The Sound of Magic: Episodes 2-6 (Series Review)





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The Sound of Magic: Episodes 2-6 (Collection Evaluate)

A story of goals and hope at its core, this magical musical takes us on a journey by means of wistful nostalgia and splendid dreamscapes to reach on the query — what does it imply to develop up?

 
SERIES REVIEW

How do I even start to sum up the magic of this present? As a lot as I really like writing, mere phrases can by no means hope to seize the sense of awe and marvel that The Sound of Magic evokes. When you haven’t watched it already, I strongly advocate that you simply do, if solely to expertise its magical world for your self.

Beneath all of the splendor — scores of (sadly faux) cash payments raining from the sky, anybody? — Ri-eul’s magic is at all times undergirded by earnest sincerity. Even when he will get overwhelmed up by Ah-yi’s collectors for his trick, he reassures her and invitations her to study magic from him. The scene then segues right into a heartfelt duet with one in every of my favourite lyrics from the present — “It hurts since you look so comfy leaning again into sorrow once more” — which completely encapsulates Ah-yi’s resignation to climate by means of her ache so she will be able to tackle the mantle of being an grownup a lot sooner than she should.

It’s this theme of rising up that’s woven all through the drama. Youngsters who want to develop up faster, and an grownup who needs he by no means needed to — all pushed to the brink by the adults who stress youngsters to develop up simply the best way they selfishly need.

(The primary a part of this overview comprises story spoilers; the second half is an general spoiler-free overview.)

THE STORY

One factor this sequence does nicely is the event of its characters in a layered method that makes them really feel like fully-realized individuals. We get to see extra of Il-deung because the present progresses, and he’s a nuanced character to say the least. His curiosity in Ah-yi rapidly grows right into a full-blown crush — he even writes a speech on his palm earlier than speaking to her, ha — and there’s a really cute interlude the place he imagines serenading her in an open subject.

Sadly, upon listening to from Ha-na that Ah-yi might be concerned with the magician in trade for cash, he doesn’t know cope with his concern and jealousy. He finally ends up providing Ah-yi cash to mess up on her checks and do his portfolio assignments for him, in a misguided try and steer her away from the magician and in the direction of him as a substitute. Oof.

Il-deung’s actions turn into much more sympathetic, although, once we get a glimpse of his circumstances. He’s stifled and micromanaged by the worst sort of helicopter dad and mom — my pleasure upon seeing Yoo Jae-myung soured fairly rapidly — and he’s anticipated to observe the sleek asphalt highway to success that they’ve paved for him.

Pushed by poverty and desperation, Ah-yi accepts Il-deung’s supply, however the deal quickly goes awry when somebody images Il-deung handing her cash. It will get escalated all the best way to the dean, and although Ah-yi finally ends up blurting out the reality of their settlement, the college covers it up by handing Il-deung a superb conduct award for “serving to out a peer in want.”

It’s an terrible and merciless technique to put Ah-yi in her place, reminding her of her lowly social standing and humiliating her in entrance of all the cohort. The fiasco additionally drives a deeper wedge between Ah-yi and Il-deung — her reduction that she didn’t get expelled, even at the price of her satisfaction, makes her really feel pathetic. Il-deung’s guilt simply makes her really feel even smaller; she doesn’t even have the posh of honesty.

Trying again, it wasn’t cash that pushed me to the brink, she thinks, however the adults.

The one factor maintaining her holding on is Ri-eul’s magic; when he catches her crying alone on the amusement park, he takes her on a carousel journey that has them hovering by means of the sky. In one other scene, when Ah-yi has reached her lowest level, he transports them by means of time and has her meet her youthful self.

Recognizing her childhood ache all too nicely, Ah-yi tells her youthful self that she by no means gave up and remains to be preventing to dwell to at the present time, reassuring little Ah-yi that she’ll pull by means of, too. It’s the phrases Ah-yi’s at all times longed to listen to, and it makes it much more significant that Ri-eul didn’t merely inform her the phrases, however had her say it for herself.

Ri-eul advises Ah-yi that she ought to do the issues that she needs, too, simply as a lot as she has to do the issues she doesn’t. It offers Ah-yi the push she wanted to chase happiness, and she or he begins studying magic from him. Throughout their classes, she’s in a position to let go of her worries for some time, and it’s the brightest we’ve ever seen her smile.

Il-deung meets Ri-eul for the primary time when he follows Ah-yi to the amusement park and ventures in after she leaves. Ri-eul’s extraordinarily astute, and he immediately acknowledges Il-deung’s posturing for what it’s — a determined should be the very best, as a result of that’s what his dad and mom count on of him.

Ri-eul transports Il-deung onto an asphalt highway, the place numerous college students are feverishly taking a check. It unfolds into an impeccably-choreographed and synchronized musical quantity, which serves as a metaphor for the senseless rat race in the direction of an arbitrary definition of success. Afterwards, Ri-eul leaves Il-deung with a yellow origami butterfly on a taking part in card, and it’s clear the magician has left a profound impression on the smothered boy.

Il-deung finds himself returning to the amusement park but once more, partly out of indignance over how broadly Ri-eul makes Ah-yi smile along with his methods, and partly out of a newfound fascination with magic. Ri-eul indulges him, placing on a magic present for the pair and startling Il-deung with a faux spider. (Il-deung actually jumps up onto his chair, HAHA.)

Sadly, the lighthearted moments are quickly undercut. Ah-yi’s deadbeat dad returns, however just for an evening; Ah-yi wakes up the subsequent morning solely to seek out that her dad has absconded along with her cash. When he calls, it’s the final straw, and she or he lastly lays it out like it’s. He’s operating away like a coward, but he expects her to tackle the duties he left behind. She’s scared, exhausted, and sick of getting to hold her burdens like an grownup when she isn’t even one.

Heartbroken and misplaced, Ah-yi sings to the moon, and there’s a pleasant little bit of wordplay right here — the lyrics say that the night time comforts the kid to rush and fall asleep, however the phrase for “fall asleep” can even imply “develop up.” It makes the final traces of the tune, “Good night time, my childhood goals / Goodbye, my previous days,” land just a little extra poignantly.

The drama solely will get darker from there. Ha-na, much more malicious within the drama than within the webtoon, crops a hidden digital camera to show Ri-eul’s true id. It finally ends up capturing an incriminating video of him seemingly attacking a person, which she then makes use of to plant seeds of doubt in Ah-yi and Il-deung’s minds.

Worse but, Ha-na confronts Ri-eul on the amusement park, insulting his magic and calling him a fraud. Her denigration of his magic enrages Ri-eul, inflicting him to fly at her in a rage and demand for the hidden digital camera she’s pinned onto her jacket. Of their tussle, Bella’s parrot cage will get knocked over, and a distraught Ri-eul advances upon Ha-na to strangle her.

All that — mixed with imprecise sightings and sufferer allegations of a person in a cape — will get Ri-eul suspected for a neighborhood theft case, in addition to the homicide of a highschool pupil.

There’s somebody who can vouch for Ri-eul’s innocence, although, and it’s Il-deung. After a heated argument along with his dad and mom, through which they shamed him for his budding curiosity in one thing as ineffective for his future as magic, Il-deung seeks solace within the deserted amusement park. Struck by one other one in every of his debilitating migraines, he sees his previous accolades, then his projected future self, sharply dressed and driving an costly sports activities automotive.

Earlier than lengthy, he realizes that he’s going too quick to even see his environment clearly, and that’s when the tunnel opens up into a phenomenal flower subject. Surprised by its vastness, and the hope it represents, Il-deung begins to query what success and happiness actually imply to him.

He wakes up on the stage with Ri-eul’s cape draped over him, and throughout him are vibrant yellow flowers, chalked onto the stage.

Ri-eul’s magic appears to crumble, although, when Ah-yi’s creep of a boss returns, claiming that Ri-eul made him disappear that night time by pushing him over the railing. Il-deung tries to say Ri-eul’s alibi, however each his dad and mom and the higher-ups dissuade him from defending a societal failure just like the magician. Each their reproachful phrases and the judgmental gaze of his friends start to overwhelm him, and the splitting migraine returns — damaged solely by the chair that Il-deung hurls at a window.

Internally calling out for Ri-eul, he asks despondently if the magician can break the curse of the asphalt highway. Sometime, Il-deung wonders, will I be capable to break away from this chilly path and run by means of an enormous subject of flowers similar to you?

It’s a strong second, heightened by Hwang In-yup’s phenomenal performing, and I want the episode closed on this word as a substitute of shoehorning in a scene for the homicide thriller’s dramatic impact. Sigh.

In any case, the homicide investigation continues, and Ri-eul is apprehended by the police. Seems Ri-eul’s actual title is Ryu Min-hyuk, and he’s a thirty-year-old highschool dropout who escaped from a psychiatric facility and has a historical past of felony suspicions. Misplaced and confused, Ah-yi sings a forlorn, heartbreaking tune — maybe it’s not that she needs to imagine him, however that she needs to say that she does.

To her, Ri-eul represents her hopes and goals; he’s the one individual that validated her struggles and advised her it’s okay to observe her coronary heart. Shedding which means falling again into inescapable darkness as soon as once more, and she or he’s understandably terrified that the ray of sunshine Ri-eul had given her would possibly all simply be a lie.

Because of Ri-eul’s highschool classmate, we study that younger Ri-eul (Nam Da-reum, yay!) was extra like Il-deung than anybody anticipated. A vibrant child with a stellar tutorial file, Ri-eul had buckled beneath the expectations positioned upon him. He’d gone from passing out within the hallways, to frantically learning even within the infirmary, to following an imaginary butterfly proper off the college rooftop.

Ah-yi lastly realizes that to her, Ri-eul had been the particular person he’d wished for however by no means had — somebody to reply his determined requires assist. He’d wished to endlessly stay a baby who believes in magic, as a result of he was afraid of rising up in a world the place even goals have to fulfill a sure normal.

Ri-eul escapes from the interrogation room to placed on one final present, the place Ah-yi interrupts the confrontation between him and the police. She joins him onstage, a silent reply to his query of whether or not she believes in him. With that, snow begins to fall, regardless of it being indoors and in the midst of spring.

“Maybe it’s not that you simply got here to me,” Ah-yi sings, “you had been ready, and I observed you.” It’s the primary acknowledgement of his ache that Ri-eul’s ever acquired, and you may see it mirrored in his eyes. Collectively, the 2 sing a heartfelt and wistful duet, and we see a younger Ah-yi stick a bandage on younger Ri-eul’s solid on the amusement park.

It’s unclear whether or not it’s a reminiscence or a metaphor, however maybe it doesn’t matter which it’s. Both method, it displays how Ah-yi acknowledged Ri-eul’s ache and sought to consolation it in an harmless and childlike method, similar to how Ri-eul did for her, too.

After their tune ends, Ah-yi tearfully tells Ri-eul that he’s an actual magician — he made her actually imagine in magic. Touched, Ri-eul thanks her for making his magic succeed, then offers her his magician’s high hat.

He turns to go away with the police, however Ah-yi calls out to him. With a spark in her gaze and renewed confidence in her shoulders, Ah-yi asks him — do you imagine in magic?

Uttering the magic phrases annarasumanara, she flings a black fabric over Ri-eul, and by the point it flutters to the bottom, he’s vanished with no hint.

The story wraps up fairly rapidly after that — in a sequence of exposition flashbacks, we study that the true perpetrator of the homicide was Ah-yi’s boss. He’d killed his part-time employee for blackmailing him with a video of his sexual harassment, and tried to pin the crime on Ri-eul. Fortunately, his actions had been all caught on a damaged CCTV digital camera on the amusement park, which miraculously began working once more in the course of the couple of minutes of the crime.

Seems, it’s all due to Ri-eul’s magical fireworks present the night time he helped Ah-yi to imagine in magic once more. By some means, his magic had lit up the CCTV too, turning into the essential piece of proof wanted to show his innocence. I like that it got here full circle — his earnest want to avoid wasting Ah-yi from her sorrow ended up saving himself, too.

We by no means fairly see what turns into of Ri-eul, however in a method I like that the drama selected to go away it ambiguous. This present has at all times been one which requires just a little suspension of disbelief, and I assumed it fairly becoming that his ending was equally magical.

Similar to Ri-eul, Il-deung drops out of highschool, however whereas it was an escape for Ri-eul, it’s an empowering determination for Il-deung— one which he makes of his personal volition for the primary time. We aren’t advised the way it pans out for him, however there’s a lightness to his steps now that makes me suppose he’ll do nicely forging his personal path.

A while later, we see Ah-yi all grown-up, now a school pupil. She nonetheless writes letters to her mother, Ri-eul, and Bella by means of the magical mailbox, and whereas she’s nonetheless working part-time jobs, she’s nonetheless holding on to her goals — aww, one in every of her jobs is performing magic methods for youths! Ah-yi’s giving little miracles to youngsters, simply as Ri-eul as soon as did for her, and I believe it’s a hopeful and heartwarming ending to this story.

OVERALL REVIEW

Admittedly, the drama did play into some well-worn tropes — what number of occasions have we seen a poor lady wrestle to supply for her household, and what number of occasions have we seen helicopter dad and mom admonish their little one for not residing as much as their unrealistic requirements? But if we glance previous how trite these scenes could seem, I assumed the best way the present fleshed out its characters’ tales made their circumstances really feel much more suffocating.

The webtoon achieves an analogous impact with its breakneck tempo, however I assumed the drama’s method made the characters extra sympathetic. It allowed the actors to correctly showcase their performing chops, too — Hwang In-yup’s tearful confrontation along with his dad and mom was so good, making my coronary heart damage for him in all the appropriate methods.

Regardless of my preliminary reservations, I assumed the sequence was general fairly nicely solid. The actors actually grew into their roles over the course of the present, coming to embody their characters in a method that was each trustworthy to the webtoon and uniquely distinct.

As soon as I managed to let go of the picture of webtoon Ri-eul that I had in my head, I used to be in a position to admire Ji Chang-wook’s interpretation of the character by itself benefit. Webtoon Ri-eul is enigmatic since you marvel what lies beneath his exuberant facade — is he actually that easy and childlike, or is there one thing extra sinister lurking beneath? Drama Ri-eul, in distinction, is a bit more normal creepy, however I believe Ji Chang-wook’s option to painting him in a extra severe method gave him an air of gravitas that grounded him.

It did really feel like he was nonetheless exercising loads of restraint, although; I can’t assist however really feel that he resembled Ri-eul extra when he was freely smiling and joking round within the behind-the-scenes movies. I believe it will have been fascinating to see a starker distinction between the carefree magician and the troubled teenagers, because the tonal discordancy would have strengthened how out-of-place Ri-eul is in society, whereas additionally including to the fantastical environment.

Nonetheless, I respect Ji Chang-wook’s interpretation of Ri-eul, and I believe he did particularly nicely within the scenes that referred to as for emotion. The way in which he portrayed Ri-eul’s despair was so gutting in its rawness, and so was the childlike vulnerability in his eyes when he requested Ah-yi if she believed in him. By the tip, I used to be charmed by his magic, and moved by his earnestness. (Additionally, he has such a pleasant singing voice!)

I do know I stated I wasn’t fairly satisfied by Hwang In-yup’s portrayal within the first episode, however I’d wish to take all of it again now — his efficiency in the remainder of the present was so good! I suppose he was both discovering his footing or holding again to mirror Il-deung’s preliminary stiffness. As Il-deung slowly started to acknowledge his repressed feelings and goals, the life and conviction returned to his eyes little by little, and I assumed Hwang In-yup did a exceptional job of expressing his inside turmoil and misery.

Additionally, he’s so good at performing smitten! The way in which he awkwardly circled round Ah-yi at first was downright lovely, and I actually have to offer Hwang In-yup credit score for being so plausible as a lovestruck teenager when he’s over thirty.

Final however undoubtedly not least — Choi Sung-eun! Choi Sung-eun! Choi Sung-eunnnn! Gosh, I don’t know write this a part of the overview with out merely gushing over her. I beloved how she was expressive and heart-rending, however by no means excessive. She clearly has an excellent grasp on displaying simply the correct amount, and letting the subtleties in her tone and physique language fill in the remainder. (The way in which her lips trembled and her voice quivered! I teared up so many occasions.) On condition that she’s not a musical actor like Ji Chang-wook, I used to be much more impressed by her capability to seamlessly imbue emotion into her singing.

Choi Sung-eun embodied Ah-yi so nicely that I by no means as soon as noticed the actress taking part in a personality, I merely noticed Ah-yi. She elevated Ah-yi above the position of a typical Sweet, making it clear that Ah-yi was greater than the position society had compelled her into. Ah-yi was a accountable breadwinner who saved meals on the desk even at the price of her personal dignity, a loving sister who cared deeply for these round her, and above all, a lonely little one who simply wished to be allowed to dream once more.

I completely beloved the musical numbers, and whilst I’m penning this, I’m listening to the soundtrack on repeat. The songs had been so well-placed throughout the story, elevating vital scenes and stealing my breath away even once I anticipated them. As well as, the quieter songs took me unexpectedly within the surprising moments, and I appreciated that such understated scenes had been lingered upon. It was heartfelt and evocative with out turning into campy or pretentious, and the honest and poetic lyrics by sensible lyricist Kim Eana made me cry a number of occasions.

The unique webtoon made use of combined media, resembling images and paper cutouts, to convey its surreal magic. Whereas right this moment’s CGI know-how makes it simply doable to duplicate all that with beautiful visible results, magic is extra than simply the spectacle. At its easiest, most real core, it strikes the center, and so I believe director Kim Sung-yoon’s selection to make use of music as a medium made the feelings that rather more palpable and touching.

Additionally, I’d wish to commend the present for its consideration to element, starting from Ah-yi’s repeated outfits to her previous telephone with its cracked display. It additionally made good use of a Chekhov’s gun; when Ah-yi first enters the comfort retailer, we see the highschool pupil Ha-yoon leaving it, and the importance of that scene solely turns into clear when the reality is revealed in a while.

One gripe I had was that the homicide thriller was drawn out a tad too lengthy, taking over treasured time that would have been in any other case spent on our primary solid. The addition of this plotline was maybe essentially the most vital change from the webtoon, and whereas I suppose it made the stakes extra dire, I ponder if it was mandatory in any respect.

Nonetheless, I discovered myself choked up by the ending, and I needed to take a number of minutes to assemble myself. There’s one thing superb a couple of present that makes you are feeling an entire gamut of feelings, even if you already know what’s coming, and The Sound of Magic was precisely that for me. It was by no method means good, however as Il-deung learnt from Ri-eul, perfection isn’t essentially attainable or fascinating. This present touched my coronary heart, and that’s greater than sufficient for me.

Additionally, I completely beloved the post-credits scene, which was performed within the type of a musical curtain name! It was such a candy homage, and I really like that the digital camera panned to the viewers too, as if acknowledging the remainder of the people who labored behind the scenes to deliver this present to life. (I assume the viewers was made up of the drama’s solid and crew, since I observed illusionist Lee Eun-gyul, who was consulted for the magic points of the present.)

Taken objectively, the present treaded some very acquainted waters, and didn’t fairly subvert expectations or ship jaw-dropping surprises. However The Sound of Magic was by no means meant to be a blockbuster hit, and I believe it in the end succeeded in telling a heartwarming story that comforts and heals one’s inside little one. My love for the unique webtoon however, this can be a magical little gem of a musical drama that can linger in my coronary heart for a very long time to come back.

 
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