Twenty-Five Twenty-One is a 2022 South Korean television series directed by Jung Ji-hyun and starring Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk, Bona, Choi Hyun-wook and Lee Joo-myung. The series depicts the romantic lives of five characters spanning from the year of 1998 to 2021. It premiered on tvN on February 12, 2022, and aired every Saturday and Sunday at 21:10 (KST) for 16 episodes. It is available for streaming on Netflix.

The series was a commercial hit and became one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history.

Plot

In a time when dreams seem out of reach, a teen fencer pursues big ambitions and meets a hardworking young man who seeks to rebuild his life. At ages 22 and 18, they say each other’s names for the first time, and at ages 25 and 21, they fall in love.

In 1998, Na Hee-do (Kim Tae-ri) is a member of the school fencing team at Seonjung Girls’ High School, but due to the IMF crisis, the team is disbanded. To continue pursuing her passion, she transfers to Taeyang High School and later manages to become a member of the National Fencing Team. Baek Yi-jin’s (Nam Joo-hyuk) family goes from “riches to rags” and are separated due to the financial crisis. He is forced to take up several part-time jobs and later becomes a sports reporter.

In present day, Kim Min-chae (Choi Myung-bin), Na Hee-do’s daughter, quits ballet and “runs away” to her grandma’s house. During her stay, she comes across her mother’s diary, which the story is then told through.

Review: By vivian ( link)

Twenty Five, Twenty One, the drama I’ll always smile about.

It normally takes me about three days to move on from a drama, but it’s been two weeks and i’m still thinking of them 🙁

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Twenty Five Twenty One was just so heartbreaking. At first, it was my comfort, laugh-out-loud drama, with plenty of cute sweet moments. Then, hints started to drop about BaekDo’s non-endgame. Then, it happened. The bombshell ending. I still think of if suddenly, it’s so fresh in my mind lol! What makes me feel more crushed is when I try to rewatch the first few episodes: the young versions of the characters are so blissfully ignorant of what is to come. Hee-do has no idea she will become best friends with her idol. Yijin has no idea how hard he will fall for Heedo. Everything is so innocent, so funny, so cute. It screams peak youth.

I have been obsessively watching a youtube edit (my favorite ever) and crying and crying and ranting for hours on facetime with friends. But now, I’m writing this review as a final send off to let go of my (grudging) emotions and admire this show for the beauty it is.

Edit: Found another one >:)

Why I liked it:

  • I was deeply impacted by the beautiful development of the characters as they grow from clumsy yet jubilated high schoolers to responsible and role-model adults. The sixteen-episode trip to South Korea in the 90’s was amazing, reflecting upon bittersweet high school memories and fond trips with loving companions. Even tiny things like getting hideously drunk with friends and running through water fountains were precious.
  • Although there were open endings along the way that made me angry, the show’s deep roots in our hearts pulled at my emotions from the first time it started. I’ve laughed, cried, smiled, gasped during the whole one hour of each episode, and spent the whole rest of the week thinking about this drama from time to time.
  • Their kiss scenes. Especially the second one. Everything about it was so good! Yijin first being tender with her as he tries to reject her feelings…. and then finally accepting them. Their passionate, but not over-done kiss in the snow. This drama made their love unforgettable without any particularly spicy scenes.
  • Taeyang squad! They are so wholesome. What makes them special for me is the innocence that most american high schools lack. When I go to school every day, it completely contrasts what Taeyang High School looks like. Heedo, Yurim, Jiwoong, Seungwan, and Yijin are all people who want to live life to the fullest, in their different ways. I admire that about their group! Also, they are serving their good looks hahaha^^
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Why is it worth seeing?

This drama is the exact portrayal of a fearless, unforgettable first love and the bonds a group of friends can form. No matter how old any of the characters age, they will never be able to forget their rare moments of pure happiness with each other. They will happily think of the moments they were together, where everything seemed so small and insignificant. That is what is so special about this drama. Not the comedy. Not even the cute BaekDo crumbs we got. But the honest memories of five friends, running together under a tunnel with their lungs full of air and mouths full of laughter. Those very friends, racing against each other to get the next volume of Full House. Them, waving fizzing sprinklers under a cotton-clouded sky. The way Yijin looks at Heedo like she’s the only girl in the world. They way Heedo’s nose crinkles so slightly when she smiles at him. It was all just a dream that they were living in, a dream that they eventually have to wake up from. And when they do wake up, it won’t slip their mind like a regular one will. They’ll remember it forever.

I’ll now end my review with my favorite quote:

“Looking back, every day was a practice. The moments when I dared to say everything would last forever. I loved living in that illusion. But, right. There was still one thing we could have. That summer was ours to keep.”

The released Twenty Five Twenty One poster of taeyang squad strutting down the street with their fashionable clothing is so adorable. But I like the words on it better. It reads: “In the middle of our youth, that summer was ours”.

5/5 - (1 vote)

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