Na Hee Do is part of her high school’s fencing team, which was disbanded due to the Korean crisis of 1998. But despite all these difficulties, she still becomes a member of the national team. This crisis also changes the life of Baek Yi Jin who had lived comfortably before his father’s business went bankrupt and he became poor. During his studies, he then did part-time jobs and later he became a sports journalist.
- Title original : Seumuldaseot Seumulhana / Twenty-five Twenty-One
- Country: South Korea
- Origin: Original work
- Episodes: 16 x 70 min
- Broadcast ended : from 02/12/2022 to 04/03/2022
- Season: Winter 2022
- Broadcaster: tvN
- Streaming : Netflix
- Genres: Romantic comedy – Drama – Fantasy – Romance
- Official website: Link
Twenty-Five, Twenty-One gives us a lesson about navigating life, especially when there are not enough opportunities around and our surroundings are difficult to pass through. In the drama, the first struggle was South Korea’s IMF crisis in 1998. We see an 18-year-old high school student Na Hee-Do (played by Kim Tae-Ri), frustrated after her high school stopped its fencing activities. On the other hand, a college dropout, Baek Yi-jin (portrayed by Nam Joo-Hyuk), struggles to find a full-time job after his wealthy family becomes bankrupt, again due to the IMF crisis.
One of the top fencers in South Korea, high school student Ko Yu-Rim (played by Bona), seem to have it all, but again, due to South Korea’s IMF crisis, the government cannot support their athletes very well. On top of that, Yu-rim’s main sponsor is Yi-Jin’s family (who are also struggling during the 1998 crisis).
Among these three, Hee-Do is the luckiest since it seems like she isn’t the most affected by the IMF crisis. Her fighting spirit soon makes her practice to be able to join one of the few fencing teams in Seoul.
Hee-Do and Yi-Jin met up at their worst times and became instruments for each other’s betterment. But it wasn’t easy for Yi-Jin.
In the middle of the drama, rival fencers (they hated each other) Hee-Do and Yu-Rim got bogged down in a scandal. Again, reality bites.
Despite everything, the three characters have navigated life and fought for themselves, with love and friendship as inspiration. It turns out that Yu-Rim and Hee-Do are anonymous chatmates who share their most intimate details. After figuring out about each other, they become best friends, more than being rivals.
In addition to the three main characters is childhood best friends Moon Ji-Woong (Choi Hyun-Wook) and Ji Seung-Wan (Lee Joo-Myoung), who entertain us with their uttermost support for our three leads. However, it’s also good that director Jung Ju-Hyun injected within these characters some commentary scenes about South Korea’s societal problems.
The Idealists: Hee-Do, Ji-Woong, and Seung-Wan
Throughout the drama, Hee-Do, Ji-Woong, and Seung-wan were the least affected by the harsher realities of life. Hence, they had the unlimited fighting spirit to do the best they could and get the life and reality they desired.
Twenty-Five, Twenty-One discussed several societal issues, one of which is Corporal Punishment. In South Korea, corporal punishment against children was legal until 2021. Parents and even teachers were allowed to hurt their misbehaving children and students through spanking and other violent means. Most municipalities in the country have banned corporal punishment since 2008, but in 2010, when I participated in teaching Korean high school students, teachers still spanked the students with sticks when the students were not on their best behavior.
In Twenty-Five, Twenty-One, top student Seung-Wan did not compromise her stand against corporal punishment despite having to be dropped out of high school once she insisted. She did not swallow her pride and remained adamant about her decision to speak against a teacher who was being violent toward his students.
Seung-wan’s decision was not because she was bored and privileged but because she wanted to prove that the fight against corporal punishment was worth her last year in high school (even when she was at the top of her class). Her mother would even remind her again if she were very willing to let go of everything for her stand, and she was. Hence, her mother allowed her to drop out if it meant that she’d stand a chance to foster change in the current school system.
Ji-Woong, the popular and talented high school boy, has decided for himself that Yu-Rim is the woman he wants to spend his life with, no matter what. Towards the end of the drama, Yu-Rim was once again put to the test and had to do something difficult in order to save her family.
Yu-Rim’s family was her priority, so she tried breaking up with Ji-Woong. To her shock, Ji-Woong would not give her up and promised to do everything for them to work out their relationship. True to his words, Ji-Woong worked hard to be able to see Yu-Rim every now and then because of their long-distance relationship. The two lovers ended up together because Ji-Woong fought and worked hard for the love of his life. His idealistic stance was not without obstacles, but he was able to combat the difficulties and succeed in the end.
As I’ve said, Hee-Do is one of the most privileged characters in the series. She was rich (her mother was one of the most highly-successful news anchors in the country), and she had everything she needed. Even though she had some mother issues, she did not stop working towards her dream of becoming the best fencer in South Korea.
After Hee-Do’s father died, she didn’t yearn to do better in fencing and was left to be in the middle or lower-skilled players. Hence, instead of becoming a catastrophe, the IMF crisis became an opportunity for Hee-Do’s growth as an athlete.
Hee-Do, apart from Ji-Woong, is one of the most optimistic characters in the Twenty-Five, Twenty-One. She was also generous, kind, strong, and supportive. She was always there for her friends. Even if there were bad times, she didn’t let these times bog her down. Hence, if we think about it, that may be the reason why she was the most blessed person in the series.
The Realists: Yu-Rim and Yi-Jin
We now move on to the two characters who have navigated life the hardest. The times and situations weren’t very nice to them.
Of all the characters in Twenty-Five, Twenty-One, Yu-rim was the one who compromised a lot, especially towards the end of the drama.
Although she is a top athlete, Yu-rim was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Because of her skills and talent, however, she was able to put herself and her family in a better position. However, because of the IMF crisis, she lost her sponsor (Yi-Jin’s family, who became bankrupt). The Korean government was also at a loss, and national athletes weren’t given top priority.
While being on the national team and competing with flying colors, Yu-rim’s family was still struggling. Towards the middle-end of the drama, her mother had to close down her business due to being included in an investment scam.
During the final parts of Twenty-Five, Twenty-One, Yu-Rim faced what seemed to be the greatest hurdle of her life. Her father had an accident and was responsible for the victim who was hurt the most. By this time, Yu-Rim was already a strong woman. Because of everything she has been through, it was natural for Yu-Rim to sacrifice everything for her family.
Every top athlete in every country gets excellent offers to play for other national teams. Because of her family’s debts, Yu-Rim decided to take Russia’s offer to be on their team and renounce her Korean citizenship.
South Koreans are highly patriotic, and one could not imagine someone like Yu-Rim doing what she did, especially since she was Korea’s fencing darling. However, Yu-Rim was mature and strong enough to deal with all the hate she got.
At the end of Twenty-Five, Twenty-One, however, Yu-Rim got her happy ending. She was able to return to Korea and put up a profitable fencing club, apart from being engaged and married to her loyal beau Ji-Woong.
From being a wealthy CEO’s son to having to drop out of college and work for the sake of his family and face some people to whom his father is indebted, Yi Jin had to swallow what was left of his pride many times in the series.
Ideally, Yi-Jin’s dream was to become an astronaut, and his college course had something to do with him being able to pursue that dream. However, after his family’s bankruptcy, he had to make do with his other talents and experiences. He was a member of the broadcasting club in high school, so he opted to become a reporter instead.
During the first part of the series, Yi-Jin couldn’t get better jobs, and the people to whom his father is indebted have been assaulting him and his little brother, so he instantly decided to run away and sell fish in a rural area in South Korea instead.
Because of Hee-Do’s support and his own determination, Yi-Jin came back to Seoul to try out for a better job and not give up, despite not being a college graduate. In the end, he was successful in being a reporter and eventually a news anchor.
Hee-Do and Yi-Jin’s Relationship
Hee-Do and Yi-Jin met at the most bizarre of times. One could wonder how the two of them could get together and be close despite being in entirely different situations. However, they complemented each other. The two have always been for each other in support, in bad and good times.
It was apparent that they would eventually become lovers, but to be honest, Hee-Do did not strike me as Yi-Jin’s type, especially since she was very childlike, but I guess it was this characteristic that made him adore her, as he forgot about his harsh reality every time he was with her. It was also a big bonus that both lovers swore to share in each other’s sadness and happiness.
However, in the last part of the drama, reality bruised what would become the star-crossed lovers of Twenty-Five, Twenty-One. Hee-Do had mother issues in the k-drama. Because of the nature of her career, Hee-Do’s mom has always taken her family for granted (to the point of not attending her husband’s funeral). Even though Hee-Do eventually understood and forgave her mother, she wasn’t open arms to cater to that kind of relationship again.
When Hee-Do and Yi-Jin finally decided to become romantically involved with one another, sparks flew wonderfully. However, Yi-Jin’s career was also flourishing. He had sacrificed being in the sports news to transfer to local news so that he wouldn’t have to deliver news that could hurt Hee-Do (as he did when it came to Yu-Rim), but the shift came with a higher price.
Yi-Jin had become busier and busier with work, even to the point of being sent to New York to cover the 9/11 attacks. Because of the dreadful events that occurred there, Yi-Jin had a lot of internal issues that have got to do with his duty as a reporter and as a human being, and he forgot about his relationship with Hee-Do.
Hee-Do and Yi-Jin’s correspondence became more infrequent that it reminded Hee-Do of all her mother’s shortcomings and the sorrow she had to go through because of it.
During this part of the story, Hee-Do was the one being realistic and practical, even to the point of pessimism. On the other hand, Yi-Jin simply wasn’t making sense. He wanted to keep the long-distance relationship with Hee-Do, even though he himself did not inform Hee-Do that he applied as a long-term correspondent in New York. Apart from that, he was taking Hee-Do for granted and would keep to himself, despite their promise to share and wallow in each other’s suffering.
Even though Yi-Jin wanted to save the relationship, they both knew that it wasn’t the right timing for it. Unlike Ji-Woong’s fighting spirit for his love for Yu-Rim, and Yu-Rim’s reciprocation despite the distance, Yi-Jin and Hee-Do’s relationship was not working as it used to. Factor in Hee-Do’s issues with her mother and Yi-Jin’s tendency to keep to himself, and you conclude that it’s a relationship that’s not going to work out.
In that regard, both Hee-Do and Yi-Jin have been bitten by reality and embraced pragmatism and understanding that they cannot be together anymore, even if there is still love left. Audiences are left to debate whether or not they should’ve fought for the relationship, which is an excellent specific headwork for the drama, especially since the other lovers in the series, Yu-Rim and Ji-Woong’s relationship worked out.
Actress: Kim Tae Ri
Role: Na Hee Do, Main Female Role (RPF), Fencer.
Kim Tae Ri selected the scene from the end of episode 2 where she says, ” When we’re just the two of us, let’s be happy without anyone else knowing. It will be our little secret “.
She then explains: “ It was a perfect scene where everything was linked together .
Role: Go Yu Rim, Fencer
Bona picked Go Yoo Rim’s diving scene in Episode 8 as her favorite, explaining, ” This scene is the one I’m most attached to and remains the most vivid in my memory. Even before When filming started, I was worried about whether I could do a good job, and I put a lot of effort into it. I especially remember feeling sick to my stomach when Go Yoo Rim didn’t no choice but to jump off the diving board. It’s a scene that remains etched in my memory. “
Actress: Lee Joo Myung
Role: Ji Seung Wan
It was an honor to work with the screenwriter and the two directors who allowed me to participate in ‘Twenty Five, Twenty One’. I also want to express my gratitude to the main actors who all laughed and cried with me. I think I’ll eventually come back to this drama the same way I pull out my old yearbook every time I want to reconnect with my youth. I extend my sincere thanks to the viewers who loved and cherished the drama and each of its characters. “
Favorite Scene: Lee Joo Myung decided that his character’s conversation with his mother in Episode 12 was his favorite scene. ” Although she seems mature and resilient, this scene showed her weak and childish side, so it’s memorable to me. I’m glad I got to show emotions that everyone probably has felt before. “
Actor: Nam Joo Hyuk
Role: Baek Yi Jin, Male Lead (RPM), Journalist
Nam Joo Hyuk picked the ending of episode 10, where the group of five friends gaze at the sea, as the most memorable scene, saying, “ These five young people look like the ocean. whether calm seas or raging waves, the young people standing there seem to be just like us. ”
Actor: Choi Hyun Wook
Role: Moon Ji Woong
The actor picked the ocean trip and pillow-flying scenes as his most memorable. ” We talked a lot on set about how to make the scenes more interesting ,” he revealed. ” The trip to the beach became a real treasured memory, and the pillow thief scene ended up being really funny. It’s a scene that I’m personally proud of .”
The opinion k-Paradise…
This drama is a real slap in the face and a jewel to watch absolutely.
The drama is both touching, beautiful and has a psychological impact that never leaves you indifferent throughout the episodes. The plot is woven around flashbacks to the life of the heroine, Na Hee Do, from her 18 years (late 90s) to our era. The whole thing is perceived through Na Hee Do’s daughter who reads her mother’s diaries, in our time. The drama will then brilliantly explore the first love emotions of a teenager combined with her sports career as a talented fencer. An unknown sport but admirably treated here both in the gestures and the respect of the codes of the discipline especially in the scenes of training sessions and competitions. It is absolutely necessary to salute the remarkable work of the screenwriter who was able to take us into the world of this sport in a very subtle way, with adrenaline, suspense and by transcribing the tension during the matches as if they were real: it is great art. And this return to the 90s, it’s so nostalgic, it’s only good memories, a special atmosphere, the carefree time when you want to conquer the world (I was the age of the heroine at that time: 18 years old in 98) so surely that plays a lot on the fact that I loved this drama, it’s a nostalgia sequence and a time so dear to my heart… This is great art. And this return to the 90s, it’s so nostalgic, it’s only good memories, a special atmosphere, the carefree time when you want to conquer the world (I was the age of the heroine at that time: 18 years old in 98) so surely that plays a lot on the fact that I loved this drama, it’s a nostalgia sequence and a time so dear to my heart… This is great art. And this return to the 90s, it’s so nostalgic, it’s only good memories, a special atmosphere, the carefree time when you want to conquer the world (I was the age of the heroine at that time: 18 years old in 98) so surely that plays a lot on the fact that I loved this drama, it’s a nostalgia sequence and a time so dear to my heart…
Obviously let’s talk about the characters because they are really impressive.
– Na Hee Do (Kim Tae laughed): heroine of the drama and what a heroine! I didn’t know this actress, Kim Tae Ri at all, but she is stunning. His interpretation is fair, sincere and so refreshing. Na Hee Do is a self-confident girl, a fencing prodigy, who is not let up, is determined whether in her sport or in her romance with the character played by Nam Joo Yook. I liked this character who says what she thinks no matter what. Often alone, with an intransigent mother (at the start) she forged herself alone. Her feelings for Baek Yin Jin are very quickly intense, sometimes awkward but always sincere, she loves him, she says it and shows great maturity. His rivalry with the character played by Bona sharpens his character and allows him to surpass himself. Her psychological evolution throughout the drama makes her endearing and we identify a lot with what she is going through in many aspects: whether in school, sports, friendships… These are the best years of her life. , of our lives and we vibrate with it. So much memories…
– Baek Yin Jin (Nam Joo Yuk): I love this actor. His game is always very fair and he is very versatile. Here, he portrays a hero flayed alive, marked by the bankruptcy of his family, and who bears the weight of humiliation and social decline. Na Hee Do comes to shake his misery and his lack of self-confidence. First intrigued by the humor of Na Hee Do, 4 years his junior, he suppresses feelings that are nevertheless obvious. Nam Joo Yuk really gives all his talent to this male character who is not excessive as we can often see in Korean dramas where the man in love does tons of it. Here everything is in restraint, a kind of shyness and respect. We could reproach him for his wait-and-see attitude, his silence also sometimes but we feel that the scriptwriter wanted to present characters with diametrically opposed characters. Na Hee Do is the eternal optimist, playful, Baek Yi Jin is more sensitive, more tormented, afraid? In any case of great sensitivity, often in a headlong rush that makes him lose his words. He is often helpless before this love for Na Hee Do which overpowers him and often renders him mute or inactive. I liked his breakthrough in the world of journalism, a passion that devours him and gives meaning to his life. From the great Nam Joo Yuk (always a great beauty) who interprets this role like the greatest. often in a headlong rush that makes him lose his words. He is often helpless before this love for Na Hee Do which overpowers him and often renders him mute or inactive. I liked his breakthrough in the world of journalism, a passion that devours him and gives meaning to his life. From the great Nam Joo Yuk (always a great beauty) who interprets this role like the greatest. often in a headlong rush that makes him lose his words. He is often helpless before this love for Na Hee Do which overpowers him and often renders him mute or inactive. I liked his breakthrough in the world of journalism, a passion that devours him and gives meaning to his life. From the great Nam Joo Yuk (always a great beauty) who interprets this role like the greatest.
– Go Yu Rim (Bona): Impeccable actress who interprets her role with quality. Her rivalry with the heroine in the first episodes very quickly suggests that they will be close, her romance with the character played by Choi Yun Wook is all in delicacy. Talented, she sacrifices herself for her family in a very courageous way, we appreciate her resilience and her courage.
– Lee Da Seul and Moon Ji Wung (Bang Eung Jun and Choi Yun Wook):these two characters are part of the gang that revolves around the main couple and their roles/games are quite charming and enjoyable. If Lee Da Seul is the only one of the group not to form a couple, she shines with her positions and her strong character. Choi Yun Wook brings this dose of humor which makes the band enjoyable.
: the end is unexpected and superb. I liked that it was not a happy ending as usual. Sometimes a love story, even intense, is not necessarily destined to last and end in marriage. Sometimes we love for a moment and we realize that we have different aspirations and life separates us. There are encounters of a lifetime that change our ways of seeing life, that help us and then other things open up to us, that’s what this drama teaches us.
Ultimately, this drama moved me a lot. This nostalgic side has a lot to do with it, but also the evolution of the years, the evolution of the psychology of the characters, of their careers, makes us think of everything that we become ourselves throughout our lives. Even at the lowest, we can bounce back. This drama is a real life lesson. There are encounters, key people who come into our lives and who change us forever and even if our paths diverge, these people will always have a precious place in our hearts. Whatever happens. That’s what I remember from this drama. Thank you. It was wonderful.
Passion, emotion and nostalgia … a nugget
I was expecting to just watch a nice drama and I discovered a nugget!
Twenty One Twenty Five is one of the best dramas I’ve watched at the start of 2022 and I was absolutely not expecting it. It’s probably because I found the atmosphere of two dramas there that I really appreciate: “Reply 1998” (for the group of friends side, nostalgia in the 90s, etc.) and the drama ” Fight for my way” (for the sport and passion side by which our protagonists are animated). This mix could therefore only please me and if like me you enjoyed these two works, you will absolutely not be disappointed.
Na Hee Dois a splendid heroine perfectly embodied by actress Kim Taeri. I really liked her character: she is true, reckless, emotional and so endearing. She is a little immature on certain subjects, but then when it comes to her passion, our heroine inspires us many times by her attitude and her reactions.
She has a crazy mindset, for example her way of approaching the competition aspect with her great opponent Go Yu Rim is a great slap in the face. Besides, the complete evolution of their relationship to both of them is incredible and rich in lesson and emotion as well.
The development of her relationship with Baek Yin Jinis very well provided over the episodes as well. We see them evolve from friendship to love with ups and downs. A very strong and unfiltered relationship, a beautiful chemistry. It’s a love story that changes from what we can usually see and I personally found it very refreshing.
Baek Yin Jin is also a very interesting character due to his rather difficult story. Seeing him evolve in his personal life and especially in his career has been a real pleasure. He is an example of courage and resilience. This character is also very well interpreted by the actor Nam Joo Yuk who I always find excellent in this kind of role.
I greatly appreciated the fact that the story is told through the eyes of Na Hee Do’s daughter who discovers her diaries a few years later. I really felt like I was in his boots while watching each episode, it was so well done.
And this OST which perfectly sets the mood over the episodes, the years, the moods.
In short, you will have understood that I am for my part conquered and I already miss this drama. I laughed and sometimes shed a few tears. I therefore warmly recommend it for all the reasons mentioned here.
Final Realizations of Twenty-Five, Twenty-One
Twenty-Five, Twenty-One speaks about the hardships of living in times of crisis. In this tumultuous world of ours, there are several events wherein we are torn between choosing to fight for change or just being pragmatic or realistic and letting things be. As we grow older and experience life more, we will be continually stuck with that conundrum.
Despite being a drama that shows the polarity between fighting and giving up, the drama has also shown us that perception is everything. For example, in the case of Hee-Do, the IMF crisis was an eye-opener. Yes, straightforwardly, the crisis is bad news, but it takes a better mindset to be able to see the good in the bad.
At the end part of Twenty-Five, Twenty-One, Hee-Do, and Yi-Jin met up because it was only 12 or 13 years after when Hee-Do found her second diary and Yi-Jin’s last letter for her. From what I see, this scene reveals that reality, and even fate, has played with the two star-crossed lovers. Years after, it would just be something that they accepted and even laughed about, and that’s what truly life is about.