Entertainment

How these 5 women in K-dramas gave us 'main character energy'


K-dramas are known for having cheesy romances and leads with rose-tinted views on love. 

But if you dive deeper, there are many that explore meaningful themes beyond your usual boy-meets-girl stories — more specifically, ones with leads that exude ‘main character energy’.

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To radiate ‘main character energy’ simply means taking control of one’s life and finding empowerment through trials and tribulations. 

Here’s a list of characters from K-dramas that exemplify that.

Noh Da-hyun (Link: Eat, Love, Kill)

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In episode four, Noh Da-hyun (Moon Ga-young) gets berated by her mother who hopes for her to become a grade five civil servant. This leads to an argument between the two and Da-hyun breaking down.

Da-hyun says firmly through her tears: “I wasn’t born to make you proud, Mom. I wasn’t born for dreams you weren’t able to achieve. I’m so sorry, I want to live my life however I want to whether it’s good or bad. 

“I want to make decisions for myself and be responsible for my actions.”

Seeing Da-hyun stay true to herself and fight for control of her future reminds us that we should stand up to societal pressures and the path other people set for us, or to put it simply, be the main character of our lives.

Yoo Jung (Bloody Heart)

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Yoo Jung (Kang Han-na) is abducted by the evil mastermind Gye-won (Jang Hyuk), who wants to disguise her as his niece in hopes that she’ll marry the king and he can gain even more power within the palace.

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He threatens her with the lives of her family, and even in such a terrifying situation, Yoo Jung remains unshaken and composed. She also comes up with an elaborate plan to get out of Gye-won’s clutches safely without putting her loved ones at risk.

She stands up to Gye-won with a straight face and tells him to “let me go”. If that doesn’t scream ‘main character energy’, then what does?

And it’s not her first brush with death either.

When she was young, Yoo Jung witnessed her parents being unfairly executed and was close to death herself until she was saved by Lee Tae (Lee Joon). When she refuses to back down despite facing death a second time, it’s clear she’s not wasting her second chance at life.

Perhaps going through a near-death experience was part of it, but having Yoo Jung’s bravery, strength and determination to fight and treasure a second chance is indeed something we all need a little bit of. 

Park Tae-yang (Going to You at a Speed of 493km)

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In this sports drama, lead character Park Tae-yang (Park Ju-hyun) struggles and punishes herself for an accident that happened to her ex-friend Jun-young three years ago.

The accident occurred when Tae-yang dragged Jun-young out for drinks and a snowboarding trip but the latter got injured during the secret outing. It ruined Jun-young’s badminton career and she covered up the truth by telling everyone that she hurt herself during training.

Tae-yang faced no consequences, save for the years of gut-wrenching guilt that haunted her.

In episode 11, Tae-yang finally decides to come clean and reveal the truth despite being on the rise to becoming a badminton star, saying she is unafraid of people tearing her apart and that she wants to be honest. 

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Seeing Taeyang muster up the courage to do the right thing was inspiring because we all know how hard it can be to admit to our wrongdoings. Hey, main characters make mistakes too, but what matters most is owning it and what we do after to make amends.

Geum Seok-yeong (Doctor Lawyer)

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What would you do if your brother died and your fiance admitted to killing him?

Doctor Lawyer’s female protagonist Geum Seok-yeong (Im Soo-hyang), a prosecutor, is caught in an impossible situation when her fiance Han Yi-han admits to killing her brother due to medical malpractice.

Unknown to her, Yi-han was threatened by the head of the hospital because the latter is just trying to hide a lot of dirty little secrets — as most drama villains are wont to do.

Seok-yeong confronts Yi-han but he keeps up the lie and breaks up with her. Angry and upset, she turns her rage into her motivation to (legally) punish negligent doctors.

Most who have suffered crippling losses like our leading lady might give up (and it’s justified), but she doesn’t. Faced with the injustices of life, Seok-yeong chooses not to surrender to that which she cannot control and instead hones in on what she can do as a prosecutor.

She showed us that we too can harness our strong emotions and use that to push ourselves forward and be the change you want to see in this world.

Hong Ye-seul (Kiss Sixth Sense)

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Our heroine, Hong Ye-seul (Seo Ji-hye), is a project manager of an advertising agency who tends to be a pushover. She also often seeks the approval of her boss, Cha Min-hoo (Yoon Kye-sang), and frequently makes her decisions based on his responses.

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When Ye-seul takes charge of a campaign for a bedding company and proposes ideas to her bosses, her lack of confidence shows when she is constantly prepared to be rejected.

In episode two, after Ye-sul finishes setting up a pop-up store to promote their campaign, Min-hoo questions why she didn’t present an idea like that earlier to him. 

He later offers some enlightening advice — that it is better to make one good plan instead of coming up with many proposals — before subtly complimenting her work. After this scene, Ye-seul is empowered and resolves to show her work in a better light in the face of her superiors.

While the male lead is the catalyst for change, our leading lady teaches us that it is okay to accept compliments and learn how to become the star of your own life. At the end of the day, people are more likely to be convinced that you’re capable if you own your power.

If you want to watch these ‘main character energy’ moments, be sure to catch these K-dramas (and more) currently streaming on Disney+.

ALSO READ: 42 new K-dramas you can catch in 2022

syarifahsn@asiaone.com

aishahm@asiaone.com





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