I’ve always liked coming of age shows. For instance, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is still my favorite until now. It’s such a good show.
Then, we’re presented with a show about four best friends who’d been around each other for too long. And what would being around each other too long do?
Let me introduce you the the Fantastic Four.
Choi Ae Ra (Kim Ji Won) grew up without a mother. Her father made sure that she grow up without lacking any love, and even her mother, who kept watching over her from far, made sure that she wasn’t lacking anything. Ae Ra was always with her two best friends Ko Dong Man and Baek Sul Hee, leading them and bossing them around. 20 years later, they’re still together, living unhappily with their careers, and wondering if they should just go after what they truly want. Ae Ra then quit her job and goes after her dream to become an announcer.
Ko Dong Man (Park Seo Joon) was once a rising star in Taek Won Do world. He had to quit due to a scandal with a rich brat named Kim Tak Su, and ended up working a job he didn’t like. One day, after running into Kim Tak Su, Dong Man decided to go for what he truly wanted. He then started training to become an MMA fighter. Meanwhile, Dong Man starts to figure out more than just what he truly wants to do in life, he also realizes that he loves Ae Ra.
Baek Sul Hee (Song Ha Yoon) had been the mother figure in the group. She always puts others before her. Eversince they were kids, Sul Hee had been a mother replacement to Ae Ra, as well as the one taking care of both Ae Ra and Dong Man. Her dream is pretty simple, which is to be a mother to her and her current boyfriend’s children some day. She’s a blogger with a heart of gold, and when her world, which is all about her boyfriend Joo Man, is threatened, Sul Hee has to start thinking for herself and doing what’s best for her.
Kim Joo Man (Ahn Jae Hong) joined the group after he got to know Dong Man ten years ago. He and Sul Hee started dating six years prior to the beginning of the show, and the relationship was going nowhere. Joo Man wants the best for Sul Hee, who doesn’t really ask for anything. And then, an intern at the company he works at starts crushing on him, and he has to decide whether what he wants is truly to be with Sul Hee or to be with a girl who can help advance his career.
The story, majorly, revolves around Dong Man and Ae Ra, who not only decide to go for their dreams, but also realize their feelings for each other. Basically, these two figure out what they want at the same time, and figure things out thoroughly (What do I want to do in life and whom do I have romantic feelings for?). These two kids are naturally talented at what they love, and the problem is that, in the world full of conflicts, it isn’t that easy to just go for what you want and get it.
Sul Hee and Joo Man, in this story, have a darker path. Joo Man is constantly stalked by a rich girl who can’t take no for an answer, and it triggers every little problem that’s been rooted in his and Sul Hee’s relationship since day 1. Sul Hee thinks that Joo Man has changed and gotten ambitious, and Joo Man hates that Sul Hee never thinks of herself and always does everything for him. So the big question in this show for this pair is that, can they ever talk things out and figure out that they want different things? And once they do, what will they do next?
Dong Man and Ae Ra show the reality to audience, and the harsh path one must take to reach his dreams. Joo Man’s development shows that lack of gratitude can lead to a great loss. Meanwhile, Sul Hee’s story tells us to always remember to put ourselves first sometimes and to never sell ourselves short.
Their relationships, despite all the harships, remain solid if not stronger. The show explores almost every kind of relationships: the romantic relationships (the questioning of the status between Ae Ra and Dong Man, the cheating bastards like Joo Man and Ae Ra’s first boyfriend, the two timing devils like Hye Ran and the doctor Ae Ra dated, the too good to be true one sided partnership called Sul Hee, and more), the parent child relationships (Ae Ra and her dad, and the landlady who’s actually Ae Ra’s mom… Dong Man and his parents… Joo Man’s family and their disapproval of Sul Hee… Sul Hee’s overprotective family…), the friendships (Joo Man and Dong Man being too comfortable around each other…. Dong Man, Ae Ra, and Sul Hee… Ae Ra and Hye Ran in the end… etc), and finally, the one relationship that I ship harder than any ship in the show:
THE COACHINIM + DONG MAN SHIP.
Dong Man was trained by this guy, whose name I never got to remember till the end, and for ten years, he waited until Dong Man wanted to start fighting again. He supported Dong Man, trained him without pay, and did everything to get his favorite kid back on the ring again. He cried when Dong Man got hit, cried when Dong Man won, and cried when he found out that Dong Man and Ae Ra started dating. His loyalty is GOLD. He never stopped believing in Dong Man, even when the rest of the world doubted him.
I do have to say, the actors are brilliant. Every scene is so believable that I forgot they were acting. The relationships also feel so real, and that is the strength of this show. That the relationships between the characters are relatable. The kid actors playing little Ae Ra, Sul Hee, and Dong Man are also ridiculously talented. I love every scene of the little ones, and laughed so much too. There are a lot of flashbacks in this show, showing us that “yeah, these kids had known each other since they were babies.” So in that department, I give this show two thumbs up.
To be honest, I’m not a fan of the problems thrown in this show. The problems aren’t realistic, for most of the time, even though I understand that it is necessary for characters to have tons of conflicts going on at once. It is a drama, after all.
It does give an edge to this simple story, something that makes people go, “Oh what’s next?” or “Who is this person, please someone just tell me!” But midway, I got tired of watching due to the mess of having problems left and right. It’s like asking me to analyze ten different Pollocks in one sitting.
If the story had been simply about Ko Dong Man going after MMA (Sorry, I have to go with Dong Man because I love martial arts) and figuring out his feelings for Ae Ra, I think I’d have liked this drama a lot more. A good story doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to be well written and told.
Fight for My Way is a 7/10 for me. I don’t think I’d rewatch this show, except for the MMA scenes because they’re fun. But I’d recommend this show to everyone. Because everyone’s got dreams, and this show is all about finding out what you truly want. So people, if you’re into coming of age, finding your dream, being courageous and all, this is the show for you. Go watch it. It’s quite a fun ride. However, if you want a simpler, less complicated one, go for Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, aka my favorite.