How he rewrites the rules of a K-drama love story in the middle of the finale
Yumi’s cells is an original Korean drama by Viki starring two well-known actors, Ahn Bo-hyun and Kim Go-eun. The K-drama premiered its final episode on October 30. Fans of the original written story knew how the drama would end, but its ending would have elicited astonishment and admiration from new fans.
Kim Yu-mi (Kim) is a simple office worker who lost her “love cell” after a bad breakup. She meets Koo Woong (Ahn) on a blind date, and they slowly fall in love. But viewers never would have expected the webtoon-based K-drama to rewrite the rules of a love story and the often-seen tropes associated with the K-drama genre.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers about Yumi’s Cells.]
There is no love triangle between two male characters
None of Yumi’s cells the trailers gave a glimpse into the drama having an essential love triangle. Love triangles are one of the most often used tropes in K-dramas, as they add much-needed tension between the main love interests and divide fans over who is worthy of being with the female lead. But, Yu-mi and Woong never deal with a love triangle. Instead, Yu-mi becomes inherently worried as Woong’s co-worker and closest friend tries to sabotage his relationship.
Fans might have thought this would be a woman-to-woman love triangle first for the rest of the drama. In fact, it was quickly written halfway through. Yumi’s cells introduced a new male character to Yu-mi’s workplace who promised a new love triangle. He is labeled as the “second count”. But again, fans were dismayed as he never fully developed. Yumi’s cells shattered one of K-drama’s most crucial tropes.
Yu-mi and Woong never get their happiness forever
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K-drama fans are well aware of how most storylines often end. The main characters are going through a difficult time and go their separate ways as both parties yearn to be together. There’s always an episode of tension as fans watch to see which character cracks first and makes the big gesture of love to rekindle the romance. Corn Yumi’s cells K-drama is moving away from what fans are used to. When Woong, once again, fails to be honest and clearly articulate his intentions in the relationship, Yu-mi calls for a pause.
Yu-mi and Woong still love and miss each other. But fans were shocked when Woong and Yu-mi both agreed to a breakup in the finale. Woong admits that he thought Yu-mi would be different and didn’t want a serious relationship with the possibility of marriage. While Yu-mi can no longer endure Woong’s inherent inability to confide in her despite how much she cares about him.
Returning to where they first met, they reveal their breakup cards and go their separate ways. It is also rare for the male actor to initiate the breakup. Yumi’s cells ends with Yu-mi watching Woong come out of his life. The South China Morning Post explains that “the suddenness of the end of the season gives us the opportunity to savor the ups and downs of their relationship and reflect on what went wrong.” The K-drama broke the cardinal rule of main protagonist K-dramas by finding a way to make things work like a fairy tale.
‘Yumi’s Cells’ doesn’t have a dramatic twist that tests the main characters, and Yu-mi is working on herself
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Yumi’s cells sets realistic romance compared to other popular dramas like What’s wrong with Secretary Kim? Fans reportedly found the K-drama to have a refreshing approach as it never used the dramatic turn of events trope often seen in romances. Many K-dramas involve the main characters going through life-changing, life-threatening situations or revealing a dark secret.
K-drama never uses the trope. The most dramatic change is when Yu-mi learns that Woong has sold his apartment because he is running out of money. But the event only encourages them to move in together. There is never a family drama or sudden car accident. Yu-mi and Woong go through the trials and tribulations of falling in love, but the constant issues still bubble beneath the surface.
Unlike other female roles, Yu-mi relies primarily on herself to find the answers to her relationship. Her emotional cells, which are portrayed as animated characters, experience the same frustrations, heartaches, and love that she goes through. In the drama, Yu-mi does not rely on his family or true friends with his problems. Instead, she looks within herself to make the difficult decision that she must let Woong go.