2001 was a year that I can’t really recall in detail, but I do remember one thing in particular; it brought me one of my all-time favorite dramas. Even after fourteen years, “Beautiful Days” still ranks incredibly high on my list, out of the hundreds of dramas I’ve seen, and it’s one where I re-watch often.
There are family secrets, terminal illnesses, and old drama clichés aplenty, but it’s also heartrending and, true to its title, beautiful in so many ways. “Beautiful Days” also had one of the largest script changes to ever occur to date, where the intended male lead took a backseat early on in the drama and allowed the original second lead to gloriously shine due to viewers’ demand.
As if that wasn’t already enough of a fanservice, the ending was also completely changed to suit the viewers as well, bringing a sweet, happily ever after for our OTP when our female lead walks the road of recovery, rather than succumbing to her disease. I would be the first to admit that, had it not been for these wondrous changes, I probably would have hated the drama, so I always re-watch with appreciation and gratitude.
But beyond that, “Beautiful Days” also gifted me with something else and that’s Kim Yon Soo, our beloved female lead. She absolutely sizzled with the love of her life, Lee Min Chul, and provided so many reasons as to why she’s Woman Crush Wednesday worthy. I can’t wait to gush about her, so let’s get started, shall we? (Spoilers ahead!)
1. Kim Yon Soo stands her ground.
She’s usually soft-spoken, introverted, and a little shy, but anger her or push her buttons on an issue she has a strong opinion about and Kim Yon Soo won’t back down so easily. When she’s suddenly thrust with the responsibility of caring (or baby-sitting, as the case may be) for an immature, temper tantrum throwing, and bratty teenager, who hates her guts, but also happens to be her boss’ younger sister, it wasn’t an easy situation for Kim Yon Soo to adapt to; however, she pulls off her authority with a surprising fierceness and gets the job done well. As if that didn’t already portray her versatility, Kim Yon Soo worked even more of her magic on Lee Min Ji by transforming her ill tempered behavior into a cheery and classy attitude. Lee Min Ji even came to love and respect her completely, which is probably a miracle in and of itself.
Kim Yon Soo also knows to speak up in matters related to romance and relationships. She speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to lash out at Lee Min Chul when he’s being illogical. She has pride and dignity, refusing to let others look down upon or humiliate her. Their opposite personalities make them the perfect match like yin and yang; Kim Yon Soo is soft with a hidden firmness while Lee Min Chul is cool on the exterior, but with a secret vulnerability that only Kim Yon Soo can see.
2. She’s most loyal to her family – even if they aren’t blood related.
Kim Sena, Kim Yon Soo’s younger sister from the orphanage, had a really nasty attitude for the majority of the drama, especially towards her older sister. Despite the way she lashed out and hated Kim Yon Soo over a misunderstanding, even going so far as attempting to emotionally hurt her, Kim Yon Soo never held it against her. When she was receiving the brunt of Kim Sena’s negativity, Kim Yon Soo only felt even more pity and sorrow towards her, because she was able to understand the difficulties her younger sister was internally struggling with. Having grown up in an orphanage together, Kim Yon Soo held a deeper understanding of Kim Sena’s complexity compared to other people. Truthfully speaking, if Kim Sena had been my younger sister, I would have just left her alone as she so desperately seemed to want, but Kim Yon Soo was determined to win her over and rekindle their family relations. In the end, Kim Yon Soo is, of course, successful in becoming close with her again, even without having cleared up the misunderstanding from so many years ago. I think she’s truly a miracle worker.
3. Kim Yon Soo has dreams.
She has ambitions and she doesn’t let anything hinder her from the path she wants to take. It may have taken her seven years and counting of on-and-off college to get to the point where she becomes eligible to teach art, but Kim Yon Soo got there through her will and perseverance. Her financial difficulties, impossible as it may seem to escape from, didn’t deter her from attempting to achieve her dreams. Even when she had to use up her entire savings for Kim Sena, Kim Yon Soo still didn’t give up her dreams. She only became more determined to work harder in order to earn back that money to pay for tuition and continue pursing what it is she wants to do with her life. Her passion for the arts is clear and it is that same apparent love that allowed Lee Min Ji to embrace her own artistic talents and to find a new sense of joy from doing what it is she loves. This is also indirectly related to Kim Yon Soo’s other dream, which is to have a warm and happy family. In the end, Kim Yon Soo accomplishes that too, simply by spreading her love and joy to those around her.
4. She’s strong in the face of hardships.
This time, I’m not talking about Kim Yon Soo’s financial difficulties. I’m talking about the sudden shocker she was dealt with at realizing she was sick. With something so serious, I imagine that a lot of people fall apart and while Kim Yon Soo had her moments of weakness, which were more than understandable, she didn’t stay down. She became courageous and fought her illness with everything she had. She had the will and desire to live, to love, and to survive and she sought to do just that. Through her own method of trial and error, Kim Yon Soo found what worked and didn’t work for her, coming to terms with the adjustments she had to make in her lifestyle. Although she initially chose not to “burden” Lee Min Chul, when everything was laid out in the open, she found a different kind of strength within herself because of him. She never allowed herself to become weak for long and always tried to face her situations with a strong, positive attitude.
5. She’s relatable.
No matter what kind of situation she had to face and what kind of ordeals were thrown at her, Kim Yon Soo behaved and reacted in utterly normal and respectable ways – ways that everyone could understand and accept or would have done ourselves. She’s a perfectly average individual dealing with everyday obstacles that can happen to anyone else and the beauty of Kim Yon Soo and “Beautiful Days” is that inner strength and normalcy is portrayed with a heavy sense of motivational inspiration. Life is full of the unexpected, but also of miracles, and Kim Yon Soo, with each episode, proves that very fact. We have the ability to see ourselves within her just as she could see us all in herself because by being average and flawed and troubled and burdened, Kim Yon Soo is being human – so normally, so typically, so everyday human – that she is perfect and wonderful and beautiful. Kim Yon Soo is the epitome of “beautiful days” because she allows us to see that, yes, every single day can be and is beautiful.
So, how does Kim Yon Soo, our last Woman Crush Wednesday of 2014, rank on a scale of 1 to 10? Which aspect of her did you like the most? How about the least? How accurate did you find my reasoning? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to nomination your woman crushes for January’s Mystery Reveal! See you next week, Soompiers, and happy new year! May your 2015 be grand with endless possibilities, love, happiness, peace, and beautiful days!!