Romance-Themed Dramas That Reminisce The Best First Love Memories

Nothing beats Asian dramas in gifting heartening stories about being young and falling in love for the first time. 

From mischievous heroines who diligently claim their first loves, to rich-boy-poor-girl stories which celebrated romance-bickering moments in their utterly embarrasing glory - these stories relate to almost everyone who has fond memories of friendship, chasing dreams and young love.

Everyone's Favorite "Boys Over Flowers"

Adapted in Taiwan (Meteor Garden 2001), Japanese (Hana Yori Dango), and Chinese (Meteor Shower, Meteor Garden 2018) television dramas, this Japanese shojo manga based story easily warms viewers of all ages. Needless to say, it has created such a sweet hook which makes its fans ever loyal no matter how much more reimagination it will go through in the coming years.

meteor garden
All series adaptations have become household dramas that shot its respective cast members to stardom. The school-set youth drama trudges on the story of a young woman, who is forced to study at an elite school. There, she gets entangled with four friends, whose leader eventually falls in love with her.

While the Korean remake is addicting and more structured, the 2009 Meteor Shower adaptation is equally delightful. Deviating to a college-campus romance stage, Meteor Garden has achieved its "iconic" status. If you want to go for a more modern feel, the 2018 remake of the Taiwan version would endear you to the moon and back. But, if you want to stay close to the story, Hana Yori Dango followed the plot neatly.

The Mischievous Kiss Parade

If Boys Over Flowers focuses more on its male leads, we learned perseverance yields love on Mischievous Kiss dramas through its female lead. Having loved only one man all her life, be ready to laugh, cry and celebrate her success in finally claiming the love she has marked to be hers the moment it started beating in her heart.
itazura na kiss
Based on shojo manga Itazura na Kiss, it has been made to television series in Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Thailand. Notably, Ariel Lin's remarkable portrayal on Taiwan's two-season adaptation did not go unnoticed. It led to acting awards for her well-deserved hard work.

Drawing the classic example of woman-chasing-her-first-love premise, the love fulfilment feels extra sweet for audience who root for its heroine's life quest of a her adoration being reciprocated by the first boy she ever loved.

Chasing young love through three Hana Kimis

Joining the league of manga-adapted favorite stories, Hana Kimi got Taiwan, Korean and two Japanese versions that are all equally engrossing.

to the beautiful you
While Ella Chen and Wu Chun's story remains classic, Shun Uguri can take the honor of the best portrayal for the male lead.

The modernized feel of the 2011 Japanese presentation and Korea's To The Beautiful You series would  be a happy treat to younger patrons.

Nostalgic Growing Up Stories

South Korea's Reply series franchise takes pride of its astounding narrative. Something about the mentioned series cuts deep in precious memories we keep dearly in our hearts. Wistful memoirs of our very own young selves which we often miss once in a while.

reply 1988 1994 1997
The guess-the-husband game, gregarious female lead and trips down the memory lane are as priceless as the stories it presented. All three installments have their own shining moments with Reply 1997 richly adorned with unrequited love while Reply 1994 lingers with its love-that-was-there-all-along story.

Through its music and remarkable cast synergy, Reply 1988 draws a heartfelt narrative of what it felt like growing up without the convenience of modern technology - and realizing it would always be the best years of being blessed in having wonderful first love, family and friendship memories. 

When We Were Young

when we were young
Though arguably a close relative of A Love So Beautiful, When We Were Young has an endearing quality of its own. It’s about friendship, family and that messy yet full of adventure part of our youths - high school. I love how the drama explored all these aspects and that romance was just a side story. Yes, there were those awkward romantic scenes, but you could forego that, because young love is meant to be awkward and sometimes silly.

This drama truly revolved around the bond between five friends who discovered together what it was like growing up. They were a bunch of misfits thoroughly enjoying life but also faced problems that would shape and help them as they prepare for their journey into adulthood.

It’s a slice of life and the situations the characters were in closely resembled the things we encountered during that time of our lives. At first glance you will question a lot of the characters’ decisions but later on realized that you would have done the same especially at that age. It was an enjoyable watch and if you find yourself in the mood for a trip down memory lane, you must have this in your watch list.

Heart-fluttering Campus Romance Stories

Brimming with fan service, these drama pills cure stress everytime. Interestingly, Chinese dramas have captured the awkwardness and bliss of young love in dramas A Love So Beautiful and Love 020.

Treading on the endearing romance of Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi from high school to their career lives speaks a lot about heartfelt narrative. It was not afraid of presenting the simplicity of how its love pairing went through the growth of affection that was strengthened through years of being in a fictional world together. 

It's just feel natural to root for Xiao Xi's unabashed goal to be with the boy she loved. Trite and predictable, the amusing interaction of the lead couple easily carves a smile for viewers who watch it. Swiftly paced, the growth of their love journey was a sweet stress salve that going to that climax of "3 years after" was a done deal for all hopeless romantics. 

a love so beautiful
A visual feast with ample saccharine frames highlighting Xiao Nai and Bei Wei Wei, Love 020 is another therapeutic drama that does not get worn out no matter how many times you watch it on your idle or leisure time.

Pictured as every girl's ideal man, Yang Yang brings a male lead prototype so sleek and heavenly, you wound find yourself shamelessly swooning on his being eye-candy. Ladies would totally relate to Zheng Shuang on how she became a fan girl to her dashing boyfriend, who aside from always having her back, was not afraid to build his dreams - and including her on it.

just one smile is very alluring
Also set in college campus life, My ID is Gangnam Beauty reels interest with its love impossibility premise. A woman who went under the knife to improve her facial feature so she can get a normal life is loved by a handsome schoolmate who knows her old ugly face. Messages about inner beauty and unrequited love resonate well in this Cha Eun Woo and Im Soo Hyang love pairing.

On this note, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is another example of addictive romance story between university student athletes, who discovered love through their friendship.

Unlikely to feel love due to their personality differences, Put Your Head On My Shoulder creates an imprint with how two complete strangers, who started sharing the same space, eventually fall in love with each other. The adjustments and compromises they work on along the way speak a lot about young people's tenacity in braving their dreams and being accepting that working hard trumps unforeseen failures.

put your head on my shoulder
Needing time to relieve life and work stress? Set a binge-watch schedule with these drama treats - and see for yourself the therapeutic magic of first love stories.




2 comments:

  1. I wonder why my huckleberry friends is always ignored. The one drama that captured the joy, angst and innocence of high school romance. Great overall acting from the leads and supporting actors too

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