Orange Marmalade Korean Drama Review

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Plot:

This drama is based on a popular weebtoon of the same title and divided into 3 sections: modern day, Joseon era and back to modern day. It tells the story of fantasy world where vampires try to coexist with human by drinking artificial/animal blood and hide their true identities. These vampires are under VCS (Vampire Control System), an organization aimed to ensure the welfare of vampires but protect the coexistence project at the same time. Amidst those skeptical and discriminating environment, a teenage girl named Baek Ma Ri (Seol Hyun) determined to lay low and graduate from her new high school without trouble. Until she meets Jung Jae Min (Yeo Jin Goo), her class president who appears to be cold and hates vampire. In fact, he decided to quit playing guitar just to displease his mother who remarried a vampire. Not knowing that Ma Ri is actually a vampire, he gets attracted to her. At the same time, Ma Ri’s vampire instinct gets awaken every time she near Jae Min as his blood smells sweeter for her. And little do they know that their love to each other started far back to Joseon era when vampire was still a “tale” and not every existed vampires were human friendly. Along with their friends, they then create a music band called “Orange Marmalade”.

Main Casts:

  • Kim Seol Hyun (of AOA) as Baek Ma Ri, a musical talented vampire girl who wish to spread peace over her music but had to hide her identity to prevent discrimination and bully.
  • Yeo Jin Goo as Jung Jae Min, a popular high school student who loves to play guitar but decided to quit and close himself after his mother remarried a vampire.
  • Lee Jong Hyun (of CNBlue) as Han Si Hu, a playful vampire who transferred to Ma Ri’s school after showing his bitter feeling toward the coexistence project that caused the imprisonment of his parents on a TV program.
  • Gil Eun Hye as Jo A Ra, a high school sweetheart who has a huge crush over Jae Min.

Review:

This drama is quite ambitious as it combines youth love, fantasy, school life with its bullying issue, music, parent-child issue and even sageuk. It’s like “Dream High”, “The Scholar who Walks the Night” and “School 2015” marrying each other and this drama is their spring. But it feels a bit off as it ended in only 12 episodes, so not every part of the story is properly presented. Like Ma Ri-Jae Min love that blossoms too fast to even willing to die for each other and putting aside years long hatred toward vampire after only a semester, like seriously? We need more sparks, more sweet moments and more realistic timeline for that.

Also for the dividing plot into 3 parts maybe more suitable in the webtoon form rather than the drama as it may come as a little confusing at first.

As for the acting skills, like usual, we could rely on Yeo Jin Goo who portrayed Jae Min very well (although looks a little misplaced on the band). But for Seol Hyun and Jong Hyun, they need a lot of improvement if they are about to stay as actors. Seol Hyun’s portrayal of Ma Ri is rather annoying at first as she perhaps attempted to make her character “pretending” to be a human. But even real human is not that slow and looking weak all the time. She looked like a terminal patient. What’s more disturbing is her too sudden change of behavior right after she joined the band. She was suddenly looked cheerful, talkative and even one time she lead her band mates to start over (on their supposedly first practice). Jong Hyun’s acting feels stiff and there are times where he didn’t know how to do his part. Fortunately, the rest of the cast were doing fine.

Overall, this drama is more suitable for youngsters who likes school life drama with a little (or more) twist. The story itself although mostly predictable (like the love lines, music competition results, etc), there are still some touching as well as smile-inducing moments.

Rating: 6/10 (it could’ve been so much better)

More Korean drama with youth feelings: K-drama Review: Who Are You (School 2015)

More Korean drama based on webtoon: K-Drama Review: What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? , K-Drama Review: Moonlight Drawn By Clouds / Love in the Moonlight

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