10 k-dramas with mythical creatures we’d love to hang out with
Fantasy dramas have something magical about them, not only because they are often quite epic, but also because they are a form of escape from our own, generally less exciting, everyday lives. At the center of these fantasy dramas are the mythical creatures who are inspired by lords and mythologies around the world.
While some of these creatures can be pretty scary, K-dramaland has brought us more audience-friendly versions over the years – and because they are K-dramas – these mythical creatures are naturally played by look and good looking actors and actresses. If the goal of these supernaturals is to enchant us puny mortals, then cast a spell on us, because even if our throats or livers are endangered, we wouldn’t mind getting to know them on a more personal level.
Get ready to learn about some mythical creatures by watching the following dramas:
Aliens in “My love from the star“
One of the biggest dramas of 2014, “My Love From the Star”, stars Kim Soo Hyun like Do Min Joon, an alien who visited Earth 400 years ago but was accidentally stranded here. One day the famous but fleeting actress Chun Song Yi (Jun Ji Hyun) moves in next to him, and he unintentionally gets involved in their games and even becomes their manager at some point. He uses his various powers – including improved hearing, speed, and vision (and a very beautiful face) – to help Song Yi when she is in trouble. And when the two finally fall in love, his skills give him the upper hand when he has to say sweet, sweet words to her.
Virgin spirits in “Oh my ghost“
Korean folklore is one of those cheonyeo gwishin (the virgin spirit) as one of the most feared types of spirits. These spirits arise when a woman dies – you guessed it – a virgin, and are therefore forced to walk around in bitterness and anger. While these ghosts have traditionally been malicious and mostly hideous, K-dramaland has redesigned them and turned them into more rom-com-appropriate characters, like in “Oh My Ghostess”.
In the delightfully funny “Oh My Ghostess”, Na Bong Sun (Park bo young) is a shy girl who suddenly goes out of her way to seduce her boss, head chef Kang Sun Woo (Jo young suk) after being possessed by the virgin spirit Shin Soo Ae (Kim Seul Gi). Now we’re not saying we hope to be possessed by ghosts, however if we were and if You were as great a wing woman as Soo Ae and if It helped us land a guy as great as Sun Woo. Then I wouldn’t exactly say no, you know?
Vampires in “Vampire Prosecutor” and “Scholar who walks the night“
Vampires have long been part of mythologies around the world, and while the portrayal of vampires can be different in each culture (some even shimmer in the sun * cough *), everyone pretty much agrees that vampires are a bunch of good-looking vampires Bloodsuckers. But because murder is generally frowned upon, modern works have also given vampires a conscience and made them use other sources of blood rather than straight from the blood.
The title vampire in “Vampire Prosecutor” is one such non-murderous vampire. Yeon jung hoon plays Min Tae Yeon, a prosecutor who is bitten and turned into a vampire while chasing a suspect. While resigned to what he has become, he instead chooses to feed on corpses instead. For him, this even becomes a tool for solving crimes, as he can learn more about the victim from the taste of his blood. This super slim, super stylish drama reminds us why we can never get enough of these sexy vampires. (And the universe White We can’t get enough because there is a second season to sink your teeth in!)
For something more traditional, K-dramaland offers “Scholar Who Walks The Night,” where a Joseon-era scholar is the one who transforms into a vampire. But Kim Sung Yeol (Lee Joon Gi) is not just any normal vampire. No, he’s the one in charge of keeping other vampires in line, and as such, he’s allowed to walk under the sun as long as he has his special SPF-friendly robe. And he’s not the only vampire to remember here. The antagonist – an old vampire named Gwi (played by Lee Soo Hyuk) – is so tempting that it is easy to fall under his spell and wish we could meet him (from a safe distance).
Mermaids in “The legend of the blue sea” And “Excess Princess”
Jun Ji Hyun is back on our list, but this time as a beautiful mermaid. But unlike the little red-haired mermaid we’re all familiar with, there are no witches or leg trades. Instead, we have a slightly damp mermaid who delights us with her (literal) fish-out-of-water antics.
We follow her on her journey as she searches for her long-lost love, which she finally finds in a very pretty Grifter (Lee Min Ho). This is a beautifully shot K-drama that makes everything feel appropriately fairytale and that takes us back to our more innocent days of dreaming about mermaids. And honestly, having Shim Cheong’s skills like erasing memories and turning tears into pearls can be useful, yes?
Before “The Legend of the Blue Sea” there was “Surplus Princess”, a story more closely related to the original Hans Christian Anderson. Like the OG little mermaid featured here (played by Jo Bo Ah) also falls in love with a two-legged man and steals a potion from a witch so that she can become human. However, she later learns that she only has 100 days to find true love, otherwise it will bubble up and go “pop”! Right now, be warned that this is quite a combative drama, and while the tone sets after the first few episodes, you will keep widening your eyes every now and then. But hey, you wanted mermaids? You have mermaids! (On the positive side, second lead syndrome is painful but good in a good way and is only 10 episodes in length.)
Goblins (and grim reapers) in “Goblin“
The dokkaebi, although translated into “goblin”, is very different from its Western counterparts. Instead of being little, being vicious and craving for gold, Korean lore shows that they have god-like abilities. In fact, once we meet, our perception of goblins is turned upside down the Goblin in, well, “Goblin.” And although Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) possesses supernatural abilities like telekinesis or control over the elements, it’s his dashing personality and his ability to love so deeply that we fall in love with him.
And let’s not forget Kim Shin’s best buddy, the Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook) – a mythical being with whom we are probably more familiar. There have been a few grim reaper depictions in K-dramas over the years, but none have been as adorable or make a bigger impression than “Kim Woo Bin”.
Nine-tailed foxes in “My girlfriend is a gumiho” And “Tale of the nine-tailed“
Gumihos or the nine-tailed fox are mythical creatures that can be heard frequently in East Asia. They often take the form of beautiful women who easily attract their prey and then delight in their livers. Although like vampires, the good gumihos in K-Dramaland avoid this “stereotype” because we could certainly all do without a picture of our beloved hero or our beloved heroine eating a bloody piece of liver. And in the bubbly rom-com “My girlfriend is a gumiho” Shin Min Ah brings so much heart and human vulnerability (and kindness) into her gumiho that it is easy to befriend her.
We see more gumihos in the more recent “Tale of the Nine Tails,” though this time they turn the script around and make them take the form of men (although they are just as beautiful). And in the case of Lee Yeon (Lee Dong Wook), he is more powerful than the average gumiho because he lived over a thousand years and is also a former mountain spirit. His special abilities, which include super speed, control over certain natural elements, and quick healing, are useful in protecting the only woman he has loved in these over a thousand years.
Sun Wu Kong in “Hwayugi“
Sun Wu Kong is originally a character from the Chinese novel “Journey to the West” from the 16th century. Since then, he has been a major influence on pop culture, appearing in Chinese films and dramas, and even being the inspiration for the You Are Goku character from “Dragon Ball”. Recently, K-Drama adapted and narrated their version of this odyssey with Lee Seung Gi plays the mythological sun Oh Gong. This version is just as vicious and shares many of the same powers as the OG Sun Wu Kong. As long as he is not trying to consume you (you know, to augment his powers) you will be sure to entertain him around.