Essay #008

Korean Dramas and how I started to love them. 

 Normally, I attempt to post a review of books or films that I am interested in on Wednesday.

I don’t know the exact numbers, but K-dramas are very popular in the US.  The popularity grew steadily over the past ten years or so.   This is a brief story on how I became familiar with them. 

I was an anime fan since I was a kid and watched Robotech (called Marcross everywhere else), Voltron, and G-Force a.k.a. Battle of the Planets.  In the early 2000’s, I resigned from my job and moved to Atlanta Georgia with my family.  Mostly unemployed I had time to indulge in more anime than what was offered on Adult Swim and Toonami.    My cable company offered the anime channel and the AZN network, there were also the bootleg websites.  I avidly dived in for the anime.   AZN was an Asian American channel like BET and Univision, while exploring the channel I came across Korean dramas.   

AZN offered two shows that I remembered fondly, Rooftop Cat and Secrets (or at least that is what I think the name is). 

Rooftop Cat was about a playboy taking advantage of an underestimated girl, until he realized he loved her.   It was a romantic comedy, and my description doesn’t sound like fun, but that is what I remember about it.  I loved watching it because I am a sucker for romance.  Rooftop Cat had it all the beta male and female, the love quadrangle.  The girl realizing, she was smart and worthy to get anything she wants in life, make her family proud and choose the love she wants.   The playboy realizing that it is better for him to get serious with his life and stop deluding himself on what he thinks is important. 

Rooftop Cat left me with good feelings, and it was followed by Secrets.

The gist of Secrets from memory, there will be spoilers. Two sisters, the older sister is raised by her grandmother and the younger by the father.   For reasons, the father mistreats his older child and spoils the younger.  The sisters both aspire of being fashion designers, but the older sister has the talent.  They are both are hired by big fashion company owned by a woman. The fashion Boss is ill and regretting the hard decisions she made in life. She is looking for the daughter she abandoned. She gives this to the second boss in her company the job of finding her lost daughter. As the story unfolds, the younger sister schemes to get ahead in the company and in the heart of the second boss. She makes the fashion boss believe she is the lost daughter, knowing that it is her sister. The second boss loved/ the kind talented older sister.  Drama ensues because schemers are never happy with what they get.  The truths were revealed in the end.  The sisters reconciled in a fashion and the fashion boss mom also met with her real daughter and emotionally adopted the second daughter.   I even think the father and daughters made peace. 

These two stories had me hooked on Korean dramas from then on.  Unfortunately, AZN folded as a channel.  I had to go online to get my K-drama fix, I found episodes on Daily motion, Veoh, my soju and Crunchyroll.  They were fan subbed and sometimes had grammatical errors, but I understood it.  My soju offered shows from all over Asia, I saw the Zhanshen Mars on it from Taiwan and the earliest live-action Itazura na Kiss from Japan as well as Hana Yori Dango.  Alas my Soju fell because of copyright infringement, Viki became Rakutan Viki and Crunchyroll survived the Asian drama/anime distribution wars and other distributors were formed later.  I don’t even know if the Anime network channel still exist in some form.   

Anyway, I am still a fan of this type of entertainment.  The stories are always interesting, emotionally charged and sometimes filled with unbelievable cliches.  It is always interesting to see how other places in the world, how other people tell stories; what values are pushed aside or upheld.  In the future I will review a K-drama or Asian drama along with books, films, anime etc. 


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