I love watching Korean dramas but I only start watching when the dramas are over so I can binge to my heart’s content. I really don’t have the patience to wait for an entire week for the next episodes to air so I might as well just wait in one go and start watching as soon as its done. This was precisely the case for MBC’s I am not a Robot starring Yoo Seung Ho in his first romantic comedy and Strongest Deliveryman lead star Chae Soo Bin. The drama was, as expected, super cute. However, the story was so riddled with so much loopholes you wouldn’t know what to do with them.
Synopsis: Kim Min Kyu (Yoo Seung Ho) is the powerful director of a major financial firm but suffers from a rare allergy to human contact. As a result, he has spent the last 15 years isolated from other people. A rare opportunity for companionship comes when one of the companies he acquires introduces him to a state of the art android robot named Aji 3, whose likeness is based on lead professor Hong Baek Gyoon’s (Uhm Ki Joon) ex-girlfriend Jo Ji A (Chae Soo Bin). An accident with the robot compels Ji A to pretend to be Aji 3 for Min Kyu to buy some time until the real robot is ready for testing.
I must say that I am not a Robot is not lacking in cuteness mainly because of the strong chemistry of the lead cast (Seung Ho and Soo Bin). The scenes were light and funny and made for good television. However, the series doesn’t really move forward and only uses the first 10 episodes to go around in circles about how the Santa Maria team tries to dodge being discovered by Min Kyu.
The series also wastes a lot of time like prolonging scenes like Min Kyu’s first near fatal allergy attack where Ji A should be moving quickly to save his life. Instead, she spends a lot of time standing like a statue while her “master” nearly dies. The same goes for the choking scene. For a character as street smart and quick on her feet like Ji A, she should have reacted more quickly at the sight of a person nearly dying from choking. In this case, even though she succeeds in saving Min Kyu, it doesn’t really add to the love for the character.
For his first rom com, Seung Ho really did pretty well. His portrayal as a socially awkward rich kid sometimes seemed repetitive but he simply killed with his aegyo and his vulnerability. I especially loved how uncertain he was in dealing with Ji A’s brother.
Chae Soo Bin was charming from the start, especially when she is in her President Jo persona. I liked how she separated her portrayal as the real and fake Aji 3 and how the character just came alive opposite Min Kyu.
I was, on the other hand pretty iffy about the love triangle angle with the professor because it seemed really weird for Ji A to fall for someone so callous with her feelings who isn’t even super handsome. And its not just because I’m being superficial. During the time they dated, and even after, it seemed that she never was truly happy. So in contrast with the openness of her relationship with Min Kyu (considering the duplicity issue), its hard to develop a second lead syndrome.
I’m glad they didn’t oversell the love triangle angle, whether it be with the professor or with Ri El. It was obvious from the beginning that Ji A and Min Kyu would never be happy with anyone but each other so there was no question which end game fans should root for. I’m also glad how the relationship within and with the Santa Maria team unfolded and evolved into that of a family. I just wished they had included Butler Jung into their circle because he was undoubtledly the most loyal of Min Kyu’s employees. I also appreciated the surprise twist that involved Yoo Cheol. I’m happy that Kim Bok Joo’s samcheon pulled off his serious role with flying colors to become one of the series’ most interesting characters.
MBC did attempt to break the monotony and complicate the story by adding a few choice villains in the form of international criminal Martin Bold and the ambitious Chairman Hwang. However, these attempts seemed half baked because there never really seemed to be a sense of danger with these two around. While I would expect a ruthless killer like Martin to take a drastic form of revenge by endangering Ji A at some point towards the end, he chose to flee and leave his goons to do the job. And the goons are so quickly foiled. Whuuuuutttt????
There were also hanging questions that had no resolution like who was Min Kyu’s invisible guardian angel, Madame X? With the amount of time allotted to filler scenes, they should have included more clues as to who the mysterious informant was even if they didn’t reveal who she was in the end.
All in all, I am not a Robot’s main strength was the strong casting. Despite the overly lengthy dialogues, despite the poor character development and scenes that made no sense, I liked that the cast managed to gel together and pull out performances that made the audience care about what happens to them. It was a good rom com. It delivered on the happy feels and the romance but I wouldn’t go so far as to rank it among my favorites. Not yet at “Yeppo” (Pretty) level for me but it was a solid series. No doubt about it.