[K-DRAMA REVIEW] TWENTY-FIVE TWENTY-ONE – With its refreshing plot and beautiful message, the drama stole everyone’s heart and tears.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One was this year’s most buzz-worthy drama. With its cast of Kim Tae-ri as Na Hee-Do, Nam Joo-Hyuk as Back Yijin, and idol group WSJN’s Bona as Ko Yu-Rim, this Netflix drama made it to every netizen discussion.

The drama was brilliant, but it was the process leading to the ending, the episodes which are beautiful. Every episode is worth watching.


  • Ratings:
    • 8.7/10 IMDB
    • 8.9/10 MyDramaList
  • Lead Cast:
    • Kim Tae Ri,
    • Nam Joo Hyuk,
    • Bona,
    • Choi Hyun Wook,
    • Lee Joo Myung
  • Episodes: 16
  • Aired: Feb 12, 2022 – Apr 3, 2022
  • Director:
    • Jung Ji Hyun,
    • Kim Seung Ho
  • Genre: Korean Drama, Romance, Life, Drama, Melodrama
  • Original language: Korean
  • Original Network: tvN, Netflix


The story is narrated in two different timelines, 1998 and 2022. 1998, when South Korea was going through International Monetary Fund (IMF) Crisis and 2022, with the COVID-19 situation.

In times when dreams seem unattainable, a teen fencer tries to pursue big ambitions and meets a hardworking young man who seeks to rebuild his life.

Na Hee-do is a member of the high school fencing team. But the team gets disbanded due to the IMF crisis. Despite all the difficulties she tries to follow her dreams and continues fencing.

Baek Yi-jin, a boy whose father goes bankrupt due to the IMF crisis is forced to live life poorly. He works part-time jobs to get his life in order. When he meets Na Hee-do he is drawn to her carefree attitude as the conditions made him grow older ahead of time.


2521 is a tear-jerker drama full of life lessons. Now, I know many people have mixed opinions on this drama due to its ending, but that’s why I said: “it was the process which teaches a lot”.

With its two-timeline narration, the drama tackled many age groups as its audience The drama effectively produces nostalgia using things like VHS tape, bulky computers, etc. This definitely encaptured the attention of Gen-Z, millennials but also Generation Alpha.

The cinematographers of the drama did an excellent job. As the generation transition is shown with filters that fill nostalgia, you feel more connected and engrossed in the drama.

I know we all wanted a different ending, but I think the given ending also taught us some realistic approaches to life. I think that’s what distinguishes this drama from others, the realistic theme- that people come and go in our lives but they hold a meaning always.

Many K-netizens expressed their concerns about the age gap between Na Hee-do and Baek Yi-jin, which was 19 and 23 respectively when they first meet. According to me, the age gap makes the ending more viable, two people with very different opinions and approaches to life grew apart but loved each other.

The writers deserve standing applause. You don’t see this kind of K-drama going viral. Every detail is written with the utmost care, you can observe it when you watch it.


Kim Tae-ri was the life of the drama. With her outstanding performance, she acted 18 seamlessly while she is actually 32.

This might seem very dramatic, but she was able to hold the emotion of a teenager going for her dreams, falling in love, falling apart and then understanding life. She acted from childlike Na Hee-do to mature Na Hee-do in a judicious way.

I can comment without a doubt that this was Nam Joo-hyuk’s best performance so far. I watched his old dramas too and nothing compares.

I watched Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo and I became a Nam Joo Hyuk fan. I started watching Twenty-Five Twenty-One in order to get more of NJH. The way his eyes light up when he sees Na Hee-do is pure. He defined this role so beautifully that the tension of love between them was pure and not in a sexual way. You will get emotionally attached to them.

You can watch (or rewatch) the drama here: NETFLIX

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