Dramas (or Doramas, in case you are Japanese) are Asian soap operas, let’s not sugar coat it, ok? The thing is I hate soap operas, it is always the same crap: poor girl meets rich guy, they fall in love at first sight and have to fight for their relationship as the villains want to separate them. It’s all the same garbage. The reason I enjoy dramas is because they are different (some of them aren’t, but I just ignore them). They go from comedy to horror, portray different situations, and make you laugh. There is some innocence to it, as well. Also, the best part is that they only last 12, 10, or 20 episodes and then that’s it. No more story for you. Yay.
Here are my top favorite.
1.- Kimi Wa Petto.
This was the second drama I watched. It is Japanese, and even though I like Korean drama better, this sits at the top of the list, looking down at them and laughing in their faces.
Sumire Chan is a successful woman who never smiles and who has constant headaches. She is lonely because everybody feels threatened by her, especially men. She is tall, pretty, intelligent, and strong, but stupid men only want someone inferior so they don’t feel uncomfortable, so it is safe to say she is unhappy. Then one night, as she is returning home from her job, after punching her boss, she finds a big box outside her apartment building. She peeks over and sees a man inside. He is hurt and unconscious. She drags the box to her apartment, heals the man’s wounds, feeds him, and lets him sleep in her couch. The next morning she goes back to work. When she comes back, she realizes the man is still there, he doesn’t want to leave. He wants to stay with her. After struggling for a few moments, she tells him he can stay with her if he agrees to be her dog. He accepts right away since he has no dignity, and they begin having a master/dog relationship.
It sounds humiliating, right? Well, it’s not. It’s funny. The girl finds out she needs the guy, because, even if she is older, taller, smarter and more successful than he is, he doesn’t give a crap and accepts her. She can only cry in front of him, he sees the real person she is so she doesn’t hide it anymore, and he needs her attentions. They are both hilarious together, and, let’s face it, Momo, the man dog, is really cute. I wouldn’t mind having him as pet. Just saying.
2.- My name Is Kim Sam Soon.
Kim Sam Soon is a baker who get dump by her boyfriend after she finds him cheating on her. She is in her 30`s, and it seems she is a little bit chubby by Korean standards. The poor girl is looking for a job, she is also wanting to settle down and have a family, but she cannot do it because of her looks.
She meets the owner of a restaurant, this guy is looking for a pastry chef, and after she slams her cake in his face (they had a rough first impression), he thinks she is the one he wants. Well, as expected, she takes the job, but soon finds herself in a complicated relationship with her boss, since he is rude, weird, and wants her to pretend she is his girlfriend just to keep his mother away from him.
This is a lovely story. The drama is a comedy, but it also has touching moments. Kim Sam Soon is a wonderful woman who doesn’t let people mistreat her, she is passionate, funny (sometimes not on purpose), and loyal. I always watch this drama, as it makes me feel at home. If you see her dance, then you’ll have an idea as to how I look dancing. It’s exactly like that, I swear someone recorded me and made a Kim Sam Soon out of it.
I’ll sue them.
3.- Coffee Prince
A girl who looks like a boy, who is always mistaken for one, needs money to support her family, so she pretends she is one to have a job at a coffee shop where only men work. She makes friends with the boss, a chaebol who has to succed at that business so he can go to pursue his dream as toy maker (I think). Nonetheless, their relationship becomes a bit different once they start feeling things they should not be feeling. The poor boss thinks he is falling in love with a man, he suffers so much it’s actually sad, and the girl, well, she has to act like man. She is the main income in the family, so she does everything she can to support her mom and her sister, even if that means shoving her feelings aside and let her partners treat her like one of the guys. Well, it’s not that difficult, she has fun after all.
4.- Answer Me 1988
I can easily say this is my favorite out of all the dramas I’ve watched. Kimi wa petto is beautiful, but this one is perfect. This is a story about five teenagers and their families back in 1988. You don’t only get to know the five friends and their typical problems, but you also take a peek at what happens inside their home, their relationships with mom and dad and their siblings, and also you know about the differences among them. They all have different backgrounds. You have a girl who is not that smart at school, who has a brother and a sister, whose family is poor. She shares a birthday cake with her sister every year, her sister is short tempered and rebellious, and she feels her parents do not love her like they love the other two. You have an innocent guy who is a genius at some game I cannot remember, but extremely clumsy in all other departments. He lives only with his dad, since his mom died when he was a kid. You have a poster guy with a brother, a cheap father and her funny mother. They used to be poorer than family number one, but became rich after the older brother won the lottery. There is the normal guy, he is kind, a loving brother, a support for his mom (he doesn’t have a dad, he died as well), and a good friend. And finally, we meet a guy who is not doing that well at school, either, whose father is the principal at his school, and whose mother is away all the time, working. He gets into all sorts of problems just because he wants his parents to pay more attention to him. All of them go back to the infancy, they grew up together, so they are good friends and really know each other.
The reason I love Answer me 1988 is simple. It is a lovely story that teaches you a lot of lessons. It makes you realize the love mothers have for their children, the pain your parents feel when they lose theirs, the struggles they overcome to give their children what they need, to put food on the table and buy them, if not a lot of things, something, like an ice cream. It talks about the bonds you create with your friends, with your siblings, and the situations you go through as teenager, the people you have a crush on, the problems with your teachers, and whatnot. It also makes you laugh out loud all the time, but at the same time it makes you cry. It’s a perfect combination.
Plus, the Answer me series are famous for two things: the goat sound at whatever funny scene, and the mystery as to who is the protagonist’s husband. Throughout the series there are scenes where the grown up characters show up, talking about said past, and you know the female protagonist has a husband, and that husband in within that group of friends, but you don’t know which one is he, so you keep guessing all the time.
5.- Answer Me 1994
Like Answer me 1988, it gives us the story of a group of friends who live in the same boarding house. All of them have different personalities, but they are together and love each other. This story, unlike the other one, only focus in the main protagonist’s parents, who own the boarding house and run it. This one is not as touching as 1988, but it has its moments. The three of them are something you don’t get to see often, there is certain deepness to them that makes it impossible for you not to like. Then there is the Busan accent. I love it.
6.- Answer Me 1997
This is the original, the first one. It was so successful they produced the other two.
In this story there is a girl who is a huge fan of a Korean boy band that was very famous back in the day. H.O.T. She is crazy about the band, so she goes to every concert and to every fan meeting even if it means having problems with her dad. There is nothing more for her but those guys. Never tell someone like her the guys suck. Never.
Of course we also have the group of friends she is in, and within that group you can find her childhood friend, a guy who happens to have a crush on her and live next door. She doesn’t see it because she is not very bright and cannot get her head out of the H.O.T guys’ ass.
This is a nice story where you know things about the parents, the bonds, the relationships and the popular culture. Who wasn’t a crazy fan in adolescence? I even remember being crazy about The Backstreet Boys. I made my dad give me a ride to their concert and had my mom go in with me. Also I made my boyfriend go with me and sing their songs, but that was on 2015, so…
7.- You Are Beautiful.
Meet a girl who wants to become a nun just because, she has a twin brother who managed to be accepted in a boy band that’s really famous as the new vocalist. Only her brother is not available in the moment because he had a complication of some sort and must remain hidden until it is solved. Now, what’s with that? She has to pretend she is her brother while he is out. So she becomes Go Mi Nam, a clumsy boy who is new in the band and who brings nothing but trouble to the leader, who wants him out. Then, the leader (cutie pie) finds out he is a she, his first reaction is to rat on her and get her out forever, but then she tells him she wants to find her mother; the only reason her brother wants to be famous is so that he can find the mother they grew up without. She promises she’ll leave after she finds it. And that’s how it all starts.
I’ll admit You are beautiful is too innocent for me, but meh, I happen to enjoy innocence from time to time, in a low dosage, then I read something gory just in case I am in danger of becoming a sweetheart.
8.- Faded To Love You.
Everything starts out fine, you laugh and enjoy the story. A girl who gets accidentally pregnant with a chaebol has now to marry him. The girl is a doormat, people treat her horrible and she is too shy to speak up. The chaebol is a rebel who urges her to value herself the way she is. Then somebody drugs them and they end up having sex (it can happen in tv, you know) After they find out she is pregnant they get married and live together, but only in a pretend game. Eventually they grow fond of each other, begin feeling happy, and shit goes down half way through the end, which mean you spend the other half with your heart broken and your hopes shattered.
Gae dong shik, how could you?
9.- Hello Monster (Remember You)
This is the sweet, not that sweet, story of a man who is too smart, he is going to help the police find criminals with his smartness and analysis. He is a genius who is trying to solve a series of crimes that keep him interested and concerned because there is something familiar in them, so he is forced to cooperate with the police investigation team. He has a sad story; his dad was murdered, he lost his brother, who disappeared when his dad died, and whom he forgot because of a head trauma. Aw, come here, poor thing.
He suspects the crimes are connected to the psychopath who killed his dad back them, but as he investigates he finds himself discovering things that may be better off forgotten.
I love the story between this guy and his younger brother, and I love his younger brother. If you know the kind of person I am, you’ll know what kind of monster, I mean, person, the brother is. Hello, Monster.
10.- The Time We Were Not In Love.
There is nothing I love more than childhood friends who love each other romantically. The Time We Were Not In Love is one of those stories. We see these best friends live in the present, sometimes we see them live the past, and we learn why they are friends, why there are not something more, why they are the way they’ve become. It’s a ride to the past and back to the present. It is sweet, I admit I cried at the end, damn it. Also, I love Ha Ji Won, she is an amazing actress who keeps me interested every time I watch something she is in.
This drama makes you hate the characters, love them, enjoy their friendship, slap you in the forehead, and always cheer them. They have always loved each other, the time was just never right.
So, there are a lot of dramas, but these are the ones that make my heart hurt from time to time. Of course, there are others that could have also made the list.
Hana Yori Dango.
The Secret Garden.
Lie To Me
Descendants Of The Sun.