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Netflix’s Twenty-Five Twenty-One has fans invested in its unique take on a budding relationship between its two leading characters. The February Korean drama tells the story of Na Hee-do (Kim Tae-ri), a fencing prodigy in 1998, and her meeting a young man named Baek Yi-jin (Nam Joo-hyuk). Fans see how both characters’ lives change from the late 90s to the present in the K-drama. But Twenty-Five Twenty-One fans are uncomfortable with the possible age gap relationship that could occur between Yi-jin and Hee-do.

Characters Hee-do and Yi-jin in 'Twenty-Five Twenty-One' age-gap relationship in comic book shop.
Characters Hee-do and Yi-jin in ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ | via Netflix

Na Hee-do finds companionship in Baek Yi-jin in ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’

The two leading characters cross paths due to the IMF crisis in the late 90s. Baek Yi-jin came from a respected and rich family until his father and company filed for bankruptcy during the crisis. His family separates, putting his education and life on hold, and Yi-jin works odd jobs to make money.

Hee-do is also affected by the IMF crisis when her school eliminates the fencing program and hinders her career from being a pro. The two characters meet when Yi-jin delivers Hee-do the morning paper and works at her favorite comic shop. They become friends and promise to uplift each other through the bad times. But the Twenty-Five Twenty-One trailer and story allude to the characters possibly falling in love, and fans are not too happy with an age gap relationship.

There is a four-year age gap between the main characters of ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’

Fans of the romance-comedy K-drama are not pleased with the possibility of a romantic relationship between the characters. At the beginning of the story, in 1998, they have a four-year age gap. Hee-do is 18, and Yi-jin is 22. Fans love their friendship but hope not to see it develop into a romance.

At the end of Twenty-Five Twenty-One Episode 4, Hee-do and Yi-jin seem to spark affection for each other. There is no denying that Yi-jin looks as Hee-do differently than before.

But according to Koreaboo, one fan explained on Twitter, “I think I’ll be dropping #TwentyFiveTwentyOne should they proceed with a romantic relationship with the leads. It would so much interesting if they were to be just platonic soulmates like in “My Mister,” considering the age gap.”

Other fans feel their relationship is more centered on being friends and what it means for each of them in the long run, not necessarily a romance. But the storyline is still uncertain as Yi-jin once told Hee-do, “High schoolers should date other high schoolers. Grown-ups should date other grown-ups.” There is still the rest of their lives for fans to explore.

Fans of ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ are in it for the life journey not the romance


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Many fans on Reddit agree that Hee-do and Yi-jin embarking on a romantic relationship is not necessary. While seeing the two characters spark a possible relationship in the late 90s, the life lessons they learn from each other is more important.

“I’m also not bothered by the fact that Hee-do and Yijin might not end up together in the end because I’m watching this for the journey. People come into and out of our lives all the time. Some may make a lot more impact than others, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay. How all these characters grow, face their problems, and lean on each other through the good and bad times is what I’m here for,” said one fan on Reddit.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One is told through the perspective of Hee-do’s daughter in the present time while reading her mother’s diary. Clues in the present allude to Hee-do and Yi-jin having gone through tough times growing up but possibly meeting again. One fan on Reddit believes they will reconnect as adults. The idea of “the right person at the wrong time.”