20 Most Memorable Characters We Met In 2018 Korean Dramas
2018 Korean dramas have gifted viewers with resonating characters whom we can think fondly of now that this year’s season has come to an end.
A variety of memorable portrayals, which are remotely connected to chaebols, supernatural characters and psychopaths, made watching 2018 Korean dramas this year worth the ride.
Looking back healing dramas and romance stories were the most dominant themes displayed, giving the viewers an array of lingering impressions and lessons from fictional characters brought to life by the amazing talented roster of Korean actors.
Interestingly, the uniquely sketched characters which made this list have one common noticeable denomination — they all left inspiring life lessons regardless of the approach.
Here are some of the best character portrayals from 2018 Korean Dramas whom we have rounded up:
1. Seo In Guk as Kim Moo Young (The Smile Has Left Your Eyes)
Immersing to a role that requires limitless emotional depth to pull off is not unheard of. But the actor amplified his portrayal to a level where the audience saw him in a different light.
Owing to the hero’s enigmatic bearing, the drama atmosphere strangely hooked even with its somber tone. Channeling the grit and pain of his character, Seo In Guk amazed the viewers with those cold gazes, which literally brought the drama title’s meaning to life.
What made me choose him as my best actor this year, was how he owned Moo Young’s character down to the littlest detail including those smirks, dauntless expression, stoic gazes and mess-with-me-and-you-die perspectives.
2. Park Hyung Sik as Go Yeon Woo (Suits)
Perhaps it was Yeon Woo’s bond with his grandmother, or his determination to prove he wasn’t wasting the chance he was given. Or his amazing photographic memory. Or the way he used his heart in dealing with the cases given to him. Or maybe all of these reasons played a part in why we just couldn’t stop wishing for Park Hyung Sik’s character’s success and happiness.
3. Jung Jae Young as Baek Beom (Partners for Justice)
Trust Jung Jae Young to bring more than what was expected of him by playing the role of lead medical examiner Baek Bum, who worked with detectives and prosecutors in unraveling questionable deaths by running intensive autopsy reports.
Jung Jae Young arguably gave out a solid rendition of his detached medical examiner character, with cold and uncaring facade, which functioned as the keystone persona of the series. His interaction, with the vivacious prosecutor (portrayed by Jung Yu Mi) along with the police officers and fellow NFS experts like Lee Yi Kyung and Stephanie Lee, is a surprising proof that South Korea’s legal-crime dramas can be explored through the perspective of engaging cast; instead of romanticizing the evil themes discussed in the series.
4. So Ji Sub as Kim Bon (My Secret Terrius)
MBC scored one of the best TV series for 2018 in My Secret Terrius. Creatively conceived in complete package, it even included extra perk for fulfilling the dreams of So Ji Sub fans to see right before their very eyes the imaginary romance they all dreamt of with him — a picture of him taking care of children plus doing house chores like your very own dream husband. *wink
Parading a valiant hero and a refreshing heroine who neutralized him to become a literal God’s gift to women, So Ji Sub led a formidable cast, who knew when to step up, and when to play hilariously cute to make the plot easy to watch.
5. Jang Geun Suk as Sa Do Chan and Baek Joon Soo (Switch Change the World)
Carrying the weight of the story, Jang Geun Suk, who challenged himself by playing dual roles as a prosecutor and con artist, handled the respective personas with poise and commitment. The focus that he limned in switching his characters, who were even switching inside the story itself, deserves a well-deserving applause.
6. Seo Kang Joon as Jung Joon Young (The Third Charm)
Gladly deserving of “2018 Best K-Drama Boyfriend” award, Seo Kang Joon has scored myriad of emotions in his portrayal of a man who can never forget the first woman he ever loved.
From cute to heartbreaking scenes, Seo pulled off most of the poignant moments in the narrative, which is usually a task for the female lead in the series. That rare case turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it made the drama connection to its audience more affecting.
7. Kim Dong Wook as Yoo Hwa Pyung (The Guest)
Hwa Pyung’s determination to capture demonic Park Il Do had consumed him all his life. His willingness to sacrifice his own life to save his friends was truly admirable. And what audiences could witness in The Guest was how Kim Dong Wook delivered another excellent performance as a troubled man haunted by his tragic past after being possessed by the evil spirit Park Il Do.
8. Park Seo Joon as Lee Young Joon in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?
Among the heroes I selected from 2018 Korean dramas, Park’s character did not thread on defining emotional moments – but his quirky narcissistic attitude was a role just as hard as nailing those crying scenes for male actors. Park Seo Joon was the life of the party for this hit romantic comedy.
9. Lee Ji Eun (IU) as Lee Ji An (My Mister)
Exploring her versatility as an artist, Lee Ji Eun marked a defining portrayal for her as a professional actress. Capturing the pain and redemption of her character was no easy task. But she had embraced it successfully with conviction and warmth.
10. Kim Tae Ri as Lady Ae Sin (Mr. Sunshine)
A woman’s unfailing love to protect her country with three capable men willing to risk all they had to protect her was such a noble love premise. That woman was brought to life by Kim Tae Ri, with a convincing bravado to uphold her valor amidst losing everyone who protected her.
11. Son Ye Jin as Yoon Jin Ah (Something in the Rain)
Something in the Rain capitalized on how the yarning of the chronicle felt like love spurt after another, which kept its pace steady and affecting to the audience; who had most likely related to the bliss and pain of falling in love. Son Ye Jin provided the emotional strength of the narrative through her character. As broken as she could be, Jin Ah held on to that glimpse of hope after all her failed relationships; that someone would come along and be worth all the troubles he could give.
12. Kim Hee Sun (R) as Eulji Hae Yi (Room No. 9)
13. Kim Hae Sook (L) as Jang Hwa Sa (Room No. 9)
These two female leads were the exact opposite of each other. Eulji Hae Yi is an ambitious lawyer, who is willing to turn a blind eye if it guarantees her a spot high up the position ladder. Meanwhile, Jang Hwa Sa has been unfortunate as she spent most of her life in prison falsely accused of a crime she did not commit. They meet, and in a bizarre twist, they exchange bodies.
The series of events that unfolded throughout the drama had shown how these women developed to become the better versions of themselves. As they led each other’s lives, both made discoveries that helped them grow. The actresses had done an excellent job in showing the growth of their characters that you could not help but be absorbed in their journey.
14. Go Ara as Park Cha Oh Reum (Miss Hammurabi)
Ho Reum encourages us to always have a good heart. Her tenacity to save the world from injustice was but one step that could make a difference. Take an hour off from your social media life to find a cause you can support and dedicate some of your time to drive a purpose.
Supporting Characters & Villains
15. Kim Min Jung (L) as Kudo Hina (Mr. Sunshine)
16. Yoo Yeon Seok (R) as Gu Dong Mae (Mr. Sunshine)
*Photos from Netflix
Kudo Hina’s moving atonement and Gu Dong Mae’s heartbreaking final battle were part of all those harrowing moments, along with the heart-rending junctures which layered those climactic points; that spun what Mr. Sunshine was about. Albeit, a powerhouse cast, Kim and Yoo left a lingering imprint with their perfect rendition of their characters.
Among the three actors, Lee Yi Kyung solidly nailed his character well in the comedic series. He was the life of the party indeed. He also provided an endearing showcase of his journey as a beat role actor, who had done the goofiest things for drama or film part that he auditioned for in the story.
Even though Priest Yang was not Park Il Do himself, Ahn Nae Sang delivered a hair-raising performance as the possessed priest. His kind and sincere facade fooled everyone for years before it was finally revealed that he had been possessed by Park Il Do’s many spirits for decades. (We were caught surprised for sure!)
Though the story was centered around the main hero’s adjustment to living in the penitentiary, the supporting male cast portraying as his cell inmates efficiently worked their roles to give each character its respective distinct color and function in the group. I actually wanted to take the whole bunch since they all deserved it, but drug junkie and his constant bickering with Jung Hae In’s character had me at my craziest laugh fit when I was watching the series.
20. Heo Joon Ho as the criminal psychopath Yoon Hui Jae (Come and Hug Me)
For 2018 Korean dramas, Heo Joon Ho effectively portrayed a psychopath father, who developed an eerie obsession with his second son. He had such commanding presence that every scene he was in, you could not help but felt scared along with the leads. It was no wonder that he got himself a Special Acting Award from the 2nd Seoul Awards last October.
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.