Are You Human Too (너도 인간이니) is a KBS2 drama which aired on 4 June 2018 and ended its run recently on 7 August 2018. Starring Seo Kang Joon and Gong Seung Yeon as the leads, this drama may have been off your radar this summer as the two are relatively new in terms of helming a show. They wouldn’t be strangers to Kdrama fans though – Seo Kang Joon previously appeared in Cheese in the Trap as well as Entourage while Gong Seung Yeon was our fiesty female lead in Circle.
What’s the show about? Basically, it’s about a mother, a great scientist, who gets separated from her son when he’s about 5 and resides in Czech. Out of longing, she creates an AI robot that looks exactly like her human son. 20 years later, human son gets into an accident. In order to not let the bad guys win, the mother sends her AI robot back to Korea to stand in for the human son, so that no one in Korea will know that the human son is actually badly injured. What happens next?
It is no secret that Are You Human Too is possibly one of my all-time favourite dramas, and I really wanted to share the love. So, here’s 7 reasons why you cannot miss out on watching Are You Human Too (in no specific order) :
1. The drama is pre-produced.
This drama ended filiming in November 2017 and entered production phase thereafter. This means that the show actually spent more than 5 months in the editing and production phase. What this entails is that you can expect a certain level of quality to the cinematography and the plot, because your typical Kdrama fear of – Uhm, do they know what they are doing???– isn’t going to materialise here. Whether you agree with the script is another thing, but for the most part, the producers had a very solid big picture which they built upon to give us wonderful edits and amazing cliffhangers.
Pre-production is actually a typical Taiwanese model of producing dramas. Therefore, it does not necessarily always speak of quality. However, Korean dramas generally have their first script reading relatively close to the release date of the first episode (which is also why dramas may take a break for a week so as to produce better episodes or to keep up with the production schedule).
Hence, when a Kdrama is pre-produced, it does have a different feel from its counterparts – generally, bigger budget, beautiful scenery and some form of thought-process that is independent from live-audience response.
2. Seo Kang Joon
I follow comments section pretty closely and I have yet come across sentiments that Seo Kang Joon didn’t perform (even if there are, I would assume it’s the bare minority). Because boy, he sure did. An actor or actress undertaking two roles in the same drama is always something of a dream I suppose, something Seo Kang Joon himself acknowledged in the press conference. It’s also my favourite yardstick to measure acting capabilities – if you guys remember, Park Bo Young also performed excellently in Oh My Ghostess, which was a drama that really raised her profile for the Kdrama fans. Let us not forget Ji Sung in Kill Me, Heal Me; probably only a veteran like him could carry off that many different roles.
I can’t say too much without giving spoilers but here’s a question – who’s who?
Who? Throughout the drama, you would be able to see Seo Kang Joon undertake a few personas through the two characters he’s acting as. You could actively analyse and break his acting down (always appreciate *his eyes*!) or you could just sit back and watch – either way, you will enjoy his performance.
3. Amazing chemistry between the leads
Gong Seung Yeon serves as an amazing counterpart to Seo Kang Joon. You aint going to find sizzling, hot chemistry in this show, but that’s also my favourite thing about the drama. I love just how innocent and precious this couple is and you can tell the two really enjoyed working with each other. There’s this vibe going on off-screen and if you told me that the two had a crush on each other, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. Seo Kang Joon also mentioned in the press conference that Gong Seung Yeon helped him a lot because he would take cues from how SHE behaves around him, in order to keep tabs on which persona he’s supposed to act as. A big part of why we love this show is because of Seo Kang Joon (see point above), but some part of the credit definitely has to go to the female lead too.
(There’s a reason why all of us are wishing for future beautiful brown-eyed babies. Sorry.)
4. Experienced supporting cast
I actually started the show because of Lee Joon Hyuk who, if you are already a fan of, will be a delight throughout. It’s funny how just one actor in the cast whom acts as a trigger for my watching of the show can bring me to love the other characters so much as well. For example, this might be the first show of Kim Sung Ryung that I am so enamoured by, despite her wealth of acting experience.
You may have also already seen Kim Won Hae before. There are many other really good supporting actors but these are the top 3 favourites of mine:
If you already liked any of them, then start watching the show now!
5. The plot
A robot-human love? Sure, that’s not original. But the plot does not go out of its way to be something different. Instead, it stays in its path of being tight, thought-provoking and packs a punch of cliffhangers that are memorable (I daresay, some of the cliffhangers rank high amongst all the Kdramas I’ve watched).
The drama also has quite an interesting development in that it does not really follow the pairing of episodes I see in most other Kdramas (e.g EP 7 is a set-up for EP8, EP 9 is a set-up for EP10). This means that almost every episode has a climax of its own, a point to make in the grand scheme of things and no-fillers. Given that I’ve made countless excuses for other dramas (ooh, it’s a bit slow today but I’m sure it will pick up tomorrow), this is very refreshing.
Most importantly, the plot strives to invoke reactions. The most recent drama I could think of that was so rich with substance and questions was Save Me. Are You Human Too, too, undertakes to instill some form of thinking in the viewers. You could of course, enjoy the show like a normal sci-fi/rom-com + some melodrama, but what’s fascinating about this show is that what we think of the plot and its characters, often speak volumes more about ourselves than the show itself. Through comments, you can almost easily pick out that person’s ideals. This show is like a mirror and I’m not being dramatic here when I say it truly reflects who each of us is as a human.
6. Some magic factor
I have been watching quite a few Kdramas after this show ended, but none seems quite the same in terms of pulling me into the plot and rooting for the characters. And that’s okay! But here’s a drama where intentionally or not, the magical formula hooks you in from the start by crafting a male lead who is adorable and precious; someone you would want to protect and cuddle (hur…hur…this cannot be just me…right?) It’s a little like those old-school family dramas where there’s an evil stepmother and lots of schemery, and you keep shouting for the female lead to stay alive. Of course, it’s a lot more nuanced than that for Are You Human Too, but the emotion of rooting so fervently for a key character is quite nostalgic and frankly, welcomed.
7. The music
I do not profess to be an expert of OSTs; I’m a Kdrama fan, not a Kpop one so I don’t know most Korean singers unless they have sung previous OSTs before. Therefore, my hallmark of a good OST is one which goes perfectly well with the scene, enhances emotions and stays in my brain. If I can still hum the melody and feel something after the show ended, you have succeeded, OST. And sometimes, it does not have anything to do with the drama. I could adore a drama to bits but still, can’t recall a single song from it after it ends.
If OSTs, like to me, are important to you, then why not give this a drama a try so as to find out for yourself? I don’t know if I should wish the ‘curse’ upon you but I wasn’t kidding when I say that for a week straight after the finale, I woke up every morning with a different tune playing in my head. It was painful to say the least (music invokes a lot of emotions in me; I really love music) but I’m actually happy that I’ve at least found good songs in 2018.
Here’s a teaser (my top pick of the OST but the rest are just as good) – 2BIC’s Heart:
(The meaning of this song really hits home when you are done with the show.)
Do you agree with this list? Do you have anything else to add? If you are a fan, share this article with your friends (spoiler-free and hopefully, convincing enough!). If you are still sitting on the fence, I hope my post has nudged you a little towards trying the drama out. Word of advice though, do not drop the drama in the first 4 episodes (EP1-8) because of the female lead. Do not, I repeat! She is thoroughly annoying initially but most of us grew to love her and I’m sure you will too!
I can’t guarantee that you will like the show as much as I do, but I do think that it’s definitely worth checking out. Here’s hoping that you will be watching the show after reading my post!