Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas with excellent OTPs?

Reka writes:

Dear kfangurl,

thank you very much for your answer to my previous question, the one about strong and nuanced womenย ๐Ÿ˜€ I already started watching โ€œThe Story of Minglanโ€™ and I am loving it so much! (Btw itโ€™s also one of my first C-dramas, so thank you for the new experience!)

This time too, I have a similar question about couples. I love romance and Iโ€™ll never have enough of it, but many times it seems to me that the characters end up together just because itโ€™s a โ€œplot requirementโ€ and because we expect them to get together. So there may be no chemistry at all, or plot holes about their coming together, things can feel clichรฉd and may lack of depth.

I read your review of โ€œCrash landing on youโ€ and since you appreciated the OTP, I went to watch the show and yes! The OTP was marvellous! They were very believable and engaging. Thus I ask for your advice once again xD

Can you recommend me some dramas with believable couples and good chemistry?

Hi there Reka,

So glad you’re enjoying The Story Of Minglan (yes, C-dramas are a different experience indeed), and yay that you found the OTP in Crash Landing On You just as endearing as I did!

It’s true that the chemistry and believability of an OTP can make or break a drama, so here’s a selection of OTPs that I personally enjoyed, in no particular order. You’ll notice that a number of these dramas have already been mentioned in my earlier post on what makes a kdrama addictively rewatchable, but.. that doesn’t mean that I should leave them out in the cold in this post, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

And just coz I can, Imma gonna quote myself, just a little bit, on each of these OTPs.

As always, everyone, do feel free to chime in with your insights and your own picks of worthy OTPs in the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

GREAT OTP, GOOD OR GREAT SHOW OVERALL

Coffee Prince

“And then, THE thing that makes this all-important OTP connection work so well, is the chemistry that Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye share. It just feels so natural, so warm and so organic, that I often felt that I was a voyeur, peeping at real-life lovers.”

Review is here.

Healer

“Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young share a fantastic, crackling chemistry as our OTP. Whether Jung Hoo and Young Shin are in a romantic space in their relationship or not, their interactions feel completely natural and organic. They are justย so comfortable with each other. There is no stiffness between them whatsoever, and the result is an OTP that is amazingly easy to lose oneself in.”

Review is here.

Secret Love Affair

“Despite the real-life age difference of 19 years, Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae are completely convincing as our lovers, caught up in an unexpected, intoxicating, life-changing love affair.

Their chemistry simmers, smolders and sizzles onscreen, adding depth and dimension to all of their charactersโ€™ interactions, so much so that the relationship literally comes to life.”

Review is here.

Ten Miles Of Peach Blossoms [China]

“There is a Reason that the idea of a Fated Love that stands the test of time is a classic favorite in dramaland. The idea that one love is so strong that nothing can come between the lovers is a romantic one indeed. And because this story takes place in a fantasy world peopled with gods and goddesses, Show can take that idea and literally multiply it by tens of thousands of years,ย andย several lifetimes. In effect โ€“ by my estimation at least โ€“ย this essentially heightens and amplifies the audienceโ€™s experience of the romance and emotions,ย many times over.

As if that isnโ€™t heady enough, Show also allows the love and romance to be expressed in the charactersโ€™ desire for each other. Unlike many kdramas Iโ€™ve seen (and I reference kdramas only because thatโ€™s the stuff I have the most experience with), where most couples stick to the occasional restrained, wide-eyed lip-lock, and most sexytimes (if any) are overlaid with a generous PG-friendly cutesy filter, this showโ€™s open acknowledgement of this coupleโ€™s desire for each other felt candid and refreshing.”

Flash Review is here.

Romance Is A Bonus Book

“In the same way that Show isย warm, thoughtful and cozy, yet manages to feel fresh, the relationship between Eun Ho and Dan Yi also feels cozy and familiar, thanks to their many years of shared friendship prior, and yet, thereโ€™s that tantalizing new thing between them thatโ€™s starting to grow, like a fresh shoot in an earthy garden. I really liked that.

Also, I felt like the chemistry between Lee Jong Suk and Lee Na Young hit that perfect note of cozy familiarity quite wonderfully. From comfortable conversations, to easy skinship, to the simple complete ease of being around each other, they made our OTP connection feel deep, organically grown and very, very real.”

Review is here.

Fight My Way

“Not gonna lie; my absolute favorite thing in this show, is when Dong Man and Ae Ra were together on my screen. Whether they were just friends, newly dating, or feeling their way through the uncertain, murky territory in-between, they were always a delight to watch.

Park Seo Joon and Kim Ji Won are fantastic together. They have such a shared, natural,ย easy vibe, that when I watch them, I truly believe that Ae Ra and Dong Man have been close for years and years, and as a result, feel super comfortable around each other.”

Review is here.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

“In fact,ย I am in slight disbelief at how insanelyย comfortable Nam Joo Hyuk and Lee Sung Kyung are together onscreen, in this show. I really feel like Joon Hyung and Bok Joo share a deep and easy friendship, with a comfort and ease with each other born out of spending a lot of time together, in close proximity. The skinship feels so natural and easy, I feel like theyโ€™ve cuddled a lot before, and Iโ€™m completely blown away.”

Review is here.

In Time With You [Taiwan]

“Chen Bolin and Ariel Lin share an easy, comfortable, sparky chemistry that made it super easy for me to believe that Da Ren and You Qing have known each other for a long time, and have spent many years of their lives as besties who hang out with each other often, call each other regularly, and have lengthy, uninhibited conversations with each other, so much so that they know each other like the backs of their own hands.”

Flash Review is here.

Fated To Love You

“It really isnโ€™t very often that we get to see an OTP withย warm, sparky, natural chemistry right off the bat, but thatโ€™s exactly what we get with our pair of Jangs. Or should I say, Jjangs.

Whatever the magic behind the magic, Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra convey a nuance and depth in their onscreen interactions that really magnifies the emotional resonance of theirย characters and their relationship.

At every stage of Gunโ€™s and Mi Youngโ€™s relationship, their chemistry feels so real and appropriate to the moment. Whether our OTP is just getting to know each other, or falling head over heels in love, or working through angst, their chemistry feels deep and natural and completely believable.”

Review is here.

Marriage Not Dating

“Yeon Woo Jin and Han Groo share a pretty fantastic chemistry as Ki Tae and Jang Mi, whether they are in each otherโ€™s faces bickering and (sometimes literally) tearing each otherโ€™s hair out, or in each otherโ€™s faces with big fat smooches.

With committed, natural deliveries by both actors, our lead couple isย a delight to watch, in the funny bits, the swoony bits, and even during the angsty bits in between. Their couplehood just feels so genuine and believable that watching themย sometimes even feels a touch, well,ย voyeuristic.

Review is here.

School 2013

“The bromantic love that Heung Soo and Nam Soon have for each other is intense, overt and deep. They arenโ€™t just besties. They are soul mates, these two. And Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jong Suk donโ€™t shy away from engaging in and wrestling with the emotional potency of Heung Sooโ€™s and Nam Soonโ€™s relationship. Whether it is in silent moments swelling with meaningful undercurrents, or in full-on emotional outbursts, theyย bringย it, head on, and the result is gut-wrenchingly, overwhelmingly, spell-bindinglyย good.”

Review is here.

You From Another Star

“I really enjoyed the chemistry that Kim Soo Hyun and Jeon Ji Hyun shared in The Thieves, despite their limited screen time together, and was left wanting more.ย Much more.ย YFAS is the answer to my โ€˜much moreโ€™ dreams, coz these two sizzle and spark onscreen, whether they are in each otherโ€™s faces glaring daggers, or in each otherโ€™s faces making kisses.”

Review is here.

GREAT OTP, MADE THE SHOW BETTER THAN IT REALLY WAS

The Secret Life Of My Secretary

“Once we get past the initial set-up, we get double identity hijinks, as Min Ik finds himself falling for Gal Heeโ€™s alter ego. While I found this solidly amusing, what drew me in more, was the heartfelt nature of this OTP connection, which felt quite nicely organic in its development. Show is nicely peppered with earnest, sweet moments between our OTP, and I found myself enjoying these very much.

For the record, I felt that Kim Young Kwang and Jin Ki Joo share an easy, comfortable chemistry that worked well whether Min Ik and Gal Hee were working together trying to figure out work challenges, or getting up close and heart-thumpingly personal. Really nice.ย Alsoย for the record, Kim Young Kwang kisses his leading lady like he means it, and in this case, it translates into sweet, tender, unhurried kisses.ย Melt.

Review is here.

The Tale Of Nokdu

“It turns out Jang Dong Yoon and Kim So Hyun are very cute together indeed, and there were even times when I thought I felt the air crackle between them.

I found the initial bickering between Nokdu and Dong Joo amusing and entertaining, but what makes this relationship work for me, is how Show makes sure to present these two with a lot of heart. Through the good times and the bad, we are kept connected to Nokdu and Dong Jooโ€™s feelings and any internal struggles they might have, independently, as well as in relation to each other. As a result, the connection between Nokdu and Dong Joo feels organically grown and lived-in, and I felt able to root for their love, because I could believe in their love. Thatโ€™s a quality that is sometimes lacking in stories about young romance, and I was pleasantly surprised by the depth that Show serves up, in this loveline.”

Review is here.

Her Private Life

“Watching this couple together was THE highlight of this show, for me.

Kim Jae Wook and Park Min Young share a chemistry that is wonderfully sparky, whether Ryan and Deok Mi are at loggerheads, or getting up close and personal (and kissy!). Beyond that, I love that the skinship they bring to the table feels so organic and real. No awkward manner hands here; this couple touches each other like they mean it, and that results in an OTP connection that feels real and lived-in, even during the times when writer-nim makes their interactions a little too healthy to be true.”

Review is here.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

“Park Hyung Shik and Park Bo Young make possibly the most adorable pair of lovebirds,ย ever.ย The two share a chemistry that feels warm, organic and crackly, and just soย real.ย They are so good together, that watching them be cute on my screen together, sometimes made me positivelyย giddy.

Every time Show disappointed me on other fronts, these two made up for it. Literally, anytime I got Bong Soon and Min Hyuk together on my screen, all my gripes about this show seemed to melt away.”

Review is here.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim

“Like I mentioned before, this show isnโ€™t very inventive, and uses a lot of tropes, but the OTP makes it work. I found that I didnโ€™t have to think too hard โ€“ or much at all โ€“ while watching this show. I didnโ€™t feel the need to piece clues together about the childhood backstory. I could just sit back and enjoy the cute of this OTP, and boy, does Show know how to capitalize on its strengths.

One of my favorite things in the early stretch of the show, was the growing hyper-awareness on both sides of our OTP. Show dutifully teases us with multiple instances of accidental skinship and almost-embraces, which I equally dutifully lapped up.”

Flash Review is here.

Touch Your Heart

“Generally speaking, the more Show focused on the development of our OTP relationship, the cuter and more adorable I found this drama.

As a general rule, our OTP connection grows in a manner that I found organic and sweet, and the strong chemistry between our leads just made everything around the OTP development all the more enjoyable to watch.

As another general rule, I was duly tickled and appreciative of the fact that Yoon Seo turns out to be the more proactive person in pursuing an OTP love connection. You go, girl.ย โค”

Review is here.

Suspicious Partner

“Ji Chang Wook and Nam Ji Hyun have excellent, sparky chemistry, so whether Bong Hee and Ji Wook are bickering fiercely, or being chummy, or getting up close and cozy, they are a pleasure to watch together.

In particular, I enjoyed the early bickering between them, which I thought was fab. You could practically see the sparks fly, amid the tension. Right away, I could see definite promise in this OTP connection.”

Review is here.

IN CLOSING

This list isn’t comprehensive, of course. But I do think this list covers some pretty great OTPs, so I hope you’ll find some lovely watches here.

Just so you know, I chose to omit shows that have good OTPs, but which I just couldn’t enjoy, overall. Also, I omitted shows where I personally enjoyed the OTP but the ship itself is controversial (due to shipping wars, for example). If you’re curious about that, though, I personally really enjoyed Answer Me, 1988. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, like I mentioned above, everyone, do feel free to chime in with other great OTPs in the comments, since there are literally so many shows that I haven’t yet watched.

I hope this list helps!

Love!ย โค

~kfangurl

May they bring you all the feelsss. <3

POST-SCRIPT:

1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own insights that youโ€™d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!

2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on theย Dear kfangurlย page, or send me an email!

161 thoughts on “Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas with excellent OTPs?

  1. The_Joker

    I would highly recommend Jang Jae Yeol and Ji Hae Soo from It’s Okay, That’s Love. Fantastic OTP chemistry, there was sizzling attraction, comfortable, accepting where overall one of few dramas that I have “aha” moments since I understand why these two are the OTP and in love with each other, such believable pair.

    Reply
  2. Steven

    Wow Park Min Young appeared three times on the list, and with different pairings at that! Blending in with a partner apparently is one of her strongest points. โ™ฅโ™ฅ

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      She does tend to work well with her various co-stars! ๐Ÿ™‚ Another actress who does well in that is Gong Hyo Jin.. she’s explained in interviews before, that she really does “fall in love” for a bit, while acting with her co-star, and that’s how it looks so real and natural. I thought that was very interesting! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
      1. beez

        That’s not hard to believe! Look at who her co-stars are:
        So Ji sub๐Ÿ’˜, Gong Yooโค, Rain ๐Ÿ’”, Jang Hyuk ๐Ÿ’œ, Cha Seung won, Jo In sung, Kim Soo hyun (and Cha Tae hyun, ho-hum), Cho Jung seok, and Kang Haneul๐Ÿ’“
        Most of whom make up my bias list!

        Reply
        1. beez

          Since kfangurl’s comment was about both Park Min Young and Gong Hye jin, I should’ve specified that I was talking about Gong Hye jin’s costars.

          Although PMY has her fair share of hotties, but other than Ji Chang wookโค๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ and Song Seung heon โค none are on my bias list.

          Reply
      2. Sharra

        Hey Kfangurl,
        I stumbled in Kdrama world in March by pure accident and am now hooked! I am a serial stalker of your reviews and have watched some great dramas thanks to your reviews.

        The reason I felt compelled to write on this one was that I watched Fated to Love you from this recommendation and I never ever in a million years would have picked it. In fact I probably would have given up episode 1 and what a loss that would have been!
        Loved the chemistry but the Jangs made me laugh cry and fall in love with them.

        I was mesmerisied with Jang Hyuk from episode 2. How amazing of an actor is he that despite the hair the laugh and the loud clothes you can’t stop falling in love with him. And yes that bed scene with its intensity and I only realised how good looking he actually was when he smartens up later.
        Loved his relations with Mi yeongs mother as well and that Karaoke scene!

        I could write an essay on this drama but just wanted to stop by and thank you for recommending this one which is going to be a firm fav with Secret Garden ,CLOY and My Mister!

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Hi Sharra, thanks for coming out as my serial stalker! ๐Ÿ˜‚ A belated welcome to the blog, and also, to the wonderful and weird world of dramas! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the reviews, and extra pleased, that you loved Fated to Love You and are now mesmerized by Jang Hyuk!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ My favorite roles of his are in Chuno and Money Flower, but fair warning that neither of them are romances. But he’s so glorious to watch in them both, that it doesn’t even matter, to be honest! ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Reply
        2. mohammed Chaudhary

          Hi Kfangurl
          Sorry for the late response!
          I am watching Money flower now albeit very slowly as it is so dark! And JH is as mesmerising as ever.

          I live in the U.K and can’t seem to find Chunno anywhere.

          Can I also love the way you review. And I use your rating system to decide what to watch! And oh boy have I watched loads based on you reviews. I am watching a Witch’s Romance at the moment with Pop up mystic bar need something to light and fluffy to balance out Money Flower.
          Keep up the amazing work!

          Reply
          1. kfangurl

            Hi Sharra! Good to see you! Glad that you’re watching Money Flower – I thought Jang Hyuk was magnificent in it! ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ As for Chuno, you can use the Opera VPN hack (details here), to access it on Viki. I hoep that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

            Also, thanks for enjoying the reviews! <3 I'm glad you've found them helpful!

            Reply
            1. Sharra

              Thank you so much for that information! You are very kind. I will take a look once I have finished the dramas I am on nowx

              Reply
  3. Kdrama newbie

    LOL. After chasing Korean flower boys, I ended up going on a Park Min Young hunt instead. I first watched her in What’s Wrong with Sec Kim, and really enjoyed that show. Then I watched Sungkyunkwan Scandal and suffered really badly from SLS (Second lead syndrome). Watched Her Private Life, followed by Healer. I think her pairing with Kim Jae-Wook is the best of all her OTPs.

    After watching WWwSK, I went on pursuit of Park Seo Joon and his marvellous abs, which brought me to Hwarang. Despite all the pretty boys in that (Park Hyung Sik *sigh*), hate the OTP; the female lead is always crying. Sooky females are a total turn-off; the main reason I stopped watching Memories of Alhambra, despite Hyun Bin.

    Reply
    1. beezrtp

      If you like Park Seo Joon, let me recommend Fight My Way. You’ll find no crying damsels in distress here, unless you count the female lead’s hilarious sarcastic imitation of them. ๐Ÿ˜†

      Reply
    2. merij1

      We were quite fond of My Private Life. Healer goes (almost!) without saying!

      I’m still trying to convince my wife to watch Sungkyunkwan Scandal with me. You loved it?

      Reply
      1. Kdrama newbie

        Not too fond of Joseon era dramas, though SKK is one of the better ones, i think. Good mix of funny and angsty moments. I adore Yoo Ah-In’s character.

        Reply
      2. beez

        Sungkyunkwan Scandal is considered a fusion saeguk which means it’s not necessarily 100% accurate in its anachronisms (if I used that term correctly?) It reminded me, in that sense, of A Knight’s Tale. It’s just fun.

        Reply
  4. Seeker

    Hi Kfangirl! This is the first time Iโ€™ve left a comment anywhere. And Iโ€™m so excited Iโ€™ve found your blog. We share the similar K-drama journey. Though I so much to say, I thought Iโ€™d limit my thoughts to the article above.
    I agree with your recommendations and would like to suggest Hyena as a strong contender in the running for incredible OTP. One of the best and most intense ones for sure. Itโ€™s not the swoony but definitely sexy type. I do hope you get a chance to check out that show.

    Reply
  5. Seeker

    Hi Kfangirl! This is the first time Iโ€™ve left a comment anywhere. And Iโ€™m so excited Iโ€™ve found your blog. We share the similar K-drama journey. Though I so much to say, I thought Iโ€™d limit my thoughts to the article above.
    I agree with your recommendations and would like to suggest Hyena as a strong contender in the running for incredible OTP. One of the best and most intense ones for sure. Itโ€™s not the swoony but definitely sexy type. I do hope you get a chance to check out that show.

    Reply
  6. Storyteller

    Favorite (Unpopular?) OTPs:

    1. Reply 1988’s Taek-Deoksun: Realistic adult relationship — He won her heart by telling her he loved her and proved it by protecting and taking care of her.
    2. Hospital Playlist’s Ikjun and Gyeo-ul.

    Favorite Agape OTPs:
    1. My Mister’s Dong-hee and Ji-an — platonic soulmate masterpiece
    2. Mother’s Kang Soo-jin and Kim Hye-na — maternal connectiom
    3. Stranger’s Shimok and Detective Han

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      I’ve got Hospital Playlist, Mother and Stranger on my list! ๐Ÿ˜€ I don’t know if your favorite OTPs are unpopular.. I personally agree that Taek and Deok Sun make a great couple, though many viewers’ hearts bled for Jung Hwan. ๐Ÿ˜…

      Reply
      1. Snow Flower

        I wanted a happy ending for Jung hwan. I imagine it happened, just not with Deok Sun.

        Reply
        1. Storyteller

          Saw this R88 BTS where Hyeri calls RJY for acting tips at her shoot. Apparently RJY was hanging out with his friends but dropped them like a hot potato to be with her โ€” talk about being her real-life Taek.

          Reply
      2. Storyteller

        On unpopular OTPs — Tempted’s Shi Hyun (Woo Do Hwan) and Tae Hee (Joy). Shades of DS-Taek, role-reversed.

        Goblin-Eun Tak chemistry was superb — starting Ep 13. Pity ET’s character development didn’t come much sooner.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Ooh, I actually haven’t seen either of those shows! Well, I did attempt Goblin, but I’m paused indefinitely at E10, so I haven’t seen E13 yet. ๐Ÿ˜…

          Reply
      3. Carrie Smith

        Playlist, Mother and Stranger are all fantastic! You should bump those up to the top of the list. Especially Stranger. And Hospital Playlist. And Mother. Heck.

        Reply
    2. Snow Flower

      Agape is the perfect word for My Mister’s platonic couple!

      I am also rooting for Ik Jun and Gyeo Ul.

      Excellent description of the Reply 1988 OTP (Taek-Deok Sun).

      Reply
      1. beezrtp

        Can I remind you guys that sometimes “SPOILERS” are needed? Especially for shows like Reply 1988 where hearing the reveal could make watching the episodes pointless because of how that show is set up.

        My two cents.

        Reply
        1. Storyteller

          Thanks, beez — hopefully WordPress can feature a blacked out spoiler tag soon, similar to reddit’s.

          Reply
      2. Storyteller

        *SPOILER*

        Apparently the Jeong-won & Gyeo-ul ship is quite popular online, despite it being clear that he doesn’t like her — that date rejection scene was ouch.

        As opposed to Ik-jun who clearly dotes on her, and she is fond of and comfortable with him — doesn’t a certain R88 ship come to mind?

        I’m curious, who do you think will end up with Songhwa?

        *END SPOILER*

        Reply
    1. jann martin

      So agree. Hyena is the best tv series I have watched in ages. Second to Secret Love Affair.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl

      I’m watching Hyena now, and I see what you mean, Islander_58North! ๐Ÿ˜€ Can’t comment further till I actually finish the show, which will be for a while yet. I’m almost halfway there! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  7. Shamster

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on dramas with the best OSTs! Just dramas worth watching because of how well the OST works- thinking Healer and One Spring Night and Suspicious Partner!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Thanks for the suggestion, Shamster! ๐Ÿ˜€ I have started thinking about it, and hope to post about it in the somewhat soonish future! Stay tuned! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply
  8. MyKDramaticLife

    First time commenting I guess.

    Here is my best OTPs so far:
    (in no particular order)

    Another Oh Hae Young
    Marriage Not Dating
    Weightlifting Fairy
    Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
    Fight for my Way
    Oh My Ghost
    The Idle Mermaid
    Moon Lovers
    Love in the Moonlight
    Clean with Passion for Now
    Reply 1988 (with the second lead ๐Ÿ˜‚)

    So my list is rather very subjective than objective.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there MyKDramaticLife, welcome! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for sharing your list! And y’know, ALL of our lists are subjective too! ๐Ÿ˜‰ YAY that you also love the OTP in Marriage Not Dating.. hi5! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply
  9. BE

    Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae put on a master class in Secret Love Affair. I have written to you about this before, so you know just how much I admire the writing in this show, its commitment to life and art, and the fact that this completely unlikely, bordering on transgressive romance has you rooting for the two of them all the way. It is a tribute to two of South Korea’s premier actors giving it their all.

    As a rule, I find OTPs in Korean romance often marred by settling for one or another of the leads being less interesting or dimensional than the other either in the writing or the actors’ charisma quotient. Indeed I think more interesting couples are often those who do not connect or cannot stay connected as a result of the truth of their characters and situations. In Mr. Sunshine, for example, the second male and female leads, played by Yoo Yeon Seok and Kim Min Jung, have such a touching emotional connection, despite never really hooking up. In My Mister, the fact that IU’s character and Lee Sun Kyung’s character do not get romantically involved despite the amazing feeling for one another that the actors project make them a far more memorable couple than 99% of romantic pairings do. In Chuno, it is Kim Ha Eun both on her own and in relation to Jang Hyuk’s character, especially in the final scenes rather than Lee Da Hae that stays with me. In Nokdu Flower, though Jo Jung Suk’s and Han Ye Ri’s characters are romantically linked, it is the many factors separating one from the other that really brings out the individuality of each characterso both are more memorable as themselves than as lovers, which has a flavor laden effect.

    I think a lot of K Drama revolves around couples in ways that tend for me to blur them one into the other. Only rarely, once in a while does one see a great passion being enacted or the depths of a life long love.

    Reply
    1. Snow Flower

      Your comments are so spot-on, BE! The couple in Secret Love Affair is truly one of the greatest. I can imagine them staying together and in love for the rest of their lives. Same thing is true for the OTP in Nokdu Flower. Even though romance was not the focus of the drama, I liked how both characters experienced personal growth and how that made their romantic connection even deeper.

      And thank you for mentioning Chuno, Mr. Sunshine, and My Mister. Sometimes the most memorable couples are not even couples in the narrow romantic sense. I can only weep while watching Kim Ha Eun and Jang Hyuk or Kim Min Jung and Yoo Yeon Seok, but their scenes are what makes me come back for yet another drama rewatch.

      I highly recommend Conspiracy in the Court (Seoul’s Sad Song) for its excellent writing and acting. Kim Ha Eun is great as a tragic heroine. Ahn Nae Sang is outstanding as wise and sad King Jeongjo.

      Reply
      1. BE

        Hey thanks Snow Flower. Right now I am caught up in the World of the Married Couple (there really must be a better translation for the title–I’d really prefer, “Scenes From a Divorce”), about as over the top a melodrama as I can imagine, but the cast is just killing it one episode after another. I will try to find Conspiracy in the Court.

        Reply
    2. kfangurl

      That’s great sharing, BE, thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€ You’re spot on; in many drama OTPs, one of the characters tends to be fleshed out more than the other, which results in a lopsided sort of watch. We root for the couple to be together, mostly for the sake of the lead character who’s more fleshed out, and whom we’re rooting for, rather than for the couple itself, as one unit. When they’re both equally fleshed out, it makes for a much more compelling watch indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love all the memorable couples you listed, though I haven’t yet watched Nokdu Flower. You’ve described them so eloquently. ANd yes, Kim Ha Eun was much more memorable for me than Lee Da Hae as well, in Chuno. <3 If only more drama OTPs were as memorable as the pairs you've mentioned!

      Reply
  10. merij1

    Based on this post, we just started My Private Life. And kept thinking, huh, we know that guy. Even so, I had to look him up to make the connection. Half-Japanese waffle chef from Coffee Prince, but 12 years older! Nice.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it, that Ryan Gold used to be Waffle Guy?!? ๐Ÿ˜€ Kim Jae Wook’s been due for a romantic lead role for a long time, and Her Private Life was it, after years of playing supporting characters. I thought he did beautifully! ๐Ÿคฉ

      Reply
      1. merij1

        And when I wrote that comment we still hadn’t recognized her as the lead from Healer. This post about excellent OTPs is the only reason we watched it, but if we’d known in advance that the show combined half the OTP from Healer and Coffee Prince, that alone would have been enough to move it up to our “watch next” list! Thanks again for all three of those recommendations.

        Btw, I did see your new post about “dramas your guy might watch with you.” I just haven’t had time to read it properly.

        Reply
        1. merij1

          Correction, not half of the OTP from Coffee Prince, but certainly one of its more memorable characters.

          Speaking of whom — pretend-half-Japanese-Coffee-Prince-waffle-chef Kim Jae Wook — we’re quite fond of this song from his band, Walrus:

          Reply
          1. kfangurl

            ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I love it! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s got a retro-breezy groove to it that’s very ear-wormy. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Thanks for sharing; I wasn’t familiar with his music at all! ๐Ÿ™‚ PS: And he looks JUST like Waffle Guy in the MV. Extra brownie points! ๐Ÿ˜€

            Reply
            1. merij1

              Yeah, not too often that you see a K-drama actor doing indie rock. Walrus released that song in February 2011, about four years after Coffee Prince.

              Reply
              1. kfangurl

                Kim Jae Wook’s always been special, in that I’ve never felt he believed he needed to conform to mainstream expectations. Such a rock star! ๐Ÿคฉ

                Reply
              2. beezrtp

                @merji – So am I understanding this correctly – you were already a Kpop (or Jpop) fan before you discovered Kdrama? And CLOY was your first Kdrama, right?

                Reply
                1. merij1

                  No, not a K-pop fan even now! Ha ha. Love Is A Bonus Book was our first, which is part of the reason I have such a crush on Lee Na-young. (The other parts being that she’s so classically beautiful and seems like a really great person.)

                  Reply
                  1. beezrtp

                    Oh, that’s right. Love is a Bonus Book. I remember you saying that now. I got it mixed up because so many people are saying CLOY was their first.

                    Reply
                2. merij1

                  One Spring Night was our second. Not a bad start, eh? Which is why I’m also quite fond of Han Ji-min.

                  I believe our third show was A Thousand Goodnights, also on Netflix. It’s Taiwanese and moves at a slower pace. Very positive role models for any human being in that one.

                  CLOY came much later and was our cure for hating Son Ye-jin after how the writers destroyed the initially wonderful OTP in Something in the Rain/Noona Who…

                  Eventually we subscribed to Viki to watch Healer, based on your (smugly accurate!) recommendation. Most of what we watch now is via Viki.com.

                  Reply
        2. kfangurl

          Ooh, so pleased that you and your wife have enjoyed the various recommendations so far! Since you enjoyed Han Ji Min in One Spring Night, might I recommend Familiar Wife and The Light in Your Eyes (also known as Dazzling)? Familiar Wife is a do-over sort of story, so characters and relationships take centerstage. Dazzling is.. very special, and will feel wonky to watch at times, but trust in Show to tell its story, and you’ll be rewarded when everything falls into place towards the end. And it’s beautiful and poignant, and I do think you and your wife would be able to appreciate it. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Take your time checking out the post, MeriJ! I wrote it coz you suggested it, so I hope you enjoy it! ๐Ÿ˜€

          Reply
          1. merij1

            Too late for those recommendations. Based on your reviews and our affection for Ji-min, we already saw both Familiar Wife and The Light In Your Eyes! The latter was a tough watch, as you know, although worth it for the deep dive into poignancy.

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Wow, you guys move fast! ๐Ÿ˜€ Hm.. maybe I could recommend one of Ji Sung’s dramas then. He played Han Ji Min’s husband in Familiar Wife, and he’s an excellent actor. Everyone didn’t realize just HOW versatile he is, until he took on Kill Me, Heal Me, and acted multiple personalities flawlessly. I loved that drama but never got around to writing it a review coz I got distracted and then never went back to it. But I would’ve given that drama an A. ๐Ÿ˜‰

              Reply
              1. merij1

                Kill Me, Heal Me might be just the ticket. It’s not just drama, right? Is the romance angle at least a significant part of it?

                I was pushing for Sungkyunkwan Scandal as our next show, but I think the sageuk context is keeping my wife from giving it a try. I explained your observation that the actors behave as if modern, but in historical garb. But she’s passed two nights in a row on starting it, which is not a good sign! (So I started S3 of Westworld on my own! haha.)

                Reply
                1. kfangurl

                  Yes, the romance is a significant part of the story, though the details are somewhat hazy now. ๐Ÿ˜… If I recall, the female lead starts out rather overly screechy, but settles down after a while. You probably have to suspend disbelief around the patient-doctor relationship since she gets roped in as his secret doctor. But if you can do that, Ji Sung’s acting is impressively brilliant, because he channels something like 7 different personalities.

                  Sungkyunkwan Scandal is SO much fun, and is the PERFECT beginner sageuk, in my opinion. It’s so light and breezy! If you’re keen to watch that one (Park Min Young is so fresh and charming in it, even though she does nothing much in the way of serious acting), persuade your wife to give it just one episode before she decides. I was reluctant to watch it too, but just a few minutes in, I was like, OHHH. This felt like spring-time and lollipops in drama form, dressed in sageuk robes. ๐Ÿ˜€

                  Reply
  11. Vekster

    Great Entry as usual. Really liking these lists so it gives be a better place to find what to watch all in one place. I am stuck with the usual question, “What do I want to watch?”

    Your list of Park Min Young shows in this list are rather high! I watched all the ones listed and really like Healer as it’s in my top list of kdramas. I’m a fan of hers. Haven’t watched her new one yet.

    Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms is my favorite cdrama at the moment but I haven’t watched many and they seem to be long. Most have a long episode count but so does anime (sorry to bring it up but I started with that first). I think any future cdrama I watch will compare to this one as it set the bar real high. Any recommendations for cdrama?

    Weightlifting Fairy and Strong Woman both great but Strong Woman tried to be weird with crude cheap laughs. Park Bo Young very kawaii!

    Fated To Love you was a recommendation from you that I really like. I am a fan of Jang Na Ra right now and I didn’t finish Last Empress. That one was a fun mess but had many twists and turns. Enjoyed One More Happy Ending.

    You From Another Star was great along with the Thieves. Yoo In Na as well!

    Touch Your Heart. Goblin reunion. Became Yoo In Na fan after Goblin but she is always fun to watch. Queen In Yun’s Man is her best work and you probably forgot to add to the list?

    Yeah the OTP is a make or break for a show. Great list. Now I have to pick and choose one to watch after my long hiatus from watching dramas. Tsundere characters can be fun and most are male in kdrama and as CEOs? This seem like a cliche and once you see you, it better be unique or I am out. How about some good women tsundere like I’m use to? Any recommendations?

    I have a challenge or a request. How about best endings/last episode and worst/disappointing endings/last episode? I am about how the journey ended and not how the journey was. At least kdrama are final and usually no worries about if a second season is there to finish story or continue.

    Another idea could be most sad shows or shows where you cried the most in for sad reasons? Anime has made me sad before. Clannad is a great example. Kinda felt like you were kicked real hard twice in the feels. Yes, twice but is one of my favorites. Kdrama has yet to make me feel that sad but some moments in shows have. Usually one sad scene and done but anime Violet Evergarden (on USA Netflix) does seem to make me sad in most episodes. It is well done and animated by Kyoto Animation who just last July had many workers die due to arson (biggest murder in Japan since WWII). Many people helped those in need who lost lives and those recovering from the tragedy. I was surprised by how much money was raised to help them out. People are amazing. We like to help.

    Thanks again for this list. Stay safe.

    Reply
    1. MC

      I fully agree on the My Mister pairing. What they had transcended a lot of the OTPs in most Kdramas! And Iโ€™ll be sure to check out the others you mentioned!

      Reply
      1. MC

        Oh dear my reply went to the wrong thread. In any case I second your suggestion, Vekster, on the best/ worst endings. Some meh shows are saved by great endings and some great shows are ruined by bad endings. And good shows that end beautifully are gorgeous!

        Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Hi Vekster! Glad you enjoyed this list! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Yes, I’m with you, Healer is my favorite Park Min Young show so far. Also because I have a huge soft spot for Healer. SUCH a fantastic watch. ๐Ÿคฉ As for C-dramas, Peaches is one of my favorites too. <3 Have you tried Bu Bu Jing Xin (Scarlet Heart)? I sampled some episodes after watching the K-version, and thought it was very well done. I finally understand why it's such a beloved show. ๐Ÿ™‚ The Story Of Minglan is pretty solid too, I thought. ๐Ÿ™‚ I recently enjoyed Find Yourself, which managed to be light yet thoughtful. For something modern yet mature, The First Half Of My Life is wonderfully elegant. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Ah yes, I forgot about Queen In Hyun's Man for this list, my bad. ๐Ÿ˜› I did love that OTP! <3 As for woman tsundere characters.. maybe Search WWW? There are 3 strong women in the story, and each has a loveline, and 2 of the 3 are quite tsundere.. It's a very solid show, I liked it very well. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for your questions, Vekster, I've added it to the Dear kfangurl pool, and I hope to answer them sometime soonish! (I do have a fair number of questions to answer, so I'll probably spread them out, so I won't flood the blog with them all at once – just so you know! ๐Ÿ˜Š)

      Reply
      1. Vekster

        I watched Searched WWW when it aired but thanks for the recommendation. Wasn’t a fan of the relationship but liked the three strong women in the show. Scarlet Heart has been on list for a while.

        I liked Pinocchio as the plot about journalism was thought provoking. Could be a reason I have an interest in going into it when things get more normal.

        I can also pinpoint where I started away from Kdrama and wasn’t just anime. I was watching US version of the Office. Better romance than most US shows. Took me a while to finish 9 seasons but I loved it.

        Thanks for adding my questions to your queue of potential future articles. I look forward to your answer.

        Reply
  12. Snow Flower

    I have only seen the first 10 episodes, but I think the OTP in At Eighteen definitely deserves a spot on your list, kfangurl.
    And thank you, Kay, for adding My Girlfriend is a Gumiho! A true classic!
    I also liked the OTP in 30 but 17.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      That’s a great point, Snow Flower! The OTP in At Eighteen was so refreshingly mature. Thanks for making sure they got a shout-out! And yes, the OTP in Thirty But Seventeen was very solid too! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  13. Timescout

    I’m generally much more invested in friendship and family connections than romance in dramas, hence OTPs hardly ever give me “all the feels”. Most romance just tends to bore me. ;D I do like several OTPs on your list though, some more than others (e.g. Coffee Prince, Secret Love Affair and Peaches).
    My list (longer that I would have thought, ha):
    1% of Anything
    Arang
    Avengers Social Club (for awesome group chemistry)
    Can You Hear My Heart
    Chosun Police S3 (OTP isn’t the main draw but is rather sweet)
    Dal Ja’s Spring
    Fermentation Family
    Gloria
    Hotelier
    I Live in Cheongdam-dong
    Just Between Lovers
    Queen In Hyun’s Man
    Sassy Go Go
    Shut Up Flower Boy Band (for the bromance)
    When It’s at Night
    If we go outside Korea: The Pursuit of Happiness, To Get Her, The Story of Minglan, The Untamed, Gomen ne Seishun!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh! That’s a longer list than I expected from you too, Timescout! ๐Ÿ˜€ I forgot about the OTPs in 1% of Anything, Arang, & Queen In Hyun’s Man!! I really enjoyed them too! ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… I didn’t finish ILICDD coz it became unavailable to me (I was streaming it with Chinese subs), but now that you mention it, the OTP was very cute indeed!! Thank goodness I didn’t claim mine was a comprehensive list of my favorites! ๐Ÿ˜†

      I still plan to check out Avengers Social Club, and I do have plans to give The Untamed another try.. Thanks to you, The Pursuit of Happiness is still on my list, coz you consistently mention it as one of your faves! ๐Ÿ˜€ And since I’m trying to expand my exposure to J-dramas, I’ve put Gomen ne Seishun on my list too! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply
      1. Timescout

        I really liked Gomen ne Seishun! a lot. Drama is set in a school and is not romance based. Although romance is one of the ingedients, there are many other kinds of relationships too; friends, classmates, colleagues, teachers/students, perents/kids, siblings. Yup, my kind of drama. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Reply
  14. SZ10

    It is not the OTP but I absolutely loved the chemistry between Kim Ji Won and Jin Goo in Descendants of the Sun. I can watch that series over and over again for Song Joong Ki’s smile but in terms of being emotionally invested in the relationship, that was def Kim Ji Won and Jin Goo. With a side pairing, since they are not OTP, there is always that chance of unhappy ending. I was rooting so badly for them. Also totally agree with you about Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. From the offensive humor to the very creepy storyline, there is plenty to hate about this drama. And yet because the OTP is so perfect together that I still love that show. The word giddy perfectly describes the viewing experience. P.S. Love your blog. It also makes me excited to see how much I will agree or disagree with your review (it mostly is agree ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh, YES, I so agree with you SZ, that the military couple was much more interesting and compelling in DOTS! I cared more about their loveline than the OTP, even though I was suitably smitten with Song Joong Ki! ๐Ÿ˜… I would’ve loved for them to have their own drama.

      Absolutely, I was so conflicted about SWDBS!! It was so good and so bad, at the same time. Such an emotional rollercoaster! ๐Ÿ˜… But yes, those two Parks made me so giddy, when they were together! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

      YAY that you’re enjoying the blog!! ๐Ÿ˜€ And woot, that we mostly agree – tho it’s perfectly ok if we don’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰โค

      Reply
  15. Pingback: Dear kfangurl: What are some OTPs that didn’t work for you? | The Fangirl Verdict

  16. Kay

    Lots of great OTP’s here! I’m particularly fond of our Fated to Love You and Healer couples on this list ๐Ÿ™‚

    My all time favorite OTP will always be from my golden drama My Girlfriend is a Gumiho with Cha Dae Woong and Gu Mi Ho. Their chemistry was something else, and they hit all of the right feels ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh! I completely forgot about My Girlfriend is a Gumiho! I loved that show, and the OTP in it! ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ They really did bring all of the feels, from cute, to funny, to absolutely heartrending. <3 Thanks for making sure Show got a shout-out! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply
      1. Kay

        Oh yes, always have to spread the My Girlfriend is a Gumiho love whenever I get the chance. Newer drama fans need to know that gem exists, hehe ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Thanks to you bringing up My Girlfriend is a Gumiho in this post, I remembered to include it my latest Dear kfangurl list – I thought you’d be happy to know! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for reminding me of this very cute show, Kay! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Reply
  17. phl1rxd

    Hi Fangurl – great list and I agree with every single OTP above. The only drama I have not seen is In Time With You and I am watching that as soon as I catch up with Miss Truth. Out of the above mentioned OTPs my favorite is Coffee Prince.

    Love these posts as they are a nice addition to your normal reviews. Plus we all have an opinion and since many of us have no one to share these opinions with, this site allows us to express them here which is lovely.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ooh, yes, do check out In Time With You, phl!! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and our male lead is a precious, precious cinnamon roll. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ˜ I really hope you’ll enjoy the show as much as I did! <3

      Aw, that's so sweet of you to say. I'm glad you guys enjoy hanging out in this little corner of the interwebs, and I love the chats that sprinkle this place. ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad that you're liking these posts.. Quite a few folks have been asking for an opposite list, of OTPs I didn't enjoy (I'm surprised so many people want to see that list!), so I think there'll be another post coming out about it, soonish. ๐Ÿ˜…

      Reply
      1. phl1rxd

        Hi Fangurl – after you posted this comment I binged ITWY and I have to say that this may be the most natural OTP in the drama world. Although I really enjoyed watching Ariel Lin in other dramas, it was my first time seeing Chen Bolin. Yes FG – he is ‘Da Bomb’. I also truly loved her parents as well. I did FF through the draggy parts mid to late mid episodes. An ‘Amen’ to anyone else was annoyed at these people who camped out in a couple’s wedding night bedroom.

        I had meant to take a look at this after you posted your original review but never got around to it. So this post was my inspiration to take the plunge. I am glad I did.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Ah! YAYYY that you watched ITWY and loved it, phl!! ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ I’m so pleased! ๐Ÿ˜€ Chen Bolin as Da Ren is just the loveliest, sweet, darling man. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I think I will forever have a soft spot for Da Ren. โค๏ธ Her parents were adorable too, and YES, that gatecrashing of the wedding night was a big fat miss, for me. Although, it is quite common for friends to gatecrash the couple’s room after the wedding banquet at Chinese weddings here, but that typically only lasts for a while, and then everyone leaves. NO ONE stays the night, like they did in the drama! ๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿ˜

          Reply
  18. bharati

    ITs a good discussion. So some of the other dramas which I can recommend based on my favourite OTP list are:

    1. Legend of the blue sea: This was my first k dramaI guess thats why it will always be special
    2. My father is strange: Lee Joon and Jung So-min
    3. Ojkgyo Brothes: Uee and Joo Won
    4. I am not a robot
    5. Shut up: Flower Boy Band
    6. 30 but 17
    7. She was Pretty

    thanks for the list. I have watched all of them <3

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there, bharati, thanks for adding to the list! ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t manage to finish Legend of the Blue Sea, but I did enjoy quite a few OTPs on your list, and I remember being especially taken by the crackling chemistry between UEE and Joo Won, in Ojakgyo Brothers. Thanks for jogging my memory! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  19. Asperugo

    I fell into the kdrama hole about two months ago and I’ve read so many of your reviews in search of a perfect drama. Honestly, during these times cracky otps keep me going and I’ve already seen most shows on this list.

    I agree with you on most of these, but Touch your heart just did not work for me. The otp was good enough, but something felt really off. As if there was some kind of wall between the leads and they could not break it to come really close. I watched it right after Her Private Life and I kept missing the easy electric chemistry Kim Jae Wook and Park Min Young had. Ryan Gold really set the bar high for all the kdrama boyfriends.

    You have gushed so much about Healer and I can’t wait to watch it. It should be available on my local Viki on May 31st.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh, welcome to the wonderful world of dramas! ๐Ÿ˜€ Considering that you’ve only been watching dramas for 2 months, I’m impressed that you’ve already seen most shows on this list! Wow, you move fast! ๐Ÿ˜†

      It’s quite possible that your ability to enjoy Touch Your Heart was hampered by the fact that you’d just watched Her Private Life. I do agree that Her Private Life is more compelling, OTP-wise. And yes, Ryan Gold is quite a candidate for perfect drama boyfriend! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Oh yes, do watch Healer, it’s one of my favorite dramas! I hope you’ll love it as much as I did! <3

      Reply
      1. merij1

        We’re only on episode 10 of Her Private Life, so I haven’t read your review yet. But we’re enjoing it very much. Besides the OTP being so endearing, it’s helping us understand fangirling, which is pretty cool.

        Including why you need to maintain distance between this life and your work life.

        So I understand if you don’t want to answer this next question, but I’m curious why English is your first/primary language. You live in Singapore and your family ancestry is Chinese, right? Or is that only one side? (Again, no reason you should answer that if it feels invasive!)

        We just got to the confession episode and I realize I need to look up the nature of the word “like” in Korean. Do they actually use the same word for what we’d call “like” and “love,” or is that just how it gets translated for these shows? I’ve heard Chinese-American friends crack up over how appalled their first-generation parents get when their child says they “love” them. But I don’t even know if it’s the same for Koreans and Chinese. In Korean, are there variations in vocabulary to describe the “crush” love you feel at first versus the deeper love you feel when you truly know the person?

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Ah yes, I have created specific accounts of stuff, just for this blog, in order to keep this and work life separate, but I will admit that as I’ve grown more comfortable in my blogging skin, I’ve also become bolder about telling people about the blog, including work folks. It did take me a long time though, coz in my head, there would be some sort of stigma around being so into something so “fluffy and frivolous” – quotation marks because that was my assumption of what people would think. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who are genuinely interested to know more, and I’ve even discovered common drama interests with people whom I thought would be unlikely to be interested in dramas. All because I was bold enough to come out and say, “I run a drama blog.” The surprising things I learn as I go! ๐Ÿ˜€

          I know I answered this in our other conversation, but for anyone else reading who might be interested in the answer, English is the official language of Singapore, we use it for business and in school. So I’ve grown up speaking and writing English as my first language. Which inadvertently led to struggles to embrace my mother tongue, but that’s a whole other story, and I’m much better at it now, thanks to Chinese dramas! ๐Ÿ˜… Dramas can be life-changing, no lie!

          As for the thing with “like” and “love,” the word “like” in Korean (and in Chinese too) is often used in a romantic sense. But it is also used just as commonly to refer to normal liking of things like in English, eg, I like apples. It’d be the same word for “romantic like,” both in Korean and Chinese. So the key is context, to differentiate the intention. And also, this does lend itself to wordplay, which dramas have been known to take advantage of. “You said you liked me!” “Yes I do – as a friend!” – I totally made that up, it’s not from a real drama. ๐Ÿ˜†

          To answer your other question, in Korean (and I think it’s safe to say, also in Chinese), the word “love” is not used lightly. So, “I like you” would be used in the initial “crush” love, and “I love you” would be used to express the deeper love. I hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Reply
          1. merij1

            Yes, that’s perfect. And that’s exactly what I expected from watching these shows, but you never know what liberties the translators took so you’d understand the gist of it.

            I still crack up over some of the phrases I see in the translations, which I’m pretty sure capture the spirit but not what I heard the person actually say. For example, I’ll hear “aigoo” but read something else entirely. In fact, I never even noticed the word aigoo until we started with Viki.com, where the translator teams occasionally leave it in the subtitle. (Which Netflix does not.)

            Two of our favorite go-to translation cliches:

            “I know, right!”
            “You crazy punk/wench”

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              HAHA. Yes, Netflix tends to be looser with their translations, while Viki, being fan-powered, is more meticulous. I didn’t realize until much later, that a lot of nuance tends to get lost in translation. When I went back to early kdramas that I’d watched, the watch experience felt so different that I almost felt like I was watching a whole different show, now that I can understand the nuances in dialogue, versus being wholly dependent on subs. That said, I’m grateful that the shows get subbed so widely, coz it’s now so easy for international audiences to enjoy the shows. ๐Ÿ™‚ I compare that to Japanese dramas, where not every drama gets subbed (I think), and I can’t grumble too much at all! ๐Ÿ™‚

              Reply
          2. beezrtp

            Just to add – as a novice trying to learn Korean, they often don’t use pronouns the way we do but the subtitlors will throw them in so then after us reading that the FL has heard her crush say – “she [did this or that]” for 3 episodes, then finally FL will act totally surprised and say ” your colleague that you’ve been working late with every night is a girl???!!!” It seems so weird at first but it’s because that “she” or “her” was never said. And it’s also why I see all the time, a guy say to a girl “you’re pretty”, and she looks up in surprise and he says “I was talking about the flowers”.

            I’m still so new to learning that, anybody, please feel free to correct me if what I said is incorrect.

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              That’s a great point, Beez! Yes, the original dialogue would be literally translated as “Pretty” rather than “you’re pretty” or “that’s pretty” so it becomes vague out of context. Perfect for drama misunderstandings! ๐Ÿ˜‰

              Reply
              1. merij1

                While we’re doing Korean grammar and such, what’s the variations on how a person’s given name is translated to English?

                I need to know just in case I ever run into my main crush Lee Na-young (์ด๋‚˜์˜in) an elevator — that’s a Her Private Life reference there, with only two episodes left to go! — and she asks me to write her name down as a test of true love.

                Is the way I wrote it above always the most proper way, with a hyphen and lowercase on the 2nd part of the name? Or does it vary by individual, based on their preference or their family custom?

                Reply
                1. kfangurl

                  Hi MeriJ! Yes, your iteration of her name is correct. Korean names are usually presented that way. When I started blogging I just used the names without the hyphen because that’s how it’s presented on DramaWiki. But I eventually realized that more places were using the hyphen. It was too much to go back and correct everything, and it’s still kinda acceptable to use the names without hyphen, and so I continue to do that. ๐Ÿ˜› Not very helpful, I know! ๐Ÿ˜…

                  Some other interesting points to note. There are (at least?) two different romanizing systems in Korea, and therefore, there are variations in terms of how people romanize their names. So Lee Na-young might have chosen to romanize her name as Yi Na-yeong, and it would also be correct, because the hangul is the same. My understanding is that individuals get to choose how they want to romanize their name.

                  Another tidbit I thought you might find interesting, is that some family names are 2 characters instead of 1, just like in Chinese. These are much less common, though. Most given names are 2 characters, like Na-young, but given names can also be 1 or 3 characters. So an example of a celeb with a 2-character family name, and 1-character given name, is Namgoong Min. The proper way to write it, is Namgoong Min, but it’s also fairly common to see it expressed Nam Goong Min, and therefore, it can be confusing, since that looks just the same as someone with the family name Nam, and the given name Goong-min. ๐Ÿ˜‰

                  Reply
                2. beezrtp

                  @meeij1 – Forgive me if I’m repeating myself but I don’t recall if you’re the one I said this to previously – a great place to check out Kstars and shows is Asianwiki.com

                  When I first began watching Kdrama and using Asianwiki, I would get frustrated because within the synopsis they spell the actors/actresses names one way and then spell it another way under their photos. (Once I learned the Korean alphabet, I understood why it is this way and it stopped irritating me.) But it’s a good way to become familiar with their names and a great way to sort through what you want to watch, actors’ past and upcoming shows and movie roles, etc. It really is a great help when watching Kdramas.

                  There’s also dramawiki.com but it doesn’t include pictures of the actors so while it includes web dramas and Asianwiki doesn’t, I still find AsianWiki more helpful.

                  Reply
                  1. merij1

                    Yeah, AsianWiki is one of the contradictions that puzzled me. They spell her name in English as Lee Na Young. No hyphen and both parts of her given name capitalized.

                    Reply
                    1. beezrtp

                      I would imagine that since there’s no one given way in “English” (meaning Romanization which I’ve never understood who came up with it and why they had two different versions) – to spell them, I can’t expect Koreans to devote a lot of time to trying to be consistent with it. Especially with two versions to have to choose from. They already have to spell things correctly in their own language so imagine if you ran AsianWiki, would you make yourself crazy trying to choose which version? I know I wouldn’t although I’d probably put a banner across each page saying “we use X version.”
                      An example of the two Romanization spelling versions using my bias:
                      Song Seon Heon is also Song Sun Hun. Both pronounced the same way in Korean.

                      Let me give you a another crazy example of this – there was a very popular Kpop group called DBSK. But in Japan they’re known as TVXQ. Now since Korean does not really have the same sounds as English (my analogy is It’s like singing the notes between the keys on a piano. It’s very close but not the same). So one day while wondering why this group’s name was completely different in Japan, it hit me – when they’re teaching you the Korean alphabet they start you out using English letters that sound similar to Korean just for a base. And if you pronounce DBSK and then TVXQ it’s kind of the same in Korean phonetically. I mean it is, but it’s not. lol I can’t explain it better without referring you to a book on the Korean alphabet.

                      That being said, I’ve never tried to find out if that’s really the reason the group’s name is written with totally different letters. Like maybe the sounds are closer to TVXQ in Japan. \_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏย 

    1. kfangurl

      Gosh, you too? Beez was requesting the same thing! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜† I wonder if I should actually try to make a list – though I imagine it would make quite a few people upset! ๐Ÿ˜

      Reply
      1. Alaska

        My least favorite OTP is one that has a stalkerish element, like the couple in Secret Garden. Sorry. I know that some people loved that drama but I did not find it romantic at all. Having a guy, no matter how objectively desirable, refuse to take no for an answer and follow you around is not only frightening but also shows a lack of respect for your autonomy and your choices. I don’t even like the persistent-lover theme, although that doesn’t bother me nearly as much.

        There are dramas where the OTP lacks chemistry because the actors aren’t very good, dramas where the writing is so clumsy or illogical that the OTP doesn’t stand a chance no matter how good the actors are, and dramas where you can’t get into the story, much less the OTP, because the directing is a mess. People will disagree because these criteria are subjective. But I would be interested in seeing your list!

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Oh, I know what you mean! I loved SeGa when it came out, but now I can’t bear to watch even the first ep. I find Hyun Bin’s character too unpleasant. And indeed, stalkerish lovelines are very disturbing to me. The one in C-drama Well Intended Love comes to mind. That would certainly make my list, if I make that list! ๐Ÿ˜

          It looks like quite a few folks want to see that list, so I just might end up making it after all..! ๐Ÿคญ

          Reply
          1. beezrtp

            We won’t hold it against you. kfangurl. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But once you mentioned how people feel about their favs, I totally understand your concern.

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Yeah, most people are pretty chill about differing opinions, but some are fiercely protective of their faves, and I feel like I’d step on a lot of toes, announcing which OTPs I find blah. But again, regular visitors of the blog would probably already know that certain popular OTPs just don’t float my boat the way it floats most other folks’ boats. ๐Ÿ˜… Thanks to majority of people on Twitter voting for the opposite list to be posted (I did a poll, just to see), I’m working on that list. Just know that you were the first to ask me to make it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

              Reply
                    1. kfangurl

                      Heh, I can already guess that some of your faves are on it, based on what you mentioned in your list for this post..! ๐Ÿ˜… But yes, to each our own, no hard feelings either way! That’s what makes this fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

                    2. beezrtp

                      Nope. Actually most of my fav OTPs that I adore and would fight over were on your list. The list I added was of lesser known (or that created less buzz in the Kdrama community) OTP’s that I liked. So I think my feelings are petty safe for whatever you end up posting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. MC

    Oh this is fun! I love your suggestions (those Iโ€™ve watched, that is). My suggestions:

    Korean:
    – Oh My Ghost (Park Bo Young is so cute and she really has such great chemistry with most of her MLs, similar to Park Min Young!)
    – 1% of Anything (these two were soooo good together)
    – Because This Life Is Our First

    Non Korean
    – We Married As A Job (I could watch these two forever!)
    – Put Your Head On My Shoulder

    LOL to your leaving out controversial OTPs. Reply series would be too divisive!!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Glad you enjoyed the post, MC! <3 If you haven't watched all of the shows on the list, the shows in the first section are all worth adding to your list! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Ooh, I do like your additions (though I did struggle with the body possession bits in Oh My Ghostess). I forgot about the OTP in 1% of Anything, they WERE excellent together, and YES, the OTP in We Married As A Job is so adorably dorky together. ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ Also, the OTP was cute and likable in Put Your Head On My Shoulder as well. ๐Ÿ˜€ So many worthy OTPs that I missed! ๐Ÿ˜œ Haha I did enjoy the OTPs in the Reply series, but yeah, I figured that would be too painful for those who didn’t happen to ship the OTPs! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜…

      Reply
  21. beezrtp

    I totally agree with all the OTP’s on your list. Here’s my list of maybe lesser known and/or older OTPs that I liked their chemistry:
    Empress Ki – Ha Ji won and Ji Chang wook had a weird chemistry of dysfunction.
    Shine or go Crazy
    Fox Bride Star
    Personal Taste
    Because This is My First Life
    Bride of Haebuk (didn’t care for show as a whole but I gotta admit I kept thinking “Just get a room why don’t ya?” about this OTP)
    City Hunter – I’m starting to think Park Min Young could create chemistry all by herself because it’s so consistent in all her shows.
    Descendants of the Sun (both couples)
    Full House
    Oh My Ghost – Cho Yung suk had great chemistry with Park Bo Young and even a moment separately with the invisible version of ghost Kim Seul gi)
    Girl Who Sees Smells (so cute)
    The Good Doctor – I felt chemistry even with the “distance” caused by his autism and the fact that they were never written as a couple in the sense of “normal” dating but I swear, I felt the chemistry.
    It’s Okay That’s Love – I still flush when I think of that kiss on the beach (even though personally, Zo In sung is the most ultra effeminate man, imo, so I find him unattractive as a half of an OTP)
    Jealousy Incarnate (OTP won best kiss that year)
    Master’s Sun
    Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (so cute)
    Padam Padam (very realistic grown up relationship)

    Hey, Kfangurl – how about a list of OTP’s with the least amount of chemistry? lol

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Wow that’s quite a list, Beez! Thanks for sharing! I’m sure it’ll help at least some folks here, especially the more obscure ones that might have flown under the radar for most. I did like the Jang Hyuk-Oh Yeon Seo pairing in Shine or Go Crazy.. too bad Show kind of loses its grip by the end. It started so well. ๐Ÿ˜”

      Ahaha, a list of OTPs with the least amount of chemistry? I think people would be out for my blood, since chemistry is so subjective. I did not think Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo had good chemistry in DOTS despite the real life relationship they had by that point. But, lots of folks would disagree with me vehemently I think! ๐Ÿ˜† I think I’m going to stay away from that topic for now – for my safety..! ๐Ÿ˜†

      Reply
      1. rainmakermelody

        Omg all the OTP love for when I’m in a sad mood. I think I rewatched Touch Your Heart because I love how lighthearted and cotton candy it is for the most part. Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms and The Untamed made my heart feel so many emotions. They made me emotionally invested, ripped my heart out, sewed it up, and then proceeded to throw it into a burning hellfire.

        Besides OTPs, it’s character relationships with each other in general that can make a drama good or bad for me (might be just like bromance or a duo that’s platonic but some say that’s OTP anyway). Like, I think shows ruin themselves from forced OTPs. I really enjoyed Stranger (forest of secrets) and saw on mydramalist that there’s a possible second season, and some are saying they’re hoping for a relationship between the leads?? But really, I’d like the show to stay as it was and focus on the duo working together and not get all sappy. ***(Kinda spoiler ahead): forced OTP absolutely ruined itaewon class for me and I literally FF’d to the end because it was the dumbest thing ever***.

        I actually really loved Because of You (Cdrama) truly because the OTP is just so fun to watch. Deng Lun and Sun Yi are so cute. They were really the saving grace of that drama. It’s cliche and well, truly Cinderella-style, but I couldn’t resist and rewatched some OTP highlights a while back.

        Also another vote for worst OTPs if you get the chance!

        Reply
        1. rainmakermelody

          Oh boy, meant to post this as a new comment but it somehow ended up as a reply! Mobile can be a pain sometimes ๐Ÿ˜ช

          I agree with beez about Oh My Ghost and Moonlight Drawn By Clouds – completely forgot but they were adorbs. DOTS, I’d beg to differ because I just couldn’t understand how that drama became so popular, and I enjoyed the second OTP much more than the first!

          Reply
          1. kfangurl

            Ooh.. y’know, if I do make that list of blah OTPs, the OTP from DOTS will very likely make the list.. I wasn’t into their pairing as well, despite their real-life relationship. ๐Ÿ˜œ But I’m fully aware lots of folks loved the DOTS OTP.. which is why I’m a bit hesitant to possibly upset people with my list. ๐Ÿ˜…

            Reply
            1. rainmakermelody

              I think it’s always interesting to see diff POVs regardless! Like how so many other people loved DOTS and Extraordinary You and recommend them but I couldn’t get the hype and meh. I just started Ashes of Love despite knowing I’ll get bored (kinda getting there already but I wanted to see the beginnings because Deng Lun) ๐Ÿ˜‚ , and I know this drama was a smash hit when it came out. But you might also find people that agree LOL. Drama tastes are so subjective, it could be fun to see lively conversations in the comments (as long as they’re civil!!)

              Or who knows, maybe you could be attacking an OTP I remember liking ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

              Reply
              1. kfangurl

                Haha SAME. I couldn’t get into the OTPs in DOTS and Extraordinary You too! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I don’t get the hype on Ashes of Love either. I tried to hang in there with that one, but I just couldn’t. And then when people were all horrified that I’d dropped out just before it got super good, I went back and FF-ed through to the end, and came away STILL wondering why everyone was so in love with the show! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ If you’re starting to get bored with it, then I think you’re definitely not part of the crowd that ends up loving it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

                That list is forming, thanks to the overwhelming number of votes in favor of me making the list, so.. brace yourself? ๐Ÿ˜… I feel like, it’s all fun and games until it becomes personal..! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคช But I have confidence that almost everyone who hangs out here is fully capable of dealing with differing opinions. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜…

                Reply
        2. kfangurl

          Oh yes, Peaches gave me so many feelssss!!! ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ I haven’t seen The Untamed, but the fact that you mention it in the same sentence as Peaches does intrigue me, rainmakermelody! I wonder if I’m ready to give it another try.. I have limited capacity for xianxia, but have heard so many good things about this one. ๐Ÿ˜…

          I’m so with you about character relationships. Great character relationships can bring SO MUCH to a show, like the retro gang in Life On Mars. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ I agree that some shows would just be better off without a romance, if said romance is shoehorned in just for the sake of it. Ugh. I wish Dramaland didn’t feel the need to do that. I’m finishing up Itaewon Class, and I’m likewise not super on board with the romance. ๐Ÿ˜•

          I haven’t seen Because of You, but I do enjoy me some handsome Deng Lun, so I’m popping it on the list for when I need some fun fluff. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Gosh, another vote for worst OTPs! ๐Ÿ˜… Let me think about it! ๐Ÿ˜

          Reply
          1. rainmakermelody

            I’ll say since they’re about the same genre, they’re probably the only xianxia dramas that have managed to make me feel interested. I binged watched both of them. I did something after The Untamed I have literally never done, and that’s watch all the BTS and fan meetings ๐Ÿคฏ Ofc nothing can compare to TMOPB, and Untamed has a super lukewarm beginning that made me so bored (also it’s not as hot on OTP as TMOPB).

            Because of You isn’t the fluffiest because of the main plot, so I’d say it’s not pure fluff! There are villains!! And it can feel draggy and frustrating (maybe could’ve shortened the drama a bit imo). But gosh, Deng Lun in suits ๐Ÿ˜and his interactions with Sun Li and another special character!!

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              I think the thing that’s holding me back with The Untamed, is that lukewarm beginning. I’ve heard that it takes something like 12 or 14 eps to get good, and honestly, that sounds like a big ask, to watch 12 eps of lukewarm stuff, before getting to actually interesting stuff. ๐Ÿ˜› But I’m intrigued by the widespread love, and so will probably give it another go, when I’ve gathered enough xianxia mood, heh.

              Ah, thanks for the heads-up on Because of You.. expectations are very important! Now I know that it’s a drama specifically for when I want to ogle at Deng Lun in suits! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

              Reply
              1. rainmakermelody

                I try to give dramas a decent chance (k-dramas: ~4 eps so mostly 25% of the show. c-dramas: maybe 6-8 eps, depending on the drama.) I only really powered through the beginning because a friend with similar drama tastes recommended it, and some reviews on mydramalist warned me that the beginning eps were rough. I’d only added this to my watchlist in the first place because of the high ratings, and I’m glad I didn’t miss out. IMO I think it’s because the acting seems stiff, like they’re still warming up to their characters. (Before this, I had no idea who any of the actors were at all and was surprised to see many were 30 y/o and under, and many didn’t have a long drama repertoire!! And after this I wanted to watch for their other works! For the most part, I loved each character here; it felt like they really had a place in the drama instead of just being a standard underdeveloped side character.) There’s also the fact you’re kinda thrown into the drama without much context offered and then a time skip and it got pretty confusing because who the heck are all these people and why are they reacting this way?? (***SPOILER-ish: It takes about half the drama to get to the scene you see in the first ep***) I appreciated the beginnings more once I finished the drama, but I don’t know if you’d miss much honestly if you just started at ep 12-ish (where I think I suddenly got sucked in, I can’t remember the exact episode but I know the scenes) and then went back to watch the beginning ๐Ÿ˜‚

                I mentioned this before I think, but there’s the Untamed Special Edition (20 eps) on the Tencent Youtube channel, and it doesn’t do the weird time skip often. They’d maybe start episodes with a later event (like those preview things) and then go into the episode. I think the beginning episodes are better at summarizing the beginning of The Untamed without ALL the drag, but this special cut really is more focused on the evolution of the relationship between Wei Wuxian (Xiao Zhan) and Lan Wangji (Wang Yi Bo) (aka you get a lot of their interactions/antics and some cuts that weren’t in the final scenes!) It’s def confusing to jump in the special cut without as much background, but it’ll give you a bite of the drama probs rather than wading through the whole sandwich! I just thought overall, this drama in terms of casting (although some of them you can still tell they’re pretty green), OST (oh gosh love the OST; it’s on Spotify, and they’re character-themed), the dubbing (they got the original voice actors from the anime I believe, which I also didn’t know this show was based on), and writing (I cannot, for the life of me, remember if there were any plot holes. Maybe some; I’d have to rewatch yet again. Small ones I noticed were actually answered?? Like the writer didn’t forget the vague detail they put in???? Blasphemy!) I can understand it might not be for everybody, and some see it as just fans that see their idols in a drama and can overlook everything just for them.

                I went in with no expectations and didn’t expect to like it so much so that I’d write a whole essay here ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… (sorry!!) But I gave it a 9 – 9.5/10 (docked points because that beginning is a big oof and little details throughout, like not syncing music properly with their instruments)

                (Now finally a new topic LOL)
                I think Because of You isn’t really that popular because there’s def flaws and cliches, but it’s like one of those dramas that I disagree with others and enjoy. It’s the first drama I saw Deng Lun in, and I melted. It’s a rollercoaster because you’d have a swoony OTP moment, the next you’re slapping your cheek because you’re wondering if this is just Stockholm Syndrome when you see characters do dumb things. Like, the evil is evil (I’m thinking of Namgoong Min in Remember because he’s the meanest I can think of from the top of my head), some characters don’t really grow, and you can feel like they’re going in circles because the same thing happens AGAIN to drag out more angst, but it’s still a drama I bestowed onto my favorites list.

                I went through all the dramas I completed to find ones where I remember loving OTPs/characters’ relationships, and I came up with 12! Here’s my list:

                Arsenal Military Academy
                Because of You [C-drama]
                Chief Kim [Good Manager]
                CLOY
                Fight for My Way
                Her Private Life
                King 2 Hearts
                Love and ฯ€ [TW drama]
                Something About 1%
                TMOPB [C-drama]
                The Untamed [C-drama]
                Winter Begonia [C-drama] (newest addition after having gone through about 70% of the drama now)

                Terribly sorry for this awfully long reply! Hope I don’t strain your eyes/brain!

                Reply
                1. beezrtp

                  @rainmakermelody – I’m on board with most of your list (the ones I’ve seen) but I don’t recall Chief Kim having an OTP at all? Could be my memory though – but I seem to recall Chief Kim not being involved with anyone and then his rival manager kind of had a hinted at romance with the woman (whom I can’t remember anything about) that would meet him at the batting cage once in a while but nothing ever came of that relationship, did it? (Besides bad memory, I tend to fall sleep and miss parts without knowing it until someone’s talking about the drama. lol)

                  Reply
                  1. rainmakermelody

                    You’re completely right, there’s no romance (sure there’s that hinting a bit at the end, but nothing confirmed), but this list was also for bromances (and relationships between characters like friends, siblings, etc.)! I cannot deny the bromance between Namgoong Min and Junho! This show was hilarious, and I loved how their characters evolved into this relationship ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ So I don’t really use OTP in this sense, hence the “character relationships”, but OTP is just so much easier to type out.

                    Reply
                2. kfangurl

                  Hi5, rainmakermelody, I typically give a show about the same length of time to settle in, though I’ve been known to drop out much faster, and also, hang in there much longer (I did only start to love Peaches at the tween eps, though I did like the early eps quite well too), so I will try giving The Untamed another go, and if I get desperately bored by the early eps, I’ll try your other suggestion, and skip ahead to E12, and then catch up with the early eps later, when it actually makes sense to me. ๐Ÿ˜† I don’t really have space on my drama plate right now though, so it’ll have to wait for a bit. It does sound like it’s worth a serious try, seeing as how you gave it such a high score!

                  Haha wow, Stockholm Syndrome, eh? Sounds like some potentially problematic story right there! ๐Ÿ˜† But, again, it made your favorites list! I’m intrigued. I am duly curious to see what this rollercoaster feels like! ๐Ÿ˜‰

                  Ooh, I’m curious about Winter Begonia, so I’m stoked to see it made your list!! I’m also adding Love and Pi to my list. I looked it up and it sounds promising! I’m currently in the early eps on Arsenal Military Academy, and I’m encouraged to see that it made your list! I’m just 6 eps in so it’s early days yet, but I’m enjoying it quite well.

                  No need to apologize! I enjoy reading your comments; the length is irrelevant! <3

                  Reply
                  1. rainmakermelody

                    I dropped out of Love Alarm at ep 2; I couldn’t stand it! Sometimes guidelines just cannot be followed! I found the earlier eps of TMOPB a bit boring imo; they weren’t bad, but I was okay with the setup. I actually fell asleep during one ep, but like you, it got more interesting for me in the later eps.

                    Take your time, there’s no rush! There’s only so much time we have, and dramaland can only take up so much. Besides, like you say, there’s certain lenses and moods you have to be in sometimes to enjoy a drama and give it a fair chance; it makes me rethink about watching some dramas to see how I feel about them now. (Don’t come for me, but I remember feeling mild toward Coffee Prince and dropped it, but I was also younger then and was in a very brain-on-autopilot mood and probably didn’t appreciate it as much). There’s so many dramas I want to watch, yet I keep adding more haha. I look forward to any of your reviews and recs you put out <3 (I actually finished Designated Survivor: 60 Days because I saw your review and never even had this show on my radar! I enjoyed it quite a bit; I like some political dramas, but I have to be in a focused mood, aka not after a long work day)

                    This is mostly a list of fave OTPs; some of them do overlap into my all-time faves, but not a lot. Like one controversial OTP I have is in On the Way to the Airport; I didn't think about listing it because this drama doesn't have that high of a rating and didn't seem well-received, but I personally loved it. All-time faves are all over the place in genre LOL, from My Mister to Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim. I remember loving these shows when watching and feeling all kinds of emotions and can recall plots better than other dramas I've seen, even if it's been a few years.

                    I started Winter Begonia for the main leads because I recognized them, even though the genre is not at all something I would turn to. I don't know how to put into words why I like it so much. It's an easier watch for me, but it still packs the feelings. Although, I'm in ep 34, so I hope the ending isn't butchered or anything. I have a feeling the plot is about to pick up more now. Love and Pi is a slice-of-life drama, and I'm glad to see Ivy Shao in a not-so-screechy character. Really loved the bond the characters had and the obstacles they went through. Teared up at some point. It's not that fluffy, but it was… real. Arsenal Military Academy had fun characters (won't say who, but one of them I still can't really get behind ugh), and the teammates working together kept my eyes glued to the screen. (That, and I swear Shen Jun Shan [Toby Lee] reminds me of a younger Hyun Bin looks-wise!). Arsenal does get pretty political at some point, as prob expected, so you might have to hang on!

                    Reply
                    1. kfangurl

                      Ah! I’m so glad you gave Designated Survivor a chance because of my review!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did either, and I was so pleasantly surprised by it! I thought I might maybe be more into political shows than I thought, so I tried Chief of Staff, but wasn’t feeling it after E1, and wandered off. I don’t know if it’s a mood thing, or whether I’m just not into that particular show. But YES, mood counts for a lot.

                      I feel like you’d like Coffee Prince, actually. It’s slice of life, and feels real, and there’re lots of endearing characters, and the OTP is so natural. I wonder if you’d consider giving it another try? Personally, I’ve had complete turnarounds on some dramas in terms of how much I like or dislike them, so I’m curious to see if you’ll like Coffee Prince better now. ๐Ÿ˜…

                      OMG, I didn’t realize it until you mentioned it, but Shen Junshan really does have that stoic Captain Ri vibe, except that they put his hair up like when Capt Ri was in the South and not the North. Ahaha!! Fun! ๐Ÿ˜†

                    2. rainmakermelody

                      Oh Chief of Staff is much more political than other shows I’ve seen so far (like The Great Show); I’m only on ep 3, and it doesn’t have the action drawing you in as Designated Survivor did, but it’s more like an office BTS and the madness there. So it could just be it’s not a show you’d enjoy! It’s how I feel about Prison Playbook: I’ve had it on hold on ep 5 for ages now and just can never seem to get in the mood to sit through those long episodes. I want to love it, and it probably gets more coherent, but I can’t seem to work my mind up to it. However, I’ve been watching Hospital Playlist every time an episode drops, so maybe it’s because I enjoy medical environments a lot more ๐Ÿ˜‚

                      I’ll definitely have to find some time to rewatch Coffee Prince! Now that my drama tastes are more… refined, I’ll probably enjoy it more than, say, Boys Over Flowers ๐Ÿ˜… Hopefully it’ll be sometime soon because I have so many more “serious” dramas on my plate right now, I’ll need a palate cleanser! I am slightly curious how much I would enjoy dramas I used to like back then. I’d probably knock a few ratings down and notice more plot holes, and that sounds like too much stress right now!

                    3. kfangurl

                      Hm.. I haven’t had a lot of success with office shows, so maybe The Great Show isn’t for me either! ๐Ÿ˜… Good to know, good to know! Oh, that’s interesting that you can’t get into Prison Playbook.. I’m not into prison shows myself, and it did take a few episodes for the show to settle, for me, but I ended up loving the show.. It’s got all the Reply 1988 community feels, just in a different context. I hope that it’ll end up working for you sometime! Maybe after you’re done with Hospital Playlist? ๐Ÿ˜Š

                      Ooh, now I’m super curious to see how you’ll take to Coffee Prince, compared to before!! Let me know how that goes, when you do!! ๐Ÿ˜€

                    4. beezrtp

                      The Great Show is probably the best I’ve ever seen Song Seung heon. This show has probably done for him what everybody said Healer did for Park Min Young – let down that concern of “how do I look?”

                      He’s always been likeable to audiences (how else do you explain his long lasting popularity when everyone criticises his acting?) But in this, he’s REALLY likeable. NO SPOILERS There’s angst, but only for his character, not for us, the viewer. You go along with him every step of the way but it’s just enjoyable to watch him in this. He’s that con man whom you like because he’s not taking advantage of anyone personally. His con is in being a politician but, again, he’s not involved in any major crooked scams or rip offs of the public other than his necessary fake persona. We get a bit of fish out of water vibe as he adjusts his lifestyle to raise a bunch of kids but he starts out doing it strictly for his public image. You sense deep down he’s a good guy with just a touch of slime on top. ๐Ÿ˜†

                    5. kfangurl

                      Aw, I actually do have an affection for Song Seung Heon. I’ll put The Great Show on my list, though my list is now so long I don’t know when I’ll get to it! I did really enjoy him movie Wonderful Nightmare. I found him very likable in that. If you haven’t seen it and you enjoy a bit of SSH, it should be an enjoyable watch. ๐Ÿ™‚

                    6. beezrtp

                      You know me, kfangirl. He’s one of my biases. Therefore you know I’ve seen everything he’s done; that’s available, that is.
                      Here’s the only 3 things I haven’t seen. Let me know if you happen to remember I’m looking for them and ever run across them.
                      Popcorn (SBS / 2000)
                      8 Love Stories (1999-2000)
                      Three Guys and Three Girls (MBC / 1995)

                    7. kfangurl

                      Ooh, those are quite hard to find, I imagine. Older shows tend to be. I’ll let you know if I come across them! ๐Ÿ™‚

          2. beezrtp

            I decided to breakdown and watch Peaches because everyone everywhere is always obsessing about it. I decided to see if Netflix has it. They do but it’s called Eternal Love. (I don’t know why Netflix always uses the least common name a show goes by or they make up their own name so you have to try to spot the actors that you know are in the show by the thumbnail-poster, EXCEPT Netflix has this new dumb thing where the poster changes constantly so 1) sometimes a character who was only in the show 5 seconds is featured on the thumbnail or 2) I end up clicking on a show multiple times because I don’t realize that’s the one I just looked at a few minutes ago but the thumbnail changed.๐Ÿ˜ต

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Ooh, YAY that you’ve decided to watch Peaches!! I personally felt the cracky bite at the tween episodes, so it was a bit of a slow burn for me, though I found the initial episodes interesting enough. But once I was sucked in, I was very much immersed in my watch. I hope you end up enjoying it too. <3 But yeah, navigating Netflix on this sounds like a frustrating experience! If they didn't change the thumbnail on a whim, then at least you could get used to the random character that you're supposed to click on! ๐Ÿ˜

              Reply
  22. Snow Flower

    Kfangurl,

    This is a great list for all romance lovers! I think I need to add Marriage Not Dating to my watch list. Yay for the OTP in Fated To Love You. Their kiss in Episode 18 is probably my favorite kdrama kiss. I am adding a couple of sageuk OTPs to your list:

    Tamra The Island
    Arang and the Magistrate
    The Princess’ Man (very good secondary couple too!)
    Dong Yi
    Conspiracy in the Court

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh yes, Marriage Not Dating was a really fun watch, and I remember it fondly, even though it’s been a while since it aired. I hope you’ll enjoy it when you get to it! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks for adding to the list! I haven’t seen all of the ones you listed, but I can’t believe I forgot to include Arang and the Magistrate! I thought they were an excellent OTP! Arguably Lee Jun Ki’s best OTP pairing – in my opinion, anyway! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply
  23. sarahlantz

    Lets not forget that your favorite cellist did a cover of โ€œEternal Love.โ€ I love it THAT MUCH. Unfortunately, itโ€™s lost in my archives. Should I do it again? It would really piss off my racist Father-in-law… I think that is reason enough๐Ÿ˜ˆ . Love this list.

    Except for Minglan. All the guys looked just the same, which sounds racist, but Iโ€™m a big fan of C-Dramas. Just finished Story of Yanxi Palace, what a gem! General and I was okay, but I Loooooved Pillow Book. Probably because Dijun. And Dilraba did a good job, too. Not the most depth of any drama, but a fun ride. Asses of love sucked, I canโ€™t say anything nice about it except that itโ€™s pretty. Same with Love and Destiny, except I finished L and D, because Chang Chen is SO HOT. Only reason. And have you tried legend of Fuyao? Yes, there are Mary Sue moments, but donโ€™t go in looking for Nirvana in Fire. ๐Ÿ”ฅ

    I donโ€™t know what Iโ€™m even saying here. I hope youโ€™re safe, Fangurl.

    Reply
    1. beezrtp

      @satahlantz – As a person of color, before I got into Kdrama, I would’ve considered that comment racist but – ahem-cough – I totally couldn’t tell one Asian actor (or actress) from the other at first. I read an article about the mechanism of how our brain recognizes and distinguishes faces. It explained how when we look at another race that we’re not familiar with how our brains lump all the features that stand out as different (from what we’re used to) into being all the same. The article said that with familiar races, we take in the whole face but that doesn’t work with features we’re unfamiliar with so it advised to dissect the face concentrating on each section of the face and then putting the face back together as a whole. This actually worked for me. Now I can look at Asian faces just like any other race that I’m familiar with – as a whole, without having to dissect it now.

      So when I first started watching, I would mistake So Ji sub and Cha Seung-Won and now they don’t look anything like each other – not at all! The only thing they have a bit in common is face shape. Thank goodness for Asianwiki.com because it shows the actor/actress as they looked during the particular drama because most times back then, I still wouldn’t be able to match the actor from his current profile picture to the way he looked in the drama (maybe his hairstyle was different or he had aged, or he had on historical costume, etc.)

      Anyway, my point in saying all that is – you get used to different people if you watch them enough and begin to recognize and distinguish individuals.

      Reply
      1. merij1

        > As a person of color, before I got into Kdrama

        I’m going to add this to my list of example for why punctuation matters. I didn’t see your comma at first, and was amazed that K-drama could facilitate a change as transformative as that!

        Normally I point out that punctuation is the difference between “Let’s eat, Grandpa!” and “Let’s eat Grandpa!”

        Reply
        1. beezrtp

          I’m usually swyping on my phone, which likes to spell correct at the moment I hit “enter”. I swear I’ll have proofed it (and proofing was a part of my job for over 30 years), but afterwards, my phone likes to “fix” things on its own. So frustrating. I’ve come to accept that my comments have terrible typos but I think most folks around here are used to me. Thanks to all of y’all who overlook my rambling, typo-filled comments.๐Ÿ˜

          Reply
          1. merij1

            My problem is that I re-write several times before I post. Which often leaves orphaned punctuation or words from the original phrasing that are no longer correct.

            I take it WordPress doesn’t provide a means of editing one’s comments to another person’s else’s blog?

            Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Ah, I remember your cello cover, Sarah!! That’s too bad, that it’s lost. I just tried looking for it in my email, but I think the link you sent me doesn’t work anymore.

      As for Minglan, the show’s mentioned for its strong female characters (another Dear kfangurl post which was also sparked by a question asked by Reka, which you can check out here), and not for its OTP. I enjoyed Minglan’s OTP, but not in as strong a fashion as most of the shows on this list. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Also, I’m very well, thank you for asking! I hope you are doing well too. <3

      Reply
  24. Ally

    Wow! Iโ€™m impressed. I would have picked all these as well. I watched a lot of rom com melos in 2019 and all the ones you mentioned from 2019 I saw as well. Did you notice that Park Bo young was in so many shows! Iโ€™m impressed that she can make all her OTPs sizzle. I would also add Something in the Rain and One Spring Night for great OTPs. Something in the Rain captured what it is like to fall deeply, madly, and physically in love. Sadly, it went off the rails with its office sexism and insufferable mother (who played a 180 degree character in Roman is a Bonus Bookโ€”whiplash). But if you just want chemistry, that one had it in spades. One Spring Night is more (much more) subdued.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Cool! Sounds like we enjoyed many of the same shows, Ally! ๐Ÿ˜€ And that’s true, Park Bo Young does have a way of connecting with her co-stars that just works. <3 Good catch on One Spring Night, I really should've included that OTP. I enjoyed them a lot. I didn't enjoy the OTP in as cohesive a way in SITR, and ended up feeling distinctly underwhelmed by their relationship dynamics, so I opted not to include them on the list. But, I do agree that the initial attraction was very heady indeed! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  25. merij1

    Speaking of which, I would add Ji Ho and Jung In from One Spring Night.

    Besides being the two-part cure — along with Crash Landing on You — to any lingering annoyance for those two actors based on the final episodes of Something in the Rain, it’s just a really great romance.

    That said, jcaraetlegaspi, my wife and I loved the romance in Something in the Rain. Right up till they destroyed it and then failed to take the time to fix it convincingly in the finale. It was only after reading fangirl’s review that I realized the problems had started much earlier; but even so, we thought it was a great romance for the first 2/3’s of the show.

    One Spring Night is also an interesting example of an OST that repeats itself over and over and over and over . . . and yet often works as a set of themes to reinforce where the script just went. Especially two of the songs by Rachael Yamagata. Each time they come on, you know the romance is crackin’ and your heart lifts. Again, some of us badly needed this OST to get over Something In The Rain with its two versions of the incessant and yet completely inappropriate “Stand By Your Man.” lol.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ah! Good catch, MeriJ! I missed out Ji Ho and Jung In from One Spring Night! They really were a great example of healthy OTP dynamics in a kdrama, and I enjoyed them very well. Thanks for making sure they got a shout-out! ๐Ÿ˜€ Also, I agree, the OST in One Spring Night somehow worked a lot better, despite the small number of tracks. (I cannot deal with Stand By Your Man anymore, bleargh! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜†)

      Reply
      1. merij1

        Ha. I feel guilty that I even wrote the words “Stand By Your Man.” Quick, find another song to replace it in your head!

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Interestingly enough, when I looked to replace the song in my head, it was We Could Still Be Happy that bubbled up to take its place. HAHA! One Spring Night to the rescue, yet again! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

          Reply
    2. merij1

      Oops. That was supposed to be a reply to jcaraetlegaspi.

      But while I’m still talking, I’ll add my endorsement to these four OTPs for the ages. I fully expect to be re-watching them for booster shots of swoon til the day I die:

      Streams on Netflix:

      1. Crash Landing on You
      2. Love Is A Bonus Book

      Not on Netflix, so you’d need an alternative service like Viki.com:

      3. Healer (via a basic Viki subscription at maybe $5/month?)
      4. Coffee Prince (requires their premium service at $10/month, but it’s month-to month, so you can then cancel)

      Reply
      1. kfangurl

        Ooh, thanks for the additional logistical information, MeriJ! I’m sure that’ll help some folks on here! ๐Ÿ˜€ And yes, those OTPs are ones for the ages indeed. ๐Ÿฅฐ

        Reply
      2. beezrtp

        I totally can’t figure Viki’s plans out (even though I’ve asked them). At first I thought all the older shows are unlocked with a VikiPass standard subscription (which I have but I also have a Kocowa subscription so no point in paying more for VikiPlus).

        But as you said, Coffee Prince requires the premium service and that’s considered a classic (and probably 10 years old, I’d guess).
        I am watching Five Fingers (not recommended unless you’re a die-hard Ji Chang Wook fan and just want to see him on your screen) – anyway, I’m watching on Kocowa and this really strange subtitle came up so I thought I’d click over to Viki and see how the subbers there had translated it. I was very surprised that only the first 3 episodes are available and the rest were locked! Five Fingers is pretty old and from what I know of Kdramas that generated a lot of excitement and interest – this one didn’t. So who do they think would pay extra because they want to watch it? And if someone did want to watch it, they could for the same amount as adding VikiPlus just get Kocowa and have better access to the variety shows that Viki has but most times doesn’t sub or fall many, many episodes behind before getting around to subbing them.

        If anybody does understand the logic of what and when you can watch shows on Viki, plead explain it to me?

        Reply
        1. merij1

          I wonder if we’re thinking about it backwards. Usually one pays a premium for products or services that are in high demand at the moment. Because supply and demand.

          But maybe this is the opposite. Maybe they stream shows that lots of people are watching now via their standard service, but charge a premium for ones that cost more to hold onto despite much lower viewership.

          Reply
          1. beezrtp

            hmmmmm. Interesting thought. I noticed back when I had cancelled Viki (private war/long story) that without a subscription, the current popular shows have some weird system like you can’t watch it until so many days have passed and then the episodes will be available (although I don’t know if they lock them again after so many days). I’m sort of anal/OCD and so I like to understand the patterns of how something works so that I know when I sit down and turn on the tv – what I can and can’t do and or what to expect – especially if I’m paying for something.

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              I don’t have a subscription to Viki coz so many of the shows aren’t available in my region, but the service that I do use, Viu, does something similar. For select, more popular shows, they make the episodes immediately available to only their premium members, while non-paying users have to wait until they are made available to all. Most of the time, this happens some days after the episodes first air. But for a handful of hot dramas, they make it paid subscriber only for the entire show, until the show finishes its run. I can see how that might help to encourage more people to get a paid subscription, though the selection of shows for this treatment is not explicitly explained. I just surmise that it’s for the hotter, more buzzy shows. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

              Reply
      3. kimghim

        Just a quick response about Coffee Prince, I watched it on Tubi which is free but has ads during the show. Even though it has ads I didnโ€™t find them too annoying.
        I so agree with with Love is A Bonus Book. I so loved that show.

        Reply
        1. merij1

          Thinking about Love Is A Bonus Book always makes me smile. Such positive energy and such a deep investment in so many characters beyond the primary OTP.

          Of course it doesn’t hurt that both the primary and secondary OTP actor/actresses are so incredibly good looking and so attractive as human beings.

          Reply
  26. jcaraetlegaspi

    while i was reading this i was wondering why something in the rain OTP is not part of the list..your conclusion explains it all!!
    thanks for this list!! i agree with all of them!!!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Heh. Unfortunately, I only enjoyed the OTP in SITR, up till around E6. Unlike Show’s fans, I didn’t care for the OTP the same way, by the time I got to the end, which is why it isn’t included in this list. ๐Ÿ˜… However, that OTP does have a lot of fans, so to each our own! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yay that you like all the OTPs on this list tho! <3

      Reply

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