When it comes to romance K-dramas, the enemies-to-lovers trope is a classic. As widely liked as it is, the dramas that follow this kind of theme have gained a cult following. Many viewers enjoy the slow-burn romance it brings to the table. Popularized by dramas like Heirs and Boys Over Flowers, this genre usually showcases the main leads going from hating to love each other. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Boys Over Flowers played a significant role in making K-dramas more internationally known.
The 16-episode series starring Lee Min-Ho and Koo Hye-Sun revolved around a middle-class girl and a group of four rich boys at a private high school for the wealthy. This drama showcased the enemies-to-lovers theme in its true sense, where both the leads go from not standing with each other to being in love.
Thanks to the Korean Wave, K-dramas have never been more loved. As days pass, many international streaming sites continue introducing Korean dramas on their pages with subtitles in varying languages. This easy access provided to international audiences via apps like Netflix, Viki, and iQiyi has caused more interest in these dramas. Let’s take a look at which K-dramas you should not be missing out on!
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11. I Am Not a Robot (2017)
Kim Min-Kyu (Yoo Seung-Ho) is a wealthy shareholder of a company who lives isolated in his luxurious house. He cannot have normal human interaction with people as he has a rare and severe allergy to physical contact. He plans on investing in a robotic project called Aji-3. This project is headed by Hong Baek Gyun (Uhm Ki-Joon), a robotics professor who models Aji-3 on his ex-girlfriend Jo Ji-Ah’s (Chae Soo-Bin) features. When a malfunction causes the robot to break down just as Min-Kyu wishes to test it out, Baek-Gyun pleads with his ex to act as Aji-3. What starts as a desperate attempt to secure funding leads to a web of love, lies, and deception.
I Am Not a Robot is an unforgettable drama with a fantastic soundtrack. Yoo Seung-Ho and Chae Soo-Bin’s commendable acting and unreal chemistry make it hard not to love it. Cute moments galore, it is not a typical enemy to lover’s K-drama, but definitely has some major aspects of the theme. It aired on MBC on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 (KST) for 32 episodes from December 6, 2017, to January 25, 2018. It is still up for viewing on Netflix.
10. Oh My Ghost (2015)
Na Bong-Sun (Park Bo-Young) is shy and has low confidence. She works as an assistant chef and has no social circle due to her quiet personality. Due to her shaman grandmother, Bong-Sun is susceptible to seeing ghosts. When feisty and brazen Shin Soon-Ae (Kim Seul-Gi) possesses her, she finds herself in great trouble. Soon-Ae is the complete opposite of Bong-Sun and wants to make up for the lack of romance in her life by seducing multiple men through Bong-Sun. Bong-Sun’s boss, Kang Sun-Woo (Cho Jung-Seok), is a conceited top chef who becomes her target.
Bong-Sun’s clingy nature and constant seductive tricks throw him off at first. He constantly avoids her but ends up always thinking of her. The drama shows the initial distaste wearing off to be followed by love, as is seen commonly in many enemies to lovers’ K-dramas. The rom-com/thriller starred Park Bo-young, Jo Jung-suk, Lim Ju-hwan, and Kim Seul-gi. It was broadcasted on TvN starting July 3 to August 22, 2015, each Friday and Saturday at 20:30 (KST).
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9. Touch Your Heart (2019)
Top actress Oh Yoon-Seo’s (Yoo In-Na) career sees a serious decline after a scandal. In order to get her popularity back again, she decided to take up a role as a secretary for a lawyer. To pull it off properly, she requests Kwon Jung-Rok to let her practice under him for a while. Haughty and skilled at his job, Jung-Rok has no plans to accept her request initially but ultimately ends up agreeing. The personality clash between him and Yoon-Seo is evident, with both of them not liking the other. However, this soon begins to change as they slowly come to love each other, in a typical enemy to lovers style.
The sweet and funny romance drama is definitely qualified to put you in a good mood. Apart from the top-notch actors Yoo In-Na and Lee Dong-Wook, the drama also featured Oh Jung-Se, Park Kyung-Hye, and Lee Sang-Woo. This series was based on a manhwa of the same name initially released on KakaoPage. It was broadcasted on TvN from February 6 to March 28, 2019, every Wednesday and Thursday at 21:30 KST. It is still available to stream on Netflix.
8. Master’s Sun (2013)
Troubled and sleepless due to her ability to see ghosts, Tae Gong-Shil (Gong Hyo-Jin) struggles to find peace in her life. Joo Joong-Won is an aloof and affection-lacking CEO of a company. Upon accidentally discovering that Gong-Shil can cease seeing spirits when she touches Joong-Won, she does everything she can to stick by his side. What starts out as him being annoyed and detesting her slowly turns into a situation where he starts needing her just as much.
This drama series is a fan favorite for its unique story. The overlapping of genres like Fantasy, Horror, and Romance, make it an enjoyable and refreshing watch. Starring Gong Hyo-Jin, Jo Ji-Sub, and Seo In-Guk, this show aired on SBS. Starting on October 3, 2013, it aired for a total of 17 episodes every Wednesday and Thursday at 21:55 KST. It is up for streaming on Netflix.
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7. Strongest Deliveryman (2016)
With a first meeting caused by a clash on their motorbikes, Choi Kang-Soo (Go Kyung-Pyo) and Lee Dan-Ah (Chae Soo-Bin) regard each other with pure distaste. When Kang-Soo ends up part-timing at the same place as Dan-Ah, they’re both forced to interact with each other. Kang-Soo is brave and justice-loving. He has many friends and a great social network. Dan-Ah is hard-working and too focused on making money so she can leave the country to think about love. But Kang-Soo’s sweet and caring nature soon begins to melt her heart.
The story follows the injustice faced by people at the hands of the privileged and features a good dose of bickering enemies to lovers’ romance. This K-drama stars Go Kyung-pyo, Chae Soo-bin, Kim Seon-ho and Ko Won-hee. Premiering on August 4 of 2017, it aired on KBS2 at 23:00 KST every Friday and Saturday. If you find yourself wanting to watch it, you can find it on Netflix!
6. Something about 1% (2016)
This K-drama is an underrated enemies-to-lovers gem. It is based on the novel of the same name by Hyun Go-Woon. Lee Jae-in (Ha Seok-jin) is an arrogant son of a wealthy family. He must marry a girl his grandfather chooses to inherit his fortune. His grandfather picks his wife to be Kim Da-Hyun (Jeon So-min), a teacher at elementary school. The two enter a 6-month contract to appease the grandfather, but before they know it, their hatred towards each other slowly starts to dissolve.
Watching their pretense turn into real love is a treat for any romantic drama fan. This series also stars Joo Jin-Moo, Lim Do-Yoon, and Kim Hyung-Min. Many viewers have said they come back to this drama because of the undeniable chemistry between both the main leads. The drama aired air on Dramax on Wednesdays to Thursdays at 21:00 KST starting on October 5, 2016.
5. Marriage, Not Dating (2014)
What happens when a man who has no desire to marry meets a woman whose dream is to get married? No sparks were flying, for sure. When Gong Ki-Tae (Yeon Woo-Jin) is introduced to Joo Jang-Mi (Han Groo), the first emotion he feels is distaste. She is the very opposite of what he likes, and she feels the same way about him. They do not match on any level and are constantly getting in fights. To escape the frequent blind dates arranged by his parents, he decides to take Jang-Mi home. What will he do when they both slowly start seeing the other in different lights?
This K-drama is a true depiction of enemies to lovers theme. The main leads despise each other, but as it goes, there is a thin line between hate and love. As they gradually develop feelings for each other, their blazing chemistry becomes undeniable. It stars Yeon Woo-jin, Han Groo, Jeong Jinwoon, Han Sun-hwa, Heo Jung-min, and Yoon So-hee. It aired on TvN at 20:40 (KST) every Friday and Saturday from July 4 to August 23, 2014.
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4. So I Married an Anti-fan (2021)
How would it feel like to marry an anti-fan as a superstar? Well, this series gives us a proper peek into that situation. Geun-Young (Choi Soo-Young) works as a reporter for a magazine. Upon an unpleasant encounter with celebrity Hoo-Joon (Choi Tae-Joon) at an event, she becomes his anti-fan. Circumstances force both of them to participate in a variety show where a superstar lives with their anti-fan. Soon, they find themselves in trouble as they start falling for each other.
This K-drama perfectly encapsulates the concept of going from enemies to lovers. It has a well-put-together cast consisting of Choi Tae-joon, Choi Soo-young, Hwang Chan-sung, and Kim Min-kyu. Many fans were anticipating Choi Soo-Young’s next drama after her well-loved performance in Run On earlier this year. It aired from April 30 to June 19, 2021, on Fridays and Saturdays at 18:00 KST. Broadcasted on Naver TV, it was also simultaneously available to be streamed on other global platforms like V Live, Viki, and iQiyi.
3. It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)
What seemed like a simple romantic drama in a part-medical setting is actually a bag full of surprises. Taking a twist to become a bit melodramatic, this series created quite a buzz upon airing. It tells the story of bestselling author Jang Jae-Yeol (Jo In-Sung) and psychiatrist Ji Hae-Soo’s (Gong Hyo-Jin) romance. The two dislike each other’s due to a strong personality clash and disagreeing with the other’s opinions. Their constant squabbling slowly gives way to affection, but they have many obstacles to clear before they can be with each other happily.
This enemies to lovers’ drama did a wonderful job of tackling the topic of mental illness. Joining Jo In-sung and Gong Hyo-jin, the cast also includes Sung Dong-il, Lee Kwang-soo, and Do Kyung-soo. With a total of 16 episodes, it aired on SBS from July 23 to September 11 in 2014, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 (KST).
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2. A Korean Odyssey (2017)
Also known as ‘Hwayugi,’ this drama sets itself apart from others with the various genres it dabs in. Centered around a fascinating story and interesting characters, this show is a must-watch. Son Oh-Gong (Lee Seung-Gi) and Ma Wang (Cha Seung-Won) are at odds with each other in a world where evil lurks. Oh-Gong desperately strives for immortality. He comes across Jin Seon-Mi (Oh Yeon-Seo), who stands in the way of achieving this goal. Bound by a promise to protect her that he made 25 years ago, he looks for loopholes to succeed. Intertwined by fate, this pair goes from squabbling enemies to lovers ready to die for each other.
There is not a moment to skip or a scene that leaves you bored in this drama. While both the leads tease their way into each other’s hearts, the side characters provide us with impeccable humor and great chemistry. Also adding to the cast are Lee Hong-Ki, Lee Se-Young, Jang Gwang, and Lee El. It aired on tvN from December 23, 2017, every Saturday and Sunday at 21:00 (KST). The series is available to stream on Netflix.
1. Suspicious Partner (2017)
You simply cannot be a fan of enemies of lover’s K-dramas and not give this romantic comedy a watch. It follows the story of Noh Ji-Wook (Ji Chang-wook) and Eun Bong-Hee (Nam Ji-Hyun) as a prosecutor and apprentice, respectively. Bong-Hee and Ji-wook’s first relationship starts off on the wrong foot due to a misunderstanding. They both want nothing to do with each other but soon find that they will have to work at the same place together. Things get intensified when Bong-Hee’s ex-boyfriend is murdered, and she is one of the suspects. As a cherry on top, Ji-Wook is appointed as the prosecutor for this case.
This drama manages to perfectly balance humor and romance. However, what makes it special is the legal/crime aspect. As both the leads jump headfirst into solving this murder case, it warms them up to each other eventually. It is neither too slow nor too fast-paced, and both the actors do an incredible job of digesting their roles. Nam Ji-Hyun and Ji-Chang-Wook’s fiery chemistry was much talked about when this drama aired. It was broadcasted on SBS on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 22:00 (KST) from May 10 to July 13, 2017. If you are looking for something to binge-watch? You can find this rom-com on Netflix!
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