If you’re like me, and have put off watching Imaginary Cat because you thought it was going to star a cartoon-drawn feline, wait no longer. The cat is real and the show is fairly close to purrr-fection.
Because of a tragic event in his life, Hyun Jong-Hyun had given up on his dream of becoming a webcomic writer. Then, one rainy night he found a small, wet, kitten. Jong-Hyun rescued the kitty, brought it home, and a growing, tender bond with the darling feline gave him the courage he needed to believe in his dream once again.
At 17 years old Hyun Jong-Hyun was happy. He had a kind girlfriend named Jung Soo-In and high hopes of writing his own webcomic, but a tragic event and a crushing betrayal brought that dream to a screeching halt. After allowing a darling, stray cat into his home and heart, Jong-Hyun has refueled his dream of becoming a webcomic writer and has agreed to compete against an old friend turned current enemy, Park Hyun-Joon, in order to write the next webtoon at Plus Webtoon Contents. Jong-Hung works part time at a bookstore while writing his webcomic in his spare time.
Ever since she was little Oh Na-Woo has battled being ill. Seven years ago, because she was very sick, she was forced to give her kitten, Haru, to her aunt to take care of. Unfortunately, Haru was lost and even though it’s been such a long time, Na-Woo has never given up looking for her cat. She loves cats, so much so that she even feeds the strays in the neighborhood. When she meets Jong-Hyun she feels an immediate connection when she discovers he has a cat of his own.
Yook Min-Suk has been Jong-Hyun’s best friend since high school. He worries that Jong-Hyun has closed himself off from people, especially girls, for the past ten years and tries to encourage a relationship between him and Na-Woo. Min-Suk is 100% behind Jong-Hyun’s efforts to become a webcomic writer. Although Min-Suk, himself, used to want to draw professionally, he has given up on that idea and, instead, works at the gas station his father owns.
Years ago, Park Hyun-Joon, Min-Suk, and Jong-Hyun worked on a webcomic idea together but Hyun-Joon, afraid he would never be able to make it solo, stole the group’s work which became the vehicle that launched his career as the “webcomic king.” Although he insists it wasn’t plagiarism, he realizes he was in the wrong and knows his success isn’t a result of his own talent.
Manager Ma is the full-time employee who is in direct authority over Jong-Hyun. He takes his position seriously and seems to resent the fact that Jong-Hyun has a life outside the bookstore.
Dokgo Soon is an editor at Plus Webtoon Contents. She appreciates Jong-Hyun’s talent, sees value in his comics, and is trying to get others at the company on board with signing him as a webtoon writer.
Although Lee Wan went to school with Na-Woo several years ago, he still has a crush on her. He even made the decision to become a veterinarian when he heard her mention that a man in that profession would be her ideal type of guy. He just so happens to be Bokgil’s veterinarian.
Twenty-seven year old Jo Hye-Jung (who plays the part of Oh Na-Woo) began her acting career back in 2014 with the Kdrama God’s Quiz Season 4. She went on to be in several other TV dramas and two films. Her father is veteran actor Jo Jae-Hyun. Some people accused her of landing the part of Oh Na-Woo because of her father’s influence and not because of her acting abilities. (People can be so petty.) Her dad pretty much told her to not let it bother her and get used it. Obviously casting directors didn’t pay any attention to that silly rumor because she went on to be cast in some pretty decent shows – Go Back Couple, Cinderella and Four Knights, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo, and Because It’s the First Time, to name a few.
A big meow-out to Biteuli, the darling, talented, and smart cat who played the part of Bokgil, and to Han Ye-Ri who was her voice. That cat definitely stole the show!
Imaginary Cat is a heartwarming story Kdrama fans will definitely enjoy, especially animal lovers. One of the endearing things about it is that we are able to hear sweet Bokgil’s thoughts. She talks just like how I would imagine a cat to sound. It’s so cute how she refers to Jong-Hyun as “human.” He cuddles with her when he’s sad, plays with her by using her to shoot the enemy like a tank, they breeze through cat magazines together, he gives her massages, and she even sleeps in his bed under the blankets with him. Their relationship is gentle and affectionate.
I couldn’t help but internalize this story because it hit home in a few different ways. First off, my best friend is an artist but, unlike Jong-Hyun, who drew his comics the old fashioned way – on paper with pencil and ink – my friend does all his drawing on a humongous, modern Wacom Cintiq computer. Next, Jong-Hyun rescues a stray cat and his whole life changes when that cat softens and heals his heart. Three years ago my roommate adopted a cat that had been living under my car and it has pretty much turned my heart to mush. Although my roommate was the one to rescue it, I now consider him to be my cat. There’s another way this drama is like something I have experienced (the ending) but, so I don’t spoil things for you, I’ll skip that similarity.
The drama is based on the comic Sangsang go-yang-i, written by Kim Gyung, and is only four hours long (eight, half-hour episodes). I was surprised that even though we don’t get a ton of background story, there is enough for us to like and care about these people and there’s real character growth. The writing gets a A+, especially for Bokgil’s lines. I fell in love with that darling fur ball the minute I saw her.
I noticed a couple “oops” but nothing that messed up the show. The biggest one is where Na-Woo dumps, onto the street, the contents of her bag. It shows her bend over and begin to pick up the stuff but she stands up before it all makes it back into her bag. Then, when she walks away there’s nothing on the ground. It wasn’t all picked up but nothing’s there!? Ah! Another “oops” has to do with how Bokgil is laying. One second she’s facing the camera and the next second she’s not. I hear it’s quite difficult to work with animals.
Unfortunately, I can’t be specific about Imaginary Cat’s music. I can remember while I was watching the show I thought the music was good, nothing bothered me, so that’s a plus. When I went to YouTube in hopes of refreshing my memory, there was only one song that said Imaginary Cat OST, and since the information was all in Korean (and I don’t know Korean) I can’t even give you a title or artist’s name. Sorry.
This drama’s aesthetics are excellent. Nothing seems out of place or over the top. Jong-Hyun’s tiny apartment looks like what a part-time bookstore employee could afford; Plus Webtoon’s office is small, like they are new and just starting out in the business; the bookstore looks like a mid-sized independent business, not a huge chain; the veterinary clinic is clean and seems like it hasn’t been open long; and the coffee shop where Na-Woo helps out is cozy but not too small. Everything fits well with who these average, normal people are.
I can’t think of a single reason for you to not put this show on your watch list. Grab a pen and a piece of paper, jot down Imaginary Cat, tape it to your fridge, and the next time you’re in need of starting a Kdrama your reminder will be in plain sight. Happy watching.
Feel good show
Encourages adopting stray animals
A couple “oops”
The music isn’t memorable