This was definitely one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life. How can I possibly narrow down my 130+ K-drama watch list to only 5 dramas?!
I’m low-key cheating because after this post, I will be doing an “Action-Melodrama” top 5 list (for those who are bitter/aren’t fans of cheesy-romance). But this list is for anyone who loves being caught up in the emotional journey of a romance K-drama. I will try my best to convince you to try them out, without giving away any spoilers.
It was difficult to narrow down the list. I took into consideration more than just the eye-candy or cast. This list is based on each drama’s overall delivery. The chemistry between the main characters, the plot, the cinematography, the supporting cast, the OST…all of it! Call me the Gordon Ramsey of K-drama binge-ing.
So ladies and gents, I present to you my Top 5 List of Romance K-dramas! (After hours of indecision and procrastination)
#5 Oh My Venus
Okay. So not to be biased, but the main reason why I watched this drama back in 2016 was because Jo Ji Sub was the lead actor. I love this man. He somehow manages to look like a MEAL in everything that he is in. And Min Ah looked stunning even in the chubby-suit.
I was never disappointed throughout the whole drama. The plot centers around a retired personal trainer (Ji Sub) helping a very out of shape, and freshly heartbroken woman (Shin Min Ah) turn her life around. She undergoes weight loss, and confidence gain, and becomes the epitome of #girlpower, thanks to Ji Sub’s help. What hooked me was how well Ji Sub pulled off the whole “cold shoulder” vibe, yet managed to be won over by the quirky, yet clumsy Min Ah.
And let’s not forget the supporting cast. Henry Lau and Sung Hoon! What did I do to deserve this blessing Lord! Henry’s entire script was in Konglish, and I found that to be funny. And Sung Hoon managed to be topless in more scenes than our main actor! I’m not complaining lol.
My only qualm with this drama was how negatively being chubby was portrayed (yes chubby…not FAT). Min Ah’s character was looked down upon by her own boyfriend of 15 years, mistreated in the work place and even denied some employment opportunities….HOW RUDE! The writer somehow managed to make being chubby correlate with being clumsy and messy/sloppy… Besides that, the drama is very entertaining, and I loved it!
Basically, you’re taken on a journey of self- love (admittedly after weight loss) ) while also making you wish you had a hot personal trainer.
#4 Just Between Lovers
10/10 stars is the rating I give this drama. I was in shambles the whole time. I don’t know how the writer managed to take the male lead, add a cup of damaged, a POUND of devastation and a dash of PTSD and make the most pitiful story line I’ve ever experienced!
The plot of this drama takes us through the lives of 2 relatively damaged individuals. They both coincidentally lost a loved one in a mall collapse incident. But the male lead has so much more baggage (losing his dad, a permanent injury, obvious BPD, loan sharks…HEALTH PROBLEMS) that it broke my heart every episode to see him suffer so much.
As toxic as the relationship may seem at first, they manage to heal each other along the way while also learning to bury their demons and let go of the past.
Won Jin Ah was the perfect fit for this drama because she has the ability to embody desperation and make the viewer feel her emotions through the screen. I couldn’t help but cry whenever she cried, and feel happy whenever something positive happened to her (which didn’t happen often).
This drama does have a happy ending, but you just have to tuck and roll through the DRAMA DEPRESSION and power through to the end.
#3 Coffee Prince
If you are a drama buff like me, you probably have either seen this drama already or have at least heard about it. There’s a surprising amount of “gender-bender” dramas circulating around in the K-entertainment industry. This one takes the CROWN. Period. I’m always perplexed as to how it takes so long for everyone to find out that the “he” is a “she”, but I still get a kick out of watching these types of dramas.
So we all know that Gong Yoo is one of the best Korean actors and I’m saying this not just because he is HOT. This drama takes place at Gong Yoo’s character’s coffee shop. The main actress is somehow mistaken for a man and slowly starts making the very confused Gong Yoo fall for her. I was literally wheezing every time he would question his sexuality because he thought he was falling for a guy. (Let’s TALK ABOUT THEIR FIRST KISS SCENE! Just thinking about it gives me a bad case of the “swoons”)
The supporting cast that makes up the Coffee Prince staff/family, all do a good job of bringing different personalties to the table (this is not a cafe pun, but if you read it as such..I’m not going to judge you lol).
It shouldn’t take much to convince you to watch this drama. It’s a classic (aired in 2007) and Gong Yoo is in it. That’s it. I’m done. Watch the drama sis.
#2 She Was Pretty
This drama has made it to the #2 spot just because I’ve watched it 5 times already. Whenever I recommend it to a friend, I watch it over with them. I think what makes me love this drama is that the “ugly” lead actress is so relatable. She’s clumsy, shy, goal-driven, and literally doesn’t have a clue what to do when her extremely handsome boss, who treated her so cruelly in the beginning, starts to fall for her. Choi Siwon is this drama’s side ship. I was honestly rooting for him to get the girl especially since Park Seo Joon’s character was acting like the grim reaper for the first half of this drama. Whenever you see him, you can’t help but smile.
I find it funny that the “ugly” version of her had frizzy hair and freckles. And when she underwent her “major transformation”, all she did was straighten her hair and put on some BB cream!
Again, I don’t have much to say about this one. It’s another classic. The seemingly “ugly” girl starts to gain confidence and reinvent herself, but manages to steal the heart of our 2 male leads, even when she wasn’t the prettiest version of herself yet. This one is light hearted. You’ll love it.
#1 Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
As I typed the name of this drama, I had a flashback….and I wanted to cry. Scarlet Heart was so beautifully written. You can’t help but get emotionally invested into the story lines of each cast member. The amount of tragedy that happens…OMG…words can’t even describe what you will feel while you watch this drama.
The dramas starts out in the present, and ends up taking us on a trip back to the Jooseon Era. The plot surrounds a royal family with 10+ sons, each trying to get their hand on the crown. Some of the princes are more wicked than others. All I have to say is that the body count in this drama is 12, all of which are characters you grow attached to.
There was this OST song for the drama that played every time someone died or something equally tragic happened. It’s called “Will Be Back” by Im Sun Hae. To this day, I still have it saved on Spotify and whenever it comes up in my shuffle, I shed a tear. Her voice is so majestic, and the lyrics are so beautiful yet heartbreaking.
This drama has an amazing cast. IU delivered, as expected. Her supporting male leads included Lee Joong Gi, Kang Ha Neul, Baekhyun(EXO), Nam Joo Hyuk, Hong Jong Hyun and my personal favorite, Ji Soo. Let’s take a moment to collect our hormones shall we? Okay…let me continue lol
Out of all 5 of the dramas I mentioned in this post, THIS is the one that you MUST see. Hands down.
So there ya have it folks. Kadraya’s Top 5 Romance K-Dramas. If you’ve read to this point you deserve a hug (or elbow bump…#stopthespread). It’s hard to sum up 16 episodes of a drama without spoiling too much while trying to convince someone to watch it. Until next time…
From Kadraya, With Love.