Answer Me 1988 Breakout Star Ryu Jun Yeol Paired with Kim Woo Bin as the Atypical Goodlooking K-actor


The first time I laid eyes on Kim Woo Bin a few years ago, I thought he was one of the oddest looking Korean entertainers to come around. His hulking frame and strong facial features took awhile to get used to, but once I saw his charisma through his acting then it was easy to get used to his unique looks. I have a feeling the same sentiments are pouring in for recent breakout newbie actor Ryu Jun Yeol, starring in his first major K-drama as one of the male leads in Answer Me 1988.

This week the K-media did an article comparing Ryu Jun Yeol’s physical features as similar to Kim Woo Bin, both men have single eye lids and strong chins creating a more masculine look in a sea of pretty flower boy types. The article also praises both men for their height and wide shoulders, saying they represent a refreshing break from the recent K-ent norms of male good looks. What do you guys think? I’m still banking AM1988 for a marathon so have no clue about Ryu Jun Yeol’s appeal as an actor, but is it similar to Kim Woo Bin’s acting style in any way?


Answer Me 1988 Breakout Star Ryu Jun Yeol Paired with Kim Woo Bin as the Atypical Goodlooking K-actor — 45 Comments

  1. He is very good is all I’m saying. And I just likened him to Kim Woo Bin just a few days ago after seeing his very nerdy youth pictures.

    However, seeing him next to Woo Bin in these set of pictures he looks fresh and naive and young even tough Kim Woo Bin is actually 3 years younger. Must be the longer experience in the industry that makes Woo Bin look more sophisticated and worldly.

    Love then both!

  2. I saw KWB in school and heirs, while RJR only in replay 1998. I love both, but i think RJR is better actor, and i don’t think he has star aura like KWB does.

  3. RJY is definitely the better actor. I think his appeal lies in his acting + amazingly awesome character while KWB’s appeal lies in his real-life persona and charisma.

    Hoping great things ahead or RJY.

  4. Aww, yeaaaa! RJY is definitely the better actor of the two. His eyes speak volumes. I’d say KWB was a successful model prior to making his foray in acting so he appeared to be more self-aware.

  5. Fact: Answer series doesn’t need flower boys appeal! All actors and actress who starred in this series got low expectations at first, nor do they look too pretty, too handsome but they all wowed everyone in charisma and acting! So refreshing watching this kind of dramas. Kudos to PDnim and sriptwriters! tvN — trully contents trend leader!

  6. i find woobin’s chin/jaw is his weirdest facial feature. how come his chin is that large? guess the rumor that he made jaw surgery is true.

    • He had an underbite correction, which is an actual medical procedure. His chin and jaw are far from being the pointy V shape that’s the trend in Korea, so the claim of plastic surgery is a bit far-fetched.

  7. i find woobin’s chin/jaw is his weirdest facial feature. how come his chin is that large? guess the rumor that he made jaw surgery is true. all in all, i dont find him good looking. but he got his own aura.

    • What on earth do you mean? He looks just fine – a nice, manly jaw. You don’t want a man with a jaw shaved so pointy that if he rests his chin on your shoulder, you’re in pain.

  8. RJY is a better a much better actor than KWB and this coming from a Woob fan. RJY says so much in his silent moments. AM 1988 is pretty long episode hour count to marathon so good luck to koala on that. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and fall for him and his character like many others have.

    • Well i don’t get KWB vibe on RJY. Also i’m Glad to see i’m not the only one who thinks that Ryu Joon Yeol silent moments in Reply 1988 conveys so many emotions with just his facial features alone. So i do get where his breakout-star is coming from and why people easily fell for him.

  9. I don’t think their acting styles are comparable. I always found Kim Woo Bin to be a refreshing actor, especially since I’ve seen him already in quite a few dramas/shows (A Gentleman’s Dignity, School 2013, The Heirs, Twenty). So far Ryu Jun Yeol is still playing the typical male lead with the tough exterior and a soft heart – only, that he doesn’t have the usual flower boy looks of leads who typically play that role.

    But it’s true, I felt the Kim Woo Bin vibes when I first saw Ryu Jun Yeol in Answer Me 1988. Although I agree that Woo Bin has that star aura more – for now.

  10. It’s too early to say one is better actor than another while both still newbie. In fact, Reply series made all the actors got recognized but most of them got down again after going to other drama productions. I would say, PD and script writers really know what they’re doing. I still remember how public rejected Hyeri but the productions insisted using her. See how the plot twisted now. I hope more PD and script writers do the same like them. Audiences could give their voices but at the end, we aren’t the expert to say something related to actings. Lets see what happen to both in few years after to say which one is better. Good luck for both!

    • I never understood the violent reactions some people had to Hyeri being cast, even if I was initially unhappy about it myself.

      I mean, she passed an audition for the role, which is more than the usual crappy-acting suspects who get criticised by the public, have ever had to do. She suits the role and is performing quite well, even if it isn’t on the same level as Ryu Joon Yeol, Park Bo Geum or even the girl who plays her sister.

  11. Ryu Jun Yeol is wonderful in Answer Me 1988! He is adorable and swoony 😀 He feels different from Kim Woo Bin though, at least to KWB in Heirs, but more similar to his role in School 2013.

  12. No offense to fans, maybe it’s also to the fact that I’ve only seen few of his works but I haven’t so far grow fond of Kim Woo Bin. Choi Young do’s magic didn’t really work for me. His acting is impressive and quite funny on his variety show guestings but he have this cocky vibe with him for me. I hope it’ll change if I’ve seen more of his works or there’ll be a drama of him that’ll strike my heart perfectly.

    And Ryu Jun Yeol. I don’t know why people have issue or kinda bothered on his age but for me, he’s charming as it is and it’s a wonder that he’s doing a perfect job as Jung Hwan in AM1988 where he melt hearts. Even his male lead characterism is formulated, it still works! I think there’ll be a major fanwar and heartbreak if he ends up not to be Deok Sun’s husband. Taek is lovable on his own but it just had to be Jung Hwan. Heh. I can’t even feel the long running time that’s equivalent to 2 feature films because I love the neighborhood. It’s very easy to get invested into the show. I really hope they could keep it up.

    Nice for Reply series finding gems of actors and actresses bringing out the best of them but yeah, it’s just sad that so far, like Eun Ji, Seo In Guk, Go Ara they haven’t really had hits that followed after Reply. It’ll be tough follow up too for Hye Ri and Ryu Jun Yeol. It commonly happens just like with Alisters Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Min Ho and Hyun Bin. Who got really hit dramas but mediocore follow ups.

  13. Personally I think Kim Woo Bin is the better actor. I suspect many of the people who find his acting skills lacking, must not have watched him in School 2013. Kim Woo Bin was lackluster in Heirs but then again Heirs was a hot mess of a drama anyway.

    I think Joon Yeol falls slightly too far on the atypical flower boy spectrum for him to be marketable as a male lead in other romance dramas outside of the Reply series… But that’s just my opinion.

    • I’m not sure if you and I watched the same drama. School 2013 was entertaining but the bromance was so cheesy. Both KWB and LJS weren’t very good in it, albeit the show being their breakout drama.

  14. I actually thought of Lee Jong Seok in School 2013 when I watched Ryu Jun Yeol as Jung-hwan in AM1988. LJS is slightly odd looking too. He’s a good actor though and like RJY, made my heart ache and flutter at the same time. Heartbreak + Swooning = Ryu Jun Yeol <3 <3 <3

    I like the less intense shipping wars in this series compared to the previous season. I liked all the characters in AM1994, but maybe I might've liked Chilbong more [since he's a nice character and the actor's good too] if it weren't for the FEW stubborn, delusional, and war-mongering fans. It has always been obvious from the start who'll be the husband (I've been on the right ships early on), but I like the fact that the writer of the AM series would make me doubt myself halfway through and made me express my desire to cause them bodily harm if my ship would sink despite the obvious.

  15. I’ve seen almost all kim woobin works, and for ryu junyeol, i only watch the recent am1988 and socialphobia (i happen to watch it because i love yohan). so, here’s my unprofessional thoughts about their acting.
    for kim woobin, his acting is like how it’s supposed to be acted (like, I’ve seen this before), but what differentiate it were his voice and mannerism/personality.
    as for ryu junyeol, his acting isn’t like acting. it’s like he’s playing himself in that drama/film. I only seen two of his works, but it’s already very diverse and both are like its acted by two different actors. so i guess his acting is so natural that it doesn’t feel like he’s acting.
    my conclusion is, both are good actors. but the difference is for woobin the vibe is like the character is acted by him, and for ryu junyeol, he change into the character he acted.

    • I agree with you. Being a fan of Woob I even can sense it. Woob good actor, but in his project he’s playing a character. While Ryu, embodied the character, and the character become him. That is why people can relate with his acting.

  16. Ryu Jun Yeol has a lot more to prove before he can be compared to KWB, even if they have the same “ugly, but handsome” thing going on.

    • They both look like leftovers from the Jurassic Age, but it actually makes them more manly and attractive. Woobin’s charm is all about his physique and aura, while RJY is all about the facial expressions.

  17. Ryu Joon Yeol may look a bit like Kim Woo Bin, but their acting styles are not alike at all. Kim Woo Bin is overwhelmingly intense, while RJY is a lot more low-key onscreen. As others have noted, his acting is very natural and doesn’t feel like acting at all – if anything, he reminds me of Seo In Gook in 1997, NOT Kim Woo Bin!

  18. I can’t say much about Kim Woo Bin, but I think their acting style is totally different. Kim Woo Bin has more star power, meanwhile Ryu Jun Yeol has better acting skill.

    It’s been a while since I saw an actor can deliver emotions so naturally. He can speak alot through his eyes and small gestures imo. I remember that Ji Soo have once said that he wanted to have RJY’s charm.

    He’s a the discovery of Answer me 1988, seriously.

      • I think he’s closer to Suho Exo and Jisoo adore him as charismatic hyung. But my ultimate bromace goes to Ryu and Byun Yo Han ! These two are love. I’m amazed how BYH loved hugging him lovingly lol

  19. I’m watched both them in all their projects. I don’t get why people say that RJY. Probably some kind of trend to praise that dude, just because people like his character in A1988. What I’m seeing it’s a guys at the same level with different acting styles. Non of them stood out particularly. KWB also perfectly fine and convincing in his “silent” scenes. And I never get a vibe that I’m watching the same character from him.

  20. I’m not sure I agree about Kim Woo Bin’s acting. While RYC is loved partly due to his great character, KWB was liked despite his terrible character in Heirs (the first thing I ever watched him in). So I think it wasn’t his star power that made him stand out there but his acting…

    In any case, I always have trouble comparing the acting of good actors. When someone sucks it’s easy to say someone else is the better actor but with good actors it’s hard to say who is better. It may just be that one got the role to reveal his talent whereas the other didn’t yet.

  21. Ain’t gonna compare him with Kim Woobin since I am not into KWB.

    RJY is a natural and will go far. I can see him blossom in the film industry more. Playing your typical Kdrama swoony lead is not his forte. I would love to see him portraying a plethora of interesting characters.

  22. Ryu Joon Yeol is this year’s most memorable new actor for me along with Park Bo Gum (IRY) and Ji Soo (Angry Mom).

    As for KWB, I agree with the other comments that RJY is a better (more nuanced) actor and his charm shines through the characters he portrays, but KWB has strong on-screen presence where he’ll stand out anywhere.

  23. KWB was a model now he’s an actor…I think what people attribute to his ‘star-power’ is his comfort level with cameras. I don’t dislike him in the roles he’s been in though i do feel he is a character actor. He’s playing some variation of the same character each time.
    RJY to me, is an actor’s actor. And, from what I’ve seen so far (Socialphobia as i’m also a BYH fan) …along with R88…he’s a very talented one. I really look forward to his future works. I think he shares the skill and ability that BYH has; that of conveying alot of feeling and emotion into a scene by slight gestures or expressions. Awesome.

  24. I don’t think KWB ugly, but RJY yap. Just like one comment I had read, “he’s seriously not handsome… But he’s really handsome”. That really represents him.

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