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[Dramaland Catnip] Opponents turned allies


City Hunter

By @midnight

I love watching dramas and love most of the tropes and clichés as long as they don’t drag too much. But one of my most favorite tropes, or my catnip, is where the opponent turns ally, such as when a person opposing our hero or heroine is against him/her for most of the drama and then he starts to grudgingly see his point.

The righteous policeman, the unstoppable reporter, the conscientious prosecutor, the uptight lawyer, anyone who’s set against our lead in a non-romantic sense. I usually fall for these characters very fast no matter how major or minor their role is. It’s always a treat to have a good non-lead having strong non-romantic antagonism with the lead. They usually own up and admit their mistakes fairly and that makes them all the more swoonworthy.


I Hear Your Voice

One of the most famous examples of this trope, one I’m sure many drama addicts know, is righteous prosecutor Kim Young-joo in City Hunter. He pursued our hero to the end, at the beginning because City Hunter was a criminal acting outside of the law and later because he wished to help him clear his name. He is probably the ultimate opponent turned ally too, because we all know how his story ended, but through it all he never let go of his principles.

Another example is from the drama I Hear Your Voice, with the character Seo Do-yeon. Also a prosecutor, she was at first dead-set against our heroine, even though it was rather more about personal issues than ethical ones. Their personal conflicts contributed to professional ones too, especially when she was prosecuting someone our heroine was defending. But while the women never became quite affectionate, her gradual and reluctant friendship with the heroine later on makes her still a very heart-warming example.


Two Weeks

In Two Weeks we have detective Im Seung-woo, who starts out chasing our hero when he goes on the run and ends up helping him later when it becomes more clear that the hero was framed. He was technically the second romantic lead, but as the antagonism was first a criminal matter before being a romantic one, it fits my catnip perfectly. I liked the character so much that although I’m a Lee Jun-ki fan and nearly always a strictly first-leads-shipper, I couldn’t help shipping the detective with the heroine instead. And well, they did get their happy ending in real life so there is that! #bighappysmile

In Healer we have a more minor character who gets to be in my catnip category: cyber divisions officer Detective Yoon, who had been doggedly looking for Healer for some years, thinking him a criminal. He was later persuaded by Ajumma and Kim Moon-ho to help them catch the true villains, which put him on Healer’s side rather than against him.

Now for one of my personal favorite opposing characters ever: Go Jae-hyo, the reporter in Wild Romance. In the beginning he was always looking for stories against Mu-yeol, not only as a reporter looking for a scandal or being just mean—he honestly thought Mu-yeol was a bad person. Later, he found out the truth about him, and he unwillingly relented and agreed to help him. The scene where Jin Dong-soo makes the two men apologize and shake hands is one of the most natural and best-acted scenes I’ve ever seen in a drama.


Wild Romance

The thriller drama Ghost had another favorite character of mine. Although the figurative face-off was short-lived, the literal face-off more than made up for it. In a reversal of my usual catnip, the lead, Kim Woo-hyun, is a cyber police detective who does his job legally, and Park Ki-young is a hacker who believes that you can’t catch the big bads legally. In this case he didn’t turn around and see the lead’s point of view, but as he was later made the lead, he managed to combine the two characters’ ideals. That character was one of my favorites and the fact that he then became the lead was an added bonus.

I can go on forever about dramas having this catnip especially as some very minor characters often fit into it too so this makes the range very wide. I will just round up that this trope captivates me because although I adore the romance in the dramas, I’m always looking for small relationship beats between characters. And this kind of relationship which arises gradually from respect and trust gets me every single time.


Ghost

 
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Definitely my kind of catnip. I guess it stems from the similarity to my drama kryptonite: enemies to lovers.

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Oh yes Enemies to lovers and foes to allies are tropes comes really really close to being my catnip. I never miss out dramas with such a storyline even if sometimes I have to suffer with a travesty like Whisper. Yet, somehow, somehow, I haven't found many shows where a man and woman remain either friends or enemies for very long. They almost always become lovers by the end. And that's why I love kdrama!

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I never thought this could be added into a catnip but it most certainly is. I find this sort of relationship that is turned from a bitter one of subtle but endearing interaction far better than some of the forced bromance they have in dramaland, definitely been a catnip for me.

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Same. Enemies to lovers is really my ultimate catnip.

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Chief Kim and Puppy Yul is another example for this ❤👬

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YES SO MUCH

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almost every drama in every country had this kind of relationship. everywhere.

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One of the best examples <3

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One of the greatest examples from more recent dramas. <3 Puppy Yul is one of my favorite characters. :)

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Chief Kim & Seo Yul!! And Gil Dong & Mori in a more subtle way, but still...😍

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Another great catnip! I do see the recurring theme of how sometimes two characters who start out as enemies turn into allies at the end whether it is because they finally know the truth or their growing friendship. I typically like these type of turnouts and @nelly, I do agree that it is quite similar to one of my favorites too, enemies to lovers.

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I'm a simple girl, I see City Hunter, I clicked

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Love!!! Even if it's minor characters it still works it's magic on me too

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This catnip is such a big one for me too! I'm also powerless in the face of the opposite -- estranged/broken friendships/sibling relationships.

I'm all for romance (or else why would I be watching so many dramas??) but so often the non-romantic relationships end up being just as -- or even more -- compelling.

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Ooo. Not particularly catnip for me, I would say, but I do enjoy an enemies-to-grudging-friendship, especially if they really had no reason to hate each other (maybe a misunderstanding) in the first place. I enjoy watching them annoy each other and develop camaraderie. Plus I enjoy a good bromance. And like @nelly I also absolutely love enemies-to-lovers plots!

Honestly this reminds me of Hwarang, where Sammekjong and Sunwoo could have had a fantastic opponents-to-allies plot, but it just felt lacklustre.

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JUNHO AND NAMGOONGMIN FROM CHIEFE KIM!! *___* My ultimate frenimies to allies couple bromance!

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Gaksital and Oh Mok Dan. Swwwoooooon.

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I'm here because of City Hunter😍

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City Hunter prosecutor, Kim Young Joo left a deep scar that I couldn't forget him even though I watched that drama long ago.

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I loved ghost! The plot, the ost. Um ki joon was soo good as the villain. Too bad the drama was underrated. I thought lee yeon hee did quite well in there.

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I also like this catnip for the same reasons. A multi-faceted character is a much more interesting character. Characters evolving through the drama make the story feel more true to life. Those antagonists with one track motivations and one dimensional back stories are so dull even when the actor is frothing at the mouth trying to animate them.

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Cruel/Heartless City had so much of those. It remains one of my faves :)

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Chief Kim😘😘 ... D to the O 😂😂

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I loved the first two examples.

It also helps that I enjoyed City Hunter overall and that I absolutely adored I Hear Your Voice.

I loved how in IHYV the two women weren't bickering about a man. There was no love triangle. And both were pretty headstrong. Also, Do Yeon is my favorite second lead female character. I loved how she redeemed herself, how much she grew, the decisions she made. It's part of what makes IHYV one of my favorite kdramas.

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I definitely love this trope! I just finished Chief Kim and I was fist pumping the air when Chief Kim and Seo Yul finally worked together at the end. I could see them going towards that trajectory the whole drama and so when it finally happened it put a huge grin on my face (I could watch a whole drama focused on these 2 characters).

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Exactly! I'm currently watching Chief Kim and I love every scenes between Chief Kim and Seo Yul. When they decided to work together, I was sooo happy and soo excited to watch what would happen next!

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Don't get me started on Wild Romance 😂

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How about our most famous papa bear MDS and SJG in 38 Force unit?

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A excellent example of this is the relentless Red Demon Inspector Lee Jung-hwan pursuing falsely accused Doc Choi Won in Fugitive of Joseon.

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I could contribute to that, besides "two weeks" i also love "Fugitive Plan B", it was cat-and-mouse until later when they agreed to work together

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Goblin, anyone? Grim Reaper and Goblin were basically sworn enemies in episode 1, and then fighting Ghost Park together in episode 13 was SO SATISFYING, then Grim Reaper being the only one to remember Kim Shin when he came back from the dead--besides for Sunny (but she couldn't tell him)--was perfect poetry.

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I'm loving these "Catnip" essays. Mainly because I didn't even realize I had "catnips." But every time I read one of these on Dramabeans I think, "this is my favorite." Then the next one appears in print and I think, "no. THIS is my favorite catnip."
WELL, this one here is my FAVORITE catnip.
I love enemies turning into friends. (How about Squad 38? The King 2 Hearts?)
And what I like the best is that while you're watching it, you wonder if the enemy really is a friend. Or if (s)he is going to be betrayed.

I hate it. But I love it.

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Mori, in "Rebel: The Thief Who Stole the People" is a perfect example. Is he going to remain loyal? Or is it all a ruse? And then there are people like Yoon Rang and Moo-Hyul. Are they allies, but on different sides? Are they enemies who respect and like each other?

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Yoon Rang and Moo-Hyul are in 6 Flying Dragons, sorry if I mixed anyone up.

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ohhh I loved those two examples. City Hunter and IHYV <3

I liked CH-KJY partnership at the end, that scene you took was so exciting to watch OMG... KJY was an amazing character he had so much going on and to deal with, poor guy, work addited, catching a "bad" guy, dealing with corrupt politicians including his own father, threats, watching over Nana and his ex'wife. He could have his own drama.

in IHYV I loved those friendnemies girls.

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Lee min ho x prosecutor, So Ji sub x Daniel Choi still kills me inside.
Love the badass ladies in I Hear Your Voice.
Ummm, can Lee Seung gi x Jo Jung suk be considered opponent to allies?
Still. Broken. Even after all these years.

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I love this catnip! I hadn't thought of Wild Romance when you first said it, but Reporter Go teaming up with the main guys was so great, because it made him a much more complex character than just another drama reporter who only follows the money.

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love this catnip so much--even more when it's two women becoming friends by the end of the show.

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"I Can Hear Your Voice" has got to be one of my faves for this catnip =) A couple more that I am reminded of are "Secret" (the Ji Sung & Hwang Jung Eum drama, "Defendant" (inmate bromances ftw), "Heartless City" (although, this one is a bit brain-twisting because of all the undercover hijinks and not really knowing where everyone's allies are until THE VERY END. LITERALLY lol)

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Not exactly my catnip, but its good to see the rival's character develop as they begin acknowledging our righteous leads.

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I love this catnip.
School 2013 is filled with it.
Also in Legend of the blue sea, we have the detective guy up against Lee Min-ho and go on to become close friends...

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Chief Kim and Yul comes to mind! I love their frenemy vibes throughout the show.

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I haven't seen these dramas, but I do love this trope!

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Chief Kim & Puppy Yul. My bestest frenemies. I squee whenever CK kiss Yul. Hahahahaha. They are just too awesome.

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