[2018 Year in Review] Flavorful heroines
by Guest Beanie
Life on Mars
By liar song
I grew up watching Korean dramas. My idea of a perfect drama as a child was where the Candy heroine and chaebol heir fell in love with each other and lived happily ever after. Flash-forward to 2018 and I am still watching Korean dramas. As I grew up, my taste in dramas and my criteria for the ideal heroine eventually changed. I am now more likely to like strong independent heroines and female leads I can connect with. These days, some dramas have climbed to the top of my favorites list, some I dropped, and others I ended up finishing–with my finger on the fast-forward button. These flavorful heroines not only helped save the dramaverses they lived in, they also saved my drama-watching experience this year.
I’m Not a Robot
Jo Jia, just like mint candy, burst onto my screen with her refreshing character. It’s not often that I see a heroine who’s both an awesome person and an incredible inventor. Despite the difficulties she faced in her life, Jo Jia was fun, quirky, outspoken, and inspirational. Her dream was to be an inventor and nothing life threw at her could stop her from chasing her dream. Refreshing characters are relatively rare finds in dramaland, and I am so glad that Jia was able to reach Kim Min-kyu and my heart this year.
Are You Human Too
Kang So-bong went from being one of my most hated characters at the beginning of Are You Human Too, to my favorite character next to Robo-Shin. Like oranges, she had this bitter and sour flavor, but there was a sweetness to her too. So-bong was strong and fierce, but at the beginning of the show I disliked her because she was willing do anything for money. As the drama progressed, her strength and fierceness made me love her. She always spoke her mind and this quality helped Robo-Shin realize that he was his own person. He was a person with his own free will and no one could change or take that away from him. Also, how gratifying was it to see a female lead punch a jerk in a drama?
Herbal medicine flavor
Lee Ji-an may have had the most street smarts out of all of 2018’s dramaland heroines. She had a tough and prickly shell, but she on the inside she was a tender person. Ji-an had a habit of pickpocketing and stealing, but she also managed to steal my heart. I couldn’t help but sympathize and give her my respect because of how hard she worked. Ji-an had some tough life circumstances handed to her, and she did her best to live her life. Like herbal medicine, Lee Ji-an’s life was bitter at the beginning, but that bitterness gave way and ultimately faded. Ji-an suffered, the drama ended on a high note and with a happier Ji-an.
You Who Forgot Poetry
Cotton candy flavor
Woo Bo-young was a big fluffy hunk of cotton candy who was sweet, and melted easily. She was undeniably a heavy crier, but it’s probably because she was so easily able to sympathize with people. Sure, she was also a mess who made mistakes often, but that was part of her charm and it made her even funnier. I connected with Bo-young on a spiritual level as I, too, had to give up what I really wanted to do in order to graduate with a degree that would be practical for landing a job. Bo-young may have been embarrassing most of the time, but her big heart, work ethic, and dedication to her job was most admirable.
Thirty But Seventeen
Woo Seo-ri’s life had a very long intermission, but this break made her stronger as a person. Chocolates don’t grow ready-to-eat on trees. They undergo a process to become the chocolates we buy and eat. Like chocolates, Seo-ri had to undergo a process in order to become the best version of herself. I could commiserate with Seo-ri not really knowing what is means to be an adult. I never really felt like an adult and watching her take small steps in order to become the Woo Seo-ri I said good-bye to at the end of the drama warmed my heart. Becoming an adult takes requires growth, and everyone grows at different rates. It’s okay to take your time.
Hundred Million Stars From the Sky
Rocky road flavor
Yoo Jin-kang was admirable because she had a very strong set of principles; this applied to how she looked at people and how she looked at life. Like rocky road flavored ice cream, she was a mix of different things: Fun, lovable, compassionate, and strong-willed. Nothing could affect the drama’s other lead, Kim Moo-young–except for Jin-kang. She made him want to make an effort to become a good person. If she had been given the chance to live in a dramaverse where her fate was not so tragic, she could have touched many other people’s lives too.
An Empress’s Dignity
Oh Sunny started out as one of the most naive Candies I have ever seen in dramaland. If she had stayed a naive Candy, it could have been annoying, but when Sunny vowed to take vengeance against the imperial family, she showed me that she had a spine of steel. Love was a big factor in Sunny’s decision to take revenge, but it wasn’t Sunny’s unrequited love for the emperor. Sunny’s desire for revenge stemmed from Sunny’s love and affection for the grand dowager empress, her one friend in the palace. Everything about the show An Empress’s Dignity screams makjang, but the drama makes makjang revenge look very good. What’s not to love when there’s a brave heroine, and some crazy royals?
Life on Mars
The adorable Officer Yoon Na-young surprised me with her lovable personality, intelligence and badass judo skills. She was such a fluffy cinnamon roll that she amazed me with her badassery and amazing profiling skills. Like coffee, Na-young was able to open the minds of the people in Violent Crimes Unit 3 and wake them up to the reality that women, no matter the era, are capable of doing amazing things. There’s not much more I want to say, except that I love this girl so much. You go girl!
This year gave us some memorable heroines in dramaland. Some of them amazed me with their physical and mental strength, some reminded me of myself, and some of them gave me joy with just their outlooks on life.
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