Yumi’s Cells, Season 1 Review & Ending Explained

Yumi’s Cells

Plot: Based on the eponymous webtoon (written by Lee Dong-gun), it is a cell-based psychological romance that unravels the daily life of an ordinary office worker Yumi through the eyes of the cells in her head. It is the first k-drama to combine live-action and 3D animation.
(Actors: Kim Go-eunAhn Bo-hyunPark Jin-young)

Director: Lee Sang-yeob

Yumi’s Cells, Season 1

From the first episode, I was hooked. The animation of the cells is SO CUTE. I have trouble saying which cell I liked best cause they’re all so freaking adorable, but the top of the list would be Naughty cell always shaking his pants-less butt and Hungry cell stomping around whining, “배고파!”

The drama is about an ordinary romance between an accountant (Kim Yumi played by Kim Go-Eun) and a game developer (Goo Wung played by Ahn Bo-Hyun). They face normal misunderstandings and problems as they date, but what makes it special is the addition of the cells and how they react to each situation. Sometimes they agree with each other, sometimes they disagree with each other, but they react to everything, in the same way, we as the viewers would react.

This is definitely a drama that shouldn’t be missed, but keep in mind there is a Season 2 that’s been greenlit and in the works. Season 1 doesn’t really end on a cliffhanger, but it shows that there is way more to the story than what you’ll see in Season 1. I’m excited – can’t wait! I’m also tempted to read the whole webtoon since I found it translated to English on the web!

Review 

I absolutely loved Yumi’s Cells! As a psychology major and a counselor, I find human emotions and behavior to be extremely fascinating. Without the cell concept, this would have been categorized into a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy that frustrates you with miscommunication and conflicts. But the added layer of getting into the subconscious of the main characters really made this a unique drama. The writer did an amazing job capturing all the complexities that go into human emotions and how they impact our decisions and behavior. I thought the drama did a great job of cutting back and forth between Yumi (played by Kim Go Eun) and the animation that was occurring in her head. The added dynamic occurred when her romantic interest Goo Woong (played by Ahn Bo Hyun) showed up and we were able to see the cells inside of his head.

I thought they did such a realistic job of showing the gender differences that men and women approach relationships and their communication styles. For example, Yumi would sometimes emotionally blurt out what she was thinking. Whereas Goo Woong would write a long narrative in his head of his emotions, but then edit out 90% of it and go with a very short version of what he was really feeling.  How many times in our life have been frustrated with a guy who doesn’t share what he is really thinking! Ugh, Goo Woong is that guy that drives us all nuts!!!

Some of the cells that I could really relate to:

Hunger Cell – When you really need to finish your work, but that hunger cell consumes all your thoughts!

Stomach Cell – Similar to the hunger cell, got to love that stomach cell that makes separate room for dessert even though you are super full!

Sensitive Cell – The cell that is fragile and can get hurt so easily with a little comment or text that isn’t what you expected

Rational Cell – This is probably one of my primary cells. Always thinks about thinks rationally and logically.

Reaction Cell/Fix your face cell – The cell that tries to cover what you are really feeling to put on a brave face or hide what you are really thinking to be more socially appropriate or not let others see inside you

Stingy Cell vs Shopping Cell – Oh how this is me, want to dress nicer, but too stingy to buy nice clothes!

Pride Cell – We all need to get that pride and save face in front of others

Naughty Cell – Hilariously depicted without pants. I love that in a Korean drama that is usually tries to portray conservativeness with sex, they were able to show that females do have a sex drive inside of them and it’s natural and okay.

Woong also had all the same cells in his head, but his cells processed information and emotions a little differently than Yumi. Also, some cells had higher priority than others. For example, his pride cell was a lot higher priority than Yumi’s. Which lead to some constant communication breakdown between the two as he often prioritized himself and his pride over Yumi. I thought that Ahn Bo Hyun did well playing Woong. I originally thought this was the first drama I’ve seen him in. But google tells me I’ve seen him in three other dramas: Descendants of the Sun, Her Private Life and Itaewon Class. Ah that’s right, he was the bad guy in Itaewon class that I hated, that’s probably why I didn’t glom on to him! I’m glad he was able to get this lead role and cement himself more in the leading man category.

The drama also had two other Korean cuties that I love. Shinee’s Choi Min Ho who I adored in Hwarang and Got7’s Park Jin Young who was great in He is Psychometric. Why is it that some idols can just transition so well to acting?

*Spoiler Alert*

I really, really loved the series up until Ep 9, when the conflict between Yumi and Sae-yi comes to a head. From there they show Yumi and Wung being happy, but behind the scenes, their professional lives take completely different turns – Yumi gets a promotion offer to the marketing department and Wung is slowly going broke.

So broke, he has to sell his apartment and live out of his office, which he also has trouble paying for. These changes in their work lives are sad to see because they really are good as a couple, but Wung’s pride keeps him from opening up to Yumi and telling her he’s having a hard time. And when she innocently brings up marriage, it’s just the nail on the coffin. He maybe would have married her, but he’s the type that needs to have everything in order and feels it’s better to sabotage their relationship than to lean on her. I know the male mindset in Korea is not as progressive as in other places, so it’s not surprising that he lets money come between them, but it’s just sad to see. They were a good couple!

It really killed me when Yumi brought the breakup card and also the random card to the last meeting with Wung. She didn’t really want to break up with him but after he laid his card on the table, she had to admit defeat. Sob! I’m definitely also the type to keep giving chances, so her actions totally resonated with me.

*spoiler alert over*

As you can tell, I loved this drama. Season 2 is supposed to come out next year. I can’t wait to see where the drama takes us. I’m so tempted to read the webtoon, I read the first couple chapters and it’s following really close to the script. I believe it was chapters 1-40 that were in this Season 1.

Yumi’s Cells is a fantastic Korean drama that explores our inner emotions and thoughts in a cute and adorable way. The writer captures so many aspects of human behavior so well. Kim Go Eun is great with her facial expressions and you really feel like she is being controlled by those cells in her brain. I just wish she had a better bang cut! Her hair cut was probably the worst part about the drama to me!

Trust me, go watch this. And then our anxious cells can wait in anticipation together for Season 2!

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