Drama

Currently Watching: Nevertheless

Now playing: Whisper – Park Ji Woo (Nevertheless OST)

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Song link

Warning: This article will contain a few very minor spoilers from the first three episodes.

Author’s note: This article looks prettier in dark mode!

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Kdramas are usually known for being on the cliché side. Perhaps even the sappy side. Filled with first love stories, star crossed lovers, and romantic first encounters leading to romance, that might not be a likely occurrence in our own lives. It’s not often (or ever) that we have an accidental encounter with someone from a country that is unfriendly with your own, or fall in love with a hologram. Kdramas, although filled with beautiful and romantic love stories, are often unrealistic compared to our own lives. The male leads are often too good to be true, making many Kdrama fans joke that they’ve made their relationship standards too high.
So how is Nevertheless different? From the very beginning of episode one, you feel as though you’ve been thrust into a whole new world. The vibe is different from other Kdramas. You’re instantly brought into the female lead’s life, and shown the circumstances and cruel reality of her love life. It’s not long after that we meet our male lead. From the start he is unlike most Kdrama leads. He has the looks, and the charm, but as many fans have pointed out: he has several red flags. We are doubtful of his intentions from the beginning and are carried into this story between them, wondering how it’s all going to end up. It’s far more real than what we, as Kdrama fans, are used to seeing. Filled with things such as cheating, lying, uncertainty, and more mature content than we usually see.

Is taking a step away from cliché and perfect romance and showing us a more realistic portrayal, a refreshing addition to the world of Kdramas? Or was this drama a bad idea?

Whatever the answer may be, nevertheless, this drama has me hooked.

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General Information

Title: Nevertheless

Air dates: June 19, 2021 – August 21, 2021

Episodes: 10

Episode Length: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Where to watch: Netflix

Note: This drama was adapted from a webtoon by the same title, written by Jung Seo (정서). I have not read the webtoon, so I won’t be mentioning it further.

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Leading Cast and Characters

Han So Hee as Yoo Na Bi

Actress Description: Formerly in smaller roles, she has recently started gaining popularity and has been appearing in more leading roles.

Character Description: A sculpture student in university. Introduced as someone popular in the sense that she is well liked, but isn’t social. More on the innocent side, her story focuses on her interactions with the male lead Park Jae Eon.

Song Kang as Park Jae Eon

Actor Description: One of the most well known and most talked about actors currently. Gained popularity from his lead role in Love Alarm, and has taken several lead roles since, each different from the last. 

Character Description: Possibly one of the most controversial characters this year. Introduced as a charming playboy, who messes around with girls with no interest in dating. His story focuses on his interactions with female lead Yoo Na Bi.

Chae Jong Hyeop as Yang Do Hyuk

Actor Description: A rising actor, who has mostly had supporting roles, as well as some main roles in mini dramas. Most known for his supporting role in Sisyphus: The Myth.

Character Description: As of episode 3, his character has yet to appear but he has been assumed to be Yoo Na Bi’s second main love interest, and the beginning of a love triangle.

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Plot

Nevertheless follows the story of university sculpture student Yoo Na Bi and her complicated friends with benefits’ relationship between her junior classmate, playboy Park Jae Eon. Their meeting is presented like your average Kdrama meeting with the connection of his love for butterflies and her name (Nabi, meaning “butterfly”) between them. They begin a friendship that has no clear line between friends and lovers, presenting a new dynamic of romance that isn’t often seen in Kdrama. Taking the concept of, ‘maybe it’s destiny’ with the butterflies, and proceeding to show that even if it seems like it is, reality isn’t about what’s “meant to be”. This drama also follows the stories of their friends, and their own romances.

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The controversy over Nevertheless

So far, from the three episodes that have aired, viewers have been disagreeing over their opinions of the drama. Some people like the realistic portrayal of romance, finding the male lead a nice change from the classic perfect Kdrama male lead stereotype. Others disagree, arguing that there is no use for a drama with such a toxic relationship, and questionable male lead. The truth is, there’s no correct answer for this debate. It’s up to each of us individually to decide for ourselves how we feel. However, one thing is true… this drama has certainly been catching attention.

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The Possibility of LGBTQ+ Representation

I’ll start by saying, as many of you already know, that it is often rare to find LGBTQ+ representation in Kdramas. On the rare occasion that there is, it is often small or put there negatively. I can think of many dramas that portrayed gay characters in a negative light (such as in Record of Youth).
So far, Nevertheless has been hinting at a possible wlw (woman loving woman) romance between two of the supporting characters. However, they have also introduced possible male love interests for both female characters, leading to confusion among viewers. I, and many more, are hoping that they really are leading into a romance between the two girls. As this drama has been reflecting reality more than others that I have seen, I’m hoping that this will encourage them to establish a proper LGBTQ+ romance. The way it has been introduced so far has been amazing to me. They’ve been giving the girls enough screen time to be considered the second main couple if they follow through with it. They’re following a classic “friends to lovers” plot where the girls are best friends and seem to have feelings for each other but have yet to say anything. There have been several scenes hinting at jealousy so far as well.
I’m really hoping that they will continue this, and make a genuine romance from this. LGBTQ+ representation is so important in the media, and has been so difficult to find in Kdramas. A popular Kdrama such as this one, showing one and normalizing it next to a straight romance? An amazing possible start for growth in the Kdrama world. All we need is someone to take the first step, and really represent an lgbtq couple in a mainstream drama and begin the process of normalizing lgbtq storylines. I’m really hoping that Nevertheless can join the ranks of Kdramas such as Itaewon Class, Reply 1997, and Moment at 18, who have already begun this process, and perhaps even do it better.

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Character Variety

Another thing I have noticed from this drama is the variety of characters, and the comparisons the drama has been making between them. We have carefree characters, focused on partying and dating around, studious characters focused on their futures, and a mixture of both. This drama has done a really good job so far of portraying youth, representing the feeling of what it’s like to be a young adult figuring out your future, navigating love and studies and friendship. All with a focus on art, which I am loving. Seeing the different pieces of art each character makes, is another great way to show the differences between them all. Art shows how each of us view the world differently, and how special and magical it is to try and see what others see. The connection between art, personality and worldview has been one of my favorite parts of the show so far. Every piece of art, just like every character is different and unique and brings something important to the show, even if it’s a negative effect. Every character has a purpose.

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My personal opinion 

I have mentioned the controversy over the content for this drama, and I think it’s time I talk about my own take. For me, I have been enjoying this drama immensely. I think that the realism is a much needed addition to Kdramas. Although we might all love watching a beautiful, almost too good to be true romance, I think it’s also good to get a taste of reality once in a while. It also provides some variety for Kdrama fans such as me who prefer more mature plots.

Not every male lead has to be perfect, some may be imperfect, or just plain toxic. In real life, people smoke, they drink and they party. They have one night stands and they fall for people they shouldn’t. This drama represents reality, and I’m loving it. The entire vibe is beautiful, like they’re almost romanticizing our own harsher reality. We can each see a piece of ourselves in the characters, remembering our own heartbreaks or our own hopes and dreams. It’s a drama about youth and art and falling in love, and I adore it.

If this drama continues the way it has been, it will likely end up being one of my top favorite dramas and depending on the possible LGBTQ+ representation, could even become my favorite (sorry, 18 Again). I have high hopes for this drama and the insight it could provide about toxic relationships and loving yourself first, and being true to your own feelings. There’s an opportunity here for a beautiful plot of self respect and choosing yourself. I can’t wait to see what they do with it, and if I’m right about the purpose of focusing on a toxic relationship.

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In conclusion, I would definitely recommend checking out this drama! The casting, OST, plot and cinematography have all been amazing and very high quality. It’s highly entertaining to watch and I think a lot of people could enjoy it. This was my first article so I hope you liked it, and have a great day. Happy watching! (Fun fact, I forgot to save while working on this and accidentally deleted it when I was finished and had to redo the whole thing. Take it from me, folks, and save your progress.)

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Gif credit: Baijingting on tumblr, Savingfaces on tumblr, Fydramason tumblr, Mischiefblues on tumblr, huimangi on tumblr, and Dramaism on tumblr

Image credit: Promotional photos for the drama as well as screenshots taken from the actual drama


Edited by: Azyjtevol (1st editor), devitto (2nd editor)

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