Suggestions about Korean/Japanese tv series for over 20s/30s and rating info

Hi eveyone!
First of all, I have to apologise because this post turned out much longer than I thought and I’m afraid you will find it boring to death. If you keep on reading, I warned you! :wink:

I didn’t want to hijack the Introduction thread, that’s why I thought to open a brand new thread where I’m asking for suggestions for Korean and Japanese series to watch, because the offer is overwhelming! However, I also need some clarifications about the rating.

I’m a HUGE tv shows fan. My favourite ever are Lost and Friends (Lost’s Jin and Sun made me curious about Korea in the first place), and now Game Of Thrones. But I also love/d Sherlock, Sex and the City, Bates Motel, Younger, Masters of Sex, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries… I’m forgetting much more for sure. And now I found out Asian dramas, yay!
So far I watched the following dramas (the order begins from the one I loved the most):

-Fated To Love You (because I found it amazing and because I have a soft spot for Jang Hyuk, since the scene where he washes his hair and takes off his shirt: those who watched it know what I mean! :stuck_out_tongue::laughing:)/ Korea
-Good Morning Call/Japan
-Last Cinderella/Japan
-Playful Kiss/Korea

I started watching J and K-dramas only very recently. My first one has been the Japanese comedy Good Morning Call, which I very much enjoyed and I am sooo looking forward for next season. That said, I was really surprised by the kisses the two leads shared (they did not even “move” their mouths, if you know what I mean). Since it’s set in high-school I thought: “Ok probably, even though characters are 18, that’s how they depict love in high-school in Japan, i.e. very much chaste”. Of course I was even more surprised when, in one of the final episodes, they hint about the chance of having sex in the near future (they never mention the term “sex” but, at the very least, there are no doubts that’s what they’re talking about).
Then I found out about Viki and I watched the other shows I just listed… and now I’m confused.
I watched Last Cinderella, which is definitively thought for an older audience (they talk about sex, show half naked people who are often laying in bed, kisses are “normal” and so on) but, for some reason, both Good Morning Call and Last Cinderella are PG-13, while there’s a huge difference between the two. I mean, it’s like Younger had the same rating of… I don’t know, probably a Disney Channel tv series?
Playful Kiss and Fated To Love You have probably less differences, as far as physical interactions are concerned. While the overall tone and themes of the latter are much more “adult”, both female characters are very naïve and, in any case, even the guys seem to be shy talking about certain topics. Regardless, Fated to Love You is my fave so far, even though the first real kiss probably arrived around episode 16 and the two leads had an actual “romantic” scene only in the final episode, if I remember correctly.

This long premise, for which I apologise again, is because I’m asking for your help in searching something I like and, considering the confusing rating, I’m having a hard time even trying to arrange a watchlist. I’m almost 37 and, while I loved Good Morning Call because it had, in my humble opinion, a stronger script, characters and lead actress than Playful Kiss, I’m definitively too old for that kind of show and I’m not simply talking about high-school, LOL! :grin:

I’m mainly interested in rom-com/ romance dramas at the moment, mostly because I already have my fair share of thrilling US shows and I just need to watch more positive, light-hearted things that are well structured, well acted and with a satisfying happy ending: that would be sooo refreshing! :wink:
But, as I said, I found rating a bit confusing. Now, I’m definitively not searching for a Game of Thrones level of physical interactions, that’s not what I’m interested in (GOT is enough, LOL!), but that they’re realistic to say the least. I mean, as much as I found perfectly done the Fated To Love You scene where the two leads have to share the same bed and they both can’t stop thinking about the other and the desire they felt in that moment, they don’t act on those feelings, which frankly is not very much believable, considering they were two adults way over 30, in love with each other and also legally married.

Again, sorry for the long post, all suggestions and info will be very much appreciated! :slight_smile:

Come to this thread and copy paste what you just wrote here. You’ll find many good recommendations too.

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sometimes before posting a topic check in the “search box” if there is such topic tread already… it is good to have same or similar things in one place :wink:

Hi, I don’t mind a long story …
Because it gives more ideas about the person, the drama fan …

I am 10 years older than you, so I know abut the vibes a high school drama can send. I think it is an ideal that is shown and what most of the society wishes the children/ young adults would/should grow up like. The western style isn’t too loved in the Asian drama, but there are exceptions, if the drama runs later at night, then often the drama is a 19+ but those are often no rom-coms.

For rom-coms I would say try these:

  • What’s Up Fox?
  • Marriage Not Dating
  • Heart to Heart (it’s in one way a very brave drama and on the other hand it’s not a pure comedy, there is some darkness in it too)
  • -Queen In Hyun’s Man

  • -Reply 1997 (even it is a younger couple, but you should try if you haven’t till now)

  • -Secret Love Affair (maybe you will like it, many did, for me it didn’t work but I didn’t want to exclude it - but no rom-com)

Hopefully some of these are to your liking.

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I found the thread you’re referring to, but I didn’t want to hijack another person’s thread and I’m also looking for Japanese drama, while the OP in that thread is searching only Korean ones. I thought it was ok opening a new thread, sorry if it isn’t!

Thank you so much for your suggestions and info, Lutra! I added those titles to my watchlist.

When I was writing my first post, I did just start Birth of a Beauty. I loved the chemistry between the two leads, but considering how interesting was the first half, I found the second half to be a bit disappointing. It dragged itself out too much and, at least for my tastes, it was a bit too “soapy” if you know what I mean. And… they seriously shared only one kiss (if that’s how they call it) in 21 episodes? :smile:

I know exactly what you mean about BIRTH OF A BEAUTY, when it started it seemed to had so much potential but well at one point as a viewer you started to think before reaching the middle of the drama, the whole revenge thing should have been abandoned …

Now I wonder if you have watched the Japanese version of SECOND TO LAST LOVE, I liked that one pretty much and I wasn’t too sure hearing about the Korean version. If you weight them against each other it’s kind of unfair, except for some facts, it’s like two different stories.

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As a person who has seen both, no, it’s not two different stories, although there are many different details, all main characters and the gist of the story is there.
The Korean one started as very conventional (the hating each other part and the coincidences leading to misunderstandings were too exaggerated), became interesting and realistic in the middle but dragged unbearably towards the end.
The Japanese, in comparison, seemed fresh and real. But it ended much more openly, without the main leads getting together. At least the Korean one showed them in bed together, whereas in the Japanese, not even after the second version does the lady seem to make up her freaking mind that they’re a couple now. I didn’t like that at all, and didn’t see why it had to be like that.
In the Japanese version the younger “brother” guy, the chef, was much more interesting (and charming in a manly way). It doesn’t help that the Korean actor looks extremely gay to me (it’s the first time I’m so sure of a Korean actor: usually, even with all the makeup, cuteness etc, you can still tell there’s a man underneath). I don’t care what everybody does in his/her own bed, but when you’re an actor you should look convincing when courting your co-actor and when you’re supposed to like her. And he wasn’t convincing as a suitor of either the leading lady or the dysfunctional sister, and their story generally was not convincing. At the end, you get the impression he just settles with her because she’s his best option, not because he really sees her as a woman.
In the Japanese version the dysfunctional sister was almost a caricature, with her social panic, and that hair… but then, I’ve heard and read that there are people in reality who have this psychological disorder, and I suppose it can get pretty bad, so maybe I’m being unfair.
There is one important factor. In the Korean version the main lead is infinitely hotter - if this makes a difference to you. In the Japanese version he’s the quintessential mediocre-looking public official and, not for one minute do you say “Oh I wish I were in her place”.
But in the Japanese version, the annoying and irritating married sister is not such a pitiful excuse of a human being as in the Korean version, thus more bearable and you don’t wish somebody throws her out of the window.

So there are plus and cons, of course, but all in all, in the Japanese version I wasn’t bored even for a moment. And the fact that it avoids all the usual k-drama tropes is a welcome change in itself. So yes, I would vote for it hands-down.

I think, I am about 4 episodes behind of the Korean version.
For me it feels like the Korean production bought the idea of the drama, not really the story itself. The characters are changed, many angles of the story were cut, because of society standards in Korea.
I get angry whenever Kdrama gives me a character that has the same IQ as a pudding. yes I am talking about the sister.
Of course I liked the Japanese drama for another fact too, there are wrinkles, sorry to say after so much smooth skin in Kdrama, this is another “refreshing aspect”, of course younger audience might think different.
I didn’t get bored with the Japanese version either, I had to watch 6 episodes though to get used to the Korean one, as it was a disappoint to me, why? Of course because it was less brave than the original.
About the younger sister, and her problems, they are greatly represented in the original one. I came across people with such a disorder and how they are trying to live a normal life, not that easy at all.
But anyway in the Korean version, I didn’t see more than a shy and maybe insecure person. About the chef, again Japan wins, because the guy has balls, sorry to write it, but he is written this way, but at the same time he is really sensitive.
I don’t care too much about if or not an actor is or is not hetero/homo or anything else. I always hope they can live a healthy life no matter what and do not get in conflict with justice.
I do not recall everything about the original, I just started subbing that drama an are at ep 2, but I will see what is still left there. One thing is for sure, since then I feel like many others, one day I want to go to Karakuma …

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I thought I explained that I don’t care of their real life activities either. My problem with him is that he isn’t good enough as an actor to conceal this fact enough to seem and feel credible in a role where he’s supposed to court and love women.

I didn’t mind Keanu Reeves in “Walking in the clouds” or whatever the title was, where he was the romantic lead, because he’s an excellent actor and he was completely credible, so my knowing that he’s gay made no difference whatsoever in my enjoyment of the film.

After all, even heterosexual males (or females) may have romantic scenes with partners they don’t find attractive at all, so in that case too, they need acting skills to be convincing!

Then we have the same opinion on that matter in principle.

But I do not even consider, be it any life experience or how his or her personal feelings might influence their play.

I take them, like a person I just got to know at each story they are trying to sell, it’s not the actor for me, it’s the character I am looking at. I block out former works, or charity work of the actor, or a nice interview, cute appearance, all of it, it’s just what he or she delivers at the end and I might be a bit more gentle on the supporting actors, than on the leads.

So in one point we agree and in another we are coming to our judgement of the acting skills on a slightly different way.

I understand your point, but I am kind of an anti-netizen, I rarely read magazines, posts or gossip, if it were me those actors, singers and what ever could have all the privacy in the world and the tabloids would be bankrupt. If they want to share news, okay, if they don’t that’s it. So, there is no actual point to debate, as I do not see a reason why you should need to justify your opinion. I am just someone, who doesn’t jump on board, as I do not know him as a person, nor did I read anything about him.

And there are rarely actors who fall from the sky acting brilliant, so he probably needs some more experience. I did not have my focus on him at all. If I am honest I just followed the flow of the story to compare the two versions, much more from the point of writing, than from the acting point of view.

I hope you won’t get frustrated over my words, because that is not my intention at all. LOL I just hope you will understand me …

I understand you, LOL, but I didn’t read anything on this actor, I’m not even sure I know his name. I said he seems to be gay because that’s the vibe I got by watching him, that’s all. I’m pretty sure, but I also might be wrong, it might be his mannerisms, we can never know 100%. In a Korean context, it would be difficult to say such things, they seem to be a bit homophobic if I understand correctly.

In the case of Keanu Reaves, on the other hand, yes, I did read about it, that he said it himself, just like Jodie Foster. So I’m not repeating gossip, since the interested party found it fit to go public about it.

It’s okay.
See? I know that about Jodie Foster, but not much more. I am totally leaving the tabloid out, even at the hair salon, I am going either for cooking or baking recipes, or bring a book myself.
All the magazines seem wasted on me, and I won’t be able to tell who the Kardashians are, with my luck I might have even typed the name wrong, …

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I started Marriage, Not Dating and, even though I just begun episode #3, I’m enjoying a lot so far. Good cinematography, acting, plot… precisely my cup of tea! :slight_smile:

I also “tried” to watch What’s Up Fox? and Soulmate, which had a restriction for my country, Italy (at least, that’s what I thought): I managed to watch the pilots using a VPN, but I failed to watch episode 2: with a Viki Pass, do you know if I’d be successful?

I was pleasantly surprised by the pilots of Soulmate and What’s Up Fox?: the cinematography clearly hinted they were a few years old (they were filmed in 2006), yet they were both far more racy than the current K-dramas. I wonder what happened in the past 10 years. How come, in 2006, there were shows where people used to talk openly about sex and relationships and, in 2016, a simple hug seems to be a big deal? I’m really curious.

What happened in the past 10 years, just watch the news with open eyes.
Then you know what most people want safety, healthiness, prosperity - in one point a good life. At the moment there are so many crises in the world that old values seem to be the key to that. I do not fully agree, because some things changed, because they needed to and one needs to be flexible. I don’t like that the development at the job market that people start to have the same value like “slaves”. that may seem exaggerated but when people lose hope for a good life … We can see what happens in the world … Anyway, well I didn’t want to start a political discussion here, but just to let you know there is always a reason in society, such as after WWII there were a lot of comedies produced to let people have a break from the hard life they had.
And yes in the end the more crisis we have, the more conservative the society seems to get.

Viki Pass doesn’t grant extra access to dramas, because you are not paying to avoid the license restriction. There sometimes are movie or dramas granting you extra or earlier access, but that is mostly a thing about current dramas. For the older you would need to participate as a subber or segmenter to obtain the QC status, as far as I understood it by now. There were a lot of changes, so I am not 100 percent sure.

Both dramas work for me, I have Viki Pass but due to my QC status and I am living in Germany, most of the time there is one license for Europe, but sometimes the license is splitted and not all European countries can get access. On the other hand …

I would really read carefully it you want to purchase Viki Pass, because I think it is only about resolution, right now with the HTLM5 player, don’t know about that aspect. But the other point was to watch add free.

Btw. Soulmate didn’t flash me all the way, but there is another older drama, I think, I did not mention it’s kind of a classic, but some just hate the second female lead and can’t get over that point. My Name is Kim Sam Soon, and it’s not only comedy it has some dark spots.

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I am not concerned about the viki pass thing for myself. I have QC so I have no worries, I can see most dramas.
But when for instance the KBS drama specials need viki pass to watch, when they are all there on You Tube, subtitled and in passable quality, who will pay to watch them here? It is a pity because they are, almost all of them, so well done and interesting, and yet they don’t have an audience here at viki. Why, my own Italian and Greek subtitlers cannot work on them if they are not QC yet!
Same goes for older films like Sunny (2011), The Recipe (2009), Fasten Your Seatbelt (2013), Dancing Queen (2012), A Wonderful Moment (My Little Hero) (2012). They have very little audience (well, it’s also due to the fact that they are films, not dramas), no interest at all, there are almost no comments. But all of these need viki pass, as if they were something so hot that everybody wants and they would pay for it. Just as Soulmate, from 2006. Why oh why?
I fail to understand the reason.

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At some times you need to bite into a bitter apple, as we say in our country. That means you need to start subbing, what is available for you that could be news clips or anything else that is there. I know it might not be your own taste at the beginning. But it’s not that you need to sub those clips or perhaps movies till the end of your time here.
For me, I guess it is easy to say, since when I started here you needed a mere 350 subtitles to get QC.
I started on a small project, to get experience, of course it would be nice if one could complete a whole project but if not, Maybe many hands can work a project, doing one episode is most of the time enough for a subber to reach the amount of subs needed, depending on how much dialogue is used.
But most new subbers want to join, currant and big dramas.

KBS has even it’s own YT channel with English subtitle for some of their shows.

Haha, sorry about your failure to understand. It’s Viki’s business, I gave up on trying to understand some things they are doing, such as launching an unfinished player with no alternative. It’s a case of sink or swim.

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Haha yes, you’re right, it’s quite complicated! :smiley:
Actually, I’d be more than willing to translate from English into Italian but it is my understanding that dramas are already (basically) all translated? Even though I often see literal translations and, even worst, translation where the conjugation of verbs sent shivers down my spine, LOL! :laughing:

I contacted an “old” Italian moderator, we will see after her reply.

She will contact you!!!