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Series / Just Between Lovers

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Just Between Lovers

Mistakes in construction led to the collapse of S Mall, leaving 48 people dead and many people injured. Lee Kang Doo, who dreamt of being a soccer player, broke his leg, while his father died. Ha Moon Soo’s sister died, leaving her in guilt as she was the one who survived.

Ten years passed, and Moon Soo works by making architectural models, while Kang Doo makes a living by doing anything that makes him earn money. When Moon Soo ends up working on Bio Town, a project that uses S Mall’s land, she meets Kang Doo, who ended up working as the construction site’s security guard.

Will the two of them be able to overcome the trauma and pain that they feel as they work on a place which reminds them of the tragic event that changed their lives?

Just Between Lovers (Korean: 그냥 사랑하는 사이, also known as Rain or Shine) is a Korean drama which started airing in December 2017. It’s notable for being the first lead roles of [[Music/{Junho}} Junho]] and Won Jin Ah, who play the main characters Lee Kang Doo and Ha Moon Soo, respectively. The series is notable for touching sensitive topics such as the trauma experienced by victims of accidents, the effects of accidents on said victims and the people around them, divorce and messy relationships, and the unequal treatment of disabled and "normal" people.


The series contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Moon Soo can make architectural models, revise blueprints, fix pipes and electrical wiring, and can even drive a truck.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Moon Soo’s mother. Though she tones it down after Moon Soo has a breakdown thinking that her mother will die.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Wan Jin.
  • Almost Kiss: Kang Doo and Moon Soo when Kang Doo asks her to congratulate him on becoming a "social being". It's interrupted by Sang Man, who awkwardly asks them to continue what they were doing and left the room.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Averted, despite living separately with his younger sister and meeting her for only three to four times a year, Kang Doo tries his best to help her out, even giving her all of his salary so that she can live a good life. Jae Young, however, seems to act aloof towards him, but is actually concerned about his living conditions and health and looks out for him regularly.
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  • Aloof Big Sister: Moon Soo was one to her younger sister Yeon Soo, which made her feel guilty after the accident.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It’s pretty clear that Sang Man doesn’t act his age (though his thinking is mature), and his mother tells Kang Doo that when Kang Doo left for the sea, Sang Man threw a fit and got sick.
  • Amicable Exes: Subverted, Joo Won and Yoo Jin see and talk to each other regularly, but it's mostly for work. When it comes to personal matters, they end up avoiding each other. They are later shown to be on good terms, both looking content with the fact that they have to accept being siblings.
  • Amusement Park: Kang Doo and Moon Soo go on a date at an amusement park.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Moon Soo’s parents had a lot of problems after the collapse of S Mall, and decided to live separately, with Moon Soo staying at her mother’s place. Her father even files for a divorce during the present day.
    • Moon Soo’s aunt doesn’t have a good relationship with her husband as well.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Mari was in a relationship with an abusive man. She was abused to the point of nearly dying, until a young Kang Doo came to save her.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason why Yoo Jin was attracted to Joo Won.
  • Berserk Button: Kang Doo went berserk when he finds out that the loan sharks went to see Jae Young at the hospital she was working at.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Kang Doo and Moon Soo share THREE consecutive kisses (one peck on the lips later on in the same episode) in episode 12.
  • Big Fancy House: Yoo Jin, Yoo Taek, and Joo Won’s family live in one, while Joo Won also has his own large apartment.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Kang Doo lives and is happy with Moon Soo. Moon Soo's parents divorce. Her father closes down the restaurant and works at a tour bus, while her mother decides to have rehab for her alcohol addiction so that she can be a better mother. They both approve of Kang Doo and Moon Soo's relationship.
    • Seo Won is closed down, with the workers absorbed by Cheongyu, but Joo Won starts working on a project that he really wants to do. Joo Won and Yoo Jin make up, but don't return to being lovers, instead accepting the fact that they're siblings.
    • Yoo Taek is fired from his director position, divorced by his wife, and chases after Mari, who he truly loves. Jae Young and Sang Man manage the grandmother's old medicine business. Wan Jin and Jin Young are happy as a couple.
  • Cool Big Bro: Kang Doo to Jae Young, and in extension, Sang Man (who is supposed to be the big brother instead of the other way around).
  • Cool Big Sis: Mari to Kang Doo and the workers in her bar. She genuinely cares for the girls who work for her, giving them medicine, not allowing them to overwork, and even asking Kang Doo to chase after Yoo Taek when he harassed one of the workers. She lets Kang Doo use her bar as his address, gives him food, saves him when he gets into brawls, and stands up for him when Yoo Taek unjustly fired him from his job.
  • Cool Old Lady: The grandmother.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Kang Doo, Moon Soo, and Joo Won were all victims of the collapsing of the construction site in S Mall. The incident led to Kang Doo injuring his leg, preventing him from being a soccer player, and losing his father. Moon Soo lost her younger sister, which in turn led to her family being torn apart. Joo Won’s father committed suicide after being blamed for the accident, and his mother married his girlfriend’s father so that Joo Won could have a chance to become a successful architect.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kang Doo, Moon Soo, and Yoo Jin have their moments.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kang Doo’s father died during the accident, Moon Soo’s father lives separately from her and her mother, while Joo Won's father committed suicide.
  • Doting Grandparent: Though the grandmother is sharp-tongued and a little prickly, she loves Kang Doo very much and takes care of him in her own way.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Moon Soo and her mother both refer to her aunt as “Aunt”, despite said aunt calling Moon Soo’s mother as “unnie”.
  • Family Business: Cheongyu is run primarily by the CEO’s son, Yoo Taek, and his younger sister, Yoo Jin. Joo Won works for the company for the Bio Town project.
    • Joo Won’s father was also an architect. Kang Doo’s father was also a construction worker.
  • First Love:
    • Moon Soo’s first love, whom she was supposed to meet on the day of the accident, died in the S Mall collapse, which is also one of the reasons why she feels so guilty about surviving the accident.
    • The reason why Yoo Taek hires Mari to give him company is because she reminds him of his first love.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Kang Doo and Moon Soo already met in the past, because they were together during the S Mall accident. However, while Kang Doo remembers her, Moon Soo doesn’t because she can’t remember anything about the accident due to trauma. She later remembers seeing Kang Doo during the accident, but doesn’t remember anything other than that.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kang Doo, who talks and acts rudely, works hard day and night to provide for his younger sister, takes care of a grandmother with no blood relations to him, genuinely cares for Sang Man, and saved Moon Soo and Mari from dangerous situations.
  • Good Parents:
    • Kang Doo’s father and Joo Won’s father were good parents, even though they indirectly caused the accident to happen.
    • Moon Soo’s mother, though initially shown to only care for her younger sister, actually cares about Moon Soo a lot. Moon Soo’s father, despite living separately, still takes care of Moon Soo.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Sang Man seems to speak a little Japanese and Chinese.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Yoo Jin feels this way towards Joo Won, who likes Moon Soo. Moon Soo says she likes Joo Won, but as a senior and someone she respects, unlike the "like" she has for Kang Doo.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kang Doo starts to avoid Moon Soo when he realizes that Joo Won is a better match for her than him. Instead of leaving Kang Doo when he pushes her away, Moon Soo just clings onto him even more. He later resolves to work hard to become a good man for her.
  • Imagine Spot: Kang Doo imagines what would have happened if the accident didn't happen: Though they would have exchanged glances at the ice cream shop, Moon Soo would have still met her first love on that day. In the future, Kang Doo would have been a successful soccer player loved by the whole of Korea, Moon Soo would become an art director, while Joo Won and Yoo Jin work together happily as a couple.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The relationship between the grandmother and Kang Doo.
  • Korean Honorifics: Sang Man calls Kang Doo "hyung", even though Sang Man is older than him. His mother reveals that he calls everyone who is taller than him "hyung". He later calls Joo Won as "hyungnim", because he is way much taller than Kang Doo.
  • Like Brother and Sister: The relationship between Mari and Kang Doo.
  • Loan Shark: Kang Doo borrowed money from loan sharks when his mother was hospitalized. Grandmother was the head of said loan sharks at that time.
  • Love at First Sight: Kang Doo was attracted to Moon Soo the moment he saw her at the ice cream shop.
  • Love Triangle: The main one is between Kang Doo, Moon Soo, and Joo Won, while the secondary one is between Moon Soo, Joo Won, and Yoo Jin.
  • Missing Mom: Kang Doo’s mother died before the story started.
    • Yoo Jin and Yoo Taek’s mother is not shown nor mentioned.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: He threatens Yoo Taek after he finds out about his developing relationship with Mari.
  • Nice Guy: Joo Won.
  • No Name Given: The grandmother’s name is never mentioned, with Mari and several others calling her Mama, Kang Doo calling her “Halmo” (a shortened form of halmoni, which means “grandmother” in Korean), and other characters calling her “grandmother”. Kang Doo only finds out her name, Jeong Sook Hee, when she was already in the hospital.
    • Moon Soo's aunt's name is not revealed.
  • Odd Friendship: Kang Doo’s relationships with the grandmother and Mari.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The stories behind the flashbacks get expanded with each episode.
  • Only Friend: Joo Won was this to Yoo Jin prior to their relationship and eventual breakup.
  • Out of Focus: Joo Won and Yoo Jin's story is delved upon deeper later in the series.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Kang Doo and Jae Young’s parents died prior to the story, and the siblings live separately.
    • Wan Jin is also living separately from her parents.
  • Parental Substitute: The grandmother to Kang Doo, almost as if she is his real grandmother. When she died, she left everything she had to Kang Doo so that he could pay off his debt. Also, though Sang Man's mother still asks him to pay rent, she cares for Kang Doo like her own son.
  • Remarrying for Your Kids: The reason why Joo Won’s mother married Yoo Jin’s mother was so that Joo Won could live a better life. It is later revealed that she actually loved him, which is something that disappointed Joo Won.
  • Secret Relationship: Kang Doo and Moon Soo keep their relationship a secret from Moon Soo's parents, because both of them don't approve of her dating Kang Doo.
  • Secretly Wealthy: The grandmother actually makes a lot of money with her business, but chooses to just store the money in boxes instead of using it to improve her life situation. She even owns some land in the area.
  • Sex with the Ex: Almost happens when Joo Won stumbles into Yoo Jin’s apartment after finding out that his mother loved his stepfather genuinely. Yoo Jin pushes him away before anything happens.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Joo Won’s mother and Yoo Jin’s father marry each other, each for their own reasons, leading to Joo Won and Yoo Jin breaking up since they became siblings. Characters in-series note that the relationship between Joo Won and Yoo Jin could be seen as a Romeo and Juliet story.
  • Smoking Is Cool: The grandmother and Kang Doo are seen smoking, but do not seem to have any relevance to the plot.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Mari is pronounced as Ma-Ri, but her club is named "Mary & Club".
  • Also depending on the translator, it's either Kang Doo or Gang Doo.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: It is mentioned that Moon Soo looks a lot like her father.
  • Survivor Guilt: Moon Soo feels that her selfishness is the reason why her younger sister and first love died during the collapse, which made her feel really guilty that she was the one who survived.
  • Sweet Tooth: Kang Doo, which is one of his differences with Moon Soo, who is not fond of sweet things. She later develops a taste for ice cream, possibly due to Kang Doo's influence.
  • Switching P.O.V.: During the first episode, we see what happened to Moon Soo during the collapse of S Mall. Later on in the same episode (and expanded in the second episode), it’s revealed in that Kang Doo was there together with her.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Kang Doo likes sweets, but is mostly seen with ice cream.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Wan Jin reveals that Moon Soo hit her head sometime during the accident, and this led to her losing her memories of that time, which is why she doesn’t remember Kang Doo.
  • Trauma Swing: Kang Doo frequently goes to a nearby playground to sit on the swing, usually in the company of Grandmother. He once spends time with Moon Soo on the swing.
  • Title Drop: The name of the ice cream shop where Moon Soo and Kang Doo were at during the S Mall collapse was “Rainy Shine”, and it appears once again on a banner during an imaginary soccer game. The poster for the series also appears, but the words are different and it features Moon Soo standing alone, since it appeared during an imaginary scenario where Kang Doo and Moon Soo didn't meet again after seeing each other at the mall.
  • Wham Shot:
    • At the end of episode 10, Kang Doo's sudden nosebleed.
    • At the end of episode 12, Moon Soo's mother finds out that she's working on Bio Town, and that she and Kang Doo are seeing each other.
  • Working with the Ex: Joo Won and Yoo Jin. While the former seems delighted since they’re forced to see each other due to work, Joo Won doesn’t seem happy with it.
  • Younger Than They Look: Somi calls Kang Doo as “ahjussi”, basing on the fact that he looks like one despite him being the same age as Moon Soo.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: According to Jae Young, the grandmother has a tumor. If it isn't treated immediately, it will lead to her death as she isn't in a good condition anymore. The grandmother is later hospitalized, but she eventually dies.
  • Your Favorite: Moon Soo frequently buys Kang Doo ice cream and twisted donuts. When Moon Soo was down with a fever, Kang Doo brought her ice cream.

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