Weak Hero Class 1 K-Drama Review
Director: Yoo Soo-Min
Writer: Seo Pae-Seu (webcomic), Kim Jin-Seok (webcomic), Yoo Soo-Min
Release Date: November 18, 2022
Country: South Korea
Streaming: Prime Video
Yeon Shi-eun is a model student, who ranks at the top of his school. Physically, he appears like a weak boy, but, using his smarts, tools, and psychology, he fights against violence inside and outside his school.
Weak Hero Class 1 is a high school thriller series that follows the story of 3 students who doesn’t care about anything else, and somehow get involved in constant fights due to bullying.
I actually don’t know how to summarize this one, I believe everyone that can watch it should watch it. I haven’t read the webtoon so I don’t see how fans of the original material will react but, judging it on its own two feet, it far surpasses any expectations I had.
Most of the school-centric dramas are romance, which becomes monotonous to watch after a certain point in time.
Weak Hero Class 1, however, is a thrilling, yet the sobering portrait of young students and the different struggles, difficulties, and momentary joys they experience while growing up in a society that, too often, neglects and pushes them aside, that successfully stands out as one of the best dramas of 2022.
With just 8 episodes, the pacing is superb and the action sequences were well crafted. And perhaps what the series does best is to show the immeasurable toll such violence and abuse can take on one’s physical, emotional and mental health.
Especially for teenagers who may be experiencing other types of abuse, hardship, and struggles outside of the school walls as well.
School violence is certainly not a new theme for a K-drama. But Weak Hero Class 1 is able to take that familiar topic and present it in a way that focuses more on the characters, particularly the victims, and shows the unfortunately lasting effects of such violence.
The best part of the drama was the 3 leads who had amazing chemistry on screen and their change in characters once the events turned dark.
Honestly, this story almost felt like two, in the best way possible. Going into it I had this expectation of what would occur and what kind of avenues the story would take based on the teaser, but it proved me wrong.
Weak Hero isn’t just brilliant action, it’s a deep dive into how interpersonal violence and bullying can affect and harm people long after the physical threat has disappeared.
It’s a case where I found every episode better than the last. The script and directing use foreshadowing masterfully, there are parallels that provoke so much thought and every moment feels deliberate.
Thought-provoking isn’t even enough to cover it. Of course, there are issues with the script, some things are glossed over to fit the runtime, and the theme came off as confusing to some (not me) but overall I enjoyed the story it told immensely.
The character motivations and progression all felt natural and understandable. It’s a complete and interesting story that doesn’t require additional knowledge from the webtoon to fill in the blanks and its end, though open for a second season, is satisfying and will leave you wishing you had more time with this world.
I don’t usually go to action flicks for character studies and heartbreaking emotions but the cast delivered on both and on stellar fight sequences that hurt just to watch.
Park Jihoon acting as Yeon Sieun was amazing. In the story put to screen it would’ve been very easy for Sieun to be one note, but Jihoons acting and eyes brought him to life.
Hong Kyung gave me the most compelling performance of the entire year. You have to watch it to know. Choi Hyunwook brought a lovely levity to the story and his well-known ability to charm his way through the screen is at full display.
The entire supporting cast really showed out for this drama, the viciousness and vulnerability of boyhood were on full display. Special shoutout to Kim Sugyeom whose venom playing Youngbin almost burned through the screen.
The OSTs and music choices throughout the show helped evoke teenage listlessness and despair beautifully.
I considered placing this at a lower mark because some of the scenes are very hard to watch. Watching this drama inflicts a lot of emotional turmoil, but I honestly think it could only get better on re-watch.
The point of the twists and turns is not to shock you, they’re natural and understandable consequences of the violent world that bred them.
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Every choice makes sense, and the hunt for parallels in the script and directing upon re-watching would make it all the more worthwhile.
Adapted from a webtoon, Weak Hero Class 1 is an engaging, highly effective action-packed school-based drama. The finale teases the 2nd season and yes I am very much intrigued to see what happens next. This easily falls into the top 5 dramas of the year for me.