The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Pure Pretty: Yoo Ah In

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…And it’s time for another Pure Pretty post, you guys.

Looking back on my recent posts, I noticed a distinct pattern. It appears that every 3 reviews, I feel the need to fangirl for a bit, whether it’s a k-love post or a Pure Pretty post (or several Pure Pretty posts, heh). It’s entirely unplanned and unintentional, I promise. I’m beginning to think, though, that this is just how my brain is wired.

I can focus on relatively more serious stuff like reviews for only so long before my fangirl side rears her determined head and demands (*pounds fist on table for emphasis*) some quality fangirling time.

And so I bring you Yoo Ah In, boy-man chameleon extraordinaire. Come gaze with me, y’all.

Dear Cloud - 얼음요새 (Ice fortress)

THE JOURNEY

To be honest, Yoo Ah In is one of those actors that totally crept up on me, seemingly out of nowhere.

The first time I laid eyes on him in The Man Who Can’t Get Married (2009), I thought he was all kinds of geeky little-boy cute, but nothing more. I mean, just look at him:

Those plastic-rimmed transparent glasses and his character’s dorky persona just screamed Cute Geek to me.

And then, I chanced on him again when I checked out Antique Bakery (2008) for Joo Ji Hoon and Kim Jae Wook, whom I both loved after seeing them in Goong (2006) and Coffee Prince (2007) respectively.

I thought the movie was pretty good, despite its odd mix of cuteness laced with thriller. And Yoo Ah In was, again, cute. Not geeky anymore. Just cute:

Gah. Just look at the fresh-faced little-boy winsomeness. I just wanted to squish him.

And that’s how I mentally categorized and filed him away: Cute and squishable. Not of the hawt variety.

So imagine my (very, very) happy surprise when he showed up in Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010) with a mane of glory, a rough ‘n tough goatee, and enough sexy, broody smolder to power a small city.

Omona. He had me swooning from the very beginning to the very end of that drama, I tell ya. And can you blame me? Just look at him:

Flail. Puddle. Swoon.

THIS version of Yoo Ah In pleased me very much. So carelessly masculine and smoldery. This was definitely my favorite version of Yoo Ah In to date. I could’ve watched him be Crazy Horse for 100 episodes, and then some.

Because of Yoo Ah In, I had been mildly tempted to check out Fashion King (2011). I mean, the publicity even teased that Yoo Ah In had put in lots of effort in the gym to bulk up for the camera:

Ooh. Not bad.

But after watching just one episode, I already had a WTH?!? feeling about this show, and thankfully, stayed away.

And then Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love (2013) came along, and again, I was tempted to check it out. I’d heard that Yoo Ah In’s character had shades of Crazy Horse, and that sounded appealing indeed.

Mmm. Handsome, and quite sexy. Just look at those eyes. And those lips.

The moment I dipped my toes into the show after it’d ended its run, though, a number of friends on Twitter advised me (strongly) to flee while I could, for my own sanity.

Much as I enjoy a bit of sexy Yoo Ah In, I treasure my sanity more, and gave Jang Ok Jung a pass.

My patience has been rewarded, however. As I write this, I’m halfway through Secret Love Affair (review to come, I promise!), and I’m suitably blown away. Just look at that poster:

Rawr.

I’m really impressed with Yoo Ah In’s restrained, detailed, nuanced interpretation of his character Lee Sun Jae. It’s like he’s imbued Sun Jae with all the various facets that I’d seen in his very diverse characters to date. Innocent and boyish, yet with distinct shades of sensuous masculinity. Umph. Likey muchey.

As I did my research for this post, I finally distilled the thought: Yoo Ah In is quite the chameleon.

MULTIPLE SHADES OF YOO AH IN

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the multiple categories of Yoo Ah In that I’ve organized the photos into, shall we?

It’s not quite 50 shades of Yoo Ah In, but it’s still pretty awesome.

Boy Next Door:

Since this is how I first got to know Yoo Ah In, I thought we’d start here.

Yoo Ah In can turn on the boyish cute really well. He’s got that fresh-faced appeal that makes him appear wholesome and approachable and lovable. And just the sort of boy you’d approve your younger sister to date. That is, if you weren’t dating him yourself. Heh.

Cheeky Playful:

Yoo Ah In has a distinctly mischievous side, and you can totally see how much fun he’s having in these pix, complete with a naughty glint in his eyes.

Quirky Cute:

Perhaps it’s because Yoo Ah In can be such a chameleon. Some of his photoshoots have a distinctively off-beat sort of feel, and he gamely hams it up for the camera. Here’s a little bit of Quirky Yoo An In for ya.

Sharp Suit:

Y’all know how much I love a man in a sharp suit, and I’m pleased to report that Yoo Ah In cleans up real nice in a suit.

Mm. Very handsome indeed.

Sporty:

Sporty Yoo Ah In is a persona we don’t see very frequently, but he exists alright. And he looks pretty cool too.

Shirtless:

Even though Yoo Ah In worked hard to beef up for his shirtless scenes in Fashion King, he actually doesn’t go shirtless for the camera all that often. Here’s a peek at Shirtless Yoo Ah In. I especially dig the last pic of him, coz of his lovely arms. And his fabulous goatee.

Eeee! Goatee!

Given how smitten I was with Yoo Ah In in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, it should come as no surprise that my favorite look on him is the scruffy goatee. Uunngh. There’s just something incredibly sexy about the scruffy goatee. It’s so effortlessly, devil-may-care sexy.

It doesn’t matter what he’s doing, or whether he’s in a broody mood or a playful one. The goatee just ups the sexy.

Also. Look out for the mess-with-your-mind, sexy tummy trail in one of the pix. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. ;)

Geeky:

When Yoo Ah In geeks out in glasses, he manages to look alternately studious, cool and all proper and preppy. It’s that chameleon effect, I tell ya.

And those glasses with that goatee? Rawr.

Broody:

When Yoo Ah In turns on the broody, all the boyish cute melts away, and more distinct shades of man peek through. And I dig that very much.

Fierce:

Turn the broody a few notches upwards towards intense, and you get fierce Yoo Ah In. It’s a side of him we don’t get to see very often, but when we do see it, I very much approve.

Smoldery:

Another favorite Yoo Ah In look of mine, is the sexy smolder. Once the smolder starts burning in his eyes, it’s quite arresting, and completely melty.

Smirky:

One of the sexiest looks on Yoo Ah In is the knowing smirk. It’s smoldery, with a hint of naughty, plus a healthy serving of charisma. Umph.

My absolute favorite is pic #3, where he’s wearing just the shadow of a smirk, and it’s knee-meltingly sexy. Rawr.

Sensuous:

Perhaps the most alluring facet to Yoo Ah In, is his sensuous side. Coz when he unleashes his sensuality in front of the camera, look out. You’re likely headed for puddle territory.

It’s those eyes. And those luscious lips. They make him look so tantalizingly touchable and delicious.

Egad. SLA Hawt:

When Yoo Ah In and co-star Kim Hee Ae posed for photoshoots while filming Secret Love Affair, no one quite expected the levels of lava-hawtness that would result. When I saw these photos, my jaw dropped and my eyes glazed over.

So much sensual sexual tension, just leaping off each photo to assault the senses. It blows the mind and melts the knees.

Sizzle. Has your screen melted yet?

Ethereal:

On that unreal note, I thought it apt to now bring you Ethereal Yoo Ah In.

Sometimes, his photoshoots make him look so dreamy that he almost doesn’t seem real. It’s surreal and really quite beautiful.

Thoughtful Pensive:

Another favorite flavor of mine when it comes to Yoo Ah In, is thoughtful-pensive.

All of these pix have that quiet, reflective, subdued quality about them, which I really like. I feel like I can practically reach in there and touch him. Y’know. To comfort him while he’s being thoughtfully pensive.

Candid:

Like the shape-shifter that he is in actual photoshoots, the candid shots of Yoo Ah In span a wide range of looks and feels. He’s alternately cute, playful and smoldery.

My favorite is this first pic though. How can he look so sensuous and kissable when the camera’s caught him off-guard in a candid shot??

Sweet ‘n Shy:

Battling for top place for my favorite shade of Yoo Ah In is when he’s sweet & shy.

Augh. That bashful smile is simply too adorable for words.

With so many different facets that Yoo Ah In shows to such alluring effect, it’s really hard for me to choose my favorite shade of Yoo Ah In.

It’s a tie between badass, fierce, smoldery Yoo Ah In:

Oof. Sexay.

..and sweet, dreamy, slightly shy Yoo Ah In:

Melt. Just look at those eyes. And that smile.

Also, didja notice how in both cases, he’s gotta have the goatee? Coz I do love that goatee. Uunngh, so sexy.

So, what’s your favorite shade of Yoo Ah In? ;)

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

28 thoughts on “Pure Pretty: Yoo Ah In

  1. BLESS THIS POST. And yes, that SLA shoot is some WTF-levels of sexy that I don’t even know what to do with. Except to shame myself for wanting to be in Kim Hee Ae’s place desperately.

    His ears that stick out though! And that fourth frm the bottom pic of him looking up frm the stairs, that’s gotta be my fave, all the things that gets me bout him–sexy as hell with a smidge of shy. But one of the best things about him apart frm talent, is that he’s a bit of a maverick and a rebel and speaks his mind–now, THAT’s sexy.

    • Yes, that SLA shoot is something else! I’m still stunned that they went so outright sexy for the shoot, considering that the show kept everything elegant and subtle. Not that I’m complaining, of course. I appreciate the sizzle as much as the next fangirl ;)

      YAI does speak his mind, which I first noticed in interviews that I saw after SKKS. Maybe it was just his relative immaturity at the time, after a while I got the impression that he was pretty cocky, and I began to lose interest and didn’t follow through on his later interviews afterwards. (I can be such a fickle fangirl, I know!) So maybe he’s become less cocky now and more palatable while retaining the ability to speak frankly. I’ll need to see some recent interviews to test that theory :)

  2. Oh you finally posted about Yoo Ah In ! Sexy, scruffy and smoldery YAI is my fave. He just rocks that goatee. But what’s great about him is not only his looks but his talent as well. He is a great actor and you described him perfectly when you said he is a chameleon. Speaking of SLA, there is no trace of YAI in Sun Jae, he is Sun Jae ! I will terribly miss him when he joins the army soon. But for now these photos are enough to satisfy my YAI fandom. Thanks for this post!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Abby! I do love sexy, scruffy, smoldery YAI too! That goatee on him just takes it all to another (swoony) level.

      Now that I’ve seen SLA, I hafta agree with you – there IS no trace of YAI in Sun Jae. I quote Timescout – he literally disappears into character, and I have to really respect that. That’s talent and dedication. Loved him in SLA!

  3. Omo after reading this I feel like i want a rewatch of Sungkyunkwan Scandal, I’m not ready to watch tha SLA despite all the the good review. Love all the pictures esp the Sweet ‘n Shy and Candid. Btw I love your post about food.

    • Aw thanks Ling, glad you enjoyed this post (& the one about food too)! :D SKKS is totally worth the rewatch! I recently marathoned it as a rewatch, and after several years, it felt as fresh and fun and delightful as ever! And YAI as Geol Oh was as sexy and appealing as ever too ;)

      SLA demands the right mood for it, imo.. When I first started on it, I wasn’t in the right mood, and I just couldn’t quite get into it. Later though, when my mood had changed, I ended up really enjoying the show. I was totally sucked in. Totally keep it on your watch list, it’s a worthy watch! :)

  4. I’m really warming up to Yoo Ah In again. While he didn’t quite end up among my biggest heartthrobs, I loved him in Sungkyunkwan Scandal and he’s just so darn handsome in pictures. But then came Fashion King and I was just so put off by that show that it killed some of my fondness for him. His performance in FK was a rather strange experience as well. It’s actually funny that you say that he put a lot of effort in the gym to look good in the shirtless scenes in FK, because I think he was the least attractive to me in that show. Or maybe it was just the effect that FK had on everything or the fact that I hated his character…who knows really.

    But yeah, I think I’m ready to add him back to my list of celebrity crushes. Though I haven’t yet found the right time to marathon Secret Love Affair, I think that once I do I will certainly start fangirling about him again.

    • Oh yes, Fashion King. Eek. After just one episode, I just.. couldn’t. :P I didn’t see more than the one ep, so I can’t comment on whether he was attractive at all in that show. But totally, he’s fabulous in SKKS, and he’s so restrained and brilliant and quite sensuous in SLA. The drama itself is nowhere as in-yo-face sexy like the Elle photoshoot. Everything is portrayed very elegantly and tastefully. I do think that watching SLA will totally catapult YAI back into your good books! :)

  5. YAY! You are watching SLA! Can’t wait to read your take on it. It’s definitely the best drama i’ve seen in years and turned me into a Ahn Pan Suk fangirl, LOL!

    Yoo Ah In photographs really well, doesn’t he? :) He can also look equally gorgeous in motion. Talent, smarts and looks in one great package and I love how he totally disappears in the roles he plays. There are surprisingly few thespians who can truly do that.

    SKKS was where I ‘discovered’ YAI. I’d totally forgotten that he had been in Strongest Chill Woo (a drama better fogotten, trust me ;P) and he didn’t really register in Antique Bakery either. But Crazy Horse – wowza! Boy sure made me sit up an take notice. *g* After that I watched few of his older works to see if the talent really was there early on. He was adorable in Shim’s Family and in the bits of Sharp 1 I caught on YT. Yup, the promise of things to come was there even then. I’m pretending Hotel King does not exsist (dropped it like a hot potato after the 1st ep) and I didn’t watch Jang Ok Jung past the first few epis either so…. His resumé is a bit uneven but thankfully the balance is tipped on the ‘good’ side, as there are by far more hits than misses.

    • SLA is excellent!! I finished it, and am just waiting for a wave of inspiration to strike so that I can do the show justice in its review. I started writing a review, but was still a little too overwhelmed to be exactly coherent. The super short verdict? LOVE IT. ;)

      YAI does photograph excellently, and he’s SUCH a chameleon! You’re right, he totally disappears into character. In SKKS, I could only see Geol Oh (rawr, sexy, sexy Geol Oh), but in SLA, I could only see Sun Jae (sexy too, but SO DIFFERENT from Geol Oh!). I’m still amazed at how vastly different YAI can come across, depending on the role, the styling, everything. A cheeky boy one minute, and a broody, sexy man another. How does he DO that?? 0.o

  6. I completely approve of this post. He won me over in SKKS, as you know. But that cheeky monkey is still my fave!! He’s pretty..you should consider him!

    By the way…I have been away too long from your blog. I am going to go on a bender now. :)

  7. Great post! Have you seen YAI movie Punch or Wandeuki? That’s another shade of YAI that blew me away.

    • I haven’t yet seen Punch or Wandeuki, actually! They’re both on my vague list of movies that I’d like to check out, sometime, when my mood’s right. That’s a lot of conditions, I know.. I’m more partial to my dramas than my movies. But I will remember what you said about those movies, and I’ll be sure to check him out in them, thanks! :)

  8. We are so alike. I have watched the same YAI dramas that you have (and loved him in SS as well) and skipped the same ones that you have – and for the same reasons. The shot with the knitted hat, glasses and goatee made me think “CRAP! It is a good thing that boy lives on the other side of the planet.” Thank you for another spectacular post.

    • Giggle. Looks like we have similar taste in dramas AND in men! ;D And we do have excellent taste, even if I do say so myself! Glad you enjoyed the post, Amy! :)

  9. Oh, bless this post. Definitely made my day a lot better!

    I’ve always loved Yoo Ah In and I think I cried a little while browsing through the photos. Lovely collection Kfangirl! :)

    I had a huge crush on him during his uhljjang days and was so happy to see him in Antique Bakery. But like you, it’s also Sungkyunkwan Scandal that sealed the deal. He’s so amazing and sexy as Geol Oh how can we not love him? :)

    Thank you!

    • Aw, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Janey!! :D Especially coming from a seasoned YAI fangirl like yourself!

      YES he is totally schmexy in SKKS. Bless that show, and bless the wardrobe people too, for giving us sexy, goatee-ed, super-wild-mane-of-glory Geol Oh. ❤

  10. “…enough sexy, broody smolder to power a small city…” – this had me giggling like crazy! Just one of the reasons I love reading your posts. And yes, the facial hairs ups that sexy smolder by notches!

    • Tee hee. I’m pleased to entertain ;) And YES, doesn’t that facial hair up the sexy??? Oof. He can be so sensuous when he wants to be, and yet so innocent and boyish when he wants as well. It blows my mind.

  11. Yoo Ah In can definitely smolder (my phone is actually hot!). However… Joo Won Oppa is very sexy, too! I humbly re-submit my request, ^.^

    • HAHA. Sarah, you really make me laugh! XD Can’t blame your phone for heating up, what with YAI’s smoldering ability! XD

      Also, let the record show that I fully plan to give Joo Won the loving spotlight. :) I’ve just been.. easily distracted lately. Have you seen my latest post on Park Seo Joon? Such a lovely, melty guy. ❤

  12. He is indeed very good in “Secret Love Affair” and does sport the goatee pretty well but no, thank you, I won’t take any of that. Except maybe, from the SLA hawt part, the volcano hot tension in picture n°2 and Kim Hee Ae’s dress in picture n°6…
    Talent without sex appeal (him for example) or the opposite (Song Seung Hun for example), I still can’t decide which one is worst…or best….

    • Aw. Poor Yoo Ah In, he’s been dubbed Talent without sex appeal by our dear asotss! XD I would definitely take his talent over SSH’s pretty. I was completely drawn in by his delivery in Secret Love Affair, and I thought he was amazing. And when he turned on the sensuous desire, he seemed very sexy to me.

      On the other hand, I also checked out SSH’s movie Obsessed, and I have to say, SSH’s glorious pretty notwithstanding, his stiff delivery really did nothing for the movie. Even his glorious hot bod couldn’t overcome it. :P So I’d pick talent over pretty, any day. Even if it’s the likes of SSH’s glorious hot bod ;)

  13. Best. Pair. Of. Lips. In. The. KDramaverse. In my humble opinion of course. :)

  14. I have enjoyed like a pig in the lush pond with these photos….
    Although i am pretty old, He could have a secret love affair with me too it wouldnt be the first time for him,ha,ha
    I think he is going to be one of the best actors into his generation if he uses his brain to choose good roles,he must learn to do it because its a tough business.
    Congratulations

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, sable!! :D Yoo Ah In is quite luscious, isn’t he?? I do think he’s very talented too. You’re absolutely right – the right role is critical. I thought he did well in choosing Secret Love Affair; he is so good in that! While I think Fashion King is a big miss, I do think he chooses roles that are interesting. And that shows he’s really interested in stretching himself as an actor. That kind of dedication to his craft is something I dig very much ^^

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