My Descent into K-drama Madness

by: Raine

I’ve posted about the Vortex that Is the K-drama, which explained that I have a severe addiction to K-drama (and drama in general). Now I want to explain the process by which I fell into addiction as one of the steps in my “Korean Drama Addicts Anonymous” guidebook.

One day in the sixth grade I was at a friend’s house. She had just received the latest video tapes of 美少女戦士セーラームーン, or, Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon, from her grandmother who lived in Japan. I had never heard of anime or manga before then. I sat down in her living room with her Dachshund curled in my lap and began the long road to obsession.

A year later, I had a massive Sailor Moon collection of cards, dolls, tapes, posters and other general otaku type collectables. I had the manga translated by Vic and by fansubbers. I’d watched every single episode. However, for some strange reason or another, I didn’t branch out to other manga or anime until high school when my sister also got into it.

…..

…..

I also played a ton of RPGs growing up and was exposed to the wonderful world of Japanese gaming with its addictive story lines, scores and gameplay.

Needless-to-say, I was well on my way to addiction.

By the end of high school I had tons of anime and manga under my belt. My list of  Asian Dramas/Films/Anime I’ve Seen (or read) isn’t nearly complete.

In college, however, my time became consumed by my anal retentive need to have straight A’s and practicing for private lessons, orchestra, quartet and other various and sundry concerts, recitals and master classes. In graduate school, I had even less time as a TA.

But, after graduation dumped me on reality’s doorstep, I found time on my hands that I didn’t know what to do with. I saw my sister’s Chobits poster and decided to find the manga online to read again. And then I found another manga I used to love. And then I decided to watch the corresponding animes.

Do you see a pattern?

………………

Eventually I stumbled across Kimi wa Petto and I fell in love. It was my manga sweetheart. So when I discovered there was a t.v. show based on it, I searched the internet and found this site called dramacrazy. I loved the dorama and decided to find more.

Eventually I became curious about the number one show on the site called “You’re Beautiful“. I’d never watched Korean television or read manhwa or listened to K-pop. I knew a bit about Korean traditional music and instruments from my studies but that did NOT prepare me for the awesomeness entitled “You’re Beautiful”.

Again, the cycle commenced. One after another I devoured K-dramas. But this time it was different. I found myself researching actors, directors and writers in more detail. I stumbled across dramabeans and seoulbeats. I met people in open threads and bumbled my way through cyberspace, now fully addicted and in need of rehab.

Eventually, I started this blog. It’s my version of therapy.

There you have it ladies and gents. My sad story. Now it’s your turn. Share your story with me. I would love to hear it.

If addiction is judged by how long a dumb animal will sit pressing a lever to get a “fix” of something, to its own detriment, then I would conclude that netnews is far more addictive than cocaine.” – Robert Stampfli

End Rant 5.

34 thoughts on “My Descent into K-drama Madness

  1. eva626 says:

    i watched like a total of FOUR sailor moon ep’s. thats it. great stories about all you guys’ addiction to these dramas! very cool.

    pst. they all STILL look like ladies

  2. MadDino says:

    My Kdrama love story:

    I’ve always been a bit of a TV addict, but always hated having to watch at a specific time so online TV was my specialty. I searched every inch of Hulu to find a good show. I remember seeing a few Kdramas highlighted, like “Personal Taste”. One day I was at school and couldn’t find my headphones. Mr. Dino had stolen them the day previously. I was waiting for him to get off work and pick me us so I pulled out my laptop and tried to find something to watch quietly.

    That day Hulu happened to be highlighting “Playful Kiss.” I looked perfect. I could read the subtitles and not disturb anyone even if I had the volume up a little bit. So I sat in the corner and devoured my first episode of Kdrama. I loved the silly antics and the different culture. Playful Kiss only had two episodes on Hulu, but reading the comments I found out that there were two more episodes on this little site called Viikii. I watched those and then went back to Hulu to look for more.

    I remembered looking at Pasta and thinking, oh, it only has one season. Let’s find a complete series. None of the dramas had more than one season. So I started that one anyway not wanting to watch a show week by week, but season by season. Imagine my surprise when the drama ended and it was really over. No cliff hanger ending. Just over.

    That’s all it took for me to fall in love. I’d watched too many American shows that had been cancelled and was sick of it. I never looked back as I started consuming them marathon style. Suddenly my American shows that I’d followed for seasons were tedious.

    I remember watching Boy Over Flowers. It was my first angsty drama and I found myself crying over and over again. The over-the-top mother and the bullying. The injured shoulder and amnesia. All those cliche moments wrapped into one show. Eventually I watched other sad dramas, but nothing quite compares with my first angsty drama. Goong maybe. I hated her crushed spirit and how confined she was. I still can’t bring myself to think of it in a positive light.

    Eventually I found the world of recaps as I waited for Secret Garden. I was suddenly tossed into a world of not just stumbling among the old dramas that were complete, but currently airing dramas.

    Eventually I found Koala’s Playground. I started to realize that other people could recap and not just about Korean dramas. I loved the less formal website and diversity of shows. I wanted to do it myself. Even with only a year of drama watching under my belt I felt I could give my opinion. So I started my blog.

    Wow long.

    • MadDino says:

      Anime: Never really an addict, but the one that started making me like them was Vision of Escaflowne. Watching it later, it wasn’t as good I first remembered and it got cancelled half way, but I remember the blonde knight and being so smitten by his looks.

      • Becoming Bitter says:

        Wow that makes me and Ranting Cello your Unni in terms of Anime and Asian drama watching. I like that. By the way, It’s amazing that you were able to start your own blog about these dramas with only a year under your belt. It really shows how much you love them.

        Side Question/Slightly Off Topic:
        You’re not watching “Once Upon A Time” then? It’s really good. So far 3 episodes have been released.

        • MadDino says:

          It looks so good, but I’ve learned from experience not to start watching Sci Fi or Fantasy TV shows. I get helplessly addicted and then they get cancelled. I get massively addicted to just about anything I start. I watched Grey’s anatomy for a long time. I started 4 seasons in and watched those four seasons in like a week or two. Dramas are just right because I can marathon one over a weekend. Or I used to. If I’m right I’ve probably watched 2-3 full dramas a week as well as most currently airing dramas for the last year. Full fledged addict. I reminds me of my high school days where I read 3-5 books a week.

    • thejawavillager says:

      My version is most similar to yours, MadDino. I started over a year ago when a friend of mine had a Korean friend who’d gotten her to watch Boys Over Flowers. I was on the phone with her, and since we usually recommend stuff to each other that neither of us bothers to look up, when she told me, yet again to check this one thing out and that I “won’t be dissappointed, I PROMISE’ I was dubious. I mean, there’d been just too many times when she got me all hyped up only to feel like I’d wasted my time. But miraculously, later that day, while on youtube, feeling a bit bored and lost, the weird name of the show she mentioned came to me and I watched the first episode on youtube. I thought there was something wrong with the people, though. Why were they all always yelling at each other and speaking all funny? LOL, little did I know it would be that very difference that would attract me one day. Anyways, by the end of episode one, I was lost. I knew I had found something special. I, obviously, marathoned the series and had many sleepless nights. During the night, I’d watch and during the day, I’d be consumed by the need to get back on my laptop/computer. I caught myself smiling, thinking of Gu Jun-pyo’s and Jan-di’s antics. I loved both of them. After finishing the series, I infected my cousins in paki with the asian drama bug, and later targeted certain friends of mine and got them to watch it too. This drama is the prefect first stepping-stone for a potential drama addict. I watched PT later, and though it wasn’t BOF-good, it was entertaining. I discovered dramacrazy and went through all their most-watched dramas. Discovered Coffee Prince, and I knew I’d never feel what Korean drama’s make me feel in any other form media. I loved how refreshing the dramas were after the tedious season after grueling season of western dramas. It’s like they start the season with a problem, work on gradually solving it during the course of the episodes, and by the last episode, screw it all up again so that we can imprison ourselves to sit through the ceaseless torture of yet another season. Korean dramas rock. From dramacrazy I watched the rest of the cross-dressing dramas (A theme I think I shall never fail to delight in) and a few J-doramas. I liked them, quirky and dark as they were, but they failed to get me in the gut like the K-dramas I watched did. I didn’t liek the ending of Kimi wa Petto or the ending of Hana Kimi. (That drama taught me for the first time what Second Lead Syndrome feels like). So I’m sticking primarily to K-dramas. Plus their actors and actresses are the best looking, and I’m superficial and cheap that way. I love staring at a pretty face, and BOF right there in the beginning, ruined me. I read the hana yori dango manga, all of it. I first noticed how long it was, and thought I’d never finish, but when I started, I couldn’t stop. LOVED THE MANGA. I loved the differences and extensions from the korean adaptation. It was simply amazing, plus there was a lot more ‘action’ in the manga. 😀
      I gradually, like MadDino, watched my first currently airing drama, Dream High, and lived the crack-withdrawal-crack lifestyle for the next few weeks. I loved that drama, I LOVED HOW SAM-DONG GETS THE GIRL. I thought this’d be Hana Kimi part two, but thankfully, it gave me the most satisfying ending I have ever seen. Damn. This is too long. graaaah. I started this blog out of frustartion. No one I knew was interested, and the people I had gotten hooked rarely had time anymore, so I turned to blogworld in search of kindred spirits. And I have found them 🙂 Oh, and I must download sailor moon. My interest is piqued.

      • MadDino says:

        I love cross-dressing dramas too, but I’ve never liked Hana Kimi. The one that took me the longest to watch was Coffee Prince though. I kept wondering why everyone was talking about it because from the summary I thought the main girl was actually a guy. So I thought it was actually about two men falling in love and that’s just not my cup of tea. I’m so glad I found another description.

      • Raine says:

        Villager – Ah, and thank you for the awesome story. I am indeed please to call you sister in k-drama madness. BTW, read the manga of Kimi wa Petto. MUCH BETTER ENDING. And for your information, when you watch Sailor Moon, Sailor Saturn is mine (She comes a few seasons in). If you take her,in the name of the moon, I will punish you! I’m just saying, the end.

        Villager and Deeno – I like cross-dressing too. It gives writers a lot of extra fodder for…well…everything. I wish they’d explore married life more. Or a committed long term relationship in one of the pairs, like they did in Coffee Prince. Of course have one ridiculously cute couple getting together, but I did appreciate that about CP and QoR.

  3. Becoming Bitter says:

    Now, because my blog is NOT about my Asian drama addition I can share my story here. First anime ever seen: Sailor Moon when I was young (can’t remember exact age). First drama ever seen: Devil Beside You in my Junior/Senior year of high school. I graduated a year earlier from high school that’s why I’ve typed ‘Junior/Senior’ because my last year was my junior and senior year. A Russian girl named Victoria was watching DBY on her laptop and I sat right behind her. Eventually I got suckered in and watched the drama for myself. I loved it. It was my first drama after all. I got into manga within a few years ago though.

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