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Korean drama fans are hooked on Netflix‘s Twenty-Five Twenty-One February drama staring Nam Joo-hyuk and Kim Tae-ri. The K-drama depicts the love lives of five leading characters through the years 1998 and 2021. The storyline focuses mostly on the two leading characters who go through different journeys in their lives but might spark a romance. A fan theory says the song used in Twenty-Five Twenty-One’s main trailer hints at what could have happened between them.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains mild spoilers for Twenty-Five Twenty-One.]

Actors Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk in 'Twenty-Five Twenty-One' K-drama and theory sitting together eating ice cream.
Actors Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk in ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ K-drama | via Netflix

‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ storyline begins in the present

In the current day, a young girl runs away to her grandmother’s home after arguing with her mother, Na Hee-do (Kim), about quitting ballet. While in her mother’s childhood room, she finds her diary that could shed some light on her mother’s past. Twenty-Five Twenty-One starts to tell the story of Hee-do, a high schooler, and fencer, in 1998.

She comes from a well-off background, but the K-drama alluded that her father is no longer in the picture. When the IMF crisis hits Korea, her school cuts the fencing program and her dreams. She often feels alone in her journey as her mother wants her to quit the sport.

On the other end is Baek Yi-jin (Nam), the son of a chaebol family who goes bankrupt in the crisis. Yi-jin’s life is put on hold as he works various jobs to try and help his family. Together, they form a bond and friendship despite their four-year age difference. Twenty-Five Twenty-One chronicles their stories and a possible romance.

A fan theory suggests ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ trailer song inspired the storyline

In the coming-of-age K-drama main trailer, fans can hear the song “25,21” sung by artist Jaurim. A fan on Reddit believed the use of the song was more than just a coincidence regarding the K-drama’s storyline. A translated version of the Korean song might give away what audiences can expect.

“Okay, possible spoiler, but someone translated the lyrics of Jaurim’s “25, 21″ song, and here they are in English. ‘I thought it would last forever’ & ‘I can’t hold on to the scattering pieces of you’ don’t seem to bode well for the relationship!” said the fan.

The K-drama’s trailer and events in the present timeline suggest Yi-jin and Hee-do go through a rocky relationship. The trailer has Hee-do monologue that they fell in love at the age of 21 and 25. The fan’s theory also suggests the song for Twenty-Five Twenty-One gives away when Hee-do and Yi-jin part ways.

“I’m wondering why that particular age (25,21) they were was so impactful that it became the show title. Possibly because they separated after that year? And given the song was recorded in 2013, it may well have inspired the writer to write this show. I.e., sad, youthful love as a key theme,” said the fan. How accurate is the theory?

Small details in the K-drama allude to a complex relationship


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With only a few episodes having premiered on Netflix, there is a lot for fans to dissect about the storyline. The fan theory for Twenty-Five Twenty-One suggests something happens between Hee-do and Yi-jin when they are 21 and 25. This might be true. In the trailer, Yi-jin comes face to face with Hee-do in what seems to be college.

It is a possibility for Yi-jin to still be in college at 25 as he gave up going to school when his family went bankrupt. Fans are aware their relationship went through something drastic as Hee-do says they fell in love then. In the present day, Hee-do’s daughter asks her grandmother who Yi-jin is in a group photo of her mother as a teenager.

Hee-do’s daughter also has a different last name, suggesting Yi-jin may not be her father. The storyline of Twenty-Five Twenty-One might take on the route of Yi-jin being Hee-do’s first love that did not work out and having some resentment as adults.