The Noona Romance

I’ve gushed about my love of Noona Romances all over my blog, it isn’t a secret.  Even though my list of completed dramas is still very small, 4 of the 19 completed shows have been Noona Romances.  I just started I Hear Your Voice (another Noona Romance story) and have 25 more on my to watch list.  I thought perhaps I might take a stab at what makes a good Noona love story, at least for me.

I’ve expanded on this idea over at The Noona Meter


So far I’ve watched Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, What’s Up Fox, I Need Romance, and Last Cinderella.  I’ve loved each of these shows for various reasons because they focus on a myriad of subjects that are specific to the Noona Romance.  To be considered as a major player in this story type there are a few things I look for.

1) Age difference of more than 5 years

2) The age difference is a major theme which causes obstacles for the couple

3) An element of puppy love from the adorable/handsome/young dongsaeng

4) The Noona fights against the relationship but the dongsaeng doesn’t give up

5) Heart-fluttering feels from the adorableness of the couple once they agree to actually try and be a couple

6) Bonus:  the show is more mature in how it approaches being intimate

7) Bonus: the script touches on the scandalous nature of the Noona Dongsaeng love or the romance is treated as a forbidden love

8) It really adds to the entire feel if the Noona is also a strong woman who already understands herself. That’s not to say the puppy love of the dongsaeng doesn’t throw her world view upside down, because that’s the best part. However, when the Noona is strong I enjoy the overall romance more.

(NOTE) The Noona and Dongsaeng don’t always have to have a happy ending, sometimes the obstacles and their positions in life work against them.  I’d rather they have a whirlwind courtship and love but make the right choice to end things, than stay together just to stay together.  Sometimes love doesn’t work out, and you have to let go in order to find a new love.  Though its a huge present to me if the Noona and Dongsaeng do end up together.

The story doesn’t need to have everything I’ve listed above, but the more the merrier.  At least there must be an obvious age limit that is the big subject of conflict between the Noona and Dongsaeng.  However, I invest more feels into the drama if the writing uses more of the concepts listed above.


So far, of the four Noona Romances I’ve watched beginning to end, Last Cinderella is my absolute favorite hands down.  It hit on every point on my list, even though the show was only 11 episodes long, it packed so much into every scene.  The way the couple interacted was perfection!  I am totally going to be watching this show again!


Second place for my Noona Romance obsession is I Need Romance it gave me some excellent feels with how they approached the Noona Dongsaeng love.  There was just enough hesitancy on the Noona’s part and determination on the Dongsaeng’s part to get me in the feels.  Once they agreed to actually date it was just the best!


Next comes What’s Up Fox.  As a whole drama I liked it, but it wasn’t one of my all time favorites.   What I really loved about this drama was that it had both a Noona and Dongsaeng romance and a Ahjussi and Dongsaeng romance, both of which I absolutely loved.  For me I really enjoyed how this show portrayed the Noona’s struggle with accepting her feelings for a younger man.


Last, but certainly not least, is Flower Boy Ramyun Shop.  The show took me 2 attempts to get through, but I’m glad I did.  I really enjoyed the Noona romance here.  The main lead was also experiencing sexual awakening as he was falling in love with his Noona and that added a whole new dynamic to the story.

On various places throughout the blogverse I’ve chatted with others about my obsession with this story trope.  I’ve gotten some excellent suggestions for shows to watch, and added the list here.  I’ve also spent time digging through drama lists and searching the net for as complete Noona Romance list. If you have any suggestions for me or opinions on the shows listed below I’d be ever so grateful if you shared them!

Head over to the Noona Meter for a HUGE list of Noona Romances!!!


20 thoughts on “The Noona Romance

    1. I loved it so much! I plan on re-watching it because I loved them as a couple so much! There’s a lot of controversy between netizens over the ending of I Need Romance, but I liked the story. It had something to say and went against the grain. It also had an edginess to it that made it more poignant to me.

      I’m glad my view on the Noona Romance made sense 🙂


  1. I am quite partial to a noona romance myself although I haven’t watched many at all. I dropped Ramyun Shop and What’s up Fox pretty early, it just didn’t take. I did like Dal Ja’s Spring alot, but it was the other stuff that I liked more than the romance, not that the latter wasn’t charming. It’s lee Min Kee after all!

    Oh and about Voice, the funny thing is that the age gap never really is treated as an obstacle. Which is another thing that’s great about their relationship.


    1. In the grand scheme of things I haven’t watched many Noona Romances either, but that doesn’t do anything to quell my absolutely love of them. It took me two attempts to get into Ramyun Shop. At first it was just too silly and too overdone for me. But the second time I watched it I wanted something fluffy and silly and it totally met the bill. Plus the kisses in it are amazing. What’s Up Fox was good, not one of my overall favs, but good. But as far as Noona Romances go it did a really great job confronting all the obstacles that face a Noona love, plus the dongsaeng was adorable in his puppy love. But I can totally see dropping them, they weren’t cracky good by any means.

      Usually the age gap has to be a big element in the Noona love for me, but I’m not missing it at all in I Hear Your Voice. The rest of their relationship and love is just so perfect that I don’t mind that the age thing isn’t brought up at all.


      1. What’s Up Fox was totally one those dramas that I intended to pick up again. But I just haven’t managed to!

        I really feel like marathoning Voice again, just listening to the soundtrack is giving me the warm fuzzies!


      2. What’s Up Fox was a fun ride, a fairly uncomplicated watch. If you ever do get back to it I think you’ll enjoy it. I was just a tad underwhelmed with the ending, but otherwise I had fun watching it for sure.

        We just finished Voice! Omo! I really just want to start it all over again, I loved it so very much! Now I want the soundtrack too!


  2. Biscuit Teacher Star Candy… gah Gong Yoo was amazing in his role… loved his Superman shirt.
    My fav noona romance is IHYV. Lee Jong Suk was just so adorbs and endearing, Lee Bo Young too.


    1. I want to watch that one so very-very badly but I have yet to find a free site that streams it so that I can watch it! It is on the top of my list of want to see, Biscuit Teach Star Candy that is. IHYV was amazing on so many levels, I can see why it is your favorite!


  3. Oh my god, I’ve seen so many of these (and liked them all).
    If I may suggest a few more (mostly Japanese, as I’ve seen twice as many J-dramas as K-dramas) for your consideration… Not all of them meet all the criteria (for example, sometimes the age difference raises eyebrows but is not a major hurdle, etc.)
    1. Bitter Sugar (J, 2011)
    2. Second Virgin (J, 2010)
    3. Love and Eros (a.k.a. Love to Eros) (J, 1998)
    4. Shima Shima (J, 2011)
    5. Starman ~Kono Hoshi no Koi (J, 2013)
    6. Rude Women (K, 2006)
    And last but not least, 7. Tokyo Tower (movie) (J, 2005) – I feel like this movie probably meets all your criteria above– 20 year old Toru is madly in love with his mother’s 40 year old married friend, and running parallel to their story, his friend gets more than he bargained for when he starts what he thinks is a casual affair with an unsatisfied housewife. Incidentally this movie is based on the same novel as the upcoming K-drama Secret Love Affair, though I’m not sure if I could possibly like the K-drama as much if for no other reason than Okada Junichi’s shower scene in the film. ♥
    Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with this. I’m a pretty big fan of this trope myself.
    P.S. You may want to differentiate between Kimi wa Petto (J-drama) and You’re My Pet (which usually refers to the inferior – yes, I said it – Korean film based on the same fantastic manga) so that people know they are two separate works.


    1. May I start out with two things? Many huge apologies for taking so long to respond! I’m terribly slow with comments! Secondly, you are a beautiful human being! I am so very-very excited to add your recommendations to my list! Thank you ever so much for taking the time to tell me about them!!! I am very new to the drama world, and even newer to the concept of the Noona Romance. Though with my first Noona Romance I fell in love with the trope (which I suppose is absolutely obvious now).

      I’ve already added your suggestions to my list! I even differentiated between Kimi wa Petto and You’re my Pet. I absolutely appreciate the advice.

      My goal is that The Noona Meter will become a community project. Soon I will be advertising for guest bloggers who would like to write a review for the Noona Romances they’ve watched so that we can add the polls to get more people involved in rating them sooner. If that makes sense. I’m still working out the logistics, but I truly do want to make a community were other Noona Romance lovers can come and squee!

      Thank you again for your comment, the suggestions, and for stopping by my blog!


  4. A new drama that just aired; ‘secret love affair’ goes beyond noona romance. it’s too intense and there is a strong chemistry between the 40 year old noona and 20 year old dongsaeng (however, some people might have a problem with the drama due to moral issues – that’s all I’m saying – i don’t want to spoil it for you) It’s such a great drama though


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