Drama Reactions & Reviews
If You Like… Noona Romances
by | September 29, 2013 | 233 Comments

If you’re anything like me, your ideal drama hero isn’t the cold chaebol with the icy exterior or even the perfect Daddy Long Legs caretaker. He’s the hotheaded ruffian on a motorcycle with a busted lip and a one-sided love for an unattainable noona. Why always a motorcycle? I don’t know. Blame Jung Woo-sung (Beat, 1997). And James Dean.

Perhaps you recently finished I Hear Your Voice and you’re waiting for the next Park Su-ha to come around the bend. Aren’t we all. I spent the better part of the year finally watching the family sitcom Unstoppable High Kick from beginning to end, at a whopping 167 episodes (on the upside, the episodes are super short at twenty minutes each). The thing that kept me going was my tried and true dramaland kryptonite: the noona romance.

I could fill a whole post just naming all the tropes that I love, but noona romances hit my drama sweet spot, mostly because I love soonjung narratives—sweet, innocent love backed by earnest emotion, and a drama sensibility that comes out of a genre of comics called soonjung manhwa. It’s part and parcel of why I love high school stories.

But I find noona romances particularly satisfying because they’re filled with gender reversals. Obviously to have a noona romance, the woman has to be older than the man. But if that were the only reversal in the game, there wouldn’t be much to write home about. The fun part of a noona romance is a reversal in the power dynamic—for starters, the heroine is strong, but she’s also often the boss, the teacher, the one who (outwardly) has her life together. She’s either paired with a beta male (I Do, I Do), or an alpha male in a small pond—say, other nineteen-year olds—who has no power in the real world (Biscuit Teacher).

The hero almost always straddles the man-boy divide, but often the heroine has as much growing up to do as he does. He carries a torch for her, thinking she’s unattainable (my favorite kind of drama angst). Once they’re together, age presents a real-world obstacle. And the army is Hades itself.

All noona-killers aren’t rebels on motorcycles, but that’s the iconic dramaland image because they dare to go against the grain, even if it’s just by saying that age is just a number. Mostly though, you just have to be willing to chase the girl of your dreams with your heart on your sleeve, whether on two wheels or four, or using your student bus pass.

 
SONG OF THE DAY

Lee Seung-gi – “내 여자라니까 (Because You’re My Woman)” [ Download ]

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Biscuit Teacher Star Candy (2005)

The premise: A high school delinquent grows up with dreams of becoming a teacher, and manages to finagle a temporary position at a school under the condition that she keeps the biggest troublemaker of them all in check. She wrangles the punk; he falls for teacher.

This drama is pretty much a soonjung manhwa come to life, with imaginary sequences featuring the heroine literally kicking ass and taking names. It’s one of my favorite noona romances in dramaland, and part of it is definitely the match-up between Gong Yoo and Gong Hyo-jin. Never mind that he’s actually older than her in real life; just go with the fiction. He’s the classically brooding rebel teenager who’s misunderstood and assumed to be a terrible troublemaker when he’s really just a lonely kid with no one to take his side. She’s a reformed misfit herself, and as his teacher she’s the first person in his life to stick to him like glue and tell him that she cares and that she’ll never give up on him.

It works, and he doesn’t just open up to her; he falls hard because he’s young and impetuous. Soon he’s running around declaring his love from the rooftops in what is maybe the cutest display of one-sided love ever. It’s the thing you think you wouldn’t ever root for—for the nineteen-year old to win over his teacher’s heart—but you’re on his side before you know it. How can you not, when he’s practically handing her his bleeding heart and asking her not to crush it?

 

What’s Up Fox (2006)

The premise: The boy next door returns from his travels abroad as a grown man in a hot body. The noona who’s known him his whole life struggles with this strange new sexual attraction, and the two land in bed one drunken night, beginning their hilariously backwards relationship.

This is one of the great quintessential noona romances that you shouldn’t miss. It’s less zippy than My Name Is Kim Sam-soon (they come from the same writer), but it has one of the more realistic noona romances that could work in the real world. Go Hyun-jung and Chun Jung-myung have a cute rapport that walks the line between too familial and sexually charged, which is the point because theirs is the problem of being TOO close. She’s literally the noona next door who used to change his diapers (or so she claims), so his struggle is to get her to see him as a man.

This drama deals with sexual attraction in a really frank way, which sets it apart from the other usually innocent noona romances. (And the heroine writes erotic romance stories for a porn magazine as her day job, so there are some hilarious fantasy reenactments of her stories that pepper the drama.) We find out that she was his first crush as a boy, but more importantly the object of his sexual awakening; as adults she’s in denial about him being a man, but can’t hide her attraction to him. This drama tackles the tough questions and doesn’t give the couple any easy outs, making their relationship feel earned. It’s also a nice ordinary story about two middle-class people (notably a commonality among many noona romances though not at all a necessary part).

 

Unstoppable High Kick (2006-7)

The premise: This is the first of the High Kick series of popular family sitcoms that feature multigenerational households full of wacky hijinks and lots of heart.

There are too many storylines to name, and a great deal of them were addictive in their own right, but none so much as Jung Il-woo’s (when he was nineteen!) as the maknae son of the main family, constantly overshadowed by his smarter hyung and blamed for everything that goes wrong in the world. He lives up to the rebel moniker to a tee, fistfights and motorcycle and all.

Much like Biscuit Teacher, this troublemaker meets his match in homeroom teacher Seo Min-jung, who takes an interest in changing him for the better. He spends a good deal of time making her life miserable, but when she refuses to give up on him, he falls head over heels and proceeds to do all manner of adorable puppy things for the teacher he secretly loves.

This romance is mainly thwarted (as is Biscuit Teacher’s, oddly enough) by an uncle who’s sweet on the same girl. He’s everything the rebel isn’t—a grown-up, her equal, and her ideal. It’s more heartbreaking in High Kick’s version because the uncle has the dominant love triangle in this show, not to mention the fact that this kid loves his family. But it also pulls the angst strings a little more because of it, to great effect. Here the one-sided love feels more doomed, and therefore plays up the achingly sweet gestures of affection that go unnoticed by the heroine, that only the hero and the audience are privy to. I dare you not to become a puddle of goo. High Kick is just a good family show anyway, though it’s worth mentioning that you wouldn’t be left completely in the lurch if you picked it up for the noona romance. It isn’t the main story by any stretch, but it can (and will likely) become the thing you end up watching it for.

 

The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry (2010)

The premise: Three thirtysomething girlfriends tackle dating, work, friendship, and love with a sense of humor. The heroine strikes up a relationship with a man ten years her junior, though in some ways he’s the one who schools her on romance.

I’d recommend this drama for the girlfriend camaraderie and the comedy alone, but it’s also one of the better noona romances of the non-high-school set. Kim Bum and Park Jin-hee play a significant age gap, but the problems are also those of adults who have dated, not the undying first love of a teenaged rebel. It’s as much a story about the start of romance, with all the cute, awkward, confusing, and swoony things that characterize a new relationship. It just also happens to then deal with the specific struggles of dating a noona, from the basic (What do I call her?) to the complicated (How do I explain this to my mother?) and everything in between.

This is one of the more mature noona-killers in this set, by which I mean he’s pretty adult for a man-boy. He’s in a rock band, so he’s by no means buttoned-up, but he strives to act very adult around his girlfriend (which is just not the case for the average noona-killer, who is mostly childish, and on a good day gets his act together to do something manly). If you’re iffy about noona romances, this is a good one to start with.

 

Baby-Faced Beauty (2011)

The premise: An unemployed but talented aspiring designer gets mistaken for nine years younger (she’s 34, they think she’s 25) and keeps the lie going to work for a design company, where she is treated as the lowly grunt by snotty sunbaes who are years younger. She gets off on the wrong foot with the hero, but they eventually become workplace friends and confidantes. He assumes he’s the oppa and enjoys playing the part, so when the truth finally comes out, the jarring reversal puts the brakes on the developing romance, until they figure out a way around the mindfuckery of her going from rookie kiddo to a noona seven years his senior.

Age is most definitely the central conceit, challenge, and conflict in Baby-Faced Beauty. So while it’s not your standard noona romance, our couple definitely bumps up against the noona issue over the course of their courtship. The numbers screw with his mind in a confusing, head-spinning way that almost feels too mean to enjoy, except that it’s really enjoyable.

The lie goes on for long enough that the dynamic is firmly established by the time it gets all shaken up and needs to be redefined. Suddenly Daniel Choi goes from talking comfortably in banmal with Jang Nara to stuttering in jondae, catching himself in fits and starts and feeling terribly uncomfortable with how everything is suddenly backwards. Nothing’s changed for her, yet when the perception of the power dynamic is suddenly different, there’s no fooling yourself that things are still the same. Plus, the hero has been stepping in frequently to help her (although the drama avoids the damsel in distress quagmire, thankfully) which means that he gets to feel that he’s the manly man, the older and wiser oppa taking care of his younger girl. Then one day the world flips and he’s stuck in a noona romance without even knowing it. Muahaha.

 

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (2011)

The premise: A teenage boy is raised in a bizarre bubble of wealth and privilege, wanting for nothing in the world except the ability to understand human emotions. The heroine is the first person to ever challenge him, and he mistakes love for anger and heartburn before realizing that he’ll have to come down from his ivory tower to chase the girl he loves.

This drama has no realistic characters whatsoever. It only barely has one foot in the real world, but that’s kind of its wacky charm. There’s no question that Jung Il-woo is in his element here as the noona-killer, and this character has all the trappings of adulthood—money, status, a laissez-faire attitude about casual dating—that make him seem more grown up. It’s all smoke and mirrors though, because he was raised with such kid gloves that he needs an interpreter to explain things like “jealousy” and “feelings.”

Lee Chung-ah does start out as a student teacher, but this drama isn’t really among the teacher-student set like Biscuit or High Kick. They soon move to a ramyun shop that becomes the main backdrop for the series, and the rich hero takes up a part-time job there just to be closer to the heroine. There’s a fun to the reverse-Cinderella-ness of the series, because while most chaebol heroes bring the girl into his world of privilege, here the average heroine brings the hero down into her world, where he learns how to live among the people. There’s zingy chemistry and the show moves quickly, though you really do have to embrace the comic-book feel to get into the show. Or yunno, you could just check your brain at the door and watch it for the kisses. Mmmm, Jung Il-woo kisses. Wait, what was I talking about?

 

I Do, I Do (2012)

The premise: An aimless slacker has a one-night stand with a successful bossypants shoe designer. She gets pregnant and doesn’t tell anyone about the baby daddy, and then one day he shows up as the rookie employee on her staff.

The setup is better than the execution in this drama, but it does feature a unique pairing between an alpha heroine and a beta male, no qualifiers, no hedging. She’s the boss in the workplace and in the romance. We do find that sometimes her control freak perfectionist nature is to her own detriment, and to some degree it makes Kim Sun-ah’s heroine cold. But Lee Jang-woo makes up for the warmth in the pair with his adoring noona-loving ways.

The pregnancy takes up a good deal of real estate in the story, even more than the romance, and the workplace drama adds even more filler. It’s not a drama I regret watching by any means, but there are no surprises, and I would’ve gladly traded all the workplace stuff for a meatier romance with more development. There’s so much good conflict to mine in a noona romance with a baby on the way! Alas, everything remains a little undercooked for my liking, despite the couple being really cute whenever they have a chance to let their feelings show. The fast-forward button is your friend.

 

Big (2012)

The premise: High school rebel gets body-swapped with grown man, who happens to be his teacher’s boyfriend. He falls for her thinking she only sees the man on the outside, while she struggles to figure out if she’s in love with Soul or Body.

There are so many reasons I wanted this drama to work, because what a fun twist on the noona romance—the body-soul confusion is the quintessential man-boy conflict of all noona romances made literal by drama magic. The problem is that it doesn’t answer many of the questions it raises, and instead of trusting that the audience could buy the relationship it had been selling all series long, it copped out and sort of glossed over its own central conceit.

That aside (and it’s a huge aside), it does play with all the notable recurring themes in a noona romance, and does a good job of using the body swap to ask the heroine if she can look beyond the trappings of the external—a man who’s age-appropriate, with money, status, parental and societal approval—or can look beyond that to the heart of the person on the inside, no matter his (very young) age. It’s the usual love triangle of noona romances squashed into one mystical and admittedly head-spinning conundrum, often to amusing effect. Just don’t blame me if you smash your hand through the TV at the end. Consider yourself warned.

 

I Hear Your Voice (2013)

The premise: A super-powered boy who can read minds nearly dies witnessing his father’s murder. A brave young girl saves him and testifies to put the killer away, solidifying the hero’s undying devotion to her. Ten years later, he finds her again when he’s a high-schooler and she’s a jaded public defender. This time he vows to protect her when the killer comes back for revenge.

It’s actually difficult to sum up this drama’s premise because it’s so many different things (suspense, comedy, romance, law drama), but the emotional through line is the hero’s endless quest to protect the heroine at any cost. Lee Jong-seok is puppy love incarnate, and has an achingly sweet one-sided love for a good portion of the show’s run. My heart still hurts when I think about it, and I mean that in the best way.

Lee Bo-young has never been so sparkling as she is in this drama, where she plays a deeply flawed, petty, cynical heroine—she’s the object of a ten-year-long first love that’s been built up on such a pedestal that no human woman could live up to it. But what’s great about her is that she shatters that fantasy in one fell swoop only to build it back up again, one reluctant caring gesture at a time. If ever there was a noona romance where a boy lived and died with each thing the heroine said or did, it’s this one.

Their relationship takes on many forms, from idealized first love to familial, supernatural, self-sacrificial, and finally romantic love, and the heightened emotion is backed by the life-and-death circumstances of the narrative. This is also a cohabitation noona romance, which is a rare bird, given that most noona-killers don’t usually get this kind of ’round-the-clock access to their crushes. They start out living together because the hero has to protect her from a killer, and that constant threat of ever-living terror is what keeps them attached at the hip. Serial killers be good for something, y’all.

~

 

Z.I.N (D-Unit) – “군대 보내기 싫은데 (I Don’t Want to Send You to Army)”
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The Secondaries:

 

Bottom of the 9th With 2 Outs (2007)

The premise: Two BFFs take the long way around to love. In the meantime, they’re roommates who give each other relationship advice, and the heroine dates a young baseball player who struggles to make their noona romance survive in the real world.

I’d recommend this drama for the main pairing—that’d be Su Ae and Lee Jung-jin—but I actually liked the noona romance early on with Lee Tae-sung too, even if it’s a secondary couple. It’s the non-fantasy version of the noona romance, where real life problems get in the way, and introducing your new older girlfriend to your friends and family is an awkward affair. They discover in a realistic, bittersweet way that a man who’s just starting out in life and chasing his dreams is in a different place from a woman in her thirties who’s searching for that big life-altering love. But they still put their best efforts into making it work, and they change each other for the better.

 

My Sweet Seoul (2008)

The premise: A thirtysomething careerwoman navigates love and career and friendships in this low-key, thoughtful trendy.

My Sweet Seoul isn’t a rom-com in that it’s not very funny, though it has a lot of the trappings of romantic comedies with the light touches and focus on the heroine’s love life. The noona romance between Choi Kang-hee and Ji Hyun-woo is not the main loveline but it does take up a significant amount of the drama and is often very cute. Still, be forewarned that if you’re watching for noona-lovin’ funsies, this one may be more likely to leave you with a bruised heart.

Ji Hyun-woo is absolutely adorable and wonderful as the devoted young twentysomething; she’s certainly his noona, but he’s mature and thoughtful as a boyfriend. The obstacles they encounter feel realistic and mundane (in a good way); it’s not makjang twistiness forcing them apart, but real-world concerns of what it is to be in different places in your life. You can’t hate the heroine for breaking puppy boy’s heart… only you kind of hate the heroine for breaking puppy boy’s heart. Still, the drama has its lovely moments, and Mr. Voice Lee Seon-kyun is always a draw, especially when he gets to be the hero.

 

I Need Romance (2011)

The premise: A thirtysomething woman ends a decade-long relationship when her boyfriend cheats on her, and searches to redefine herself as a single woman. She discovers that what she needs is a little old-fashioned romance, and strikes up a relationship with a doting younger man.

This is a drama that has a really strong secondary pairing—some would argue stronger than the main pairing—that you can’t help but want to root for. Choi Jin-hyuk might have something to do with that. Just a little. He has great chemistry with Jo Yeo-jung, and plays a character who’s painfully aware that he loves her more than she loves him… which of course makes us love him more. The age gap isn’t hugely at play (she’s his noona and superior at work, but he’s secretly loaded, which ends up being a problem for her down the line) so this isn’t your average noona romance, but it’s one worth checking out. I won’t promise you’ll be happy about the outcome, but the couple does get its chance in the limelight. The drama also features a great girlfriend trio and a contemporary view of singletons looking for love, sex, and everything in between.

 

Ojakkyo Brothers (2011-2)

The premise: The youngest son in this family weekend drama has an unconventional noona romance with his sister-in-law’s aunt, which is less weird than it sounds (okay maybe it’s still weird). The couple has two obstacles to overcome: age and their contentious in-law relations.

This isn’t a secondary coupling as much as a secondary storyline in a family drama with a large cast. It’s not the most prominent couple (brothers Two and Three are the ones you watch the show for), but Yeon Woo-jin makes for a good noona-killer any day of the week. All the other romances on this show come with more dramatic downturns, but this one is mostly cute, cute, and more cute. It sort of gets to sidestep the bulk of the angst because that’s not their storyline’s burden, which means you can get to a lot of the hallmark rom-com moments—awkward non-dates that turn into dates, and blind-date interruptions with a “She’s my woman!”—without having to cash them in for tears down the line. She’s also his boss, and he grows up a good deal over the course of their romance, from an aimless slacker who skated by on his looks, to a young man with dreams and a plan. I’d hardly recommend this show for the noona romance since he’s got three older brothers to compete with for screen time, but I love the drama as a whole anyway; it’s one of the more satisfying and addictive family dramas in recent years.

~

The Not-Reallies:

 

My Name Is Kim Sam-soon (2005)

The premise: An sassy foul-mouthed pastry chef starts a bizarre contract relationship with her assy restaurateur boss. Insults, curses, and sparks fly.

I actually don’t think of Sam-soon as a noona romance, mostly because the power dynamic goes the other way for much of the drama. He’s the boss and she’s the employee, and it’s not so much the gap in their ages that’s at issue between these two. It’s true that she’s older and it does add to the long list of reasons why he would never, ever, ever (snerk) fall for her, but the drama’s conflict doesn’t really stem from their relative ages, beyond the fact that she’s now north of thirty and feeling less desirable because of it. It’s not a drama I’d reach for if I were in the mood for a noona-killer, though obviously I love this classic for a million other reasons.

 

Exhibition of Fireworks (2006)

The premise: Not strictly a noona romance, this one gets the main couple off on the wrong foot with the misunderstanding that the heroine is 20 when she’s actually 30, and the immature hero treats her thusly—talking down to her, rapping her head, calling her kiddo. She puts up with it as they both join the same company as new hires, mostly ’cause he’s also the CEO’s son. Then the truth comes out, he realizes she’s his noona, and then she’s promoted above him. HA. Yay for reversals.

This drama starts off hilarious and zippy, enough to suck you in with the hopes of rom-com zaniness. The heroine is spurned by her longtime boyfriend, whom she worked her tail off to support in his lean unemployed years, only to be kicked to the curb the moment he starts his upward climb. He’s upgrading his life and she just got traded in. She decides to get “revenge” and spies on the new woman in his life, gets caught up in a bickering relationship with the hero (who’s in love with the new woman, of course), and finds herself twisted up in unforeseen complications.

Unfortunately the show loses its center pretty quickly and the rest just gets messier and angstier with characters who do things that make little sense. If there is one reason to watch this show, it’s to see Kang Ji-hwan being present and compelling in the role even as everything falls apart around him, though it’s a bit jarring when he’s the only one still acting by the end of it. Not really recommended, but sometimes you can’t help rubbernecking at the site of a trainwreck.

 

Queen of Reversals (2010)

The premise: A headstrong woman who’s used to getting everything she wants in life finds her life turned upside-down when she goes from top dog at work to low woman on the totem pole, and from happily married to divorced and single again.

This Kim Nam-joo drama features a romance with a younger man, but they’re both too adult to consider it a traditional noona romance. He’s her boss, and she’s scarred from her divorce—these things are the source of conflict, not so much age. The hero does chase her with puppy-like affection though, so you might find enough noona love there to warrant a watch. It’s mostly a workplace drama and very heroine-centric, with a focus on life after divorce. You could even just skip the first half of the drama, which features the first loveline with her husband who ends up not her husband anymore. The heroine is also more likable if you pick it up after she’s shoved off her high horse, though I’ve never had a problem liking Kim Nam-joo.

 

Oh My Lady (2010)

The premise: When a selfish and spoiled movie star finds out he’s got a young daughter, his first instinct is to deny, reject, and run away. He gets saddled with a new housekeeper who also becomes part of his management team, and an unlikely rapport springs up between them as she helps raise his child and pushes him toward growing up and learning what it means to be a real father.

Given the ages of the characters, Oh My Lady doesn’t really qualify as a straight noona romance; Siwon’s character is in his late twenties (though he often acts like a sullen teenager) while Chae Rim is solidly in ajumma territory as a divorced mother of a grade schooler. The age difference is present in their relationship, but it’s almost like their circumstances negate whatever power she would have had as the elder, because he is the celebrity and she’s his employee.

The drama has its merits, though it’s not for any sort of noona-ness that Oh My Lady is appealing. Its draw is for the heartwarming moments of growth as Siwon finally starts to take his responsibilities seriously and bonds with his adorable daughter. The romance that develops is less about passion or even attraction, and sometimes feels like it was forced in because it was the neat option for the star to fall for the housekeeper who taught him how to love. Though maturing and embracing commitment aren’t bad themes to end on.

 

My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho (2010)

The premise: A fraidy-cat slacker frees a gumiho from a mystical scroll, and she terrifies him into being her boyfriend. Her dream is to become human, and he helps her both mystically and socially to shed her nine tails and become a real girl.

If you want to get technical, the gumiho is some centuries the hero’s noona. But she’s basically a kid (not that he’s any glowing example of maturity, but yunno). I wouldn’t call this a noona romance either, though mathwise maybe it’d be more like a great-great-great-great-granny romance, which is a little unsettling. It does have a beta male hero though, who’s extra gutless, so it taps into some of the elements that are characteristic of noona romances, but with a supernatural twist. Maybe we’ll revisit you two when we get to Lovers With Nine Lives, or Interspecies Romance.

~

Okay, that’s it for noona romances. Feel free to add to the list with your recommendations. I’m sure I’ll be the first in line to check them out!

 
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233 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Yeonjae Hong

    yay noona romances<333

     (0)


    • 1.1 Ivoire

      I too like some noona romances, like “I Do, I Do” which is one of my favorite, in the genre. Can someone give me some characteristics of a soonjung manhwa, please?

       (2)


    • 1.2 mariolawpanda

      Looking through the list, I think I’ve not seen three-four of it. I’ve seen most of it. My god. I don’t know how. Haha.

      Ramyun, Reversals and Marry are probably the best. Cute and love love love. I think Marry is the most mature and felt real for me. Ramyun is just wacky. Reversals has a very tiring story but when they started the new romance, cuteness overload.

      But good god, Gong Yoo. I just can’t get enough. I’ll watch Biscuit now. His tongue in the poster for Big is such a tease. Haha. Too bad that show is so bad. Haha.

       (0)


  2. anon

    HAHAH I like your “song of the day” choice. :)

     (0)


  3. Ashley

    I love noona romances. Unstoppable High Kick is still my favorite, and it was my first Jung Il-woo drama. I always thought Song Joong-ki would be perfect for a noona romance drama, but then he had to leave for army duty. Who knows, maybe when he comes back he can make my dreams come true, and as a bonus partake of his post army shower scene. A girl can dream!!!!

     (3)


    • 3.1 Lwx_23

      I will be honest I wanted to watch it because of noona romance, but unfortunately the drama is too long and this story line is very light in it. I didn’t see the whole drama and might have missed out on the good stuff, but it was way too heavily centered on the uncle, whom I couldn’t care less about. If it was a 16 ep drama, I might have enjoyed it but as it’s, I was left disappointed.

       (0)


  4. lemondoodle

    Listening to the song of the day on repeat now. I have a weakness for these types of dramas. Dal ja’s Spring is another good one!

     (0)


    • 4.1 pabo ceo reom

      I absolutely adore Dal Ja’s Spring. Love love love.

       (0)


    • 4.2 yonheet

      dal ja’s spring is such a good one!! looove it and lee min ki was great! :D

       (0)


      • 4.2.1 xine

        Just wanted to say – oooh, Dal Ja’s Spring!

         (0)


      • 4.2.2 JoAnne

        YES…wow, that should be on this list! To anyone reading: do not hesitate to watch it. Chae Rim is a working woman dealing with career issues and a family who wants her to get married like, yesterday, and Lee Min Ki is a ‘slacker’ you will soon learn is anything but, really.

        They had chemistry, the drama has LOTS of funny (and hearth thumping!) innuendo, and the heroine is someone you can recognize in yourself and your friends. Really stands apart from a lot of what’s out there – I can’t recommend it highly enough.

         (0)


    • 4.3 rearwindow

      YES.

       (0)


    • 4.4 p3rk3le

      i was expecting to see dalja first on this list tbh

       (0)


      • 4.4.1 Ceecile

        Same. Such a good drama.

         (0)


    • 4.5 reina

      yup i agree, dalja spring should be on here just so that Lee MinKi could have his cute little ass on the noona killer train.
      Another good noona romance for me is in the drama: 18 vs 29, had my heart tugging with the 2nd male lead in his noona loving
      My Tutor Friend. even though they were same aged in the movie, they have the noona dongsaeng thing going on there, so I actually add them here.
      The movie
      Kimi Wa Peto, it was a disaster movie of epic proportions but still I think it should be mentioned.
      Heartless City, didnt really have any noona romance forward action but I just love Dongsaeng-loving-noona JinSook.
      I love Lee Tae Ri is kinda vague noona romance since he was just 14 y/o and she was supposed to be 7 years older only, which no one would believe that Park YeJin was only 21 y/o. still it had a few good noona-dongsaeng moments.
      Loveholic is not really a memorable drama but I love Kim Gyuri (Formerly Kim Mi Sun)

      that’s it for now…

       (0)


      • 4.5.1 MariD

        That’s how old she was? I kept wondering that because of the he time jump. It makes more sense now, since I kept thinking is she in her late 40′s now that he is in 20′s

         (0)


    • 4.6 August

      I agree that Dalja’s Spring is another great noona romance to add to the list.

       (0)


  5. Briana

    I love noona romances so much.

     (0)


  6. zakin89

    And when I thought I haven’t seen many noona-romance dramas… I mean I haven’t been that long into K-drama (about 2-3 years) but I managed to watch quite a lot of dramas by now and there were noona-romances which I LOVED!

    The most recent one is obviously I hear your voice > Loved it so much!

    Big…. well… The ending was a big mess and I don’t want to be reminded of it but the romance was quite adorable (though that was mostly Gong Yoo’s doing^^)

    I liked I do, I do and the pairing was great :)

    MGIAG was adorable as well and I loved it to end =)

    Ramyun Shop is also one of my favourite dramas and noona romances out there though no other noona romance is as awesome as Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy’s!!!
    It was the first noona romance drama I saw and I loved it! Gong Yoo and Gong Hyo Jin rocked the romance and made me fall in love with both of them! They’re still one of my favourite actors out there and it would be great to see them together again =)

    I still have to convince myself to watch Unstoppable High Kick (watched High Kick 2 because of Yoon Shi Yoon) but somehow I always find something else to watch^^

     (1)


  7. bishieaddict

    I like Noona romances. Dal Jah’s Spring and My Name is Kim Sam Soon are my favourites.

     (0)


    • 7.1 lula

      I LOVE Dal Jah’s Spring! Totally forgot about that one…May have to watch it again! There’s a tawainese drama that reminds me a lil of that one called My Queen. Loved the chemistry between the main characters.

       (0)


      • 7.1.1 jomo

        I was going to mention My Queen.
        Ethan Ruan is utterly irresistible in that role.

         (0)


        • 7.1.1.1 DayDreamer

          I’m not much of a fan of noona romances (I mostly stay away) but My Queen was the best noona romance ever for me. Something about that show was magical and I can’t figure out what it was. Maybe it was just the Ethan Ruan sexiness…..

           (0)


        • 7.1.1.2 Mar

          My Queen is simply one if the best rom com type dramas lead character wise in my book. I really really like the female lead character.

           (0)


      • 7.1.2 August

        I enjoyed Ethan Ruan in My Queen as well.

         (0)


        • 7.1.2.1 jomo

          I would really enjoy Ethan in My Life, too.

           (0)


          • 7.1.2.1.1 lula

            Lol. Who are we kidding? I’m sure like me, there’s a long list of Kdrama men we would love to have in our lives…but dayum, even Ethan Ruan’s name is sexy. Btw, love your blog.

             (0)


    • 7.2 AnotherFan

      +1 for Dal Jah’s Spring!

       (0)


  8. Chesquared

    Aaah! I hear your voice tops it for me!
    I can’t believe I’ve watched nearly all of these x)
    I need to add the drama with Gong hyojin and Gong yoo to my list.

    I look forward to the next lists!
    Please do “period dramas” next! Not really sagueks, but more like Giant and Gaksital kind of thing.

     (0)


  9. ricky

    Noona-romances, my favorite!

     (0)


  10. 10 lastday

    I’m surprised you didn’t add Dal Ja’s Spring! :)

     (0)


    • 10.1 javabeans

      I vetoed Dal Ja because while she’s older, there’s nothing in it that’s really about the noona relationship.

       (0)


      • 10.1.1 neonsatire

        I love a good noona romance, and like many others thought Dal Ja’s Spring should definitely be on the list. When I saw your comment, I was a bit confused. To me, it does deal with the age gap and the Korean gender/age stereotypes, and is certainly more of a typical noona romance (in my opinion) than most of those listed in the Not-Reallies .

        Since you watch oodles more drama than I do, I figured you meant something specific with “the noona relationship”. I’m usually a lurker, but was honestly curious, so I decided to post to find out more. ;)

         (0)


        • 10.1.1.1 lucertola

          I’m courious now too why DJS is not fit for a noona romance? :)
          It was one of my first Kdramas and I remember it with a pleasure.

           (0)


  11. 11 nomad

    I’d never thought that I’m really, really into noona romances til I realized, wait! I LOVEEE these recommended shows. Which makes me..yup, a noona romance fan. Thank you, I’ll be checking some that I haven’t seen yet.

     (0)


  12. 12 DarknessEyes

    idk why… but I’ve always hated noona romances, tho there were some exceptions like I Hear Your Voice. I just dislike age gaps in general I guess

     (0)


  13. 13 kit

    Going to chirp in with the rest of the crowd and say Dal Ja’s Spring is my everything. I never particularly warmed to Biscuit Star Candy even though I love both actors and thought it should be cute. Noona romances kill me though (even irl sigh).

     (0)


  14. 14 Stuart

    What a GREAT list, thank you so much. Several of these were already on my “to watch” list, now I have several more to add. One that I definitely WON’T be adding is “Big” – just as Dr Jin inspires near-universal (and well-earned) contempt for being a shockingly bad series, Big similarly seems to comfortably win the “Worst.Ending.Ever” award, so I’ll give it a miss.

     (0)


    • 14.1 Yumi

      Big’s ending might have been bad, but I think this Sang Doo! Let’s Go to School, might give it stiff competition.

      Javabeans should do a worse ending ever list.

       (0)


      • 14.1.1 Cat

        omg I remember Sang Doo’s ending–wrung some tears out of me, but I felt mostly cheated. T__T

         (0)


      • 14.1.2 JoAnne

        Just because you hate an ending doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means you wanted it to go a different way.

        And ohhhhhhhh my God, did Sang Doo’s ending ruin me for days. I really, totally, 100% thought we were headed somewhere else. You could have – oh, I don’t know – hit me with a truck that came out of nowhere – and I would not have been more dead than that ending made me.

        But I don’t think it was a bad ending. In fact, if you measure a show by how intensely it makes you feel for its characters, and how invested you are in what happens to them, I’d say it was the ‘best’ ending ever. Except it’s the worst ending ever, so…

         (1)


    • 14.2 Kim Yoonmi

      pfft. There are far worse endings. Trust me. You just won’t want to see them. Nail Shop Paris…. *cough* Or should I just say Episode 3 of WTF Paris to just sum up the series.

       (0)


      • 14.2.1 JoAnne

        WTF Paris got a WTF ending that completely wasn’t tied in to the story at all and crossed the line from the addictive WTF-ery that we LOVED to the kind of WTF-ery we are just impatient with because it looks like the writer said ‘oops, out of time, scribble scribble scribble, whatever, DONE.’

        THAT was a bad ending. The show was 7 different kinds of insane and bad but it was SO insane and bad that it was actually good. And then the ending just dropped it down to plain old bad.

         (0)


  15. 15 snow_white

    Noona romance is not my favorite drama theme but it doesn’t mean that I don’t like it…..
    I prefer similar age romance and older guy, younger girl ones…..

     (0)


    • 15.1 DayDreamer

      Same here…..but even in the older guy-younger girl pairing, I’d prefer if the guy wasn’t too old, lol.

       (0)


  16. 16 khina

    My first favourite noona romance was High kick with Jung il woo and the best one until now is I hear your voice! i doubt there will be a such drama that makes my heart flutter and break at once in the future TT

     (0)


  17. 17 wag-a-muffin

    Where can I find Biscuit Teacher Star Candy? I started watching it on YouTube, but there are multiple episodes missing. (And yes, I really REALLY liked the first episodes.)

     (0)


    • 17.1 liz1

      ooooh I find your pain, over d-addicts you can find torrents. But I did find the drama with low quality on goodhttp://www.gooddrama.net/korean-drama/hello-my-teacher

       (0)


      • 17.1.1 sophia

        Well….there goes all hope of productivity for the next week. thanks….I say that both sarcastically and sincerely.

         (0)


    • 17.2 Mic

      I’m watching it right now on Gooddrama

       (0)


  18. 18 DarknessEyes

    Can you do one on best-friend turned romance?

    Those happen to be my favorite :D

     (0)


    • 18.1 Jen

      Ahh… When done right this is my fave too! Lets see, we have Reply 1997 (best bff turn lovers ever – after the confession, they still fight like dogs, only with hot makeouts in between), Stairway to Heaven (lifelong bff goes to angstville once they love each other), Operation Proposal (boy timetravel to undo all his wrong actions with his bff whom he actually loves, juuust after she got married)

       (0)


      • 18.1.1 nomad

        My all time kryptonite, to borrow GF description is definitely THIS. 9 Ends 2 Outs falls under this one, and I loveee it! I know the OTP probably aren’t considered BFF in Personal Preference, but for me, that’s what makes me love them the most…is that they started as really good friends (of course after the initial hate each other’s gut thing).

         (0)


        • 18.1.1.1 oozzeee

          9end2outs lover here!… I adored that drama to pieces..enough to warrant watching eps 5 onwards in badly subbed or unsubbed videos (on my TV) and reading downloaded WITHS2 subs on my computer at the same time..

           (0)


        • 18.1.1.2 rearwindow

          Yes, totally. TW drama In Time With You is an absolutely perfect BFF turned lovers show.

           (0)


          • 18.1.1.2.1 DarknessEyes

            Unfortunately, I’ve already watched Reply 1997, Operation Proposal, Personal Taste(tho yeah, thats not really bff-turned-romance), In Time With You and I started 9 Ends 2 Outs…… for some reason I just got tired of the drama, and I have no idea why. I’m going to re-watch soon :D

            And thanks for Stairway to Heaven, I’ve heard of it, but never bothered to give it a try :)

             (0)


        • 18.1.1.3 ilikemangos

          was just going to say one of my favorite best friends turned lovers is actually already on this list: 9 end 2 outs!

           (0)


        • 18.1.1.4 Kim Yoonmi

          Shadowless Sword (Movie) Good to watch with a boyfriend/brother/male counterpart.

          Start out as good friends, but the guy has a secret…

          The King and the Clown

          Il Mare started out as a friendship, though not BFFs.

          Love, So Divine (though this probably would make some religious people squirm).

          Though if you want a huge list, Contract relationships would have a long, long list. More than half of what I’ve watched has a contract in it.

           (0)


    • 18.2 flibbet

      oddly enough, of the dozens of kdramas i’ve seen i’ve never seen this trope! what are some quality titles?

       (0)


  19. 19 snow_white

    Dalja’s Spring is one of the best noona romance….Big was all messed up…..Biscuit Teacher was good…

     (0)


  20. 20 mika-chab

    you forgot dalja’s spring! That was the best noona romance ever~

     (0)


    • 20.1 Will work for soju

      I know, I thought the same thing. Where is Dalja’s Spring, the noona romance to rule them all.

       (0)


      • 20.1.1 Rovi

        @mika-chab & @1 Will work for soju

        PLEASE READ COMMENT 10.1

         (0)


  21. 21 KDaddict

    Biscuit Teacher, Candy Star. One of my top five in over 10 years of KD addiction. Super love Gong Yoo at that age. Gong HJ is always delightful.

    I missed the 1st Highkick series. Now I’ve to find a link/site to watch it, for the noona romance you mentioned. Thanks.

     (1)


    • 21.1 mai

      Ooohhh… I love Biscuit Teacher too ^^
      My favourite from Gong Yoo actually.
      And Gong Hyo Jin, I think everything she’s in, is great :)

       (1)


  22. 22 Sophia

    Check out Lee Jong Suk as noona killer in the drama special My Prettiest Moments. That’s when I first started to like his acting.

     (0)


    • 22.1 Mystisith

      Absolutely. If you look attentively, it’s even like a rehearsal for his future Soo Ha: The looks, the hugs… And the damn good smooches. :)

       (0)


      • 22.1.1 Moonbean

        The smooches there are lot better than IHYV in fact. He’s more forceful in his pursuit there.

         (0)


      • 22.1.2 Gaeina Lee

        This young man do know how to smooches a lady, and make us forget to breath then swoon in progress.. ^^

         (0)


    • 22.2 MizzMizzEka

      Agreee! Even I watch it after IHYV, I think he’s act was good and he’s gain more acting skill and emotions on IHYV. Some of similar but at IHYV, LJS act was very greatt, touching our hearts definitely.

       (0)


    • 22.3 anna

      Eh, maybe if she wasn’t married I would like that more.

       (0)


  23. 23 WvR

    Thanks for making this list! Fun read. I plan to watch Ojakkyo Brothers; just have to commit the time to do so.

     (0)


  24. 24 DMKO

    Thank you so much for doing this topic. My love for the perfect noona boyfriend Kim Bum has not lessen, but Lee Jong Suk was cute too.

     (0)


  25. 25 Amberscube

    I dont know but Noona Romance s my least favorite trope… I Hear Your Voice changed it though. The power of Park Suha changed it…hehehe. I will probably have a more open mind for Noona Romance now.

    My kdrama kryptonite: Best Friends drama…. Hoping it will be featured here in If You Like Series.

     (0)


    • 25.1 ilikemangos

      I second this.

      Next up…. “If you like best-friends-turned lovers romances”

       (0)


  26. 26 lalala

    I love Biscuit Teacher, My Lovely Sam Soon, MGIAG and of course the latest one I Hear Your Voice..but actually I love those not because of noona dongsaeng romances..haha..

     (1)


  27. 27 Anvesha

    My favorite noona romance is Biscuit Teacher and IHYV. Both of them are sweet, innocent and had bleeding heart heroes. I’ve rewatched Biscuit Teacher 2 times now.

    I’m actually going to watch High Kick for the romance if it’s not just a one-sided.. hmm “feels more doomed” so it actually isn’t?? I’ll find out!

     (1)


  28. 28 owl

    We Got Married just added a noona romance couple, Jung Joonyoung and Jung Yumi (they happen to have the same last name). I would so love to date this guy, though he is unconventional, so maybe it’s just hangin’ together rather than traditional dating. He doesn’t seem to be romatic, but I hope he will surprise us all. Sometimes he acts clueless, but I don’t really think he is, it just that his dark, inward focused personality may just naturally be – rather inconsiderate. Something like that. It appears that having to engage with others, tires him out. To no end. Great potential for being loveable, somehow. He is definitely into his own rock music world, I hope he can expand to include Yumi’s interests, too. She gets an A for tolerating him so far. No syrup-y sweetness between these two, they’ll have to see if there is any common ground that is substantial enough to develop a relationship. They are super fun to watch!

     (0)


    • 28.1 isnin

      Joonyoung & Yumi! The Gamer Boy and the Outdoors-y Girl

      He was funny because he’s slightly anti-social and kept slipping away during shopping. He’s awkward, yet you can tell he’s smart and he CAN engage socially …

      I can totally picture him holed up in his little man-child gaming room blocking out the rest of the world…and then she’d barge in and whip open up all the windows to let sunlight stream in on his pale, vampire skin! hehehe

      When she pulled out the raccoon rug and said it was him, I thought it was funny…..but she’s kinda hilarious too! She said if he makes her mad she’s gonna stomp on the raccoon rug’s face… hahaha.

      They bond over alcohol?? That’s the only thing they seem to have in common so far.

       (0)


      • 28.1.1 owl

        Ha ha, yeah. And they bought so much crap but they had to put most of it back. He said “I’m a powerful man” when she questioned their shopping budget, but in the end, they had to put the toys and alcohol back. Except that wasn’t really a problem because he came prepared with his own toys (drink hats for 2-handed gamers- cringe for wife-y). They are both funny. I mean they both signed up for the show, so~

         (0)


        • 28.1.1.1 isnin

          I like the Joonyoung & Yumi coupling because they seem a little more realistic and not so fake. He shoots her ideas down right away for anything athletic! HA!

          He’s on my radar because he was on the “Handsome Guy Special” episode of “Happy Together” in August.

          He is (conveniently) debuting his MV “Spotless Mind”

          He also (conveniently) has an upcoming reality show, “Jung Joon Young’s BE STUPID” set to air early September.

          Lots of media play right now to promote himself with.

           (0)


    • 28.2 birdscout

      Is it Jung Yumi from Que Sera Sera and Goddess of the Workplace, or the actress from Rooftop Prince and Assorted Gems?

       (0)


      • 28.2.1 Harleyqwen

        Rooftop and Assorted…I checked

         (0)


      • 28.2.2 isnin

        WGM = Jeong Yu Mi (Rooftop Prince)

        The other actress is Jung Yoo Mi from “Que Sera Sera” and “I Need romance 2012″

         (0)


    • 28.3 JoAnne

      Ohh, I just heard him sing this morning for the first time – a recommendation when I logged into YouTube. He’s good!

       (0)


  29. 29 Mawiie

    I wanted to check out What’s Up Fox and The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry for a long time, this post has convinced me!

    I can’t wait to see your other list! Can you try to list romances with life and death stakes (à la Princess’s Man?). There’s nothing like the menace of death to keep me hooked ;)

     (0)


    • 29.1 Jules

      Why am I not surprised? *g*

       (0)


  30. 30 hanabi

    I never realized I’d watched so many noona romances! There’s only four on the list that I haven’t seen.

    My favorite on the list is definitely Biscuit Teacher. I could watch Gong Yoo and Gong Hyo Jin in anything and be happy, but they were just so cute in this.

    For jdramas, You’re My Pet (Kimi wa Petto) is a good noona romance. And Gokusen kind of sort of hints at it. Around 40 and Ohitorisama also have younger male leads, though they’re more workplace oriented.

    I’d like to see an “If you like…” for romances where the male lead falls first. I love watching the man pursue the woman and trying to win her heart.

     (1)


  31. 31 Kelinci Biru

    *SPOILER*

    I’m not sure this is a spoiler or not, i can’t be too careful.

    I really really really hate the ending of I need Romance.

     (0)


    • 31.1 Yumi

      I have never forgiven I Need Romance for its ending.

      The stupidity came so late and I had invested so much heart I couldn’t look away even though I could see the disaster coming.

       (0)


      • 31.1.1 Kelinci Biru

        Yeah, I keep saying don’

         (0)


      • 31.1.2 Kelinci Biru

        Yeah, I keep saying don’t you dare girl, after i spent 15 hours watching you. And she did.

         (0)


      • 31.1.3 jomo

        HATED THAT ENDING I AM STILL BITTER.

         (0)


        • 31.1.3.1 Yumi

          As bitter as Joo Jong-Wong under an amnesia spell.

           (0)


    • 31.2 Sophia

      *Sigh* me six

      Yet I went on to watch INR2 anyway, hoping it turns out differently. It didnt. The 2nd lead in both cases are better.

       (0)


    • 31.3 JoAnne

      I’m always so opposite :(

      I didn’t hate the ending, because I always thought SHE was in the wrong to begin with.

       (0)


  32. 32 Moonbean

    Thanks Girlfriday! I love this new “If you like” series and am looking forward to more.

    I like noona romances because they are fresh for me. And you can’t go wrong with Park Soo Ha :) I haven’t seen some of the ones on the list so I’ll definitely be checking them out.

    If we were to expand into movies Green Chair is a hardcore (in every sense) noona romance. It delves into the issue of legality of ta sexual relationship in addition to the regular obstacles.

     (0)


  33. 33 Jen

    Please do one on Disguise romance, where hero/heroine pretends to be someone else for whatever purpose only to have all the pretense fall apart when they fall for the other party. Love eeet!

     (0)


  34. 34 eaglette

    Biscuit Teacher Star Candy is definitely my favorite which reminds me that I gotta re watch it starting tomorrow. ..yeah!

     (1)


  35. 35 heartzeal

    Bottom of the 9th With 2 Outs is my crack. Next week can you possibly do a thread with BBF turned lovers recs?

     (0)


    • 35.1 rearwindow

      Oh, I would love that. Have you seen the Taiwanese show, In Time With You? One of the all-time greatest best friends turned lovers shows EVER. It’s a slow burn and at times heartbreaking, but in the best possible way. So realistic and wonderful.

       (0)


      • 35.1.1 heartzeal

        The one with Ariel Lin? If so yes I have watched it and I agree with you. One of the few taiwanese shows that I really like.

        Actually, now that I think about, I like all the TW dramas with Ariel Lin in it, even playful kiss (I hate every single other ver, even the manga).

         (0)


        • 35.1.1.1 rearwindow

          Yup, that’s the one! I don’t really like TW dramas either, but that one’s a jem. Very slice of life, very believable, and very emotionally engaging. I love Ariel Lin. She’s wonderful. I also hate-watched Playful Kiss and ended up sort of falling in love with it, even if I would never watch it again. :)

           (0)


  36. 36 My2Girls

    I have never really thought of myself as a Noona romance watcher until I read this list and I have seen them all with one exception – Unstoppable High Kick and that is because I have never done a sitcom. I agree with the above comments that Dal Ja’s Spring should be on the list it is really my favorite of the genre. I do love this new series. Please do keep them coming.

     (0)


  37. 37 Julia

    I’m really enjoying these lists, not just to help pin point dramas that fall into my favorite tropes, but it helps me find older dramas I missed when I wasn’t kdrama fan yet (pre-07 or 08).

    I watched Sweet 18 from the last list, and really enjoyed it. Now, I’m looking forward to Mirae’s Choice even more, because I get to see Lee Donggun again! I think he looks even better now at 33 than he did 10 years ago at 23!

    As for noona romances… just thinking about the perfect dongsaeng love interest Suha was makes me heart hurt. If only 19 and 20 year olds like that really existed… I’d be trolling college campuses 24/7.

     (1)


    • 37.1 Rose T

      You’re not alone dear. He has been in my fantasies since I saw him in IHYV.

       (1)


  38. 38 eny

    i just watch exhibition of firework n I like it noona romance in this drama is funny n cute, noona romance isn’t my favorite theme. I like I hear your voice n The woman who still want to get married but mainly not because of the romance

     (0)


  39. 39 xoxoxq

    I love your ‘If you like…’ posts!!! ;) I watched Sweet 18 from the previous post (and it was awesome!), and now I’ll find something new to watch from this post! ;)))

    PS Yea great choice for Song of the Day! ;)

     (0)


  40. 40 zenitram

    Thank you! I’ve really enjoyed this and the contract marriage post! Can’t wait to see more of the series XD *off to watch Biscuit and Baby-faced*

     (0)


  41. 41 AuntieMame

    A bit ambiguous. But, I think the movie, “She’s on Duty” might qualify. (Again, Gong Yoo.)

     (0)


    • 41.1 Thursdaynexxt

      I love that movie!! Yes, GHJ & GY have great chemistry together! (sorry, SJS!)

      Yeah, it might be a bit iffy as to the “noona romance” since it’s not the main driver of the story, and she’s technically an undercover noona! But they’ve got the almost-cohabitation going on, and the fantasy sequences (“I mustn’t cradle-snatch!” mentality) are so funny! :)

       (1)


  42. 42 Mystisith

    This is my kryptonite too… I saw almost all the dramas of that list. I think that the charm of those stories come from the reluctance of the older element in the couple. They try to resist, resist… until the pure and burning love of the youngun’ pulverizes the walls of bitterness and the fear of gossiping family members. In SK, those kind of love stories seem hard to keep in the long term, though. Why???
    PS: It also works for “Ahjussi love”: In What’s Up, Fox? Bulldog and his pretty girl (secondary couple) were all kind of adorable.

     (0)


  43. 43 khaleesoy

    I think What’s Up Fox is still the most epic Noona romance.

     (0)


  44. 44 MooFu Baby

    Loving these “If You Like…” posts! Thanks GF for this excellent list because Noona Romances are my drama bread & butter too :D As a Kdrama newbie, Jung Il Woo was my first Noona-killer (FBRS & UHK) & holds a special place in my heart. I will watch anything with him; trudged through My Fair Lady even after reading the bad reviews & holy cotton balls were you ladies spot on with that one! I’ve seen many of these titles but can’t wait to check more out! First on the must-see list, Biscuit Teacher Star Candy!!

     (1)


    • 44.1 modest-goddess

      if you like Jung Il Woo you should watch Return of Iljimae. He is gorgeous and it is a very well written/directed drama. It was also my first saeguk.

       (0)


  45. 45 momoi

    The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry and I Need Romance seem interesting.

    Loved 9 Ends 2 outs. My first Kdrama.

     (0)


    • 45.1 momoi

      WTB an edit button.
      I should have added that I like these relationships especially if the guy is loaded.

       (0)


  46. 46 redfox

    I did not like Flower Boy Ramyun Shop as a whole, it was nonsense. But Jung Il-Woo has this weird melancholy charm. he played with so much heartbreak that I liked his character. and I adored Pillars´ sweaters. wanted to steal them. as well as the Pororo blanket, but how can I steal the blanket from poor Cha

    I Hear Your Voice – I think I have never been, ever ever, so nervous and worried for a fictional character, pulling my hair for the writer not to kill him. I was so worried I would have done anything. how can some characters make us treat them as if they were real? even though he had a supernatural ability he is the realest character ever. I am so glad it ended well, phef! This noona would have gone crazy if they had killed Su Ha. It is like, I was ready to don a superhero mask and become a dark avenger and protect the couple and they´d be wtf where the heck did she pop out?

    Bisquit Teacher – HATED the second male leads´ appearance. blah. a bit loos in the limbs, this show. I did like the dancing under sprinklers and some cute moments. The door with roses and all the crazy things like that

    Kim Sam Soon – didn´t feel like a noona romance, more of the contract relationship bunch. the ex boyfriend was an a**hole. Hee Jin was just unlucky. and I kinda relate for a certain reason. had to deal with one of her demons. but it is not my favorite, cause the show feels like a cranky grandpa.

    I would add a japanese one here – Last Cinderella. I wonder if it ever gets a korean version.

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    • 46.1 redfox

      and you should do one with “If you like….idol stars!”

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      • 46.1.1 Sophia

        That would be about 80% of dramas nowadays

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        • 46.1.1.1 redfox

          I must specify, idols as characters not as actors in the drama.

          oh or perhaps just if you like dramas about music!!!

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          • 46.1.1.1.1 redfox

            pop music…uh….rock bands? gah so difficult to clarify.

            there are many about music. how to draw that line

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    • 46.2 owl

      (heart beating very fast) Last Cinderella – I’ve watched it 3 times already. A total noona romance to be sure!

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      • 46.2.1 JoAnne

        Miuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuura….

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        • 46.2.1.1 Liv

          Up to the last 5 minutes of the series, I was convinced she was going to end up with Rintaro (Fujiki Naohito’s character). Or rather, I was hoping to the last. So I could not get behind the ending of this show at all. At All. I guess it was too much to expect that 2 of my favorite jdoroma actors (Shinohara Ryoko and Fujiki-san) could act in a romcom together AND I’d get the storyline I wanted.

          On the topic of jdramas, and if you don’t mind something rather dated (although the fact that the show is so obviously grounded in the 90s – the intro song, the fashions, the music! – is what makes me love it even more), Long Vacation is an excellent noona romance. And so realistic too – I so strongly emphasized with the characters’ emotions. Not to mention a young, adorkable KimuTaku….

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    • 46.3 SweetPea

      I thought I was the only one that felt that way about My Name Is Kim Sam Soon. I really wanted to like the show. Really. I even read all the recaps.

      But that guy was just the worst. I didn’t like him in the beginning and I didn’t like him in the end. I felt horrible for the girl who kept pining over him. Always felt like she liked him a whole lot more than he did her.

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      • 46.3.1 DayDreamer

        Same here!! I mean, I saw so many comments raving about this show but it sure never interested me. Still, I watched it to the end just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything great and felt rather disappointed. Even I couldn’t get behind the romance and that’s usually what makes or breaks a drama for me. If I can’t behind the romance, then it’s not worth watching….unless there are better things in store (which happens rarely, like in Giant where the underdog story of triumph of the three siblings trumped the romance).

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        • 46.3.1.1 Mar

          I think Kim Sam Soon is a perennial favorite due to the character of Sam Soon-she’s all of us at our best, worst, sanest, craziest, broken, strong, ambitious, conflicted—and so on. Most discussion I have seen over the years often concurs that Jin-heon did not deserve her. I did however find him entertaining if not completely likeable.

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    • 46.4 blackcherries

      Actually , “Flower Boy Ramyun Shop” is intended as a comic-book drama – characters are cartoonish, but still have enough human warmth to be taken seriously … There is also a bunch of serious issues in the background (cosmetic surgery, the wealthy super-race , forced property repossessions, debt collectors and so on), but , it’s true, everything is played in such a yo-yo fashion ( from one register to another) that sometimes gets alienating to watch … although this is its charm & originality :) … plus, there is a great soundtrack, nice cliffhangers, funny gags, good looking guys & a heroine whose high-pitched voice is not annoying – unlike other actresses :D … Great Xmas-feel-good drama to watch , but only if you like things that are a bit… zany !

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  47. 47 Blanchi

    DAL JA’S SPRING!!! Forever.

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  48. 48 ninji

    THIS. But why have I’ve seen all of them? Except the reeeeally long ones. Drat.

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    • 48.1 redfox

      oh I have been meaning to take on High Kick but I have no time

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  49. 49 Tccolb

    Two old ones I enjoyed were 별을쏘다 (Shoot For Stars) with Jo In Sung and Jeon Do Yeon, and 지금은연예중 (We Are Dating Now) which stars a young and cheeky Kwon Sang Woo in a cute noona-dongseng relationship as the secondary couple – So Ji Sub is also a draw, plus a Sung Shi Kyung cameo :)

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    • 49.1 trotwood

      You had me at Shoot for the Stars because I love that show and rewatch episodes often (this could also be in the Best girlfriend list–fav scene? when the best friend beats up the rival girl who so deserves it and then gets love for it).

      But then you mentioned a show with a Sing Shi Kyung cameo?!?!?! You are my new best friend!

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      • 49.1.1 Tccolb

        Lol, I do wish Sung Shi Kyung’s part in the drama was better, but I suppose acting isn’t really his thing anyway. From what I remember, I don’t think he spoke much.. he was an oppa in the church choir (?) that the lead girl crushed on…? Too bad he didn’t just sing for like five episodes straight, hehe..

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  50. 50 Brittni

    Oh darn now I’ll have to go watch Flower boy Raymun shop again.. Whatever will I do? I honestly love how zippy and almost crazy Jung ill woo’s character is. Somehow its just so satisfying when he finally realizes he loves her. :)
    And I love High kick but I watched it mainly for Kim Hye Sung. I think he is sooooo underrated! He’s such a great actor and cute as hell.

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    • 50.1 Mar

      FBRS is probably my absolute favorite drama. That he is diagnosed with being angry is hilarious. I love the sexual awakening dynamics, and that sexual attraction is part of the equation, it’s not just pure unselfish love. And heck you just can’t beat Eunbi armed with her trusty plunger storming the castle to rescue the prince. I also like that Cha Chi soo is a total ass, that does not change, and she loves him anyway.

       (1)


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