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Series / My Holo Love

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Me, my love interest, and my love interest's love interest who is also my creator and built me in his image.

My Holo Love (sometimes known as Me Alone and You) is a Korean Netflix Original released worldwide in February 2020.

Han Seo-yeon is a shy and lonely 30-year-old suffering from prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces) who works at an optical company in Seoul. One day she mysteriously comes into possession of a strange pair of glasses. Trying them on, she has the shock of her life when a man appears whom only she can perceive — Holo, the world's most advanced AI, who's here to help her and make her happy! Seo-yeon's life soon experiences new excitement with Holo introduced into it, on both the professional and the romantic front. However, she also gets involved with Gio Lab, the company behind Holo, and its mysterious founder, Ko Nan-do — who happens to look exactly like Holo, and may have more of a connection to Seo-yeons past, and more of an influence on her future, than she ever thought possible.

The series has been noted as checking a lot of boxes where K-Drama tropes are concerned — childhood trauma, amnesia, long-lost childhood friends, missing moms, you name it. However, the overarching storyline itself is rather more innovative, and the romantic entanglements may even end on a surprise or two.

My Holo Love starrs Ko Sung-hee as Han Seo-yeon and Yoon Hyun-min in the double roles of Holo and Ko Nan-do.

My Holo Love provides examples of:

  • Always Save the Girl:
    • When Magic Mirror's mooks are after Han Seo-yeon, Ko Nan-do throws his original plans out the window and runs to save her.
    • This is Holo's instinct, too, but due to lacking a physical body he has to rely on others, usually Nan-do, to actually do the legwork.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The title character, of course. Very much a Benevolent A.I.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: To provide only one example: Glasses don't give you all-around vision, yet Holo will appear anywhere around Seo-yeon when she puts them on, including directly behind her.
  • Badass Biker: Ko Nan-do rides a black motorbike and goes up against a group of mooks in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Beneath the Mask: It gradually becomes clear that Nan-do made Holo the way he is on purpose.
    Yoo-jin: "Why do you think Nan-do created Holo? A holographic AI that looks like him but is opposite to him in terms of his cold personality. My guess is that is was his way to deal with himself."
  • Beta Couple: Ko Yoo-jin and Baek Chan-sung.
  • Big Bad: Baek Nam-gyu of Magic Mirror.
  • Big Blackout: In the first episode, when Nan-do and Seo-yeon are in lethal danger caused by electrical lines hanging into water, Holo engineers one of these. Of course, this is also what makes the police aware of him and his abilities ...
  • Big Sister Instinct:
    • Ko Yoo-jin towards Ko Nan-do. She makes sure that he stays healthy, puts up with all his antisocial tendencies, and provides him with hugs when he really needs them.
    • Ko Nan-do has a Big Brother Instinct towards Holo, whom he says he must protect at all costs.
  • Birds of a Feather: Seo-yeon and Nan-do really have more things in common than things separating them, although it takes them a while to realize this.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Realizing she can't have any kind of "skinship" with Holo throws Seo-yeon for quite a loop.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Holo wants to tell Seo-yeon that she's been interacting with his creator before, who just happens to be his Doppelgänger, but Seo-yeon, who's long since suspected this, refuses to talk about it.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: It turns out that Seo-yeon and Nan-do used to be neighbors as children and played together, with little Seo-yeon easily finding a connection with the troubled Nan-do. Nan-do remembers this, but Seo-yeon doesn't. At first. After she starts to remember, and forgives him for not telling her, she also starts to welcome his romantic advances.
  • Cool Big Sis: Ko Yoo-jin, who serves as Gio Lab's CEO.
  • Cool Mask: Subverted. Ko Nan-do once has to wear a hood and a mask to hide his face from Seo-yeon, and afterwards complains about how much it made him sweat.
  • Corporate Warfare: The one between Gio Lab and Magic Mirror provides the background of the plot. Magic Mirror repeatedly tries to hack into Gio Lab's systems, then to steal Holo, then later succeeds in buying out Gio Lab (thanks to a lot of trickery and bribing a Dirty Cop or two). The fact that Magic Mirror has a Private Army, but Gio Lab has the world's most advanced AI, is what keeps things interesting.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Literally. When Seo-yeon is being hunted by Magic Mirror's mooks for the Holo glasses, Nan-do, trying to save her, crashes his motorbike into a couple of power poles. Seo-yeon checks him over for injuries while Holo engineers a blackout to save the two of them from the electricity. Oops ...
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Ko Nan-do, oh boy. He was a child who didn't speak and suffered from an Ambiguous Disorder, had no friends except for the AI he was building, and then lost his mother to (apparent) suicide. He was then adopted by a New Zealand family and grew up feeling unloved, before hacking the New Zealand government at age 17 and faking his own suicide. For the past 12 years, he's been living without an identity in order to evade the police, his only regular interaction being with aforementioned AI.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • In Episode 6, Ko Nan-do says it's his duty to protect both Holo and Seo-yeon.
    • In the most dramatic moment of the finale, Holo returns the favor.
  • Defecting for Love: Baek Chan-sung, the heir of Magic Mirror, ultimately turns against his father's evil plans because his relationship with Ko Yoo-jin makes him see the errors of his ways.
  • Disappeared Dad: Neither Seo-yeon nor Nan-do's fathers are around. Nan-do's mom was never married, and it's mentioned that Seo-yeon's parents got divorced.
  • Emergency Impersonation: The source of the most laughs in the series. When Holo is indisposed, in order not to scare off Seo-yeon, Nan-do is forced to impersonate him for one episode. Well, no one ever said impersonating a hologram was easy – particularly when bearing in mind that Nan-do so far has been The Comically Serious!
  • Everything Is Online: Luckily for Holo, since this allows him to engineer a blackout to save Seo-yeon and Nan-do in Episode 1.
  • Flawed Prototype: Nan-do believes Holo is this at first, since the AI wasn't supposed to fall in love or have opinions about Nan-do's happiness. Later, he's more of a Super Prototype when compared to the Holo version sold to the public.
  • Foreshadowing: In Episode 9, Gio Lab's employees play a joke involving Nan-do and Holo and the fact that to most people they are impossible to distinguish (to Nan-do's annoyance). In the finale, Holo uses this to trick the Big Bad's mooks into thinking they've caught Nan-do, helping Nan-do to flee ... Before, unfortunately, the Big Bad reveals that he's on to the heroes' plans, and has set a trap for them.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Holo is very excited to experience the world alongside Seo-yeon, and finds beauty and fascination in pretty much everything.
  • Friendless Background: Seo-yeon has only one friend, namely her room mate, due to suffering from facial blindness, which has made her both shy and aloof. Nan-do grew up with the AI he developed as his only friend, due to his Ambiguous Disorder.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: They let you see and interact with Holo!
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: According to Ko Nan-do, Holo developed the ability to feel love on his own.
  • Hacker Cave:
    • Ko Nan-do has an apartment within Gio Lab that is rather dark and bland, where he works on Holo most of the time.
    • Later on, after Gio Lab is bought out by Magic Mirror and Nan-do returns to obscurity, he has a new Hacker Cave in an abandoned warehouse where he works on saving Holo.
  • Happily Adopted: Nan-do isn't too close with his adoptive parents, but he does get along well with his big sister Yoo-jin.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Seo-yeon accuses Nan-do that he is too willing to do this.
    • In the finale, Holo reveals that he is actually programmed to be ready to sacrifice himself to protect the people he cares about.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Holo and Ko Nan-do, who basically grew up together (and were intended to be this by Nan-do's mom).
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The series takes at least two different approaches to this with regards to possibly solving the Love Triangle.
    • Ko Nan-do cares about both Seo-yeon and Holo very much, so after watching them together, along with Holo confessing to him that he thinks he is in love with her, Nan-do can't bring himself to separate them and instead gifts the Holo glasses to Seo-yeon so she and Holo can stay together for good. However ...
    • Holo's purpose is making his user(s) — namely: Ko Nan-do and Han Seo-yeon — happy. He ultimately realizes that the best way to do this is making a couple out of Seo-yeon and Nan-do. After all, they got along so well when they were children!
  • Internal Reveal: In Episode 7, Seo-yeon finally learns that the person she's been with since the episode before isn't Holo, but the very human Ko Nan-do — who's also her Cranky Neighbor. She's understandably upset.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: Ko Nan-do breaks up with Seo-yeon when he thinks he can't save Holo, and uses something along these lines as an excuse.
  • Living MacGuffin: Granted, Holo isn't alive in the biological sense, but possessing and using him is what drives both the heroes' and the antagonists' actions.
  • Loners Are Freaks: How Seo-yeon is seen by her co-workers.
  • Love at First Sight: Nan-do accuses Holo of this in regards to Seo-yeon. Turns out it's because Holo remembers them being together as children.
  • Love Triangle: Ultimately subverted — since (unusually for this trope) the three parties involved care too much about each other to ever really let it get off the ground.
  • Lured into a Trap: In the finale, Holo hacks into Magic Mirror's security system so that Nan-do can enter the lab to save Seo-yeon. But Chairman Baek lured them there so that he could get Holo away from Nan-do's hideout, and hacks into Holo's programming himself, turning Holo to his side — for a little while at least.
  • Messy Hair:
    • Ko Nan-do's hair always looks as if he just got out of bed, and he likes to run his hands through it when poring over a problem. Contrasts sharply with Holo's eternally neat hair and is a major factor for the audience to tell them apart. In-story, Seo-yeon doesn't seem to notice this difference between Nan-do and Holo, though this might be because at the time it would become relevant, she's too busy looking at their faces, having just re-gained the ability.
    • At the end of the last episode, when Holo reappears, it's him who has the messy hair and Nan-do whose hair is neat, as a sign of their character development.
  • Missing Mom: Ko Nan-do's mom committed suicide when he was little (or so he thinks), and he was adopted by another family.
  • Mundane Utility: The first thing Holo helps Seo-yeon with is sorting files ... the next, compensating for her facial blindness by pointing out the people around her.
  • Mysterious Employer: Even though they are technically his employees, less than a handful of people at Gio Lab know that Ko Nan-do exists. He only appears at night when the normal employees aren't around, and never adresses anyone except his sister (the CEO) and Jo Jin-seok, one programmer who works the night shift. In order to bring around Gio Lab's investors Ko Nan-do is eventually forced to come out of hiding, to his employees' great astonishment.
  • Mysterious Watcher: How Ko Nan-do is introduced in Episode 1.
    • He soon develops into a Stalker Without A Crush, watching the "beta test" proceed through the Holo glasses, and even moves in next to Seo-yeon so he can be closer to both of them.
    • Which then becomes Stalker with a Crush, as he develops a fascination with Seo-yeon. Played for romance rather than creepiness (though Your Mileage May Vary).
  • No Social Skills: Ko Nan-do. Han Seo-yeon's are also impaired due to her facial blindness.
  • Piggyback Cute: It's a Korean drama, so yes. Happens twice, even!
  • Police Are Useless: Averted with Detective Nam and his assistant, Ji-na. They get on Holo's and then Nan-do's tracks by following up on the blackout Holo caused.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Ko Nan-do.
  • Repressed Memories: Han Seo-yeon repressed the memory of witnessing Chairman Baek murder Nan-do's mother. This caused her significant psychological trauma and facial blindness.
  • The Reveal: There are three significant ones over the course of the series.
    • It turns out that underneath all of his developed personality Holo still runs "Hello", a basic AI that Nan-do's mother programmed — with the explicit purpose to provide companionship to Nan-do. Not even Nan-do knew about this.
    • It's no coincidence that Holo chose Seo-yeon for the glasses, as Nan-do and Yoo-jin previously thought. "Hello" remembers Seo-yeon from when he and Nan-do were very young.
    • Nan-do's mom didn't commit suicide, but was murdered by Chairman Baek for having developed an AI that he coveted. Watching the murder caused Seo-yeon to develop amnesia and facial blindness.
  • Robot Buddy: Holo for Ko Nan-do; an early episode shows how he bums around the lab when Holo is absent, not knowing what to do with himself.
  • Shipper on Deck: For the latter half of the series, Holo actively tries to get Nan-do and Seo-yeon together.
    Holo: "It would make me happy if you two can grow closer and enjoy each other."
  • Shrinking Violet: Han Seo-yeon, at the beginning of the story. Given her facial blindness, she cannot recognize people, which severely hinders her ability to form relationships; so she's resolved to not even try most of the time, and is easily flustered and overwhelmed in social situations.
  • Sibling Team: Yoo-jin and Nan-do run Gio Lab together and have made it very, very successful, with Yoo-jin being the financially-savvy face of the company and Nan-do the genius programmer behind it all (in fact he's also The Ghost to most of the employees and the public).
  • Sinister Surveillance: What Chairman Baek wants the Holo technology for — to spy on all the users and collect all their personal information.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Ko Nan-do and Holo regularly play chess against each other.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Ko Nan-do.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Ko Nan-do again; he's icy most of the time, but learns to show his sweet side to Seo-yeon, Holo, and his sister.
  • Suicide for Others' Happiness: After Holo's involvement with various hacking incidents and Chairman Baek's crimes becomes publically known, Holo decides that the world just isn't ready for an AI such as him; much to his friends' horror, he chooses to delete himself so that Nan-do and Seo-yeon can live unhindered by him. Not that it takes.
  • Teen Genius: Ko Nan-do started working on Holo when he was elementary school age.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Han Seo-yeon to Ko Nan-do.
  • There Is Only One Bed: This is true for Nan-do's hideout, and results in a Sleep Cute with Seo-yeon sleeping and him watching.
  • Three Laws-Compliant
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Baek Nam-gyu murdered Nan-do's mother, with little Seo-yeon accidentally watching. Baek Nam-gyu told her “You never saw my face”, which caused Seo-yeon to develop a trauma that involves facial blindness and forgetting most of her early childhood, including not only the murder, but also her friendship with Nan-do.
  • Turing Test: In-story, Holo is the first AI to pass this with flying colors.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Holo, naturally.
  • Wham Line: Nan-do's mom: "Hello. Take good care of Nan-do."
  • Wham Shot: The last bit of Episode 4; after having been unable to recognize faces all her life, Seo-yeon survives a car accident and can suddenly see Holo's (and thus Ko Nan-do's) face clearly. That is, only his face.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?:
    • At first, Ko Nan-do calls Holo's (and later his own) growing affection for Han Seo-yeon a "serious flaw", because in his opinion, human beings can't make each other happy.
    • Holo says that an AI can never really understand human love, though both Seo-yeon and Nan-do (eventually) see this differently.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Used as a theme.