First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts: Backstreet Rookie

The teasers for Backstreet Rookie were full of bright colors and spot-on fighting moves, as well as great chemistry between Ji Chang Wook and Kim Yoo Jung. Come see if we think the drama lives up to the hype!

The Plot

From our friends at MyDramaList: “Jung Saet Byul is a 22-year-old four-dimensional girl with amazing fighting skills who loves her friends, family, and retro fashion. She has the boys lined up but only has one person who keeps her distracted, Choi Dae Hyun. He became imprinted on her as an unforgettable person after a cigarette errand three years ago. Three years later, Jung Saet Byul meets Choi Dae Hyun again at his convenience store that he now manages and becomes a part-time worker. Here, Saet Byul and Dae Hyun’s love story begins as they heal the wounds of the heart, gain love, and become adults dreaming of the future. Their stories unfold into a pleasant comedy within the familiar sensibility of a convenience store.”

Our Leads

Ji Chang Wook plays Choi Dae Hyun, an average man with average dreams who manages his family’s convenience store and grapples with his parents and plummeting sales.

Kim Yoo Jung plays Jung Saet Byul, a former thug who connects easily with other people. She’s amazing at sales and fell in love with Dae Hyun the moment she saw him.

The Rest of the Crew

Yeon Joo is Dae Hyun’s current girlfriend, but she used to be his boss. (I’m sensing a theme here….) Dae Hyun’s Rastafarian-wannabe best friend is Han Dal Sik, whose profession is a shout-out to the webtoon this drama is based on. (More on that later.)

Saet Byul takes care of her younger sister/gangster in the making, Eun Byul, and has two best friends, Geum Bi and Eun Jo, who share her same zest for life.

First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts

I have SO MANY THOUGHTS. After watching the first two episodes, I messaged Kmuse because something felt off and I couldn’t put my finger on it. After a little research, I discovered that Backstreet Rookie is based on an adult webtoon. That explained Dal Sik being an adult webtoonist, which was a bit jarring. However, the articles I read said that the drama was adapted to be a bit more family-friendly. Well, 15+ family friendly….

Anyway. I found myself drawn in by Ji Chang Wook and Kim Yoo Jung’s characters. Ji Chang Wook is very much playing a beta male here — not something I would ever thought I would see him do. I want to yell at him to grow a spine, but at the same time, he shows the frustration he feels at not reacting the way he wants to. I’ve definitely been there.

Kim Yoo Jung’s character has always been a fighter and been part of a gang. However, there’s a line she says to her sister that caught my attention, about not being a bully/thug because then people won’t see past it. She obviously wants to grow and change, and it will be interesting to see how she pulls that off.

The director of Backstreet Rookie is Lee Myung Woo, who also directed Fiery Priest. Both dramas are bright and colorful and in-your-face, and the characters kept me hooked. I’m in for now, but this drama is definitely on the bubble. We’ll see if I stay with it.

What do you think, k-fans? Will you be watching Backstreet Rookie? Drop down in the comments and let us know — we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until the next shelf gets stocked, I remain —

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

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