Disclaimer: Although I love friendship and even go along with romantic feelings characters grow for AI robots, I am not comfortable with physical intimacy like kissing between human and AI robots. I also don’t like sexually suggestive remarks about the bodies of AI robots or other characters sexualizing them in anyway. AI is very different from basic robots. Their processors are programmed to develop in a manner similar to that of the human brain. As we can see from these futuristic AI robots, they are a lot more than just machines.
Hi 🙂 I’ll be doing some comparative reviews of Kdramas with similar themes or genres so I hope you enjoy them and get some good recommendations. First up, let’s talk about the two AI robot Kdramas that have created a buzz. I’m Not a Robot aired in December, 2017 and Are You Human Too? just ended in August, 2018. I’m going to give my ratings and conclusions first for those who don’t want any spoilers.
I Am Not A Robot
This has become my second most favourite drama after Kill Me, Heal Me. The only reason it’s not getting 5/5 is because of the slight lag in between. I haven’t fallen this hard for a male character since Shin Woo of You’re Beautiful. This was my first time watching the lead cast act and I was quite happy with their performances. It was refreshing not to have really popular actors. The story is about an heir who has a serious illness linked to his childhood trauma. The heroine is an aspiring inventor who gets caught up with him because the AI robot he buys has her face. Actually, she’s the ex-girlfriend of the regretful engineer who made the AI robot, Aji 3. Basically, it’s a reveal-based plot. There are near misses and a few plot circles but they were handled well in my opinion. The script won my heart especially the dialogues of the male lead. It’s a very meaningful drama about mental health, trust issues, human-AI interaction, friends, family and love.
My Rating: 4.75/5
Are You Human Too?
I was looking forward to this drama a lot since the teasers but it was a serious let down for me since the beginning. The first few episodes are pretty disastrous and I’ll tell you why. The writing is just all over the place. The editing is horrible. The direction seems like that of a school play. I don’t know if the production was rushed or the writers, director and editors couldn’t communicate well. The result is quite disappointing. This does have a reveal angle but the plot is more about the destination then it is about the reveal since the main character is an AI robot, Nam Sin 3. He’s just adorable and kept me hanging on to this drama. The story is about an AI robot that is made to replace the estranged son of a scientist who has just lost her husband in a mysterious suicide. The human Nam Sin is the only heir of a huge group of companies run ruthlessly by his grandfather.
My Rating: 2.5/5
Aji 3 vs. Nam Sin 3
Nam Sin has a more definitive personality and decision-making power. His programming is pretty advanced obviously since he has an insane number of servers supporting him. He was made by his “mother” because she missed her real son. He even has the same name. David accepted the funding from Nam Sin’s grandfather because he wanted to expand his capabilities as an assistant, manager and developer for technological projects.
Aji 3 was meant to be a human companion but not just for a single person. Her purpose is a lot more intimate towards humans and she’s ideally suited for humans with social anxiety disorders. She’s like a caretaker for those who are confined indoors so she can act as a nurse too. The fact that Aji 3 has Ji A’s face is only because of her creator’s regretful past with his ex-girlfriend. Nam Sin the hero but Aji 3 is a secondary character and we don’t see much of her. The funny thing is that Ji A is pretending to be Aji 3 while Nam Sin 3 is pretending to be human Nam Sin. I liked them both but I liked Nam Sin 3 more simply because he actually has wise perspectives to offer about humans. This is reason I started watching Are You Human Too?
Nam Sin vs. Min Kyu
Min Kyu is such a powerful character because of his script and emotional depth. I think it’s a great opportunity for people to observe a mentally ill person closely at their most vulnerable. I love him so much ❤ He’s beyond lonely, awkward and surrounded by snakes. On top of that, he lives knowing that he could die from an accidental human touch any second. In the beginning, I thought he violent and rude towards Ji A but he was literally fighting for his life which Ji A didn’t know so I let it go. His growth is just phenomenal. From self imposed seclusion to forgiving those who have betrayed him and even accepting them into his little world, Min Kyu’s journey is heart warming.
Okay, so I know that Nam Sin 3 is neither presented as a hero nor a villain but has some sort of redemption arc which I am completely against. Initially, I hated him A LOT. I wanted him to die. He assaults So Bong in public and mostly gets away with it. I agree that So Bong committed a crime but he hit her without any reason and no one really defended her. He falls into a coma and everyone forgets what a jerk he is. Even So Bong decides to help him as if he deserves any pity. I changed my mind about him once he woke up. Nam Sin really spiced up the drama! He was volatile and that made for some exciting scenarios. He has no regard for human life. The complete opposite of Nam Sin 3, I would say. He tries to kill So Bong and his grandfather but in the end, he’s supposedly one of the good guys. HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN? Sorry but he should either have died or rotted in jail along with his grandfather. I personally think the writers were on crack. While we’re at it, the writers completely ignored commonsense for their scenes. So Bong never needs medical assistance after almost being choked to death.
So Bong vs. Ji A
I quite liked Ji A even though she fooled Min Kyu to earn money for her project. In her mind, he’s the arrogant heir who doesn’t care to look at those beneath him. It was nice to see her prejudices melt away as she learned who Min Kyu really is as a person. I don’t think people give her enough credit for being a strong person. She loves in Kyu but she hides her identity from him to keep him safe and healthy. Aji 3 is not supposed to cry so she keeps her poker face on while acting like she’s not the Aji 3 he’s grown to love. Her passion for invention and determination to chase her dreams in the face of opposition is sweet and inspiring. That’s something everyone can relate to. I loved the concept of her product.
I enjoyed So Bong being a good advisor to Nam Sin 3. She cares about him after the initial shock wears off and she is the only one who puts him first. She always encourages him to make his own decisions and tells him that he’s not just a means to an end. I understand how she’s suffered from injustice because of the privileged class and isn’t particularly fond of them. So Bong is a strong voice of sense and justice in a world where greed turns people made. She doesn’t care what people think and goes for what feels right in her heart.
Are You Human Too? has a few villains and all of them are related to Nam Sin’s family business. I hated his grandfather and I am still salty that karma didn’t come for him the way it should have. He’s basically the reason Nam Sin’s father died, he was separated from his mother, Young Hoon suffers abuse despite being capable, Jong Gil turned out to be such a monster and David had to keep the research funding a secret from Ro Ra. Jong Gil is despicable but I enjoyed his scheming. I’ve already talked about Nam Sin. He is a villain in my book. I have to mention Ye Na. She has a disgusting obsession with Nam Sin and that’s the only reason she offers him any help. Basically, she’s a twisted predator and doesn’t really care about Nam Sin. Ye Na clearly tells him that she only wants his body next to her. I hate Ro Ra so I am going to include her here too. She pretends as if she doesn’t have a choice when Nam Sin is kidnapped (those scenes were so awkward btw). Ro Ra only has one son but instead of looking for ways to rescue or comfort him (a little boy who has just lost his father!) she just replaces him with a robot. She’s extremely selfish and keeps trying to keep an innocent righteous face by making others feel guilty. Love it when David calls her out. That’s child negligence which is a crime under child abuse. As you can tell, the moral sense of the writers wasn’t terribly high when they wrote this drama. People get away with public assault, attempted murder, actual murder, fraud and what not.
I Am Not A Robot also has a sad story connected with the hero’s childhood. Nam Sin and Min Kyu suffer similarly because they are heirs. Nam Sin’s adult asshole-ry is excused by the writers because he was betrayed by his family as a child. Min Kyu develops a deadly physical allergy due to the mental trauma he goes through in losing his parents and childhood friend in a single go. Yoo Cheol himself is manipulated by his father as a child and drifts apart from Min Kyu when he shuts out everyone. I wish he had tried to make things right once he grew up but that was sadly, pretty late. His father is just plain trash. There are two other sets of villains here: the people who want to kidnap Aji 3 and the clumsy wannabe thugs who actually end up helping Aji 3 because she fulfils her purpose. That was cute to see ❤
The secondary characters of I Am Not A Robot are well written and enjoyable. The scientist gang is quite adorable even if they are amazing human beings. I think Baek Gyun wasn’t good enough for Ji A and he also ignored Pi when it was obvious how much she desired his attention. Pi is bae ❤ Smart, sassy and cute! Hoktal and Ssanip are quite a pair 😀 I always enjoy such friendships. It even passed the cursed test of a love triangle! Sun Hye is another character I loved. She’s so funny and savage but wise too. I want to be her friend. There’s not much to say about Ji A’s family but I liked their inclusion. I don’t like when writers ignore the existence of families of the MCs.
How to go about this for Are You Human Too? The writing was a hot mess so it’s a bit hard to talk about secondary characters. Young Hoon is so frustrating like just get out of there! I literally thought he was in love with Nam Sin at so many points. Honestly, Nam Sin doesn’t deserve as a friend or ally which is why I am glad Young Hoon drew the line when he’d had enough. David is an interesting character though he low key works for his selfish interests. He’s reliable and defends Nam Sin 3. Ho Yeon is someone I felt equal amounts of pity and exasperation for. Her role in Nam Sin’s childhood is conveniently left out meh. I quite enjoyed Reporter Jo but could she have kept her curiosity about Nam Sin 3’s body to herself? Ugh. While So Bong’s father and friends aren’t perfect, I like how supportive they are (though her father didn’t defend her once he found out that she’d been filming Nam Sin secretly).
I Am Not A Robot wins hands down because Ji A and Min Kyu’s relationship was just ASJHHJSDF especially since we had fake Aji 3. It was so good. What can I say? Fake Aji 3 was practically ranked below a robot vacuum cleaner if I’m not wrong. Min Kyu learns to live and love again because of her. Their friendship grows simultaneously in three forms. To Min Kyu, Ji A is actually three people all of whom he comes to appreciate. This is one of those romances you have to see yourself to understand why it’s so beautiful. Min Kyu confronting Ji A though…breathtaking ❤
AI robot falling in love with a human and having his feeling reciprocated ❤ This is one part the writers did a good job with. Nam Sin 3’s errors were super adorable! Yeah, I’m not crazy about the kissing but I’ll ignore that for now. They both defend and support each other. So Bong is his first friend and then his girlfriend. I enjoyed watching their relationship blossom. I’m glad the writers used this to show what it really means to be a human and how robots can hold more value than humans if the latter lets go of those important traits.
That’s all for today, see you next time! Let me know which drama you preferred and why 🙂