Bride of the Water God is about a Water God (Nam Joo Hyuk) who has to go to the human world to recover magical stones so that he can become king. He locates his servant (Shin Se Kyung) whose family is cursed to serve him for eternity. The two encounter many challenges on the hunt for the stones including interference from several other gods as well as dealing with their growing feelings for each other.
Nam Joo Hyuk plays our Water God Habaek who is spoiled and entitled. He dislikes having to go the human world and simply wants to claim his throne by finding the stones and get out of there as soon as possible.
His character is also kind of like a robot being pretty emotionless unless he gets angry. This works well for deadpan style humor with his reactions to the human world. But sadly, he pretty much stays this way for the entire of the drama. I was really hoping to see him develop more emotionally, and we just don’t get that. There’s a little bit toward the very end, but it was never anything particularly dramatic. I still enjoyed Nam Joo Hyuk though!
Shin Se Kyung is Yoon So Ah. She’s a psychiatrist whose family has had to serve the Water God for generations. She’s a kind person, but she tries to hide it. She’s also not very happy with her life. And when she first meets Habaek she thinks he is delusional. It made the relationship entertaining for sure.
I love Shin Se Kyung so much! While this isn’t one of the best written characters, she brought her usual charm that made So Ah very likable. Her comedic timing is great, and she really delivers the needed emotion at the right times. Another great performance by Shin Se Kyung!
Im Joo Hwan plays CEO Shin. He’s the CEO of a resort and takes an interest in So Ah. He’s by far the most intriguing and well developed character in the drama. He’s layered and his character is presented well.
Im Joo Hwan is also a phenomenal actor who can really bring through important subtleties in a character such as this. I was really moved by his performance and the intensity he was able to deliver.
We then have our other gods who live in the human world. Bi Ryum (Gong Myung) is a Sky God who doesn’t really get along with Habaek. Moo Ra (Krystal) is another Water God who is an actress that has long time feelings for Habaek. This duo definitely create some problems for both Habaek and So Ah. I thought Gong Myung and Krystal did well with their roles, but their characters were pretty unlikable throughout the drama.
Bride of the Water God is definitely a bit of mess, and it certainly has a lot of issues. First, the drama was pretty slow to get going with the story. We meet our characters and then the narrative sort of wanders around for the first quarter of the drama without much plot advancement. The story developments then barely start to trickle in, but they are few and far between.
The drama doesn’t really gain a strong direction as to where it wants to go until over halfway through. It withholds much of the backstory from the audience for far too long. Keeping some mystery is good, but you need to give your audience something. I felt like there was this great story dying to be told, but it just couldn’t quite get it out there. Then we get more of an info dump in the last few episodes. It’s a long road to get there, but things do come together quite nicely in the end.
But on the plus side, I eventually seemed to just get comfortable with the drama despite its shortcomings. I liked the characters and the world that it had created. Mind you the world development is actually not that great either, lol. But I enjoyed what it gave me.
I really liked Nam Joo Hyuk and Shin Se Kyung both as individual characters so getting to know them was fun. I also really enjoyed them together. I thought they had a fun bickering chemistry. If I didn’t like them so much I probably would have dropped it after a few episodes since the story just wasn’t doing much at that point.
But as a whole, their relationship was all over the place, and they took way too long to get together. While I liked that they spend a lot of time together, the romantic developments were lacking. I did enjoy the different stages of the relationship we went through, they were just slow going. But I tended to like it more as the drama progressed, and there are quite a few nice couple moments throughout.
The drama includes plenty of humor mostly stemming from Habaek’s reactions and his narcissistic attitude. The beginning has some very entertaining moments as he tries to adjust. I really got a kick out of the inflatable castle he called home when he first arrives in the human world.
I should also reiterate how amazing Im Joo Hwan was! I loved everything about his character, and he goes on quite a difficult journey. I sympathized with him so much and just longed for him to find peace and happiness. Im Joo Hwan was perfect for this role, and it just continues to re-enforce that he really should be getting more lead roles!
I liked the fantasy element to the story with the gods having a long history with each other and having magical powers. I also really like the special effects, especially the depiction of Habaek’s manipulation of water. Habaek gets to rescue So Ah several times so there were quite a few scenes that utilized this effect, and I thought they were done really well. I also liked these scenes because they were dramatic and typically included a bit of action as well as giving Habaek a chance to slowly realize his feelings for So Ah.
The drama as a whole is also very gorgeous to look at. There are so many beautiful scenes including lush green scenery and rolling hills. But the imagery I loved most was from the small amount of time we get to spend in the realm of the gods.
The Water World was very lovely to look at, and I absolutely loved the costumes and makeup on all of the characters. I found it sort of torturous though because it reminded me that had the drama stuck to the original webtoon, the whole thing would have been in this gorgeous setting. It was seriously impressive to look at.
So Bride of the Water God is a bit all over the place in terms of things it does right and things it does wrong. It has many glaring issues, but it also has things that are very enjoyable. Your enjoyment of this drama will heavily depend on if you feel the good outweighs the bad. I personally found it a decent watch, but it could have been so much more.
My Rating: 6.5/10
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