Little Forest (Yim Soon-rye, 2018) was everything that I fearfully expected when I first saw the poster, with one major exception – it actually didn’t suck at all. Based on the same manga that was adapted into a two-parter by Jun’ichi Mori a few years ago, the Japanese version was contained in two two-hour films, each divided into two separate episodes representing different seasons. The episodes themselves were presented partly as instructional cooking videos and partly as a gardening show, rounded out with segments where the host hangs out with her friends in her (fictional) home town, and shares with the viewer her reflections on her life, mainly in a voice-over narration but supplemented by flashback scenes. As the seasons unfold over the course of the four hours, this introspection gradually and gently becomes more personal and poignant, taking the viewer with her on a journey of self-discovery. This Korean adaptation is a considerably shorter and more conventional film. Story-wise, the films appear to be pretty faithful despite the absence of a particularly strong narrative – a young girl abandons her life in the city to return to her bucolic childhood home, reconnects with a few old school friends, and, over the course of the year, tries to figure out where her life is going while spending time planting fresh food in a pastoral idyll, then cooking up her harvest. Whereas the relationship between the protagonist (played here as independent yet simultaneously cute-as-a-button by Kim Tae-ri) and her absent mother was the crux of the earlier movies, here the connection between her and her childhood friends, complete with the romantic tensions, provides the central drama. The result is something that I imagine will be a lot more accessible to a general audience – it succeeds in largely capturing the same essence that was captured in Mori’s films, even if it doesn’t have the same uniqueness or depth. But the trepidation I initially felt when I saw what looked like (and turned out to be) a K-Pop version of Little Forest was misplaced.