Sung Yong-Il’s “Duty After School” is a Korean miniseries based on the webcomic of the same name written by Ilkwon Ha. Till now, the show has put out six episodes, which belong to the first part of the series, with the next part, featuring episodes 7–10, scheduled to be aired on April 28th. The series belongs to the survival genre and has taken the alien route instead of the zombie one. With a new concept of spheres appearing suddenly in the skies one fine morning and leaving everybody perplexed, the series brings in some fresh storylines. The spheres start to drop as they unleash the creatures resting inside them to wreak havoc. The governments and the military personnel are puzzled by the situation, so they declare a state of emergency, while the youth are required to train for the inevitable fight to survive. “Duty After School” will grasp anyone’s attention from the very first episode of and is thus recommended.
Did the Students Begin Their Training for Survival?
“Duty After School” Episode 1 begins with a normal exam day at school, where students converse with each other about how it went. However, what had started out as a normal day soon turned eerie due to the occurrence of an unknown phenomenon. There seemed to be countless numbers of spheres in the sky that had suspiciously appeared in the sky a year earlier and had left the entire world puzzled, confused, and alarmed about their appearance. People had proclaimed it to be the end of the world, while governments had applied sieges only to stop when the spheres doubled in number. A year passed by, and eventually, the spheres became an everyday phenomenon, and thus the public moved on from them. Until one of those spheres dropped from the skies, and the military was sent to test the waters. With the orders from the commander to keep their guns at the ready, the men tested their weapons on it from a rifle to a rocket launcher. Much of the weapons had no effect on this sphere; however, the creature that lived inside that sphere rent-free did not take well to the rocket launcher and thus left a massacre behind. With just one soldier left to survive the incident, the monster either returned to its sphere state or might have vacated the area immediately.
Meanwhile, the third-year high schoolers who were looking forward to their college lives were put in an absolute frenzy. Their early college admissions were canceled because of the incident with the military, and the minister declared a state of emergency. The kids were thrown into a routine of school and training after school and were required to stay back at their schools. The state declared an emergency as everybody above 24 years of age was required to enlist, while the third-year students of each high school were required to train daily after they finished their studies. To motivate them to train, the ministry offered extra credits if they did participate in the training. The extra credits were the best bait, as all of the students joined in immediately. Thus began their days of rigorous training along with schoolwork.
How Did Young-Hoon Get In Trouble?
The dynamics between all of the students came into play as the show gives us a glimpse into the lives of the students via a pre-recorded clip where each student discussed their day at the school, almost like a memoir. While their emotions ran high, Jang Young-Hoon, the bullied, got into a fight with his bully, Kwon Il-Ha, right outside of the school building. Young-Hoon’s friend Kim Chi-Yeol stepped in to stop their fight, but in vain. The only reason they stopped fighting for a while was that one of those spheres chose that exact moment to fall from the sky. It destroyed the ground it fell on, along with the gym building it had collided with during its descent. However, the fall did not deter the two boys, as Kwon succeeded in pushing Young-Hoon toward the sphere, which woke up the monster inside it. “Duty After School” Episode 1 ended with the monster grabbing Young-Hoon and wrapping its appendages around him like a snake poised to attack and swallow him whole. Both Il-Ha and Kim Chi were shell-shocked, as they did not know how to react to the scene.
Did Young-Hoon Die?
“Duty After School” Episode 2 began right where Episode 1 had left the audience: Young-Hoon was quickly swallowed, and as soon as the monster tried attacking the other two while Kim Chi tried to reach for Young-Hoon to save him, their platoon instructor Lee Choon-Ho saved the two. However, it was too late to save Young-Hoon, and thus to not alarm the other students, the instructors and their teacher, Ms. Park, decided that it was in their best interest to keep quiet about the whole situation and agree that Young-Hoon had been sent home early due to injuries. The students were curious, and this incident affected both Il-Ha and Kim Chi a lot. This marked the transition for all of these students, as they were then taught how to use their allotted rifles against threats. They were still high schoolers who liked to play around, study, gossip, and indulge in their curiosities. However, all of that stopped because the situation called for seriousness and alertness. The high schoolers were trained in both teamwork and were scolded when they resorted to bullying a fellow student, No Ae-Seol.
As soon as they were handed their rifles and allowed to train with them, the students had reached a point of no return in the plot. They were first trained without ammunition, and after their instructors were sure of letting them progress, the students were taken to a shooting range, where another batch of third-year students was currently training hard. The students were allowed three shots each as they tried their best to aim and shoot. However, one session did not seem to be enough practice because their walk back to the school seemed to be disastrous. The instructors on their way back immediately noticed something off with the surroundings; it had been empty before, but at that moment, it gave off ominous vibes. They soon recognized the bullet marks as well as the bullets on the streets.
‘Duty After School’ Episode 2 Ending Explained: What Happens To The Students?
As soon as they stopped to inspect, giving the kids a break, two of the high schoolers, Wang Tae-Man and Woo Hee-Rak, sneaked off to the convenience store to get some food. Their teacher, Ms. Park, immediately informed the instructors, and they all began looking for the two. However, the scene they uncovered changed their lives, as they came across dead students as well as military personnel with their body parts strewn across the streets and buildings. Chaos ensued as miniature versions of the monster that attacked Young-Hoon began attacking all of the people present on the street. “Duty After School” Episode 2 ended with Bo-Ra and Soon-Yi locked inside a safe area as the monsters began attacking the glass, while their other friend Ha-Na locked herself in the car. Tae-Man and Hee-Rak were nowhere to be found, while the rest of them were rescued by the instructors as they huddled together at a staircase to keep themselves safe.
Final Thoughts: Who’s Died So Far?
“Duty After School” Episode 1 hinted at the death of one student, who I thought was one of the main characters, Jang Young-Hoon. My man had every quality to pass as one of the male leads: he had an icy personality and was soft only for his one “friend,” was bullied, was very smart (top of the class smart), and had strict, pushy parents who had disapproval and disappointment dripping at their every conversation. Yeah, they had the act of an Asian parent down to the tea. So, imagine my surprise when my man Young-Hoon was the first one to die in this survival series! What happened to the plot armor and having typecast male leads? He was there for the majority of the two episodes. He was killed at the beginning of the second episode, but he was there in spirit and memory the rest of the time. He went from giving main character energy to an NPC real quick; his death wasn’t even acknowledged till later in “Duty After School” Episode 2 when the others were being killed by the miniature versions of the one that swallowed Young-Hoon in one go.
Of course, the next person to go was Park Eun-Young, their teacher and the only one who seemed to care and empathize with the students. She was against the whole military shebang from the get-go, but why keep the person who cares? The narrative needs to make an example out of killing the caring person so that the students become tough and learn to survive. While also freaking out because somebody got killed in front of them. The next person to go was Seo Ja-Yoon, their platoon instructor, who died while trying to protect the girls from the attack. Alas, she too died, and the second episode might have hinted at the deaths of Bo-Ra and Soon-Yi, but only the next episode would tell.
The two episodes of “Duty After School” portray a stark contrast between the pre-recorded video logs and the chaos unfolding in real life, which really makes the series even more precious. It really tugs at your heartstrings when the happy faces in the videos are suddenly killed in the present timeline. If you skip the summaries and jump straight into the drama like me, at first glance, this could pass as the beginning of a good revenge story, with “The Glory” being as famous as it is. However, halfway into it, the spheres bring in the chaotic element, and somehow the story changes its vibe from the bully and bullied to the killer and killed real quick. It gives off the vibe of “All of Us Are Dead” right after as the alien kills people one by one. Only, they had the zombie element; and this series has the alien element, which reminds me of the mobile RPG “Life After” (alas, it was banned) and kind of gives “The Last of Us” vibes too as the series progresses. I am rather invested in this series because, although it might be following the same formula as the other survival series, the CGI and the VFX made me stay. The entire storyline seems thoroughly gripping and kind of inspired by the concept of “Bubble,” an animated movie that was released in 2022. Only this series made it more like an alien residing inside of those giant bubbles, and once they fall out of the skies, chaos befalls human life.