After a bunch of Korean mini-series romances that were too fluffy and vanilla (read boring), ‘Semantic Error’ turned out to be surprisingly entertaining and well-directed.
Adapted from a popular web-novel of the same name, the story is a fun campus drama starring Park Seo Ham and Park Jae Chan in the lead roles. Jae Chan play ‘straight As’ student Chu Sang Woo, who is exceptionally serious and meticulous about his work. So when he is put on a group assignment where everybody dumps all their work on him, Sang Woo lets the professors know nobody pitched in, causing the rest of the group to fail. Popular student Jang Jae Young’s plans to study further gets disrupted due to the loss of a credit, so he decides to torment Chu Sang Woo. But as the two work on developing a game together, they interact more and more and they begin falling for each other. Pretty standard territory as far as the ‘enemies to lovers’ genre is concerned yet fun.
Unlike the violent and disturbing school/college bullying many K-dramas have, Jae Young doesn’t resort to mean tactics to get back at Sang Woo. He devices rather harmless schemes to annoy the boy who ruined his academic calendar – like wearing the color (red) Sang Woo hates, or buying all his favorite coffee from a vending machine to deprive him from his daily caffeine kick. All his petty antics make for some good comic-relief.
Visually the series is A+, the production team has done a fantastic job in matching the theme of the story, unlike the soft peachy tones of Korean romances in the genre, ‘Semantic Error’ has a lot of bright contrasting tones and neon lights. Both the lead actors aren’t just exceptionally good-looking but also have great chemistry. Chu Sang Woo’s character growth from a cold Robot-like nerd to a softie crushing on his senior was jarring, but Park Jae Chan manages to make it believable – he switches from a ‘death stare’ to a ‘love-struck’ look with a lot of ease. Park Seo Ham is equally good as the stylish, flamboyant student, who is well aware of his talents and attractiveness.
Eight episodes long, with 23-minutes in each, ‘Semantic Error’ does not waste time on secondary characters, keeping a razor sharp focus on Sang Woo and Jae Young. There’s no ridiculous misunderstandings, people speak their mind and the series is largely free from non-sensical/exaggerated elements. It looked like the climax was going to be a predictable emotional mess, with some soppy grandeur, but instead we get an upbeat and cozy ending that leaves you satisfied. It’s a pretty good pick for the light-romantic genre.
It’s a 7/10 from me.
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