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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Magic School" Episodes 9-12

2017/09/30 | 329 views | Permalink

By this point I had been expecting "Magic School" to build up to some sort of climax. Instead, we just get more exposition. There's not even any conflict, just exposition of potential conflicts. At least, that's how I'm inclined to interpret Na-ra's tension with Yoo-ri, a woman who is not his girlfriend, and with whom he has not shared any real romantic scenes. Even the fat bespectacled guy Na-ra knows has a more clearly defined relationship than Na-ra himself does.

Or, to use a more obviously relevant example, Seong and Yi-seul. Every scene they have at this point, even the ones involving other characters and magic classes, is legitimately cute romantic comedy material. The best part is when the other students catch on and begin commenting on it. Grotesque immaturity of the situation notwithstanding, it's all legitimately funny, and works to give Seong a wide enough variety of situations to react to that he's a surprisingly well-rounded character. Especially given his backstory.

We also find out a lot more about Joon's backstory, and personality in general. The former is just typical sad overseas Korean adoption stuff. The latter is a lot funnier, because it becomes obvious the more we see of Joon that the guy really is every bit as dumb as he looks. It amazes me that a man intelligent enough to learn near-fluent Korean and graduate from an accredited Korean medical school in just six years is somehow this stupid with money.

The way Joon takes every debilitating humiliation in stride is the best part though. No wonder the guy loves magic so much. He fully buys into it as an instrinsic concept that solves all problems in an unseen way. This is literally how most people see doctors, which only makes Joon's medical expertise all the more comically ironic. Meanwhile, actual professional magician Jay is very down-to-earth and practical-minded. What an odd couple!

...At least, that would be by impression if that particular relationship (or any of the drama's relationships, really) had been set-up in the first portion of the story rather than the third part of four. It's genuinely impossible to see how any of the established storylines can be satisfactorily resolved, when so much time has been spent on simple characterization there's barely any room for narrative. Well, at least my expectations aren't set too high. "Magic School" does tend to succeed when it aims low at least.

Review by William Schwartz

"Magic School" is directed by Kim Do-won-I, written by Kim Do-hyeon, and features Jinyoung, Yoon Park, Nichkhun and Ryu Seung-soo.

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