The island of Jeju in South Korea is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Something about the expansive water and beautiful weather nearly assures a cheerful outlook. Despite this, as Our Blues demonstrates, people may be miserable even in the most idyllic of settings.
The difficulty with anthologies like Our Blues is that they frequently overshoot their intended audience. Because of their desire to tell numerous stories simultaneously, they never honestly give one story enough time to breathe and spread its wings.
Occasionally, these disparate stories come together to create an epiphany, but even those are frequently fragile and shallow. Fortunately, you won't find that on this omnibus of romances.
After four episodes, one can't help but love the visual novel-style approach that has been employed. We may have already become acquainted with most of the characters and their struggles.
Our Blues honors its characters and their diverse stories by neatly dividing them into chapters, delving into and unfurling the lives, motivations, memories, and heartbreaks of its characters and their families.
Jeong Eun-hui (Lee Jung-Eun), an enthusiastic and endearing fish-store owner who falls into her first love and buddy of 20 years, Choi Han-soo (Cha Seung-won), when he returns to Jeju under challenging circumstances.
When confronted with a passion that she still holds dear to her heart, Eun-hui gets carried up in the potential of rekindling her high school romance until she finds that Han-soo may merely be pampering her because he needs financial assistance from her family.
In another part of Jeju, we have the reticent captain Park Jeong-jun (Kim Woo-bin, making his long-awaited return to the entertainment industry after recovering from cancer), who is head over heels in love with Lee Yeong-ok (Han Ji-min), a mysterious haenyeo (female diver) who is ostracised for her alleged promiscuity.
Those on the other end of the spectrum include Lee Dong-Seok (Lee Byung-hun), a trader who earns a livelihood selling odds and ends out of his dilapidated truck, and Min Seon-ah (Shin Min-a), the lady he's had his heart set on for seven years and whom he's been yearning for.
Dong-Seok has never really healed from Seon's rejection, ah's and her despair is engulfing not only her but also her tiny son and enraged husband and their home. High school students Jung Hyun (Bae Hyun-sung) and Bang Young-Joo (Roh Yoon-Seo) are the last links on this convoluted web.
Their relationship is contaminated by the hostility between their families and their financial limitations. Things are about to change, and not in a good way — Young-Joo may be pregnant, and the two of them will have to deal with the consequences of that discovery.
In the darkness of a bus, an alarm clock sounds.
As the sun rises over Jeju, a picturesque beach town where everyone goes about their business, the dawn breaks. Everyone in the city is getting ready for the day, including divers, anglers, captains, etc.
In the morning, Eun-hui (Lee Jung-Eun) is one of the first to arrive at her seafood business, bringing in a catch from the fish market and putting together the merchandise for the day.
A bank manager named Han-soo (Cha Seung-won) struggles to make ends meet for his family for his daughter to pursue a career as a professional golfer in the big city. After learning that Han-Soo is returning to Jeju, his birthplace, it isn't long before he begins to recognize people from his past, including Eun-hui, whom he had formerly considered his first and only love.
Han-soo and Eun-hui are an unusual couple, with her exuberant personality contrasting with his more peaceful demeanor. The fact that there is still some spark between them is evident.
Still, Han-soo is so preoccupied with getting his financial situation back on track and turning things around that he doesn't appear to have much time for thinking about their relationship in the present (despite clearly longing to).
In flashbacks, we get a peek at the former couple's school days, including the moment when they initially fell in love with each other. Their narrative is only one of many that we will see during Our Blues, but it is a gripping start to a series that will include many individuals in the coming months.
Our Blues Trailer
What Television Shows Will It Brings to Mind?
Our Blues may slightly resemble other Korean television shows such as Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Twenty Five Twenty One, and Because This is My First Life, among others.
With Our Blues, we are introduced to a simple world to become immersed in; Jeju has the type of small-town charm that draws you in straight away, and the character interactions lay the stage for future events.
There is nothing particularly thrilling about how these folks live their lives alongside one another. Yet, it is intriguing, presenting a succession of entertaining slice-of-life vignettes relatable in several ways.
As we discover more about Eun-past hui's with Han-soo, she emerges as a sparkling, attractive heroine who is also a fierce and entertaining person to watch. There is no doubt that the Hallmark vibe of returning to your hometown only to meet face to face with your first love is compelling, and it works exceptionally well here — I found myself wanting to know more about them.
With so many episodes ahead, the bugs will likely be worked out. The pilot spends a significant amount of time attempting to introduce us to as many characters as possible, so some parts drag a little.
As the first part concludes, we're left wanting more. It's a fantastic, adorable start to the series, and we're left wanting more. (Which, after all, is all you can enjoy of a pilot, isn't it?)
WATCH IT. From the get-go, Our Blues establishes itself as light, amusing entertainment with a large heart, thanks to its endearing ensemble and a couple of intriguing stories to get us started.