Recess: Can I Be Your Friend?

Writing great friendships in drama are really hard to accomplish. Most of the time it comes off as contrived, or scripted, and even worse, as unrealistic. Who talks with their friends like that? So when a rare drama friendship comes along that just works, I really cherish it. With that said, friendships needn’t be between the same sexes, and oftentimes can be dramatic as long as it comes across as relatable. I need to understand and appreciate why these two (or three) people stay friends. Below are just a few drama friendships that really struck a chord with me, and remained memorable even after the drama faded into a distant recollection.

Friends, Our Legend: All the various friendships in this drama truly lived up to it’s namesake. It was legendary and mindblowing.

Pi Zi and Ying Xiong in Black & White: Oh, just the best bromance ever in any drama, any country.

Hyun Tae and Nan Hee in 9 Ends 2 Outs: It took them so long to become a couple because their platonic friendship was just so precious to them to risk ruining it.

Sang Doo and Min Suk in Sang Doo, Let’s Go to School: Beyond the drama having an unforgettable love story for the ages, the leading man and the second male lead built up a bromance in months what some friends can’t achieve in decades.

Yong Ha and Jae Shin in Sungkyunkwan Scandal: Cut their hair, give them a holster with a gun, and shove them into the 21st century, these two Joseon era boys would grow up to be Pi Zi and Ying Xiong. They were the highlight of that drama for me.

Shin Young, Da Jung, and Boo Ki in Still Marry Me/The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry: The friends with completely disparate personalities and perspectives on life and love, but an innate understanding that friendship isn’t predicated on similarity but rather on sincerity. They were always there for each other.


Recess: Can I Be Your Friend? — 51 Comments

  1. Talking about friendship, I like the one between Park Ji Yoon and Hyun Gi Joon in ‘Lie to Me’. A great platonic friendship between a boss and his female subordinate. She was so close a friend she could yell at him and tell him off when the situation warranted it. She was his trusted aide, as well as confidante.

    At first, I thought manager PJY was secretly in love with HGJ. Perhaps she was but it was never revealed. On the surface, the relationship seemed to be purely platonic. I wish the series had developed this relationship deeper, showing us more on JY’s private life and on GJ providing support to her as a friend, too.

  2. I’ve been trying to think of the great friendships in dramas, and I think the one I will always remember is the friendship between Shuji, Akira and Nobuta in Nobuta wo Produce. I first saw the drama when it came out years ago, and up until last year I was scared to re-watch it. It was so precious to me and came into my life at just the right time; I was afraid a re-watch would make me see all of the flaws and childishness that comes with high school dramas. But mostly I was scared that I wouldn’t love the friendship between the trio. Thankfully, the drama holds up on re-watch. I got to end of the drama and was crying my eyes out again at Nobuta’s selflessness. The way those three interacted was so true to high school, and to life. Everyone is shy to admit they’re friends with the others, but when push comes to shove, they’ll do the right thing and help the other out.

    • I second Nobuta wo Produce and its three friends. That drama was so lovely and gets better with each rewatch. I don’t think any other drama or film has captured that feeling of adolescent friendship, of having a ‘soulmate’, in a sense. For all the high school setting, I don’t think it’s childish at all. It focuses just on three very different people who form a strong bond, who happen to be there for each other through the changes that life brings.

    • I think Nobuta Wo Produce revolved around their developing friendship.. I liked it πŸ™‚

      I also think Joon Ha and Dong Joo’s friendship was really one of a kind… I loved how the two interacted, looked out for each other. They were both really great friends/brothers..

      I also agree with 9E2O..

    • I havn’t watched jap dramas in so long, so my mind went straight to Kdramas when i saw this post….but Nobuta Wo Produce was one of the most beautiful friendship stories out there….when i got to the end of the episode i felt so nostalgic and called my old high school friends

  3. “City Hunter”: Lee Yoon Sung and Ahjussi (Bae Shik Joong)!!!! Do I need to elaborate any more? <3 "Take your couple fight outside please"

    "Warrior Baek Dong Soo": Dong Soo and Woon. <3 <3 <3 I am so invested in their relationship that I dream about them sometimes. They have such a wonderfully developed friendship. Even if they now have to fight on opposite sides they will never be able to actually kill the other. They love each other too much.

    "Sungkyunkwan Scandal": Yong Ha and Jae Shin is a definite for me too. They KILLED me time and time again.

    "Can You Hear My Heart?": Dong Joo and Joon Ha. Okay so it can be argued that their relationship is NOT realistic but damn their heightened level of bromance was so AMAZING… that I don't care about such details. πŸ˜€

    "Bloody Monday": Fujimaru (Falcon) and Otoya. I don't know how to elaborate more on their relationship. I can't quite put it in words but it was this duo that stood out the most to me when I look back on the show even now.

    • After posting this I’ve noticed that I’m a sucker for bromance more than anything else. But to be fair… bromance with clout. At least IMO my choices were all substantial pairings. ^__^

    • The bromance in City Hunter was delightful. It was equal part brothers and best friends. They just need each other to function.

      • I agree YS and Ajussi was just EPIC…I was more invested in their bromance than YS and Nana at one point…..

  4. I can’t forget the kind of love-hate friendship Jinsoo and Eun Young has in Coffee House… or the bond Jandi had with the F4 in Boys Before Flowers… ahhh so envious of her having hot and rich friends…

  5. oh you reminded me. I loved 9 Ends 2 Outs, I want to re-watch it now : ) i understand how they wanted to preserve the platonic relationship, but later on, i was already frustrated with the ‘friendship’ thing, i wanted them to be together already.

    for bromance, it’s SKKS for me!

  6. Loved 9E,2O. It was so mature. So much so that it was weird to realize that it came out of k-dramaland.

    SKKS – of course!

    And Sangdoo’s bromance. In total agreement.

    I actually really liked the friendship between the chicas in I Need Romance.

  7. Shin Young, Da Jung, and Boo Ki in Still Marry Me/The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry: The friends with completely disparate personalities and perspectives on life and love, but an innate understanding that friendship isn’t predicated on similarity but rather on sincerity. They were always there for each other.

    I wish I had had friends like these when I was younger, the mistakes of my life would never have happened.

    City Hunter (Lee Yoon Sung) and ahjussi best male couple to me. There has to be a sequel to City Hunter. This drama answered all wishes and especially that the leads really date. LOL.

    • Ditto! Your choices and comments are spot-on!
      The boys can have their bromance,
      but the ladies can have BRAmance! Or, WOmance
      (we’re having a discussion about this over at DB!)

    • City Hunter!
      City Hunter and ahjussi, and the burgeoning bromance between City Hunter and prosecutor. Why did they kill the prosecutor?! *Sigh*

      And 9 Ends 2 Outs, definitely.

  8. Ah friendship. Where would we be without it? πŸ˜‰
    Black and White, best bromance. I love how two opposites become the best of friends and fight crime together.

    1. Last Friends (Jdrama), this is still one of the most memorable dramas I’ve ever watched. It deals with Juri Ueno a lesbian that falls for her friend Masami Nagasawa. Also Eita comes into the picture and he befriends them as well. My explanation sucks. *sighs*, but the drama was very complex so I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it.
    But friendship was like a major theme that revolved around the characters.

    I’d say Can You Hear My Heart did portray sweet bromance, but it started more like “I need you because I can’t make it through without you” kind of thing. My definition of friendship is being there for someone and vice versa, but not becoming the wings they need in order to fly. Just the air that lifts them off their feet. I dunno, I guess I see it this way because if my personal experiences.

    Warrior Baek Dong Soo is another great interpretation of bromance. Hard to say where it’s headed as of right now, but their beginning was great.

    • Thank you for mentioning Last Friends. It is one of the most unforgettable J-Drama I have ever watched. Personally I find it REFRESHING compare to any Korean, TW, HK and even J-Dramas out there..

      It is not about brotherhood, sisterhood, platonic friendship that is so “common” depicted in most dramas. The friendship of 5 characters (minus Ryo the villain) in Last Friends is the most complicated and honest friendship story I’ve ever watched!

      What I love about this drama is about their friendship, their accepting their differences and their past and overcoming the challenges they faced. The best thing is that they do not need to endure their hardship alone.

      In the final scene, Nagasawa Masami told her friends,”My dear friends, you are my last friends”

      Ueno Juri is soo awesome in here that I forgot her character in Nodame Cantabile.

  9. LBH and JJH in iris is the best for me when JJH dies and says ” you left me very lonely” made cry for hours.

    I liked dokko jin and ding dong in greatests love too, wont call it bromance.

  10. Besides the ones you’ve mentioned, I’d like to add the following two:

    1. The friendship between umm, everyone in “Goodbye Solo.” πŸ™‚
    2. The friendship between the kids in “Sharp.”

  11. My current favorite is the two kids in “Zenkai Girl”. They are adorable and continually plotting to get the adults to finally be together. They also come from completely different backgrounds but don’t let that bother their friendship; it’s super sweet!

  12. when it comes to friendship, it’s always Orange Days that sits top of my list. Another is this other Jdrama that’s strangely less popular, I don’t if people know – Tentai Kansoku. Both these Jdramas let friendship play central stage and my oh my, was their depiction heartfelt and beautiful. I love them up till now. The more recent Kdramas I remember off the bat is Sungkyunkwan and to a certain degree, Dream High. I’m rewatching Pride right now though and just realized how much bromance love goes on in this show too πŸ˜€

    P/S: Koala I love your recesses. If you make it something like a weekly thread here that’d be great! So fun to discuss and think of these!

    • Ahh yes, Orange Days! One of the best youth dramas in J-drama history. It felt as if the characters genuinely liked each, they meshed well together and their interactions didn’t feel forced. Some friendship dramas can come off as cheesy and unrealistic, Orange Days didn’t. Every once in awhile I get an urge to re-watch and visit this group of friends again.

      As far as other j-dramas go, I think Nobuta wo Produce also does a good job of portraying friendship.

  13. my vote (city hall) is for shin mirae (kim sunah) and boomi the friend that lost her job and put up her lifesavings so she could be mayor. boomi was a total wingman the whole series. even when she was fired b/c of mirae she understood. i thought that is the kinda friend everyone should have. @ one time she couldn’t stand to see her face but she defended her on the internet. that is love.

  14. Besides the ones you’ve mentioned, I’d like to add how match I loved the friendship between Ji Heon and Sang Bong in Dr. Champ…

  15. There are only two that I remember and Ms Koala have listed them both:

    1) Black & White – Pi Zi and Ying Xiong – loved them sooo much. Like nothing that I have ever seen in any tw drama ever.

    2) SKKS – Jae Shin and Yong Ha – I didn’t think of PZ and YX when I saw them but these two are just tooo freaking adorable together. LOL Now that Koala’s mentioned it – after haircut and modern fair… they could be PZ and YX hehe.

    That’s all I can remember. I can’t recall any female friendships that were unforgettable to me. I do remember liking Zhi Wei and Xiao Yan Zi’s friendship a lot in the 3 parts of Return of the Pearl Princess, although not sure I’d put it in this category.

  16. I really enjoyed the friendship of the three girls in – I NEED ROMANCE

    Eight episodes in and I also love the friendship between the main actress and her friend in – PROTECT THE BOSS

  17. I love the girls in the woman who still wants to marry! Wish I have close girlfriends like them.

    ohohoh coffee house’s jinsoo and eunyoung, yes they became a couple but that’s like how the 9E2O couple is. Although the reason it took them so long to get together wasn’t because of pure friendship issues like 9e2o, but the way kang jihwan and park shiyeon acted out their characters as close friends of different sex who knows everything about each other was so great.

  18. I like the one between Gong chan (Lee Dong Wook) and his assistant in My Girl, it’s silent but it’s there and the friendship between Yoo Rin (Lee Da Hae) and Jung Woo (Lee Jun Ki) in the same drama

    I also like Lee Shin and Kyu Won’s friendship in Heartstring, reminds me that before they were lovers, they were friends

    I’m sure I’ve seen some great friendships in the past but these are all I can remember now

  19. Nan Hee and Hyun Tae is definitely my number one friendship , I just love how their friendship turn to love was portrayed in the drama. Also I think I have a soft spot for opposite sex friendships since most of my close friends have been male.

    Close second was definitely Jaeshin and Yong Ha , they were just an awesome pair played by two of e strongest actors in the cast.

  20. I have to second bebelusa003.The F4 boys! But to be more specific I particularly liked the depiction of their friendship in MG – the Taiwanese HYD. I thought the friendship between the 4 rich boys was the most genuine in this version. I really felt like they were close friends who cared for each other and supported each other, and could still make jokes and laugh affectionately at Daomingsi’s antics. There were so many scenes in which their bromance stood out more than anything else, and kept me invested in the storyline.

  21. i’m currently loving the bromance between the cousins in Protect the Boss.^_^ Beneath the non-stop bickering, you know both just value the presence of the other.

    • Totally agree. I love that they can put aside their bickering to have a serious conversation, and that it’s so effortless for them. It’s clear that they argue out of love and respect. Aw, I can’t wait to see more of this drama!

  22. The friendship in Friend our Legend was so beautiful and so painful too see… while the friendship between Jae Shin and Yong Ha in SKKS was the best of the drama… i didn’t care about the leading couple, all i wanted was more of JS and YH. Though when the 4 were together it was great to see

    I must add Mixedup Investigative Agency, not only it was a good good drama (i miss it so much) but it was all about the fiedship of the 4 leads… they complete each other

    as i’m a loyal fan of CSW and Best Love I must say that the friendship between Dokko Jin and Ding Dong was so dearly and cute and perfect. i’ll never tire of this couple, i want them together again!!!!

    almost forgot in Beethoven Virus i care more for the friendship of Kang Mae and Kang Goo Noo (forget how it was spelled, I mean JGS) than for the romantic story (even when i like it). and the friendship between the arabushi and the girl make me cry tons…

  23. i admire the friendship that happens between bosses and their subordinates particularly HKJ and PH in Lie to Me and Dokko Jin and his manager in Best Love. All the arguments but deep down full of respect and admiration for each other.

  24. Great post! I love everyone’s comments and revisiting those awesome friendships and partnerships I’ve seen over the years. the friendships in 9E2O, Nobuta Wo Produce, and B&W are my favorites!

  25. ummm, definitely yong ha & jae shin in skks, other than that, cant think of one right now but one thing fr sure i hate childhood friends of SHG’s character in Full House, they’re d worst ever!!!

  26. I’m watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal right now. One of my favorite parts is when Yong Ha admits to Yoochun that he has had gay thoughts about Jae Shin before. Hahahaha. And then used porn to force it out of his head.

  27. – MNIKSS — Chef Lee and Samshik, they were boss and subordinate, friends, drinking buddies and almost in laws! LOL

    -Personal Taste –Sang-jun to Jin-ho was such a great friend that he pretend to be gay and his “lover” so Jin Ho can be in the house… nothing else to say!!! BTW *In Hee* Worst friend ever!!!

    -BBF — The F4, when you are in trouble or you need a few punches to go to your senses, those are the people you need at your side… When your girlfriend “allegedly” sleeps with another man, they CAN and they WILL prove her innocence!!! At all costs !!

    -Protect the Boss — Myung Ra to Eun Seol, when either one is down, they are there for each other, and they even are roommates!

    Friends are the people who love you no matter what, support you in the ups, carry you in the downs, and stay almost neutral in the middles! They are the people who cry with you, laugh with you and of you, and sometimes beat the crap out of you, when you need it!!

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