12 Years Promise: Review

26 episodes and many wrist grabs later, I’ve concluded 12 Years Promise (also known as Wild Chives and Soy Bean Soup: 12 Years Reunion), a 2014 Korean drama focusing on the relationship and romantic hardships between Jang Gook played by Lee-So-yeoun and Yoo Joon-soo played by Namkoong Min.

As a quick synopsis:

After her father’s unfortunate passing Jang Gook is a new student at Daehan High School in Seoul after leaving Busan with her mother and younger brother to start fresh. They move in with Gook’s grandmother who is running a dumpling shop, which becomes the setting for many events later in the series. As school progresses Gook finds a love interest in Yoo Joon-soo, who is the long time one-sided love interest of Joo Dae-hae played by Lee Tae-im.

This triangle is a source of conflict as the story unfolds, but as Dae-hae plans to woo Joon-soo, Gook ends up getting pregnant leading to turmoil between friends and between the Jang and Yu households. A tragic event leads to Jang Gook’s abrupt dismissal to the U.S to become successful and Yu Joon-soo’s departure on a family trip leaving the couple separated without any goodbyes or explanation.

As fate would have it, with an identity left behind, Gook returns to Seoul 12 years later as Jang Dal-rae upon being scouted by the HK department store, an upscale shopping locale that also happens to be the employer of Joon-soo. She seems familiar, but a confrontation with her aunt shuts down any notion that this could be the Gook he once new and all the while she is battling not letting the past repeat itself with every cold encounter she has with Joon-soo.

There is a great development of character that goes on, with family dynamics playing a large role in many of the disputes. Over roughly hour-long episodes, you get to see how this relationship evolves when they’re young, and in the years after their separation. Every episode had me eager to see what became of their romance.

Unfortunately, it had a rather abrupt ending with some of the smaller plots leaving many unanswered questions and conflicts left unresolved, but all in all it was still an enjoyable series. Great cast and plot, Jang Gook and Yoo Joon-soo forever.

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