Good Ol’ Review: “Once Again” a Refreshingly Unique and Emotional Series

Once Again Korean BL Drama Review

Minor spoiler with forewarning.

The 2022 Korean web series Once Again (다시나를찾아와) is such a refreshing entry into the growing BL genre. A relatively high concept premise allows for a unique approach to familiar stories that ultimately results in what is an emotional and heartfelt experience.

Once Again tells the story of Shin Jae Woo (Moon Ji Yong), a young man in his 20s who has been haunted by painful memories from 15 years ago when he met college graduate Kang Ji Hoon (Lee Hyun Jun). In the present day, Jae Woo heads to the dormitory where Ji Hoon once lived ahead of its impending demolition. But Jae Woo soon inexplicably finds himself back in time to the year 2007 where he once again meets Ji Hoon.

The series continues with adult Jae Woo awkwardly trying to befriend Ji Hoon. And Jae Woo takes this opportunity back in time to find a way to change his destiny and that of Ji Hoon as well. Even if there are drastic consequences for the future.

The series takes a little while before things really start going and come together. But when the tragic past comes clearly into view (and it is revealed quite early on), everything starts to click and makes it easier to truly get invested into the story.

Once Again Korean BL Drama Review

Once Again finds a good balance between the amusingly absurd and sincerely emotional moments. The initial scenes of Jae Woo trying to explain himself to Ji Hoon are so awkward, yet feel appropriately so. Especially considering the situation.

But the very serious goal of Jae Woo is what takes center stage. And through that mission, the series is able to tell a story of friendship, love and loss, trauma and guilt. And in finding peace from those experiences.

Jae Woo and Ji Hoon’s relationship develops very well. The small investment needed in the first, maybe, two episodes quickly pays off when the series really gets going. There is a bit of mystery, a bit of the supernatural and a good helping of romance that all come together for a truly engaging story.

Once Again‘s unique premise is the kind of big concept story more often reserved for big budget, mainstream Korean dramas. But the way this eight episode series is able to take that high concept idea and successfully craft a satisfying narrative into that time frame is a major accomplishment.

The series is able to do a lot with the emotional connection between Jae Woo and Ji Hoon. And that is also thanks in large part to the great chemistry between Moon Ji Yong and Lee Hyun Jun. They are able to play the awkward first meetings as well as the sweeter, more romantic moments very effectively.

But let’s be clear, this series is far from the fluffy, blue sky BL series many of us might be used to. Once Again really offers up a heartfelt, emotional narrative that somehow exceeds beyond the confines of the format. The series reaches high and makes it. And it packs a real emotional punch while leaving a lasting impact.

The poignant and emotionally charged narrative allows the series to touch upon the complexities of human relationships, the power of love and the sacrifices and choices that shape our lives.

A big part of the drama pedigree the series has lies in Moon Ji Yong’s performance. I first watched him in the great The New Employee. But he is given even more challenging material here. It’s hard not to empathize with Jae Woo almost immediately and even without knowing the full story of his past yet. That’s really thanks to Moon Ji Yong’s pitch perfect performance. A mixture of charm and charisma and verifiable acting chops allows him to really deliver an excellent performance.

Once Again Korean BL Drama Review

Lee Hyun Jun doesn’t get left behind either though. Some heartbreaking scenes in the last few episodes are definitely highlighted by his affecting performance as well. The two of them have a sweet and charming chemistry.

Once Again is really a high concept idea that is executed wonderfully, as if it is a simpler premise. Which is a pleasant surprise, again, because of its format and platform. But a steady pace and relatively strong character development allow for an emotionally affecting and engaging story. Bittersweet at times, yes. But the ease in being able to get sucked into the story and truly become invested is quite the feat.

But Once Again accomplishes that and then some.

Once Again Korean BL Drama Review

A truly dramatic and emotional series with a strong cast, Once Again is a must watch for any Korean BL fan. A unique blend of genres and poignant story. But really, it’s an overall production that can rival even most popular mainstream Korean dramas. Just a wonderful, enjoyable, affecting and thoroughly satisfying viewing experience.

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