Recess: That is the Best Title You Can Come Up With?

When Koala’s on holiday, the Playground might seem awfully quiet. But it needn’t be that way, as so many drama mates from around the world have congregated here and ought to be more than capable of stirring up some fun to pass the time. As the Captain, I am here to inaugurate a new category of posts henceforth called “Recess”. Like the name implies, these posts are not necessarily informative or explanatory, but rather just intended to be fun. I get the ball rolling and you guys run with it.

Today’s game for recess is this: how important is a drama title in getting you interested in checking out a drama? I think naming anything is absolutely vital. Imagine if I named my site A Koala’s Dumpster or An Armadillo’s Playground. Yeah, not very enticing, is it? Not that a Koala is any better, but at least it’s innocuous and rather cuddly. So below are some drama naming considerations I’ve pondered over the years.

Oh, and FYI, I’ve officially taken off now, but I’ve prepared these posts beforehand, so am not blogging on the beach. You guys needn’t worry. The playground will have lots of new posts, but currently no expected recaps. Because unless I can see into the future, those new drama episodes unfortunately couldn’t be released early just so I can recap it before I left. Now back to drama titles!

The best titles should have three critical elements: alludes to or explains the story, short and sweet, and easy to remember. Think Goong (the Korean word for palace – which absolutely explains the concept and location of the drama about a high school girl marrying a Prince and moving into the palace) or The Princess’s Man (evoking an epic romance set against the backdrop of court intrigue), or A Star’s Lover (about the perils of an ordinary man falling in love with a top movie star).

Titles named after titular characters are fine if a bit bland: Hong Gil Dong, Iljimae, Queen Seon Doek, Yi San, or Dong Yi. This is almost always a sageuk naming mechanism, and rarely used in modern dramas. It almost becomes an identifier for non-Korean drama watchers. You hear about a drama called Kim Soo Ro and you immediately assume it’s a sageuk. And you’re almost always right.

Using an animal in the name ought to have some correlation to said animal’s traits and sound pretty cool: Eric as Wolf or Lee Seo Jin in Pheonix. Lee Min Ho in Mackarel Run? Not as appetizing.

Pick a title and stick to it. I hate dramas that end up with multiple working titles that all end up being associated with it in the end. That Fool/While I Was Looking/ Accidental Couple, Festival/I’ve Fallen For You/Heartstrings, Lady Castle/Take Care of the Young Lady/My Fair Lady, and finally Story of a Man/The Slingshot/Guys Talk. There are many more such instances, but I’m tired just typing it all out.

Titles that have NOTHING to do with the drama you are making often end up torpedoing your audience goodwill. Imaging if you picked up a drama called Lovers that ended up being about children who’ve lost their parents. The above was just a theoretical, but you can see how pissed that would make you. Romance Town? Apparently didn’t have much to do with a town, and barely any romance.

Don’t have a title that can be used to mock the drama should it fail. For example: if Can’t Lose sucks, then it’s title becomes completely mockworthy.

Your title needs to at least make sense in whatever language it’s intended for. 9 Ends 2 Outs? Deserves an out for failing basic English grammar and baseball jargon.

Pretty titles always get the interest up simply because it sounds so damn pretty. The Seasons dramas: Autumn in my Heart, Winter Sonata, Summer Scent, and Spring Waltz win the award for prettiest titles ever.

If you use a locale in your title, it better be bloody integral to it. Ireland? What a joke – the Ireland part was insanely weird and not at all integral to the drama. What Happened in Bali? Perfect title, and the locale was absolutely vital to the drama from beginning to end.

Using famous movie or novel titles? Better be prepared to be compared and/or asked why it ought to be reused. East of Eden? I’m still scratching my head – it was nowhere near the Steinbeck masterpiece. And Scent of a Woman? Not sure it needed to use particular iconic movie title.

Try not to pick a title that Google will have a hard time deciphering from the billion other such phrases. Case in point: Thank You or Loving You.

So now discuss amongst yourselves. What are some of your favorite titles? Try to be objective and not pick ones because you liked the drama or like the actor(s). Actually consider if the title sounds great on its own. And what are some of the worst? Any pet peeves?

Here are a  few of mine:

Fave title: Goong – simple, elegant, descriptive. Runner up: Chuno, which is the Korean phrase for slave hunter and Fashion 70’s, which had both fashion and was set in the 70s and actually sounds really pretty.

Least fave title: Robber – not at all what the drama was about.

Strangely mesmerizing: The Snow Queen – so evocative and alluring. Runner up The Painter of the Wind.


Recess: That is the Best Title You Can Come Up With? — 93 Comments

  1. second?!


    I love “The Painter of the Wind”, just the right title for such a beautiful sageuk. and yes, “Snow Queen”, perfect.

  2. Titles are verrrrry important to me. I can deal with a generic one, but if something in the title is majorly off, I might skip the drama entirely – case in point: Drunken to Love You. Everyone seems to rave about it but every time I hear the title, it’s like nails across the chalkboard in lack of grammar, sense and association with fratboy hook-ups. And I just can’t. If it was named something harmlessly generic like “Hello Love” or whatever, I’d probably give it a chance.

    My favorite titles? I don’t know, I usually notice only those that bug me. Though there are some nonsensical ones which I do like “Friend, Our Legend” makes no sense but it’s nonsensical in an interesting fashion. Plus, the drama is so good!

    I wonder if 9 End 2 Outs makes more sense in Korean.

    • The English title “9 Ends 2 Outs” is the result of the Korean title (which does makes sense) being translated ineptly into English. The correct translation would be “Bottom of the 9th With 2 Outs”. Which is a bit long and unwieldy, I grant you.

      • It could have been named something fun like ‘Drink to Love’ rather than a literal (almost) translation from Mandarin.

    • Does it help that the alternative English title is “Love you”?

      NGL, titles are not that important to me, especially if they’re translated (badly or not, I don’t care) from a language I don’t know. I mean, they weren’t intended for international viewers anyhow (even most dramas aren’t intended for international viewers!) so I don’t feel like judging them based on the title.

    • The OFFICIAL title is actually “Love You”. The drunken part is a direct translation of the Chinese title, which fans/media came up with before an official english title was decided upon. The Chinese title is actually a cute pun where “drunken” also sounds like “in the end” – so “drunken to love you” or “love you in the end”. =)

    • I agree that normally a title like Drunken to Love You would turn me off too, except I happen to know exactly what Sly said above in explanation of the title. This is one case where I thought the title was clever and fitting (for the series) in Chinese but it can’t be translated into english well. I think “Love You” is a really stupid title personally for the series but I don’t really pay much attention to the english titles anywhere since they don’t ever seem to be great. There are definitely some really poorly named tw dramas out there. 🙂

    • I first heard about “Drunken to Love You” by it’s official name of “Love You”, which I thought was a beyond bland name. But when I discovered what the actual Chinese title was and its play on words, I thought it was really clever. I feel that the titles of many shows in their original language can be quite clever, but when translated into English, makes no sense at all.

  3. Favorites: Sungkyunkwan Scandal, perfect title. It gives us location, basic plot setup, and an idea of genre.
    My name is Kim Sam soon. Just shops solid title introducing the main character and hinting at a plot point relevant throughout the entire drama.
    Bad Guy. As much as I loathe this drama I voice props to its simple but very descriptive and appropriate title.


      • Except Bad Guy (and I hate to speak of this drama as it causes hives to break out) is on Hulu as Bad Boy. Which is just wrong. It just drives a stake in my heart everytime I see that ad pop up on Hulu.

  4. I’d have to agree with judayjudayn: The painter of the wind was a great title. It incorporated so many elements about the drama but it also managed to capture how poetic it was. Not to mention that mentioning the wind immediately makes you think of ephemeral or incorporeal elements, things you can’t catch or keep and laksjdlasdj okay, I think I could talk about this forever, but I’m much too tired and I don’t think I can explain everything well in English.

    Oh and City Hall was nice, too. Simple and yet, you know the story is going to revolve around politics and political schemes.

  5. Good Morning Captain! 😀

    First, happy R&R! 😀

    Wow, I think is a fun exercise. For now, I thought of 3 Korean drama titles:

    I like “Painter of the Wind” too. It’s descriptive and intriguing. Thanks to the author of the novel and the real painter on which the drama was based on. The drama production, I thought, was equally artistic and intriguing.

    “Lovers in Paris” maybe simple but when “Paris” is part of a title or any sentence, who wouldn’t start having thoughts of l’amour, good food, fine arts? And who is not moved by l’amour, good food, fine arts? The title did depict what the drama is about, even though the latter part of the drama moved to Seoul. 😉

    When I first read about “Beethoven Virus”, I was informed right away that it is a musical drama. The word Beethoven itself is already a give away but the word Virus tripped me. Without any research, I thought the drama would be about some attachment to Beethoven’s masterpieces. Eventually I found “Beethoven Virus” is actually a title of a real musical composition, a remix of one of Beethoven’s works. As it turned out, the drama was about a grumpy conductor, a young violinist and a young cop turned into trumpeter, and an orchestra of amateur musicians. I think they did play a Beethoven composition. And was there not a dog named “Beethoven” in this drama? Anyways, I like this title too.

    Thanks again Captain! Have a good weekend everyone! 😀

    • I also really like Painter of the Wind, but is that an official English title or one that fans created? The Korean title does not have the word “painter” in it and is more ambiguous – “Flower Garden of the Wind.”

  6. Great topic! Hmm, I think there’s also the issue of how the title sounds in the original language and how it sounds once translated. Case in point: I think “Smile, You” is a correct translation, but it still sounds so strange when translated into English. In Korean, they use what I like to call the “lover’s you,” so perhaps the translation is closer to “Smile Thee.” A very different feel.

    I’m not sure which drama title I like the most, but here are some that I like. Some good titles: “Eyes of Dawn,” “Joseon X-Files,” and yes, “Sungkyunkwan Scandal.”

    Worst title? “Good Person.”

      • The full translation of the original title (조선X파일 기찰비록) would actually be “Joseon X-Files: Secret Investigation Record.”

      • And if you want to be truly technical, it would be “Joseon X-Files: Provincial Governor’s Secret Record.” But now that I’ve translated it like that, the title doesn’t sound as nice as I initially credited it for. LOL.

    • Eyes of Dawn is such a lovely evocative title. I haven’t even watched the drama and it sticks in my head. And Joseon X-files describes the drama exactly and still sounds intriguing. Now that is a good title. The ones I hate the most are the blandy-Mcbland ones: Good Job, Good Job, for example. What the heck am I supposed to get out of that? Ergh.

      • Eyes of Dawn, wow that’s from back-in-the-day. Way back, a total powerhouse blockbuster drama, but I love that title too. Haven’t found a place to even check it out though.

  7. I choose goong but I get to know the title of princess hours not because I like yeh but because roads in accordance with the title story about the life of an ordinary girl who suddenly have to spend time in the kingdom.

  8. I loved “Witch Yoo Hee” as a title…even though the drama ended up being a hot mess. It gave such a clear depiction of what a psycho she was. “Witch Amusement” as a title is much more lame. It doesn’t quite make sense in English AND it makes me think of Kiki’s Delivery Service…aka a witch that is cute and cuddly…not someone like Yoo Hee.

    “Protect the Boss” has ended up being a really great title, even though I was annoyed it changed a few times before the show started.

  9. love
    My girlfriend is a Gumiho/Snow Queen/49 days/My Name is Kim Sam Soon/Season dramas/ Baby Faced Beauty/Painter of the Wind/ Cinderella’s sister/ Joseon Xfiles/Athena/ Que Sera Sera/Secret Garden/ The World They Live In/Time of Dog and Wolf/Will It Snow For Christmas

    Birdie Buddy/Best Love/Can’t Loose/Dream High/Heading to the Ground/I am Legend/ I am Sam/It’s Okay Daddy’s Girl/Oh My Lady/Protect the Boss/Scent of a Woman/Tamra the Island/Three Dads, One Mom/You’re Beautiful

    I hate those multiple titles too because it take longer time to find something related to those drama. I also dislike common and long title like Loving You a Thousand Times and Wish Upon the Stars

  10. the titles that peeve me the most, are the ones that pick iconic titles. Case in point “Thorn Birds”. I remember not wanting to watch the drama because i felt you dont name a drama thorn birds, unless it has a priest in it sleeping with a younger chic or something of that nature. it also makes the viewer subconsciously comparing the korean drama to the said iconic movie or drama, which i think any production would despise because the bar will be so high. I know they say, dont judge a book by its cover but boring titles and picking my favorite iconic titles will not give you rave reviews if i only look at the cover.

    • Yes, these are the titles I hate the most. Not only does it tend to make me compare the drama to the original, but it also makes me think that the creators of the drama must lack creativity if they can’t even come up with an original title. Whether that turns out to be the case or not, that’s the first impression of the drama that I’m left with, that I’m going to get every tired-out kdrama cliche in the book tossed at me.

  11. I also despised the drama title “King of baking, Kim Tak Goo” although the title describes the baking world concept of the drama, but it definately lacks creativity and doesnt really sound appealing when hearing it for the first time.

  12. i am having too much fun. anyway, i never good figure out what “Boys over Flowers” or “Boys before Flowers” met. I get the boys part (emotionally damageed, rich, spoilt kids) but the over flowers or before flowers part i really dont get.

    • I’m not positive, but I think the title is a saying in Japanese. Something about how food is more important than beauty.

      • Yeah, something like that. Taken from Wikipedia (not the most trustworthy source, I know, but since I don’t know too much about Japanese myself)

        “The title Hana yori Dango, is a pun on a Japanese saying, “Dumplings over Flowers” (花より団子, “Hana yori Dango” lit. “dango (rice dumplings) rather than flowers”). “Dumplings before flowers” is a well-known Japanese expression that refers to people who attend Hanami, but rather than enjoying the beauty of the flowers, head straight for the food vendor booths, preferring tangible things like food and drink to the abstract appreciation of the flowers’ beauty.[4] The author creates the pun by changing the kanji of the title to mean “Boys over Flowers” (花より男子?). Note that “boys” (男子?) is normally read danshi (だんし?), but the furigana indicates that it reads dango (だんご?).”

        So yeah, if that’s true, it doesn’t translate that well into English or other languages, but that makes more sense now. Hopefully when Koala comes back she can straighten us out or another more versed in Japanese can help out.

      • Hmm, I thought it was Beauty over Food in the Japenese title. Mind you, this is from my hazy memory but I thought it sounded about right for teenage girls.

      • Correct explanation! 花より団子 refers to wanting more material, tangible things instead of more spiritual, intangible enjoyment. For me, I take the pun of the title 花より男子(instead of pronouncing 男子 as ‘Dan Shi’, it’s pronounced as ‘Dan Go’) as: Wanting to be with the actual guy instead of just holding onto a crush/unsteady relationship, which see Tsukushi fighting to be with Tsukasa. And I think it’s quite cute that F4’s name stands for “Flowers 4”, which put it together with the title “Boys Over Flowers”. So…maybe it also means Tsukushi’s love for the boys themselves beyond the image conjured up by their reputation as F4? That each of them is really a great friend waiting to be melted?

    • The title “Boys Over/Before Flowers” is also not a completely accurate translation of the Korean into English. Intent aside, I hear the Korean phrase as implying “Rather than Flowers, Boys” or “Give me the actual boys rather than the flowers, since the latter are pretty substitutes but substitutes nonetheless for the real thing.”

  13. Love the titles – Snow Queen, Prosecutor Princess, and 49 Days
    Hate – Boys over Flowers, Coffee House (almost kept me from watching), and any others that have title changes or bland titles.

    On a separate note – Why all the pictures of Binnie? It seems like every time I open your page he is there, reminding me that I will likely have to wait until 2013 to see him in another drama

    Have a great vacation and thanks for all you do!

  14. I love your three critical elements for titles! I agree with everything you’ve said abt titles except that I actually like having titular characters for drama titles, but find pretty ones really bland (as if they come from some random title generator). My vote for best title probably goes to Painter in the Wind. My favorite title this year probably goes to 49 days. I can google it easily. The 49 days are central to the story. And there is such a feeling of finality that I associate with it. I can almost picture a trailer where some deep voice goes “49 days” and then Boom!

  15. My Favorites in no particular order…….
    Biscuit Teacher Star Candy- never heard it before, but it made me laugh- in a good way
    December Fever – Described this memorable and different drama very well. One of the most memorable and sad final episodes I’ve ever seen.
    Mary Stayed Out All Night- my 1st thought was what was she doing?! 😉 I want to know right now!
    My Sweet Seoul- love a well used pun
    Lie to Me -…ok 😉 I can do that, but you asked for it!
    Daemul – I like the word, love the drama, and the title was appropriate
    What Happened in Bali- I thought what happened in Bali was in the first few episodes, but it was actually in the last. Cut to horrified shock and some tears :'( I’m still recovering from that drama. I liked how you didn’t understand the full meaning of the title till the very end…and once you did- horrified/tragic.
    Goodbye Solo – sounds so badass…and reminds me of Hans Solo so that’s automatically a good thing
    Story of a Man- Sounds so epic/talk about universal themes
    The Snow Queen- very intriguing title, but couldn’t get through the melodrama
    Mawang – I think it means devil or ghost. Talk about cutting to the chase
    Resurrection- Again, I love badass sounding universal theme titles
    City Hunter- very evocative
    Conspiracy in the Court- ooohhh intrigue, bring it on!

    The ones I don’t like….
    Romance Town – why? the story was about rich people their help and the lottery ticket that refused to die! grrr
    Joseon X-Files- it tells you about this excellent drama, but it’s just to derivative of *the* X-Files.
    The World that they Live in – too clunky
    Pasta- Boring name. Except for the cute leads, this drama was like watching pasta boil… literally

    So there are a lot of drama titles I like, a few I don’t and the rest I’m indifferent to. For some reason I think Korean dramas tend to be more interestingly titled than American ones. I don’t know why though.

  16. Titles have a big pull on me, because they’re the first impression of a drama. Ever since I heard ‘Painter of the Wind’ I’ve wanted to watch it, plus everything it evoked (dreamy, beautiful, dignified) was exemplified in the drama itself. Flames of Ambition was another one – high drama and character study. Like I said in response to Blue’s comment, the worst ones are the generic ones. Smile, You. Good Job, Good Job. Lovers. Even a good drama like Scent of a Woman had me waffling because of the ripoff title. Luckily there’s more attention being paid now to English titles, which can only be good for us 🙂

  17. Some of my fave titles (nothin’ to do with my enjoyment of the dramas themselves) are:
    Winter Sonata, Spring Waltz, Soulmate, The Snow Queen, Conspiracy in the Court, Painter of the Wind, Cinderella’s Sister, You’ve Fallen for Me, The Princess’ Man

  18. I’m only mentioning dramas I’ve watched before, because I’m too lazy to try to remember others.

    Titles I love: Cinderella’s Sister (it’s a shame the drama sucked so bad, I have all kinds of love for that title), Dream High (it’s a high school of dreamssssssss and it’s telling you to aim high, I just love it), Soulmate (it’s descriptive and hits me right in my inner sap), The Snow Queen (beautiful in both languages, reflects the winter setting, and references the book that’s so central to the plot), Time Between Dog and Wolf (thematically awesome, and a phrase I will always remember), 49 Days, Story of a Man (I ignored the other titles, and although Slingshot made sense to me it just didn’t sound right), Dalja’s Spring (evoking the image of a woman’s life blossoming for the first time, I love it), Return of Iljimae (sounds much better in Korean to me, but I love the impression it gives, of a journey home or a return to his roots), Painter of the Wind (guhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh~♥)

    Titles not listed above that made me watch a show: How to Meet a Perfect Neighbour (“What is a perfect neighbour, and why are we trying to meet one?”), Once Upon a Time in Saengchori (I literally had no clue what this drama was about going in, I watched it for the title alone), Que Sera Sera (although I had Doris Day singing in my head the entire time I was watching it), Coffee Prince (“What the hell is a coffee prince? *download*”)

    Titles I LOATHE: Strike Love (lolwhut), Full House (I know it’s the name of the house they lived in but I will always associate it with the 80s/90s sitcom), Lie to Me (that title just brings a completely different story to mind, one where the lovers don’t really love each other but keep up the pretense for whatever reason, even to each other), One Percent of Anything (I still stretch my brain to connect this title to the drama, even though I’ve watched it multiple times), Romance Town (again: lolwhut), Best Love (I wish they’d kept it as Discovery of Affection, I liked that one), Will It Snow At Christmas? (I dunno, will it? What the hell does this title have to do with anything other than that it’s set in winter?)

    • “Will It Snow At Christmas? (I dunno, will it? What the hell does this title have to do with anything other than that it’s set in winter?)”

      LOL HILARIOUS and true… I never understood that one.

      -“Painter of the wind” I love the name and would’ve watched it if it wasn’t a saeguk (which I don’t watch).
      -“Devil/Mawang”: may be because I am curious when I hear it or may be because after watching the drama, I know the title fits so well.
      -Seasonal name dramas: Summer Scent and Winter Sonata.. all so pretty!
      -“Scent of a Woman” and “Secret Garden” I am yet to see how it plays a role in the drama but I like
      -“Which Star Are You From?” this popped into my head when I was thinking about names.. I really like it
      -“You’ve Fallen For Me” it sounds like a fun romcom

      Dramas where names made me not want to watch (but I watched and liked): “Biscuit Teacher Star Candy”, “Who Are You?” and “9 end 2 outs”

      I hate names like: “Smile, You” (loved the drama) and other incarnations of “Smile…”

    • Lol at your comment about “Will It Snow for Christmas?”. That was the only drama that popped into my head about drama titles that I never understood. Seriously, what did that have to do with the drama?

      • Actually, I liked the “Will It Snow for Christmas?” title. One of the characters title-dropped when one of the main characters [[spoiler]]got out of “prison”[[/spoiler]], as in “We’ve just had a rough path. Will things be better from now on?” It’s a rhetorical question.

        I was a bit upset that there was really nothing “Christmas-y” about the snow, but that was a small price to pay for seeing Go Soo in action again.

  19. Titles mean nothing to me. In the 2 years that I have been watching Kdramas I have found that the title is not always translated well and more times than not the title has nothing to do with the drama. Pasta is the exception. The restaurant was named that (I think) and it was about the perfect pasta with love on the side. Yes there are a few more but that is the one that immediately comes to mind.
    I hate that they take the iconic titles for dramas (as you said) like Scent of a Woman or My Fair Lady when the drama itself has nothing to do with the original work of the title.
    Hate Boys over Flowers. Although it was explained above it still makes no sense to me.

    • 100% agree! The titles in English are such an afterthought and sometimes make no sense. Hello, 9 Ends and 2 outs. As non-Korean speaker, I find quality of subs to be a huge factor. Horrible subs ruin the best shows.

  20. When I first got to know the kdrama world, I rely solely on the drama titles to start watching (and how pretty the posters were hehe). And the one of the first dramas that caught my attention through the title was My Name is Kim Sam Soon. I had no idea what the drama is all about, nor any clue how popular the drama was, but the title sounds good. I’m glad to choose the drama, coz I was totally absorbed in it!

    And even though I love My Girl to bits, but it took me a while to get into the ship (few years to be exact), just because the title wasn’t that appealing to watch. I mean.. My Girl? How boring is that?

  21. what about “the prince who turned into a frog” I think that this title is catchy because everyone knows the story and it will caught any one’s attention. That is how I started to watch and I liked it because title goes with the story as well. I agree with Goong but it is hard to know it means palace unless you are Korean or you know the culture. Luckily I watched it somehow and I loved it. Maybe because I started to watch it because YEH was on it. I can not remember the reason but I found out later that Goong means palace.

  22. I’m not versed in Korean so I have no idea what the korean titles sound like for these, however, in english, I also was not a fan of the titles that lead me to think of other works, iconic or not, like (and previously mentioned) – My Fair Lady, A Scent of a Woman (it’s not over yet, but other than tango, what???), and My Girl (kept thinking Macaulay Culkin movie that I liked when I was 7 or something).

    I too was scratching my head on the title Romance Town which had nothing to do with Romance really and nothing to do with a town. Best Love – well I heard they had some title issues with others claiming the title or something like that? So I guess I’ll give it a pass on that but Best Love is weak too. Also didn’t love My Princess, You’re Beautiful, Athena, Pasta and Smile, You – the titles that is.

    Titles that I thought were interesting: Sungkyunkwan Scandal (watch this one recently just for the title since I was too busy last year), Goong, What Happened in Bali, Delightful Girl Chun-hyang, and The Last Scandal of My Life.

    Oh – Secret Garden – this title always makes me think of that Jerry Maguire theme song of the same title. Ahhh!! Irks me even though I still love the drama.

  23. For me the worst drama title are :
    1-All about Eve… not sure how this was associated to the drama… still I like (not to mention that it was the first k drama I watched)
    2-Boys over flowers ???? – I totally love this drama and have rewatched many, many times… but the title..dunno
    3- Romance town??? I think Greedy town fit better with the story.
    Best title:
    1- Princess hours/ goong
    2- Lie to me
    3- The greatest love
    What do you guys think??? 🙂

    • I can only comment on a few of these, but…

      Boys Over Flowers – I explained it in my post wayyyy down below, but the English title is just a translation of the original Japanese title of Hana Yori Dango, which in turn is a play on words of a popular Japanese expression they use. It could also mean Dumplings Over Flowers (just depending on how you read/write the words as Japanese has so many different written forms). It basically loses it’s clever meaning through the translations.

      Princess Hours / Goong – loveeee <3 Princess Hours is just such a pretty name. And Goong pretty much sums up the drama in one word. Neat and to the point.

      The Greatest Love – better than the boring "Best Love" but still just ok in my book. Not sure if the original title of "Discovery of Affection" is any better, but at least that had included an allusion to the leading lady's character, making it more interesting in Korean. But The Greatest Love is still cute because it really does represent the OTP's relationship 🙂

  24. I thought Goong’s English title was even more effective.
    How can you resist something with “Princess Hours”?
    “Snow Queen” is very nice.
    I’d add “1st Shop of Coffee Prince”, “the Vineyard Man”, “Piano”, “Baking King Kim Takgu”, “Shining Inheritance”, “you’re Beautiful” as attention grabbing titles as well.
    You’re Beautiful using name cross language effect for the title and the main girl was not anything new in K drama, but it played out nicely because it was so awkward. People first asked what kinda title is that?, until they realized the main girl’s name was “Beautiful guy (In Korean) Guy, and it fit the story perfectly.

    This was also done to some extent with “Coffee Prince”, which started up popularity of using “Go” as character’s family name, referencing English definition of “Go”.

    There are many I like, but my all time favorite?
    The legendary K drama “Feeling”. While English translated title is mediocre, in Korean it’s probably the most powerful title I’ve seen. For one, it’s deep as any adjective in Korean language but it also is a word that has no English translation that can depict it’s beauty and depth.

    • I wonder what you’d think of “Feeling” or “Feel, Sense 感觉” Koala.
      I don’t know if you have watched it before, but this was the first drama with young actors that brought about national syndrome like movement in Korea I know.

  25. An interesting topic indeed…now I have to rack my brains and come up with my own list…hmmm here goes…

    Damo- like Chuno, is a very strong title for me and being played by a woman in that era makes it more interesting and captivating

    Heartstrings- I just love this title I dunno why

    For a 2 or more words title, I like Snow Queen, Painter in the wind and the seasons dramas…

  26. This are the ones that I didn’t get at all:

    You’re beautiful…? Who is beautiful? Okay, every main character was incredibly hot, but I didn’t get the name at all!

    Mary Stayed out all night/ Marry me Mary … I would call it, Mary and her 2 husbands / Marry 2 times / Marry Mo Merry (that one was a joke) … don’t get the title, but at least she had 2 husbands I have none! Y-Y LOL

    Summer Scent… all happened during a summer but the scent part, maybe was because all the yellow roses, I dunno, and all the drama with”your heart, my heart, her heart” didn’t get it at all!!

    Stairway to Heaven… ??? don’t get it at all, not even when they show me the freaking painting, BTW saddest drama ever…

    Scent of a woman… I don’t get it, coz, they are not presenting perfumes or aromas. And the only thing in common with the movie is the TANGO! *drooling* Tango is so hot!! BTW it has more similarities with the movies A Walk to Remember and Last Holiday, but hey that is just me!

    Sunny Happines … the sun shine when you are happy? Not for me, I’m happier when it is raining, but hey that is just me. I’m not normal!!

    Oh! My Lady… did anyone get this one? I don’t! Who was the lady? The lady that cleans or the little lady aka his daughter?

    Secret Garden – Love this drama but don’t quite get the title coz, the “secret garden” was only presented like in one or two episodes at much, not like the in the book story, there was a real secret garden that Mary found by chance, and her uncle didn’t want any one to be in there. Love the changes in the Little Mermaid story and did I cry my eyes out? Hell Yeah!!

    Stars Falling From the Sky – Really? The only start that appear was the shooting star in the final episode! Common, dont play with my mind! I would called My Family/ My little brothers / The Man I Love / Change of Heart / Seeking for You

    The ones that I love and get:

    My Girlfriend is a Gumiho / My girlfriend is a nine tale fox – she really was a gumiho, and yeah she become his girlfriend,he even try to give his life for her! Over all AWESOME!! The title and the story match like no equal! BTW No Min Woo, super hot!

    Zettai Kareshi / Absolute boyfriend – the title says it all, he was an absolute boyfriend, the one that every woman want! Too bad he was a robot!

    Rebound- how a woman obsess with dieting jumps between weight, love, career, and her dream of becoming a pastry chef wife! The title makes all the sense in the world!

    My Lovely Kim Sam Soo – yeah she was Kim Sam Soon and she was one hell of a woman! She would make you laugh, cry and even slap you when you need it, and Hyun Bin would grab/choke your heart until death! LOL

    Manny – he was a male nanny… one HOT male nanny!! I want one of those!!

    Protect the Boss – she is his personal secretary/assistant/life coach/phobia trainer, who is willing to do almost everything to protect him. Even getting slapped by his dad! And that is quite a lot!

    Personal Taste – every one is different and every one has different preferences, but when you put your preference on the table and play with it, man that is dangerous! The title make sense coz you start believing one thing and end up with a whole new game! LOL

    Pasta – everything revolves around this Italian dish and how the Italian Restaurant Kitchen is run by a dictator and the woman who change his heart! BTW No Min Woo extremely hot, with his “chef” uniform!

    Lie To Me – everything began with a lie, what happened next change their lives forever! BTW It may started by a lie, but what grow between them was the real deal!

    There are titles that make sense, others don’t,and there are others that you think what the hell is this? The important thing is that it hook you, and keep you on the wagon until the end and in drama land every thing is possible, right?

    • I was going to say Lie To Me too as one of favs. It was the title that got me curious. That time I don’t even know that YEH is going to be in it. I read that KJH is going to be the lead but I don’t him that time.

      However, most of the time titles mean nothing to me when it comes to K-dramas. I normally googled and found out the synopsis first, then only I decide if I want to see it.

    • The Korean title of You’re Beautiful is “Minami Shineyo,” which alternatively means “You’re a Handsome Guy, Aren’t You?” or “You’re Minam, Aren’t You?” Since Minyeo is both pretending to be Minam, her twin brother, and a “minam” (beautiful male) in an idol group known for their looks, the title captures the plot perfectly, albeit with a goofy pun – but hey, even the goofy tone is right in line with the drama.

  27. Titles are supposed to be instantly appealing in order for a viewer to be drawn in. But for Korean dramas I have made an exception. What can I say? I find some of them ridiculous hehehe “I am Legend”; “East of Eden”; “Secret Garden”; “Boys Over Flowers”; “My Fair Lady”; “Scent of a Woman”; “Lie To Me”…they all sound like rip-offs from foreign Movie/TV Shows! Oh but, I enjoyed watching most of them! I’m just sticking with the old adage “Don’t judge the book by it’s cover!” 😉 I like “Best Love” and “My Princess” lol, they seem apt. 🙂

    • Boys Over Flowers is the original Japanese manga title, and the drama is an adaptation of that manga, so it’s obviously appropriate. But I agree about the other titles that echo unrelated works.

  28. Titles are important but with the cringeworthy titles for dramas out there, ive learned to overlook…alot of the time im embrassed to say the title of the current drama im watching if my sister asks (whos a strict jdrama watcher)..and i tend to rush over it quickly and start describing the plot, cos thats where the gold is.

    for e.g. protect the boss (love this drama to bits but the title is awkward to say, best love (also loved to bits but really bland and boring compared to what fun this drama was)

    love sungkyunkwan scandal as a title and cinderella’s sister was intriguing and would catch the attention of even non-kdrama watchers

  29. Yey! Goong! ^^
    I am a bit biased so I looove everything with Yoon Eun Hye on it.♥
    Though I love the Season Dramas too. Oh. Save the last dance for me is an ok title, stairway to heaven sounds dramatic, though I hated the drama. Sassy Girl (whether the movie and the drama ChunYang?) is catchy if you like girls who could kick a guys a**. 🙂

  30. It’s really funny that this topic popped up on the Playground today as I was just having a discussion with my friend about how some (many) Asian drama titles don’t make sense. Her first Asian drama ever was the Korean version of Boys over Flowers and she mentioned that she still has no idea what that title means and what it has to do with the show. I was trying to explain to her that at least in English, it was just the translation of the original Japanese title “Hana Yori Dango”, which is actually a pun on a popular Japanese expression used meaning “Dumplings over Flowers”. It’s a saying for people who prefer things like food and drink over a flower’s beauty. So, in the original Japanese it’s a clever title, but translated to English it loses its meaning.

    So, following that explanation… Hana Yori Dango is one of my favorite titles (I just love titles that have either multiple meanings or are puns – so clever!) and the Japanese live-action version remains one of my favorite dramas of all time. I only made it through about half the Korean version and gave up because as crack-tastic as it was, I just couldn’t deal with JanDi being essentially lo-jacked and saved by F3/F4 2x per episode.

    Another one would have to be the TW drama Black & White [English title]/ Pi Zi Ying Xiong [Chinese title]. Even though the English title is not a direct translation of the Chinese title, the meaning behind each in it’s respective language make sense and reflect the overall theme of the drama. And again, in Chinese, it’s a play on words and the names of the 2 leading men. Love.

    One I was on the ledge about is Soulmate, because while it does deal with the concept of a soulmate and relationships and all, the title infers that the drama is sappy and melo when in fact it was quite witty and funny. Kind of a misguided title IMO, but not necessarily bad.

    What’s Up, Fox? is a title I’ll never get though. Did I miss something during its entire run? Is the Korean title more apt? I adore this drama to pieces and it was my first slice of PIE, but I’m just not on board with this title.

    I’m sure there are a million more i love and hate, but my brain is too tired to think now.

  31. Pet Peeves: (1) Titles that are grammatically incorrect such as 90 Days, Falling in Love Days and Easy Fortune Happy Life (2) Unnecessarily Long Titles to the point that a viewer has to use initials or a nickname for the drama (3) Titles that have absolutely no connection or significance to the drama (Taiwanese dramas are notorious with these) such as Knock Knock Loving You

    Worst Titles: Knock Knock Loving You (had no significance with the drama, grammatically incorrect, and unnecessarily long… basically ticked all boxes)

    Fave Titles: My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (straight and to the point)

  32. best titles:
    1. Goong- coz it works well as it is. Easy to google as well.
    2. Season titles- didn’t think i’d ever praise these soppy dramas but the titles are pretty good.
    3. Story of a man- found it intriguing

    1. Romance town
    2. On air – loved the drama so difficult in searching
    3. Hello dramas- hello miss, hello god, really bad titles.
    4. Bad dramas- bad love, bad family bad titles period

  33. I didn’t want to watch The Last Secretary and ended up loving Protect the Boss. And then I realised it was the “same” thing. Thanks god they changed it.

  34. Dear Koala, New blog design is jjang! We approve. As for K-drama titles, “What Happened In Bali” stands above all competition with it’s equivocal title. Because people still ask “What The Fuck Happened In Bali”:-)

    A distant second would be “Time Between Dog and Wolf” for the immediate imagery it evokes; dread and anticipation in suspended time. Perfect.

    Have a great vacation with family. NimiWehy

  35. Down under is where I am, Full House and Princess Hours have the best impact so far, not a sell out nor a bore or contradicting. Ahaha I’m not really the best person to ask on titles cause I can get really wild with ideas…the only thing I can get wild with anyway cause eventually everything gets boring… 😛 I like a mind maze impact on titles, like you have to find out why it’s the title…like full house two people can make a house feel so full because their fed up with each other…most of the time…but anyway I haven’t watch half of these dramas OMG it’s like reading a library of scripts….sore eyes! I jumped up when I saw Princess Hours and said ohhh is she doing a recap on that…I love YEH and the 2nd prince…no roller coaster ride but definitely swooshy mushy feel!!!!

  36. i love Which Star Did You Come From?

    it just sounds so fun and quirky.

    and i could never stand Will it Snow For Christmas. what. i mean, WHAT.

  37. Worst name ever: Will It Snow for Christmas? Unless I missed something, I didn’t get any connection to Christmas and I don’t recall it snowing. WTF?!

  38. hmmm Cinderellas sister definitely got me watching i loved the title too bad i hated the drama

    heavens tree – loved the title

  39. I love cheesy long titles ;). I admit it’s my guilty pleasure. These are the ones that caught my attention by just the tittle alone.
    -Can you hear my heart?
    -Loving you a thousand times
    -which star did you come from?

    And the more simpler ones I love:
    -Chuno (When I was in school some kid nicknamed a teacher Chuno…)
    -Coffee Prince
    -Full house
    -a love to kill

  40. I actually like the double title of That Fool/While Just Gazing at You from Afar. In Korean, the complete title is Geujeo Bara Bodaga (While Just Gazing). If you take the first syllables of that, it’s Geu Ba Bo (That Fool). This fits the story because the main character loves a famous actress and helps her, but doesn’t expect anything in return. He’s “just gazing” – some might say he’s a “fool.”

  41. here’s mine:

    the make sense titles:
    1. My name is kim sam soon…no need to explain it any further, everything just fit each other, stories, titles, character..etc
    2. Goong…represent everything in it.
    3. Lie to me
    4. 49 days
    5. be strong geum soon

    very not making any sense titles:
    1. all about eve.. no character name eve in the drama
    2. east of eden
    3. Giant
    4. will it snow for christmas

    • Ha you know peipei, I also wondered about the “all about eve” title. When I first heard about the drama I thought it had something to do with adam and eve. Boy was I wrong.

      But anyways titles arent important to me, because they are so misleading. They sound good, but the show disappoints you and vice versa.
      But I am currently reading Scent of a woman, and the title really goes with the show. It just feels right with it. And I think another reason for its name, could probably be because of the tango.

      • I thought Giant was referring to the main character who is a great person, personally and professionally, who becomes a “giant” on the Korean business scene (ironically despite his physical shortness).

    • Ok “all about eve” is it about a woman or women “Eve” in the Bible represent all women in general!!!! 😉

    • “All About Eve” is actually a reference to the 1950 film starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, about a young woman named Eve (played by Baxter) who covets the life (possessions, friends, everything) of an aging stage actress (played by Davis). I haven’t seen the drama, but from what I understand the plot is similar, with one girl setting out to take everything the other girl has.

      As far as stolen titles go it’s probably one of the most apt, and I don’t have a problem with it. It’s not really a reference you’d get if you aren’t into old Hollywood, though, so I can understand why there’s some confusion.

    • hahahaha…thanks for the explaination of ” Eve ” @ bumble bee camaro’s wife (long name *pheeww*)and @ Kender… oohh..similar with a film in 1950?? am not born yet so that’s why the titles sounds weird to me.

      @ SM : aahhh…now I finally get it what the meaning of Giant is …LOL

      @ Leishers *high five* …oh btw, I love scent of a woman and last week is the heartbreaking eps…:((

  42. ‘east of eden’ is actually a meaningful title. It’s taken from the bible. the eden it is refering to is the garden of eden ie. paradise. East of eden is the place outside of paradise. not actually hell, but it refers to an unhappy place, lots of turmoil. in the bible, Cain was exiled there after murdering his brother abel.

    just like ‘all about eve’, ‘east of eden’ is a reference to something. the unfortunate thing is that the producers/writers assume that everyone knew what they were referrring to! 🙁

  43. I don’t judge dramas by their title because most of the times they don’t sound right when translated or are completely different then the Korean title.

    Flowers For My Life (꽃 찾으러 왔단다: I Came In Search of a Flower). I LOVE the title and flowers is a major theme of the drama.
    Que Sera, Sera (케세라, 세라 : Whatever Will Be, Will Be). This is also the title of the 1956 song by Doris Days.
    The Season Dramas: the titles are very pretty.
    Flames of Ambition (욕망의 불꽃)

    – People who can’t do something: The Women Who Can’t Get Married and The man who can’t get married.
    – Invisible Parachute Agent
    – Smile, You

  44. Okay, here’s another one that I missed days ago. This is my rest day, if you could say that with two morning classes, heaps of laundry and ironing too, plus essays and a workbook to start with, but hell, I need a break, and a sweet one at that. I need to forget about washing the car and vacuuming the room, for now at least. Thanks for these recess topics. You’re such a genius ockoala unni in making a kdrama addict like moi in such a good mood…

    Alright, that picture up there is nice…it’s special to me since Goong is my first kdrama ever. I fell in love with kdramas since then and which started my allegiance with South Korea. Koreans I meet here are always welcomed with my warmest “annyong haseyo”. A friend of mine who’s now your neighbor, ockoala unni, made me watch Goong. I refused so many times because reading subtitles while watching scenes above it is not really an appealing exercise for a simple-minded person like me, who’s only just previously discovered the art of multi-tasking. I was like, gosh, I can’t do two things at the same time and Korean series are not my cup of tea, or so I believed. I was into Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. House, even Desperate Housewives, which were soon forgotten after having a bit of a taste of kdramaland (well, except for Grey’s). So this friend insisted and she was holding Goong and Love Story in Harvard and told me to just watch one and I would be hooked (wow, she’s such a seer). So I opted Goong (maybe because Harvard was just too academic/ schoolish for me, so yeah, title counts). I did watch during a boring day when I didn’t have anything to do and boy, did I finish Goong in two days! Since then, it’s non-stop for me. Anyway, this friend of mine and I made a pact of going to South Korea and have a swell vacation someday. We’ve made a list on where to go and when, which, could be done in one whole year mwa ha ha. Well, there are lots to go to and it would be nice to go in autumn, because it’s just so beautiful there with all the colours, no, it should be in spring, no, maybe in winter since the place is known as the Switzerland of Asia, no, summer would be nice and my cousin said (who’s the kdrama queen, we’re just princesses), well, why don’t you just stay there for a whole year then, mwa ha ha.

    I bought DVDs online and have given out those I didn’t like much but put in my collection those that I love. But I’m in another country now and I regret not bringing with me my collection since I so miss them. I did plan on bringing them but my collection weighed almost half of my baggage allowance. I even have two titles that I haven’t even watched (it’s Kim Myung Min’s White Tower and The Immortal Lee something – I love him and I do believe that he is the best Korean actor out there). In retrospect, I should have paid for that excess baggage instead of wasting my wifi load in watching for my favorite scenes at youtube.

    Anyway,about titles, well, I remember this Sunkyunkwan Scandal which is really a mouthful, but well, it was nice and entertaining. I wouldn’t have watched it without the good reviews. However, I actually haven’t seen a sageuk which I didn’t like really. When I ordered a batch of DVDs and I bought them with my kdrama queen cousin’s recommendations, I was hesitant of Jumong, which was not an appealing name for me then, weird even, with 81 episodes at that with those historical costumes which was like wow, this might be a huge boring drama. So I watched it when I was finished with the rest and there was nothing else to watch. But well, I finished it in 8 days! I didn’t go out of the house, even ate in my room while watching it, I just couldn’t stop. I had a massive migraine after that. I was also scolded for it, so it was quite unforgettable.

    I also watched Painter of the Wind mainly because of Moon Geun Young but the title is quite catchy, true. Like it sounds like Gone with the Wind. As usual, it didn’t disappoint me. There is also Kingdom of the Winds, which has also a nice title. There was also Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy which I watched because my cousin is a Gong Yoo fan and so everything Gong Yoo is nice for her but really found the title weird in the superlative sense. Didn’t like it though. Reading the title gave me a bad feeling already, heh.

    Yeah, the Snow Queen is a good title. I didn’t hesitate in buying that one even with bad reviews. I got depressed for like two weeks maybe, after watching it. The OST there is really nice but whenever I play it, there is some sort of heaviness, you know, something weighing on me and I just feel so sad. I feel so sorry for Hyun Bin’s character there. It felt like I was also grieving with him. So sad.

    But there’s also a case that I think the title wouldn’t really matter, but the actors will. Like any HwanHye drama or movie, I will watch, whatever the title, plot or whatnot mwa ha ha ha!

    Oh I’m forever ranting, I’ve used so much space sorry…

  45. I like Que Sera, Sera, it’s special and the meaning actually applies well in the drama; Bad Guy is memorable and intriguing; City Hunter sounds cool and Playful Kiss has a good ring to it. I like pretty titles like Winter Sonata and Autumn Concerto, as well.

    Didn’t really like Best Love, it was a boring title and hard to find info on; Boys Before Flowes, Coffee House. Star Candy and Biscuit Teacher!? Not a good title, haha.
    My pet peeve is having random princes, princesses, kings and queens in titles. Sometimes it is relevant to the plot, but otherwise it just unnecessary and makes the title dumber IMO. I also don’t like titles that have little to no relation to the plot, like My Girl or Oh My Lady. You’re Beautiful is a special case, because I remember hating it at the beginning but later it totally grew on me and it seemed that there could be no other name for the drama 🙂

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