'Yumi's Cells': How It Rewrites the Rules of a K-Drama Romance Story Amid Finale

Yumi’s Cells is a Viki original Korean drama that starred two well-recognized actors, Ahn Bo-hyun and Kim Go-eun. The K-drama premiered its final episode on Oct.30. Fans of the original written storyline knew how the drama would end, but its ending outcome would have caused gasp and awe for new fans.

Kim Yu-mi (Kim) is a simple office worker who lost her “love cell” after a bad breakup. She meets Koo Woong (Ahn) on a blind date, and they slowly fall in love. But viewers would have never expected the webtoon-based K-drama to rewrite the rules of a romance story and the often seen tropes associated with the genre of K-dramas.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers about Yumi’s Cells.]

There are no love triangles between two male characters

None of Yumi’s Cells trailers gave any tease of the drama having a pivotal love triangle. Love triangles are one of the most often used tropes in K-dramas because they add necessary tension between the main love interests and have fans divided on who deserves to be with the female lead. But, Yu-mi and Woong never deal with a love triangle. Instead, Yu-mi becomes inherently worried as Woong’s co-worker and closest friend tries to sabotage her relationship.

Fans might have thought it would be a first female versus female love triangle for the rest of the drama. In fact, it was quickly written out halfway through. Yumi’s Cells introduced a new male character into Yu-mi’s workplace that showed promise of a new love triangle. He is tagged as the “second lead.” But once again, fans were left dismayed as it never fully developed. Yumi’s Cells broke one of the most pivotal tropes of K-dramas.

Yu-mi and Woong never get their happily ever after

K-drama fans are well aware of how most storylines often end. The main characters go through a rough patch and separate as both parties long to be with each other. There is always an episode of tension as fans watch to see which character cracks first and makes the big love gesture to rekindle the romance. But Yumi’s Cells K-drama strays away from what fans are used to. When Woong, once again, fails to be honest and make his intentions in the relationship clear, Yu-mi calls for a break.

Both Yu-mi and Woong still love each other and miss one another. But, fans were shocked as Woong and Yu-mi both agreed to a breakup in the finale. Woong admits he thought Yu-mi would be different and not want a serious relationship with the possibility of marriage. While Yu-mi can no longer take Woong’s inherent inability to confide in her despite how much she cares for him.

Back at the location where they first met, they reveal their breakup cards and part ways. It is also rare for the male lead to initiate the breakup. Yumi’s Cells end with Yu-mi watching Woong walk out of her life. The South China Morning Post explains, “the suddenness of the season’s close gives us an opportunity to savor the highs and lows of their relationship and consider what went wrong.” The K-drama broke the cardinal rule of K-dramas of the main leads finding a way to make things work like a fairtytale.

‘Yumi’s Cells’ has no dramatic turn of events that tests the main characters and Yu-mi works on herself

Yumi’s Cells defines realistic romance compared to other popular K-dramas like What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? Fans would have found the K-drama had a refreshing take as it never used the dramatic turn of events trope often seen in romances. Many K-dramas involve the main characters going through life-changing situations that are either life-threatening or reveal a dark secret.

The K-drama never uses the trope. The most dramatic shift is when Yu-mi learns Woong sold his apartment because he is short on money. But the event only prompts them to move in together. There is never any family drama or a sudden car crash. Yu-mi and Woong go through the trials and tribulations of falling in love but the constant issues still bubbling under the surface.

Unlike other female leads, Yu-mi mostly relies on herself to find the answers to her relationship. Her emotion cells, which are depicted as animated characters, experience the same frustrations, heartache, and love that she goes through. In the drama, Yu-mi does not rely on family or any real friends with her problems. She instead looks within herself to come up with the hard decision that she has to let Woong go.

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