The latest K-Drama we’re hooked on is tvN‘s romantic-comedy Twenty Five Twenty One. It’s currently running with new episodes every Saturday and Sunday. For international viewers, it’s also released on Netflix simultaneously. It stars Kim Tae Ri, Nam Joo Hyuk, Cosmic Girls‘ Bona, and Lee Joo Myung.
Twenty Five Twenty One alternates between the present day and the past as it parallels the struggles of youth during both the COVID-19 pandemic and the IMF (the International Monetary Fund) crisis. However, it also focuses on the romantic lives of five characters in the ’90s, with the main focus being on female lead Na Hee Do, played by Kim Tae Ri, and male lead Baek Yi Jin (sometimes romanized as Back Yi Jin), played by Nam Joo Hyuk.
In a time when dreams seem out of reach, a teen fencer pursues big ambitions and meets a hardworking young man who seeks to rebuild his life.
Based on the drama’s description and the first eight episodes of the series, we can already see that there’s likely to be more than just one relationship…
So far, it seems more than likely that Na Hee Do and Baek Yi Jin will at some point become a couple.
At this time, Hee Do has clearly begun to develop feelings for Yi Jin based on the last couple of episodes.
Yet, we know that he will likely reject her due to the age gap, as he already said that adults should only date adults.
High schoolers should date other high schoolers. Grown-ups should date other grown-ups.
— Baek Yi Jin
Additionally, viewers have already frowned upon the characters’ relationship progressing any further until they’re both in their 20s.
Some other plot summaries for Twenty Five Twenty One describe it as “the story of when they first meet when they are 22 and 18 years old and fall in love when they meet again at age 25 and 21,” hence the K-Drama’s title. So, it seems like fans will get what they want.
Well, until then, we may have another couple to root for, but it may be unexpected. Besides Hee Do and Yi Jin, there are three other main characters: fencing gold medalist and Hee Do’s rival Go Yu Rim (Bona), classmate and popular boy Moon Ji Woong (Choi Hyun Wook), and class president Ji Seung Wan (Lee Joo Myung).
Early on, the writers establish that Ji Woong has a crush on Yoo Rim. Hee Do met him on her first day at Taeyang High School, and he hoped that she would operate as his wingman.
Throughout the drama, we see him pursue Yu Rim. He stands up for her on multiple occasions, showing his love. And Yu Rim seems both flattered and touched by his displays of affection.
"What's important isn't in the textbook, it's in the hallway." ㅡ Moon Jiwoong to Ko Yurim.
— Ko Yurim defender 🤺 (@theaurorabliss) March 1, 2022
— ᵕ̈ (@withdramas) March 5, 2022
Yet, they still have not put an official status on their relationship. Instead, both individuals have others that they seem to care for too.
We have seen Hee Do and Yu Rim communicate via chatroom for a few episodes despite not getting along IRL. For three years, they have been online friends but have not revealed identity, including age or gender. Still, they have developed a deep connection that some have interpreted as romantic.
Of course, in typical K-Drama fashion, there’s been a hint of a love triangle surrounding the male lead as Yu Rim once told Yi Jin that he was her first love as their families have known each other for a while. She has also displayed signs of jealousy as he’s gotten closer to Hee Do.
The new couple that viewers are shipping now is none of these… Instead, it’s Ji Woong and Seung Wan.
Ji Woong is especially close with the class president Ji Seung Wan although initially, they seem like an unlikely pair as he’s the school’s “pretty boy.” Like Yi Jin and Yu Rim, they became friends through their families. So, these two have known each other since diapers.
Go Yu Rim: How long have you been friends with Seung Wan? Is she a family friend?
Ji Seung Wan: Since forever. Our moms are friends.
Moon Ji Woong: She has been there ever since I can remember.
In Episode 4, the two talk briefly about their relationship as the other characters were curious about how everyone had come to know each other. Hee Do was even more curious, going as far as to ask if they had ever dated, which was quickly shot down by Seung Wan.
Ji Woong explained that he has struggled to date despite being popular because of his friendship with Seung Wan. He recognizes that they are so close that people get suspicious and make assumptions. So, he emphasized that they are “just friends” in hopes of being with Yu Rim.
I couldn’t go out with anyone because of her. Everyone always assumes we’re together. But we’re just friends. I hope we’re clear on that point.
— Ji Woong
This didn’t stop viewers from shipping Seung Wan and Ji Woong, though. In recent episodes, fans of Twenty Five Twenty One are only supporting them more as a potential couple as there are many scenes of the two together.
Viewers absolutely love this chaotic duo and can’t get enough of their interactions.
Jiwoong: my heart feels like it’s gonna explode just by hearing the word ‘confessing’
Seungwan: Heart is here (moving jiwoong’s hand to the other side of his chest)
— Taeriyaki ²⁵²¹ 🤺 (@taerijjang) March 6, 2022
— nez (@jun9dabin) March 8, 2022
A majority of fans are more than satisfied with the platonic portrayal of the two. It’s a breath of fresh air as K-Dramas are overly saturated with romance and love triangles, complicating even casual relationships.
— yuri ²⁵²¹⁺³⁹ (@kdeurama_) March 6, 2022
— rin ²⁵²¹ (@whyweewhy) March 6, 2022
Still, many fans are going so far to shipping the two, and we can understand why too.
im this close 👌 on being a seungwan x jiwoong shipper pls 🤺🤺🤺
— ivon (@godtierkdrama) March 8, 2022
It’s unanimous everyone loves these two characters and even more together. Netizens suggest that the writers follow the “friends to lovers” trope.
TikToker Jimin (@jiminsdramas) pointed out that the two have already been dressed similarly. It’s very popular for couples to wear matching clothes when dating, yet these two “friends” are already coordinated.
Their followers agree that Ji Woong and Seung Wan’s chemistry is undeniable. Most agree that Seung Wan is a better match for Ji Woong.
So, with all things considered, are you Team Yu Rim or Team Seung Wan?