Orange Marmalade is a fantasy drama set in a world where vampires now coexist with humans, but they must keep their identities secret since they are still feared. Baek Ma Ri (Seol Hyun) is a teenage vampire who transfers to a new school and draws the attention of a popular human, Jung Jae Min (Yeo Jin Goo), who just happens to hate vampires.
I found this drama adorable and moving. The high school romance was sweet and fun to watch. I’m a fan of Yeo Jin Gu and was thrilled to see him in his first starring role. We watch his feelings grow for Ma Ri, all the while remaining in the dark that she is a vampire. Ma Ri quickly falls for him too and must struggle with the fact that she is keeping her identity a secret. An old friend of Ma Ri’s, Han Shi Hoo (Lee Jong Hyun), soon transfers to the school. He is a bit of a troublemaker and doesn’t hesitate to get in between Ma Ri and Jae Min. Despite this, their love continues to blossom.
Of course, their happiness is short lived. Everything hits the fan when Shi Hoo has to use his vampire powers to save Jae Min’s life, thus sending the Vampire Control authorities after him. It also comes out that Ma Ri is a vampire, devastating Jae Min. As he seeks answers from Ma Ri during a terrible storm, he finds himself in need of saving again, forcing Ma Ri to use her powers.
This first arc of the story ends with Shi Hoo apparently allowing himself to be burned up by the sun, and Jae Min ends up with amnesia. Suddenly, everything changes as the story transitions from the present to the past, as our story focuses on our characters past lives. We now find ourselves in a sageuk! MANY people hated this. Fans of the webtoon seemed to really dislike the deviation from the original source material. And a lot of fans simply don’t like historicals. In that sense, I get it. You signed up for a high school drama and now you’re in the middle of a sageuk…that can be a bit of a bummer.
But I actually enjoy historicals, so I was up for the change. We got to see Jae Min and Ma Ri fall in love for the first time. It was also nice to see Jae Min and Shi Hoo’s original brotherly relationship. The stakes felt very high in the past with the clash between the classes and the plot for the bad vampires to take over. It’s hard to say which period I liked better, but I’m leaning towards this one.
I was sad to finally leave the past, but easily transitioned back into the present. We discover that Shi Hoo is not really dead, and Jae Min’s memory loss allows Ma Ri to be honest with him about who she is from the start. We also see the vampires struggle to fit in as a new program to integrate the vampires fully into society unfolds. Several human students come together with our vampire students to inspire others through their music and to show that it really is possible to coexist. The visuals and music in this were absolutely stunning. There was just so much beauty to see along with a sweet story. And happy endings were given all around. In summary, Orange Marmalade is a great drama. It’s a bit cheesy at times, but pretty much everything else makes up for that. Also, if you’re a big fan of the webtoon, proceed with caution in viewing this drama. I recommend just looking at it as its own entity, and hopefully, you’ll have the same wonderful experience I was able to have.
What did you think? Did you love or hate the time jump? Was it just too different from the original material? Comment below.
My Rating: 8/10
For more kdrama reviews, click here.
Click here to receive email updates of casting news, trailers, reviews, and more.