Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 5/5
From Save Me and Search through to Tunnel and Class Of Lies, Korean broadcast channel OCN is well known for delivering some of the more unique and intriguing Asian dramas that buck the trend and try something new. While it doesn’t always pay off, the moments that do crackle and shine. One of those examples is that of The Uncanny Counter.
Based on the web comic Kyeongirowoon Somoon, this fantasy/action hybrid feels like a heady blend of Mystic Pop-Up Bar, Search and The Avengers. The result is a drama that’s big on action, full of dramatic plot beats and armed with an intriguing enough story to keep you watching right through to the end.
The main premise here revolves around a group of Noodle Bar owners known as The Counters. They’ve been chosen by spirits within the realm of Yung to hunt down demonic forces on Earth and free the evil spirit dwelling within unsuspecting humans. These spirits are separated into levels, with the higher levels playing host to some very dangerous spirits.
One of those happens to be a guy called Cheong-Shin, a powerful level 3 spirit that becomes integral to the main plot. This all begins with a breathtaking chase across rooftops, consequently ending in one of the Counters dying. Unsure where else to turn, the group eventually rest their hopes on the capable shoulders of a teenage boy called Mun.
Blinded by emotion over his dead parents, Mun dives head-first into training with the Counters and lets his emotions get the better of him.
With strict rules around not messing in human affairs and to do right by others, Mun finds himself caught in the middle of an internal struggle as he sets out to find who was responsible for killing his parents while following the noble rules set by the Counters. When he uncovers the shocking truth of what really happened, this struggle is pushed to breaking point.
While Mun’s storyline is interesting, the other members of the group are given subplots that are equally as endearing too. Ha-Na is the tough-girl of the group and doesn’t like being touched. However, she does hold some secrets about her past she hasn’t told anyone yet.
Mo-Tak is the super strong tank, able to brush aside punches and kicks with a simple grunt and a wave of the hand. He’s hit with a bout of amnesia though; a result of falling off a rooftop on the exact same day Mun’s parents were killed. Are these two events linked?
Rounding out the group is Mae-Ok, the caring, empathetic cook who has some pretty handy skills in healing.
While the character drama is well-written, the stand out element of this falls to the action. There’s a whole array of big skirmishes and one-on-one grudge matches that feel like they’ve been ripped right from an action anime like Dragon Ball Z – minus the drawn out monologues!
It helps too that the action itself is incredibly well shot and there are some really diverse fight sequences too. One warehouse skirmish is shot completely from Mun’s point of view while another early on uses large, sweeping cameras on cranes to film an expansive cat and mouse chase across rooftops. These moments crop up throughout the show and stylistically, The Uncanny Counter makes great use of its run-time to deliver some visually appealing set pieces.
When a second season was announced early on, screenwriter Yeo Ji-Na left the show. This caused the production team to scramble for a replacement, which resulted in a slight tonal shift for the remaining two weeks of the show, which were written by a different writer. Thankfully it’s not too noticeable.
Overall, The Uncanny Counter is a highly enjoyable, action-packed Korean drama with some memorable characters and tight-knit writing. This is easily one of the best Korean dramas of 2021 so far and well worth a watch.