warning: may contain spoilers
A fantasy love story between a vampire and a human, but wait.. there’s more..
Orange Marmalade is set in a fantasy world where vampires exist. Vampires have learned to survive by not drinking human blood, but by drinking animal blood. Humans still feared and discriminated the vampires in the society which in turn made the vampires hide their identity. Baek Ma Ri is a senior high school student who’s also a vampire. Since she attends a school wherein all the students are human, she has to pretend to be a human too and keep her real identity. One day, she rides the train home and coincidentally sat beside the most popular guy in school named Jung Jae Min. He was asleep and she couldn’t resist his smell, so she unknowingly pecked his neck. After that incident, Jae Min started to grow fond of her and began to stalk her. Meanwhile, another vampire came into class named Han Shi Shoo. Being the only two vampires in school, he secretly helps Ma Ri with her difficulties. Will their little secret be eventually revealed? And will Jae Min who despised vampires find out about Ma Ri’s real identity?
I came to watch this as a CNBLUE fan and got excited upon hearing our guitarist Jong Hyun is going to act again and he’s one of the leads as well. I heard bad reviews about it, from the acting to the story and the ratings. It made me so curious so I gave it a try. This was a FNC production so I didn’t really hope much. I was prepared to watch a failed drama, but then surprisingly it was better than I expected. Orange Marmalade is a drama combined with all the concepts one can think of: school, vampires (fantasy), rom-com, musical, historical. Basically, it’s a drama that has a little bit of everything. I guess the writer got a bit ambitious trying to fit all concepts and even dividing it into seasons leaving the audience confused and mad for ruining the original webtoon. Adding to the fire was casting idols who’s not in the acting department. I have to agree that some scenes were cringeworthy. I think if this was shown as a web drama than aired in public broadcast would probably be a better idea.
The sudden transition to historical part made me so confused onto what really happened. It gave me curiosity about the webtoon and if there’s really a historical happening in the webtoon so I skimmed it a little. Nope, there were no traces of anything Joseon era in the webtoon so the writer must have interpreted and changed the story in his own way. I guess it really means fate transcends time. And we can interpret it as reincarnation. The reason why Jae Min fell for her instantly is not without reasons during the past and in present time. They were really fated with each other. I just thought that the sudden time jump was confusing to the viewers and the writer could’ve expressed it in a better way. Like 1-2 episodes maybe and not waste freaking 5 episodes for it. Or simply just don’t show that era anymore. I was liking the first few episodes too. I liked the musical/band vibe they’re going for. I admit the season 1,2,3 was really confusing. If they were really planning to do different seasons, they should’ve gone for 20 episodes at least since it seemed that they were rushing every season.
The casting was terrible, but I guess it’s another way of FNC to promote their artists. I wished they casted only one idol at a time. Why bring in both Seolhyun and Jonghyun, and made it super obvious. lol Loved the bromance in the Joseon Era. Sad that it wasn’t carried out in modern times anymore. The chemistry for the leads were lacking and I felt that it was Shi Hoo who truly liked Ma Ri. I loved Jae Min’s possessiveness and acting in Joseon Era though. I loved Shi Hoo and Ah Ra’s scene at the end too. It can be a start of a love line; how I wished they made use of that.
Yeo Jin Goo as Jung Jae Min — People kept on saying that Jin Goo was hard carrying the drama by himself. It can be seen that he’s the better actor among the three, but to say that he’s the only one doing all the work is a bit of a stretch. Others improved along the way too. And it’s the other two leads who’s bringing in the international fans. Going back to Jin Goo, I just loved how manly Jin Goo is while portraying Jung Jae Min. And he was suitable for the character too. Thank goodness, there’s him to save the little mess.
Kim Seol Hyun as Baek Ma Ri — Casting Seol Hyun as the female lead wasn’t the best choice. Her looks may pass as a vampire, but as a female lead, her character is very weak. She’s really awkward in her expressions and even her gestures like walking too. I think there are really people who’s just plainly awkward. Like me, I think I’m an awkward person too and I just can’t help it. lol I think that she improved though as episodes passed and by the last episode, I thought that she’s getting used with the character already. She needs a lot of practice and I hope she can take small or cameo roles to further improve rather than her agency push her too much.
Lee Jong Hyun as Han Shi Hoo — Lee Jong Hyun’s debut acting in A Gentleman’s Dignity was okay. I think he did well there and everyone loved him as Jang Dong Geun’s son. This time he earned criticisms from viewers for his poor acting. I think it’s because of the bigger role this time and I had to admit, the first few scenes were cringeworthy. The part when he was on television and on rage with his eyes opened so big was so funny and cringe-y at the same time. But like Seol Hyun, I think he also improved over time. He got the hang of his character and we all got used to his acting too. Looks wise, he’s definitely one of the representatives for a vampire role since he’s so pale and has a foreign look, but talent wise, he needs more practice. I wish that he takes smaller roles or cameo in the future. I heard that he’ll take another drama for this year 2017, so I hope he prepared hard for it.
I was very curious about the ending, but I’m happy that it was wrapped up well. I liked how the band was able to continue despite of having vampire members. We can see that the co-existence between humans and vampires is finally happening and that humans are starting to accept vampires into the society. It was a bit hard to accept since we always have that prejudice about vampires that they drink the blood of humans, but with this revelation of vampires in school, the humans slowly learned that they are truly safe and not harmful.
Although many people disliked, hated, and found this drama confusing and boring, it was a drama acceptable for me. I think one big contribution of it was being a 12 episode drama so it was kind of bearable. And also I didn’t read the webtoon so I can’t really compare. If you read the webtoon, I suggest you forget about it and watch this drama as a different version. Although as a whole, it definitely lacked in so many ways, but when divided into seasons and seeing them separately, I could see some fun in it. The actors though didn’t live up to expectations, but they were oh so beautiful to look at. I would recommend this if you’re a fan of the actors or if you want to watch a different genre to pass time, but if not, then you would end up with rage and simply drop it. But I suggest that you watch every single episode and not skip the historical season. It wasn’t that bad after all.