Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
The mystical spell that magician Ri Eul from The Sound of Magic casts “when your heart is broken” brings comfort to all those struggling through the tough reality. The show delivers a message for people that want to become good adults in the form of a fantasy drama that combines magic and music. If you’re into warm stories with a touch of fantasy like The Sound of Magic, I suggest these romance fantasy K-dramas.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020)
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a romance drama about selfless psych ward caretaker Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) and an antisocial children’s book writer Go Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji). Moon Young, who callously spits out “Who says princesses are all nice?” from the first scene she appears, uses her extravagant and glamorous styles to protect herself from other people. Kang Tae, who gets involved with Moon Young, barely lives every day by hiding his depression and the emptiness he feels. The show was well-received for directing a story that features wounds and traumas in a dark and bizarre-fantasy tone combined with a fairytale sensibility. It was selected as the Best TV Show 2020 by the New York Times and was nominated for a TV movie/miniseries at the 49th Emmy Awards.
Meow The Secret Boy (2020)
Meow The Secret Boy, the drama adaptation of the webtoon of the same name, is a romance drama about Hong Jo (Kim Myung Soo), a cat that transformed into a man, and Sol Ah (Shin Ye Eun), a dog-like woman who likes people. Hong Jo appears as a cat if Sol Ah wants a cat and as a man if he wants to show up in front of Sol Ah. Having fallen in love with Sol Ah, he realizes that there’s a time limit for a cat to transform into a human and gets advice from a grandma kitty to get through the crisis. The drama shows the cat transforming into a human through natural screen transitions instead of CG. It may be a bit disappointing for viewers who expected the latter, but the very existence of the main character who moves back and forth between an animal and a human satisfies the requirements of a new fantasy romance genre. Above all, there’s the pleasure of seeing cats a whole bunch.
Love Alarm (2019)
Based on the webtoon of the same name, Love Alarm paints out the romance of three men and women in a world where feelings can only be expressed through an app. The love triangle between Jo Jo (Kim So Hyun), Hye Young (Jung Ga Ram), and Sun Oh (Song Kang), who go back and forth between friends and lovers, unfold from when they were in high school to their adulthood. Along with the question of who Jo Jo will choose – Hye Young or Sun Oh – what’s interesting is the unique setting of the characters expressing their hearts through the “love alarm” app. In season one, the app sent an alarm when a person you like comes within a 10m radius, but in season two, an upgraded version that showed “the person you’ll like” and “the person who’ll like you” was released. Though it was a virtual app, the image of the people affected by it is not far from reality, helping the viewers relate to the story more. Love Alarm received favorable responses with its intriguing setting for viewers who are accustomed to digital life and the actors who seem to have popped out of the original webtoon.
Absolute Boyfriend (2019)
Based on a Japanese manga, Absolute Boyfriend tells the story of Uhm Da Da (Minah), a special makeup artist who is hurt by her past love, falling in love with Zero Nine (Yeo Jin Goo), a robot boyfriend that was delivered to her by mistake. Built for the top 0.001% of the haves, Zero Nine only loves one person whom he had given his heart to. Having broken up with top star Ma Wang Joon (Hong Jong Hyun) after seven years of a secret romance, she falls for the unconditional love that Zero Nine offers her. Yeo Jin Goo convincingly plays a character on the border between a human and a robot, adding persuasion to stories that may seem unfamiliar. In the latter half of the drama, Da Da and Zero Nine were seen going through an inevitable breakup, raising curiosity as to how their relationship will end.
Tomorrow With You (2017)
Tomorrow With You is a fantasy romance featuring a time slip. It tells the love story of Yoo So Jun (Lee Je Hoon), a time traveler who has it all, and Song Ma Rin (Shin Min Ah), an obscure photographer. The story begins when So Jun, who travels to the future as usual, finds out that he has an accident on the same day as this woman Song Ma Rin and decides to intervene in her life to change her fate. The two fall in love and get married, but an unexpected conflict arises when Ma Rin, who does not know about the time traveling and her future, misunderstands So Jun. Though there were some critics of the unbalance between romance and mystery, the story of the lovers who go back and forth between the present and future and actively confront their fate to welcome a new future leaves a deep afterglow.
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 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.