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Hellokpop K-Drama Picks: Korean Romance Dramas That Reminisce First Love

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An effective mood-maker, Korean romance dramas that imbibes first love stories often make it to fans’ subconscious rerun watch list.

Usually set in school or in the neighborhood, Korean romance dramas about first love extend to a wide audience range. For that reason, youth and adults who have fond memories of their first romance can easily relate to and be a fan of this abundantly made genre.

Additionally, it can be straightly made as young love story or tweaked in retrospective style traversing the romance of the main leads.

To celebrate this love month, our team’s drama pick features would lean more on Korean romance dramas. For our first stop, we are sharing you our favorites with “first love” as the main theme.

abbyinhallyuland picks

I go to first love stories when I want to declutter my thoughts. Korean romance dramas generally function as a therapy for me when I want to destress.

Discovery of Love

Korean Romance Dramas

(tvN)

One of the reasons why I liked this drama so much is because it went to the unconventional path of presenting the love story between estranged couple and how they were able to realize that their love was true even then, and even years after.

Diverting to the usual cushioned approach or conflict-bombarded plot usually put on Korean romance dramas, Discovery of Love dug to the root of love problems in a coherent world – the strength to let go of a half-baked love and the choice to be in a not-so-perfect but true love.

I Need Romance

Korean Romance Dramas

I Need Romance is a very fulfilling love drama to watch.  It draws the depth of commitment and the pain it comes when loving so amazingly and truthfully for a long time. It had been layered realistically that the problems and happiness made the story so moving that I was able to relate to it.

The heroine’s love journey threads on the truth about how the love we felt for someone can’t make us choose to sacrifice what we really are and what we really feel. Not all love begins as if it was meant to be, and the female lead relied on giving up a new love because she wanted a love that has been happening.

I Need Romance 2

I Need Romance 2

Yes, I am a sucker for first love stories that usually trace its history as the narrative progresses. In the second installment of I Need Romance series, I savored every bit of the bliss in the familiar love premise of the series. Drawing the story of childhood friends turned college sweethearts, the sweet story of cohabiting former lovers who are each other’s first love is a refreshing watch that you can finish in one sitting.

Reply 1997

Korean Romance Dramas

(tvN)

Nothing magical, mythical and supernatural, just a pure trip down to the moments everyone watching can totally relate.

It was like reading a predictable book… You know what’s going to happen but how they made it happen was sweet, comic, beautiful and realistic so you stayed fondly watching them.  The story will grow on you without you realizing it.

Mischievous Kiss

Mischievous Kiss

(MBC)

Derived from a popular shoju manga, Mischievous Kiss tells the story of a high school girl who perseveres in claiming her first love through her heartfelt intentions. The not so quick-witted heroine harbors deep admiration towards the school campus crush. When their house crashes, she ends up living with his family when they learn how their parents are old friends.

I’ve seen Taiwan and Japanese versions of Mischievous Kiss, but I love how Jung So Min and Kim Hyun Joong made this timeless saccharine series a comforting watch in lazy afternoons alone or with friends.

This is My Love aka Beloved Eun Dong

Korean romance dramas

(tvN)

If there’s a first love drama that warmed my heart recently, it would be the story of a man’s unrequited romance to a woman who was kept being separated to him by fate. Beloved Eun Dong narrated a love story so blissful and agonizing like it came straight from a classic love novel.

Boasting a strong narrative, the drama put the audience on a trance in finding a solution for everyone to be happy. It taught a lesson that love involves two people loving each other the best way they can and not how the people around them understands it. This drama reminisces one’s greatest love, and will prove to you how love is meant to be, when you work for it to happen.

Legend of the Blue Sea

Time-transcending romance sweetens this mermaid-conman love story. The base fairy tale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to The Legend of the Blue Sea‘s delightful run. It utilizes the melancholia of the back story to complement the quirky flow of the present timeline. It modernizes the reincarnation plot, by playing the resident drama fix of how love overcomes anything and beyond everything.

My Love from the Star

My Love From the Star

(SBS)

Fate, chance encounters and brave i-love-you-right-now claims, have never been so perfectly achieved until My Love From The Star graced K-drama screens. The love progress moves to a pace where the love couple’s connection is sensitive to the story they are into. The alien and top actress love ride requires centuries of finding each other at the right lifetime to fulfill their destined love.

emylyn’s picks

Winter Sonata

WinterSonata1

(KBS)

The entire Endless Love series centered on first loves or childhood romance. However, it was Winter Sonata, the second one in the series, that I felt had the best first-love trope. Kang Jun Sang/Lee Min Hyung (Bae Yong Joon) and Jung Yoo Jin (Choi Ji Woo) met in High School. Jun Sang was aloof and distant at first but Yoo Jin was able to thaw his cold heart. The more they hung out together, the stronger their feelings grew. An accident separated the couple but met again as adults. Jun Sang, who changed his name to Lee Min Hyung, can’t remember Yoo Jin. But there was an unseen string that kept pulling them towards each other.

Though their love story was never easy from the start and had a tragic ending, my heart just melted when they got together in the end.

Fight For My Way

Fight_for_My_Way

(KBS2)

This one started as a one-sided first love and more of a friends-turned-lovers story. But still Ko Dong Man (Park Seo Joon) was Choi Ae Ra’s (Kim Ji Won) first love. I love the development of their story and characters. Even though Dong Man was oblivious at first, he’s certainly protective towards Ae Ra. When they were children, Ae Ra was the one who defended Dong Man from bullies. The roles were reversed when they reach their teens and adulthood.

Ae Ra had always been his champion and even though their relationship changed, they always remained the same. I love how he could still smack him and yell at him like they were friends instead of lovers. This is one of the dramas I can watch repeatedly as the first-love trope has been done right.

nicole’s picks

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Possibly one of my all-time favorite dramas, Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) is a weightlifter who’s insecure about her sport. She’s fun loving but tough on the outside. Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk) was her elementary school classmate whom she saved after he fell out the window. As a tiny and scrawny kid, he was drawn to the bubbly and loud younger version of Bok Joo.

As adults, their friendship was off to a rocky start as Joon Hyung followed her around but teased her mercilessly. Joon Hyung later realizes that he has fallen in love with Bok Joo.

The overall feels of the drama hooked me in from the very first time I watched it. Its upbeat soundtrack and the light banter between Bok Joo and Joon Hyung relaxes me, and helps me forget about problems for awhile.

Reply 1988

Duk Sun (Hyeri) is caught between Jung Hwan (Ryoo Joon Yeol) and Taek (Park Bo Gum). Growing up as childhood best friends with Sun Woo (Go Jyung Pyo) and Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi), Duk Sun is just one of the boys. She clowns around with them but always stands her ground.

80s kids will surely reminisce on their childhood as well. Seeing the familiar clothes and hairstyles trigger a nostalgic feel coupled with the thrills of first love blossoming. The fun of guessing who Dun Sun ends up with is a common theme in all three Reply series.

Boys Over Flowers

Go Jung Pyo (Lee Min Ho) stops at nothing to pursue Geum Jan Di (Go Hye Sun). Aside from the first love trope, Boys Over Flowers‘ flaunts the extravagant and luxurious lifestyles of the elite Korean families.

Lee Min Ho shot to stardom with this drama and rightly so because his charm (till today) elicits squeals from even the toughest K-drama fan. Surrounded by the F4, their every move was scrutinized and talked about. So his pursuit of ordinary girl Jan Di sent everyone in Shinwa High School in  a frenzy.


ABOUT THE WRITER

abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting K-Drama watching as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Gregory House, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.

Recommended Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.

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