K-Drama Confessional #1: Which Asian drama started your obsession?
Do you ever want to just talk about K-dramas but you don’t have everyone who shares your obsession? Have your feels ever overwhelmed you, but you didn’t have anywhere to turn to vent? Well, you’re in luck! We have a new article series just for you!
Welcome to a new segment called K-drama Confessional, brought to you by two of DramaFever’s regular writers Rara Pop and KD Bonbon, two best friends who bonded over their love for K-dramas, K-pop, and everything Asian! In K-drama Confessional, our goal is to share with you our personal experiences with K-dramas and why we love Asian entertainment (and hot Asian men) so much!
Each article in this series will begin with a question. We will discuss this question through our experiences and how K-dramas have changed our lives (for the better!).
We have chosen “Which Asian drama started your obsession?” as our first question because we know all drama lovers can relate to finding that one show that changed your life forever. All K-drama obsessions have a story behind them, and our story is pretty epic and hilarious.
Are you ready to confess with us?
Step back eight years. It’s 2007 and KD and Rara are in high school and spend most of their time hanging out in the library together. YouTube was just becoming popular and the US economy hadn’t quite collapsed…
Rara: I think remember exactly how it happened. I came running into the library and said “KD you have to see this!” I had just watched the first episode of this Japanese drama Hana Yori Dango and just had to share this AMAZING experience with someone. IMMEDIATELY.
KD: So in case you were wondering, our simple answer to the first question of “Which Asian drama started your obsession?” is Hana Yori Dango, the 2005 Japanese version of Boys Over Flowers, starring Arashi’s Matsumoto Jun and Inoue Mao.
Rara: Life changing stuff right there.
KD: Oh my god. I was hooked after the first scene. Why?? Prada? Louis Vuitton? Why Chanel? I can still vividly picture that opening scene and feel Makino Tsukushi’s confusion and annoyance regarding her classmates’ preoccupation with luxury watches, purses, clothes, and cars.
Rara: Lines from that show still play in my head to his day. “Just Stopppau the the deal” is one of my all time Engrish drama phrases, courtesy of Domyouji’s evil mother.
KD: Me too. So many memorable lines!
Rara: And let’s not forget the epic soundtrack.
KD: That is a whole other story! I’m pretty sure I could sing the soundtrack to the entire show as I watch it. Readers — check out the soundtrack below! It makes great background music for the rest of this article!
Rara: KD and I, along with another friend, had already bonded over a mutual love of manga. But looking back, I think I always felt like something had been missing from my manga and anime infatuation. It wasn’t until I started watching Asian dramas that the stories really came to life for me.
KD: I agree. I think the thing that really got me excited about Hana Yori Dango was just how different it was from American TV shows. I loved manga and anime and this live action version of one of my favorite mangas was everything I wanted out of a television show. Hana Yori Dango actually started us on this whirlwind J-Drama obsession that lasted for quite a while. We watched almost every J-Drama we could find (and even many Taiwanese dramas)!
Rara: Hana Kimi, Nobuta wa Produce, Tatta Hitotsu No Koi, Absolute Boyfriend, Nodame Cantabile, Devil Beside You, Smiling Pasta, Mars. This list could go on and on and on!
KD: As a side note, I wonder how many DramaFever readers were also into J-Dramas back in the day! Let us know in the comment section!
Rara: So how obsessed would you say we actually were?
KD: I’d say pretty damn obsessed. On a scale of 1 to 10 we were definitely at 11. After you showed me that first episode of Hana Yori Dango, I went home, didn’t do any of my homework, and marathoned the entire first season.
Rara: I’m pretty certain my grades suffered around that time… especially that first semester when I had just discovered dramas!
KD: And back in the day, marathoning a show like that wasn’t all that easy to do.
Rara: Keep in mind, DramaFever wasn’t around yet! To watch your favorite Asian dramas, you’d have to turn to more under-the-radar websites (shoutout to mysoju, anyone?) or torrents to get your fix.
KD: And the videos on these websites weren’t always the best. They were pretty low quality and the subtitle situation was sometimes questionable. In the end, it just became easier and more dependable to purchase DVDs of the entire season straight from Asia.
Rara: But seriously, eBay became my new best friend (sorry KD!). I needed my fix and this was the best place to get the DVDs. As I became more and more addicted, my DVD collection grew and grew. I still have my massive DVD case of dramas in my room!
KD: But her eBay buying addiction didn’t stop there...while watching Hana Yori Dango we became really, really obsessed with Matsumoto Jun who played Domyouji, the leader of F4 (the character equal to Lee Min Ho’s Goo Jun Pyo in Boys Over Flowers). He was just so cute…
Rara: AND we decided that we needed to purchase literally 100s of photos from eBay that had been torn directly from Japanese magazines.
They kinda looked like this:
KD: These purchases would be the equivalent of buying pages torn from Cosmopolitan magazine. We were crazy…
Rara: But to this day, I don’t still don’t regret anything! My love for Jun will always live on!
KD: And don’t forget about Arashi! Seeing them in concert is at the top of my bucket list!
Rara: Like we said, we were quite obsessed with J-Dramas for a long time, but after a while we eventually we made the transition to K-dramas and never looked back! KD, would you like to reveal what our very first K-drama was?
KD: Drum roll, please…My Girl!
Rara: Lee Dong Wook! *Swoon*
KD: I don’t even remember why we started watching My Girl...
Rara: Who knows, but it was such a blessing!
KD: Okay, favorite moments: Go!
Rara: When Yoo Rin (Lee Da Hae) gets caught selling stolen oranges and then tries to escape through the orange orchard. I know the drama was going to be a keeper after I saw that part!
KD: When Yoo Rin and Gong Chan (Lee Dong Wook) get lost in the mountains on the way back from visiting some shrine and come across that tiny village. They do karaoke and then her stomach starts hurting and everyone is so concerned! But really she just has to fart.
RD: When Yoo Rin trips and falls while taking a bath and Gong Chan rushes in to her rescue, wrapping her in the bath mat and taking her to the hospital!
KD: And who can forget - Is there a New Year's Eve celebration in Kazakhstan?! 2006!
Rara: One of the BEST OST tracks! You always knew you were in for a good time when that song started playing! That sure brings me back.
KD: Sooo many great moments! I know a lot of newer K-drama watchers have never seen this gem and it isn’t often talked about on DramaFever (except in my articles where I try to convince everyone they should watch it and love it…), but your first K-drama always stays with you! My Girl will always be one of my favorites.
Rara: I think one of the great things about watching My Girl first was that it introduced so many wonderful K-drama tropes. You have mistaken identity, a contract relationship, forced co-habitation, the swoon-worthy second lead male, and even the bitchy second female lead! It’s a perfect K-drama recipe.
KD: Oh god. We need to take a minute and talk about how TERRIBLE the second lead girl (Kim Sae Hyun played by Park Si Yeon) was. She was the worst!
Rara: *In high pitched annoying voice* “Help, I’ve fallen at the airport and lost my prized necklace! Oh no someone stepped on my wrist and so I’ll pretend to faint. Good thing my prince charming Gong Chan is here to scoop me up!”
KD: When that scene happened I almost threw my computer across the room. But I think you’re so right about My Girl being a fantastic introductory K-drama for us because it so perfectly encapsulated all the great elements of an addicting K-drama. I think it’s worth mentioning that My Girl certainly isn’t the perfect K-drama, but is there really ever a perfect K-drama? I don’t think so. And I don’t think that is the point.
Rara: Exactly. I think it’s more about what the K-drama makes you feeeeeeeel and how connected you are to the characters. You need to have a sense of commitment that makes you want to see the storyline through to the very end and beyond.
KD: Yes. And a truly great K-drama will keep you thinking about it long after it is over. It’s been eight years since I saw My Girl and it’s still one of the first K-dramas that I think of when daydreaming about K-dramas (please tell me you guys do that too…).
KD: We could probably do a whole other article just dedicated to the amazing roller coaster of emotions that was Coffee Prince.
Rara: SO. MANY. FEELS.
KD: So Rara, given that eight years have passed, why do you think you’re still so invested in dramas? And how do you think our drama roots have affected the dramas you are into now?
Rara: Great questions KD. First of all, I think the Korean drama industry has really taken off over the past few years. K-dramas are more and more accessible and the fan base just continues to grow. I love being able to follow these shows online and really take part in a larger discussion about my favorite dramas and celebrities.
KD: It does really help to know that so many people around the world share your love! And with the opportunities to interact with international fans increasing, we’re being connected with more and more people who all share our love for Asian entertainment.
Rara: We had a fantastic Asian drama foundation. Each of these shows just got us more and more invested in this genre of TV. As we mentioned before, dramas are completely different from American shows and once we went over to the drama side it was hard to ever stop. Our beginning shows showed us the pure joy that dramas could impart to its viewers, so we’ve continued to watch more and more, hoping to repeat the same types of experiences and emotions.
KD: I think that’s so true. For me, K-dramas serve a much different purpose than American television shows. I see them as more of an escape. In the K-drama universe, anything can happen. And I find that really refreshing.
Rara: There’s nothing quite like a good K-drama! It’s witty, but heart wrenching, it’s romantic, yet hilarious. So many different genres come together to tell an epic story.
KD: I think it’s pretty safe to say that we are hooked for life!
Rara: Can I get that as a bumper sticker? K-Drama Addict for Life!
KD: I’ve got you girl!
Thank you for joining us in our first K-drama Confessional!
Now it’s your turn: What was your first Asian drama? Did you start with K-dramas? Or did you make the transition from Japanese or Taiwanese dramas? This is your chance to tell us your own stories and we may even pick some of our favorites to be featured here on DramaFever! Please share your experiences below in the comments section! We can’t wait to hear from you!
Stay tuned for more K-drama Confessional! If there is a topic you would like us to discuss, let us know! Anything in the Asian entertainment universe is fair game!
Watch the classic series My Girl now:
KD Bonbon loves dogs and enjoys listening to K-pop and watching Korean dramas in her spare time. Whenever she’s not working her 9-5 corporate job, she’s writing for DramaFever News.