In looking up some Korean BL series to check out, I somehow stumbled upon Blue of Winter (유도 소년/Judo Boys). The roughly 45 minute, five episode series follows the angsty and sometimes messy relationships of four boys as they navigate high school and reach for their dreams. (That’s a very generous logline for the series though.)
Ace judoka Lee Hyeon Woo (Jeon Yu Bin) finds himself between two suitors, fellow judoka Kim Do Jin (Lee Jung Min) who transfers to his school with the hopes of meeting him again after a match and Han Ji Seok (Min In Gi), friend of his judo teammate Yoo Jae Ho (Yoo Young Mo).
Ji Seok is much more forward with his feelings for Hyeon Woo and does what he can to prevent Do Jin to confess his own feelings as well. But soon a series of misunderstandings and sudden decisions throw all their relationships out of whack.
At this point, you will have reached the final episode. And it is then when you realize that the series is almost over, yet you feel like there is a lot missing.
The story is very familiar. And it is not hard to see who likes who in the beginning. But the series lacks depth and character development. And that is very much due to its format. A feature-length film would suit this story quite nicely. That way, they would be able to flesh out these relationships and potentially even involve the fourth friend more to make it a love square rather than just a triangle.
The first four episodes feel rushed and almost like a highlights reel for a longer series. The final episode then fast forwards and again, makes you feel like a big chunk of the story is missing.
The actors are fine and do what they can with the thin material. But even if this is a simple story, it had the potential to still be good and enjoyable in a different, longer format.
That said, you could do worse with 45 minutes of your time. Blue of Winter is a very quick watch. But by the end, you probably won’t be feeling too satisfied or fulfilled by its story.