the appeal of asian dramas part 1
I am by no means an expert. I like what I like, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead kind of gal. Always have been and don't really see it changing in the foreseeable future, but now I have become addicted to... of all things, Asian dramas. Being a child of TV dramas like DALLAS...and now I could care less about who shot J.R. I enjoyed the traditional soaps of the sixties, seventies and eighties as I became of age They were all American... mostly about the rich, and well, pure fictional no way this could ever happen fantasy...
Then my daughter got me involved with her manga (comic books), being a special needs child, and unable to express her feelings at times, she was able to communicate with me via these stories and I came to appreciate the genre as a form of meeting my child on her terms... then I discovered quite by accident that these stories became animes(CARTOONS) and dramas with real actors. When I think back on all of this, it was a rather natural progression... and now, I am hooked... really hooked.
My first one was HANA KIMI. I had read the manga with my daughter. I accidently found both the Taiwanese version and Japanese version on line and enjoyed it tremedously. Asian actors portrayed this very cute, kind and funny comic book story as real, three dimensional characters and developed them into interesting peole who faced various problems in an impossible situation. The premise... girl becomes infatuated with one guy and enters his all boys school... her goal is just to see him high jump again. In one version, she feels responsible for the accident that caused him to give up his sport. In the other, she simply has fallen in love with him and wants him to return to his sport to attain his dream and happiness. Sounds a little cheesy, but the acting is so good it is believable.
Then I found BOYS OVER FLOWERS... again, based off an manga that I had read and enjoyed tremendously. Two versions of this story were made into dramas. But the Korean version seemed more true to the manga... Again, a story of a girl who ends up with a scholarship to attend a prestigious coed highschool and has to take on the school bullies called the FOUR F. All are very rich and talented brats who think the world should bow at their feet. She humbly disagrees and the fight is on. Again, an odd premise, but the actors become alive and the comedy, the angst, the traumas, and spin of the story, pulls the viewer in just to see what happens next.
It simply became a gateway drug for me, so to speak. I found sites with mostly Korean dramas and now my kids think I should be able to speak the language... hee hee. Thank God for subtitles. I went on to a very popular drama called YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL. About a set of fraternal twins who because the brother had a plastic surgery accident, the sister had to show up and sign the contract with a idol band dressed as her brother. A silly premise but the chemistry between the characters and the revelation that all is not what it seems hooks the viewer as a witness to real events.
Then I progressed to the more adult themed premises. STARS FALLING FROM THE SKY hit home on so many levels as a flighty boy crazy girl becomes the sole provider for her five adopted siblings when her parents die in a car accident. The evolution of her character, the sacrifices she makes, the progression of her maturity brings pause to my heart as i write this.
Romantic comedies to lighten one's soul also appeals to me and so I absolutely grew to love one called DOWN WITH LOVE. A Taiwanese drama about a simple girl who is always working.. It is so funny and kind. Dealing head on with relationships that include abandonment by a father, a false love, a struggling connection with her sister...
Another one is called MISCHEVIOUS KISS. This one based off a manga has a Korean and a Japanese version. Cute, funny with some angst, the main character who is the perfect Asian male is blown away by a less than perfect girl and their relationship progresses from high school to college.
Then of course, there are the music based dramas. YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL would also fall into this catagory. OH MY LADY, about a young foolish actor who grows up when he suddenly becomes a father of the five year old he did not know existed. NODAME CANTABILE about a pianist who is almost a servant in nature. BEETHOVAN'S VIRUS, a story of how one girl's dream for a symphonic orchestra to be in her home town comes true... and the varous prices that have to be paid for that to happen.
There are sports based dramas, like THE PRINCE OF TENNIS from mainland China. Basketall, Volley ball, gymnastics, etc... almost every kind of sport has become a drama.
There are the historical dramas like the SUNGKYUNKWAN SCANDAL and EMPEROR WANG GUN.
I have a friend at work from Korea and confessed my addiction to her. She laughed and said, the reason Asian dramas, especially Korean dramas, are so good is that they represent life. Actual life... the first question these stories have in common answering is ... What does it mean to be a lawyer? What does it mean to be an inheritor of a multi million dollar business who employs 40000 people? What does it mean to have five little siblings as your responsiblitiy? What does it mean to have to behave like the opposite sex? What does it mean to be in an idol band? The sacrifices that these professions have to make, the progression of the story that enlightens the viewer and makes one pause.
Bottom line... these forms of entertainment are fun. Amd they are only sixteen to twenty four episodes long. So immediate gratification takes place. The story is done. I have grown to appreciate the acting, the directing, the settings, the plots, the character development, and the story line. Who shot JR? Who cares... What I want to know about is whether the heroine can get her five siblings food and shelter for the night....
below, purely for your enjoyment are my favorite mv's that are fan made. I had nothing to do with the making of these, nor am i getting any compensation, except for the pure enjoyment... how you like them. take care.