Nov 29, 2013

My Lists: 10 favorite bromances in Korean dramas

Clockwise from upper left: Vampire Idol, School 2013, The Heirs, A Gentleman's Dignity
Clearly, I have a thing for Kim Woo-bin and his bromances. 

Honestly, I'm only blogging right now because I have some time to kill while I wait for my mom (she's off watching Grease the musical with my aunt) and I'm waiting for several downloads to finish. So I thought of coming up with another list but it took me forever to try to think of something to list down. And then I realized that most of my drama feels right now center on one specific theme: the bromance.

In several of my current dramas, bromance (or potential bromance) is a strong theme. The entire plot of School 2013 revolves around the tragic friendship of Go Nam-soon (Lee Jong-suk) and Park Heung-soo (Kim Woo-bin). In The Heirs, I'm more concerned over the hope of reconciliation of Kim Tan (Lee Min-ho) with his brother Kim Won (Choi Jin-hyuk) and with former BFF Choi Young-do (Kim Woo-bin, again) than, say, his frustrating romance with Cha Eun-sang (Park Shin-hye).

So allow me to list down my 10 favorite bromances from some of my favorite Korean dramas.

10. F44 (A Gentleman's Dignity)

Nothing beats a friendship that spans decades. Through the tough teenage years, and well into second childhood, these four friends had each others backs. Sometimes misguided, most times with best intentions at heart, the men of A Gentleman's Dignity were there for each other no matter the cost.

9. Han Jung-woo & Joo Jung-myung (I Miss You)

Amidst the tragedy and the tears wrought by this melodrama, the one thing that would consistently bring a smile to my face was the cute friendship between detective Han Jung-woo (Park Yoochun) and his partner Joo Jung-myung (Oh Jung-se). They may quarrel like cats and dogs, but you know a bromance is serious when the boys refer to each other as "wife."

8. A.N.Jell (You're Beautiful)

All three boys may have fallen in love with the same girl (rolls eyes), but the bromance is strong in this drama. The best thing about You're Beautiful was how they took on the topic of fanfiction (yaoi fanfiction at that) head on, with a re-enactment sequence to top it all off. "In here (points to heart), there is you."

7. Sam Song-dong & Jin-guk (Dream High)

Jin-guk (Ok Taecyeon) and Sam Song-dong (Kim Soo-hyun) may have been 2/3 of one of the more believable love triangles in k-drama history (weren't we all on the edge of our seats dying to find out who Hye-mi (Suzy) eventually ends up with until the very last episode?), but the fact that they shared a room and had multiple arguments over underwear-sharing rights only mean one thing: bromance trumps romance.

6. Yoon Yoon-jae & Kang Joon-hee (Reply 1997)

There were a dozen different things to love about Reply 1997, but the bromance between Yoon Yoon-jae (Seo In-guk) and his gay best friend Kang Joon-hee (Hoya) was one for the books. I never expected a Korean drama to tackle homosexuality with such finesse. So much respect. Yoon-jae may have not reciprocated Joon-hee's feelings, but their friendship never wavered, not even for a second.

5. Kwon Ji-hyuk & Joo Byung-hee (Shut Up! Flower Boy Band)

This is one of the more tragic bromances ever depicted in a drama. Though we lost Byung-hee (Lee Min-ki) way too soon, the memory of that friendship was what spurred the story and fueled the spirit of Ji-hyuk (Sung Joon) and the rest of the band to "shut up, and run."

4. Goo Yong-ha & Moon Jae-shin (Sungkyunkwan Scandal)

Sure, there have been many bromances better than that of Goo Yong-ha (Song Joong-ki) and Moon Jae-shin (Yoo Ah-in), but how many of them won the Best Couple Award? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they were the only male-male couple to ever win this award. And for good reason, too. Despite Jae-shin's surly attitude and unruly behavior, none of that ever kept the gorgeous Yong-ha away. How close is too close, exactly?

3. Lee Kang-to & Kimura Shunji (Bridal Mask)

Possibly the most tragic friendship in a drama ever. Ever. I cried buckets of tears for these two men who were torn apart by family, beliefs, war, and loyalty to country. They went from being the cutest best friends, defying odds, to holding swords at each other's throats. It doesn't help, as well, that the actors behind Lee Kang-to (Joo Won) and Kimura Shunji (Park Ki-woong) are not just two of the best actors of their age, but also have amazing chemistry with one another, even in real life.

2. Lee Jae-ha & Eun Shi-kyung (The King 2 Hearts)

"A king is only as strong as his best soldier." Or no. I might have gotten that quote wrong. I think it was originally "a king is only as strong as his queen," which also totally applies to this drama, but that's beside the point. The reluctant friendship between Lee Jae-ha (Lee Seung-gi) and Eun Shi-kyung (Jo Jung-suk) is one of the most poignant bromances on this list. When your king is not only irresponsible but arrogant to boot, one does not expect the upright and strict military man to be his best and most loyal soldier. "I didn’t serve you because you were the king. I served you because even in the pit of despair, you did not give up."

1. Go Nam-soon & Park Heung-soo (School 2013)

Broken dreams, brought about by a broken leg, ruined their friendship, but Park Heung-soo's (Kim Woo-bin) biggest grievance was not that his best friend Go Nam-soon (Lee Jong-suk) ruined his one shot at professional soccer, but that after all that he walked out of his life as well. Not only did he lose his dream, he lost his best friend too, the only two things he had in his life. "All I had besides soccer was you—and when soccer was gone and I wanted to die, you should have just been there, bastard. So what I’m saying is, didn’t you miss me, bastard?" Sometimes I'm not sure which bromance is more awesome, the one we see in the drama or the one in real life.

I don't know what it is about bromances that just tug at my heartstrings. Maybe it's because intimacy in friendship between men is not as common as it is between women. Or maybe it's because being female myself, it's a glimpse into how friendships work on the other side of the fence. Whatever the reason behind it, gimme a drama with an epic bromance and I'm sure to fall in love.


  1. "Maybe it's because intimacy in friendship between men is not as common as it is between women." Except in Korea, apparently. A good bromance is definitely my favourite thing about any drama. I still haven't seen A Gentlemens Dignity, I should get around to it at some stage because I like so much of the cast.

    The You're Beautiful fanfic scene killed me! Killed me! They would have had so much fun filming it too.

    And I think Yoo Ah In/Song Joong Ki started a trend because I'm sure another male couple have won that award since then although I can't think who. It's gonna annoy me until I remember now, lol

    1. Haha. I was trying to research that as well earlier. I gave up. Ha. I think there have been nominations (Joo Won + Ki-woong for example) but I don't know if any of them won. Let me know if you find out. ^_^

  2. of the 10 dramas in your list, i have yet to see Number 1, School 2013. :p

    1. Yeah, understandable. Most of my kdrama-watching friends have yet to see it din. But when you the time, you might wanna check it out. Lalo na if you're a Jong-suk or Woo-bin fan. ^_^

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  4. Great list! I realize I enjoyed every single bromance you listed - and in pretty much the same ranking too! We do seem to have similar taste, at least in bromances ;)

    1. Cool! Must be why I enjoy your blog so much. Hahaha.

  5. Are you a native speaker. .I want to start a blog but am not sure about my language skills and idioms. ..I understand everything but am not sure I can write it though..not well at all..can you give me some advice please

    1. Well, I'm from a country where most people speak English as either their first or their second language. I started speaking English before I learned our native language. I guess it followed that I read books in English and would watch English shows growing up. I eventually took up Creative Writing (and wrote mostly in English) in university. I guess that's why blogging comes easily to me. I've been blogging since 2002.

      As for advice, well... I say go for it. I'm sure with time and a lot of practice writing, things become easier. I also advise you to read a lot. And observe what you read, not just understand them. Read and then take note of what makes an article interesting to you. Is it the choice of words? The tone of the narrative? Was it particularly witty? What made it witty? Take note of these. And then practice. And then read more.

      However, don't let the fact that you're not very confident with your English hinder you from writing. It does not have to be perfect. You only need to get your message across.

      Let me know if you do decide to start a blog and I'll check it out. :) Fighting!