Alchemy of Souls – Review
A story set in a place that neither maps nor history has records of, Alchemy of souls delves into a fictitious country of Daeho where magic and sorcery come to life. Park Joon Hwa, who has also directed infamous K-dramas like Touch Your Heart (2019) and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim (2018), is behind the direction of this new series which first came out at the end of June 2022. Alchemy of souls is the tale of Jang Uk (played by Lee Jaewook), a desperate young man from a prominent family who cannot use magic or learn to cast spells due to some exceptional circumstances of his birth, and Naksu (played by Jung Somin in the first season and Go Yoonjung in the second season), a powerful sorceress and assassin seen using the forbidden sorcery to shift souls with a blind woman to save her life. When Jang Uk encounters the sorceress trapped in the blind woman’s body, he instantly figures out that she might be someone who could help him change his destiny. He pursues her to be his master and help him as he keeps her close as his maidservant. As they embark on the journey to explore the great power that lies within Jang Uk, they get entangled in the affairs concerning two main government bodies of Daeho, Cheonbugwan and Songrim, and forbidden sorcery.
This show stars some of the most prominent names in the Korean TV industry, like Jung Somin (Mudeok), Lee Jaewook (Jang Uk), Hwang Minhyun (Seo Yul), Go Yoonjung (Jin Buyeon), and none other than Arin (Jin Choyeon), to name a few. Alchemy of souls has caused a buzz ever since the airing of the season 1 finale and the second season, Light and Shadow, with the highest rating in its time slot across all tv channels. 2022 has been a year of sad K- dramas, as Hallyu fans put it. Still, Alchemy of Souls brings something refreshing to the plate with swoon-worthy interactions between the characters and adequately connects to the audience’s emotions. You find yourself laughing like a madman and crying ugly tears in some episodes, and it is also a slow burn that frustrates its viewers. The unique storyline instantly draws you in and leaves you wanting to know what will happen next, which is fair, given the extreme competition between the writers and screen directors in South Korea. It is a perfect blend of fantasy, romance, comedy, and action. Not to mention, brilliant CGI has been used to aid the iconic fight sequences and casting of the spells, which adds one more element to get hooked onto.
The actors have delivered an applause-worthy performance; it is easy to sympathise with them, hate them (Jin mu), or fall in love with them (Seo Yul). Viewers have already fallen in love with the excellent chemistry between the two lead actors, Lee Jaewook (Jang UK) and Jung Somin (Mudeok), in the first season. The writer has created some charming characters, and the cast rightfully helps bring out the charisma which makes them unforgettable. The viewing experience has been undoubtedly spectacular; however, with the lesser number of episodes in the recent season, the story feels rushed. It doesn’t do justice to the plotline of the first season. While the director has done a beautiful job with the show’s making, the second season inevitably needed more time, as did the new Naksu (Go Yoonjung) with Jang Uk (Lee Jaewook). Despite the curtailed nature of the recent season, Go Yoonjung has managed to make a space in our hearts with her extraordinary skills and strong appeal. Other than this, Alchemy of Souls is a wonderful watch for escaping from real life into the magical world of Daeho with cunning antagonists, warm-hearted friends, and wholesome interactions between close friends and lovers.