Updated: May 19
Future K-dramas take note, this is how you enchant audiences.
The Sound of Magic is a whimsical masterpiece that makes you feel heard, understood, and unstoppable. Its storyline inspired us to defy society’s expectations—and in the process, it reinvented the predictable K-drama format that we’ve all yawned at before.
From the substantial character sketches to the quotable quotes, this series brought true magic to our screens and taught us what it really means to grow up.
Here are 7 reasons The Sound of Magic is saving the K-drama landscape in 2022:
1. It Defies All of Society’s Expectations
School honors are everything. Your dreams have to please those around you. Those who are different are crazy. Anyone who believes in magic has yet to grow up...
...Wrong — and The Sound of Magic left anyone who has these twisted ideals with a serious *burn*
Good Grades Don’t Guarantee Happiness or Success
Na Il Deung (Hwang In Yeop) was the school’s top student who, by the end of the story, realized that perfect grades aren’t everything. To pursue his own dreams and happiness, he deviated from the road his parents paved for him and dropped out of school to explore all that the world has to offer beyond the desks and chalkboards. Na Il-Deung totally deserved that break, especially since all the pressure was taking a toll on his mental health.
You can always go back to school, kids. So don’t forget to take a gander at the opportunities that might pass you by as you sit in your classroom for seven hours a day.
What It Really Means To “Grow Up”
Ri Eul (Ji Chang Wook), a magician who lives at the abandoned theme park, doesn’t care about living up to society’s expectations. He’s an eccentric outcast who’s ridiculed by many — and we love how he’s an unbothered queen who continues to live his life every day with a dash of magic in it. If you ask us, there’s nothing more “grown up” than not caring about what other people say about you.
Society makes us believe that growing up means you should stop waiting for magic to happen, but Ri Eul showed us that growing up means you should make magic happen by yourself.
2. The Well-Thought-Out Character Sketches
Unlike a few other K-drama series where the characters are half-baked, Yoon Ah Yi (Choi Sung Eun), Na Il Deung, and Ri Eul’s personalities all showed so much depth. Their likeability as actors kept us glued to the screen—and their charisma was pure magic.
Yoon Ah Yi
We’re all quite frankly sick of the damsels in distress who work multiple part-time jobs; you’ve got to be one heck of a talented actress to pull off a role like that without causing the audiences to roll their eyes at you.
We mean it when we say Choi Sung Eun portrayed the role of Yoon Ah Yi flawlessly. Her character’s depressed-but-won’t-back-down attitude kept us rooting for her. She was a no-frills, hardworking teen who never showed an ounce of self pity. But ultimately, Yoon Ah Yi wasn’t the typical “goody-two-shoes” that almost every K-drama female lead has to be.
She quite literally stole that KRW 50,000 bill on the floor that her classmate was looking for (that was so wrong, TBH) and she was being paid by Il Deung to do his homework. While this is totally unexpected for a female lead, it’s unique how her sketch wasn’t meant to be “perfect” either.
On top of that, her chemistry with both Ri Eul and Na Il Deung (seriously, this trio’s magnetism hits different) was so natural and on-point that we can’t picture anyone else playing the role of Yoon Ah Yi.
Our favorite Yoon Ah Yi Quotes:
“So why do we try so hard not to fall too far from the norms of the average person?”
“Magic doesn’t create miracles but allows you to discover them.”
Na Il Deung
The quiet, cold, and grumpy attitude of the smartest kid in school tends to be an overdone character sketch. But what sets Na Il Deung apart is that, on the inside, he’s a dorky, giddy teenage boy who would serenade his crush in a field of flowers (hello, “I Mean It” MV created in Il Deung’s imagination.) Hwang In Yeop's naturally charming and endearing personality that simply demands attention made him the perfect Na Il Deung.
While his character always tends to lean towards the rational side, he wasn’t afraid to give the possibility of magic a chance. He’s pretty much the smart kid who snapped and found the strength to explore the unknown.
Our favorite Na Il Deung quotes:
“No one in the world is crazy. They make you into a crazy person little by little, if you don’t fit society’s standards.”
“I want to try taking that hard way. I didn’t know before that flowers don’t bloom on smooth asphalt but on bumpy dirt.”
Ji Chang Wook was born to play Ri Eul. That balance between mystery and quirkiness that he brought to life was no easy feat. All throughout, he successfully retained the enigma that was essential to the overall effectiveness of the story.
Initially, viewers might’ve even felt bad that he’s fine with living as an outcast—but then audiences find themselves feeling envious of how he looks at life.
When he told Ah Yi that she “has to do the things she likes just as much as she does the things she doesn’t like,” don’t tell us that didn’t seriously make you re-evaluate your life decisions. Maybe these words of wisdom are the key to living a well-balanced life that we’ve been looking for all along.
Our favorite Ri Eul quotes:
“What you need now is someone to listen to your story.”
“I just need someone who can tell me that no matter what others say, it’s not important, and someone who believes me. That’s all I need.”
Where do we even begin to explain our love for Bella? Yes, this spunky parrot deserves her own heading because she was the star of the show and you know it. Her sassiness was the comedic relief we needed amidst some of the dark themes that were addressed in The Sound of Magic.
Bella was Ri Eul’s best friend and only companion—and we’re so glad that she wasn’t a human trapped in a bird’s body (come on, don’t tell us you didn’t think this too.)
As she lay sick and injured after her bad fall (curse you, Baek Ha Na), our hearts were broken into a million pieces. When Ri Eul cried for his best friend, we can honestly say that we’ve never felt more genuine sadness from a K-drama before (bravo, Ji Chang Wook.) The Sound of Magic put the spotlight on the strong connection that humans feel with their pets—a theme that isn’t often included in K-drama series.
Our favorite Bella quote:
“I like handsome guys.” (same, Bella, same.)
4. No Love Story Necessary
While we all screamed when Na Il Deung told Ah Yi “Let’s start dating this weekend,” the happiness of viewers was very short-lived—and surprisingly, it was totally okay. (But really, we would’ve shipped this cute-couple-that-never-happened.)
The Sound of Magic ended up being about three unique individuals who found themselves instead of their significant other.
True friendships were established in the process—and it was so refreshing how a love story was not necessary to make a heartwarming point and a strong impact.
5. The Open Ending
Most K-drama open endings leave us yelling at the TV questioning the life decisions of the writers—but this show right here played all their cards right.
Where did Ri Eul go after Ah Yi pulled the disappearing trick in front of the cops?
What dream will Il Deung be pursuing now that he has dropped out of school?
Did Ah Yi somehow become a real magician too? Will she ever meet Ri Eul again?
The Sound of Magic’s open ending was a beautiful mystery that left us uplifted, teary-eyed, and satisfied. When the camera panned to Ri Eul and he stated the show's final line: "Do you...believe in magic?"— everyone, everywhere felt goosebumps. That last line was everything, and it definitely made its mark in history as one of the most powerful TV series endings ever.
We got up from our seats feeling like our six hours were well-spent—and it’s not often that we get to say this about K-dramas.
6. The Encore
This K-drama musical successfully tugged at all our heartstrings. And the fact that they ended the show with a cheerful encore somehow assured us that everything will be okay in Ah Yi, Ri Eul, and Il Deung’s world. (Really, we worry about these precious babies.)
The encore allowed all the characters to give a final bow, and we couldn’t help but give a standing ovation for the magnificent casting.
7. It Was Not Overstretched
We’re all accustomed to most K-dramas having 16 episodes. But The Sound of Magic only needed six episodes to add some enchantment to our lives.
Not every show has to fit the 16-episode mold, and this series never had a boring moment because it wasn’t overstretched. It allowed enough time for the viewers to become attached to the characters as they developed gradually and it instilled enough anticipation without stuffing everything in the last episode like most shows do.
Wear The Hat of Belief
When Ri Eul gave his magician hat to Ah Yi in episode 6, the symbolism was literally tangible. It was like the belief in magic being passed on from one person to another—until it becomes a domino effect that slowly counters all the dullness in the world.
This show taught us that magic isn't for everyone. It only exists for those who are willing to listen. So was everything that Ri Eul did really magic?
It was if you believe it is.
The sound of magic is always there. And if you listen close enough—you might just hear it.
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IMAGE SOURCE: NETFLIX