Kdrama Review: The Red Sleeve (2021)

The Red Sleeve is a 2021 South Korean drama based on the historical romance between King Jeongjo of Joseon and his royal concubine, Uibin Sung. It is starring Lee Jun-ho (2PM), Lee Se-young, and Kang Hoon. 

This is the first kdrama that I was able to finish for this year. I was scrolling Tiktok when I saw a clip of this and got curious. I was able to finish it in two days and I got deja vu! Haha. 

Title: The Red Sleeve
Genre: Romance, Historical
Based on: The Red Sleeve Cuff by Kang Mi-kang
Country of origin: South Korea
Original language: Korean
No. of seasons: 1
No. of episodes: 17
Release date: November 12, 2021 - January 1, 2022
Original network: MBC TV



King Jeongjo met Deok Im when they were still little and he was still a crowned prince back then. Deok Im became a court lady and she got involved with King Jeongjo again in the palace. They soon fell in love and he asked her to be his concubine. Even though Deok Im wants to live her life freely and find her happiness, she agreed with Jeongjo to live as his concubine.


I know not everyone is into historical dramas. If you're one of them, then you can skip this one or at least give this one a try! This is more into romance.

It starts with light scenes as it unfolds the story of the couple when they were young and what they've been through before they actually become a couple. It will give you butterflies in your stomach and will make you feel in love just like what happened to me. Haha! It also gets intriguing from the start so you will be hooked to watch it.

This Korean drama just finished early this week. It already gathered awards even before they launch the finale. I was amazed at how the story was well written and all of the casts did a really good job. I was also surprised by the fact that this is based on a real love story. 

This is a fictional retelling of the well-known historical romance between King Jeongjo of Joseon and his royal concubine, Uibin Sung. I researched their individual profiles and there are a few differences between the real story and the drama. The real story was more devastating to hear as she bore three children but all didn't make it alive and she died of cancer while pregnant. It is stated that Royal Concubine Uibin Sung is the only concubine that King Jeongjo loved the most. It's also seen in the drama that they are so into each other. Deok Im sacrificed her freedom to be with King Joengjo. She chose him even though she knows the sacrifices she'll make and her position in the Palace. She stood by him even on her last breath. 

The casts, their acting, the cinematography, and the directions are superb. I've seen Lee Se-young on Hit the Top and A Korean Odyssey and I know she'll be a good actress. Her chemistry with Lee Jun-ho was so good as well, making it more catchy and nice to watch.

I didn't have time to get mad at the antagonists. I guess what really hinders them to have a happy ending is fate. They were together but still did not end up happy because of what happened to them.

The story was well written. I don't remember any loopholes. Just be prepared for the last two episodes. Brace yourselves! As I've said, I got deja vu while watching this. I remembered Scarlet Heart Ryeo. It made me fall in love with the first few episodes. I watched it the whole day and night and it made me bawl my eyes out when I finished it. Haha! But Scarlet Heart is still more heartbreaking. This one is bittersweet. But both will make you cry and heartbroken. Haha! 

Started the year right by watching a great drama! Though it made me cry, I still like it and I would highly recommend it! ✨ This is a MUST WATCH! ✨

I am from the Philippines and I was able to watch it on VIU. 

What have you watched so far for the first week of this year? I just got back from watching and reviewing kdramas. Comment your recommendations, please! 


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