Five childhood friends, who all live in the same Ssangmundong neighborhood of Seoul, lean on each other to survive their challenging teen years and set a path for their futures.
Sung Deok Sun (Hyeri) struggles for attention as the middle child in her poor family while also carrying the burden of her 989th ranking in school. She is everyone’s trusted gal who shares her bright personality to all and shows her caring nature.
Jung-Hwan (Ryoo Joon-Yeol) is the second son of the Kim family. His brother Jung Bong was born with a weak heart, so he decided to help him fulfill his dream, whatever that might be. As a typical teen, he grumbles and complains a lot, and it will take time to convinced him to say yes. He can’t seem to empathize and is always blunt with his words, but he has a good heart and always loyal to his family and friends.
Sun-Woo(Ko Gyung-Pyo)is a model student at the school, good son and good brother at home. Sun-Woo’s mother has raised him and his younger sister alone after his father passed away. Became a man of his house, he’s quite dependable, mature and responsible among his friends. He always tries to do right by everyone. He is considered as the ideal son of the neighborhood.
Ryu Dong Ryong(Lee Dong-Hwi)is a geek who knows more about girls and life than the rest of his friends, but his poor academic score prevents him from being able to go to college. Though he is not an achiever academically, he is the wisest of all. He’s the neighborhood counselor and the joker of the group.
Choi Taek (Park Bo-Gum) is a famous BADUK player known as Master Choi, god to the world. But for his friends, he is simply as an idiot in Ssangmundong. Since he dropped out of school, Duk-Sun, Jung-Hwan, Sun-Woo and Dong-Ryong are his only friends. They protected him as their National Treasure. They always shield him as the youngest one, the baby, and no one could touch and hurt him.
“That might be why youth is beautiful. Because it shines, blindingly bright at a brilliant short moment. But you can never go back to it.”
Certainly, we couldn’t return to our youth because everything just passes by and ages. And this drama makes you remember everything. It has this certain charm where you can always feel that you are part of their family household, that their parents are yours. You grew up with them lurking with memories of good and bad times. In that neighborhood, you waited for your secret crush to pass by, dreaming of your first love, the walls that witness your first hug, first kiss, and even your first heartbreak.
In this drama, I have cried, laughed and fell in love instantly. I missed my family, my childhood friends, my all old memories. Though I can still go back to my street where I grew up old, I cannot find the same faces, the familiar laughter, the nooks and corner where we used to play and the arguments we have solved. What has just left in that old street is the warm feeling of nostalgia, the sense of belongingness and the image of my precious child and youth memories.
Reply 1988 is a perfect drama for me. It tackles not only about the journey of their friendship but it showed problems of their families facing every day, the ups and downs of their lives. They truly emphasized the relationship between the parents and children and every emotion was raw and genuine.
Characters are perfect in this drama, truly are the heart of the entire show. Each of them is written well with so much thought. They all have distinct personalities that are real and allows you to relate.
The Plot is uniquely presented in one setting and yet the development is spontaneous. It does not become boring or trite, it’s not draggy at all. It was just so enjoyable to watch slowly while savoring each of their laughter and tears.
If you’d love to watch a drama about family and friendship, this surely is for you. I recommend it with a full blast of assurance that you will totally get a whipped of laughter, tears and bittersweet aftertaste.
“The reason I miss that time and that street is not only because I miss my younger self. It is because my parents’ youth, my friends’ youth – the youth of everything I loved was in that place. I regret not bidding a final farewell to the surrounding of my youth that can never be brought back together again. To the things that have already gone, to the time I can’t return to… I bid my belated farewell. Goodbye, my youth. Goodbye, Ssangmun-dong” – Deok Sun