Jdramas and WTFery

I first started watching Korean dramas in 2004 when boredom and a lack of funding for cable led to my discovery of Korean daily dramas on a local public television station.

I instantly got hooked and moved from daily dramas to mini series when I relocated to a new city where I could only watch my dramas on the internet and the now defunct AZN televison.

It was smooth sailing till sometime in 2007 when I got sick and tired of the same storyline and set-up in Korean dramas that I decided to test the Japanese waters. I’d previously attempted them but found them way too animated and weird but we all know what desperation can do to a person.

Jdramas are quite different from kdramas in a variety of ways. They are much shorter and unlike in kdramas where you’re almost guaranteed to find a romantic storyline, there are even some jdramas labeled ‘romance’ with very little in it.

As a closet romantic, I initially found that a little irritating but grew to enjoy the variety in genres and the difference in storytelling. For one, the dramas are a lot shorter with 45 minute episodes of 9-12 so there’s far less dragging than one would find in Korean or Taiwanese dramas.

Plus I think there’s more emphasis on acting skill and creativity in the plot. But this interest in creativity and perhaps can lead to some WTFness.

A lot of dramas are adapted from animes and mangas which can be extremely over the top and unrealistic which accounts for why some of the dramas can have some  craziness. Like in Nodame Cantabile which is set in a music academy and should be entirely normal but still has people flying.

Or a cute drama like Satarore about a man whose thoughts can be heard by all. Or all the numerous medical dramas about characters with god hands.

With romances, instead of sticking to the chaebol-ordinary girl plot that many kdramas are made of, they sometimes like to get weird or dirty. Like in Minami-kun no Kobito which is about a man and his girlfriend who suddenly shrunk to 16cm (WTF) or the very popular romance drama Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake about a girl who prostitutes herself to buy concert tickets (WTF!!!!!!!!). In fact, there seem to be quite a few romance dramas starring women who are prostituting themselves to pay their sibling’s medical bills or whatever.

Okay, that’s all well and good. But what’s up with the damn incest stories? I like to think I’m quite open minded when it comes to fiction but there’s a line I just can’t cross – the line that says it’s okay for me to cheer for siblings falling in love. EWW. I inadvertently watched an incest jdrama called A Million Stars Falling From The Sky. Truth but told, there were hints that they might be siblings early in the drama but the characters were unaware and the audience was also kept in the dark. As we got further into the story and they kept dropping more and more hints, I thought that there had to be another explanation because I didn’t expect any reasonable production to go there especially as they not only had the characters kiss but have sex. But damn, our worst fears were confirmed in the final episode.  That drama was twisted from the beginning to the end and the tragic ending kind of fit in it. But when I go in search of a romance drama, that’s certainly not what I’m looking for. The couple was hot together and the drama itself was quite interesting but by the end of it, the only thing that kept me from throwing up was that the actors are not related in real life. PHEW!

Then there’s the Japanese movie Boku wa Imōto ni Koi o Suru about twins in love. WTF? I find the faux-incest stories in kdrama like Autumn Tale disturbing talkless of a situation where they are actually related?

So what got me thinking about this? There’s a new jdrama called Himitsu about a man whose wife’s spirit inhabits their daughter’s body and he begins to have a relationship with her. As in, there’s a love scene. Of father and daughter with mama inside her. WTF?!?!?!?!?


  • goodange says:

    Nodame Cantabile … I heart it! 😀 It’s just bothersome that the male lead is physically abusive towards Megumi.

    Regarding the incest plots, especially the ones with siblings, I never understood the fascination with that in Japanese dramas, movies, and animes. It’s just ewww.

    And thanks for the heads up about Himitsu! How do people come up with these things? I know the Japanese are very bold with ideas, but seriously, what is up with that storyline?! And why would a production company or network even allow this show to air?

  • couchkimchi says:

    I guess Japanese are more liberated and they are open minded when it comes to this issues (question mark). But I have to give them credits when it comes to anime. I just love anime!! Especially Fushigi Yuugi. I think I’m forever in love with Tamahome, period.

  • tasha says:

    I’m now switching to jdramas and movies as a respite frm kdramas. After watching Fated To love You, the new romance dramas somehow don’t have the bite. Just finished watching Karei Nuro Ichizoku/The Grand Tribe and there is hint of incest (father in law w daughter in law though it turned out to be error in blood diagnosis). So you are absolutely right, somehow japanese dramas and films are bold and go to unchartered waters but me tummy still churns at this. I do love japanese productions and they have a certain beauty in them. To be fair Nodame Cantaible is an adaptation but I think I will favor it over Korean production.

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