TV: Is My Holo Love any good?

Minor spoilers coming up.

My Holo Love is a scifi-romance series made for Netflix in 2020. It stars Ko Sung-hee as the heroine and Yoon Hyun-min as two of the heroes. Choi Yeo-jin has a noteworthy role as the heroes’ supporter.

This South Korean drama has a very original premise. A shy office worker, So-yeon (Ko), receives a pair of high tech glasses that allow her to see a holographic AI (Yoon). The AI, called Holo, is closely modelled on his handsome creator (also Yoon). When romance develops, who are the true lovers? (Somehow, I doubt this will end in a thruple.)

A very striking thing about My Holo Love is that So-yeon has face blindness*. This medical condition, also known as prosopagnosia, impairs the ability to recognise faces. As the drama shows, face blindness causes major difficulties. So-yeon is isolated at work before Holo’s arrival because she’s unable to recognise her colleagues when they’re away from their desks. They don’t know about her face blindness and are quite unpleasant towards her.

Face blindness can occur after a brain injury such as a stroke, or be present since birth and run in families. I’m not clear why So-yeon is face blind as I’m following the story through the English subtitles. With subtitles one never knows if the translators have confused words such as cognitive and psychological.

I’m only half way through watching the show so I don’t know how the story ends. The way it’s unfolding, I fear they’ll cure So-yeon’s face blindness with the power of love. I really hope the writers don’t pull such a cheap trick. My Holo Love otherwise does a great job of raising awareness of the condition.

In all good romances everyone has problems to overcome. The heroes of My Holo Love have their difficulties too. Holo’s conflicts are fairly straightforward; he’s an AI who doesn’t fully understand himself yet.

Holo’s lookalike, Nan-do, is a ginormous pile of emotional baggage. Traumatised by his mother’s suicide**, Nan-do is adopted overseas. As a teenager he successfully fakes his own death yet somehow builds a successful tech company. All the while he resists getting close to anyone. Nan-do thinks he needs to save So-yeon, but I guess in the end she’ll save him.

So, is My Holo Love worth watching? I think it’s very good. The characters are likeable, the story is mostly unpredictable and a lot happens in each episode.

I’m fascinated by any story about an AI’s understanding of itself and of human relationships. My Holo Love certainly doesn’t disappoint on that front. If you don’t like romance but do like science fiction, you might want to give this show a try.

I’ll carry on watching and keep my fingers crossed that the story doesn’t go in the wrong direction with So-yeon’s face blindness. You’re welcome to leave a comment if you have any thoughts on the show.

*The National Health Service has information about face blindness on its website.

**Be warned that there are flashback scenes of little Nan-do crying near his mother’s blanket-covered body.

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