If it wasn’t obvious, I really love dramas. Oh, I do love a great clichéd plot with complicated love triangles, gender-benders and rich chaebols.
On a real note, I have liked dramas almost as long as I liked K-POP and J-POP music. These days it takes a lot for a drama to impress me, but there are a few dramas that will always have a special place in my heart.
Each month I update you on dramas that I am currently watching, but below is a list of my all-time favourite dramas. Are some of your favourites on this list too? Tell me which dramas are your favourites in the comment section below!
Hana Kimi (2007)
I would say that this is one of the classic Japanese dramas. This is one of my first dramas. It is a gender-bender drama where a girl enrolls in an all-boys school to be close to her favorite track star. This aired at a time when gender-bender roles were not so popular, so it made for an interesting concept and led to many mishaps and misunderstandings. One of my favourite Japanese actors, Oguri Shun, plays the lead role. If you are interested in gender-bending dramas, with romance and even a little bit of sports, this drama is for you! There has been a Korean remake of this drama called “To the Beautiful You” starring former f(x) member, Sulli and SHINee member, Minho. Unfortunately, this remake is not as good as the original.
Secret Garden (2010)
Secret Garden is a very popular drama in Korea. I am currently watching this drama and I have already fallen in love with it. This drama does not exactly include gender bending, but rather the switching of bodies! You can imagine the chaos that occurs! A rich chaebol and a poor action stunt person switches bodies and get to see life from different points of view. I have yet to finish this drama, but I love almost every moment of it!
Rooftop Prince (2012)
One of my favourite K-POP idols, Park Yoochun, plays the lead role of this show. In this drama, a prince and some of his followers are teleported from the Chosun Dynasty to modern-day Seoul. These historical figures are not familiar with modern-day technology, food and practices, so there are many funny scenes. There are countless historical dramas out there, but I have not seen any that has a twist of modernity in it. That crossover between history and the present, and the inclusion of romance, made this drama enjoyable for me.
The Girl Who Sees Scents (2015)
This is another drama that stars Park Yoo Chun. This drama is based off of a web comic and is about a girl, Oh Cho Rim, who witnesses the murder of her parents and then gets into an unfortunate accident trying to run away from the murderer. After waking up from a coma, she realizes she has the ability to see scents! This is an innovative and fascinating concept. I have seen a lot of supernatural occurrences happen in shows, such as switching bodies, reading minds, or being able to fly, but I have never seen a character that is capable of seeing scents. It is something I never thought about. Scents are something that is often taken for granted, so I am curious to know how the writer came up with this idea. The show is filled with comedy and romance as well. I definitely recommend this drama. Check out my review for this drama here.
Personal Taste (2010)
This drama focuses on a topic that is very taboo in Korea: homosexuality. They use this theme as a source of conflict and comedy. Lee Minho stars as a rich man who poses as gay so he can house with the female main character played by Son Ye Jin. I also really like dramas that take the risk to delve into taboo topics. These dramas are usually the best.
Boys Over Flowers (2009)
This is another classic drama that has been popular over a number of years. This drama also stars Lee Min Ho. In this show, a young poor female, Geum Jan Di, is granted a scholarship to attend a prestige high school. In this high school, there is a group of rich and popular boys called the F4. The leader of the F4, Goo Jun Pyo (played by Lee Min Ho) was determined to make Geum Jan Di’s life a living hell, but soon falls for her. It is a pretty clichéd Cinderella-like story, but it was released during a time when this concept was not so overdone. If I watched this drama today I would not really be impressed, but it was one of my first dramas, so it will always have that special place in my heart.
Itazura na Kiss ~Love in Tokyo~ (2013)
This drama is based of a manga, so comedy, strange occurrences and vibrant personalities are ensured. I am a fan of Japanese dramas because they are a lot like anime, where eccentric plots, characters and dialogue is concerned, and this drama was no exception. On the other hand, the romantic aspect of the show is relatable, at least to me. I felt like I could have gone into the drama and cried along with Kotoko every time she struggled with her love for Naoki. This is my favourite Japanese drama to date. A Korean depiction of the manga preceded this drama and was called “Playful Kiss”. However, that drama was terrible and I do not recommend watching it. I could not get past the first two episodes without cringing.
You’re Beautiful (2009)
This was my first drama, so you know it has that special place in my heart. It is another gender-bender/romance/music drama, so there were a lot of clichés. The blend of these three themes was unusual to me at the time. It was very different from what I was used to seeing in American television shows. This drama starred many famous faces such as: Jang Geun Suk, Park Shin Hye, CN BLUE’s Yonghwa and FT ISLAND’s Hong Ki.
Fated to Love You (2014)
This drama was released last year and quickly found its way to the top of my favourites list. This drama explores taboo topics of unprotected sex, abortion and being a single mother. There are also those clichés of the young rich chaebol, the unfortunate lead female and the jealous ex-girlfriend, but all these topics suddenly transform when combined with the taboo topics, making this show interesting to watch. Each episode had me on my toes and an amazing soundtrack accompanying it. The review I wrote last year provides a better outlook as to why I love this drama.
It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)
What I have to say about this drama has already been said in my review made earlier this year. This drama has romance and conflict, but touches on many other subjects such as mental illness and sexual relationships. These are two topics that are rarely seen in mainstream dramas making this show anything, but clichéd. I love this show because it deviated from the norm within the drama world and has a high case of realism. I do not know how many people are swooned by rich chaebols or hide their true gender to get close to a guy, but I do know that mental illness is a very real thing that people experience and struggle with. This drama was only released last year, but I am certain that it would be one of my favourites for a very long time.