I don’t believe it would be accurate for me to describe Nevertheless as a love story. It’s more like a lust story. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an erotic Kdrama! Not in the slightest. Yes, the main couple has an intimate physical relationship but other than some bare shoulders in bed, we don’t see anything that would give this show more than a simple PG rating in the U.S.A.
Upon discovering her boyfriend had been two-timing her, Yoo Na-Bi decides to nurse her broken heart and wounded pride at a bar and, while there, encounters Park Jae-Eon. The young man is a professional flirt – knowing the perfect thing to say as well as when and how to say it. The two seem to enjoy one another’s company and it doesn’t take longer than a few days before their relationship becomes intimately physical. Knowing full well that Jae-Eon simply wants to play, without any kind of commitment, Na-Bi allows herself to be his new fling amid stern warnings from her friends about the kind of player Jae-Eon is. She realizes what she feels for Jae-Eon isn’t love, noting their relationship is just one that occurs at night, but she enjoys his attention while bracing herself for a breakup she is certain will eventually come.
Yoo Na-Bi was given her name (which means butterfly) by her aunt because she wanted the girl to feast on all the delicious “honey” life had to offer. She is much closer to her aunt than she is to her own mother, often feeling like she’s not a high priority in the woman’s life. Na-Bi attends Hongseo University and is a student in the Sculpture Department. She is kind, soft-spoken, and popular among her peers. Her goal is to study abroad through a student exchange program but, at the same time, she realizes her skill and grades are probably not good enough to take her to where she longs to study – Paris. She lives alone in a very nice studio apartment owned by her artist aunt who earns a living by selling pottery.
Park Jae-Eon – everyone is familiar who he is but no one knows much about the young man except that he’s handsome, intelligent, suave, artistically skilled, and a big player – attracting attention everywhere he goes. He had majored in business but decided to go back to school and study art, specifically sculpture, and can craft just about anything. Jae-Eon loves butterflies and excitedly shows videos of the ones he has captured and keeps in a large atrium in his home to girls that ask about the large butterfly tattoo he has on the back of his neck. He also follows it up with an offer to come back to his place and see the delicate creatures, themselves.
Yang Do-Hyeok grew up along side Na-Bi. They went all through school together and were very close but lost contact when Na-Bi went off to university. Do-Hyeok’s grandfather owns a noodle shop but closed it when he became too old to run the place. Do-Hyeok recently decided to reopen the restaurant and run it himself. He is an amazing cook and has his own YouTube channel that showcases his wonderful culinary skills. The channel does extremely well, with tons of followers. He is also a talented photographer. Do-Hyeok has liked Na-Bi ever since they were young but has never confessed his feelings to her. However, now that he has found her once again he is determined to let her know how he feels. Do Hyeok is handsome, friendly, sympathetic, talented, driven, and understanding.
Han So-Hee, the gal who plays Yoo Na-Bi, began her entertainment career with an appearance in Shinee’s 2016 music video Tell Me What to Do. The following year she made her acting debut in the drama Into the World Again and then became famous by playing a mistress in last year’s (2020) The World of the Married for which she earned four acting awards.
Song Kang, the actor who plays Park Jae-Eon, has appeared in eight Kdramas since his acting debut in 2017, and I’ve seen all but one of them. He first caught my attention in Love Alarm but I think his best performance to date has been in the amazingly entertaining and heartwarming Navillera, which made it onto my favorite Kdramas list. If you go to my Sweet Home review you’ll be able to find some information about this busy man. Watch for him in the upcoming drama People at Meteorological Service, scheduled to air sometime next year.
The actor who plays the part of Yang Do-Hyeok is Chae Jong-Hyeop. His acting debut was via the 2016 Kdrama Webtoon Hero – Tundra Snow Season Two. So far, he’s been in six Kdramas and three webdramas and of those, the ones I’ve seen are Come and Hug Me, Hot Stove League, and Sisyphus: The Myth – all excellent shows. He is scheduled to appear in next year’s drama The Speed Going to You 493km.
At the risk of receiving a bunch of disparaging comments from some Heart & Seoul readers, I decided to be blunt in telling you what I thought of Nevertheless. Please remember that what I have written is my own opinion and is in no way meant to offend anyone. So, here we go…
Nevertheless, which is based on the webtoon of the same name, has the same foreboding vibes that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has. We can see, right from the start, that things won’t end well. The word nevertheless is defined as “in spite of that; however,” and all the show’s episodes are titled, with the word nevertheless, such as – I Know It Isn’t Love. Nevertheless, I Know It’s a Lie. Nevertheless, and I Know It’s Over. Nevertheless, – which gives us a little glimpse of what is going through these people’s heads. They are clearly cognizant of the facts but make a conscious decision to ignore them. How are we supposed to feel sympathy for people who willingly and deliberately bring sorrow upon themselves and others? It’s like saying, “I know the stove is hot. Nevertheless, I’m going to put my hand on the burner.” Dummy! You can probably tell how frustrated I was watching these folks deliberately run headlong into a speeding train. At one point, Na-Bi tells us that she knows she will get hurt again but gets back together with Jae-Eon anyway. It reminded me of what Anne Shirley tells Marilla at the end of Anne of Green Gables – it’s something like, “The thrill of flying upon the wings of anticipation almost pays for the thud.” Sorry, but I felt no sympathy for these characters when they ached because they made the decision to do something they knew was idiotic.
About halfway through the show, Na-Bi runs into an old buddy, Yang Do-Hyeok, and we watch as he does his best to propel their relationship from one of friendship to sweethearts. Although I wanted her to be in a more healthy, positive relationship than what she was experiencing with Jae-Eon, I didn’t want her to be with Do-Hyeok because he was much too good for the wish-washy girl. He deserved someone better, smarter, and more mature than Na-Bi.
I have no problem with Jae-Eon’s desire to flirt, play the field, and not get tied down to one person. I’m not a fan of marriage so I was perfectly fine with his choice to forego commitment. My dislike was for Na-Bi’s lack of wise decisions, self-esteem, and maturity. She falls for Jae-Eon as she’s lamenting the fact that the relationship she had with her boyfriend (albeit an emotionally abusive one) just ended. How was I supposed to sympathize with Na-Bi’s sadness when just minutes after loosing her boyfriend she’s flirting with a totally new guy? She knew her shallow relationship with Jae-Eon would be frowned upon by all her friends so she chose to keep the fact that they were seeing each other (not dating, just seeing each other) a secret. In other words, she wasn’t proud of her choice to be with him. Also, although she yearned for romantic stability, what she shared with Jae-Eon wasn’t meaningful in the slightest stretch of the imagination. She flat out admited she didn’t feel good about herself when she was with Jae-Eon but kept things going between them, nevertheless. It was like, “I know these peanuts I’m allergic to will put me in the hospital but I’m going to eat an entire bag of them anyway.” Okay, enough of my complaining.
Guitars, electric and acoustic, are the featured instrument in a lot of Nevertheless’ music. Most of the songs are ballads, which is something to be expected from a romance drama. Sam Kim sings, in English, the soft rock ballad Love Like That. It’s the drama’s opening song and seemed to be the one that was played most often. Butterfly, performed by J.Una, is the show’s fast-paced song. It’s almost impossible to sit still while listening to it.
Most of the story takes place at the university and Na-Bi’s apartment. The sculpture students take a trip to Na-Bi’s hometown (where Do-Hyeok lives) which is by the ocean so we get some lovely scenery during that time.
If you’re looking for a warm romance, this Kdrama is not it. It’s not a bad show. Nevertheless, the story’s leading lady is frustrating in the extreme! As always, I’ve given you my thoughts on the drama. Now it’s time for you to decide what to do.
The sweet character Yang Do-Hyeok
Wishy-washy main characters