The various plots in "Magic School" are at radically different levels of development. We spend a lot of time in episode five just going over more of Na-ra's backstory, which involves his classmate / love interest Yoo-ri (played by Park Gyu-young) trying to get together the necessary elements for a student film. What does any of this have to do with magic? Not very much, as far as I can tell, which is why it feels so very out of place in a drama that is called "Magic School".
Elsewhere, Seong doesn't really have a plot at all. Which rather ironically is what makes his character disproportionately memorable. We know that Seong is excessively stiff and by-the-book. It also stands to reason that, as the daughter to a cheap magic school, Yi-seul (played by Shin Eun-soo), is used to acting naturalistically. So of course they get into a stupid fight about tarot cards and of course Yi-seul wins in the end because she is much cuter than Seong.
Those are jokes. Good jokes even, which work well in the web-drama format. Contrast Jay, who more than participates in the magic school, just angsts about his brother K (played by Park Joo-hyung). As a character in an ensemble, Jay does not benefit from this kind of focus. Jay does benefit when he is in a room with the other students, and they are talking about magic, from which his perspective is obviously quite a bit different.
If nothing else this allows "Magic School" to focus on how magic tricks are actually performed, which is always fun. Even knowing that these are simple tricks that can be easily explained by an online search, I really like watching them get explained in a dramatic context. Misdirection, after all, hinges on other people. So let's see how other people react to and interact with the idea, as a means to explore both the concept of magic and also the characters in the drama.
The creative choices made by the production team to get away from these concepts puzzle me. There's also the whole subplot with Joon doing hospital work which, again, is all so tangentially related to magic I'm hard-pressed to see why it's even in there. I do like how Joon has a co-worker doesn't seem to like children that much...when she works in a pediatric ward. That would be a good character trait for, say, a medical drama. One about a magic school? Not so much.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Magic School" Episodes 5-8"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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