For many people, there’s always that one moment that each of us would love to be able to go back in time to and change, whether it be something small or a huge life event that didn’t go the way we wanted. This is, of course, why the time-travel genre is always an easy attention-grabber. So it’s a no-brainer that Playlist’s “Blue Birthday” should be added to your to-stream list, if it isn’t there already. This fantasy romance thriller follows the story of Oh Ha Rin (Red Velvet’s Yeri), whose best friend and first love, Ji Seo Jun (PENTAGON’s Hongseok), dies on her 18th birthday. 10 years later, as she mourns his death, she discovers the ability to time-travel and becomes determined to save his life.
If you’re looking for something new to watch, consider this a sign. Here are four reasons why you should watch “Blue Birthday” right now.
Warning: Mentions of suicide and spoilers are below.
Oh Ha Rin’s determined and open personality
K-dramas are no strangers to heroic, strong, and unique female leads, and in “Blue Birthday,” Oh Ha Rin is well within this category. While most of the time this is presented through independence and a collected demeanor, Oh Ha Rin’s strength lies in her ability to be open and vulnerable with the people she loves. When we first meet her, she’s certainly a little allergic to sharing her feelings — after all, when she has an opportunity to confess to Ji Seo Jun, she backs out instead — but in the present, she reflects on her past actions and works to change them once she discovers the ability to time travel.
Not only is she determined to set things right, but she does so by fearlessly sharing her love and affection with those around her. While everyone’s love language is different, Oh Ha Rin’s ability to share her feelings without restraint is an admirable quality we should all strive to have. Not to mention, it’s what makes her the true protagonist of this show.
It’s a joy to watch her figure out how to put things back together as she tries to save Ji Seo Jun and still keep the relationships she has in the present. Yeri absolutely shines in this role no matter what emotion she expresses, from agony and grief to happiness and love. You can’t help but be captivated by her performance and root for Oh Ha Rin’s success.
Ji Seo Jun’s sweet and soft nature
In true K-drama fashion, Ji Seo Jun is an absolute dreamboat. He’s sweet, kind, and attentive to those around him. There are plenty of ways he shows his affection for Oh Ha Rin, even if she’s not quite aware. He takes photos of her when she’s not looking, he wears a huge smile on his face when he speaks about her to his family, and before the show reveals his untimely death, the audience knows he’s planning a big birthday surprise for her.
He clearly has plans for the future, so it begs the question: what led him to his death? And this leads us to another reason as to why you should turn on “Blue Birthday.”
The mystery surrounding Ji Seo Jun’s death
Although this drama definitely falls into the romance genre, it has a little mystery mixed in too. When the first episodes initially aired, fans were quick to point out that Ji Seo Jun’s death seemed out of the blue. Although it does look as if he’s died by suicide, the events leading up to his death don’t seem to support it. It’s clear that Ji Seo Jun was planning a surprise for Oh Ha Rin’s birthday and even wrote a letter to confess his feelings. As Oh Ha Rin time travels back and forth, she ultimately decides to study the police report of his death and discovers details that muddle her certainty that he died by suicide.
This is easily the most intriguing point of the drama. Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? Not to mention, the drama has already revealed that as Oh Ha Rin attempts to save him, someone else will die instead. She’s selfless and determined to save everyone, but if she’s successful in saving Ji Seo Jun, who will take his place?
The incredibly cute OTP
Last, but certainly not least, there’s the budding (although perhaps doomed) romance between Oh Ha Rin and Ji Seo Jun. There’s something fun and exciting to be able to root for a couple to overcome all odds, and in this drama, the stakes are pretty high. With death looming between Oh Ha Rin and Ji Seo Jun’s relationship, it’s hard not to take every moment they share as precious.
In the beginning, it’s clear that they both like each other, but the fears that come with confessing to your best friend are filling up the space between them. However, as Oh Ha Rin goes back in time and wastes no time in showing Ji Seo Jun how much she cares for him, their relationship steadily begins to change. Sometimes, it can even be a bit too much — We get it guys, you’re in love. However, knowing that their time was once cut short makes you desperately wish they will end up happy and alive in the end. Yeri and Hongseok have a great synergy, and they do a great job at expressing those awkward, cheesy, and bittersweet moments of first love.