‘Love Alarm’: Inside its Promised Upgrades and a Ringing Focus On Complex Choices and Consequences


Netflix original K-Drama, Love Alarm, is back for its second season. Fans of the series are eager to know if we’re finally getting the answer we’re all waiting for: Who will Kim Jo-jo choose?

The premise to Netflix’s Love Alarm, inspired by the popular webtoon by Chon Kye-Young, is easy enough to follow. A web developer creates an ingenious app that rings if anyone within 10 meters likes you, and the world within South Korea’s most technologically-advanced city runs wild. It’s a rom-com trope, given a futuristic lens. After all, who wouldn’t want to know that someone’s secretly in love with you without all the complications of modern love?

But for the series’ main cast, led by Kim So-Hyun, Jung Ga-Ram, and Song Kang, love is bound to get even more complicated when technology is thrown in the mix.

Following the whirlwind events of the first season, charting the main characters’ journey from high school sweethearts to adult lovers, the series is back four years after the original events to play with the latest feature of the Love Alarm app. It can now tell users if there’s a possibility that someone will ring your alarm and fall in love with you, and if someone never will.

This new update, added to the intensity and complexity of the love triangle of Kim Jo-jo, and best friends Lee Hye-Young and Hwang Sun-Oh, can either straighten up the series’ biggest question, or make it all the more entangled as it already is.

Seen through the lens of a rom-com fan, the question remains, will Team Sun-Oh get their second chance? Or will Team Hye-Young finally earn Jo-jo’s love? But looking at all of it now and peeling of its layers, Love Alarm, stands for something beyond romance.

Kim So-Hyun, Jung Ga-Ram, and Song Kang. Image courtesy of Netflix.

“In the second season, the characters are affected by the updated and new version of the application. Now with the app 2.0, there are decisions that you are informed [of] through the app, and what follows the information that the app gives you. That’s really what you should be looking out for: the stories that unfold because of those decisions made. I think that’s something you’ll definitely be interested to find out,” teased Director Kim Jin-u at the series’ regional press conference before the series premiere.

In fact, it’s entirely our general curiosity to know what happens when technology attempts to predict love that perhaps has elevated the series to such global heights in popularity. It’s a concept that we all would likely be intrigued to explore and dissect, and the series does such a good job at tackling what this would entail for humanity with a heartwarming and emotional angle for its main story.

Kim So-hyun.
Image courtesy of Netflix

Jung Ga-ram and Song Kang.
Image courtesy of Netflix

Since the series was launched in 2019, the Love Alarm cast has immediately felt the love for the drama all over the world, particularly with a platform as democratizing as Netflix.

Kim So-Hyun, who plays the character of Kim Jo-jo (a young girl who remains loving and caring against all odds), shared the sheer surprise of amassing global fans and how they would regularly come up to her to ask her who Jo-jo will end up with in the next season.

Song Kang, who portrays Hwang Sun-Oh (the typical popular guy in high school who comes from a wealthy, but loveless, family), also grew in popularity worldwide exponentially since the series premiered, with his social media followers growing by 25 times. The young actor shared that the news left him surprised, shaken, and unsure if it was reality or not: “I couldn’t imagine it. I wanted to know how it felt like, and I still couldn’t believe it, really. It doesn’t feel real, still, and I’m very grateful.”

Song Kang
Image courtesy of Netflix

Image courtesy of Netflix

Jung Ga-Ram, who plays the character of Lee Hye-Young (Sun-Oh’s best friend turned rival for their mutual love for Jo-jo) joined in at the recent press conference virtually. But his cast mates shared their excitement with working with him again, highlighting that their chemistry as a trio has ultimately grown in this season.

“Now that we’ve worked on Season 2, we’ve become a lot closer with each other. And there was great chemistry, and we got along with each other very well, so it was a lot of fun,” Song Kang expressed.

Now, in this new season, the whole team believes that a more mature set of characters will meet the audience, having grown from the events of its previous successful run. Trailing four long years after the original story unfolded, questions still loom in the air, with threats in relationships involving the series’ beloved characters.

Jung Ga-ram
Image courtesy of Netflix

Image courtesy of Netflix

In a massive step towards finding “the answer,” So-Hyun shared Jo-jo’s regrets about “shield”-ing her true feelings in the first season, and how this would impact her current disposition about love. Trying hard not to spoil too much, she teased that “in the second season, the frustration because of having used the shield leads to Jo-jo taking different actions. It leads to her personal growth and development.”

This shield is a special feature granted to Jo-jo’s Love Alarm in the first season that prevents her from ringing anyone’s app—a much-needed feature at the time for the distressed high school student, hiding from her feelings of love and pain.

“Jo-jo doesn’t know how she feels as well, because her feelings are [also] guarded to herself, because of the shield,” she opined.

Kim So-hyun
Image courtesy of Netflix

Image courtesy of Netflix

These complicated emotions run across all the characters’ story arcs in the second season, with each one having to make difficult decisions surrounding love, friendship, and everything in between. Because of this, Director Kim Jin-u involved the cast as much as possible in giving directions:

“The reason why I tried to share so much conversations with them was because I wanted to share the anxiety, the loneliness, and all the feelings that the characters were going through. Because I knew that it was the actors themselves who knew best about the characters.”

He continued, “So, I didn’t want to give them guidance. Rather, I wanted to receive their energy, and then channel it again into the series. It wasn’t that I was trying to make requests from them. They had it all inside themselves. I just tried to help to bring it out.”

Image courtesy of Netflix

Image courtesy of Netflix

Moreover, the acclaimed director also emphasized how the season seeks to focus more on the process of decision-making, and the weight of the choices we make in life:

“Making choices, and making decisions—and that’s not about the ‘ultimate decision’—but about how we make so many different decisions throughout life. I think, with every choice you make, the excitement, the concerns you have, and what way these characters express those emotions and growth, that will be definitely something you [should] look out for [in this season].”

Given all that the cast and director revealed, the excitement surrounding Love Alarm‘s latest installment is definitely palpable from the team itself, and the social media hype it has received since the trailer was dropped a few weeks prior.

Image courtesy of Netflix

Image courtesy of Netflix

Fans of the series are eager to know what happens with the complex relationships within this triangle, and outside of it too. As all three main characters are plagued with difficult decisions and situations with several people in their lives. From romance, to friendship, and to family dynamics, Love Alarm is definitely packed with all the complications of human relationships, with and without the help of technology.

Now that the series is fully streaming on Netflix, the only thing left to do is to watch it unfold before our eyes, and pray to the Love Alarm gods that our favorite characters don’t get hurt too much in the process.

Image courtesy of Netflix

Image courtesy of Netflix

In the end, Love Alarm presents us, the audience, with something to think about regarding our decisions on love and relationships.

After all, if Love Alarm was a real thing, will it be worth all the complications from next-level predictions just to have assurance in love?