In a drama landscape where big budgets and loud buzz grab most of the spotlight, Bring It On, Ghost is, quite literally, the little drama that could.
Nestled in the midst of other dramas boasting bigger names, bigger budgets and bigger hype, it’s easy to overlook this show – everyone’s got limited drama hours to spend, after all, and isn’t it natural to gravitate towards the dramas with bigger names, bigger budgets and bigger hype?
If you’ve ever been bitten by a show that starts out fabulous but then crushes your drama hopes to smithereens by derailing partway through, though, you might just appreciate Ghost.
It’s got its flaws – minor inconsistencies and some pacing issues – but it just chugs along in its understated way, and is relatively consistent from start to finish. Which, if you’ve been hurt by a drama before, is a pretty solid achievement not to be sniffed at.
As a bonus, Taecyeon and Kim So Hyun are surprisingly cute together, too.
STUFF I LIKED
What I like about Ghost is that it’s an easy, uncomplicated watch.
Yes, it’s not at all heavy on the twists and turns, but that also means not much brain power is required in order to enjoy this show. And sometimes, that’s just the kind of show that we need, after a long day dealing with Real Life stuff, right?
Show’s mostly pretty cute, and the ghosts aren’t even that scary – which is just how I like ’em. I generally wuss out at scary shows, and I did just fine with the creepies in this one.
Here are my top highlights when it comes to this show.
1. Kim So Hyun as Hyun Ji & Taecyeon as Bong Pal
I think most folks had concerns when Taec was cast opposite Kim So Hyun in this show. 1, coz of the 10-year age difference between the actors (Taec’s 27, while Kim So Hyun is 17), and 2, coz Kim So Hyun’s known to be an acting powerhouse, and Taec.. not so much.
I’m happy to report that neither of these factors bothered me during my watch of Ghost.
First of all, the age difference didn’t strike me as that huge, when I watched them in character.
The characters are actually only a year apart, and as a general rule, I’m more interested in the age difference between characters than the actors that play them.
It’s true that Taec looks a shade mature to be playing a college student, but that’s also true of Kang Ki Young, who plays sunbae Chun Sang, and is a year older than Taec.
Plus, I know people in Real Life who looked older than Taec, when they were actually attending college. Some people just have mature faces, right?
Second of all, the characters are written such that the difference in acting ability isn’t terribly pronounced. Taec’s character Bong Pal is a gruff marshmallow, and suits Taec very well.
On the other hand, Kim So Hyun’s character Hyun Ji is bright, cheery and full of aegyo, which I love. I haven’t ever seen Kim So Hyun this way, and I think she’s adorable and should get to play aegyo-tastic characters more often.
The tone of the show is mostly light, which means that both actors spend more time on the lighter end of the scale; a thing that I find evens out the acting issue nicely.
As a bonus, I found that Taec actually does a solid job when Bong Pal’s character faces heavier, more emotional moments.
He may not be brilliant at the acting, but he’s definitely improved since I last saw him in Wonderful Days, and I found his delivery of those weightier moments very decent indeed.
2. Hyun Ji & Bong Pal as our OTP
Kim So Hyun and Taec have a good synergy going, and I enjoyed watching them together on my screen.
Sure, the kissy scenes lean a little stiff, but that’s not unlike most kdramas anyway, and I feel it shouldn’t be held against them, especially since PD-nim was probably working to be sensitive to their real-life age difference.
On the upside, I love their bickery rapport, and they make a great ghost-busting duo.
I also really enjoyed the dynamic of sunny, aegyo-tastic Hyun Ji ingratiating herself into Bong Pal’s reluctant good books, pretty much against his will. It’s all super cute stuff, and I never tired of watching them grow closer, unwilling step by unwilling step.
Bong Pal’s growing affection for Hyun Ji was a particular favorite of mine, and I really liked the way he generally looks at her, with warmth and fondness.
I also loved the little things that Bong Pal does for Hyun Ji, like buying her a popsicle in episode 6, coz it’s in the little things that we see that he cares. <3
I was a little disappointed that post-coma Hyun Ji doesn’t ever remember her days as a “ghost” or the time she’d spent with Bong Pal, but there is also something romantic about her falling for him all over again, memories or no.
3. The writing’s got heart
In a show where campy comedy is a regular feature, I found it refreshing to find spots of heart, sometimes where I least expected it.
Sometimes, it was in the form of the ghost-of-the-day’s backstory. Occasionally, I found those beats unexpectedly touching. More often, it was in the poignant moments of our main characters.
Like the little beat in episode 3, when Hyun Ji treats her new toothbrush so preciously, because she hadn’t had anything to call her own since she’d died.
I found that beat unexpectedly moving, and rather thought-provoking.
[END MINOR SPOILER]
I also found the angst at the end of episode 9, from Hyun Ji’s perspective, rather relatable and thought-provoking.
The angst of a ghost-human relationship, where she felt bad for him being looked at as a weirdo by everyone else, is easy to relate to, for anyone who’s been in an unconventional relationship.
It was this heartfelt treatment of our characters, underlying the campy comedy, that made this show an engaging watch for me.
4. Comic Duo In Rang and Chun Sang
I’ll be the first to admit that these two were a slow burn, for me. I don’t typically enjoy overly campy stuff, and these two were clearly the designated Funny Men of this show, often going off on long, campy tangents that might or might not have anything to do with the main story.
Still, in spite of myself, and in spite of some moments of impatience with these two, they eventually endeared themselves to me, and by show’s end, I found that I had a legit fondness for both of these characters.
Kang Ki Young and David Lee are perfectly cast, and they’re just the right combination of clueless, geeky scaredy cats, who amusingly turn into instant fanboys of Bong Pal, once they realize he has the ability to not only see ghosts, but kick ghost butt.
I found In Rang’s (David Lee) crush on Hyun Ji pretty cute, but more than that, I found his eventual selfless support of Bong Pal and Hyun Ji’s relationship very sweet.
I also loved that In Rang and Chun Sang eventually graduate from being Bong Pal’s fanboys to becoming his friends and support network. Aw.
STUFF THAT I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
1. Creepy Hye Sung
I could be bucking the trend here, but I wasn’t ever really keen on the Creepy Hye Sung arc, and I never found Kwon Yul’s Intense Evil Stare very intriguing nor scary at all.
I mean, I know I was supposed to be chilled and intrigued by Hye Sung, particularly by his Intense Stares accompanied by those echoey low growls, but I felt indifferent towards him most of the way through.
I think the problem with Creepy Hye Sung, is that Show withheld actual information from us for far too long.
It’s literally the final few episodes before we actually know what Creepy Hye Sung’s actual deal is, and by then, I was long over the dark professor arc, and had simply categorized him in my head as a Creepy Character with the need to glower inexplicably on a regular basis.
2. Pacing issues & spots of jerky tone
…Which brings me my next point really nicely.
Show has some pacing issues, in terms of where it chooses to spend its time. I feel that in trying to prolong the mystery around Creepy Hye Sung, Show ended up cycling in place for too long.
Instead of amping up the dramatic tension, I felt like it actually sucked a lot of the dramatic tension out of the watch, for me. It’s literally only in episode 14 before we finally get some actual answers about the backstory, and for me, that was really, really late.
With screen time exploring Hye Sung’s actual deal being actively withheld, we end up with some filler stuff, like episode 6’s random MT, which made the episode a particularly laid back one with no actual ghostbusting by our ghostbusting team.
There are also other spots where Show’s tone felt a little jerky. Given Show’s pacing issues, these.. didn’t really help.
Like in episode 13, when Hyun Ji’s mom suddenly becomes abrasive and calculative, when she’d been pretty nice and mellow before. Bong Pal also goes from actively reconnecting with Hyun Ji, to keeping a cold distance, to then grabbing her and kissing her again.
This also felt jerky, even though I understood the rationale behind it. Hyun Ji deciding that she does mind Bong Pal spending time with Seo Yeon (Baek Seo Yi), and interrupting Seo Yeon’s drunken time with Bong Pal, also feels rather sudden and quite out-of-the-blue.
It almost felt like Show was having a sudden onset of some kind of split-personality disorder, honestly.
3. Some inconsistencies
It’s not that I have terribly high expectations of this drama, but I couldn’t help but notice some inconsistencies in Show’s treatment of its supernatural rules.
Here are just a handful of inconsistencies that I noticed:
E5. We now see that when Hyun Ji eats, the food actually is left behind and looks untouched.
If she’s not actually reducing the amount of food on the table, it doesn’t make sense that Bong Pal said in the beginning of the show, that she ate too much and he wouldn’t be able to afford it.
E8. It’s cute that Bong Pal buys Hyun Ji her own uniform, but doesn’t he have to burn it for her? This is inconsistent with how she got to wear her new dress.
Also, while I’m on this topic, we even see Hyun Ji with her 3 outfits laid out later, including the uniform that had been replaced by the burned dress, while trying to decide on an outfit for her date with Bong Pal. How is that even supposed to work?
E9. It’s pretty cute seeing Bong Pal and Hyun Ji enjoying a bit of breezy couple time, but because Show is a bit abrupt in taking them from awkward I-don’t-know-what-we-are to sudden happy couple, it feels weird.
Also, the perspective of the rest of the world while Bong Pal is interacting with Hyun Ji is not very well fleshed-out. It feels like Show is just poking at it rather half-heartedly. Sometimes we get a glimpse of that perspective, but mostly we don’t, and it doesn’t add up, honestly.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
The penultimate episode
In episode 15, we finally get the final showdown between the good guys and the Big Evil, and it’s solidly fast-paced.
We finally get the answers we’ve been waiting for, and even though the answers feel super late, they do make sense in this dramaworld’s context, for which I am grateful.
Plus, having grown fond of these characters, I found it easy to root for them as they faced the Big Evil and fought to protect one another.
Myung Chul (Kim Sang Ho) literally laying down his life to protect Bong Pal moved me, and Bong Pal and Hyun Ji throwing themselves in harm’s way to protect each other was also sweetly touching.
The actual finale
All in all, the ending felt pretty solid and satisfying.
It’s true that pacing-wise, it felt a touch abrupt and jerky, with the resolution of the Final Showdown between our team of ghostbusters and the Big Evil that had been set up by the penultimate episode, being dealt with pretty swiftly in the first few minutes, and the rest of the episode falling into an easy-breezy sort of tone, and mostly functioning like an extended epilogue of sorts.
In that sense, the penultimate episode felt a lot more exciting than the finale itself.
Ordinarily, this type of epilogue-esque ending would strike me as mostly filler, but in this show’s case, I actually liked it and found it fitting.
After spending so many episodes figuring out the Big Evil and finding a way to annihilate him (it?), I felt that our characters deserved their own time and space, to figure out their lives and relationships, and have the luxury of bickering over little everyday type things instead of fighting for their lives.
It was fun to see Bong Pal and Hyun Ji become an actual campus couple and indulge in little petty jealousies. It was amusing to see the eventual evolution of Soondae Soup.
It was particularly sweet, to see Bong Pal finally embrace Myung Chul as his family and officially share his home with him. It was even a little poignant, to see Hye Sung adjust to life, post-possession, and reconnect with his mom.
After all of that, I’m glad that we even had time to see our ghostbusting team reunited again and ready to take on the (under)world.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
A touch slow in spots, but overall, a pretty solid watch, with healthy helpings of cute, silly and heart.
FINAL GRADE: B
I wanted to know if there are any changes between the kdrama and the webtoon?
did they change anything between both sources or kept it thesame?
did they adapt the whole webtoon cos i cant read the webtoon so am hoping the drama has everything just incase?
any replies is appreciated
How is the kdrama any different from the webtoon, did they change some stuff or even the ending? and lastly did it adapt the whole webtoon cos right now i cant read the webtoon its not translated so hoping the tv show adapted the whole thing. it would save me the trouble
any response is appreciated
Super late to the party but I definitely agree with almost everything you said! I saw some of those inconsistencies (particularly with the food and her clothes) but I forgave the show for those minor things. Bong Pal and Hyun Ji’s relationship makes the whole thing better and I love how they both helped each other when they felt really lonely. I did find the progression of their relationship a bit abrupt though. They went from “please forget what I said” to “let’s go on a date” in like 5 seconds. It was a bit strange but I was soo happy to see them together finally. They are a seriously underappreciated couple. Kim So Hyun really shined in this but I thought Ok Taecyeon did very well too. He was seriously endearing and looked at her with such warmth. I loved that he would always complain whenever she asked for something, but he would always give in super easily anyway. Super cute and very fun to watch!
First Korean non-martial arts show that I have watched. I loved it. I always watch shows knowing that certain things can’t be realistic, so unless it is glaring it doesn’t bother me. I also know that watching foreign films there will be cultural nuances that I don’t understand. I really enjoyed the relationships in this show and some of the underlying messages of friendship and respect that went along with it. It held my attention so that I would watch a couple episodes at a time without interruptions.. thank you for your reviews..
Glad you enjoyed this one, Stephen! 🙂 It really was quite heartwarming, for a story about fighting ghosts! 😉
HEY I JUST FINISHED WATCHING THE KDRAMA BUT I AM REALLY SAD HYUN JI DOES NOT REMEMBER HER LIFE AS A GHOST AND THIS IS THE ONLY THING CONFUSING ME IN THE KDRAMA BUT THE STORY WAS SIMPLE AND ENJOYABLE
Hey there! Thanks for the great review. I gobbled this drama up, mainly because it was such an easy watch and I was feeling overwhelmed. It was just what I needed at the time! I agree with you about the issues of pacing. They withheld important backstory for too long, and by the time the big reveal rolled around, I no longer cared. But the show was generally such a chill watch that I didn’t really… care, that I didn’t care. If that makes sense? Haha. I think what I really loved about this show was the heart. It was so satisfying and heartwarming to watch Bong Pal, who was bullied as a kid, terrorized by ghosts and was a loner all his life, start to unwittingly form a support network of friends who cared about him. Watching his character progress from that coldhearted “I’ll just do the group project by myself” type of guy to someone who starts to rely on other people was super rewarding for me.
Hi there Tara!! 😀 Yes, this one was an easy watch, especially if you didn’t think about things too hard. Is that what you meant about not caring that you didn’t care? 🙂 And yes, this one had a lot of heart, which definitely added to Show’s appeal, and helped to make up for Show’s not so great issues. 😉
Late to the party as usual…. ^^
I really liked the show until episode 11 but then it got really boring for some reason…
These days I kind of get easily annoyed by most female leads and I also dont know why….
Anyway the best part about this show is the comical duo In Rang and Chun Sang 😀
HAHA. Ok, for once we agree on the funny, Larius! I do agree that In Rang and Chun Sang were a great pair, and they did make me smile, with all their antics. 😀
A little note about one of the inconsistencies you found, about her eating food that was technically untouched. Idks about Korean culture, but in mines the dealio is that you serve the ghosts/ancestors first. So, Hyun Ji always has to have new food, and since Bong Pal is eating with her, he needs a set for himself too. I mean, maybe he eats the leftovers on another day, but I’m sure it would’ve been hella weird if he bought new food for Hyun Ji and ate her “digested” food in her presence :/ But I liked this drama overall! Yeah, there were a few parts that dragged a bit (I didn’t care much for the growls either, it reminded me too much of my stomach growls), but overall and enjoyable drama 🙂
Ah, thanks for that insight, Anh! That does put things in a different perspective, and helps everything make more sense. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I kind of found the transition between Taecyeon pining for the pretty girl to him realizing that he likes Hyunji kind of too abrupt tbh, especially when we can see how much he seems to like the other girl. But this is a good watch nevertheless.
I get what you mean, sparrow! I do think the writing is touch ungainly in that sense. But, as you said, it was still an overall good watch. I’m glad you liked this one! 🙂
Best drama I’ve watched in a while. Loved every second of it.
Glad you enjoyed this one too, Aeronomer!! With bigger buzzed dramas hogging headlines and ratings, I feel like this one deserves more love than it gets. 🙂
Hello beautiful. I love your review of Healer and Bromance ♡♡♡♡.
Siento escribirte en español ahora :/. Desde mi blog te he nominado al Liebster Award porque me encanta tu blog y reseñas.
Espero que con el traductor puedas entender las preguntas, son sencillas.
Follow me ♡♡.
Hi Mayu, I’m glad you enjoy my reviews! 🙂 Thanks for the nomination, even though I’m so late to reply. 😛 I’m afraid I won’t be able to post a Liebster reply as I’m drowning in backlogged reviews at the moment, but I will make some time to pop over to your blog. Perhaps I can answer the questions there 🙂
Gracias. Seré muy feliz de leerte 😍😍.
Espero que también te pases por mi blog si quieres y te diviertas leyéndome >\\\<. Siguenos si te apetece. Yo estaré mucho por aqui 😍
I felt exactly the same way about the villain. I kept up with this show mainly through recaps and watching the EPs that sparked my interest. The recapped was thoroughly chilled by Hye Sung, but I just couldn’t get it. Lol I was like ” really? I’ll take your word for it that he’s very scary ” lol. I enjoyed our OTPs cuteness and how they fell for each other again after the amnesia. Cute, fun watch and as usual a great review.
Ah, YAY that you agree about the villain in this, Shountz!! I know other folks found him suitably creepy, but I didn’t find him that effectively creepy or chilling at all. I do think Show dragged out the mystery of Hye Sung for way too long, and I lost interest in his backstory really early. 😝 But yes, the OTP is very cute together, and I do consider this a pretty solid, consistent watch. 🙂
Sometimes it’s good to have no expectations about a drama, and this was definitely the case with this one. I ended up finding it an easy watch; not one I’d binge or anything but could watch an episode as my schedule allowed. I was a bit concerned about the lead guy, but this was definitely as good as I’ve seen him so good for him for improving his craft. I am kind of over the possessed or psychopathic evil guy in k-dramas whether it be My Love From Another Star, Sensory Couple, Oh My Ghostess or this… I get the need for the protagonist but it just seems kind of done now.
The two side kicks grew on me and every time I think of the character in his shorts with the long socks, it just brings a smile to my face. So flaws and all, it was a good watch for me and a B sounds about right.
Yes, this is definitely one of those shows that counts as a solid, easy, consistent watch. Which really isn’t that common in dramaland these days, unfortunately. While I was never hooked on this one, I did appreciate its consistency. And I do agree that Taecyeon is the best that I’ve seen him. He’s been getting better from drama to drama, and there were times in this show where he pulled off the more difficult scenes pretty convincingly; I sometimes even found myself with a lump in my throat in response. That’s definitely something! 😀
Oh yes, I am SO over the possessed evil guy in supernatural type dramas. It’s the same-old, same-old after a while, and it’s too predictable and boring as a plot device. I do wish they’d come up with a fresher take on supernatural dramas.
HAHA. Yes the sidekicks grew on me. The shorts with long socks was so dorky and quite perfect. I’m not sure anyone else could’ve pulled it off so well! 😂
I actually found myself loving this show a lot, albeit unexpectedly. I even watched it twice! I do love the same things that you highlighted in your review, but as for the inconsistencies you mentioned, I closed one eye to them as I assumed that some things like Bong Pal’s burning of the dresses would have happened without having the need to show it to us on screen. Regarding Hyun Ji’s food being untouched, I think Koreans might share the same beliefs as Chinese when it comes to feeding ghosts, whereby food meant for ghosts are not meant to be eaten by humans. The ghosts eat the food, which do not disappear physically, but they become tasteless apparently. That could explain why Bong Pal complained about Hyun Ji eating too much. Anyway, I think it would be creepy for Bong Pal to eat Hyun Ji’s food even if they are still on the table physically…
Wow, you watched this one twice? You really do love this one, Gabby! 😀 I didn’t expect to like this, but I liked it way more than I expected to, so that was a very pleasant surprise 🙂
Thanks for the insight into the ritual food – I’m not very familiar with that, and your perspective does help. It makes much more sense, given that context. Thanks for that!! 😀
The one reason as to why I liked this show so much was truly- Hyun Ji. She was such a good female protagonist and her character also reminded me that a Kdrama character can be ayego AND strong at the same time. One particular scene I liked was when she left Bong Pal after having the conversation with Monk Myung. She might have left him because a drama can be nothing without the Nobel idiocy, but she also did so because hanging out with him reminded her of how lonely she really was. He might have been there to care for her and love her, but the fact that him being around people who would never acknowledge her was also a part of the reason she left, and I have never really come across a drama that gives a good reason for such angsty goodbyes.
I also grew to love her as an actual living human. She seemed to have matured more and seemed to be less passive aggressive than her Ghost Version. I also loved how she was willing to study hard to get into college, not because her Bong Pal was there (ok, partially because he was there) but because she truly wanted to catch up with her education. That seemed fitting to me.
I also liked Chun Sang a lot (at one point of time I was shipping their weird friendship cause the chemistry was real 😄) I liked how he was ready to not just “Give her up” but also support their romance for he truly had grown to care for Hyun Ji and Bong Pal. He was also immensely resourceful and he was also the reason as to why the Sundae Group never tanked.
I could go on about the characters, but these were actually my favourites.
Overall, I liked this show (I just wish we could have had spent more time with the Hye Sung ghost arc and also with Seo Yeon) but it really was the character growth that made this show worth it for me.
What a great point, pocketbunny, about Hyun Ji being aegyo-tastic AND strong at the same time! I did love the aegyo on Kim So Hyun, and she also kicked ass really well. I found Hyun Ji cute and refreshing, and I love your point about how she did things for her own sake, and not just for the sake of the boy she liked.
Chun Sang was super cute, and also super sweet in how he supported Hyun Ji and Bong Pal despite his own (very amusing and endearing) heartache. You’re so right, this show was all about the characters, and that’s why it worked. I thought Show miscalculated with the Hye Sung arc, but at least it ended on a healing sort of note. 🙂
As usual, excellent review. I am a big fan of dramas covering the paranormal and this was a cute, fluffy interpretation. Casting Kim Sang Ho in his role was a good choice as he always brings a bit of the quirky. Again Fangirl, love the music you embed!
Ah, I’m glad you enjoyed this one too, phl!! I thought Let’s Fight Ghost could’ve done with more love, it was a fun, cute, and solid little watch. 🙂 Kim Sang Ho was pitch perfect as the monk – and his hairstyle is already perfect for the role! 😂 I do like him, he’s endearingly quirky. Thanks for enjoying this one with me! 😘
this is going on my watch list 😀 (anytime you rate a drama a C, i just skip it,) oh and this sentence: “with the need to glower inexplicably on a regular basis.” made me laugh , thanks for brightening up my day!
Heh! Yay that you enjoyed this review, sia!! 😀 I do think this one’s a nice little watch. It’s not rock-your-world amazing, but it’s sweet and cute and consistent, which counts for a big chunk in my books! I hope you like it too! 😀