If you haven’t been watching Real Men, it’s time to catch up. Never before have the cast members have been pushed to their limits. In the Navy’s Ship Salvage Unit (SSU), the boys learn that it’s not just about their physical abilities but overcome mental stresses as well.
The SSU is an elite unit of the Navy and most of their duties revolve around salvaging ship at sea which involves deep sea diving for long period of time. It’s not only important to be physical fit but to have a strong mentality as you could burn more oxygen underwater if you panic. The cast members have been tested in many different ways and half the members have not made it this far for various reasons. Sam Okyere failed the swimming test even before entering the SSU. Sam Kim suffered from a hurt shoulder was forced to withdraw and Lee Kyu Han, Jo Dong Hyuk, and Lee Sang Jin withdrew due to injuries and stresses they faced.
Out of all the members, I’m quite surprised to see Rapper Sleepy make it this far. He’s by far the weakest out of all the members and has even admitted to being weaker than some women. And yet, he grits his teeth and bares it as best he can.
Sometimes he’ll sob through a drill; other times he’ll just keep pushing on with a glazed look. They’ve dubbed him the zombie soldier for the latter and as amusing as it is at times, I feel terrible for him at the same time. Mostly though, I find him kind of awe-inspiring. He knows that he doesn’t have the chops to make it through this unit but I’m amazed at his mental strength that pulls him through all these trials.
That didn’t stop SNL Korea from making a hilarious skit about him. The skit was a parody of the Christian Bale flick, Equilibrium, and Sleepy guested on the show to parody how listless he comes across through most of the SSU drills.
The drills themselves test the naval recruits in all different ways. From continually swimming laps across the Olympic sized or eating lunch while wearing a scuba mask filled with water. The mental aspect of the training is meant to teach the recruits not to panic under pressure.
It’s quite an intense training model and even athletic people like Jung Kyeo Woon and Julian Kang find their mentality being challenged again and again. From being harassed by their superiors under water and trying to calmly recover their equipment or being asked to constantly swim back and forth even though you’ve exhausted all your energy, it’s just equally taxing for all the cast members.
Kim Young Chul is also dealing with a bruised toe because he’s worked out so forcefully. It’s gotten to the point where his feet are causing him serious pain that he’s not able to use his flippers in the water. However, I hope he doesn’t drop out. He’s not only important for entertaining the viewers and explaining things in a witty way; he’s also brings a lot of morale to his unit.
I’m not sure how many more episodes there are but I really hope the remaining 5 members stick it out all the way.