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Bride of Habaek Review: Modern Twist to an Old Manhwa

by Amara
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Bride of Habaek

Bride of Habaek came out in 2017, and doing a review on it now makes no sense. However, when all you can do is think about something, maybe writing it down helps. Like the enchanting Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, I can’t help but see scenes of Bride of Habaek over and over in my head. While I love the show and would recommend it, the question remains should you watch it? I’m here to convince you to do so, with this Bride of Habaek review.

Bride of Habaek Overview

Based on a Manhwa (Korean manga), Bride of the Water God, this k-drama follows Yoon So-ah (a titular character, played by Shin Se-kyung), who is a divine servant of the water god, Ha-baek (played by Nam Joo-hyuk). She is forced to help Ha-baek complete his mission of finding the sacred stone to ascend his throne. What follows is a compelling love story between a narcissistic Ha-baek and his unwilling divine servant and destined bride. 

Bride of Habaek Review

Let’s talk about the story

Okay, I will be honest. Is there anything new about the story? No, absolutely not. Bride of Habaek pretty much follows the same old formula of an immortal alien being stuck on earth with a mission. We have seen this in several Korean dramas like My Love from the Star, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, etc. However, what set this one slightly apart is that Ha-baek hasn’t been stuck on the earth for too long, and unlike the Goblin or Do Min-joo, he lost his powers. If you ignore that part, the rest is no different. 

The acting 

That said, Bride of Habaek has showcased some great acting moments, especially from our three central characters. Lim Ju-hwan, Nam Joo-hyuk, and Shin Se-kyung have brought the characters alive and made us feel their emotions. 

Comedic sequences that were too good

Yes, the story is not very different from the typical k-drama formula. However, the unique situations in Bride of Habaek set the series apart from the others. Ha-baek knows absolutely nothing about the human world and yet, retains his oh-so-mighty attitude. Pit him against the realist and cynical Yoon So-ah and, you have scenes that have you rolling on the floor. 

This face: Nam Joo-hyuk

Those who have already watched Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo will understand how I feel about Nam Joo-hyuk. His eyes, the aura he induced, and the smirk makes him a visual delight, enough to convince you to watch the series. Apart from his looks, the way he has portrayed the character Ha-baek is just dreamily perfect (prove me wrong on this).

While we are still appreciating this human being, may I include what a great kisser he seems to be? I bet after episode 14 of the series; no one will fight me on this. What I loved about the kisses is how Joo-hyuk has portrayed Ha-baek’s emotions through his kiss!

This face: Lim Ju-hwan

Now, it must not come as a surprise that I have seen my share of Korean dramas. However, until now, I haven’t contacted the deadly “second-male-lead syndrome.” However, Shin Hoo-ye almost got me there. I mean, just look at that face, that smile! If that wasn’t enough, Hoo-ye is a gem of a person, who works hard to keep the demon in him under check. 

Although I almost shipped him with Yoon So-ah, by the time the show ended, I was happy he did not end up with her. However, I desperately want a happier ending for him! He deserves, more than anyone, to have someone in his life that understands and loves him for who he is. 

The fiery chemistry

If you didn’t get it from my review on White Lines, I am all for the chemistry between reel characters. Ha-baek and Yoon So-ah had a wildfire between them, not a spark. I have no shame in admitting that I chose to watch this K-drama because of its fiery poster. 

The moment I saw them together in the first episode, I shipped them. Subsequent episodes, where they fight with, care for and help each other, only increased my love for the pair. No amount of words I type will be able to explain the chemistry Nam-Joo-hyuk and Shin Se-kyung share in Bride of Habaek

The characters and their journey

The three central characters of Bride of Habaek, each, have a painful past they must deal with throughout the show. Yoon So-ah is a neuropsychiatrist who tries to hide her good deeds and side with a mask of selfishness. She tries not to help people much because her father helped too much. Ha-beak has been betrayed by his first love and finds it hard to trust or be with humans, whom he sees as inferior, for the most part. Seemingly cold on the outside, he cares deeply for others. Shin Hoo-ye has demons from his past and inside that he tries to battle every day. He finds it hard to be open up to people. 

Final Verdict

Although the story is nothing refreshing for a Korean drama, Bride of Habaek is worth a watch. If nothing else, you will love Nam Joo-hyuk in the show. However, if you do not like cliches of k-dramas or any Asian series, for that matter, then this one is not for you.

What Next? 

I finished Bride of Habaek in about two days. If you did the same or took lesser time, then here is what you should do next. 

Read the Manhwa: The Korean drama is a spin-off of Manhwa Bride of the Water God, which is available in both Korean and English. If you want more of Ha-baek and Yoon So-ah, you should definitely read it. 

Series: Netflix has many Korean dramas that you can and need to watch after finishing Bride of Habaek if you haven’t. Some of the recommendations are: 

  • Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, 
  • My Love from the Star, 
  • Legend of the Blue Sea, 
  • Extraordinary You, 
  • The Girl Who Sees Scents (starring Shin Se-kyung), and 
  • Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo (starring Nam Joo-hyuk)

Have you watched Bride of Habaek yet? What do you think of K-drama? Let me know in the comments below!


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