Wow. Okay. So, I had no idea what I was getting into with this drama, and I will be honest and admit that my expectations were low. When I say low, I mean loooooowwww chile lol. The premise and synopsis did absolutely nothing to sell me on this story. Vampires? Purebloods? Seriously? I mean, I’m down for a supernatural, paranormal romp in the park, but something about this story synopsis just wasn’t doing it for me.
However! I was happily surprised by this drama! I was way more invested than I ever thought I would be, and I found myself rooting for Mr. Vampire and his newfound love.
This story follows a 500-year-old vampire named Jun Ho, who is on the brink of death due to committing what’s considered a “vampire taboo” in his past. In order to keep living, he must drink the blood of a Pureblood human. He must drink enough to survive, yet not enough to kill the human. Doing so will allow him to become fully human himself and live the rest of his life as humans do, growing old, falling in love, and dying when the time comes.
The only issue is that the only way for this to work, Jun Ho has to win the heart of the Pureblood he is trying to drink from. With this knowledge in hand, Jun Ho sets out to woo our little fluff nugget, Min Hyun. But he quickly finds himself falling for Min Hyun just as fast as Min Hyun is falling for him which puts his plan in jeopardy. Things get even more complicated when an old friend shows up, determined to put an end to Jun Ho and Min Hyun’s budding relationship. Even if he has to kill to do so.
Going forward, there will be mild spoilers…
Oh, who am I kidding? I’m spoiling it all. Read at your own risk lol. Also, this is a long review, so get some popcorn or something.
So, yes. We’re looking at another love triangle. But thankfully it was not the type of love triangle I despise. In this one, the third party had unrequited love, so I didn’t have to worry about our MC flipflopping between two love interests. Jun Ho had eyes for one person and one person only. So, let’s get into this.
Jun Ho had a very stoic personality. He was calm, soft spoken, and very alluring. There seems to be an unspoken rule that vampires are supposed to be super sexy and sexual beings. But I hesitate to call Jun Ho sexy because, well…I just didn’t find him sexy. Alluring is a better word to describe him, and maybe even tempting. But not sexy. And definitely not sexual because he was only trying to win Min Hyun’s heart in order to save his own life.
Vampires in history are also supposed to be these violent killers who can’t be around humans. This was also not the case for Jun Ho. He was calm, and very good at controlling his hunger for blood. He took a little while to grow on me, but I ended up liking Jun Ho. He was kind and caring, and as badly as he wanted to live, he still had morals and stuck by them.
Min Hyun was a cute little softy who was super sheltered and extremely naïve. This was not his fault though. His parents died when he was very young, and his older brother had to raise him alone. His brother sheltered him so much because he knows about vampires and purebloods, and he knows that Min Hyun himself is a pureblood. So, he has pretty much devoted his life to protecting Min Hyun even if that means he is too overprotective.
Since Big Brother is such a ‘helicopter parent’, Min Hyun has grown to resent this and has become a little rebellious now that he’s entered college. He ignores his brother’s calls and texts, refuses to tell his brother where he is at times, and even tries to leave his phone in his brother’s car. He claims he just forgets, but I think he does it so he can have an excuse for his brother to not have a way to contact him.
Anyway, I liked Min Hyun. He just wanted to live his live freely, not under the overbearing shelter of his brother, and fall in love with the man of his dreams…who just so happened to be a dying vampire. Tough luck, lol. But I liked Min Hyun because he was not afraid to go after what he wanted, and he was super passionate. This might sound weird to say, but I loved the way he loved Jun Ho. Like, the way he looked at him. The way he smiled at him. The way he was ready to defend Jun Ho against his brother (he misunderstood what his brother meant, though). The way his kissed Jun Ho. And the way he was so willing and so adamant about offering himself to Jun Ho so that Jun Ho could live.
I believed him, and I wanted him to get everything he desired.
Our last two characters are side characters. Mi Ran who is the president of the university (and Jun Ho’s friend of 30 years), and Hae Soo who is Jun Ho’s old friend who is also a vampire, and has always been in love with him, but Jun Ho has never returned those feelings.
Overall, the acting was…okay? It wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t exactly bad either. The guy that played Jun Ho could definitely use some work. He was a bit stiff and a little bit dry. I could see having such an aloof personality working for an alluring vampire, but I don’t really feel like it was done correctly in this series, and I blame the actor for that.
However! After watching some YouTube videos with this actor and seeing what he is like in real life, it turns out that this is just his personality. He’s very calm, soft spoken, low-key, chill…and any other words that fit into that category. So, it didn’t really seem like he was doing much acting at all, in my opinion. The character’s personality was just too much like his own lol. As an actor, I think that’s something he should work on, although I have never seen him in anything else. So, take all that with a grain of salt.
The character of Min Hyun was played by Yoon Seo Bin. When I first saw him, he looked familiar to me, but I couldn’t place where I had seen him from. A brief look into his history and it turns out that he was a contestant on Produce X 101 for a very short while which I watched. So, mystery solved, lol. Anyway, Seo Bin wasn’t a bad actor. As I mentioned in the previous section, I was rooting for his character, and I wanted him to be happy. I liked how he portrayed a boy who was naïve to the world but ready to be his own person and go after what he wanted in love. I don’t really have any complaints about his acting.
Moon Ji Hoo played the role of Hae Soo and honestly, his acting felt the most like a joke. It felt like he was trying too hard to play the role of a villain. I mean…sure, he is the villain in this series, but I don’t want to watch someone who is acting like a villain. I want to watch someone who is the villain. Does that make sense? There were just too many times where he felt like a caricature of a villain, and it was weird. I almost cringed at his maniacal laughter and the way he would clench his jaw, jut his chin forward, and talk through his teeth. Like…it was weird. I have no other word to describe it.
The woman that played the president was okay too. Her character played a fairly important role in Jun Ho’s life. It’s just too bad we didn’t get to see more of her, so I don’t have much to say about her acting.
The overall story was easy to follow. We have a vampire who is dying for committing a carnal sin amongst vampires, who now has only one way of surviving. To survive he must find a Pureblood, make them fall in love with him, then drink from said Pureblood. But of course, this is not easy as he ends up falling in love with the Pureblood that he meets instead.
As I mentioned before, this plot did not originally intrigue me, but it was enjoyable enough while watching. I just really wish we could have gotten more development between our two main leads, Jun Ho and Min Hyun. Their relationship seemed rushed because we didn’t actually see them falling for each other. It felt like they had only known each other for 24 hours before Jun Ho was trying to make moves on him. I understand he was eager to drink so he can live, but it all just felt too fast.
Something I would have loved to see had there been more time in the episodes is more vampire lore! I became more and more interested in the history of the vampires in this world because humans know about them. For example, Min Hyun’s brother knew Jun Ho was a vampire the moment he saw his blue glowing eyes. I would have loved to learn things such as how vampires came to be, when did they first start living amongst humans, and whether or not all humans knew about vampires and/or believe they exist.
I am used to vampires being evil, sexual, and killing all the time either just for the sake of killing or because they can’t control their thirst for blood. Seeing Jun Ho as a vampire was a big change for me and I liked it. I liked that he wasn’t a vampire on a murderous rampage and that he could generally control his hunger for blood. He didn’t have fangs and for the most part, he lived his life as a normal human would.
Although President Mi Ran was only a minor character, I would have loved to see more of the history she had with Jun Ho. I didn’t even know who she was or why she was significant until close to the end of the series. I didn’t know she was the president of the university, and I didn’t know that she and Jun Ho were friends until they had a huge argument that happened within the last two episodes of the series. Knowing that she was the president, made me understand how Jun Ho was able to basically live at the university and not get caught, and finding out that she and Jun Ho had been friends for 30 years made me understand why she cared so much and what her relationship to Jun Ho was in the first place. I think all of this is important, so it would have been nice to get more of this.
Things I Found Unsatisfactory
Heres the big spoiler yall……….. JUN HO DIES. Yep. He freakin dies. And you know what??? There was a way that he and Min Hyun both could have lived, and everyone could have gotten a happy ending. Well…except Hae Soo. He dies too, but he was villain and no one cares.
But anyway! All Jun Ho needed was enough blood to replenish and turn human while not so much to kill the Pureblood. Min Hyun offered himself to Jun Ho over and over again and Jun Ho kept refusing because he was scared that he would turn in to a blood-blind vicious vampire and not be able to stop once he tastes Min Hyun’s blood. And since he loves him and even killed to protect him, this is an understandable worry.
What makes me so upset about him dying is that there was a solution to all of this! And it was shown in a previous episode when we see the president herself pull out the materials to start drawing her own blood into a bag like you would get in a hospital. We are led to believe that she has been doing this for a while to keep Jun Ho from dying, but drinking her blood is only prolonging his death since he needs a Pureblood’s blood.
This was the answer, yall!! All Min Hyun and Jun Ho had to agree to do was draw his blood into a bag. That way, it would be enough that Min Hyun won’t die or even be injured, and Jun Ho would have enough to heal and turn human. Why was this never discovered?? Why did not a single character think of this, including the president?? She was drawing her own blood to donate. Why didn’t she think of suggesting the same for Min Hyun?? The solution was right in front of their faces the whole time! It was sooo stupid and I felt mad when Jun Ho finally passed away.
Lastly, before Jun Ho’s weakness completely took over him, his vision started to deteriorate, and he would get excruciating migraines. One day, after it’s insinuated that he and Min Hyun have made love to each other, Jun Ho tries to give Min Hyun a ring so that he will always have something to remember him by. But since he can’t see anymore, he can’t put it on Min Hyun’s finger correctly and ends up dropping the ring.
After he passes and Min Hyun has his crying scene, the next major scene picks up one year later. Min Hyun goes to the special space where Jun Ho used to live and sees that it’s being all cleaned up. After dropping something, he bends down to pick it up and ends up finding a picture under a couch that he took of Jun Ho a year prior. He sees it and is overcome with emotion and starts crying. But yall! The picture was right next to the ring that Jun Ho dropped, and MIN HYUN DOES NOT FIND IT. He just completely doesn’t see it and his fingers brush right past it when he finds the picture!
I wanted to scream when I saw this. Like, why couldn’t he just find the darn ring?? It was the last and most meaningful gift that Jun Ho wanted to leave him with, and the series ends with the ring still lying underneath the couch. Like, wtf. Both the ring and the picture would have been a great symbol of Jun Ho being with Min Hyun forever, but nooooo. The ring was left under the dusty couch. Smh.
I guess this ending was supposed to be bittersweet because Min Hyun became a slightly different person as time went on. He began making friends, his relationship with his brother got better, and we find out that he even seems to have built a relationship with President Mi Ran. Bittersweet endings can be just as sad as unhappy endings sometimes and this was the case for me in this series. This was an unhappy ending to me. I wanted Jun Ho to live and I felt unsatisfied with this ending. Especially since the answer to their problems was right in front of their faces. And Min Hyun never finding the ring felt like an insult to injury.
There weren’t a lot of locations, really, but the ones we did see were nice enough. Nothing jumped out at me, but nothing was distracting either.
The music was very OST like, if that makes any sense lol. Most of the songs were ballads, which I found to be very fitting for this drama. I’m not a huge fan of ballads, but the ones in this series were nice and always used at the perfect time. Especially when our main couple finally shares their first kiss. The words and emotions behind the song fit so well with the pent-up feelings that our two main characters had been holding onto across the eight episodes. I enjoyed it.
Overall, I enjoyed this series. Yes, there were things I would have changed or added, but I still ended up enjoying this series. Would I rewatch it?….maaayyyybee. It’s not a complete ‘no’, so maybe.
*siggghhhh* What should I rate this series? I think I’ll give it a 3.75 out of 5 stars. I really did enjoy this despite the ending. I went in, expecting it to be really bad. Laughable, even. But I was pleasantly surprised and liked almost everything about it. Almost. I’m taking off a little more than one star because this series would have probably been so much better if each episode could have had more time to explore all the things I brought up listed above, as well as Jun Ho freakin staying alive. I still recommend this series though. If you have nothing else to watch and are looking for something a bit different from your standard BL, give this one a try.
Lastly, this is a bit of a tangent and has nothing to do with anything I mentioned in this entire review, but…why on earth is the English title for this series ‘Kissable Lips’ when the Korean title is literally translated as “I Want to Bite’ or ‘I Want a Bite’? Where the heck did ‘Kissable Lips’ come from?? Random thought I had before watching this series lol.