With my review of Superstar BTS now behind me, it looks like I’m free to reset my focus back to reviewing some good ol’ K-dramas. And boy do I got a nice little one to talk about and recommend to you peeps today. It’s a show that wasn’t much of a ratings draw during its run on TV sadly, but man as it went on did it develop into one of the biggest pleasant surprises I’ve had in a long awhile. The show I’m referring to of course is the ever endearing and heartfelt rom-com by the name of I’m Not a Robot. It only recently finished airing its last ep on January 25th.
On it’s most outer surface I’ll admit the basic premise will likely seem a bit… “been there done that” to you. Mainly cuz you do follow the typical “girl down on her luck who by sheer circumstance gets stuck with the rich recluse guy” kind of scenario. A premise which let’s be frank has been around in dramaland since dramas became a thing. So not too special? Wrong because there is a surprisng hook to be had here. A sci-fi twist if you will, and it doesn’t involve time travel which seems to be the hot trend in Korea at the moment…
No not at all. Instead one of the fantastical elements is tied to the reason why our male lead Kim Min Kyu is as lonesome as he is. It all boils down to him suffering from this weird psychological phobia that has somehow manifested itself into an allergy. A special kind towards people. Like if somebody even so much as touches him, he develops a rash over his body and if the touch lasts long enough, his life could suddenly be in jeopardy! Intense but it doesn’t end there folks.
The premise does indeed get MORE out there if you can believe it, because as you have probs guessed by the title, a robot must somehow fit into this equation right? And yes that’s exactly 100% the case! For you see, due to a certain set of circumstances our female lead,Jo Ji ah , finds herself convinced by her ex, Hong baek kyun who is a robotics professor to pretend to be a real robot. At least until the actual one(yup their is a REAL robot modeled after her) called Aji 3 gets fully repaired. It’s a biggie because he needs the funding and Min kyu is interested in a companion he can actually be around. Oh and since his condition is psychosomatic and he genuinely believes her to not be human he is able to make physical contact with her alone just as he was with the robot originally.
At this point I gotta stop myself and say come on, with such a wild, elaborate, and intricate set up like that how can you NOT be curious to check out the very first episode at least. The whole thing is practically set up beautifully for 3 things from the get go:
The first is obviously the comedy. Just think about it for a few seconds. Try to come up with a couple of things that robots should be able to do that humans can’t. Now imagine a human, Ji ah in this case, trying to do such things. Like lifting heavy things or maybe being obedient? Voilà, ding ding ding you got your humor. 😆 Then imagine all the possible relationship moments. The two of them are practically inseparable since its dangerous to be around anybody else, which means there’s bound to be all sorts of cute moments(THERE ARE) and skinship(THERE IS) happening almost immediately. Lastly, there’s the tension. You know there is bound to be a building tension in the background looming because let’s not forget she is LYING afterall. And the further a long you go and get invested in this cute relationship, the less you will want this or any other sort of problem to blow up between the two.
Another cool thing to build on that is the way these characters are written in the first place. I’ll admit it’s not a complicated drama, there aren’t that many twists to be found throughout or much of any deep side stories for that matter. At most you get the engineering team led by Beak kyun trying to get the real Aji 3 working again or in trying to help Ji ah not get caught. <— she requires A LoT of help with that btw. The girl is too much of an independant thinker to be a good robot but I digress. lol Where this shizz truly excels at in my eyes is in the dialogue and in the simple character interactions. Sure it helps that the actors were brilliantly casted and have a bunch of natural chemistry to work off of, but I think a good chunk of credit deserves to go the script too. Because while it may have a wacky premise overall I thought all the characters felt really relatable.
For example I appreciated how even tho Min Kyu had a debilitating social phobia and avoided people, he still had a heart and put on a smile from the very beginning. You early on got to understand the awkwardness if any came from a lack of experience and being lonely for so long. And so there wasn’t much of a cold exterior to chip away at either. He was much more bubbly than expected and I loved his constant teasing. A nice change of pace from how these things usually go for this type of character. You also had our female lead having empathy towards him without having to wait 4 or 5 episodes in. I mean she didn’t quickly fall for the guy or anything and kind off disliked him at first actually. 😛 But still it was nice how it wasn’t so over the top where she “hated” him and the two couldn’t get along whatsoever. You know what I mean?
It made it easier to swallow their love line afterwards when it did happen. Because it felt like a slow burn that felt natural and earned by then. Since you got to see one of them learn to slowly trust again and while the other learned some life lessons while ironically pretending to be a robot. This in turn made Min Kyu‘s inner struggle of coming to terms that he had fallen for a “robot” all the more heartbreaking when it came later on. Which intentionally or not, ends up taking us into this whole other territory of asking us what it means to be human. As well as the importance of having a connection with someone or something. Topics you don’t really expect to be addressed in a fluffy rom-com like this of all things.
Furthermore, I really liked how it wasn’t just our main leads who grew as the show progressed. It felt like most of them had their own mini defined characters arcs in fact. Although I gotta be careful not to oversell it because I did say there wasn’t much in terms of side stories, and the ones it did have weren’t too prominent. That being the case however you can clearly see how different most of the characters are from the first to last episodes. With the biggest being how the research/engineering team behind Aji 3 sorta grows to become a surrogate family of sorts to Min Kyo. Their scenes towards the end kinda gave me weekend family drama vibes. Even Ji ah‘s genius ex Baek kyun who is responsible for all this craziness and whom I disliked earlier grew on me. Had me shipping him with one of his research partners towards the second half of the show.
But I think I’ve praised this enough. How about things that weren’t so hot? Well you may have noticed that I haven’t talked about any particular antagonist yet. There is one sorta in here who IS trying to take over the Research program and thus take control of the Aji 3. But to be frank I don’t remember much about it. That part was without a doubt the most meh and even the drama seemed to gloss over it. Luckily there isn’t much of those scenes. I think the real issues you’ll care more about will be the personal inner struggles. Such as Min Kyu getting over his allergy and how Ji ah will come clean about pretending to have been a robot all along,
From there the other things were mostly descent or “standard.”Like apart from Kim Yeonji’s song I can’t even remember most of the other OST ones for example. They weren’t bad or ruined the drama, they served their purpose. Then on top you had an overall Ok production. You can tell it had a budget behind it but other than the two looks to differentiate Ji ah from her Aji 3 persona and maybe a couple of futuristic looking tech shots, nothing really struck out to me being amazingly special. Felt pretty much standard like I said. No more no less.
So yeah at its worst elements it was at a descent quality that never dropped significantly and at its best it was charming, endearing and funny as all heck. For that reason I think I gotta go ahead recommend it and give it the score of an 8/10.
Hope you do go out on a limb and give it a try sometime soon.
If you already have, feel free to leave your thoughts. What do you agree with me on, what you do disagree with. Until next time. ^___^
P.S. here is a scene from the show to give you a better feel for it. 😀