We all love this trope. In K-dramas, when a man and woman meet and absolutely despise each other, they are quick to discover that they may actually have feelings for each other. There is a fine line between love and hate after all, am I right? This trope is always successful in bringing all the feels as we’re able to see the cold-hearted OTP turn from being hateful and angry towards each other to being warm and loving. Here are 12 “enemies to lovers” K-drama couples that exude intense chemistry.
Disclaimer: We’re talking SIZZLING, too hot to handle, chemistry!
In “Hyena,” Yoon Hee Jae (Joo Ji Hoon) falls in love with Jung Geum Ja (Kim Hye Soo) and makes it pretty obvious that he wants to be with her. What Hee Jae doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Geum Ja’s master plan. Hee Jae is a lawyer at an elite law firm and Geum Ja, who is also a lawyer, is trying to do whatever she can to get high profile cases so that she can make more money. The two realize that they’re total opposites and are better off staying away from each other, that is, until a specific case forces them to work together.
This is a noona drama that really doesn’t feel like one. There are not many noona K-drama main leads that can pull this off. Joo Ji Hoon’s mature acting, character, and aura definitely made us a believer in his connection and feelings for Kim Hye Soo’s Jang Geum Ja. There is so much tension and angst between them whenever they are on screen. This chemistry carried the series, making it one of the best of the year. Just look at the way Joo Ji Hoon looks at Kim Hye Soo!
2. “1% Of Something”
Lee Jae In (Ha Seok Jin) is forced to be in a relationship with Kim Da Hyun (Jun So Min) in hopes of attaining his grandfather’s inheritance. The two are total opposites in character, but they decide to go through with a six month contract relationship with some added requests. They bicker, fight, and can’t see eye to eye on most things but they somehow manage to find a way into each other’s hearts.
An underrated K-drama with all the classic tropes, this drama was such a success solely based on the chemistry between Jun So Min and Ha Seok Jin. These two had fiery chemistry that was undeniable from the start. Even when they were arguing and bickering throughout the entire series, you could feel the tension and intensity in their feelings for each other.
3. “Her Private Life”
“Her Private Life” is the hit K-drama rom-com starring Park Min Young and Kim Jae Wook. The series involves an artist by the name of Ryan Gold, who falls in love with an art curator named Sung Duk Mi (Park Min Young). What else can we say about this series except that it’s a healing K-drama that hits all the right notes?
To be fair, Park Min Young has had great chemistry with just about every co-star she has ever acted with. She’s just that great. In this specific role as Duk Mi, she grows to love her arrogant boss Ryan Gold – who later turns out to be pretty awesome. The emotions the two show through their love for each other and the passion in their kiss scenes will take your breath away.
4. “The Innocent Man”
Kang Ma Ru (Song Joong Ki) is on a mission to get revenge on the woman who ruined his life. Ma Ru made the biggest mistake of his life when he took the blame for a crime that was committed by a woman he loved named Han Jae Hee (Park Si Yeon). After spending time in jail and having thrown away his promising future, Ma Ru decides to do whatever he can to take Jae Hee down.
Just like any good melodrama, there is a villain and betrayal. In “The Innocent Man,” the villain that we hate to love is Song Joong Ki as Kang Ma Ru. The conniving and deceitful ways in which he coerces Seo Eun Ki (Moon Chae Won) into loving him as part of his revenge will make you angry. But as he starts to develop strong feelings for her, it’s undeniable that the two have some crazy chemistry. That dangerous kind of love ignites such heated passion!
5. “Secret Garden”
This classic drama stars Hyun Bin as Kim Ju Won and Ha Ji Won as Gil Ra Im. Gil Ra Im is a stuntwoman who accidentally meets the CEO of a department store named Kim Ju Won. Although the two are repulsed by each other at first, they slowly start to fall in love with each other. The two find it difficult to be with each other because of their respective backgrounds, but they still fight to be together.
“Secret Garden” is a classic for a reason. This heart-warming romantic comedy stars a couple of legendary Hallyu stars. Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won are amazing actors, which is what made their chemistry that much more undeniable. Gil Ra Im’s resistance and hate towards Ju Won in the beginning paves the way for some intense feelings and chemistry between the two as the series progresses. Her not being with him despite her love for him created a synergy between the OTP that will go down as being legendary.
6. “Full House”
“Full House” stars Song Hye Kyo and Rain as two opposite personalities who by chance end up having to be roommates. Despite their deep hate for each other, the two develop a relationship that becomes more love-hate and then eventually full out love.
“Full House” is one of the first dramas K-drama fans think of when they think of the theme “enemies to lovers.” Han Ji Eun (Song Hye Kyo) and Lee Young Jae (Rain) are two characters who are forced to live with each other despite their detestation. The beginning part of their relationship is rather humorous, but as they start to open up to each other and have feelings, the fire is ignited. The passion between the two is intense!
7. “It’s Okay, That’s Love”
This drama stars veteran actors Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin, which means you really can’t go wrong performance wise. Jo In Sung plays Jang Jae Yeol, an enigmatic writer who is dealing with the effects of a traumatic childhood. He comes across a feisty psychiatrist named Ji Hae Soo, played by Gong Hyo Jin. The two fall in love and are faced with having to deal with each other’s issues together.
The emotional intensity of this series could not have been successful without the likes of Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin. The two share a special bond in the drama that is very strong. This drama was only a success because of their chemistry. As Jae Yeol suffers from a mental illness, seeing Hae Soo comfort him and desperately want to help him was all the comfort we needed. It was the indirect healing that satisfied all viewers.
8. “Master’s Sun”
Gong Hyo Jin plays Tae Gong Sil, a girl who barely gets enough sleep at night because she’s constantly being pestered by dead people wanting her to do things for them. But when she meets Joo Joong Won (So Ji Sub), she finds out that when she touches him, she doesn’t see the dead people. The two start off despising each other, but because Gong Sil is able to find peace when she’s around Joong Won, she’s pretty clingy. The two embark on a weird relationship and somehow end up falling in love with each other.
Yes, there is yet another Gong Hyo Jin drama on this list because it has to be mentioned. When you have Gong Hyo Jin and So Ji Sub as the main leads, you can darn well expect some squeal-worthy kiss scenes. So Ji Sub as Joo Joong Won is hilarious, especially with his detestation for Gong Sil and continually pushing her away despite her “need” for him. As the tables turn, Joong Won wears his heart on his sleeve and the intimate scenes they share with each other give all the butterflies and feels!
9. “My Love From the Star”
“My Love From the Star” is a drama that took all of Asia by storm. Kim Soo Hyun stars in this drama as Do Min Joon, an alien with a chip on his shoulder who falls in love with the vain and outrageous actress, Cheon Song Yi (Jun Ji Hyun).
This particular series doesn’t start with the OTP being “enemies” per se, but the two are pretty annoyed with each other when they first meet. Do Min Joon can’t understand the high maintenance Song Yi and couldn’t be bothered with all the hustle and bustle that comes with her celebrity life. But when he discovers that there is a very fine line between his annoyance with her and actual genuine feelings, he can’t help but express his love. The two have such great chemistry that the series became an international success!
10. “The King 2 Hearts”
There’s nothing like an “enemy to lovers” storyline like “The King 2 Hearts” as it involves a North Korean woman and a South Korean man. Starring Lee Seung Gi as Prince Jae Ha and Ha Ji Won as a North Korean special forces agent Kim Hang Ah, the drama tells the story of how the two find themselves falling in love.
There is a lot of hate in this particular love story, but it eventually blossoms into a beautiful and intense love that is filled with passion and sincerity. Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won always do well in their respective roles, but their chemistry together really hits home in this particular series. The way in which the two connect and really have feelings for each other always lights up the screen.
11. “Marriage Not Dating”
Kong Ki Tae (Yeon Woo Jin) meets Joo Jang Mi (Han Groo) by accident. His immediate reaction to meeting her is disgust. He can’t believe a woman like Jang Mi exists, and above all, she’s the woman that his best friend had just broken up with. Jang Mi also expresses her annoyance with Ki Tae and it seems like the two would never get along, until Ki Tae sees Jang Mi in a new light and starts to realize his feelings for her.
This series shows the complicated emotions that people go through when they break up with someone. At first it seems as though the relationship between Jang Mi and Ki Tae couldn’t possibly work out, and that if it does, it would be somewhat forced. The two despise each other from the start, but as the story goes on, you really see their feelings grow. By the end, you see that their chemistry is really on fire and that their love for each other is real.
12. “Touch Your Heart”
When Kwon Jung Rok (Lee Dong Wook) first meets Oh Yoon Seo (Yoo In Na), the two completely butt heads. They are opposites in personality and professions; Jung Rok is a well-respected attorney and Yoon Seo is a famous celebrity. Yoon Seo begins working as Jung Rok’s secretary to get more acquainted for a future acting gig, and as much as he despises this situation, he reluctantly agrees.
Many of you may remember this beautiful duo in their roles in “Goblin.” Lee Dong Wook played the Grim Reaper and Yoo In Na played his long lost love Sunny. The two had such undeniable chemistry in that drama that fans were ecstatic to see them returning on the small screen as main leads. They did not disappoint in “Touch Your Heart.” Their chemistry was enigmatic as ever and it’s almost sad that we can only admire the couple in the dramaworld.