If you’re on the market for a short little drama thing, and are in the mood for young love with lashings of poignance, and a fantasy twist, then little web drama 9 Seconds: Eternal Time might just be your ticket.
At just 7 episodes of only 15 minutes each, Show works out to be under 1 hour 25 minutes, and yet, manages to pack a surprisingly solid emotional punch, in that short time. Not bad, I say.
Psst: Link to watch is at the end of the review!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Yoo Chan (Lee Joo Seung) is a young man who refuses to allow his weakening eyesight to put a damper on his passion for photography, and for life. When he meets new transfer student So Ra (Na Hae Ryung), they strike up an unlikely friendship, as they discover a magic camera that has the ability to freeze time.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind, that I think will help to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. Relationship development can feel rather rushed,
..because of Show’s short running time. I consider this par for the course, with a mini series like this one. There’s not a lot you can do, to overcome a short running time, when it comes to relationship development, I think.
2. A fair chunk of the acting leans green,
..with the exception of Lee Joo Seung, as our protagonist. I think knowing to expect it, helps.
3. Show never actually explains the magic of the camera,
..and leaves it to us to interpret that on our own, as the audience.
STUFF I LIKED
1. A lot of Show is very pretty to look at.
The bright Spring palette makes everything appear extra breezy, and I liked that a lot.
2. Lee Joo Seung as Yoo Chan.
It’s a nice treat to see Lee Joo Seung play a lead role, since he mostly plays supporting characters. Also, I love Yoo Chan’s personality. This was possibly my favorite thing in the show. I love that Yoo Chan doesn’t dwell in self pity, even though he’s losing his sight, and is even rather cool and badass, with the way that he refuses to be intimidated by the school bullies.
3. The budding bond between Yoo Chan and So Ra.
Sure, it does feel rather fast, but I put that down to Show’s short running time. And, yes, it does feel a little staged and cheesy in spots, but overall, I like the idea of these two very different people, finding solidarity and solace in each other.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
I have to confess that I don’t quite know what to make of the reveal, that So Ra is in a coma, after being in the accident with Yoo Chan.
If I understand this correctly (and I’m honestly not sure that I do), the camera had enabled Yoo Chan and So Ra to spend many precious moments together, by suspending them in time, even as their bodies went into a comatose state.
So.. the camera does freeze time for them – but in a different dimension?
Because, as far as we can tell, the moments that they spent together, do register as real, in the real world. The photographs that they take in that magical time, with that magic camera, are developed as real photographs. Not only that, the post-it note that they’d written together, to pledge their love, is found as well, in the real world.
That time spent together, and that happiness that they’d felt together, is all real.
However, like I mentioned earlier in this review, Show never explains how this works, or what exactly is the camera’s magic, after all.
Did the camera behave that way at the time of the accident, because it had run out of film, and therefore, the magic had been tweaked, as a result? And that’s why the camera didn’t freeze the rest of the world, like it had used to, but instead, froze only Yoo Chan and his camera subject, So Ri, in a reverse suspended moment in time?
It’s all very mysterious indeed.
But I appreciate the takeaway, that Yoo Chan got to spend his last precious seeing moments with So Ri, and those moments are real to both of them.
Although our ending is left open, Show does seem to hint that Yoo Chan’s patience will be rewarded, when So Ri wakes up from her coma, to be reunited with him, so that they will be able to fulfill the promise that they’d made on that post-it, to see and stay together, forever. 🥲
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Poignant and bittersweet, with a little more emphasis on the sweet, than the bitter.
FINAL GRADE: B+
WHERE TO WATCH:
You can check out this little series (7 episodes combined into one video) on YouTube here: