Nevertheless, is aSouth Korean drama produced by JTBC Studios ( Beyond Evil , 18 Again ) launched last June on Korean screens and released on August 29, 2021 on Netflix. The story, based on the eponymous webtoon (or manhwa if you prefer) by Jeong Won, tells the daily life of young adults who face the discovery of romantic feelings mixed with carnal desire but also of themselves.

The main characters, Yu Na-bi and Park Jae-on, are played by a popular acting duo, the talented Han So Hee ( My Name , The World of the Married ) and Song Kang ( Love Alarm , Sweet Home ). The 10-episode drama is directed and scripted by Kim Ga Ram ( Vampire Detective , Devilish Charm ). The series having been talked about a lot, the editorial staff decided to dive into it. Verdict.

The pitch

Yu Na-bi , an art student, has just broken up with her boyfriend who cheated on and humiliated her. Broken and no longer believing in love, she meets a charming young man in a bar with a butterfly on his neck, Park Jae-on . That’s good, the boy, precisely, likes to flutter. Things take an unexpected turn for Na-bi who quickly forms a friend-lover relationship with Jae-on.

A drama close to reality

Nevertheless caused quite a stir among Kdramas fans. Between the glorification of toxic relationships, an actor’s adultery scandal that led to his censorship on screen and an almost platonic LGBT relationship, the series has been subject to many controversies . But first of all, let’s start at the beginning: the story and its protagonists.

Na-bi is a young adult who is a little lost, whether it comes to her professional ambitions, her love life and especially herself. But she is not the only one in this case. Indeed, the many secondary characters who surround him are all more or less in the same situation . In this, the series wants to be modern and realistic.

Ji-wan et Sol

Thus, we easily identify with the characters by their questions, their reactions or non-reactions as well as their lack of audacity at crucial moments . I am thinking here of the endearing Sol and her “hidden” feelings for her best friend Ji-wan. And then there’s Jae-on. The young man knows what he wants and does not want, in particular being in a relationship. This does not prevent him from having fun with young ladies including the protagonist Na-bi with whom he establishes a relationship that we ultimately see little in the dramas.

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Sex in a Korean series? Wow !

Jae-on is the archetype of the handsome, mysterious boy who plays on his charm. If Na-bi is also aware of this fact, she quickly gives in to temptation. The two young people then begin a physical relationship in which budding romantic feelings intertwine . Rare fact in a Korean drama, the spectator is even entitled to some daring scenes (light nevertheless, let us not abuse). Finally a modern series that talks about sex and open relationships!

Na-bi and Jae-on

Yet that’s not why Na-bi and Jae-on’s relationship has been talked about so much. If at the beginning their relationship is pleasant to follow, it becomes tiresome because of the development of the two characters (in particular Jae-on who does not really have one). From the start, it was not unanimous, whether from the spectators who considered it toxic, or from the point of view of Na-bi, who was aware of the “danger” that it represented for her. The fact that she falls straight into it has annoyed many. However, it is ultimately quite realistic and its choices are similar to those that can be made in real life. Besides, special mention to Song Kang and Han So Hee for their chemistry which works like thunder.

What is love after all?

So beware Nevertheless, it’s not just the story of a free relationship between two lost young people. The drama highlights several different love stories , their fulfillment or conversely their end.

Gyu-hyeon and Bit-na

Besides Jae-on and Na-bi, the other characters in the series also experience their first love affairs. Whether it’s Do Hyeok, Sol, Bit-na, Gyu-hyeon, or even the teacher duo (hard to call a couple), each has their perception of the other’s feelings and reacts in their own way . Close to reality, the series also puts obstacles in their way such as a lot of misunderstandings, misunderstandings, bad communications and above all things left unsaid. In this, the drama is rather a success.

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However…

A lot of things are wrong. So yes the series highlights the problems that couples can face, and that’s good. But paradoxically she does not dig enough into her characters . Jae-on, for example, wants to be mysterious, but he is just as mysterious for Na-bi as for the viewer! We have little information about his past, including his relationship with his mother or even his ex. As for the secondary characters, it’s the same story: we don’t know much about Ji-wan or even Bit-na in the end. Too bad especially when it comes to character characters!

Na-bi and Jae-on talking

Another defect and not the least: the rhythm of the series. As much as the first half of the drama is interesting, the last episodes are really endless. The dialogues are not the finest and on the script side, we fall into the classic and easy “I love you, me neither” and this for almost all the couples in the show. Speaking of which, what a shame Sol and Ji-wan’s relationship isn’t more developed, a real mess.

Ditto for the one between Bit-na and Gyu-hyeon but this is due, as mentioned earlier in the article, to the adultery scandal to which the interpreter of Gyu-hyeon is linked. Because of it, the television channel broadcasting  Nevertheless , and by extension Netflix, reduced its screen presence to a minimum . The rendering is suddenly a little frustrating for the viewer who has the impression of seeing the characters interact with him talking alone.

My opinion on Nevertheless,

Despite its flaws, I overall enjoyed  Nevertheless ,. You will have understood, its realistic aspect is what I liked the most (yes, I said this word a lot in this article): the romances are rather well brought and the characters endearing for the most part. In terms of distribution, nothing to say, the interpretations are at the top. The clean photography and the soundtrack in line with the story are also a positive point of the drama. Despite everything, I still had trouble finishing Nevertheless, in particular because of the pace of the last episodes, which was far too slow and had fairly repetitive narrative arcs. To conclude, I would advise you to watch the series out of curiosity but not to have too high expectations on this one.

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About the webtoon

The webtoon “Nevertheless” (in Korean “알고 있지만”) was written by JeongSeo. Comparing the Korean webtoon title and Korean drama title, a comma was added in the drama title. You can read the webtoon in Korean here and in English here.

Have a glimpse at the webtoon below.

"Nevertheless," (2021 Drama): Cast & Summary

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