Once Again is a Korean fantasy BL series about going back in time to stop a murder. The main character was almost kidnapped by a child abductor fifteen years ago. A young man saved him, but this hero lost his life during the rescue. The adult protagonist is traumatized until he discovers the ability to revisit the past. He feels determined to change the timeline and stop the tragedy before it unfolds.
Backed by an innovative premise, Once Again shines on a few occasions with sentimental moments and genuine performances. The series knows how to maximize the emotions from its poignant storyline. Yet, the narrative struggles with many plot holes and pacing issues. The awkward romance also develops incoherently, producing an unsatisfying BL couple.
Once Again Series Summary
Around 3 hours
Sad and emotional
Around 20 to 25 minutes
On January 30, 2007, Jae Woo was a ten-year-old child walking home in the middle of the night. Suddenly, a kidnapper tried to attack him. Nearby, a 27-year-old law student named Ji Hoon intervened and stopped the abduction. Ji Hoon was stabbed and died from his injuries. Subsequently, the kidnapper was arrested by the police on the following day.
Fifteen years later, Jae Woo is now a 25-year-old university student. He has moved out of his family home and lives independently. Recently, Jae Woo returned to his hometown on winter break. He visits the cemetery to pay his respects to Ji Hoon, the hero who died saving his life. Jae Woo is visibly upset. He remains traumatized by the murder and still has nightmares about what happened that night.
Jae Woo walks past a student dormitory where Ji Hoon used to live before his death. The dormitory is about to shut down. Jae Woo decides to go inside and makes his way into Ji Hoon's old room. The room is nearly empty, but there's a phone on the desk. As Jae Hoon reminisces about the past, he picks up the phone and pretends to talk to Ji Hoon. To his surprise, somebody else answers the call. The caller introduces himself as Ji Hoon.
Jae Woo is shocked by the phone call and hangs up immediately. However, he can't stop thinking about Ji Hoon's voice. Jae Woo revisits the dorm and tries calling again. Ji Hoon answers the call from the year 2007. After realizing whom he is talking to, Jae Woo begins to sob. The call ends abruptly when Ji Hoon hangs up on him. Dazed by the events, Jae Woo makes his way out of the dormitory. The landlady gives him a cryptic reminder that the building will shut down on January 30.
Once Jae Woo is outside, he feels shocked to see Ji Hoon in the flesh. Somehow, he's transported back to 2007, a few weeks before the murder occurred. Jae Woo runs up to Ji Hoon and embraces him. However, Ji Hoon has no idea who he is. Although confused by the inexplicable circumstances, Jae Woo realizes he has travelled back in time and can change destiny. He moves into the dormitory and becomes Ji Hoon's neighbour, hoping to stay close to him. Jae Woo is determined to find a way to stop Ji Hoon from dying.
Once Again Trailer
Once Again Cast
Moon Ji Yong (문지용)
Jae Woo is a 25-year-old university student. Fifteen years ago, he was almost abducted while walking home at night. Ji Hoon saved him, but this hero lost his life during the rescue. Ji Hoon died from his injuries before the young Jae Woo's eyes. Since the incident, Jae Woo has felt traumatized and carried a psychological burden. After travelling back in time, he feels determined to change Ji Hoon's destiny and stop the murder.
Lee Hyun Jun (이현준)
Ji Hoon is a 27-year-old law student. He lives in the student dormitory with his best friend, Hyun Jin. Both are studying for the bar exam. Ji Hoon is preoccupied with his academics and barely has time for anything else in life, especially dating. He becomes suspicious and annoyed by Jae Woo, a mysterious man who appeared in his dorm one day. Ji Hoon doesn't understand why Jae Woo seems so attached to him.
Kang Woo Jung (강우정)
Young Jae Woo
Jae Woo's mom
Once Again Review
Drama Review Score: 6.8
Once Again features a protagonist who revisits the past to stop his love interest's murder. It's a clever premise for a BL drama, packed with many exciting possibilities. Yet, the plot is executed shallowly. This series doesn't explore the nuances of time travel with much depth. It takes a simplistic approach to the complex topic, failing to expand on most ideas. Once Again may have an ambitious concept, but the elaborate subject matter exceeds the storyteller's capabilities.
Once Again has an awkward love story due to the pacing issues in the narrative. It takes too long to set up the beginning, so the leads barely know each other until Episode 3. Afterwards, their relationship develops incoherently. The couple's interactions don't feel flirty, yet they form an inexplicable attraction. Their first kiss seems jarring when it occurs in the narrative. Also, I dislike the emphasis on Jae Woo's childhood, a time-consuming subplot that kills the mood for romance. Give me BL content between the two adults instead of sappy scenes with this kid.
The last few episodes are rushed, not covering all the necessary details in the plot. The characters don't have critical conversations and fail to communicate their vague thought processes. Instead of providing satisfying closure, the ending makes me feel frustrated. My disappointment is recurring from start to finish. I'm irked by this consistently underachieving BL drama that never capitalizes on its immense potential. Overall, Once Again is a touching story that appeals to my sensitive side. Yet, the poorly executed narrative diminishes the emotional impact of this series.
Despite the innovative concept, Once Again doesn't execute its plot with much depth. The schmaltzy story has a few emotional moments that appeal to my sensitive side.
The love story suffers from pacing issues. After a slow start, the couple's relationship develops incoherently. Their interactions lack romance, yet they form an inexplicable attraction.
Jae Woo's actor (Moon Ji Yong) is a revelation, captivating me with his tender eyes and earnest smile. He also gives a genuine and sensitive performance. I wanna see him star in another BL drama!
Once Again has a sad ending with tragic consequences for Jae Woo and Ji Hoon's romance. The last few episodes seem rushed, diminishing the emotional impact of the finale.
This series uses an elegant soundtrack to evoke melancholy and sentimentality. However, the visuals look uninspired. The cinematographer could've done more to elevate the artistry.
Once Again is a touching BL series with schmaltzy melodrama and sensitive acting performances. Sadly, the story approaches a complex subject matter without much nuance, logic, or coherence.
Once Again Episodes
Once Again has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 20 to 25 minutes long. The last episode is around 20 minutes long. It is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 3 hours. Once Again started on September 15, 2022 and ended on October 6, 2022.
Episode 1 Summary
Once Again begins in 2007 when 10-year-old Jae Woo witnessed Ji Hoon's gruesome stabbing. Fifteen years later, he is now a 25-year-old university student. Jae Woo returns to his hometown to visit his mom on winter break. That night, he has a traumatic nightmare and must take pills to calm his nerves. Unable to fall asleep, Jae Woo goes over keepsakes of Ji Hoon.
Jae Woo visits the cemetery to pay respects to Ji Hoon. Jae Woo begins crying and apologizing. Ji Hoon's death has taken an emotional toll on him, even to this day. Afterwards, Jae Woo walks past the student dormitories where Ji Hoon lived before passing away. The dorms will shut down in three weeks. The owner allows Jae Woo to visit Ji Hoon's old room, which is vacant except for a telephone on the desk. Jae Woo picks up the phone and pretends to talk to Ji Hoon. To his surprise, he gets a response. Ji Hoon answers the call from 2007.
Jae Woo is startled and hangs up immediately. However, he returns to the dorm and calls again. Ji Hoon answers once more. Jae Woo is brought to tears and apologizes profusely about the murder. Yet, Ji Hoon is confused and hangs up on the anonymous caller. Jae Woo leaves the dorm in a dazed state. The owner cryptically reminds him that the building will shut down on January 30th. As he steps outside, Jae Woo discovers he has been transported back to 2007. He sees Ji Hoon, who is still alive. The episode ends with Jae Woo giving Ji Hoon an emotional embrace.
Episode 1 Review
The first scene shocked me. I didn't expect to start this BL series and immediately see the love interest get stabbed to death. I haven't even settled in yet, and he's already dead!? WTF! 😨 The murder is a memorable way to begin the drama, grabbing my attention immediately. Wow, this shit just got real!
I love the premise behind Once Again. Going back in time to stop your childhood hero's murder is a pretty cool concept. However, the time-travel journey seems inelegant. Jae Woo steps outside the dormitory with a telephone, and he's suddenly transported to 2007!? Um, okay. There's some discrepancy between my expectations and the story's execution. I thought Once Again would be a complex BL drama exploring timelines and destiny. Instead, the plot seems dumbed down and lacks sophistication.
Jae Woo's actor (Moon Ji Yong) leaves a positive first impression. Those crying scenes could make or break a BL drama, but he handles the big dramatic moments well. His emotions feel compelling and persuasive. The performance is particularly notable since the actor talks to himself in both scenes. He's holding a telephone receiver and chatting with a wall. Yet, he pulls off the exchange splendidly. This lead seems capable of handling angsty material. As a bonus, he's pretty good looking!
Episode 2 Summary
Episode 2 begins from Ji Hoon's perspective in 2007. He is a 27-year-old law student currently studying for the bar exam. Ji Hyun lives in the dormitory with Hyun Jin, his cheeky best friend who also aspires to be a lawyer. Both are stressed over the upcoming test. Hyun Jin encourages his friend to try dating for fun, but Ji Hoon insists he's too busy for romance.
Ji Hoon buys ice cream for Hyun Jin. While waiting for his friend, Ji Hoon sees a sad, lonely child sitting beside him. This kid is the young Jae Woo. Ji Hoon offers free ice cream to Jae Woo as a kind gesture. (Later, Hyun Jin holds a petty grudge against his friend for giving it away.) When Ji Hoon returns to the dorm, he answers a mysterious phone call from the adult Jae Woo. Ji Hoon is confused by the anonymous caller, who starts crying and apologizing. Hyun Jin jokes that it must be a scammer.
At night, Ji Hoon rescues young Jae Woo from a violent abductor. The kidnapper fled. Ji Hoon accompanies the child to keep him safe until he arrives home. Jae Woo is afraid because his parents are away at work, so he'll be alone for the night. Ji Hoon brings Jae Woo to the dorm, allowing the child to rest peacefully in his room. Young Jae Woo is grateful for his kindness. Episode 2 concludes exactly as Episode 1 did. The adult Jae Woo is now in the past as he approaches Jae Woo in an emotional embrace.
Episode 2 Review
This episode is too slow for me, failing to carry the momentum from the premiere. Episode 1 leaves the story in an exciting place as the protagonist enters a new timeline. Instead of exploring what happens next, the narrative jumps back and rehashes the same events from Ji Hoon's perspective. Yet, none of the scenes are essential to the plot. We can scrap everything in Episode 2 and skip to Episode 3 without much difference.
Ji Hoon's defining trait is his altruism. The series helps us understand why he'd charge into a risky situation to save a child's life. In this episode, Ji Hoon gives free ice cream to young Jae Woo as a random act of kindness. This gesture highlights Ji Hoon's goodness in his everyday life. When he isn't confronting child abductors, his character still treats others compassionately. Being a decent person is a part of Ji Hoon's nature.
Hyun Jin often remarks that his friend is gullible and stupidly nice. He jokes, "Wouldn't it be funny if a guy studying the law gets scammed?" Although Ji Hoon's altruism is a positive quality, the series hints it's also his fatal flaw. Not every human would put themselves in danger and square off against a child abductor. Yet, Ji Hoon is a hero who doesn't hesitate to do the morally right thing, no matter the consequences. Ji Hoon can be too selfless, prioritizing another person's life over his own. It ultimately leads to his demise.
Episode 3 Summary
Episode 3 begins after the embrace. Ji Hoon brushes past the unexpected hug and claims that Jae Woo recognized the wrong person. Later, Jae Woo decides to move into the student dormitory. He stays in Room 308, making him neighbours with Ji Hoon. Although Jae Woo feels confused about transporting to the past, he's delighted to spend time with Ji Hoon. He keeps his time-travelling experience a secret from everyone else.
Ji Hoon is suspicious of his new dormitory neighbour, whose erratic behaviour draws attention. First, Jae Woo enters his room unannounced and keeps hugging him for no reason. Then, Jae Woo follows him everywhere, from the communal shower to the cafeteria. Ji Hoon grows flustered about the constant attention from this stranger. He thinks Jae Woo has a crush on him. Jae Woo claims they have met before, but Ji Hoon doesn't remember who he is. Hyun Jie chimes in, stating that Jae Woo acts with familiarity around Ji Hoon.
Hyun Jin gives a friendly warning and tells Jae Woo to stop messing around with his friend. Jae Woo insists he has no malicious intentions with Ji Hoon. He speaks cryptically, stating that he waited 15 years for him. Hyun Jin gets the wrong idea and thinks Jae Woo must be Ji Hoon's childhood friend. The episode ends with Jae Woo realizing Ji Hoon only has a few remaining weeks before his death. He becomes determined to stop the murder from taking place.
Episode 3 Review
Jae Woo is such a weirdo lmao. I know he misses his ahjussi, but his erratic behaviour draws so much suspicion. Understandably, Ji Hoon has a poor first impression of his new neighbour. This stranger breaks into his dorm room, follows him to the bathroom, and gives out random hugs. I'm giving Jae Woo some grace due to his unusual circumstances, but his actions border on uncomfortable. It isn't the best start to their BL relationship.
I like how Hyun Jin steps in, warning Jae Woo that he makes Ji Hoon feel uncomfortable. Hyun Jin uses a firm but respectful tone to communicate his concerns. The truth is that Jae Woo crossed the line with his behaviour. We know that isn't his intention, but he has been harassing Ji Hoon. Someone needed to have this conversation with Jae Woo about setting boundaries. I'm glad Hyun Jin spoke on Ji Hoon's behalf without escalating the tensions. I definitely see ~the lawyer~ in him after this exchange.
My heart goes pitter-patter every time I see Jae Woo smile. He's so fine~ 😚 Once Again's greatest achievement is introducing this hottie (Moon Ji Yong) to the BL genre. This bankable actor has the looks, charm, charisma & acting capabilities to lead a drama. I know he's cast in another Korean BL series called The New Employee, which hopefully means we'll see more of him. While Once Again is okay, the limited production doesn't showcase his full leading-man potential. Let's hope his second project shines a brighter spotlight, turning him into a star.
Episode 4 Summary
After noticing Ji Hoon's discomfort, Jae Woo eases off and spends less time around him. Instead, Jae Woo focuses his efforts on investigating the killer's home address. Ji Hoon becomes curious about where his dormmate goes every day and night. Ji Hoon initiates a conversation and asks why Jae Woo keeps calling him "ahjussi", even though they're close in age. Jae Woo says he'll try to change this habit. Ji Hoon becomes bashful when his dormmate flashes a friendly smile at him.
Ji Hoon's parents visit him at the dorm. They have a good relationship with their son and cheer him on for his upcoming exams. Jae Woo feels emotional after seeing Ji Hoon with his family. Jae Woo starts crying and gives his dormmate a hug. He also invites Ji Hoon to travel with him on January 29, the day before the murder occurs. Although Ji Hoon is confused, he comforts a visibly distressed Jae Woo.
Jae Woo continues his investigation. At last, he has found the killer's house. Jae Woo knocks on the door, but there's no response. He becomes emotional and starts crying. Ji Hoon has followed him, curious about where his dormmate goes every night. He's shocked to see Jae Woo in such a fragile state. The episode ends with Ji Hoon hugging Jae Woo outside the killer's house. Jae Woo sobs that he doesn't want Ji Hoon to die.
Episode 4 Review
"I'm from somewhere you belong instead of me." That's a surprisingly poignant line from Jae Woo. This statement highlights his survivor's guilt. Jae Woo doesn't think he deserves to live over Ji Hoon, a kind-hearted man with a promising future. You belong in this world, whereas I shouldn't even exist. Jae Woo has carried this trauma and emotional turmoil over the past fifteen years. Jae Woo wants to save Ji Hoon because he believes his life is less valuable than his hero's.
From a logical standpoint, I'm unsatisfied with the limited storytelling in Once Again. Maybe I hold time-travel dramas to a higher standard because of the complex subject matter. However, the series hasn't impressed me so far. Despite the innovative concept, the plot developments don't show much surprise or creativity. With that said, this BL drama is good at producing schmaltzy exchanges and maximizing the emotions. I feel sentimental watching Jae Woo tear up and hug his beloved ahjussi. Their tragic circumstances make me wanna cry too! 😭
I like how Once Again uses music to accentuate the emotions in the story. The soundtrack is suitable, evoking melancholy at all the right moments. The angst feels more intense every time these songs play during the scenes. Interestingly, a lot of the Once Again songs are sung in English. When I watch BL, I'm accustomed to the music being in their native language. That's totally fine with me. However, I admit it's convenient not having to look up what the translated lyrics mean.
Episode 5 Summary
Episode 5 begins with Jae Woo in an intoxicated state as Ji Hoon brings him back to his dorm room. Both the landlord and Hyun Jin are surprised to see them so chummy. When Jae Woo prepares for sleep, he apologizes before initiating a spontaneous kiss with Ji Hoon. Although startled, Ji Hoon doesn't resist the gesture.
Hyun Jin is surprised to see Jae Woo and Ji Hoon spend the night in the same room. Ji Hoon grows flustered at his friend's cheeky interrogation. Meanwhile, the young Jae Woo has arrived at the dormitory. He gives chocolates to Ji Hoon as a gift for helping him previously. Afterwards, the adult Jae Woo confronts his young counterpart. He intimidates the child, warning him to stay away from Ji Hoon or risk being traumatized. Ji Hoon intervenes and yells angrily at Jae Woo for bullying a kid.
That night, Ji Hoon reflects on Jae Woo's erratic behaviour since his arrival. He puts all the clues together, discovering the connection between the adult Jae Woo and his child counterpart. Then, Ji Hoon investigates Jae Woo's room and finds more evidence to support his theory. Among the possessions, Ji Hoon finds a candid photo of himself. He cries after realizing Jae Woo is from the future and has arrived in this timeline to stop a murder. The episode ends with Jae Woo confronting the killer outside his house.
Episode 5 Review
I'm all for BL moments, but I'm not fond of Jae Woo and Ji Hoon's first kiss. The timing doesn't feel right. Their interactions so far haven't felt romantic in nature. Ji Hoon is just starting to get used to Jae Woo's presence, so this intimate moment seems hasty. After five episodes, I don't sense an overpowering attraction between the leads. The relationship lacks development and momentum. I'm unenthusiastic about their budding love story.
It's funny when Jae Woo confronts his child counterpart. That scene reminded me of the Spiderman meme. Look, there are two of you! With that said, I don't know what is Jae Woo's game plan here. First, he makes a ruckus outside the killer's house. Now, he's intimidating a ten-year-old kid. These actions seem shockingly unproductive in terms of changing destiny. Technically, Jae Woo should have the upper hand over the killer, knowing how the murder will unfold. There must be a better way to save Ji Hoon's life than what Jae Woo is currently doing.
This episode's ending is exciting! I like how Ji Hoon deduces Jae Woo's identity through various clues and memories. When Ji Hoon picks up two photos of himself, it's an OMG moment. Oh my god, he figured it out! If it were me, I would've never picked up the subtle observations or connected the dots together. Ji Hoon's character seems really smart to have cracked this mystery. He exhibits the intuition and intelligence of a law student.
Episode 6 Summary
In Episode 6, Jae Woo approaches the killer's house with a knife. He follows the dangerous man, hoping to ambush him in the middle of the night. His target has noticed him, and a violent fight occurs. Jae Woo overpowers the killer, almost choking him to death. Yet, the other man gains the upper hand and injures Jae Woo. He's about to end Jae Woo's life, but Ji Hoon comes to the rescue. The killer flees the scene.
Meanwhile, the young Jae Woo approaches the dormitory. He has made a present for Jae Woo. It's a necklace made out of straws. Although Ji Hoon isn't at the dorm, Hyun Jin accepts the gift on his friend's behalf. In exchange, Hyun Jin gives Jae Woo a candid photo of Ji Hoon. Jae Woo is delighted and frames the picture, treating it as a prized possession.
The leads return from the hospital. Although Jae Woo incurred injuries during the fight, they weren't severe. Ji Hoon sits by the bedside, watching over Jae Woo as he goes to sleep. Ji Hoon feels guilty that his dormmate got hurt trying to stop a killer. He understands Jae Woo suffered so much anguish over the past fifteen years. Ji Hoon expresses gratitude, vowing to protect Jae Woo from now on. The episode ends with Ji Hoon kissing Jae Woo in bed.
Episode 6 Review
Am I expecting too much, or could Jae Woo be doing more to change the timeline? You know who the killer is, his home address, and what he plans to do. I don't want to use this episode guide to coach readers on how to dispose of someone, but there are many ideas. Attacking him in the middle of the night comes with unnecessary high risks. Jae Woo should use more strategic tactics to prevent this murder. Instead, his reckless plans seem driven by emotion than intuition.
Who's this mysterious child abductor? Is he undefeatable? Jae Woo and Ji Hoon have confronted him on multiple occasions. Yet, this evil guy wins in every fight. Okay, maybe he's physically stronger. However, Jae Woo knows how dangerous the killer can be. Why is he not more well-equipped before confronting the bad guy? If you can't overpower him in a brawl, bring better weapons or more backup to maximize your chances. Jae Woo seems woefully underprepared when he should have the knowledge to win this fight. Please put more effort into your pitiful plans!
Enough with the damn kid. Why is the childhood version of Jae Woo so prominent in the narrative? This subplot seems redundant when we've already established the bond between the characters. Let's focus on the relationship between the two adult leads. Ji Hoon discovered a massive revelation about Jae Woo in Episode 5. This episode should carry the momentum, exploring the angle further. Where are the essential conversations between Ji Hoon and Jae Woo? Why doesn't he ask about the future, how he dies, or what they can do to stop the murder?
Episode 7 Summary
Episode 7 begins with a casual conversation between Jae Woo and Ji Hoon. Jae Woo describes his life in the future. After the murder, he spent most of his adolescence holed up in his bedroom, suffering from trauma. Once in college, he moved out to live on his own. Jae Woo was eager to leave this neighbourhood, which only held painful memories for him. However, Jae Woo feels better now. He's grateful to have met Ji Hoon, his childhood idol.
Ji Hoon wants to put aside pursuing the killer for now. Instead, he invites Jae Woo to hang out with him. They spend a lovely day shopping for clothes, playing games, and eating meals. Ji Hoon and Jae Woo return to the dormitory holding hands. The dorm owner is happy to see them in love. However, she cryptically mentions they don't have much time together as the January 30 deadline approaches. She also tells Hyun Jin that he'll definitely pass the bar exam and become a successful lawyer.
Ji Hoon and Jae Woo share an intimate kiss. Ji Hoon also buys a necklace as a romantic gift for Jae Woo. Later, the couple makes plans for their upcoming trip before the day of the murder. Then, Jae Woo says goodbye to his mom. Since Ji Hoon won't be there to stop the killer, Jae Woo will die and disappear from both timelines. He's resigned to his fate and sacrifices himself for Ji Hoon. The episode ends with a twist. Jae Woo can't find Ji Hoon anywhere. Instead of going on the trip, Ji Hoon confronts the killer to save Jae Woo's life, just like in the original timeline.
Episode 7 Review
Episode 7 gives us much-needed BL content between the leads, building their relationship. A part of me likes the diversion from the killer plot. We focus on happier exchanges between the characters, so their journey isn't just gloom and doom. I appreciate that Once Again isn't just pure depressing melodrama. This episode has the added benefit of highlighting the actors' charisma. Both leads look the most attractive when they smile. So, putting the characters in a happier setting brings out their charm.
The Jae Woo and Ji Hoon scenes are cute in this episode. I'm starting to warm up to this couple. Emotionally, I'm not quite there yet, but a few episodes like this might've changed my mind. I like that there's an element of physical affection in their relationship. This couple holds hands, hugs each other, and shares various kisses. Now that I'm rewatching the episode, their final hug with each other is sadder than I thought. That's the last interaction Jae Woo & Ji Hoon have with each other, but they don't know it yet.
As sweet as the relationship moments are, I also can't take my mind off the killer plot. It weighs on me that a murderer is on the loose, about to end Ji Hoon's life in a few days. Why aren't Ji Hoon and Jae Woo concerned about their safety? The characters seem resigned that one of them must die. However, they pretend everything is peachy and don't communicate with each other. If Jae Woo and Ji Hoon go away on this trip, it's obvious the child version of him will get killed. Why do they not address the elephant in the room?
Once Again has a sad ending where Ji Hoon dies in the final episode. Although Jae Woo tries to change history, he fails to stop the murder. Jae Woo plans to go on a trip with Ji Hoon to take him away from the neighbourhood. However, Ji Hoon doesn't leave. Instead, he stays behind and knowingly sacrifices himself. He keeps the original timeline intact to ensure Jae Woo remains alive.
Ji Hoon writes a farewell letter to explain his intentions. "Jae Woo, I know you crossed fifteen years to save me. Even so, I'm going back to rescue you again." Jae Woo is devastated and tries to intervene. However, it's too late for him. The time is now January 30, and he's transported back to the present timeline. Jae Woo cries outside the dormitory over his failure to save Ji Hoon's life. Just then, Hyun Jin approaches him. After his friend's death, Hyun Jin worked hard to become a lawyer. Now, he hands Jae Woo another letter from Ji Hoon.
In his second letter, Ji Hoon explains his decision. He describes his death as "a wheel of destiny". He looks forward to meeting Jae Woo again in an alternate timeline, where they can enjoy three weeks together. Jae Woo returns home and hugs his mom. He vows to live a fulfilled life to ensure Ji Hoon's sacrifice isn't in vain. Later, Jae Woo boards a bus and leaves his hometown with a pensive expression. The final scene shows a different Ji Hoon from another timeline, walking up to the dorms. The wheel of destiny has restarted, and Jae Woo can meet Ji Hoon once again.
The Once Again ending is unsatisfying for me. I want more insights into Ji Hoon's perspective. He sacrifices himself to save Jae Woo, a bold decision that shouldn't be shrouded in mystery. Once Again misses an opportunity to walk us through his thoughts, emotions, and experiences before dying. Explaining his rationale through post-mortem letters doesn't have the same emotional impact. Ji Hoon's death would feel powerful if the story depicted his final moments coherently.
Whoa. Jae Woo transports back to 2022 pretty abruptly, huh? I didn't know it was like Cinderella, where the magic disappears as soon as the clock strikes midnight. Considering Jae Woo came to the past to save Ji Hoon's life, it's devastating that he failed his mission. Despite being given a second opportunity, Jae Woo couldn't change history. The futility of his efforts makes this ending so tragic. In some ways, it's almost like he allowed Ji Hoon to die once again. Poor Jae Woo suffers the same trauma twice!
The title, Once Again, comes from Ji Hoon's belief he'll meet Jae Woo in alternate timelines. Ji Hoon believes he must die while protecting the child. Otherwise, the timeline would change, and Jae Woo wouldn't visit the past. That means the adult time traveller ceases to exist. By sacrificing himself, Ji Hoon continues the cycle where Jae Woo stays alive in every parallel universe. The rescued child will grow up and revisit the past after 15 years, where they meet for three weeks once again. This ending indicates Ji Hoon doesn't regret dying because it keeps Jae Woo alive.
Once Again OST
Once Again Series Information
Idol Romance is a Korean BL studio that made Wish You (2020), Nobleman Ryu's Wedding (2021), The Tasty Florida (2021), and Tinted With You (2021). It also produced Once Again (2022) and Roommates of Poongduck 304 (2022). This studio tends to produce short BL dramas with eight episodes. Later, the same story would get released again as a film with slightly additional footage.
Teddy Hwang is a Korean director. He partnered with Idol Romance to direct the 2022 Korean BL series, Once Again. It is his first BL project.