Adapted from the webtoon of the same name by Bam Woo, Cherry Blossoms After Winter is the story of an orphan, Seo Hae Bom (actor Ok Jin Uk), and the relationship he has with the boy whose family takes him in, Jo Tae Sung (actor Kang Hui).
The first two episodes do a splendid job laying the groundwork for the intricate story revealed. Hae Bom’s character, especially, really hits home for me. The severe bullying he receives in the first two episodes is reminiscent of my past with the same type of treatment. Every single time I watch a drama with physical assault and emotional taunting, I find myself yelling at the television, “Please stand up for yourself!”
But the hard truth is, I never stood up for myself either. Fear is a paralyzing thing, and my yelling at the screen is yelling at myself, the old me who was too afraid to say, “I deserve better.” The old me who fought years of battling eating disorders and self-harm because of it.
Hae Bom hits all of those vulnerable buttons for me.
The same can be said for Tae Sung. Although he has a much easier time at school due to his looks and popularity, it’s evident from the beginning that he’s harboring repressed feelings for the bullied, shy Hae Bom. It can’t be easy to secretly love someone of the same sex your family wishes you’d accept as a brother.
The flashback scene where Tae Sung cries over Hae Bom joining his family broke my heart for both of them. For Hae Bom because he needed familial acceptance during a time of grief, and for Tae Sung, because there’s no doubt his confused feelings for Hae Bom started young. Imagine being told the kid you are crushing on is now the kid you have to treat like a sibling.
This connection to the characters brings me to the drama itself. Cherry Blossoms in Winter doesn’t hold back on the emotion, retaining the same tense but powerful feelings of the webtoon that inspired it.
I have high hopes for this BL. The acting, story, and care taken with the scenes is proof that everyone involved is passionate about the story they are telling, and I am excited to see if it maintains the same chemistry and focused storytelling throughout.
The recent BL adaptations from South Korea have been stunningly well done, from Light On Me to Semantic Error, and I have a good feeling that Cherry Blossoms After Winter is poised to take its place among their ranks.
For a story about two people thrown together by fate and complicated feelings, Check out Cherry Blossoms After Winter today on Viki and WeTV.
Rating- 4 out of 5