Fantasy K-dramas are fun to watch because they often present an interesting twist to a reality most of us can relate to. Most of them utilise lore we’re already familiar with to keep the relatability high despite the escapist nature of the plot. The conflicts the characters face, whether they’re mortal or mythical, remain grounded. The genre feels as real as our own realities even if it’s make-believe.
Ready to expand your world from mundane to magical? These fantasy K-dramas are just what you need on your watchlist.
My Roommate Is A Gumiho (2021)
Gumihos, or nine-tailed foxes, are popular mythical creatures in East Asian fiction. Gumihos in 2021 K-dramas have now taken the male form, a deviation from the originally female gumihos. One story that depicts this is My Roommate Is A Gumiho starring Jang Ki-Yong and Lee Hye-Ri. The two play the nine-tailed fox Shin Woo-Yeo and college student Lee Dam respectively. Their fates became intertwined when Lee Dam accidentally swallowed Shin Woo-Yeo’s Fox Marble which caused trouble for both their mortalities.
Why you should watch it: The huge contrast between Lee Dam’s quirky personality and Shin Woo-Yeo’s collected attitude is usually the cause of laughs in this story. But apart from the expected rom-com element, it also doesn’t shy away from heart-wrenching moments that involve the two leads. You’ll surelhy have a hangover for the series, which is why you should check out our list of where to watch the cast next. Catch the series on iQIYI.
Doom At Your Service (2021)
Ever imagined what would happen if someone who wishes the world to end and a celestial being whose existence means disaster meet and fall in love? This drama gives that and more.
The story starts with Tak Dong-gyung (Park Bo-Young) discovering that everything about her life is falling apart. She’s diagnosed with brain cancer and only has three months to live. She learns that her boyfriend is actually married and is a soon-to-be father. Everything is off at her job. Feeling annoyed and frustrated, she wishes for the world to end upon seeing a shooting star.
Meanwhile, Myul Mang (Seo In-guk), a messenger between gods and humans, causes disasters beyond his control simply by existing. Upon hearing Dong-Gyung’s wish about dooming the world, Myul Mang decides to fulfil it, sharing similar feelings of despair about his own life.
Why you should watch it: If that plot summary didn’t intrigue you, then we don’t know what will! Kidding aside, despite its bleak start, Doom At Your Service is actually a very heartwarming story about love, life, and navigating through bittersweet moments we encounter everyday. Stream it on Viu.
Hotel Del Luna (2019)
Jang Man-Wol (IU) is the owner of Hotel Del Luna, a guesthouse meant for ghosts. Her soul is tied to the hotel because of a grave sin she committed over a millennium ago. The hotel’s true form is not visible to humans unless they're under very special circumstances. One day, a series of events leads her to cross paths with Gu Chang-Sun (Yeo Jin-Goo), a human who was promised to work at Hotel Del Luna by his father 21 years prior.
Why you should watch it: Visually stunning, beautifully written, and filled with a lot of comedic and heartwarming moments, Hotel Del Luna is simply a delight to watch. It transports us to a world beyond the one we’re living in but still touches on very human pains and moments that reminds us why life is wonderful despite its trials. Did we mention Man-Wol’s outfits are simply envy-worthy? P.S. This drama has been picked up to have an American remake, too. Talk about another reason to add it on your Netflix watchlist.
Not all fantasy K-dramas fit the rom-com genre. Kairos is a good example. Zooming in on two tragic stories that unexpectedly intersect, this thriller-suspense series makes use of the ‘different timelines’ trope to deliver a riveting story. It stars Shin Sung-Rok and Lee Se-Young as Kim Seo-Jin and Han Ae-Ri who exist in timelines a month apart from each other. Both struck with unfortunate incidents that turned their lives around, they make use of their knowledge from their respective timelines to prevent their fate.
Why you should watch it: Delivering twists after twists that are not convoluted, Kairos will keep you at the edge of your seat at every episode. We don’t want to spoil details, but be ready to feel a rollercoaster of emotions that go from frustration (in a good way) to elation as soon as you hit play on that first episode on Viu.
Sisyphus: The Myth (2021)
Han Tae-Sul (Chae Seung-Woo) has it all. He’s a successful engineer and the co-founder of Quantum And Time Company. However, despite his heroic reputation in Korea, he’s actually distraught — an effect of his brother’s death a decade ago. One day, he uncovers something about his brother’s death that causes him to spiral even more. Gang Seo-Hae (Park Shin-Hye), an elite soldier who comes from the future, enters Han Tae-Sul’s life and helps him.
Why you should watch it: If you're in the mood for an action-filled time travel story, this is the one to watch. There are tons of twists that’ll keep you glued to the screen from start to finish. Chae Seung-Woo’s acting is also stellar; it provides heart to the most emotionally charged scenes. Park Shin-Hye, on the other hand, shows her versatility once again by playing an empowered character in the story that balances both action and drama. Start binging it on Netflix now.
(Cover photo from: netflix.com)