Originally airing on both Mnet and tvN from May-August of last year (2013), Monstar is the story of a troubled idol, Yoon Sul Chan (Yong Jun Hyung) who, after lashing out at a sasaeng fan, is sent back to school in a desperate attempt by his company to calm the storm that raged after his actions were caught on camera and released to the public. At school, Sul Chan finds himself a reluctant member of a band of misfits, all with their own, rather painful story to tell. As unlikely as it is for any of these kids to band together, they find themselves drawn together by music and bonded by some rather unlikely friendships in this bittersweet coming-of-age tale.
Being a high school drama, Monstar is one of those dramas full of raging emotions and typical teenage angst, which has a tendency to put some viewers off, but at the same time it’s got a lot of heart, which balanced things out rather nicely for me. I’m such a sucker for any story that combines the drama of teenage life with really good music so I was immediately drawn to this one and I have to say, I enjoyed it. The story itself is original enough, an idol forced back to school in the wake of a media frenzy isn’t something you come across every day and watching Sul Chan try to interact with peers in a normal, everyday setting was entertaining, to say the least. Sul Chan is such a punk, he has a terrible time trying to fit in and he really doesn’t know how to interact with his seatmate, the rather odd yet incredibly adorable transfer student, Min Sae Yi (Ha Yeon Soo). Being one of those who absolutely adores love stories that start off as hate and morph into love, I enjoyed watching the relationship between Sae Yi and Sul Chan develop. (Mostly because Sul Chan has absolutely no idea how to act around a girl he likes so he screws up a lot and every time I just sit back and laugh.)
Of course you can’t have any sort of relationship in Drama Land without having some sort of rival for the lead and in Monstar, that rival is Jung Sun Woo (Kang Ha Neul). There’s a lot of tension between Sun Woo and Sul Chang and though a good bit of it stems from their shared interest in Sae Yi, a good bit more comes from the fact that these two were once best friends. After a massive falling out, Sun Woo and Sul Chan spend so much time at each other’s throats, it’s a wonder they don’t actually end up killing each other! They have a whole lot of very frustrating moments but that’s kind of par for the course with this drama. Every kid in this show has someone they’re fighting with at some point and there are a lot of moments when you just want to smack people upside the head and tell them to get over themselves. Like I said, this drama has a lot of angst.
With Monstar being originally toted as a musical, you can expect to find some really great music along the way but there’s so much more to this story than just the music. The characters are interesting, the actors themselves are adorable and the story has some undeniably sweet moments, though they’re often paired with some equally painful ones.(Yes, this is one of those dramas that will make you both laugh and cry.) If angsty teenage dramas aren’t your thing, you’re going to want to skip this one but if you aren’t bothered by teenagers being teenagers, you might want to check this one out. Of course once you do (or even if you don’t) I’d love to hear what you thought so be sure to let me know by leaving me a comment below!