Orange Marmalade was my first foray into high school Kdrama and I was so impressed. A lot of it reminded me (in a good, GOOD way) of MTV’s Teen Wolf in the way it handled our natural biases to things we don’t understand, and the importance of a series to have a great second. While Si Hoo is no Stiles, he’s just as important to the story line–especially Season 2.
Another really cool thing to note is that Orange Marmalade is another example of a popular webtoon (found here) making a successful jump to live series.
Series Name: Orange Marmalade
Stars: Yeo Jin Goo as popular high schooler Jung Jae Min and Kim Seol Hyun as vampire-in-hiding Baek Ma Ri. Also starred Lee Jong Hyun as the adorable and swoon-worthy Han Si Hoo.
Basics: Despite a 200-year-old treaty between humans and vampires, both races still don’t get along. Amidst the looming tension, Jung Jae Min, a posh yet kindhearted high school student, quickly falls for the mysterious new girl Baek Ma Ri. But can Ma Ri conceal her true vampire identity and give love an honest chance? If these star-crossed lovers can find the courage to make the leap, Jae Min and Ma Ri may just be the key to a final resolution between humans and vampires…
Season One (episodes 1-4): Modern Day
Ma Ri is the new girl in school and immediately catches the eye of the most popular boy in school. Unlike a lot of female character tropes in Kdramas that I’ve run across, the writers didn’t make Ma Ri this sort of crazy/cute/loud kind of character you see a lot of. She doesn’t raise her voice and stamp her feet (when she’s alone of course!) in frustration.
The first thing that struck me was how much Ma Ri represented this sort of quiet, stiff upper lip kind of strength that I loved. You can tell she’s terrified of her secret being outed and then there’s this pesky gorgeous boy bugging her and trying to get to know her better, so no matter how hard she tries to keep a low profile, Jae Min’s attention makes her a target for a lot of different reasons.
Our characters end up forming a band–a big deal given that Jae Min gave up music when his own mother married a vampire. Things are going along swimmingly as it were–Jae Min is close to Ma Ri and there’s definitely a spark. Si Hoo is keeping a protective watch over his vampire brethren (Ma Ri…it’s obvious they’ve known each other in this life for a while now).
And then? Then the walls come tumbling down. Secrets are spilled. People attempt to off themselves in broad daylight (I still haven’t recovered from that scene, thankyouverra much) and then….amnesia. CURSE YOU KDRAMA AMNESIA!!!
Season Two (episodes 5-9): Joseon Dynasty
Oh, have mercy. I wasn’t quite ready for that jump back in time, ya’ll. Turns out our characters have met in previous lifetimes and our two male leads were actually total best friends. Augh! Ma Ri is still the adorable, stoic creature that she was (is?) in modern day, but in the leap back in time, we see the stakes (pardon the pun) for keeping her vampire identity a secret were even higher.
Jae Min and Si Hoo are pampered scholars and Jae Min even has this blood phobia that makes him unsuitable to be a good fighter. We learn about the dealings between vampire clans (the blood thirsty and the peaceful) and we learn, eventually, another reason for Jae Min’s hatred of vampires and the sad cloud that follows Si Hoo around like an adorable Eeyore.
The ending of Season 2 literally broke me. I needed a week to collect myself and pick up the pieces, my friend. All the feels. ALL OF THEM!
Season Three (Episode 10-12): Modern Day
Phew. I managed to tape my little heart back together and we return to modern day with a still-amnesiac Jae Min. He’s in the dark about a lot of stuff, but as viewers we now have nearly a complete picture of our characters and their inner workings. I was thrown for a loop when they blasted us off to the past in episode 5, but my experience watching Orange Marmalade ended up being all the richer for it.
Friends, we totally get our happily ever after without those four-year delays that ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME in Kdramas. No, seriously…one of the best endings I’ve come across in a while. Hooray!
Would I recommend it? For certain. It’s billed as a young adult series, but it’s anything but immature. The characters (and their actors) dealt with pretty mature conflicts and emotions and conveyed a very rich world, full of drama and….wait for it…LOVE!
Orange Marmalade Trailer: