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What’s a trope? According to Urban Dictionary, my most accurate friend on the internet, it is basically a term for popular plot devices. Tropes start as an element in a plot that helps to progress the story further. Then, when that element gets popular among the public viewers, it’s applied to a million other stories in all kinds of ways– hence then adopting the term ‘story trope‘.
Alright, enough of the education!
In the land of the romance genre, fans always have their own favorite romance trope. There are the classic ones that one cannot simply ever get tired of, such as – hate to love, marriage contract, fake dating, etc. And in the world of Asian romance shows/films, these tropes have been frequently used. Do they only use these tropes because the producers are too lazy to come up with innovative ideas? Well… yes… sometimes.
BUT, they’re classic. And we undoubtedly still love to watch the same stuff because it’s just the way things are meant to be.
Scientists have proven that 99.99% of fans of the romance genre have chosen ‘hate-to-love’ as their favorite trope of all time and who am I to disagree? Die-hard fan oppasb4pizzas strictly stated that–
“When that oppa tells you to die, just know that he’s going to tell you to love him back 10 days later.”
Sounds a little toxic? As romance fans, we simply– sometimes– don’t care.
If we analyze carefully, how many romance dramas have actually managed to give us the spicy hate and all the JUICY bickering banters which slowly fade into a heart-quenching romance? Sure, you’re enemies-to-lovers… but are you done RIGHT?
I’ve seen countless enemies-to-lovers romances where stuff just goes wrong. Like, when the spicy tension is rather a viewer’s full-fledged hatred as MC treats the other MC horribly and is in no way suggesting romance or the hatred between the two leads is simply illogical and there’s realistically no way the two could ever fall in love. Then there’s also the enemies-to-lovers dramas where once the leads get together, it’s boring. So boring that even dozing off seems to be too much.
As a strong fan of the trope myself, here’s a few shows that I personally believed had given me what I truly desired.
The title just says it all, and they ain’t even kidding when they say they could bite each others’ heads off.
Mad For Each Other follows a man and a woman who struggle with anger management issues and delusional disorder caused by a previous traumatic event. At first, their mutual hatred is DEEP, but as a viewer, you will be able to observe how smoothly their relationship progresses. You wouldn’t be able to believe firstly how these two characters could ever fall in love with each other, but as the story proceeds, the detailed character dynamics impressively helps in both their character and relationship development – and it is a TREAT to watch. The show only got 13 episodes, each of them being about 40 minutes. I can promise these leads will make you love them wholeheartedly in 13 short episodes– something many full 16-episode dramas often failed in accomplishing.
One of the best known classic enemies-to-lovers BL dramas in the whole industry, and the best done, in my opinion. SOTUS played a big part in paving the way for queer romances in Asia, and everyone knows that.
This drama follows a college freshman and a college senior who meet in a Thai college system, known as SOTUS, where the seniors ‘discipline’ the freshmen, using unjustifiable means. It sounds wonky, especially since this drama is a romance, but this show stands out a lot when it comes to the hate-to-love trope. The progression of the relationship between the leads and the character development of the ‘senior’ lead is extremely satisfying, and the chemistry between the actors is unforgettable. A must-watch, if you ask me.
Her Private Life has a whole lot more to offer than one must think. No, it’s not just about a woman who leads a double life as a professional career woman by day and a hardcore fangirl by night, but it also definitely handles ‘enemies-to-lovers’ like it’s their newborn baby.
This drama is one of my absolute favorite Korean rom-com. It’s witty, has an adorable FL and a swoon-worthy ML, and a romance that is extremely addicting– almost like a drug. Their relationship is what every fangirl on earth hopes. It is quite unrealistic in terms of that, but the un-reality is what I love most when it comes to romantic comedies.
Tori Girl is not romance centred, doesn’t have any romantic scenes (if I’m not speaking about the heartbreaking confession scene), but at the same time, it’s the perfect execution of enemies-to-lovers.
The full-on bickering rivalry between the leads, slowly blossoming into a beautiful friendship, was lovely to watch. I’m sure any fan of the trope will obsess over the leads and their relationship, even if it’s not literally ‘lovers’. Also, their chemistry is just *chef’s kiss*. I can see myself rewatching this film anytime.
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Which romance trope do you want me to recommend shows/films of next?
Comment down below!
Editors: BrightestStar (1st editor) and Cookie (2nd editor)