Random Wednesdays: Likeable Characters from 100 Dramas, part 5

Recently I had a drama related dream. It’s strange because I never have dreams about celebrities as I do not consider myself a very intense fangirl. But it seems that my dream character is Joe Odagiri baking a cake. In the dream,  I saw myself sitting at a table in a company. me and two other guys were hired. The company apparently does some outdoor events. And we were in the midst of preparing for an event….the best part of it was that Joe Odagiri was a chef who made a cake. I didn’t get to taste that cake, though. I woke up, just as the cake was presented to me.  Certainly, he would  make for a likeable chef with a cool vibe. Anyway, here’s another batch of likeable characters from dramas. I have definitely not fogotten my “quest” for likeable characters in dramas.

1. Life is beautiful
photo1132241The story of a multi-generational blended family living on Jeju. Nearly everyone is likeable or lovable in this family story. My favourites were the loving-supportive parents Byung Tae and Min Jae as well as the uncle Byung Gyul. it was a refreshing dram on many counts  and one I found very relatable. The homosexual storyline is rife heartbreak for everyone involved. Should they break the hearts of their familaies and live as they want to, is it selfish of them? I think there was enough motivation for viewers to make their own minds.  And I think the writer pulled it off without rash and one-sided judgmentality and instead offered hmanity, warmth and understanding.  But Uncle Byung Gyul was so intense! I loved this family with every heartbreak and every selfish streak the family members showed

2. Reply 1997
It’s a slice of life story which takes us back to 1997. We follow a group of friends  with their problems and joys.  The premise is also based on a sort of “guess the husband’ game. While the drama on the whole is likeable, much like Reply 1994,  my top picks go to: Tae Wong  and JoonHee whose sweet and mature nature was extremely winsome. Also, tthe parents of course. they even have some answer16-00433_zpsde7c05eaof their background explored in this one, which is a plus. On the downside, Jung Eun Ji  gets
on my nerves. Her character is far more annoying than Go Ara’s because NaJeong never had any doubts about who she wants, while Jung Eun Ji just goes back and forth and hurts both brothers. It’s a good thing that Tae Wong and Seo In Guk’s characters have such a strong brotherly bond. I must not forget about the parents. The parents are a center and they are extremely loving. Their past is also somewhat explored in flashbacks. The Reply series is a uniquely fresh idea and its execution offers a bit of insight into Korean popular culture around the time in which each installment is set. Ep15-preview

3. Crying Out Love in the Center of the World, J-Drama 2004 

Synopsis: Returning home to see his old high school for the last time before it is demolished, Saku confronts anew the loss of the love of his life, Aki, to leukemia 17 years ago. Now a medical researcher at graduate school, he has been living as if half of him died with her since then. Based on the bestselling novel that sold over 3 million copies, the past and present come together in this love story that is both pure and sad (dramawiki).

In disease dramas most characters are either sympathethic or likeable. Crying Out images (1)love was written by the same screenwriter as Tonbi and JIN and this screenwriter is able to endow her stories with a lot of warmth and humanity. It shows here as well. Crying Out Love becomes a bit more contemplative than other disease dramas I have seen and furthermore focuses, rather, on the person who is left behind and how they cope with loss. Saku is an incredibly likeable character.

4. Orange Days

Synopsis: Kai Yuuki is in his senior year at university studying social welfare psychology. At present, he is in the middle of job-hunting season. One day, he meets a girl who is playing violin in the campus.Four years ago, she lost the most important thing for a violinist – her hearing. As a result Sae closed off her inner self from the outside world. Kai finds himself on a date with Sae, in place of his best friend. Unexpectedly, he comes into contact with Sae’s private side. Love, job-hunting, friendship… Setting a campus in spring as a dorama’s backdrop, it’s the start of a glittering youth drama (dramawiki)

orange-daysThis story focuses on friendship and college days. There is also a love story going on and it features one of the most likeable male leads in dramas, portrayed by the talented Tsumbauki Satoshi. Kai is one of the most pleasant, kind-hearted and giving person in a k-drama ever. Sae has her insecurities and difficulties but the bonus post-credits scene was really worthwhile. Other characters, including the one by Eita are really sympathetic too. This was a very satisfying drama with a great, likeable lead.

5. King’s Daughter

Solnan is a character of honesty and foritutde. Definitely makes a good storybook princess.  I had good feelings about Muynong from the moment he appeared on screen, he appeared dutiful and posessing a sense of justice. Gucheon was winsome with his loyalty and devotion, especially early on in the story, while Knucklehead had an overall likeable disposition resulting perhaps partly from the contrast between his towering physique and his overall attitude. Kim Roe Ha is always a bonus for me in any drama.

 6. Good Doctor

 A medical drama about a man with autistic disorder, who has mentality of 10-year-old, overcomes bias and discrimination by the society and becomes a pediatrician by utilizing his exceptional abilities that the illness brings (dramawiki)

Joo Won, Moon Che Woon, Joo sang Wook are the focus of attention in the drama. Although Joo Sang Wook is a bit grumpy at first, he learns to open up and appreciate Joo Won’s character. I do have an issue with how Jo Won’s character is treated- he’s essentially abused because of his condition. That’s something dramas have an unfortunate tendency to do whenever they introduce handicapped characters: I find that dramas tend to treat  such characters largely instrumentally. I remember not liking how the dad in can You Hear My Heart was treated: I felt like he was merely a contrivance for the plot and I disliked it. However, Can You Hear My Heart warrants a rewatching since my view on dramas has changed  since then.  Anyway, on the other hand, I did like how Moon Chae Won and Joo Sang Wook’s characters began to open up to Joo Won. I am not  a fan of Joo Won..but in Good Doctor he shows very positive signs.  I hope he keeps this up.

7. Comrades

Synopsis: Lee Hyun Joong is a South Korean squad commander and war veteran who is dedicated to protecting the lives of the soldiers serving under him, despite his jaded outlook. His chance meeting with Lee Tae Ran on the battlefield stirs memories of the past, but she is now a lieutenant of the North Korean army (dramawiki)

Despite the synopsis, the romance is  definitely NOT foregrounded (which is a relief!!) and what of it there is,  serves rather, to highlight that the cost of a war counts in people and their fates. The focus is on the fate of a particular squad. While this is an excellent war drama, the characters were rather personable. I loved them all as they are strongly engaging but I particularly loved Choi Su Jong’s character who was driven by a sense of duty and care for his comrades. A very fatherly character, well-portrayed by the excellent Choi Su Jong. There was also Kim Roe Ha’s Seargeant Park… The standout in the OST is the song chinguyeo, which is also performed by the cast. It serves to highlight a sense of camraderie. This is one of the better korean dramas I’ve ever seen due to the relevance of the subject and good execution.

8. Doctor Gang

Synopsis:  Dr. Kkang is about a lazy bum who disguises himself as a doctor to get a job, and while under disguise falls in love with a female doctor. Han Ga In plays the role of ‘Kim Yoo-Na’ who is a sassy girl and a doctor. Yang Dong Geun plays the role of the lazy bum ‘Kang Dal-Go.’ (dramawiki)

This is a drama about how people want to change, essentially. Most of the enjoyment comes from the central pairing: Han Ga In and Yang Dong Geun are very contagious together. They can be joyous and playful  and those feelings are very palpable. They work really nicely together.  The Prosecutor (who is also the second lead in the story) is so awkward as a human being, it’s almost cute. Lee Jong Hyuk is an okay actor for me, at least an uneven one, he is quite subdued but that kind of thing fits here.  He does have a penchant for playing a kind of subdued, quiet type. At least he’s better than his character in Green Rose, by a mile. But the good gangster “doctor” here is what can really draw you in. Well, possibly ladies mostly. Yang Dong Geun is credible as a gangster. He’s not a bad guy though. He wants to leave his past behind but then something happens again. Oh, there is also the good doctor Bong. His entrance to the drama was hilarious. There is a nurse who has a crush on him and I really liked those two. Overall a surprisingly engaging drama. I ended up really liking it. The main couple was strongly engaging and the side characters were also rather sympathethic

Dr. Gang1

9. Hitotsu Yane no Shita 
hitotsu_yane_no_shitaSymopsis:  A car accident killed a couple, orphaning their six children. At that time, the eldest child, Tatsuya, was only 18 and had to attend marathon training. Lacking the confidence to take good care of his siblings, he separately relocated them to the homes of their relatives and adopters. However, after seven years and a career-ending injury, Tatsuya decides to reunite his brothers and sisters to live together under one roof. To his disappointment, he is met with resentment and discord (dramawiki).

Eguchi Yosuke really has a penchant for portraying characters who have a sort of inner drive. In this older Japanese drama he plays the oldest brother in a large family who tries to bring his scattered siblings together and make them work as a family living together. The drama also stars Masaharu Fukuyama in the role of the second eldest brother. They are all likeable. It is an older but a good story…except you may expect a bit of a triangle between the adopted sister and the two eldest brothers..if I recall correctly. This is an old drama and it’s been a while since I watched it. In any case I do remember them overall as being strongly likeable, particularly Eguchi. There are sibling issues but I like how Eguchi and Masaharu-san, and their other siblings, emerge closer as a family from those struggles.

10. Gegege no Nyobo
gegegenonyoubouThis is an asadora drama. Asadors drama  is a long  drama brodcast daily with episodes about 15 minutes long. This one is inspired by the life story of a mangaka Gegege no Kitaro as told from the perspective of his wife in her biography. It is a story about people who were able to live with imagination under any condition, imagination was what helped them survive and heal some past scars, it seemed to me.  They made the characters very likeable on the whole, including her father- I really liked that father of hers in this drama. It’s a very enjoyable story with very nice characters and a stroke of imagination in the form of manga creatures coming to life.

11. My Daughter Seoyoung 

HoJeongThe story centers on SeoYoung (Lee Bu Yong) and her resentment towards her father which leads her to make a number of questionable choices, especially after she meets Woo Jae.  Overall the story was well-meaning but Seoyoung’s motivations and choices led to complications which grew old and tiresome very quickly. A lot of characters in the drama just lied or cheated on others. It was incredibly tiresome to watch at times..but fortunately the drama did have strong supporting cast…for me most of the engagement came from those side characters.

The most likeable characters were: HoJeong and Professor Choi. HoJeong may have been a bit of a stalker to Sangwoo but she was the only person in thmy-daughter-seo-younge entire drama, aside pehaps from Professor Choi, who always said the truth and was honest about her feelings. Her natre is giving and caring.  Professor Choi  also showed a lot of heart, without being wishy-washy, in dealing with MinJung. I really thought their banter made the two of them “right” with each other and for each other, much like HoJeong’s giving nature made her right for SangWoo. I find that Shim hyung Tak  has likeable disposition overall and can play very likeable characters. I remebered him in God of Study. The teacher characters in God of Study were largely exaggerated caricatures but even then I found his science teacher very likeable.  Anyway, Seoyng herself was hard to like, especially since Lee bo young’s acting tends to be a little one dimensional and she ends up getting on my nerves.  Still, her story does have a point to make so despite all the tiresome hysterics, I think the drama does well on the whole. Oh, let’s not forget about the poor SungJae. He was vey likeable too and ended up being a little pitiful towards the end.


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