Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Cho EK
Bromance, which is more exciting than romance, has established itself as an essential factor in box office success. Rather than simply presenting the two male actors for leading roles, bromance adds vitality to the narrative with the relationships that come from loyalty, affection, and solidarity. Depending on the situation, it creates subtle tension by moving back and forth between allies and competitors. Sometimes they are strong supporters of each other. Other times, they produce comical scenes like Tom and Jerry. On top of Beyond Evil that ended in April and At a Distance, Spring is Green which is currently being aired, The Devil Judge attempts to grab attention with a bromance. If you like the chemistry between male characters in Korean dramas, here are some of the works that you don’t want to miss.
It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)
In It’s Okay, That’s Love, popular mystery writer Jae Yeol (Jo In Seong) and aspiring writer Kang Woo (Do Kyung Soo) seem to be a celebrity and an avid fan who happened to become friends. It is not until the second half of the play that Jae Yeol realizes that Kang Woo is just a hallucination that only he can see. And the viewers start to notice the fact even before Jae Yeol does. Kang Woo, a reflection of Jaeyeol’s childhood wounds, proves that he has a mental illness and hints at a way to overcome the condition. As the bond between the two strengthens, viewers start to wonder when Jaeyeol will find out about Kang Woo’s true identity and adds tension to the series. In particular, I cannot get over the moment when the two, who had been friends for over three years, said goodbye to each other.
Six Flying Dragons (2015)
A historical drama with a touch of fiction, Six Flying Dragons tells the story of Lee Bang Won, from his childhood to his golden days as a king, and six characters who desire to become the Founder of Joseon. Lee Seong Gye’s fifth son, Lee Bang Won (Yoo Ah In), later becomes King Taejong, the 3rd king of Joseon. Mu Hyul (Yoon Gyun Sang) assists Lee Bang In in completing the great work. Brandishing the ‘Best Sword in Joseon,’ Mu Hyul shows off his superb swordsmanship and saves Lee Bang Won multiple times from danger. This work is also a prequel to SBS Deep Rooted Tree, which aired in 2011. In the last episode, Lee Bang Won introduces Lee Do (Nam Da Reum) to Mu Hyul, saying he is a strange guy.
The time-slip drama Signal is an excellent example of how the two main characters can deliver impressive bromance even if they have never been caught in the same frame the whole series. At 11:23 p.m., Hae Young (Lee Je Hoon) and Jae Han (Cho Jin Woong) exchange desperate and strange radio signals to solve a cold case. Hae Young is a detective and profiler in a Cold Case Squad in the current time period, and Jae Han is a detective from the past. Both of them have wounds from losing their families and lovers. Those connected by chance show solidarity beyond time even though they only communicate by radio. In the second half of the series, the old connection between the two is revealed, and this affectionate process makes the audience burst into tears.
In the fantasy drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, the relationship between the goblin Kim Shin, who has lived an immortal life for 900 years, and the grim reaper, who has lost his memory, unfolds interestingly. The two superhuman characters live under the same roof and have small quarrels. However, when their partnership is needed, they become the best allies ever. The hot scenes that Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook make are truly mesmerizing. Moreover, the relationship between the characters is equally interesting. In particular, the scene in the 2nd episode where Kim Shin and the reaper walk side by side into the fog is said to be the best scene in the whole series. Plus, there was a whole another poster that only features the two actors. Writer Kim Eun Sook added vitality to the show by weaving the bromance between Song Joong Ki and Jin Goo in her previous work, Descendants of the Sun. She seems to have peaked in her mastery in the subject matter in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God with Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook.
Run On (2020)
Run On warmly depicts the characters with some deficiencies who communicate through the language of ‘love’. They comfort each other and overcome their wounds. The bromance and ‘womance’ enjoyed a lot of support from the viewers, let alone the romance of Seon Gyeom (Im Si Wan) and Mi Joo (Shin Se Kyung) and that of Dan Ah (Choi Soo Young) and Young Hwa (Kang Tae Oh). Seon Gyeom and Young Hwa humorously show how they become each other’s buddies without any common grounds. For example, during their short and accidental cohabitation, Seon Gyeom cleans up Young Hwa’s messy house. Later, Young Hwa becomes Seon Gyeom’s good drinking buddy, sharing their concerns little by little.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.