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Another interesting snippet:
"However, by midway through the series Seo Eun-Gi is defanged. Due to brain damage she becomes incredibly pitiable. She relies on others for everything and can’t even spell her own name. Of course, the only thing she clearly recalls from before her accident is the name of her boyfriend, who is also the reason she acted recklessly and became injured. While brain damage is a reality, it saddened me to see yet another K Drama heroine become weak and dependent thanks to love.
Why does this happen so often? I suspect it is a mix of economy and patriarchal notions. As I mentioned earlier, once a lead’s “different-ness” is established, it never comes up again. K Dramas tend to suffer from lazy writing. They reuse plots, stretch episodes with flashbacks, have insane coincidences, etc. The goal of many K Dramas is for two characters to fall in love and for the mostly female audience to fall in love with the male lead. Often that means the development of the leading lady falls by the wayside.”
It is hard for us not to live in retrospect. We are so influenced by ourselves in the past that it’s hard not to think about future consequences following our decisions, actions, conversations, and impulses based on what has already happened. Experiences and memories, similarly, are covered with an oily nostalgic residue that moves us to pine for them, to wonder what was so (seemingly) special about them and how to recreate them in our current stations of life. It is hard to think retrospectively about the choices we are faced with - whether we want to be able to see where they take us or not. For a species that thrives so much on love and support from one another, it is strange to think that we have to consider it so much; yet because of its unintended consequences and unforeseen difficulties acquired with retrospect, we are often forced to.
So goes the sentiment of 22 year-old Sae Hagio in Orange Days; in particular, in a scene in which after having decided that it would be best to say goodbye to the man she was “glad to have lived long enough” to be with, she explains nonchalantly: “What you had with me is just a labor of youth. You don’t have to carry it as a burden your whole life.” She believes that upon turning “35 or so” he will look upon her and their relationship as “interesting” - but nothing more against the memories of other lovers he will have had. For Kai Yuuki - her lover, who up until this point has spent a lot of time running breathlessly, shouting recklessly, pining endlessly and just throwing phones and things in Sae’s general direction - this appears to be nonsense. Our initial instincts as drama-watching softies are to want to see these two together forever, of course - so Kai’s response (more words of devotion) is to us the righteous thing to say. But of the two of them, which is actually ‘right’? What makes more sense? Is it better to admit that the future is unknown, and so it’s best not to get worked up? Or will your own happiness be better ensured if you love wholeheartedly and unashamedly? Orange Days doesn’t exactly answer these questions, or leave them open for that matter: it explores them, providing only a small portion to a much larger human complex. One thing, however, is a certainty: underneath its tried and true formula of romance and tragedy between young people, its exploration of human feeling and 21st century pathos is refreshing, real, and unparalleled.