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.
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?!?!?!?!?