This drama is 40 half hour episodes. So much of it is character development, not anything extremely pertinent to the plot, which I liked. It is almost as if we’re viewing real people’s lives. And there aren’t any extremely horrible, evil bad guys other than the killer and Cha Tae-Hoon’s dad.
Did I like the show’s ending? Well, I’m not sure yet. The second it was over I would have told you no, but now that I’ve had a few hours to mull it over, maybe it’s not what I was thinking it was – maybe.. just maybe. Personally, I would have ended it differently but, then again, I’m not the writer. And while I’m on the subject of writers I wanted to let you know Lee Hee-Myung (Into the World Again ‘s screenwriter) and Baek Soo-Chan (its director) had worked together before on both Sensory Couple and Beautiful Gong Shim – two very good dramas.
There are a couple “oops” in Into the World Again, the first having to do with Jung-Won’s bangs. She accidentally falls asleep on Jin-Joo’s gum and it mats her bangs together. The only way to remove it is to cut it out. Unfortunately, she is startled when she goes to make the first snip and chops off way too much hair. When we first see her horrified look she has the scissors in her hand by her face, but the close up has her hand empty. Also, she hates the fact that her bangs are too short and people comment about them but although the show spans several months her bangs never grow out. I’d hate to have hair that takes so long to grow. The other mistake is when Chef Min-Joon falls after being hit on the head in the market. The first shot shows his head on the cement but the next one, the close-up, has lots of vegetables pillowing his head. Yep, I noticed.
Unfortunately, the soundtrack wasn’t long enough for a 20 hour show. So many of the songs were just plain overplayed. I’ll mention a few of the better ones… Waiting For You, performed by Jo Hyun-Ah of Urban Zakapa, is a lovely ballad with a sad sounding electric guitar solo in the middle of it. I’d love to see some couple on Dancing With the Stars do a Viennese Waltz to this song. It’s that pretty. You in Front of Me, sung by Taru, had English lyrics that made me crazy. “Do you love me, boo? You always love me boo.” Boo? What is the word boo doing in that love song? Do Koreans know that boo is what ghosts say? Yikes. All I can figure out is because Hae-Sung came back from the dead, he is considered a ghost and the lyricist decided to nickname him Boo. Except the boo wasn’t capitalized like you would do for a name. Ahhhhhh… mollayo! SE O sings Sad Heart, which actually makes your heart sad when you hear it. I.B.I. sings Oh My God, a fast-paced song I sometimes liked and sometimes didn’t.
The scenery is very balanced in its off balance. What I mean is, there are just as many “wow” backgrounds as there are “normal” ones. Hae-Sung’s brother Hae-Chul’s life is definitely in the lower class category but most of the main characters live in lower middle class housing and neighborhoods. However, Chef Cha’s home and restaurant are very nice (way upper middle class), while Tae-Hoon’s home is lavishly extravagant! A good representation of a few different classes.
I really, really enjoyed Into the World Again. It’s an easygoing, evenly paced drama with loads of lovable characters. It’s not difficult to get emotionally invested in this drama.
Easy to become emotionally involved
No horrible, evil, monstrous people
Not really sure I liked the ending
Some songs played too often
A few “oops” moments