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Series / 18 Again

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What is your dream now that you are young again?

18 Again is the 2020 Korean Remake of the 2009 Zac Efron film 17 Again.

Hong Daeyoung and Jung Dajung haven't had it easy. An unplanned pregnancy forces the former high school basketball star and his girlfriend to become parents at age 18 years old without receiving support from their respective parents. Eventually, their marriage deteriorates to the point that Dajung demands a divorce which he reluctantly agrees on. Daeyoung's life keeps taking a turn for the worse as his relationship with his wife and kids fall apart and he loses his job. Exhausted, Daeyoung returns to his old high school basketball court. Wishing to go back in time and fix everything, he throws a shot hoping that if he can make it the wish will work; the lights go out just before the ball reaches the net. When they come back on, Daeyoung guesses that it didn't go in and goes to a local convenience store... only to realize then that he has somehow returned back to his 18-year-old self.

After a hilarious fiasco with his Eccentric Millionaire best friend, Daeyoung decides to give life a second chance. Posing as Deokjin's son, Daeyoung enters his kid's high school as their New Transfer Student classmate; Go Wooyoung. In the process, he gets both his second chance and realizing how much he's screwed up with his family. Will Daeyoung, who is now living with his new identity as Wooyoung, manage to fix his life, save his marriage with Dajung and repair his broken relationship with his kids?

Tropes appearing in 18 Again include:

  • Abusive Parents: Jasung's Freudian Excuse to his jerkassery and violent behavior at school. He gets slapped twice by his father during a heated argument that almost results in Jasung causing some kind of bodily harm to his father before Wooyoung stops him from doing anything.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Being that this is a 16-episode drama and not a 105-minute film, several elements are added and expanded upon.
    • The drama shows Daeyoung and Dajung's marriage deteriorating, as well as his relationship with his kids.
    • Compared to Stan, Goo Jasung gets a Freudian Excuse.
    • Nothing is known about Mike O'Donnell prior to his life with Scarlett; while Daeyoung and Dajung's relationships with their parents died the second they refused to get an abortion. That said, Daeyoung's father seems to care about his grandkids enough that he comes to see them after the divorce becomes public.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Ned Gould's counterpart, Go Deokjin, has a crush on his supposed son's homeroom teacher instead of his principal.
    • Shi-ah and Jasung, Maggie and Stan's counterparts, never go out in the Korean version and Shi-ah actually rejects Jasung.
  • Age-Down Romance: Which is a given considering its Fountain of Youth plot.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: Despite the complete mess that his serenade caused, one has to admit that Jasung can really sing well. He is played by Hwang Inyeop, after all.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Jasung may seem like your typical jerkass school bully at first, however, he is just an emotionally scarred teenager who is putting on a tough act to hide his pain.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Shi-ah can be one sometimes, she quarrels with her mom because of her brattiness and even once says "are you crazy?" to her father.
  • Bully and Wimp Pairing: Shi-woo and Jasung, who play in the same basketball team. But they no longer have such an unhealthy dynamic as Jasung stops harassing him and they become friends instead.
  • Bully Brutality: Somewhat downplayed but 18 Again has a scene where Jasung ruthlessly kicks Jiho multiple times and was about to beat him with a stick if it were not for Wooyoung's last-second intervention.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: Goo Jasung to Hong Shi-woo and Go Wooyoung.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Jasung expresses his bitter disappointment in his dad's insulting response to his question of whether he has been bribing his basketball team captain so he can get a spot in the final team or not then yells out that he is ashamed of his dad.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Jasung is out like a light (AGAIN) after only drinking one glass of beer at their high school reunion.
  • Childhood Friends: Hong Shia and Seo Jiho.
  • Closet Geek: Ok Hyejin, Wooyoung's homeroom teacher, is a HUGE geek and anime nerd but keeps it a secret from everyone at school.
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: Wooyoung has Dajung's best friend, Ae-rin, developing feelings for him and even Shi-ah's friends show some kind of interest in him. Though it can be justified as he has the appearance of a minor and may not understand why would a grown adult have feelings for him.
  • Confession Cam: When Jasung serenades Shi-ah publicly at school the drama suddenly cuts to very random and separated confession cam scenes where the students are shown reacting to the whole thing in a weirdly too-serious manner in a dimly lit investigation-like room as if they are testifying against a dangerous criminal. This is all before they show the actual confession taking place, too.
    Ki-yong (the first student): To be honest, isn't it odd how no one died that night? I thought I was going to die because my whole body cringed.
    Youngsun (the second student): There were so many students at the festival. If that happened to me, I would have killed him.
  • Damsel in Distress: Played with. It seems subverted at first, as Shi-ah protects herself from a creep who has been stalking her for a while with the defense skills she learned one day, but gets played straight when he suddenly pulls a knife and Wooyoung comes to her rescue.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Jasung confesses to Shi-ah by pulling a pressuring Grand Romantic Gesture and giving her flowers which she seemingly accepts... till she gives them back and turns him down in private as she explains that she only accepted them just because she didn't want to embarrass him in front of everyone back there.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Jasung does not react well at first when Wooyoung tries to console him due to witnessing his father hit him and tells Wooyoung/Daeyoung off for stepping in and attempting to comfort him upon seeing how pathetic his situation is but then listens to Daeyoung's warm father-like talk anyway and even tears up a bit after.
  • Drunk on Milk: Jasung suddenly passes out after downing an entire can of a non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Deokjin without a doubt.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Combined with Serenade Your Lover. Jasung confesses to Shi-ah by suddenly singing to her in the middle of their school festival in front of everyone and then gives her a bouquet of flowers which she initially accepts but it takes z quite literally bad turn later on. Justified, as Wooyoung, aka her father, is the one who recommends this to Jasung knowing that Shi-ah ''hates'' these kinds of gestures and that it will probably turn her off from him while Jasung himself was skeptical of this.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After a comforting talk with Wooyoung, Jasung eventually grows out of his wannabe bully persona and later seeks out Shi-woo to apologize to him for tormenting him at school.
  • Hidden Depths: Goo Jasung also comes from a family of divorced parents, and when the news breaks out of Dajung's divorce he encourages Shi-ah to keep moving forward, citing his own family situation.
  • Ice Queen: A downplayed example but Shi-ah counts as one sometimes especially with her occasional sharp tongue.
  • Identical Stranger: As with the original, most people are shocked that Wooyoung looks identical to Daeyoung as an 18-year-old. Played for Laughs when Deokjin manages to cover it up by saying that Wooyoung's mother looks identical to Daeyoung because of how much he followed Daeyoung throughout their high school years.
  • In Vino Veritas: Not that Daeyoung remembers because of how drunk he got that night.
  • Irony: Jasung falls for Shi-ah after she delivers a punch to his stomach which is ironic as he suffers physical abuse from his dad, so the thing (aka being hit) that is causing him pain is the same very thing that causes his heart to flutter for someone else huh? Though it can be slightly justified as she is one of the few people who did not let him get away with his bad attitude -beside Wooyoung- unlike her brother who let himself fall victim to Jasung's bullying.
  • Jerk Jock: Jasung starts as one as he is repeatedly seen picking on Shi-woo and even brutally beats up Jiho once Until he gets a Character Development and apologizes to Shi-woo for tormenting him.
  • Living a Double Life: Ok Hyejin, Wooyoung and the Hong twins' homeroom teacher, puts on an elegant appearance as their teacher. But is secretly an uber-nerd and PC gamer complete with a secret room full of memorabilia.
  • Love at First Punch: Heavily implied to be the reason why Jasung was drawn to Shi-ah which is... quite ironic to say the least. See Irony above.
  • Manchild: Go Deokjin makes Ned Gould look like a mature adult in comparison. Heck, Deokjin even has a body pillow with an anime girl that he calls his girlfriend.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Kwon Yumi.
  • Mirror Reveal: Daeyoung discovers that he returned to his old body when he sees his reflection on a convenience store's door.
  • Oblivious Transformation: Daeyoung belatedly realizes that he has somehow transformed back to his high school self, after acting like a father figure to -his daughter- Shi-ah and arguing with her which scared her and another bystander that was so ready to call the police.
  • Otaku: Deokjin is a proud one and Hyejin is one in secret.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Jasung is seen so uncharacteristically frightened that he falls down to the floor, covers his ears and even stutters out an apology after Daeyoung pulls out a gun and shoots into the air during a Fantasy Sequence of his/Wooyoung's. The moment he comes back to earth, Jasung asks him "What's with this reaction?" with the most poker face and unimpressed tone ever.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Given Deokjin's Eccentric Millionaire and ditzy, geeky character he unquestionably counts as this.
  • Reformed Bully: Goo Jasung tones down his aggressiveness A LOT, dropping this whole school bully act and behaving more like a normal teenager as the series goes on.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: A downplayed example but sensitive warmhearted Jiho and intimidating bad boy Jasung's have a dynamic similar to this.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Shi-woo is timid, submissive, barely has any friends and is generally awkward while his twin sister is much more outgoing, outspoken and can stand her ground in any situation.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Shi-ah is strongly implied to have a preference for Jiho, her kind childhood friend over Jasung, the school's bad boy.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Wooyoung is like this with Jasung and Shi-ah, likely due to Jasung being her brother's bully. He is not happy when he learns that Shi-ah "accepted" Jasung's confession and actively tries to stop anything from happening between them and is relieved to find out that they do not become a couple after all.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: This basically explains Jasung's attitude before his Character Development. He puts on a tough act when he is just hurting on the inside.
  • Sore Loser: Toned down but Jasung is all frowny and surly when he loses against Wooyoung in a quick basketball match.
  • Stepford Smiler: A mild example but Shi-ah always pretends that she is fine and that her parents' issues don't affect her, when in reality Jasung catches her crying alone in a Karaoke Box after her parents got divorced.
  • The Rival: Jasung is the Jerk Jock to Jiho's Nice Guy.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Jasung completely lets go of his hostile attitude toward both Shi-woo and Jiho and even befriends the former and also comforts Shi-ah when he learns about her parents' divorce which she at first thought was him trying to start a fight.
  • Troubled, but Cute:
  • True Companions: It says something that even being high school buddies, for all their bickering, Deokjin is willing to shelter Daeyoung as his supposed son as well as constantly being his emotional support through his marriage/family problems.
  • Unrequited Love: Jasung is attracted to Shi-ah and actually confesses to her but she rejects him. Although it is highly understandable since it does not make sense for anyonenote  to date someone who used to viciously bully their brother and have talked shit about their mom.
    • A less serious example is Ae-rin with Wooyoung, however, unrequited or not, it wouldn't have worked either way due to Wooyoung being a minor, the age gap between them and her finding out that he is actually Daeyoung, the husband of her best friend.
  • Verbal Backspace: "Hello. I'm Hong Dae-... No, I'm Go Wooyoung."