Hello!! I have just finished watching I’m Not A Robot (I know, it has been such a long time since the show was aired in end 2017) and… I love it! Come join me in my review / recap of the drama and take a walk down memory lane or find a new watch for yourself.
Wow, the old readers would know that I have not done such a long post in a long, long time and to be honest, I would have never expected that I would break this drought with this drama. Took me a long time to write but I had lots of fun, hope you guys will enjoy it too!
Spoiler – free
Summary: Our male lead, Kim Min Kyu, has an allergy to human touch. One day, Aji 3 is introduced to Min Kyu and brought to his house for him to test its capabilities. Unbeknownst to him, Aji 3’s creator, Professor Hong, had switched the robot with its human model, Cho Ji Ah, to tide through this testing period. Min Kyu starts taking an interest in it, not knowing that the ‘robot’ he is training is actually a human. Of course, as the two start spending more time with each other, they start developing feelings, and this causes Min Kyu much agony – since he is falling in love with a ‘robot’.
I always knew this drama existed, and I recalled making the choice not to watch it (so it wasn’t the case where I haven’t heard of this show or that it wasn’t on my radar). I can’t quite recall the exact reasons for this reaction, but I know it was partly due to the fact that I felt I did not need another robot-human love drama + I had watched and was bored by the first 15 mins of the couple’s interactions. I had also not watched any of YSH’s dramas (until quite recently), and did not really like what I had seen of Strongest Deliveryman.
My detailed rambles are in the spoiler section below, but for those of you who have yet to watch the show, I do highly recommend it if you are looking for something easy to watch, yet really sweet. Cast-wise, I have good vibes about Yoo Seung Ho but have only really watched him in Memorist. This drama however made me a fan and I’m looking forward to his upcoming drama! Other than a key scene between him and Um Ki Joon which I felt was a little empty, the rest of the scenes where he was in virtually monologues by himself were great to watch because he built up his scenes with varying emotions and intensity. He has a killer smile with cute, natural gestures and expressions, and I am won over by his acting. As for Chae Soo Bin, I think she suits the casting and she did well in portraying 1. a full on robot (Aji 3) 2. a human (President Cho, Cho Ji Ah) and 3. a human pretending to be a robot (fake Aji 3). These different personalities require different nuances and expressions, tone, and delivery and I think she nailed them all. Both actors match well with each other and I genuinely like the interactions between them in their varying capacities.
Plot-wise, while some parts are bit slow, I enjoyed most of the show even without a horrifying villain as I find that the main point was ultimately about healing and trust in relationships. While this is a drama about robots, I would say that this is much closer to reality as opposed to Are You Human Too / Absolute Boyfriend and should have in fact appealed to a much larger mass audience. For those of you who are a bit tired of stories where a human falls in love with a robot / hated the fact that a human would end up with a robot (don’t get me started on all those comments I received for my finale recap of AYHT), then this should be up your alley because it is more of a healing drama rather than a robot drama. Even if you are fine with a robot-human love (like me), I promise this drama will still be just as interesting and heartwarming. Even where there were some parts of the drama where I was confused or thought it was possibly a plot hole, these were all generally addressed in the latter half of the show.
But I would say the main reason why this drama works for me is the execution of the scenes (plus the OSTs!) and the acting and chemistry of the actors which really made the love story such a great thing to watch. Give this a go! You won’t regret it, and it’s easily found on Netflix.
Spoilers (classified by episodes, so feel free to choose how far along you wish to be spoilt!)
*Favourite key bits* (warning, this is going to be a tad long and image heavy, so let everything load first!):
To be honest, whilst the initial interactions between Min Kyu and Ji Ah were cute and sweet, most of my favourite portions are actually in the second half of the drama. The slow burn plus the intensity in the tension between the couple makes up for a great and satisfying watch.
Episode 3: when Ji Ah goes into pseudo robot mode with ah, you’re my master, ah it’s a cat, master, cat –
I think this may be the first scene that led me to fall in love with YSH’s killer smile. It is also the first time that Ji Ah made Min Kyu smile, and I love that this not only signifies her power, but that it also comes back as one of the important memories which Min Kyu holds dear. This is nicely contrasted with Aji 3’s later scene, where if I’m not wrong, she manages to switch between “master” and “cat” without any mistakes.
Episode 4: when Min Kyu realises that he was injected in random places by Ji Ah. LOL.
Episode 5: When Ji Ah starts curing Min Kyu’s allergy without the need for injection – the scene was shot so beautifully with the rain and the transparent umbrella, and I love how the couple just sits there quietly along with the beautiful OST from Kim Yeon Ji’s Words of Your Heart.
And when Min Kyu realises that the key to curing his allergy is ‘Aji 3’ and tells her to stay with him forever,
which is so sweet and lovely, but that quickly evolves into comedy when Ji Ah pretends to be in standby mode to avoid any input in the dispute – I find it freaking hilarious every time she uses this trick. If only we could do the same when we find ourselves in sticky situations!
End Episode 6 / Episode 7: And of course, we cannot leave out the pivotal scene of the drama – the first kiss under the umbrella in the rain!! I guess we could say that this was the trigger for everything that follows thereafter. I like that she is the first one to initiate the kiss (which would make sense given that he thought she was a robot). I also like that the umbrella became a Cupid of sorts and keeps coming back in different scenes.
This was followed by half an episode of angst, but what I really liked was the ending scene where Min Kyu throws a drunken, desperate confession, which leads to Ji Ah’s line that ties back to the title of this drama. He so desperately wishes that she was a human, and it is so tragic that she is, and she wants to tell him that, but she can’t.
End Episode 9/ Episode 10: I know Min Kyu felt pretty embarrassed for resetting ‘Aji 3’, but this could possibly be amongst one of my favourite ‘break up’ scenes. How often do you get such partings that are bittersweet, yet full of longing, love, technically on amiable terms without anyone being a noble idiot, and which made sense in current circumstances? It was also sad how they felt so sorry towards the other.
It was heartbreaking when he tells her to be in Operation Mode and instructs her to reset herself, and I just love the finishing touch of him giving her his mother’s necklace, as an indication that she is the last woman he will love, and how he hugs her even tighter as she counts down to the reset.
Episode 11: If you’re wondering why I randomly started watching this show, it was because a family member was watching this on Netflix and I caught this episode almost in full (whilst having watched some scenes earlier), which convinced me to start the drama. Something about Min Kyu’s eagerness, desperation, curiosity and fascination + Ji Ah’s trepidation made me fascinated as well, and I really wanted to know how the couple got to this stage.
When they run into each other on the train (pigs indeed fly) – this scene had literally zero lines but so much was conveyed with just their eyes, especially when Min Kyu keeps looking back and Ji Ah keeps looking down, with tears in her eyes.
When they finally meet face-to-face
And when they both laugh out loud at the same memory of ‘Aji 3’ calling herself a treasure.
Episode 12: Although the trope of the couple being locked up in the same place overnight is overused, I am not complaining here because I like that Min Kyu has a chance to have extensive interactions with Ji Ah as a human. It is also well executed in the sense that Min Kyu does not look at Ji Ah with any sense of love but rather with fascination and a sense of familiarity.
Him reminiscing what the rain meant to him
And how he asks if Ji Ah could listen to his story with such a cute demeanour
And when he starts on his story, it feels like he is just talking to a new-found friend.
End Episode 12 / Episode 13: This episode is the one which truly wins me over, with lots of focus on Min Kyu’s feelings of betrayal, sadness, longing and love, thus truly exhibiting YSH’s acting skills. For the same reason, I like these scenes even if they are considered sad and heartbreaking scenes and can watch them over and over again.
I love how the realisation slowly builds up as he backs away, and how the horror (and his allergy) start creeping up.
This drama sure knows how to build up its climaxes and the amplified gasp, leading to his fall to the ground, really nailed the scene. This might sound strange, but I also thought that Min Kyu’s agonised screams combined with Ji Ah’s cries really dramatised the moment so well. Is it just me?
I also love this next monologue where Min Kyu highlights the reasons behind his reactions – he feels like he was made a fool, he is hurt and embarrassed, and there were so many times when Ji Ah could have owned up. (I personally hated the idea that every moment between them has been recorded, even the most intimate and saddest ones.)
It was close to 6 minutes of pure YSH, and I not only applaud him for carrying the scene but also want to give him a pat on the back for the number of lines he must have memorised. Kudos to CSB for being a good counterpart and providing all the important reactions, thus helping to break up the monologue and adding to the mood of the scene.
The fact that he throws a cup to break the display box as a breaking point and climax, coupled with the beautiful song Juniel’s Here I Stand in the background, was in my opinion a perfect end to the scene and monologue.
Episode 14: I love it (okay, I know I have used this word many times over now but who can blame me?) when Min Kyu reaches out to light up the heart ball, which causes the heart ball on Ji Ah’s end to light up.
Like I said, this drama really knows how to build a scene (and also ties back the motifs consistently).
I also appreciated the fact that even though this is a long scene, they break it up into different phases with different emotions. It is nice that they start off with factual truth that lead to the cutest little expressions from YSH, such as when he realises that he had told Ji Ah all about the first kiss and that the Friend Mode was nothing but a quick lie which he should not have believed. (Well, but he need not be so embarrassed because eventually, this was incorporated and isn’t such a far-fetched idea.)
It then becomes a soft and sweet scene when Ji Ah starts telling the truth behind each of her encounters with him, and this warms Min Kyu up. We then slowly evolve into sadness where Min Kyu holds himself back from petting her hair and kissing her, but both times Ji Ah takes the initiative by making sure that Min Kyu will not come into contact with her.
I also really like the buildup to the final kiss scene, where Min Kyu tells Ji Ah that he may never be able to touch her and he can’t put her through it too,
and when she manages to tell him that what she really wanted to say before the reset was “I love you”.
Special mention to Aji 3, whom (which?) surprised me when she goes off wandering on the streets alone at the end of Episode 14 and I just love the way she says, “Let’s go home” which gives her a human-like sense of loyalty.
Episode 15: When Ji Ah drives like a maniac to get Min Kyu to get to the location on time (you go girl!) and when Min Kyu laughs awkwardly every time he gets caught by Jin Bae in being lovey-dovey with the sister. It must be tough being both a boss and potential brother-in-law.
And of course, after we have a chaste first kiss, some near kisses, and a second kiss, we must be rewarded with a good one and I must say that I was not disappointed!
You should have realised by now that I freaking love all the sad scenes even if I did not cry/tear at them. This scene at the end of episode 15 however, got me in some tears. It was nicely done, poignant and bittersweet how they bade farewell to Aji 3 via voice over, thanking her for all her contributions and how she will live on in the next robot. The fact that she had her eyes closed in standby mode also amplified the finality of this scene.
Episode 16: I generally do quite like the interactions with the Santa Maria team and it is nice that the Ri-el and Yoo-chul got together, but for this last episode my key favourite scenes are –
when Min Kyu misses Ji Ah and flops down in front of her to whine about the situation
When Min Kyu visits Ji Ah’s house and has the jitters from facing his potential brother-in-law, and how this meeting ends on a good note with Jin Bae enforcing casual terms with Min Kyu outside of work
And how after a time jump, Min Kyu is discharged from military service (to tie back to our introduction in episode one where he is exempted from military due to the allergy) and we have none other than Ji Ah welcoming him back with our Cupid umbrella, this time not to shelter them from the rain but from the snow.
To be honest, I am not a fan of the ending shot where the couple holds still in a stale kiss at a weird angle (not sure if they were trying to emulate the first kiss but come on we know and have seen them do better, I kinda pity CSB’s waist and neck) so I shall leave us with this one last shot of our couple:
Overall: I really liked the development of Min Kyu’s character – he started out as a closed off, seemingly psychotic character who only has robots for friends but I would say that he almost instantaneously showed us and ‘Aji 3’ sides of himself whom he has never showed others before. This allowed the viewers to sympathise with him from early on rather than having to go through the whole usual process of writers justifying why a male / second male lead is cold and aloof. I also like that he went into turmoil thinking that he fell in love with a robot, reset her, and then regretting it and trying to find her again. For the same reasons, my favourite scenes of this drama tie in very much with the ups and downs of this love line. I also like the fact that the couple needed each other – this was not as obviously highlighted throughout the drama but it wasn’t just Min Kyu who needed Ji Ah. Min Kyu also gave Ji Ah the kind of love, appreciation, support and trust which she always needed. It was also important that the drama showed that Min Kyu eventually recovered and he is no longer reliant on Ji Ah anymore to go about his daily life. This is why I appreciated the fact that Ji Ah was not there with him physically at the press conference.
Not so favourite bits: I did feel like the couple fell in love with each other within a very short span of time and it might have made more sense if they had confessed “I like you” instead of “I love you.” However, I just love the drama and the angst (which would have undoubtedly been dialed down a notch if they had gone with the former), and there is no doubt that they suit each other, so it is not something which I am too bothered about. I also didn’t like that that they focused on the size of Ji Ah’s chest at the start and I felt that it was initially downright creepy Prof Hong used Ji Ah’s face as the model for the robot.
On that note however, it was bittersweet yet appropriate that they finally bade farewell to Aji 3 and gave her a new face and character. This serves to highlight that in terms of the robots (as it is right now), it is their artificial intelligence that truly matters and that the exterior can change, somewhat like how we upgrade our phones. As the premise of the show is already based on the fact that the robot will not be in a romantic relationship with the human, I appreciate the fact that they kept to this very consistently, making sure that all the emotional and fun moments that Min Kyu has are with Ji Ah.
Finally, I like how they constantly juxtapose Aji 3’s responses with Ji Ah’s chosen replies, which was not only hilarious how she defies them straight away without batting an eyelid but also shows that without a doubt, Min Kyu fell in love with a human (with her quirks and creativity) and not a robot. The ending is literally a dream come true for the couple and I’m so happy for the both of them, because all he really wanted was for her to be a human and all she really wanted was to say “I am not a robot”.
End of spoilers
There were still many more things I would have said if this was a full-length recap and follow of the drama (for example, Prof Hong and the entire Santa Maria team, as well as the cast) but as it is, this is really meant to highlight the key scenes which I really appreciated and liked (and would rewatch), so I hope this does not offend anyone. I have this feeling that I might just come back to update this post every time I find a new favourite scene.
All in all, I am really happy that I gave this a chance. What are your favourite scenes? Do share them with me, and I hope you guys enjoyed this post!