I recently have seen several requests in the recommendation forum for dramas where the male lead falls in love first and chases the female lead for a while before she falls in love. That inspired me to write this article with 10 dramas so this can become a reference to people who look for this kind of topic.
Let’s begin with this, I’ll say the first three dramas are “classics” within this troupe and are the most highly known since they have been around for a while.
I think almost anyone who is into dramas has seen at least one version of this story (Boys over flowers, Meteor Garden, Let’s go watch the Meteor Shower, Meteor Garden remake). I picked Hana Yori Dango as this is my favorite adaptation and also my first drama ever!
Hana Yori Dango is a Cinderella story where the poor girl and the very rich guy end up falling in love, though Domyouji falls in love first with the Makino and he falls hard in a pretty obsessive but cute way (though some of you might not agree with me in this opinion). Since Makino is Domyouji’s first love, he’s unsure on how to express his feelings to her, so his initial attempts are quite silly and sometimes dangerous ones. Makino initially considers Domyouji her enemy, and it’s not thrilled at all by Domyouji’s actions. She rejects him pretty strongly and even gets in a complicated relationship with Hanazawa Rui, Domyouji’s best friend.
Secret Garden is also a Cinderella story. The female lead is an action stunt who ends up crossing roads with the male lead, a chaebol. The male lead falls in love with the female lead at first sight and decides to follow her everywhere she goes (a little stalkerish). In the beginning, he believes that once he gets the female lead’s attention and after having a short relationship he’ll be able to let her go and return to his world. However, as we all drama lovers know from experience, this won’t be the case, and both will be tangled in a complicated relationship (due to love and also some secrets from their past).
Gil Ra Im is a strong woman who lives independently since her father’s death and resists the idea to live as a Candy, therefore rejects the male lead.
This drama also has some fantasy elements that do make the story more interesting and fun to watch. Also do look forward to the second male lead whose character has been one of the most memorable from Yoon Sang Hyun.
The Greatest Love has to be one of my favorite kdramas ever! I just love the male lead until this day, Dok Go Jin left a deep impression on me. Dok Go Jin is a very famous and successful actor who once suffered from heart problems and underwent heart surgery. The female lead is a former famous idol who lost popularity and is currently a low rated idol. Dok Go Jin falls in love with the Gu Ae Jung, but he’s in denial of his feelings at the beginning nevertheless he keeps helping her until he admits he’s in love with her. I really love how he starts being really cocky but gradually becomes such a sweet pile of love towards Gu Ae Jung.
Gu Ae Jung rejects him since she doesn’t have time for love and wants to focus on surviving in the entertainment world and live as quiet as possible without rumors damaging their family.
The following dramas may not be that popular or are more recent ones so it may be unfamiliar to some people.
Leaving aside the Cinderella stories, we have Sekai ichi muzukashii koi, though the male lead is the president of the company where Shibayama Misaki works. In this story, Misaki is not the typical poor female lead, she is a hardworking person, a carrier woman. This is also a love at first sight story, where Samejima Reiji falls in love when he sees Misaki working in one of his hotels. Since this is the first time he falls in love, he’s really unskilled in heart matters, so his first approach with her ends in failure.
Since he left a bad impression on Misaki, this will be a hard task to accomplish but, fortunately, he has the help of his chauffeur and personal assistant who will help him with advice and techniques in order to conquer her heart. I really liked how practically every character in this drama becomes Reiji's ally during his journey to conquer Misaki. There’s no love triangle in this story. It just focuses on the OTP’s relationship.
The only historic drama within this list, Moon Lovers, is a remake of the very famous Chinese drama Scarlet Heart (though I haven’t watched it yet). This drama has the time travel fantasy element which makes the female lead go back in time to the Goryeo time period. There, she meets a bunch of princes including our male lead, Wang So, the 4th prince. She initially falls in love with the 8th prince while the 4th prince falls in love with her due to her unique personality and her lack of fear towards all the rumors surrounding him. He’s pretty possessive towards her and continuously refers to her as his person. He slowly starts showing her his kind side and keeps protecting her from all the dangers she’ll face in that era.
This story is also a reverse harem so you can look forward to watching all the princes and their individual stories. Please be advised, many people consider this drama a tearjerker though some like me did not shed any tear at all.
Boku, Unmei no Hito desu is a story of average people. There are none rich characters in here just normal people and that’s one of the reasons I like this drama. Though Masaki Makoto is somehow pushed to conquer Kogetsu Haruko as the fate of the world depends on it, this is a really cute drama.
Makoto chases Haruko trying to win her favor, but she thinks he’s somehow a crazy person and doesn’t want to be involved with him. Nonetheless, our male lead is really hardworking, and sincere in his actions so this helps him get into Haruko’s heart.
Another of the selling points of this drama is the bromance between Makoto and the mysterious man that appeared in his apartment. Their interactions are fun and also cute to watch, and when you add another male character to the equation, there’s entertainment assured.
From 5 to 9 has a sweet male lead instead of the typical arrogant one. Hoshikawa Takane is a monk who meets the female lead in a funeral and falls in love with her. He’s very straightforward and announces that he’ll marry her, thus his journey to win her heart begins. Sakuraba Junko is an English teacher who is not particularly interested in getting married and finds it really weird that Takane wants to marry her after their first encounter. Takane enrols in the English school where Junko works in order to get closer to her and convince her to marry him.
The male lead’s motives to woo the female lead are initially not related to love, or that’s what he has convinced himself. Lee Yeong Joon is the president of the company and Kim Mi So is his secretary. She has been beside him for the longest time and she knows how to handle his temper and peculiarities. But once she announces she’ll resign from her position in order to search for her true calling, Lee Yeong Joon feels really troubled and doesn’t want to let his perfect secretary go so he decides he’ll make her fall in love with him so she won’t leave his side. He is the classic narcissist and self-centered guy whose wooing methods are not typical nor very successful. On top of that Kim Mi So has never seen him as a love interest but only as her tyrannic boss, so she has no intentions of falling in love with him.
The highlight of this drama is the great chemistry between the leads and also their great performances. There’s also a hidden childhood secret between the leads which honestly is kind of cute but also kind of overused resource in kdramas lately.
This one is a web drama which means the episodes are short so it’s a really easy watch, you’ll finish watching this in no time. The female lead, Cha Yoon Seo, is a veterinarian while the male lead is an entrepreneur. They end up meeting due to Lee Kang Hoon being stabbed and Cha Yoon Seo rescuing him. I consider the male lead to be one of the most possessive and stalkerish within this list in his approach towards Cha Yoon Seo. It also has above the average kdrama kisses.
Another web drama with really short episodes, the male lead is the president of an entertainment company who meets the female lead while being lost in the mountains. He then tries to get her to sign with his company, but she likes her life in the mountains and is not interested in the entertainment world. He keeps pursuing her and even goes to the mountain to look for her on several occasions. This is a cute and very light-hearted drama that runs smoothly.
* EXTRA *
I decided to add this drama into “extra” category since I end up dropping it because I ended up disliking the female lead. But since it may be to someone's liking, I wanted to mention it so you can consider watching it. The male lead is kind and not presumptuous at all though he’s very popular with the ladies.
Please comment if you have more recommendations on this troupe! What's your favorite one?