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The Uncanny Counter (2020) Initial Reaction
This is a superhero drama I really didn't know I needed. And I'm happy to say... it's brimming with potential. What a title... an obvious nod to The X-Men. And why not? I'm also thinking part Grimm (US tv show) part Sun Wu Kong. Let's throw Mystic Pop-up Bar into the mix. Whatever it reminds me of, it is super super good.
Two episodes in it gives me Spiderman vibes. (I could make a joke about Spidey Senses tingling but I won't) No surprise why. A high school kid living with his grandparents suddenly finds himself bestowed with extraordinary strength and power in order to fight demons. The moment the intro came on I had an inkling that the other teenager that lives with me would like this... an unabashed fan of My Hero Academia... and she does! The first thing she did afterwards was to go hunting for the webtoon. She also made the comment that this is good possibly because it is based on a webtoon. Perhaps. Or maybe because the cartoonist has a hand in the writing of this.
I'm glad to say that the drama grabbed me right from the intro. Which seldom happens. But everything about the first couple of episodes was pitch-perfect. The world-building, the set-up, introduction to the team... is absolutely on the money. The kid playing So Mun looked familiar and so I looked him up... and of course... he's the assistant operations manager from Hot Stove League. The boyishness is effortless and he fits the role to a T. The important thing is that he is convincing as the titular character as he navigates his life in school with the incessant bullying as well as the secret trips out with the demon-hunting team.
Yes, why uncanny counter? In this universe a "counter" is someone who battles evil spirits who have possessed murderous humans. Counters are born when individuals in a coma are saved from the brink of death. They have three times the strength of an ordinary human being but it seems that Mun might even exceed that. Hence, "uncanny". Like every superhero, he too has a sob story. When he was 11, seven years earlier, his parents died when a truck of doom headed straight for their car. Mum and Dad were cops so yes... it's all very suspicious. Before their deaths they received a call from another cop warning them and insisting that they had to survive. That detective died while fending off grotesque looking attackers.
Mun is left crippled in one leg after the collision which sees him hobbling around with a walking stick. A good student academically, he is also a talented artist and is developing his own superhero manga with his longtime friends. Grandma has developed dementia and can be a handful while he helps Grandpa manage her at home.
It seems that Mun has inherited his parents' sense of civic responsibility and is a kind-hearted lad. Even before he gets his powers, he already has all the qualities of a superhero. He is polite, considerate, fiercely protective of his friends, stands up to bullies and is drawn towards the vulnerable and the underdog. He cares and is willing to put his money where his mouth is. In the introductory arc to the character, confronts the school's biggest bullies (two are sons of politicians) even while he has no idea of what he's capable of. The kid has plenty of pluck. On top of that he also demonstrates good detective instincts. Not sure if that's genetic.
There is a lot to like about this show. Aside from the male lead, the female leads from Team Counters are great too. I love the fact that an ahjumma can be a badass superhero as well as a mentor is heartwarming and gratifying. It's a great team with varying skill sets that they've put together and while they're strict about training Mun, they're delightful as individuals and supportive of him.
One more thing: Love the red cheesy tracksuits. They're memorable, to say the least. ;)