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[PICK] Heart-Fluttering Korean High School Dramas

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Some people only consider the teen romance as a cheesy and predictable genre. However, it certainly is easier to watch than other genres. The stories are not complicated, so they’re easily comprehensible. Also, a slew of rookie actors makes the series even more delightful. There are times when we cringe due to overly corny plots, and yet, that’s the upside of the genre. The fact that it lets us take a trip down memory lane is a bonus. Let’s meet lovely and fresh teen romance projects that also capture the painful youth.

 

Moment of Eighteen (2019) 

Credit: JTBC

It’s a bildungsroman series that frankly encapsulates the reality and worries that teenagers face. It follows the transfer student Jun Woo as he gradually changes after experiencing friendship, love, and faith in an unreasonable reality full of prejudice and misunderstanding. Ong Seung Woo, who started his acting career with the project, shows off his solid presence. By turning into lonely Jun Woo, he brings out the emotions with his delicate acting. Kim Hyang Gi breathes life into the honor student Soo Bin, proving why she was dubbed “a go-to actress.” Moment of Eighteen is also the first feature film by director Shin Na Yeon, who recently caught the audience’s attention directing the series Beyond Evil. The movie focuses on the sensitive teenagers who have entered the threshold of adulthood. Through this element, it provides comforts to those who suffer from the pain of growing up.

 

Love Alarm (2019)

Credit: Netflix

This Netflix original series is based on the webtoon by Chon Kyeyoung. It centers around the romance between three people. The setting of checking each other’s true feelings with an app is fresh, and the actors’ dashing looks seem like they just popped out of the webtoon. When former model Sun Oh transfers to Jo Jo and Hye Young’s school, the love triangle begins. Jo Jo and Sun Oh confirm their feelings for each other through “the love alarm” and recovers the heart-fluttering days. But the classmates’ jealousy and brutal reality drag them down. In the meantime, Sun Oh’s old-time friend Hye Young had his eyes on Jo Jo way before Sun Oh. He held himself back when Sun Oh and Jo Jo rang each other’s love alarms, but it wasn’t easy for him. What choice will Jo Jo make as she’s stuck between Hye Young and Sun Oh? Season 2, set four years after season 1, tells the final story of these three who now became adults after graduating high school.

 

Extraordinary You (2019)

Credit: MBC

It’s a teen romance series about the protagonists struggling to escape the destined fate after realizing that they are characters from a cartoon. The unique setting, bouncy plot, beautiful scenery, and emotional music all came together, making headlines throughout the show. Enjoying the fresh chemistry of rookie actors – Kim Hye Yoon, Rowoon, Lee Jae Wook, Kim Young Dae, and Jung Gun Joo – is another big plus. A fluttering romance is added to the process of characters, who only used to follow the writer’s intention. And by discovering their egos and pioneering their own destiny, they put a smile on viewers’ faces. From the start, the series attracts the viewers’ attention on how the romance between “nameless boy” Ha Ru and Eun Dan Oh will end. Baek Gyung, who starts second lead syndrome, leaves a deep impression.

 

Live On (2020)

Credit: JTBC

It is a work that adds elements of mystery to the stories of teenagers’ lively and fresh love and friendship. When Baek Ho Rang, the star on social media, hears a rumor that provokes her trauma on a school broadcast, she joins the broadcasting club to find this anonymous attacker. Joining the club, she continues to bicker with perfectionist Go Eun Tak about everything. But with his assistance, she narrows down the identity of the attacker. Soon, Baek and Go, who were at odds, sympathize with each other’s loneliness and form a special bond. At the same time, this anonymous attacker begins to pressure Baek more and more boldly. The supporting characters’ adorable romance also enlivens the plot. You could say that the project was somewhat unnoticed. Yet, rookie actors’ stable performances and the production that combines various genres into one received favorable reviews.

 

True Beauty (2020)

Credit: tvN

It’s a live-action series of a popular webtoon of the same name. It follows a high school girl Joo Hyung, who rises to pretty girl fame after mastering the art of make-up. When she is reborn as “goddess,” she faces new love and friendship and recovers her confidence. The more she bickers with Eun Ho, who knows her secret, the more she grows closer to him. But when Seo Joon, who has a crush on Joo Kyung, and Soo Jin, who is jealous of Joo Kyung, walk into the picture, their school life gets complicated. Nothing about the show is new, but the actors’ glowing looks are dazzling. They also showcase solid acting skills. Moon Ga Young puts on a one-man show, while Cha Eun Woo surprises us with his improvement from his last project. Though it came under fire for encouraging lookism, it’s a perfect show if your mind is set on a light teen romance.

 

A Love So Beautiful (2020)

Credit: kakaoTV

It’s a remake of the Chinese drama of the same name. The series has successfully garnered 3.23 million views on Kakao TV. It depicts the love story of bubbly and optimistic Shin Sol Yi and Cha Hun, whom she had a crush on for 17 years. The refreshing romance and friendship of their school friends also enliven the plot. Cha Hun had repeatedly turned down Shin Sol Yi’s advance, but one day, reliable and friendly boy Woo Dae Sung transfers to the school. The moment he walks into Shin Sol Yi’s life, Cha Hun belatedly realizes his feelings for her. The project increases empathy by portraying the characters’ growth as they go from high school students to fresh out of college.

 

Editor Hong Hyun Jung: K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.

Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news. 

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