In k-drama land, there are plenty of reasons that make us love one more than the other. It could be a culmination of factors — plot, acting, setting, music, etc. For me, some the dramas that stand out the most are the ones that have strong, beautiful, epic-style love stories between the two leads. I won’t even attempt to lie: love stories are my favorite part of books and moves. Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me wishing that I’ll one day find my own love. Either way, I have a deeper connection with the dramas that have beautiful love story over the sillier, quirky dramas. (Not that the silly ones aren’t good, FYI.)
Below I’ve compiled a list of the leads that have made me feel every emotion in the book… and then some.
Warning: As always, there will be spoilers in my list. Please proceed at your own risk.
Kim Boong Do and Choi Hee Jin from Queen In Hyun’s Man was a delightful masterpiece for me. And the chemistry? I saw fireworks every time they interacted. I especially thought their story was bewitching as they slowly fell in love. Also, I just loved every moment they spent together in the library or when Hee Jin always waited for Boong Do to return from traveling back to Joseon times. At the end of the day, this drama put me through a spectrum of emotion and it was thanks to some great writing, beautiful cinematography, and amazing chemistry between the leads. This is one couple I won’t easily forget. Bonus tidbit: In fact, Boong Do and Hee Jin are actually my desktop wallpaper right now.
Choi Kang Joo and Na Doo Rim from Bride of the Century never stray far from my mind as they were the first couple of a currently airing show I fell in love with. Whether it was the sweet potatoes, that adorable kitten, or the way they faced off with each other, it wasn’t hard to grow fond of them rather quickly. I hold Kang Joo and Doo Rim in a special place of my heart as I really thought their story was quite beautiful and powerful. I could have done without some parts of the drama, but Kang Joo and Doo Rim really set a high bar in the romance department for me.
Lee Shin and Lee Gyu Won from Heartstrings. When it comes to music drama couples, I can’t get enough of Lee Shin and Gyu Won. Even when she was forced, in the beginning, to bring him coffee, I just adored their interactions. Sure, they really couldn’t stand each other at first. They especially couldn’t relate to each other because there was the barrier from rock music to traditional music between them. But, in the end, their love for music brought them closer together. I know you can hardly call it at “kiss” at the end as Park Shin Hye just lets Jung Yong Hwa kiss her while she keeps her mouth closed and just stares wide-eyed at him. Regardless, they had great chemistry, and I enjoyed seeing them overcome their obstacles — whether it was Gyu Won’s strict grandfather or their disproving classmates.
Lee Yoon Sung and Kim Na Na from City Hunter. You’ll probably never get me to shut up about City Hunter and Lee Min Ho, so I sincerely apologize in advance. That said, this was one drama I instantly fell in love with because of the emotions and tension between Yoon Sung and Na Na. Their connection and love was so deep that Na Na ended up taking a bullet to protect Yoon Sung. They even, somewhat awkwardly, bonded over their bullet scars. And when you might have thought that Yoon Sung’s true identity would have put some major distance between the two, it just ended up bringing them closer. Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young had great chemistry in this drama. I laughed, I cried… I felt it all when they interacted.
Seo Jung Hoo and Chae Young Shin from Healer. As far as recent dramas goes, this is on the top of my list for this year. Whether it was Jung Hoo as Healer or as Boong Soo, I was captivated by his connection with Young Shin. The icing on the cake was to find out that they were childhood friends who used to fall asleep together. And this is an important fact to note as, in the present, the two usually can only fall asleep alone. This drama really captured a beautiful romance between JH and YS. Whether he was rescuing her from a sabotaged elevator or trying to gain her father’s approval, JH was perfect. And I may get a little bit cheesy here, but together the two really healed each other.
Kwon Ji Hyuk and Im Soo Ah from Shut Up Flower Boy Band. Ever since I finished this drama last year (one week shy of a year), I still can’t stop thinking about them. I call them the Rooftop Neighbors. Despite the fact that they weren’t always the nicest to each other, they always seemed to be there for each other when it mattered most. Also, Ji Hyuk and his lollipops… and when he secretly passed one to Soo Ah when they were walking in opposite directions down the hallways. These two had some great chemistry together, and when they started to interact more and grow closer, I couldn’t get enough of them. As a bonus, they weren’t a toxic couple. I loved how they managed to bring small moments of happiness to each other’s lives when things were really tough. Another bonus: I absolutely hate doing laundry, but Wake Up became my jam. I was really efficient with laundry the week that I first watched this drama.
Okay, that should complete my list for now. I realize that it is rather short, but I’m basing this off of my own opinions of dramas I’ve already watched. There were a few more that almost made the cut, but ultimately I passed because they weren’t couples I thought about much after those dramas ended.