Naver TV Web Drama (2019)
10 Short Episodes - Grade: B+
Family, Idol Drama
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA


The writer of this ten short episode Naver TV web drama called Wind-bell (2019), Kwak Byung Gwan, won a script-writing contest sponsored by the Seoul Tourism Bureau, and the drama that was produced from that script was cast with two idol actors in mind. Jinyoung of B1A4 and Kwon Mina of AoA idol groups were cast in the lead roles. They did very good jobs in their performances here, especially Jinyoung, who had a rather tough role to play of a young American man traveling back to Seoul, South Korea to search for his Korean birth mother, who to my surprise was played by a veteran actress I recognized instantly from all the way back to 2002's Winter Sonata classic; she played the co-worker and friend of Choi Ji Woo's character in that drama. Her name is Park Hyun Sook, and she was also in East Of Eden (2008) and Stars Falling From The Sky (2010). I specifically mention her because this drama doesn't even have entries on the two main Kdrama trivia sites, for any of the actors, including her. Sigh. Web dramas are Kdramas too, trivia sites!

The Story:
We meet a Korean-American successful writer named Daniel (Jinyoung) who has come to Seoul, South Korea to meet officially with the publishers and editors of his new book, but unofficially to see if he can track down his birth mother (Park Hyun Sook), who had to abandon him to an orphanage when he was very young because of some dire family problems stemming from abuse.

Mama still lives with another son (Lee Seung Wook) in an historical home in Bukchon (which looked very much like the home in Personal Taste), and runs it as a kind of bed and breakfast inn. When her other son begs her to sell the place she keeps saying she can't: in the back of her mind she keeps waiting for the son she had to give up to return. Daniel is soon to arrive and stay there as a guest, but when he shows up to access the room for the first time his birth mother doesn't even recognize him. He's devastated but keeps his real identity to himself.

During his business trip, Daniel meets a young woman named Yeo Jin (Kwon Mina), the chief editor of the publishing company that is preparing his book to be sold in both Korea and America. They meet at Namsan Tower for the first time and eventually go for a meal. Daniel wants to eat at a food stall he remembers from his youth that is close to where his birth mother lives. The old grandmother who used to run the stall is now dead and her daughter gives them the food instead. He gives her an autograph after Yeo Jin tells the impressed woman that he's famous, and later that autograph, and something he says inadvertently when he and his birth mother are both looking at a wind chime in her home, will end up restoring Daniel's mother's memory as to who he really is. Then the sparks begin to fly between Daniel, his Mom, and his hyung (brother). Will they all be able to forgive each other for the sins of the past?

There's not that much romance in this "short story" of a web drama - the lead female character is rather prickly and impatient with him, especially in the beginning, because he has other things on his mind besides his book, so he's easily distracted - but there is a mellowing of their relationship and eventually even a kiss.

The Open Eyed Kiss Cliche Strikes Again!

For some needed humor, Daniel gets to meet her rather wacky family (including her father, played by my favorite veteran actor Jung Woo Choi from Master's Sun and Doctor Stranger - yay! did I break into a huge grin when I saw his face!)  and when she tries to apologize for them embarrassing him he says firmly, "Please don't. I'm envious. You have a real family. A real family is tangible." Very touching.


Ahjussi Choi! You Need A Shave! :)

Soon Daniel has to leave to go back to Miguk (America) but it's silently understood between them that they will see each other in another month when he has to fly back to Seoul to publicize the new book at its publication.

If you like a family drama with a lot of secrets that are slowly revealed - not thrown at you all at once - then check this poignant short drama out. It also has some lovely cinematography of Seoul, the Han River, and historical districts. You'll be glad you took the time to watch, even just to feast on the lovely visuals. Enjoy.