Before anything else I would like to say that this is the inaugural post of A Fanboy’s Perspective, a weekly feature in Kdramapal that talks about anything related to Korean dramas from a man’s point of view. That man is me, of course. All kdrama blogs on the internet I’ve seen so far are managed by female fans. Although that’s not a problem, perhaps having a weekly feature about kdrama-related topics by a fanboy would make a slight difference. We also watch kdramas and have something to say, too.
Hi ladies! I had to remember all the dramas I watched in the past two to three years to make a list of dramas you can watch with your boyfriend (or crush, or a guy friend) this February. The Valentine’s day is just three days away, so if you’re still thinking of ways on how to spend it, why don’t you ask your partner to pick a drama from the list below and watch it together? Surely you can still have a romantic date with him as usual, but in case you want to try something new or you were long eager to marathon your favorite show with him, February is the right time to do it.
Men, just like women, have different tastes in kdramas. As a guy myself, my drama choices could attest to this difference. While many of us prefer to watch action-packed or mystery-filled dramas, others also like romance and even romantic comedies. For that reason I’ve made my list in such a way that it would contain dramas of different genre (although these categories are not mutually exclusive). The selected dramas have one thing in common though, and that is the romantic element that fits perfectly for the occasion. If your man haven’t watched any kdrama before, just persuade him to select one from the list.
1. IRIS, if he likes an action-packed series
Iris is a 2009 KBS drama that revolves around two close friends (played by Lee Byung-hun and Jung Joon-jo) who are training under the South Korean army’s Special Mission Battalion when they are independently recruited into a secret agency known as the National Security Service (NSS) by a beautiful NSS agent played by Kim Tae-hee. These three characters basically compose the drama’s love triangle, and although the love conflict tests the friendship of the duo, it’s the conspiracy within the agency that ultimately change their lives and drive them to take different paths.
Personal thoughts: This drama literally consists of action-packed episodes which to date remain unmatched by other action dramas that I’ve watched so far. The first episode opens with an assassination and chase scene in Hungary. I think these are more than enough to get the attention of any guy who craves for an action-thriller entertainment. (Alternative: City Hunter)
2. MOON EMBRACING THE SUN, if he’s into historical drama
Moon Embracing the Sun is a 2012 drama that tells the love story of a Joseon King (played by Kim Soo-hyun) with a female shaman (played by Han Ga-in). When he is still a teen and a crown prince, he is set to marry the crown princess whom she likes very much. The marriage didn’t happen though when she is cursed and afflicted with unrecognizable sickness that cannot be treated by the royal physicians. She dies but wakes up from her grave through the help of a Taoist priest who then go into hiding with her in a safe location. She comes back years later as a Shaman and meets the King who is already married to someone, but she does not recognize him after losing all her memories due to her traumatic experience in dying and coming back to life.
Personal thoughts: This is the most romantic historical drama I’ve seen so far. Highly emotional in a fantastic way, the drama owns a gripping story that makes it hard for you to stop. Romantic guys who like beautiful ladies in traditional Korean dress would certainly fall for this.
3. I HEAR YOUR VOICE, if he prefers legal drama
I Hear You Voice is a 2013 legal and fantasy drama about a pragmatic lawyer named Jang Hye-sung (played by Lee Bo-young) and a young man (played by Lee Jong-suk) with a supernatural ability to read other people’s thoughts by looking into their eyes. He obtains his ability after witnessing the murder of his father when he was a child. He meets Jang Hye-sung as a high school girl when she testifies in court that his father’s death is not an accident. Thankful for the guilty verdict against the suspect, he could not forget Hye-sung and tries to find and see her since then. They finally meet 10 years after and develop a special relationship as he helps her in winning the cases she handles as a public defender.
Personal thoughts: Lee Bo-young looks gorgeous even in her pajamas. OK, I’m not telling you to let him choose based on how pretty the leading lady is, but like many female fans who go crazy over the handsome faces of their oppas, sometimes we also look at the physical aspect of the leading actress in selecting a show to watch. But the most interesting thing about this series is its plot and the courtroom drama that takes place.
4. REPLY 1988, if he appreciates family dramas
Reply 1988 is a 2015-2016 drama and the third installment of tvN’s Reply series. It is set in the 1980s and tells the story of five friends (played by Lee Hye-ri, Park Bo-gum, Ryu Jeon-yul, Go Kyung-pyo and Leee Dong-hwi) and their families who live in the same neighborhood in Seoul. So what exactly is the story? That’s a difficult question, as this drama depicts daily life events of ordinary people living their normal lives. There’s no villain or complicated plot; instead there’s comedy, family, friendship, and budding romance that eventually leads to marriage.
Personal thoughts: I laughed so hard and heartily felt the emotions spurred in this show. I would always like to watch this drama with my girlfriend any time she wants. And I would not forget to watch this again with her along with our kids in let’s say, 20 or 30 years. I just find it great and completely novel.
5. THAT WINTER THE WIND BLOWS, if melodrama is his type
That Winter the Wind Blow is a 2013 drama about a gambler and con artist (played by Jo In-sung) who pretends to be the long-lost brother of a blind heiress (played by Song Hye-kyo) after her father died. His original intention is to get something from her family that could help him pay his debts but he develops an affection for her over time. What about the woman? Did she fall in love with him despite seeing him as her brother? No spoiler here, but don’t worry because it’s not something like that.
Personal thoughts: I’m no fan of melodramas, but I happened to watch some out of curiosity and actually enjoyed them. I like this show the most among the others because it deals with serious questions about life and love. (Alternative: Nice Guy)
6. WEIGHTLIFTING FAIRY KIM BOK-JO, if he enjoys rom-com
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-jo is a 2016 drama that tells the story of Kim Bok-joo (played by Lee Sung-kyung), a university student and member of her school’s weightlifting team. The drama covers her life as an athlete who aspires to be a good female weightlifter and as a woman who experiences love. She meets her former classmate (played by Nam Joo-hyuk) in primary school who is also an athlete in the university. They develop feelings towards each other as they grow up together facing the challenges in their lives.
Personal thoughts: If you’re watching this with a guy you have a crush on or you like very much, why don’t you confront him after the first episode and ask him if he likes Messi? That would be a good chance to finally confess that feeling of yours. I like Weightlifting Fairy due to its non-stereotypical depiction of a lead female character who literally lifts weights yet remains a woman to be loved after all. (Alternative: My Girlfriend is a Gumiho)
7. DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN, if he’s looking for romance
Amid the popularity of Descendants of the Sun, there are still people (men and women alike) who think it’s a drama not worth watching. If you’re one of them perhaps it’s now time to consider your reservation again (the drama premiered in February last year). DOTS is basically a love story between a soldier (played by Song Joong-ki) and a doctor (played by Song Hye-kyo) who find it difficult to develop a romantic relationship due to their jobs. They part in Seoul but meet again in another country. Likewise, their relationship does not develop smoothly there but as they separate for the second time, an unfortunate event in the war-torn country leads their paths to cross again.
Personal thoughts: A lot of people would argue that DOTS is overrated and lacks a solid story. It’s not an amazing show but I disagree with them about it lacking in that aspect. I understand what its story is trying to get at and i think it delivered the message perfectly. It seems simple for others, but the difficulty of some individuals in entering into a romantic relationship due to opposing views and different professions is actually a serious concern. I’m satisfied with the romance, just like some men I know who bothered to watch it.(Alternative: Spring Waltz)
If you don’t mind watching a drama with little or no romance, I highly recommend Signal, Tree With Deep Roots, Beautiful Mind and 38 Task Force. Advance happy Valentine’s Day!
(A FANBOY’S PERSPECTIVE is a weekly feature in Kdramapal about anything related to Korean dramas, from a man’s point of view. For your feedback and questions, you can email the author at [email protected], message us on our Facebook page, or comment on this post below.)