K-Drama: Trapped in the Forbidden Spells of Soul-Switching

by Michelle Li

Alchemy of Souls | 환혼 (2022)


If there’s one k-drama genre I don’t really enjoy watching, it’s fantasy 🧚‍♀️ But Alchemy of Souls has been the top watched K-drama in Korea since the very first episode and it’s continually topped number one in ratings 😲 I thought I would just watch one episode to see what the hype was all about, but I was left hooked! It’s written by the Hong sisters, who in Korea are one of the most famous k-drama writers, having been a part of k-dramas like You’re Beautiful and Hotel Del Luna. They are known for their quirky characters while incorporating hilarious incidents woven throughout each episode that makes their k-dramas the most entertaining to watch. And they have done it yet again, with Alchemy of Souls! 


Alchemy of Souls is set in a fictional country called “Daeho'' with young mages taking the lead. In the first episode, we are introduced to Naksu (Go Yoon-jung), considered to be an elite mage because of her powerful abilities, in a battle with Songrim (a town in Daeho) soldiers and Park Jin (Yu Jun-sang), one of the four powerful mages of Daeho. She becomes injured and is unable to attack them any further, so she enters a nearby town and decides the only way she can escape from her is to hide... but by shifting her soul into another body. Naksu’s soul switches into Mu-deok’s (Jung So-min) body, and unlike Naksu, Mu-deok is super weak and also blind. Naksu wakes up upon this soul-shifting and realises that she can see but all her powers cannot be used without her sword. Unfortunately, the sword is lying next to Naksu's dead body which has been taken away by Park Jin 😬


As a way to find money to travel around and seek out the location of her sword, she meets Jang Uk (Lee Jae-wook). Jang Uk has a complicated history in which he was born out of soul-shifting. His father, Jang Gang (Joo Sang-wook), another of the most powerful mages, was asked by the king to shift souls with him. The king, being very ill, but wanting an heir to the throne before he passed away, decided that soul-shifting was the only way. Eventually, Jang Uk is born with everyone thinking that it’s Jang Gang’s son when in fact, we know that it’s technically, the king’s. No one in Daeho can know that Jang Uk has the rightful heir to the throne so to protect his safety Jang Gang has blocked Jang Uk’s “gate of energy.” This means not only can he not use magic but has forbidden anyone in Daeho from opening this “gate.” This actually makes him the weakest mage in Daeho but Jang Uk will do anything to get rid of the “gate of energy.” Jang Uk soon finds out that Naksu has shifted souls with Mu-deok and they soon realise they both need each other. Naksu needs Jang Uk to help find her sword so she can regain her powers, and Jang Uk needs Naksu as she is the only one that can open up his “gate of energy.” 


Upon these two characters, we are also introduced to the other families in Daeho, more specifically the young mages of the family. They are known as the four seasons in Daeho: Park Dang Gu (Yoo In-soo), Seo Yul (Hwang Min-hyun), Jin Cho Yeon (Arin), and of course, Jang Uk. Naksu also realises that these mages are descendants of the people that assassinated her parents when she was younger. This gives her more reason to stick close to Jang Uk, the families, and find her sword so she can finally pursue revenge. With so many characters and each having a connection with one another, it’s sure a k-drama that won’t bore you. Upon the young mages will they be able to overcome their own ill-fates and will Naksu and Jang Uk be able to help each other gain their magic powers back? Click here to watch and if you have already, let’s patiently wait together for SEASON 2 🥲

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