I was really adamant to see Monstar at first, I thought it would be another youth drama with characters having parental issues, but when I saw it was only 12 episodes I gave it a chance because its coinciding airing summer productions were all disappointingly flat and unmoving. It was like a sad summer kdrama ensembles special that I have caught up with all the variety shows.
Then came this delightful school drama with vivacious musical insertions, I found myself swooning and giggling at how the equally gorgeous and talented high school boys score points to win the heart of a bright-eyed guitar girl whose social skills was nurtured by growing up with talking to a sheep. Albeit my short lived baffled look when I can’t find the meaning of “Monstar” in the search engines, I really enjoyed hanging out with these teens.
Monstar is that sweet summer walk you had with your crush when you were young and the unadulterated fleeting kiss you shared with your first love. It’s an endearing youth drama that was neatly planned that even with its predictable plot, the story as a whole flowed in cheerfulness, vibrant characters, friendship and blush-inducing romantic interludes.
Yoon Seol Chan was a famous band vocalist with incredible musicality but poor social skills. His temperament was sporadic and most of the time unreasonable that the talent agency housing him was struggling to clear each trouble he might catch which is basically most of the time. In one of his filming schedule he first met the girl who would change his ways without him realizing it after.
Min Se Yi was a transfer student who was lost wandering the school which was currently busy because of an on-going video shoot. While exploring her new school with her cellphone, she entered the space where Seol-chan was exchanging words with his lead actress in the video production they were working with. The teen actress confiscated Se-yi’s camera when she thought she was a student paparazzi and returned it to Seol-chan who realized Se-yi was really not intending to eavesdrop on them in their awkward kiss position but was really taking a picture of a lip poster.
Their second encounter happened fast and indirectly when Seol-chan thought Se-yi was hit by their van when they were trying to evade the swarming of Seol-chan’s screaming fan girls, but it was a fluke and he ended up being kissed by a desperate follower whom received a face slap instead of a kiss back from him.
Because of the fan-slap situation Seol-chan’s talent agency was left no choice but to send him to school to purify his image. From there he became seat-mate with Se-yi who was also rejected by the silent-girl-bully Na-na.
Class president Jung Sun-woo was tasked by the home room teacher to take care of the new student and idol student who came in late to school. Little by little an old feeling that he had from his childhood crush resurfaced as he gets closer with the little girl who was Se-yi all grown up.
The homeroom teacher who was also Se-yi’s aunt was being pressured by the school principal to convince the mini orchestra club whose members were from the elite family to perform in a charity event, but “AllForOne” don’t want to engage in that activity. The teacher saw a glimpse of hope when she heard Se-yi and Sun-woo’s duet for their practical exam and when an incident involving vandalism in Gyeongbuk palace happened, a forced band was formed as they were made to believe that they will be in dire position if they won’t form a band and practice a production for the charity event.
A friendship circle emerged as the music bond them all together. As Seol-chan’s anger management accidental program was giving positive effects on him, he has also realized that he was falling in love with Se-yi who was also eyed by Sun-woo who has kept her in his heart for years… and thus the young love sweet love triangle emerged.
When “AllForOne” realized the charity performance was not a bad gig after all, they expressed intention of their participation to the school vice principal and because Color Bar (Se-yi and Seol-chan’s group) was already putting their might on it, a contest was launched to determine who will be the performers. Sun-woo also left AllForOne to join the underdog students’ band.
It was a fiery exchange of musical talent but “AllForOne” emerged victorious but Color Bar trended so much in the World Wide Web and Se-yi and Seol-chan finally mutually acknowledged their love connection by sealing it with a kiss.
Nearing to the story’s culmination the lead girl discovered a trauma from her past that almost didn’t make them appear to their second battle with AllForOne, but her Idol Prince Charming rose to the occasion and used his own wound to strengthen his girl who sheltered herself all her life by fronting her optimistic, free-spirited outlook.
Monstar is a drama case where an extension was needed, and with or without an extension, it would not make it less beautiful. I rarely pick youth themed series because I don’t like it when the immature characters are moving in an immature plot. So I thought I hit jackpot by sitting prettily as the characters charmed me with how they move in the story. No hassles, no pout moments, just smoothly moving tale of the typical faces of youth as they battle whatever life throws at them.
The love lines strengthened and gave zest to this drama, while the splendid music made it so addictive, it was the main love couple, the strong love triangle taunts and the prototype love square I-love-a-boy-who-love-a-girl-who-love-another-boy context that made Monstar not just your boring and recycled youth drama spectacle.
There were no wasted sub-stories and the plot was always steady focusing on one simple conflict after another while maintaining the sweet sizzling brewing of the blossoming romance between the young love couple. The 3 way one sided love story between Se-yi and Sun-woo and Sun-woo and Nana produced most of the love lessons I learned or shall I say I once learned but now forgotten. That brave Se-yi’s rejection of Sun-woo after giving him a sweet I’m-sorry-I-can’t-love-you-back date was piercing but it was one of my favorite moments because the lead girl was decisive but knew the extent of what she can do to cushion the pain she will be inducing. Nana on the other hand spoke a lot of quotable lines all throughout while her tough composure made her bear the pain of seeing someone she loves love another girl who loves another man. I like the girls in this drama, they swerved from the typical lead girl drama face to bring about girls who cried for a reason.
Since the cast were mostly rookie actors, I liked that the director didn’t force the issue to present real-acting required scenarios. The production sketched mediocrely with how the story grew, and portrayed the people simply and sincerely. They played it safe, but they play it safe refreshingly and gorgeously.
I was also crushing on Se-yi, there’s something about her face that’s really engaging, and her pureness and her bracing naivety will trigger a lot of kdrama lead girl for her I think. Her lead boys gave candid and staunch performance and yes it may not be a seasoned acting but they did make me blush anyway. I love those boys. Period. CAPSLOCK.
4 months more and my yearly favorites bucket is now half-filled, thanks to this engrossing tale of all of us when we were eighteen. Sassy and sweet, this will be 2013’s youth drama to beat for me. -jediprincess