4 Things We Love So Far in Korean Drama, ‘The Red Sleeve’

Set in 18th century Joseon, The Red Sleeve narrates the affair between the Crown Prince Yi San (2PM’s Lee Junho) and the court lady Sung Deok-Im (Lee Se Young). With eight episodes aired, The Red Sleeve can easily become a binge worthy drama as Lee Junho and Lee Se Young perfectly fit into their roles. Their chemistry too is smooth and gives that standard Korean drama ‘kilig’ vibes.



As a fan of Junho as an artist and member of 2PM, we were very excited for this drama and when it started airing we were very happy with how the narrative turned out. It did not disappoint us at all (at least with the episodes already aired).



Here’s the 4 things we love in the drama so far:


1. 2PM’s Junho



This is downright the main reason why! I mean, who wouldn’t, right? Junho is such a sight to behold and his performance in this drama is such a revelation. For an idol turned actor, his performance in this drama is really impressive. That’s why The Red Sleeve has dominated this week’s ranking of the most buzzworthy dramas and actors as released by Good Data Corporation’s Weekly List. Good acting, Good visuals, Hot bod (if you are bingeing, you know what we mean… 😏), Charming and Charismatic – Junho is serving all these in this drama.




 2. Characterization of the leads



Another good thing about this drama is how the leads were characterized. Yi San (Lee Junho’s character) is a crown prince but his character is burdened by the memory of his dead father and his insanity. We appreciate how this will shape his character development as the story will progress. In the 5th episode we have seen how he aspires to change Joseon when he becomes king. This says a lot about his character. 



He is the third most important person in the kingdom next to the king and the queen, but he carries this burden of proving his worth; that he is not his father; that he is worthy to be next in line; that he is worthy of the people’s trust. We like how this internal tension will carry the narrative especially that his character now starts to grow feelings for the court lady Sung Deok- Im being lower in stature- so, technically, this ensuing affair will surely complicate things in the story.



Sung Deok-Im’s characterization is also shaped well. She is not some female character whose cuteness and helplessness attract the prince. She is smart and brave. Her status as a court lady did not stop her love for learning. She speaks her mind and stands up for what she believes in. These qualities we believe are good characterization for a female character. The scene in episode 6 where she was answering the three riddles given by the queen exemplifies the statements above; in fact, the queen has acknowledged this fact. She was able to convince the queen to be on the crown prince’s side; that for a court lady is a huge accomplishment. 


Lee Se Young has portrayed her role well. She fits perfectly well with her male lead Junho. We are excited to see how their characters unfold more layers in the coming episodes.



3. The narrative is taking its time building tensions and conflicts


One of the things we have observed from The Red Sleeve is that the narrative is taking  its time building. You can’t feel the intensity of the tensions and the conflicts yet but you know they are brewing and will soon come out. We appreciate how the narrative is building. We appreciate how the characters are slowly showing their motivations and goals. 



4. The highlight on the court maids



This drama is also good by highlighting the roles of the court ladies. In most historical dramas, the royal family is always highlighted the most. But this drama puts the court ladies in the center stage. It certainly is a peek into the culture of ancient and pre-modern South Korea. Watching a drama for the ‘kilig’ is good  but a drama that has the ability to highlight cultural aspects of its country is even better. For a drama set in a period governed heavily by hierarchies and protocols, it is nice to see characters belonging to a lower status explored.


This we believe is one of the reasons why Korean drama has dominated viewing platforms and making waves around the world. The intentional input of Korean culture in their narratives has been fully embraced by the viewers and we at Hanadulses appreciate it as well.



The Red Sleeve surely provides that chemistry and that ‘kilig’ factor best known in Korean Dramas. Junho and Se Young look good together. The story looks promising and can take places as well. Are you bingeing already? If not, you better start now… These are the 5 things we love from The Red Sleeve at present. What about you? Do you agree with us? What are the things you love from this drama? Let us know in the comment section below…


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2 thoughts on “4 Things We Love So Far in Korean Drama, ‘The Red Sleeve’”

  1. I totally am in LOVE with this drama! Well written (kudos to the screen writer) as well as so artistically shot and filmed!! (ok, the fall into the bath was pretty funny, awkward and looks like she throws herself but all the sound editing, filming, shots were SOOOOO on fire for that scene I am SURE it is one of the most re-watched scenes of the series!!!)

    Keep up the great blogging and if you haven’t watched this drama yet it is an absolute MUST watch from a fan who started watching K-dramas at the start of pandemic and who is NOT going away! Well written, filmed, and acted with such careful nuance, emotion and feeling. I had to look up the history on the story myself to find out how much was really true, like with Empress Ki. But I like how this one is not so drawn out. Empress Ki at 51 episodes was waaaaaay more than I could take, even as well acted and filmed as it was.

    • We agree with everything you said! And we were definitely blessed with a lot of great Sageuk Dramas this year. The King’s Affection is another one. But really, The Red Sleeve Cuff hits differently!! We bawled our eyes out for the ending!!!


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HanaDulSes is a blog created by cousins Von and Mara who share the same enthusiasm to the Korean Popular Culture. This blog centers in three things: Korean Skincare, Korean Popular Music and Korean Drama. Thus, the name: hana, dul, ses! With the Korean wave being at the peak of cultural blending, we aim to provide a rookie guide to people who love similar Korean contents as we do.

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