There’s a rather intriguing upcoming mystery Japanese dorama coming soon called Borderless (2021). I really love the mood and lighting in the teaser and the whole aesthetics of the dorama and even the cover poster. With 4 separate stories that are somehow connected to each other, this is very much a girl centered drama, look at this main cast list: Morita Hikaru, Hayakawa Seira, Watanabe Risa, Hamagishi Hiyori, Endo Sakura, and Saito Kyoko. The dorama starts airing March 7, 2021 on dTV, and hopefully someone will English sub it.
Synopsis: Nao, a high school girl living a self-proclaimed “normal” life, is one day approached by her mysterious classmate Kiri in the school library. Kiri invites Nao to come with her to visit a scene of a murder in Kiri’s neighborhood which she’s using as inspiration to write a novel.
Meanwhile, sisters Baeru and Kei, witness their father being beaten by someone on their mountain cottage. The sister flee, only to be chased by the attacker.
Kotone, works at a coffee shop run by her father, after failing the entrance exam for music college. She works with her childhood friend Kazushi, and the atmosphere iw pleasant. Her younger sister Kanon, is worried about Kotone, but spends her days devoted to her band.
A mysterious girl stands on her balcony in the rain. What is beyond the gate that looks at? These four stories will intersect, as the boundaries between each girl gradually become borderless… ~~ Adapted from the novel “Borderless” by Tetsuya Honda
I’m definitely in the mood for something light hearted and fun and this Japanese dorama about a tomboy dressing up as a cute cafe maid may just fit the bill. Himitsu no Ai-chan (2021) is based on a manga and stars Taira Yuna (I’m Underage But I’m Not a Child (2017) – cute film by the way) and Sato Kanta (Sweet Tai Chi). This romantic comedy already started airing on Fuji Tv on February 20, 2021 once a week, 10 episodes as usual. Hopefully, some fan will English sub this dorama.
Synopsis: Kasumi “Ai” Aiko is an athletic, tomboyish member of her school’s basketball club. She is very popular among the girls and can even outplay the boys’ team, with the exception of one person—Amano Reo. His skills on the court are only matched by one thing: his popularity. Envious, Ai proclaims him as her rival, and every day after practice, they compare the number of love letters they each received, which always results in her loss. In need of workers, Ai’s brother employs her at his maid cafe called “Spica.” Since she does not appear girlish enough, her appearance is changed with a wig and some makeup.
One day, Reo visits the cafe with other members of the boys’ team. Worried that they will see through her disguise, she tries to hide, inadvertently spilling drinks on Reo. As she is cleaning up after her mistake, suddenly, Reo asks to go on a date with her. After thinking about it, she eagerly comes up with a plan for revenge—she will make him fall in love with her and then dump him. (Source: MyAnimeList) ~~ Adapted from the manga of the same name by Kaori.
Upcoming Japanese dorama Mairunovich (2021) may be just the ticket for those already missing the recent Korean dramaTrue Beauty (2020). This Japanese dorama is another ugly duckling makeover tale which stars Sakurai Hinako as the ugly duckling Mairu who becomes a swan thanks to Kumada Tenyu, played by Kamio Fuju. The dorama starts airing February 12, 2021. This will air on Hulu, at least on Hulu Japan and hopefully elsewhere as well.
Synopsis: Kinoshita Mairu, is an unpopular high school student, who thinks she’s ugly and plain. She is quickly transformed into a cute girl by the handsome and cool boy, Kumada Tenyu. She will search for real love while using her inner strength to change herself. (Source: Translated of Hulu’s official webpage) ~~ Adapted from a manga by Sato Zakuri.
A remake of a popular 2017 Chinese drama, A Love So Beautiful (2020) is the Korean version of the youth romantic drama. Kim Yo Han‘s first starring drama role pairs him with So Ju Yeon (Dr. Romantic 2 (2020) and 2nd male lead Yeo Hoe Hyun. For those not familiar with the original, this is a familiar story of a young girl who confesses to the cold, brainy student. A Love So Beautiful (2020) airs December 28 on Netflix.
Synopsis: Cha Heon is a student at Chun Ji High School who has both good looks and brains. He appears to be a cold character, but he is actually someone with a warm heart who is awkward at expressing himself well.
Shin Sol Yi is a bright and bubbly 17-year-old who has a crush on Cha Heon. She openly confesses her love to Cha Heon continuously, and she is a clumsy but lovable character.
Woo Dae Sung is a talented swimmer who transfers to Chun Ji High School and falls for Shin Sol Yi. He does not express his feelings for her and quietly stays by her side. (Source: Soompi
Not a big fan of love triangles, but this kdrama has an intriguing premise about a girl becoming a beauty overnight. True Beauty (2020) is based on a webtoon and stars Moon Ga Young (Find Me in Your Memory), Cha Eun Woo (Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung) and Hwang In Yeob (18 Again). This romantic comedy airs on tvN on Dec 9, and should be English subbed.
Synopsis: It is a romantic comedy about a high school girl Im Ju Gyeong, who rises to pretty girl fame after she masters the art of make-up from YouTube. She turns into a goddess because of her makeup skills, but would rather die than reveal her bare face to anyone. It tells her love story with the only boy that saw her without makeup, Lee Su Ho. Lee is an attractive and handsome boy who appears cold because of his dark past but is actually very caring. They grow when they meet each other sharing their secrets and finding love with each other, but can Su Ho make Ju Gyeong find her true beauty? (Source: Wikipedia) ~~ Adapted from the webtoon “Yeoshingangrim” by Yaongyi.
True Beauty (2020) has a similar premise to kdrama My ID is Gangnam Beauty (2018), which oddly enough also featured Cha Eun Woo as the male lead 🤔. Lee Shi Eun, who also wrote Top Star Yoo Baek, is the screenwriter here and the director is Kim Sang Hyub (Extraordinary You), so a pretty good team here. The webcomic is still airing, so whom the female lead ends up with remains in the air, but regardless, this is one I’ll check out.
The lakorn, The Gifted: Graduation (2020), started September 6, 2020, but I thought I’ll bring it up anyway as only one episode has aired so far. This is a sequel of the acclaimed 2018 hit, The Gifted. This should be 13 episodes, 55 mins each and it airs on Sunday. I’m sure this will be English subbed on GMM’s youtube channel just like the first lakorn was.
Synopsis: Two years have passed and the new school year begins again. With it comes the resurrection of the Gifted program, and a hidden threat from the Ministry led by Darin, a new teacher. Time, a promising new student and member of the newest gifted generation, seek change within the school while upholding its hierarchical structure. Filled with danger and more complications than it seems, what will the final battle be like? Who will be victorious? Will Pang and his companions be able to maintain their friendship and ideals? Can they defeat Director Supot?
It looks like the director, Waasuthep Ketpetch, and most actors have returned in this sequel which is again about a group of students who have special powers. I’ve had the first lakorn on my plan to watch list for a while, and with this airing only once a week, it might be a good time to catch up on this lakorn.
Another teen drama came out recently I haven’t covered that looks cute and short, Pop Out Boy! (2020) and is based on a webtoon series. It aired June 25, 2020, should be only 10 episodes long and 15 minutes each and you can watch it English subbed here.
Synopsis: Tells the story of a fictional male character from a romance comic who jumps out of the 2-dimensional pages into real life. One day, Chun Nam Wook tears through the pages of the comic book and appear in front of the story’s female lead, Han Sun Nyeo. Right out of the pages of a fictional comic book, Chun Nam Wook may be a heartthrob, but once he opens his mouth he can’t help but make overly cringey, emotional comments at every turn. ~~ Adapted from the webtoon series, ‘Comic Book Boy Girl’.
Since there are a couple of lakorns coming up around the same time, and not much else airing this week, I decided to talk about one of my least favorite genres, teen/young adult lakorns. Hook (2020) airs July 4, followed by The Underclass (2020) which airs July 5. Both will air on GMM25 and will probably be English subbed on youtube.
Hook (2020) synopsis: Despite their fathers’ rivalry, two university students form a friendship at a boxing gym as they tackle family drama, romance, and personal crises. (Source: Netflix)
The Underclass (2020) synopsis: After getting dropped from an elite program, a student gets tangled in the affairs of a high school gang while trying to find her own identity.
Of the two, I am more interested in The Underclass (2020) which will also be airing on Netflix.