Second-Lead-Lady-Syndrome: Asian dramas tend to show off a certain kind of woman for the female lead part which almost always happens to be a naive, righteous, kinda weird and really cute little girl. They’re either totally clumsy in an adorable way or completely perfect like a lady. Men might prefer women who need protection by them but I can’t stand those weak stereotypes anymore! Which is why – apart from being in danger to fall for the second lead guy already – I’m also mostly more entertained by the second lead ladies than the main heroines.
There’s just one problem: In a lot of cases is the second lead lady the evil enemie of our main characters which’s why I don’t have as much examples for this article as for the male part. Good and entertaining second females are rare and therefore should be treasured! 😉
ATTENTION! This article contains big spoilers in almost every line so if you’ve not watched these dramas yet I strongly recommend you to do so before reading this! Anyone else: Please enjoy! ^^
Iljimae: “I’m going to protect you.”~ How cool is it when a girl is actually thinking this about a guy? I’ll tell you: Totally mega awesomely cool!! This is what Bong Soon (Lee Young Ah) swears to herself in the historical drama “Iljimae” after discovering who Lee Geom (Lee Jun Ki) really is. Apart from being really cute and funny is she also 100% loyal to her friends and supports her loved ones more than anyone else. Bong Soon absolutely knows who she is, trusts her own abilities whenever she wants to achieve something and always defends her righteous ideals. She wouldn’t back away to fight for the right thing and definitly punch some peoples faces. 😉 On the other hand and besides the whole tomboyish flair is she still a heartwarming lady on which’s side the main hero Lee Geom can relax, calm down and just have fun without any worries or doubts. Dear lord, she even gathers all the money she saved since she was a little girl and buys a freakin’ tree for him! Or the episode where she cuts her hair and masks herself als Iljimae – ready to die any time – to protect and save him! If she’s not perfect no one is! Plus they knew each other when they were children. Bong Soon is definitly the better choice for this dramas main hero and I think he actually really discovers the fact that he relies on her the most. Good for them! 🙂
Jumong: “You need to fulfill your dream for me to be happy.”~ A quote by Lady Ye So Ya (Song Ji Hyo) to her husband Jumong (Song Il Gook) in the historical drama with the same name. Even though the main female lead is neither weak nor needed of protection or naive do I still like her less than Ye So Ya who’s the second lead here. This woman is worth every amount of gold on this planet and I dearly respect her for everything she’s done for the one she loves! Ye So Ya is the most loyal and trustworthy wife a man like Jumong who wants to build a new kingdom can possibly wish for. She loves him with everything she has and is willing to sacrafice her own happiness and life for his dreams and aspirations at any time. Ye So Ya may seem weak and fragile but has in fact a strong will and an unbreakable trust in her husband. Not enough that she’s willing to stay behind in the palace full of enemies just to look after Jumongs mother, no! – After she gave birth to their son Yuri and due to some unfortunate circumstances is Jumong convinced that she and his son were killed in a massacre by his enemies. Even though he can’t forgive himself is he still pushed to marry someone else since a king needs a queen by his side. So he prepares to marry the female lead lady So Seo No (Han Hye Jin). At the wedding ceremony Ye So Ya and little Yuri finally arrive in front of him but after realizing what’s going on is Lady Ye So Ya slowly turning around and leaving this place with their son in her arms without being noticed by Jumong. She sacrifices love, a safe life, happiness and basically everthing she had to her husband and his goals. Ready to live in poverty and raising a child by herself without money, a name or anything else that could’ve helped her – who’d do that without hesitation if not a strong and 100% devoted character? Lady Ye So Ya was born to be Jumongs wife – everyone, even So Seo No, realize that at one point of the story.
Chuno – The Slave Hunters: “Please look at me: I’m way prittier than she is, right?”~ Is this the historical drama edition?! XD I’m sorry but somehow every cool second lead lady I thought of appears in this genre. Weird… ;D Anyway: Seol-Hwa (Kim Ha Eun) is one of those girls you just can’t hate. She’s a dancer and entertainer in a brutal circus group until she decides to join the main hero and his gang and to never leave them again. The guys aren’t really thrilled to have her around because she’s not the usual kind of woman: Seol-Hwa can neither cook, nor wash or clean the dishes. She’s loud, tomboyish and strong willed and seems to have nothing to offer besides a pretty face. But just as the viewer gets to like her more and more as time goes by are her three companions also slowly growing fond of her the longer she’s around. Her good qualities and talents start to unveil themself and she proves to be quite the perfect fellow when travelling around: Thanks to Seol-Hwas history as an entertainer does she know how to sing and play instruments, what she needs to do to make men happy and satisfied and how to amuse them till they can’t laugh anymore. That cheerful character is a great addition to the hardships and sorrows the guys and she face along their way and make their journey like a long never ending party. It’s just unfortunate that the main hero doesn’t realize what a treasure lies in front of him since he’s too hung up on that chick from the past. Too bad.
Second-Lead-Syndrome: As always am I limiting my point of view to Asian dramas and movies – and these are FULL of great examples for the Second-Lead-Syndrome which can basically happen in three ways…
The pitiful little puppy~ Gah, this is the most awful Second-Somewhat-Syndrome I can think of! A drama with such a character usually entertains one of those tiring triangle-love-twists I dearly hate and avoid at all costs. Why? Because I know myself and in 9 of 10 cases I’m SO going to get the Second-Lead-Syndrome that watching this drama actually starts to frustrate me. Let me explain: The main guy in such a story is most of the times a total jerk, rich, arrogant and just disgusting. Our main female lead is not only being insulted and exposed by him but sometimes also put in danger and misery. That guy hates her and she definitely hates him, too. At this time the second lead appears: A gentle, handsome and nice man who could be the best friend of the main lead or a childhood friend of the girl. Either way he’s the one who treats her like a princess to begin with; he loves her from the bottom of his heart, supports her in every way possible, is always running over whenever she calls him and tries to protect her from every evil in this world.
It’s pretty easy to fall for a guy like him because (a) you know from the start that he won’t get the girl which’s why you already pity him precautionary, (b) he’s too perfect to be true and (c) he can’t tell anyone what’s wrong so’s hurting all alone and by himself… which’s why you feel like you’re obliged to sympathize with him.
Second lead guys like that are usually pushed into the drama-world-hell called “friend zone” and will never escape this damned place. I always cry for them… inwardly, of course. 😉
Drama: You’re Beautiful/ Second lead: Jung Yong Hwa (CN Blue) as “Kang Shin Woo”. Just look at his eyes! Gaah!! I cried rivers for this guy. Rivers!
Drama: Cinderella’s Sister/ Second lead: Ok Taecyeon (2PM) as “Han Jung Woo”. Okay, the main lead wasn’t a jerk per se… but who could resist such an adorable Ok Taecyeon right in front of you?! And he was definitly more supporting and nice than the lead guy!
Drama: Boys Before Flowers/ Second lead: Kim Hyun Joong (SS501) as “Yoon Ji Hoo”. Here we have an even bigger twist: The main girl actually really liked the second lead guy which’s mainly the reason why he fell for her. Just that later on she realized that the main jerk isn’t such a total jerk after all so… I guess she changed her mind?! I didn’t understand why, though…
The cheerful funny pal~ Oh, I love these guys! They’re great! Mostly the best friend or brother of the main leads are these guys the characters which make a story mainly as awesome as they’re. They brighten up every situation as soon as they appear, are loyal, helpful (even though a little clumsy), darn lovely and face every misfortune with a positive mindset. The problems along their way may make them fall down from time to time but (a) are they used to falling and (b) do they love their life way too much to be depressed about those small hurdles.
These people don’t poke at our compassion but happiness and bring laughter to us whenever the main story gets too dramatic. I love them! ❤
Drama: Sungkyunkwan Scandal/ Second lead: Song Joong Ki as “Gu Yong Ha”. I love this pal! He’s funny, smart and totally adorable! Plus that Flower-Boy-Face! 😀 😉
Drama: You’re Beautiful/ Third lead: Lee Hong Ki (F.T. Island) as “Jeremy”. Yeah, I know: He’s not exactly the second lead. So what? Let’s call it Third-Lead-Syndrome then. ^^
Drama: Chuno (The Slave Hunters)/ Third lead: Kim Ji Suk as “Wang Son”. The video below may be kinda bad but there aren’t any better ones since he’s neither the lead nor second lead character. He’s one of the best friends of the lead guy. I so damn love this guy! Funny and careless yet loyal and strong – the perfect companion! 😀
Hybrids~ Being both pitiful yet hilarious is this kind of second lead guy the strongest one to look at among my ranking. In many cases are they best friends with the main hero and always try to support them in every way possible even if it means that they have to ridicule them self in front of many many people.
With these guys it’s always a 50/50 chance that they’ll fall for the main girl or not. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. But the good thing is: Even if they do start to have deeper feelings for her is it not as heartbreaking as with the little-pitiful-puppy-type. Hybrids can make us feel compassion and sadness but the viewer still knows that these kind of guys are strong enough to snap out of it. Even if they fall in love are they more than capable to get over it on their own. We feel sorry for them but we know that they’ll find someone else sooner or later – because all in all are they happy people who like to laugh and have fun in life. Which makes them the best best-friends you can wish for! 😀
Drama: Hana Kimi/ Second lead: Ikuta Toma as “Nakatsu Shuichi”. Do I even need to explain? Everyone should know that guy! ❤
Drama: Playful Kiss (or “Mischievous Kiss” or “Itazura na Kiss” or “It started with a Kiss”)/ Second lead: Kim Hyun Joong as “Baek Seung Jo”. Of course I could name you every actor from every version ever made who played this character but let’s keep it short: The video below is kinda bad but I hope that everyone of you has watched at least one version of this already so you know whom I mean. 🙂
Drama: Nobuta wo Produce/ Second lead: Yamashita Tomohisa as “Kusano Akira”. I love Yamapi in this one! I mean: I always love him but especially this character is to die for! Hilarious, adorable and loyal yet somehow pitiful and definitely weird. XD (For the ones who don’t know him: Yamapi is the guy with shorter hair.)