by Jeana , June 24, 2019

So a long time ago, I wrote an article about anti-heroes, who were more anti and less hero. In other words, they tried to be so bad so good but ended up being just plain horrible. This article ruffled a lot of feathers so it's only right that I also explain to you what I think categorizes a true anti-hero.

Some people often take the term bad boy as a gateway to creating superficial jerks with a nasty attitude and poor character development. Most of these characters are also secret misogynists. (Not that they will tell you that because in their opinion that's just being romantic.) So ladies and gentleman, what makes a true bad boy? In my opinion, someone who has a strong personality, who is a certified badass in established ways, has a flawed character and someone who despite being rough around all edges has a heart of gold underneath. So let's count down some of these bad boys:

10) Grim Reaper 444 (Black)

This drama was a huge hit or miss with the viewers because of its admittedly terrible writing towards the end, messy pacing and illogical happenings but if there was ever a reason to watch, it was Grim Reaper 444 (Song Seung Heon)  He was the life of the show and could often be seen carrying it on his sexy back. I loved the way he went from a cold/blunt/almost selfish jerk to this kind-hearted man. I loved everything about him- his hilarious antics, his cute attempts to adjust to the human world, the way the actor delivered his dialogues and his poignant expressions that actually made you “feel” so much for him. Plus all those black suits were mighty good to him. I couldn’t get enough.

9) 4th Prince (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo)

Personally, I didn't like this show that much. To be frank, this has to be one of the worst written shows I have ever watched. It's like the author had this vague idea of how to begin and how to end and so she bullshitted through the road in-between. There is no character development whatsoever and convenient plot-lines are used time and time again to further the plot. But, if there's one saving grace it's Lee Joon Gi in the role of the fourth prince. Even though I really didn't agree with some of his actions, LJG played this character with the right amount of intensity and vulnerability which makes it impossible not to be glued to this bad boy's every move. He's intense and dangerous with sharp edges that cut anyone who gets too close.

8) Kim Min Joo (Mad Dog)

Despite the presence of the more experienced and brilliant cast members, Woo Do Hwan once again snatched all the spotlight in Mad Dog. He should honestly be named 'show-stealer' because whenever he takes a role he owns it so completely that other people are given a deadly run for their money. So there was no surprise in the fact that Woo Do Hwan's Kim Min Joo slayed me completely and then went for more. 

Kim Min Joo with his German adlibs, sneaky personality and fearless swag were truly one of a kind. He was incredibly smart with talent in annoying people to death. He loved pulling everyone's leg, all the while calmly laughing while doing so. He was a bit arrogant, definitely not one to mess with but ultimately, a huge sweetheart. I loved how realistic his character was. The highlight of the show was seeing him warm up to other people and letting go of his trust issues and finally being given a family that he could rely upon.

7) Lee Kang Doo (Just Between Lovers)

Gang Doo (Jun Ho) was simply an angel. I don’t think people like him exist in this world anymore but it would be a huge relief if they did. On the surface, he was the classic bad boy- all mysterious and rocking a devil may care attitude- but inside he had the purest of hearts. He also resembled a kitten with his hair always standing up and scratches all over his face.

6) Bong Sang Pil (Lawless Attorney)

Lee Joon Gi's acting chops are no joke. You bring him on the screen for two minutes and he’ll show you he isn’t playing. You know how we say that “some actors just emote with their eyes”? Yeah well, LJG emotes with the very flex of his jaw, the flick of his eyebrow, the tilt of his head- you name the part and the man will show you how to act with it. Simply put, he is brilliant. Which is why it’s literally a surprise to nobody that Bong Sang Pil is an extremely enigmatic character with madness in his eyes and gold in his heart. He constantly went from being this adorable dork to this dark and fierce personality that you can't help but be addicted to. It was a joy to watch him and by the end of 16 episodes, I was mighty fond of him.

5) Yamaneko (Kaitou Yamaneko)

Kame's Yamaneko is undeniably one of Dramaland's most beloved characters. Rocking his retro sunglasses, an edgy cat mask and the infamous smirk, he fights crime with crime; one theft at a time. He just has so much swag and style that all I can say is that he's the definition of a badass diva. Yamaneko is that one rude a**hole who comes bullshit free himself and doesn't tolerate anybody else's bs either. He does what he wants to do when he wants to do it.  However, under all his arrogance and goofy persona hides a deeply compassionate, patriotic and thoughtful individual. Ten steps ahead of everyone and always thorough with his strategies; Yamaneko is an idiotic genius. He won my heart over and over again in every episode and made me feel genuine warmth and happiness.

4) Doctor's Son (Cruel City)

Jung Kyung Ho's acting was phenomenal here and he pulled at heartstrings I didn’t know existed. Doctor’s Son was a character dear to me. For someone who had such a tough life, stereotype demands that he be a hardened, emotionless bastard but our guy was the opposite. He cared too much, loved too hard and was always so expressive that you couldn’t help but be attracted. And even though he was rightfully dangerous and deadly, he still had this innocent heart that made you love him even more. Doctor’s Son was undoubtedly the star of the show with his enigmatic personality, passionate heart and handsomely devilish looks.

3) Kim Moo Young (The Smile Has Left Your Eyes)

Kim Moo Young (Seo In Guk) is definitely one of the most enigmatic characters on screen. He was an unreliable narrator in the sense that his motivations were always unclear. You never truly knew whether he was good or evil. He just didn't give a shit about anything, he had nothing to lose and everything was a deadly game to him. There were no lines that he wouldn't cross and that made him dangerous. He had no care for his own life and didn't seem to fear anything. Which is why as the drama progresses and you see him slowly show his emotions, fall in love and become more human- you can't help but become obsessed. Not only is Kim Moo Young one gorgeous bad boy, but the drama itself is also great with the right amount of suspense and romance.

2) Yi  Bang Won (Six Flying Dragons)

Yi Bang Won. Yi Bang Won. Yi Bang Won!

The most fleshed out/dynamic/well-developed character of the show and easily one of the best anti-heroes in K-Drama History. He's simply wonderful. Yoo Ah In did the acting of a lifetime - Out of this world.
Among a sea of self-righteous f**kers, he's a hell wrecker. He's evil, good, kind, reckless, weak, strong, deadly, vulnerable, lonely, childish, manipulative, magnificent, insecure, ambitious, a mastermind but above all- he's wholly human. I just don't have enough words. He was the biggest and at times, the only reason I stuck with this show till the end. The moment SFD plunged into monotony, Yi Bang Won was the one who yanked it back out with all that shit he stirred up. Truly excellent.

1) Ta Hwan (Empress Ki)

Many of you might not agree with my first choice because a lot of people hated this character. Ta Hwan is a highly flawed person and an anti-hero at best. He's selfish, cowardly, naive and obsessive. For one good deed is followed by a hundred missteps on his part and there were multiple times where I wanted to just slap him senseless. But despite all this, Ji Chang Wook made me fall in love with him.

He's the type of character that you'd love to hate and hate to love but soon enough you see the deep scars he harbours, the purity of his heart and you understand him. In a palace full of people under his command, he's utterly lonely, horribly abused by everyone he trusts, constantly forced into his insecurities and you cannot help but weep for him and the pain he has had to suffer. Once you understand him, every horrible action he commits doesn't make you hate him, rather it breaks your heart. I had so much affection for him that I bawled every time he was either volatile, helpless or bordering on insanity. I honestly prayed for his relief. Which is why even though he might now be like the rest of the bad boys on this list, he is still my favourite anti-hero to date.

There are many more to add but right now, I will stick with my top ten.

Who are your favourite bad boys from dramaland?

bad boy anti-hero