Jirisan (2021) Is Beyond A Natural Disaster K-Drama

Jirisan

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When you expect the K-Drama to be good, but the K-Drama turns out to be way better than you could imagine – that’s Jirisan for you.

Jirisan, directly translated: Mount Jiri (Jiri being the name, San being ‘mountain’), is factually the second highest mountain located in the southern region of South Korea. with an area of 471.75 km² that spans three provinces: North and South Jeolla and South Gyeongsang, is South Korea’s largest and oldest, having been designated a National Park in 1967.

Jirisan view (Source: Trazy)

Now this story may be fiction, but some parts of it are based on interviews by the writer Kim Eun-hee with the real-life national park workers. 

Initial Expectation

Jirisan Official Trailer by iQiYi

To be honest, I’d been meaning to watch Jirisan since its release, but I’ve been putting it on rot in my watchlist for more than 2 years. Only when I had nothing more to watch, I turned to Jirisan with a mindset ‘Ah, let’s just get this over with.’ My oh my, was I stunned and regret my late watch? I WAS! I kept scolding myself, why did I not watch this earlier? I had purposely delayed at least 1 happiness in my gloomy 2 years.

Here’s what I thought before I watched it. Oh, it’s gonna be some natural disaster series with suspense and typical rocks falling since it’s a natural disaster set around a mountain. Oh, it’s gonna be scenes of people running here and there in the mountains and people getting lost, and trapped and again, suspense in rescuing the victims amidst the infamous unwelcoming weather on the mountains. All that does for viewers is leave us with a feeling like we are choked on a dried steamed goguma, waiting for the (stereotypically) slow rangers to come to the rescue—always being obstructed by something that doesn’t make sense.

Mountain of Keys

The base of the series is about Jirisan National Park rangers’ daily routines such as doing daily rounds on the mountain, rescuing lost trekkers, marking unexplored and off-limit routes, catching illegal herbs pickers, and many more. Sounds generic, aren’t they? Wait for it…

The first episode introduced all the daily routines I mentioned above, with a glimpse of suspense after a new park ranger joined the team and followed hot in pursuit of a lost boy. It then proceeds to introduce the main characters’ background without exposing the plot twist. It also introduced several keys to the whole series which most people might missed. It will look like random scenes, but trust me, EVERY SCENE in the first two episodes are vital.

Me focusing on Jirisan

So, make sure to not let your eyes go, or pause when you need to step away even for a few seconds. Once you missed the details, you might need to go back to episodes 1 and 2 to relate all the upcoming incidents and mysteries.

Mountain of Flashbacks

Some people are not keen on watching series that go back and forth on flashbacks. However, Jirisan managed to make people forget that it’s a flashback as it transitioned so seamlessly. 

You will notice that the first few episodes will have an opposite vibe between the current and flashback scenes. Those, are not done without thought, sir. It brilliantly hinted viewers at the looming darkness that’s about to untangle throughout the series. Where the vibe will later meet in the middle of the series and both flashbacks and current scenes have dark vibes.

When you are about to ask why he did that? Why did that happen? How? The sequence of the scenes will answer your questions beautifully. Why did I say beautifully? Because at some point, you will drop all your questions and just trust the series to unfold everything.

Mountain of Mysteries

Let me remind you. Jirisan’s genres are natural disasters, mystery, thriller, action, supernatural, fantasy, and drama. The series covers a serial killer case that has been going on in Jirisan for decades amidst the natural disaster that happens in between. It also includes the mystery of the Jirisan aborigine’s disappearance from the mountain, not forgetting some love stories and family struggles to make it more heart-wrenching – because why not?

The shocking part is – ALL OF THE INCIDENTS MENTIONED ABOVE ARE RELATED. Again, SEAMLESSLY!

Tell me you’re a good writer without telling me you’re a good writer: JIRISAN.

The real reason behind the sudden appearance of the new ranger in the first episode is also one of the mysteries. (Source: IMDb)

Mountain… Ghost

It’s controversial. For people who did not believe in shamanism or the underworld, you might question the part where there’s a ghost. It’s not a scary type of ghost or jump scares. I will just tell you that, or I’ll be spoiling the main plot. But it all makes sense if you know how Koreans believe that sacred places have their guardians – in this case, the mountain is guarded by the mountain spirit. So, just open your mind and watch the series with the belief in mind.

Oh, a fun fact! At the entrance to Baemsagol Valley, some 1,300 years ago, there used to be Songnimsa Temple. This temple practised an annual rite on the Chilwolbaekjung holiday (full moon day of July by the lunar calendar) wherein they selected the most pious monk and prayed earnestly for his safe passage to paradise as a deity. Read more about the legend here.

The entrance of one of the famous temples on Jirisan (now) – Seoamjeongsa Temple (Source: WhereToKim)

Mountain of Awareness

Raise your hand if you like to watch movies/dramas with informative input that could boost your general knowledge (raising both hands myself). You will not be disappointed with the new general knowledge that you will learn throughout the series. 

Of course, some of us are already aware of the importance of national parks in maintaining our ecosystem. Additionally, after I watched the series, not only I appreciate our natural resources more, but also the people working hard to maintain them about what can and cannot do to help, how to prepare ourselves in the case of a natural disaster, how long to estimate if we were waiting for a rescue, how to be vigilant and many more.

Mountain of Amazing Casts

There is not a single awkward acting in the series, including the extras and child actors. One can foresee that when you see the global actress Gianna Jun (Jun Ji-Hyun) as the lead character.

The picture below will speak louder than my words.

If you watch a lot of K-Dramas, you will know that the line-up is impeccable. (Source: AllKpop)

End of Journey

With all the praises I elaborated in this article, it’s no wonder Jirisan topped the nationwide rating chart in South Korea right after it was premiered with the first episode recorded at 9.1% defeating all programs across national channels, including public broadcast networks. It’s that epic.

I give Jirisan an easy 9/10, with 1 score missing just because. My advice is, if you like movies/series with the same genres, please ensure to spare your 16 hours plus-minus to binge-watch Jirisan. Once you start, you won’t want to stop because your curiosity will get the best of you.

With that, I end my article. If you would like to read other K-Contents from us, you can read them here. TTO BOJA!

Author

  • Dianさま

    Dian - a 98% introvert with a mind like a black hole, she is like the lovechild of Senku and Hisoka, armed with ideas and logics sharper than a lightsaber. Social gatherings? Nah, it's either dissecting the latest anime/manga/kdrama breakthrough or debate the merits of time travel. 200% INTP.

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