K-Drama Review: A Korean Odyssey

Ankita Panda, Kolkata, West Bengal

If you are looking for a supernatural drama with elements of romance as well as comedy, then you have stumbled upon the perfect one. A Korean Odyssey or Hwayugi (화유기) is a fantasy drama set in the modern era and loosely based on the 16th century classic Chinese novel, Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en. It is written by the Hong Sisters and directed by Park Hong-kyun, Kim Jung-hyun and Kim Byung-soo. It stars Lee Seung-gi, Cha Seung-won, Oh Yeon-seo, Lee Hong-gi, Jang Gwang and Lee El.  The drama aired from 23 December 2017 to 4 March 2018 on tvN every Saturday and Sunday, and spanned over 20 episodes.


Born with a special ability, Jin Seon-mi (Oh Yeon-seo) can see ghosts and spirits. This ability only caused her pain as she was cursed and isolated by her relatives and peers and her only shield against ghosts was her yellow umbrella that has protection spells written on it by a Buddhist monk. One day, she entered a magical house and released the imprisoned Monkey King Son O-gong (Lee Seung-gi) who was being punished by heaven for his misdeeds, in exchange for her protection. They made a deal wherein Son O-gong will come to her rescue whenever she calls out his name; young Seon-mi completed her part of the deal but the clever Monkey King stole her memory of his name and abandoned her in the middle of nowhere.

Twenty-five years later, Jin Seon-mi is an adult and no longer fears her abilities. She now runs a real estate agency where she buys haunted properties, exorcises ghosts and spirits and then sells them for large profits. Jin Seon-mi and Son O-gong meet again in a fateful encounter, where Son O-gong wants to eat Seon-mi as she is ‘Samjang’, a chosen human with powerful blood, but can’t because of the deal he made with the young Seon-mi. To protect herself from all the monsters trying to eat her as well as Son O-gong, Seon-mi with the help of Woo Ma-wang (Cha Seung-won) acquires ‘geumganggo’, a magical bracelet that will ensure absolute obedience of anyone who wears it through the power of love. From hereon begins the tragic love story of Jin Seon-mi, the chosen hero, and Son O-gong, her guardian as they fight the ghosts and evil spirits that thrive because of humans.

Why You Should Watch?

I had a lot of expectations when I started watching ‘Hwayugi’, mostly because it is hyped yet also known to be underrated. And fortunately, I was not left disappointed. The drama masterfully deals with emotions and dialogues. There are enough instances where I could almost feel the heartache that the female lead was feeling, but thankfully it wasn’t dragged on for too long as they supplied scenes for comic relief. The romance between the main leads is absolutely entertaining because they bickered enough to make me laugh but also shared heartwarming moments that portrayed the depth of their relationship. It was interesting to watch how Son O-gong falls for Seon-mi because I, as a viewer, was as confused as the character was about his feelings; whether the affection he has for her was sincere or just an illusion caused by the magical bracelet.

But the plot dynamic doesn’t just revolve around the main couple. The relationships between the supporting characters are well constructed. It is rather interesting to watch a bloodthirsty pig, a loyal dog, a Bull King, an octopus in their human forms, and a friendly zombie getting along with each other. I know it sounds unreal, but it comes down to your willing suspension of disbelief; after all, it is a fantasy drama.

‘Hwayugi’ repeatedly emphasized how the origin of evil spirits is because of the misdeeds of humans. They feed off of people’s insecurities and greed and also influence them to commit crimes. It showed that at the end of the day it would be humans that would destroy their own world and not supernatural creatures. 

Video Credits: tvN Drama

Overall, the drama was very fulfilling with its amazing sets and beautiful OSTs by renowned artists such as NU’EST, Bumkey, MeloMance, Suran and many more. It was a fun ride that I didn’t know I needed. Have you seen this drama? Did you like it? Tell us in the comments!

Video Credits: JRUOST

11 Comments Add yours

  1. The plot dynamic seems promising. Thank you for the recommendation.

  2. Review is good! Perfect for those who are planning to watch this drama

  3. Moumita Mondal says:

    Thanks for the recommendation♥️

  4. Mamoni says:

    I haven’t watched it yet but will definitely 😌😍

  5. This drama has been on my watchlist for so long! Loved the review🔥 Eager to start it🙌

  6. I will start this drama asap

  7. anishanath says:

    I love watching fantasy dramas and reading about the plot, I think I have to start the drama. Thank you for your recommendation.

  8. ThatMoleGirl says:

    very well written review. Perfect mix of fantasy and comedy ❤️❤️

  9. Jubby Kumar says:

    You have reviewed it well. Thank you for the recommendation 😍

  10. Tirna says:

    What a great plot, and a wonderful review ❤

  11. DJ says:

    Thanks for the recommendation 💜🌸

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