As the period of preparing for the next year of school looms upon us, everybody will be starting to think more and more about their school life. Maybe you enjoy school, maybe you don’t but either way, there’s not really any harm in watching some fictional examples of school life. That’s what school-based dramas are for! Whether Korean, Japanese or Taiwanese, there’s a school-based drama out there for everybody to get hooked on! Check out some recommendations here - warning: contains story plots.
1) Dream High - featuring big names such as IU, Kim Soo-hyun, miss A’s Suzy, T-ara’s Eunjung, as well as 2PM’s Taecyeon and Wooyoung, Dream is a drama of six students all striving and working together to achieve their dreams to become big in the entertainment industry. Throughout their journey they give each other support and love even comes into play…
2) Hello My Teacher - Na Bori, played by Gong Hyo Jin, is desperate to work at the old school she was expelled from due to a misunderstanding with teachers about injuring some of her male classmates. The 25 year old obtains her GED to teach and dismisses all job offers from other schools to work at her old school, with the aim of working alongside an art teacher she fell in love with at high school, Ji Hyun Woo, played by Kim Da Hyun. But there’s a catch! She can only gain the job if she babysits student Park Tae In (Gong Yoo), known for causing trouble. Tae In is soon regarded as “jjang”/”king” of the high school so makes it his duty to play tricks on teacher Na Bori who students quite like due to her nice personality. Things get worse as Noh Jemma, played by Choi Yeo Jin, is irked and jealous of the relationship Na Bori and Tae In have, leading her to trying to get Na Bori removed from the school… again.
3) Boys Over Flowers - With Goo Hye Sun, Lee Minho, SS501’s Kim Hyun Joong, Kim Bum, T-Max’s Kim Joon, and Kim So Eun, this popular drama is set in the prestigious Shin Hwa School, one which rich pupils attend. When poor girl Geum Jan Di (Goo Hye Sun) goes to the rescue of a boy jumping off a rooftop, she obtains a scholarship in order to calm down all the attention and hype over the incident. Goo Jun Pyo, Yoon Ji Hoo, Soh Yi Jung, and Song Woo Bin are boys who have formed a group named F4, a group which the whole school worships…apart from Jan Di.
There is however, a member of the group Jan Di doesn’t mind at all - Yoon Ji Hoo, a boy she reckons is not like the others in F4. In order to stick up for one of her friends, Jan Di talks against F4, causing Jun Pyo to bully her. Ji Hoo, despite being part of F4, always helps Jan Di when she has been bullied, leading Jan Di to slowly gain feelings for him. But in an unlikely twist, Jun Pyo develops feelings for Jan Di at the same time and Jan Di’s feelings for Jun Pyo also intensifies…
4) Mysterious Incredible Terminator/The Clue Collector - The Pi Li MIT team of Sheng Ying School are secretly protecting the school, a fact that becomes rapidly known by the students. They had broken up but a new Pi Li MIT was formed again when the Black Ghost started creating havoc. Teacher Cherry has created the secret team, comprised of “007” (Zhan Shi De), “187” (Qian Fu Hao), “747” (Huang Hui Hong) and “Tian Mo Xing” (Li Xiao Xing), whose main aim was to solve the crimes and giving the school peace again. This team needs to unlock the mystery of the Black Ghost and collaborate together to calm the differences that make them clash.
5) God of Study - Lawyer Kang Suk Ho (Kim Soo Ro) gets a job at the local high school where bad grades are prevalent. Upon seeing this, Suk Ho goes on to make a class which promises to help students pass entrance into “Chun-Ha-Dae University,” Korea’s most prestigious college. Suk Ho’s five students who are considered to be the laziest - Hwang Baek Hyun, Gil Pul Ip, Na Hyun Jung, Hong Chan Doo, and Oh Bong Goo participate in the class to prove that with hard work, the best achievements can be made.
6) Devil Beside You - Featuring Rainie Yang and Mike, this drama depicts the struggles of Qi Yue and Ah Meng to become a couple. At first Qi Yue likes the school’s basketball captain, Yuan Yi, but eventually falls for the school headmaster’s son, the mischievious Ah Meng. From Qi Yue’s mother and Ah Meng’s father dating leading Ah Meng and Qi Yue to become step siblings, to Ah Rang (Ah Meng’s younger brother) having feelings for Qi Yue to Yang Ping (Ah Meng’s friend) trying to kill Qi Yue, there’s never a dull moment in this drama.
7) Hanazakari no Kimitachi e - If you’re looking for something light and full of comedy, Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (also known as Hana Kimi), tells of a girl who disguises herself as boy joins an all-boy’s boarding school. Ashiya Mizuki goes on to fall in love with the high jump hero Sano Izumi and attends the school in order to persuade him to carry on with high jumping after he quits because of an accident. Things get funny when Ashiya has to share a room with Sano…
8) Gokusen - Granddaughter of a Yakuzo boss, Kumiko Yamaguchi whose parents passed away when she was just seven, is the next in line to inherit the family business, Ojou after her grandfather. The problem is Kumiko has always wanted to be a teacher and although her grandfather is fine with this, her other relatives would rather see her as the next head of Ojou rather than a teachers. Nevertheless, Kumiko goes on to become a teacher at a private all-boys high school, teaching a class with many trouble makers. She gives her all in trying to make them focus on important life lessons as well as mathematics, which she is supposed to be teaching. Kumiko must keep her family’s situation secret from the public but due to her past life history, she finds the courage to speak out and touch her students minds with her experiences.
9) Brown Sugar Macchiato - Six boys coming from all sorts of different backgrounds with very different characteristics learn that they are all brothers from the same father… and they are all about to inherit large amounts. However, the one thing they must do is to attend the same school, live in the same house in order to become united as brothers. But how can they do this when they all despise each other, AND have to put up with a group of nine nasty school girls? Find out if the boys do become a family in the end or if developing feelings with classmates drives them further apart than they already are…
10) Jungle Fish - Starring Kim Soo Hyun and Park Bo Young, Jungle Fish outlines a school setting where cheating and faking grades are not uncommon. The drama also highlights the deep pressure and immense stress of entrance exams at extremely competitive South Korean high schools.
Which drama will you pick to get yourself in the mood for school again?
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