Individual Circumstances is a Korean BL series about an author working on his romance novel. A struggling director gets in touch with him, hoping to adapt his work into a movie. Despite being rejected, the filmmaker camps outside the writer's home, hoping to change his mind. Although their current relationship seems frosty, the two characters knew each other in the past and shared an intriguing history.
After an awkward start, Individual Circumstances improves and develops into an intricate BL drama. The clever storytelling shows hidden depths as it reveals the mysterious relationship dynamic between the characters. Unfortunately, the stiff romance diminishes the intended emotional impact. If the actors share more chemistry, they can bring out the vivid feelings from this sentimental love story.
Individual Circumstances Summary
South Korea (2023)
Individual Circumstances is a mature & interesting BL drama.
Woo Jae is a romance novelist working on his next book. His love story features a female protagonist, Mi So. He writes, "As if embracing its lover, the trail stretches long around the reservoir. Mi So is walking on that trail alone. Her walk seems heavy, as if she has lost her destination, and it seems that she has a long way to go." In the story, Mi So reunites with her past lover, Hyo Jae. He tries reconciling with her after a long separation. Yee, she seems reserved and standoffish. Mi So has complicated feelings for Hyo Jae.
Woo Jae hasn't finished the story so far. It's still a work in progress. Occasionally, he visits various outdoor destinations to gather his inspiration. Woo Jae envisions Mi So and Hyo Jae before him, having imaginary conversations about their relationship. Then, he takes these chats and includes them in his story. However, Woo Jae pauses between his writing when he doesn't feel creative. His manager Seong Joon constantly visits the author's house to check on the book's progress.
Meanwhile, Yeon Woo is a movie director struggling with his career. His most famous work, Heavy Drinker Mansion, was a successful hit. However, his following films were total failures. The studio staff members gossip that he isn't talented. He only became famous due to his looks, not his portfolio. The studio's boss, CEO Jung, wants him to direct a raunchy adult film. Yeon Woo feels insulted and opposes the idea. He promises to find an excellent story to adapt for his next project.
Yeon Woo is interested in an author named J-Dog, a university dropout who wrote a web novel called "How to Break Up with Your First Love". The story hasn't been finished yet, but Yeon Woo is a fan and wants to adapt it into a movie. He contacts his sister, whose boyfriend has work connections with the author. After pestering the couple, Jung Eun goes behind Soo Hyuk's back to give the info to her brother. She provides him with the author's address and phone number. Yeon Woo recognizes the number and knows J-Dog's identity is Yeon Woo, his university friend.
Yeon Woo and Jung Eun used to be close. However, they haven't kept in touch since parting ways at school. Yeon Woo visits Jung Eun's house, but he doesn't react kindly to seeing him. He refuses to sell the movie rights to his book. Nonetheless, Yeon Woo is determined to win over Jung Eun. He camps outside the author's home, hoping to change his mind. Although he tries to ignore him, Jung Eun can't concentrate on his writing with Yeon Woo nearby. Seeing his old university friend distresses him, bringing back repressed memories of their past.
Individual Circumstances Trailer
Individual Circumstances Cast
Jung Eun is an author. He published the web novel, "How to Break Up with Your First Love", although it hasn't been completed. Jung Eun used to know Yeon Woo at university. However, they haven't kept in touch since parting ways. Jung Eun is surprised and annoyed to see Yeon Woo again. His friend's presence brings back repressed memories.
Han Jung Wan (한정완)
Yeon Woo is a director. His first movie, Heavy Drinker Mansion, was a success. However, his following films were critically panned. Yeon Woo's boss wants him to direct a raunchy comedic film, but he opposes the idea and tries to find an excellent story to adapt. When Yeon Woo gets in touch with an author named J-Dog, he discovers the writer's identity is Jung Eun, his university friend.
Woo Jae's manager
Yeon Woo's boss
Yeon Woo's sister
Jung Eun's boyfriend
Individual Circumstances Review
Drama Review Score: 7.0
Individual Circumstances contains a thoughtful and sentimental love story, but it suffers from a lacklustre beginning. The early episodes do the series a disservice, introducing the characters clumsily. The narrative has a disjointed flow, while its attempts at humour feel awkward. I'm also not fond of the hostile relationship dynamic between the leads, whose initial feud is a pale imitation of To My Star 2. Individual Circumstances slogs aimlessly like it's in a prolonged limbo until the actual plot starts.
To my surprise, Individual Circumstances improves after overcoming a mediocre first half. I grew immersed in the plot midway, especially with the mystery of why Woo Jae disappeared from Yeon Woo's life. The story contains hidden depths, revealing nuances about the protagonists. The series doesn't divulge everything immediately. Instead, it leaves subtle hints that intrigue the viewers, encouraging them to speculate. As we learn each character's perspective, their individual circumstances become sympathetic. We understand why they behave tensely around each other.
Part of the problem comes from the lack of chemistry. The two leads produce little sparks in their interactions. Individually, they do a fine job. Woo Jae's performer (Jun.Q) carries his tsundere role believably. His costar (Han Jung Wan) is a telegenic hunk with a vivacious personality. By the way, I'm elated that a beauty pageant winner, Mister International Korea 2021 himself, is acting in BL. We're raising the standards of good-looking BL actors more and more! Sadly, this pairing shares a weak rapport and can't convey an alluring bond in their romance.
Individual Circumstances has a happy ending with closure for both characters. Thematically, it's a satisfying conclusion with meaningful significance. Yet, the lack of romantic chemistry diminishes the intended emotional impact. I don't feel that exhilarating adrenaline rush as the couple reunites. Their relationship is only lukewarm instead of bursting with fierce intensity. Overall, I enjoy the nuanced story in Individual Circumstances, which unfolds intriguingly in the second half. Yet, this series fails to create a vivid romance, one of the main criteria for BL dramas.
Individual Circumstances overcomes an awkward start and develops into a thoughtful BL drama. The intricate plot reveals slowly, becoming more nuanced as we learn each character's perspective.
The leads lack sparks and share little chemistry. Despite the sophisticated plot, there isn't enough emphasis on the characters' attraction. Their relationship scenes don't convey passion.
Woo Jae's performer (Jun.Q) acts like a cute tsundere, while his costar (Han Jung Wan) is hunky and energetic. Yet, the leads can't convey a compelling romantic connection with each other.
Individual Circumstances has a happy ending after the leads resolve their conflict. We solve the mystery of Woo Jae's absence as the story explains each protagonist's sympathetic circumstances.
I love the opening scene of the series. The outdoor scenes, especially the mountain landscape, have an ethereal atmosphere. The rest of the visuals are somewhat plain and slightly unremarkable.
Individual Circumstances uses creative storytelling techniques to create nuanced characters and a thoughtful narrative. However, the lack of romantic chemistry weakens the emotional impact.
Individual Circumstances Episodes
Individual Circumstances has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 15 to 20 minutes long. The first and last episodes is around 20 minutes long. It is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in under 3 hours. Individual Circumstances started on January 19, 2023 and ended on February 9, 2023.
I love the opening scene depicting the encounter between the two book characters. The atmosphere feels ethereal. Sadly, the rest of the episode is less impressive. The story has an awkward flow.
I love the ~story within a story~ technique. Using the book's characters to express Woo Jae's feelings is a clever idea. However, I'm not a fan of the hostile relationship dynamic between the leads.
The story reminds me of To My Star 2, with parallels between the couples. It's weird Yeon Woo camps outside the house all day. Does he drive away for washroom breaks or go pee in the yard?
Mister International Korea 2021 looks so damn good. They should cast more pageant winners in BL dramas. 🤤 Ooh, I like the ending. The story starts hinting at why Woo Jae disappeared.
Initially, I thought Woo Jae was rude. Now, I kinda enjoy the tsundere in him lol. "I spread my mom's ashes here." OMG! That must be why he didn't contact Woo Jae all those years, right?
I wonder what happened in the past that caused Woo Jae to avoid Yeon Woo? I like how the story reveals new layers to the characters & their history in each episode. It's like piecing together a mystery.
Woo Jae kissed Yeon Woo!? That explains a lot, especially why Woo Jae went into hiding. I understand why Yeon Woo doesn't probe into his friend's disappearance. He already knows the reason.
Individual Circumstances is a clever title because it explains why the characters separated in the past. I appreciate the hidden depths of this sophisticated story. I just wish the romance was stronger.
Individual Circumstances Music Video
Individual Circumstances Information
Kim Jin Yeol (김진열) is a Korean director. His first BL project is the 2023 BL drama, Individual Circumstances. He also directs the series, All the Liquors.