We found that a lot more Chinese dramas caught our attention this year and it felt like we watched more dramas from China than we had the previous years. Not a lot of the Chinese dramas we did watch this year ended up being on our favs list, though. A lot of the extremely popular and highly talked about Chinese dramas that we decided to hop on the band wagon and give a watch didn’t end up being ones we liked. These were The Eternal Love, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom and The King’s Woman.
We found there were a lot less dramas from South Korea appealed to us this year. However, most of the Korean dramas we did choose to watch, we did enjoy and made it to our favourites list.
We did our usual rounds of dramas from Taiwan. Taiwanese dramas have been a bit disappointing, recently. There was only one we thoroughly enjoyed and it’s the one which tops our fav list for 2017.
2017 Asian dramas we enjoyed
#1 Attention, Love! (Taiwanese Drama)
Stars Qiu Sheng Yi (also known as Wang Zi or Prince Chiu) and Joanne Tseng. This is a cute high school/university drama that develops the relationship between Yan Li Zheng (Qiu Sheng Yi)—someone who has the traumatic experience of being in a car accident with his parents and him being the only survivor when he was a child. He doesn’t know what friendship or family is until he meets Zhong Shao Xi—a girl who’s seen by her peers as a guy because of her strong fighting abilities. She has the want to know what love is like.
Attention, Love! has a simple romance story, primarily focusing on the main couple with a bit focusing on a secondary pairing that was given a decent development. The progression and flow of the story is to our liking. We didn’t find any moments in the drama uninteresting and there weren’t any moments we felt dragged along. Every character were lovable and they added to the story well. We enjoyed this drama immensely!
Read our recaps for Attention, Love!.
#2 The Fox’s Summer (Chinese Drama)
Stars Jiang Chao and Tan Song Yun. A witty romance drama about a CEO who has an obsession with cleanliness and hates people who lies because he has allergic reactions that range from a sneeze to becoming unconscious depending on how big the lie is. He comes to interact with a girl who is messy and lies often come from her mouth.
We came across this drama by chance. We’re glad we did because we were entertained throughout the two seasons of the drama! The interactions and dialogue that takes place between not only the main characters, but also the supporting characters made this drama such a great watch!
Read our recaps for The Fox’s Summer.
#3 Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (Korean Drama)
Stars Park Bo Young and Park Hyung Sik. Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young), a woman born with superhuman strength becomes a bodyguard to An Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik), a CEO of a gaming company. A serial killer who collects women comes to target Do Bong Soon after she sees his face when she saves one of the woman he targeted and it becomes personal when he targets Do Bong Soon’s best friend.
#4 Queen For Seven Days (Korean Drama)
Stars Park Min Young, Yeon Woo Jin and Lee Dong Gun. It’s a story that comes to be a struggle for the throne between two half-brothers, Crown Prince Lee Yeok (Yeon Woo Jin) and King Yeon San Gun (Lee Dong Gun) after Crown Prince Lee Yeok no longer felt his older brother, King Yeon San Gun, was fit to be the King of Joseon. This is not only because of his older brother’s tyrannical ways which came about from his jealous and untrusting person, but also because he almost died from being ambushed by a group of men of whom he thought his older brother had given the order to kill him. This begins Crown Prince Lee Yeok’s mission to overthrow King Yeong San Gun from the throne to assume it for himself.
King Yeon San Gun commands a marriage to take place between Shin Chae Kyung (Park Min Young)—daughter of a politically powerful minister loyal to him and someone he sees as ‘his’ person as well as someone he’s fond of—and Crown Prince Lee Yeok. This seems to be something he did for Shin Chae Kyung. The marriage comes to create more problems when Shin Chae Kyung’s father is caught in between being loyal to King Yeon San Gun and his new son-in-law, Crown Prince Lee Yeok who is wishing to overthrow King Yeon San.
These events move to see Crown Prince Lee Yeok to successfully take the throne. Shin Chae Kyung becomes Queen. However, as the title of the series suggests, Shin Chae Kyung only is Queen for seven days when Crown Prince Lee Yeok’s mother and her people work to have another take the position of Queen.
This series was one that had us rooting for the antagonist to get the girl. This was the tyrannical King, King Yeon San Gun. At times, we’d see him being pretty normal and doing some nice deeds. This was when he was around Shin Chae Kyung. So, we’d be thinking that he might just turn good. He then goes and does things that are just unforgiving. So, we’re back to thinking how we can’t root for him. The King was such an interesting and memorable character of the series!
#5 Fight My Way (Korean Drama)
Stars Park Seo Joon, Kim Ji Won, Ahn Jae Hong and Song Ha Yoon. The story follows characters, Ko Dong Man (Park Seo Joon), Choi Ae Ra (Kim Ji Won), Kim Joo Man (Ahn Jae Hong) and Baek Seol Hee (Song Ha Yoon).
Ko Dong Man works as a ticks exterminator who once was a star taekwondo athlete who had purposefully lost a competition to obtain money for his sister’s medical bills. He ultimately returns to pursue his dream of fighting in the ring again, but this time it’s in the mixed martial arts arena where he faces the opponent that he purposefully lost to all those years ago. Choi Ae Ra, good friend of Ko Dong Man, is a department store information desk worker who has the dream of being a news announcer. Kim Joo Man is a team leader of a home shopping channel. Baek Seol Hee works as a customer service representative for the home shopping channel Kim Joo Man works at. She dreams of being a good housewife.
We really enjoyed watching each episode and seeing how these characters grow. It was a very pleasant drama to watch! :o) :o).
#6 Dear Prince (Chinese Drama)
Stars Zhang Yu Xi and Melvin Sia. Jiang Hao (Melvin Sia), a top actor, gets into a car accident and the only person who’s able to see him is Sun Xiao Tao (Zhang Yu Xi)—a girl who was briefly Jiang Hao’s assistant whilst in Okinawa, Japan. He finds the world believes he’s dead. With the reason of existing in this form where he’s linked to Sun Xiao Tao’s tamagotchi pet, Jiang Chao does not believe he’s dead. His mission comes to be to find his body and return to it.
Sun Xiao Tao is someone who has a fear of public speaking. She enters into the entertainment world when she gets cast as the second female lead for a Chinese ghost story drama after she’s spotted talking to thin air during auditions where she was a spectator in. Jiang Hao is there to help her successfully take on the role when he is able to take over her body with making contact with her lips.
2017 Ongoing Dramas
The following are two dramas that are still airing. They are dramas we are looking forward to continue watching as they’re looking really great so far! We’re anxiously waiting for each episode to be available for watching!
Hwayugi (2017 Korean Drama)
Having enjoyed quite a lot of the dramas written by the Hong sisters in the past, we were very excited to find this drama! It stars Lee Seung Gi, Cha Seung Won, Oh Yeon Seo and Lee Hong Ki. The drama is described as a modern spin-off of the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West. It’s off to a great start so far. So, we are patiently looking forward to watching more of this series! :oD :oD.
I Am Not a Robot (2017 Korean Drama)
Stars Yoo Seung Ho, Chae Soo Bin and Um Ki Joon. Kim Min Kyu (Yoo Seung Ho), a financial company executive, has an allegy to skin-to-skin contact. He invests in the research of a robot. However, after the team developing this robot has a mishap of short circuiting the robot and damaging some parts that require time to ship in, Jo Ji Ah (Chae Soo Bin) comes in and pretends to be the robot Kim Min Kyu invests in.
Older Asian dramas we watched, enjoyed and loved
As always, there are dramas we always come across dramas from previous years that we enjoyed watching.
Ice Fantasy (2016 Chinese Drama)
This is a fantasy drama about a power struggle between two divine tribes, the Ice Tribe and the Fire Tribe stars Feng Shao Feng, Victoria Song, Ma Tian Yu, Zhang Meng and Madina Memet.
The character, Ying Kong Shi (Ma Tian Yu), made the drama a super interesting watch with his story being an outcast of the Ice Tribe who isn’t actually a descendant of the Ice Tribe, but of an ancient tribe with ice-flame magic. Events in the story moves around the actions of this character; they move with his plans that deceives the enemy Fire Tribe. All that he does is for the happiness of his Ice Tribe brother, Ka Suo (Feng Shao Feng).
Ice Fantasy was an extremely awesome watch! If we watched this last year, this would have been our top fav drama for 2016!
Ice Fantasy has a follow up series which aired around the middle of this year. The follow up series is called, Ice Fantasy Destiny. Ice Fantasy Destiny wasn’t near as gripping as Ice Fantasy, but we love it that we got to see a follow up series for Ice Fantasy.
Guai Xia Yi Zhi Mei (2010 Chinese Drama)
Guai Xia Yi Zhi Mei (also known as The Vigilantes in Masks or Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei) is a drama with a Robin Hood style story set in the Ming Dynasty. It stars Wallace Huo, Cecilia Liu, Ma Tian Yu and Shi Xing Yu.
We came to watch this drama after thoroughly enjoying Iljimae. Guai Xia Yi Zhi Mei is the Chinese version of the Korean drama, Iljimae. We loved both the Chinese version and Korean version of the Yi Zhi Mei/Iljimae story, but we think we like the Chinese version a bit more because of the fact that the female lead character is stronger, more kick-ass and she does end up getting the heart of the male lead character unlike in the Korean version where the counterpart of the Chinese female lead character, Bong Soon, doesn’t manage to move the male lead character’s heart and she’s the one we rooted for.
After finishing Iljimae and Guai Xia Yi Zhi Mei, we have become quite a fan of this story. We love it so much that we will watch any more versions of this story. We just love it!
Iljimae (2008 Korean Drama)
A Robin Hood style story set in the Joseon dynasty, it stars Lee Joon Gi, Han Hyo Joo, Lee Young Ah and Park I Hoo.
Ever since we watched Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo and loving Lee Joon Gi in it, we’ve been going to watch all the dramas we could watch that the actor starred in. We finally got around to Iljimae. It didn’t disappoint at all like every one of the other Lee Joon Gi drama. We loved the character Lee Joon Gi played. His character, Lee Gyeom, is first introduced as a son of a nobleman who gets killed upon an order of the King who felt his position being threatened based on a fortune teller’s reading. House is lost and his mother and sister are sent to be a slave. Upon an order from his mother to throw the rock the guards ordered him to throw at her (to prove he was not related to her to keep him from being captured also), he falls very ill and loses memory of his identity after he throws the rock at his mother.
13 years later, he lives like a hooligan with adoptive parents—the father being a thief. He’s named Yong. Later, learning the tricks of the trade from his father of how to be stealthy and then from a former assassin who actually was the one who dealt the slice that killed his father, Yong assumes a secret identity, Iljimae. Iljimae becomes a hero for the people of Joseon.
The romance story in Iljimae is very interesting in the way that the one that the male lead likes isn’t the one we expect. Yong/Ilijimae/Lee Gyeom likes Byeon Eun Chae (Han Hyo Joo). Byeon Eun Chae is the daughter of a greedy nobleman who is on the bad side. Byeon Eun Chae isn’t bad, though. She’s actually pretty rootable. She has a generous heart and doesn’t see a division between nobles and commoners. Byeon Eun Chae doesn’t like Yong. However, she likes Iljimae and has good memories of her childhood friend, Lee Gyeom. Whether Yong is Yong, Iljimae or Lee Gyeom, he likes Byeon Eun Chae.
There’s Bong Soon (Lee Young Ah). She is the adoptive daughter of the assassin that killed Lee Gyeom’s father. Her adoptive father is also the killer of her brother. When Bong Soon’s brother was killed during the assassin (now adoptive father) was in pursuit of Lee Gyeom, Lee Gyeom was the one who attempted to take care of Bong Soon. Bong Soon is the underdog female character who likes Yong/Iljimae/Lee Gyeom.
The romance side of the story was a bit unsatisfying, but this was nevertheless a very very awesome watch! As we said above, this has made us a fan of the Iljimae story. So, if there is another version of the story, we’d head right over and watch it!
Oh Hae Young Again (2016) – Korean Drama
The story follows a regular Oh Hae Young always being compared to a pretty Oh Hae Young since high school. Oh Hae Young again gets compared to the pretty Oh Hae Young when she comes to work at her workplace as her team leader. Both Oh Hae Young’s are also connected through their association with Park Do Kyung.
Park Do Kyung (Eric Mun) is someone who got stood up by the pretty Oh Hae Kyung (Jeon Hye Bin) on their wedding day. He finds out that she had gone to marry someone called, Han Tae Jin (Lee Jae Yoon). But it’s not his Oh Hae Young. It’s another Oh Hae Young who comes to live in the small storage room in the house that once belonged to his family but he now only rents one of the rooms of the house. The room he rents is the one next door to Oh Hae Young’s. Along with this interesting thing where Park Do Kyung has moments where he sees occurrences happening to the regular Oh Hae Young taking place a little into the future, the setup gives us a very awesome romance drama!
Gunman in Joseon (2014) – Korean Drama
Another Lee Joon Gi drama we watched and thoroughly enjoyed. He plays Park Yoon Kang, a son of a legendary swordsman falsely accused as a traitor, assumes a new name and identity after being shot by those ordered to arrest him to have him killed due to his father being named as a traitor then saved by a couple of people going to Japan. He comes to be Hasegawa Hanjo, a representative of a Japanese merchant head looking to do business in Joseon. Park Yoon Kang as Hasegawa Hanjo seeks revenge on those who conspired and got his father falsely accused as a traitor and brought his sister to become a slave.
We loved the action in this drama. We loved the secret identity aspect of Park Yoon Kang’s character also. We also like the development for the main couple, Park Yoon Kang and Jung Soo In (Nam Sang Mi). They became a pairing from when Park Yoon Kang was Park Yoon Kang. After Park Yoon Kang became Hasegawa Hanjo, it was Park Yoon Kang trying to deny being Park Yoon Kang and pushing Jung Soo In away when she thinks he’s Park Yoon Kang. It created a very sweet romance arc for the two characters.
Laurel Tree Tailor Shop (2016) – Korean Drama
We came to watch this one after watching Queen for Seven Days. With Lee Dong Gun playing such an interesting character as a tyrannical King in that drama, but couldn’t root for this character because his character does unforgivable things, we wanted to see a protagonist character who’s rootable and worthy of getting the female lead girl such as a president of a large apparel company. Laurel Tree Tailor Shop saw Lee Dong Gun as a president of a large apparel company going down to one of a small boutique tailor shop started up by his father after his brother-in-law underhandedly has him ousted so he could assume the position. This boutique tailor shop slowly grows and becomes better and more profitable than the company he was kicked out of when his brother-in-law’s poor direction brings the company to head into financial difficulties.