Disney+ has had a couple of original Korean drama offerings so far. But Moving (무빙) just might be their best yet. And not only that, this webtoon adaptation from artist and screenwriter Kang Full has a very strong case for being named the year’s best overall. Moving is a thrilling, imaginative and emotionally affecting series that boasts an incredible ensemble cast and stunning direction.
Ryu Seung Ryong is Jang Ju Won, a former gangster turned NIS agent whose instant healing abilities are passed down to his daughter Hui Soo (Go Youn Jung). Kim Bong Seok’s (Lee Jung Ha) parents are former intelligence analyst Lee Mi Hyun (Han Hyo Joo) and Kim Doo Sik (Zo In Sung), an NIS black ops agent and Ju Won’s partner. Bong Seok inherits his mother’s enhanced senses and his father’s ability to fly.
Meanwhile, Hui Soo and Bong Seok’s classmate, class president Lee Gang Hoon (Kim Do Hoon) takes after his father Lee Jae Man (Kim Sung Kyun) who possesses superhuman strength.
Because of their experiences in the past, the parents work to protect their high school-aged children from malicious government agencies looking to exploit their special abilities as well as from dangerous assassins and malicious adversaries.
Moving begins by quickly setting the stage in a world that has people with special abilities trying to live normal, everyday lives. As those lives are increasingly being threatened, we meet the young students and their families in a way that is reminiscent of familiar slice of life stories. A mix of relatable family drama and coming of age stories infused with a good helping of fantasy, supernatural and action.
Seeing how the teens deal with their materializing powers alongside experiencing the familiar trappings of high school life and growing up while the parents carefully work to protect them from the emerging threat is already a thoroughly captivating experience. The sincerity and relatability in what are very simple, though impactful character-driven stories really shine through in the early episodes.
But there is that looming threat. And once that threat manifests in a very real way for our three students, the series jumps back in time to fully flesh out the backstories of the parents. Their previous experiences in love, life and career unravel as their abilities bring with them danger and risks.
It does almost feel like two halves of one story with a very clear pivot point in the series. But when those two halves come together in the series’ final group of episodes, the foundation that is built and solidified by those distinct halves result in a non-stop barrage of both emotional and physical action.
Brutal battles, enlightening revelations and poignant moments power the series’ unrelenting climax. Its character-driven foundation helping to support the high-concept fantasy and action. And that ultimately ensures the series’ satisfying and thrilling conclusion.
Seasoned veterans like Ryu Seung Ryong, Han Hyo Joo, Zo In Sung, Kim Sung Kyun, Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Hee Won lead an incredible ensemble cast. That includes young talented actors like Lee Jung Ha, Go Youn Jung and Kim Ho Doon who immediately endear you to their characters. And that goes a long way to quickly establish a connection with them and the world that is being introduced.
Once the series shifts focus to the vets and the characters they portray, that connection is vital in allowing the series to continue engaging and eventually hold you in a firm grasp as it weaves through a fast-paced recollection of their past. You are more than invested in these characters. You get a clear picture of the stakes that are involved. And there’s still a lot of surprises left in the tank as well.
The twenty episode series moves at such a brisk pace. But not in a way that prevents you from absorbing and savoring each of its story and character beats. That is something not every series is able to do. But Moving does that and then some.
It’s hard not to feel a wide range of emotions while watching the series. It is most certainly a wild and crazy ride. But one that is fun and emotionally affecting. A legitimately thrilling and captivating story that works both as a high-concept action thriller and a humble, slice of life portrait of parents and children. And a little bit of social commentary too.
With its excellent ensemble cast, stunning direction and visuals and tightly-written story, Moving easily has a case to be considered one of the year’s very best and most complete series.