The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim episode one review 


On the surface, The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim seems like a drama that involves two high school students with the ability to see ghosts. But beyond that, it gives us a deeper understanding of the mind-boggling academic pressure that high school students in Korea face, something that could be scarier than the supernatural. 

Here’s a short and sweet The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim drama review for those who are torn between giving the drama a shot or a miss. 


High school students fight against evil spirits


The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - promotional poster
Image credit: kakaoTV

Kim Sae-ron plays 18-year-old high school student Ga Doo-shim, but she’s no ordinary girl. Doo-shim can see and communicate with ghosts, just like her grandmother and mother. Although Doo-shim wants to lead a normal life, she’s destined to become a shaman.

Na Woo-soo is Doo-shim’s classmate. He has it all – he’s affluent, good-looking, and performs well academically. But Woo-soo’s life as an ordinary high school student comes to a halt after Doo-shim transfers to his school, Song Young High School.

Woo-soo begins to see evil spirits just like Doo-shim, and they work together to fight against the supernatural. 


Highlights


1. Two students’ mission to protect students 


The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - the evil spirit appears in the high school
Image adapted from: iQiyi

The drama begins when a student witnesses a blackout along a classroom corridor, and she begins to scream at the top of her lungs and runs for her life. The remaining students take notice of what is happening and follow suit.

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - doo-shim and woo-soo are first introduced
Image adapted from: iQiyi

The drama cuts to a scene at the entrance of Song Young High School, where Doo-shim and Woo-soo are introduced to the audience for the first time. 

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - doo-shim and woo-soo enter the high school
Image adapted from: iQiyi

High school students scream incoherently as they run down a flight of stairs. In contrast, Doo-shim and Woo-soo climb up the stairs with a sense of determination – like they have some unfinished business together. 

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - doo-shim and woo-soo fight against the evil spirit
Image adapted from: iQiyi

Doo-shim and Woo-soo confront the evil spirit that possesses and takes the lives of students who perform poorly in school. 

The evil spirit throws a question at Doo-shim and Woo-soo – “Who’s in the last place at this school?” This marks the beginning of their fight, as well as their mission to protect the students at Song Young High School. 

We are left in a state of heightened tension as we don’t know how the fight ends. 


2. An evil spirit possesses students with poor grades  


The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - doo-shim when she was young
Image adapted from: iQiyi

We’re then brought back to the past in a flashback, where we see Doo-shim as an eight-year-old.

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - hyun-soo is possessed by the evil spirit
Image adapted from: iQiyi

Doo-shim and her grandmother, Myo-shim, run frantically towards a building called Hwa-jeong Arcade. Hyun-soo, a high school student, is seen standing on the edge of the roof. He has been possessed by the evil spirit that we were introduced to in the opening scene. 

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - doo-shim's grandmother
Image adapted from: iQiyi

Myo-shim climbs to the roof of Hwa-jeong Arcade in hopes to stop the evil spirit, but this was in vain as her stamina has been weakened due to old age.

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - doo-shim making the evil spirit leave hyun-soo's body
Image adapted from: iQiyi

As she is unable to make her way up to the top of the building fast enough, she has to ask Doo-shim for help. Although Doo-shim is reluctant and hesitant at first, she eventually asks what she has to do to make the evil spirit leave Hyun-soo’s body. 

Myo-shim teaches Doo-shim the following incantation: “Be bound by my words. You got what you wanted. You’ve had your fun in that body. Now leave!” 

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - hyun-soo falls to his death
Image adapted from: iQiyi

Despite giving her best shot, Doo-shim fails to stop the evil spirit. Alas, Hyun-soo falls to his death. 


3. Evil spirit targets Song Young High School


The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - doo-shim's mother
Image adapted from: iQiyi

The drama brings us back to the present, 10 years later. Doo-shim is dressed in a school uniform, and she converses with her mother about her transfer to Song Young High School. 

Her mother explains how difficult it was to enrol Doo-shim into Song Young High School, given that it is the most prestigious high school in Korea.

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - tension surrounds the high school
Image adapted from: iQiyi

Before Doo-shim enters the classroom, an underlying tension surrounds Mr Sa’s class. 

A student stands up and asks, “The student in the last place isn’t in our class, right?” 

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - the student with the worst grades falls to his death
Image adapted from: iQiyi

Seconds later, a student named Jong-geun jumps from the school building and dies. We can surmise that the evil spirit possessed Jong-geun as he performed the worst in the cohort for the midterm exam.

The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim Review - woo-soo's first encounter with doo-shim
Image adapted from: iQiyi

After Jong-geun falls to his death, Doo-shim enters the classroom. This is the first encounter between Doo-shim and Woo-soo, and the first episode comes to a close with Doo-shim and Woo-soo exchanging eye contact. 


Verdict: 4/5 


The line “If you want to live, study like your life depends on it.” caught our attention.

This is a reflection of the immense academic pressure Korean high school students face day-to-day. Many parents and teachers say this to their kids or students without realising the repercussions that could follow. 

K-dramas that revolve around supernatural themes are not new to us. But The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim is intriguing and unique as it intertwines familiar elements with an important and deep-seated issue that Korea continues to struggle with. 


The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim review: Shaman, evil spirit & grades


The first episode gave us a taste of what The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim is about, but there are many unanswered questions. How does Doo-shim befriend Woo-soo, and how will the fight between Doo-shim, Woo-soo and the evil spirit end?

You can stream The Great Shaman Ga Doo-shim on iQiyi, kakaoTV, and WATCHA. 

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Cover image adapted from: iQiyi and iQiyi

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