Something New: The Noona Meter

There are so many tropes out there that are repeated throughout dramaland.  I am admittedly a fan of quite a few of them, however, there is one that captures my heart a little more than others.  The title of the page gives it away.  So without further ado I present my homage to the Noona Romance.

Noona_Meter_01What is it about the Noona Romance that gets me right in the feels?  I did my best to explain that or at least touch on what I love in a Noona Romance here.  I”m most assuredly a Noona myself or if you’d prefer an Ahjumma.  Either way I’m certain that puts my heart in the right place.  Regardless of reasons I love them so!

I’m creating this space in order to build a shrine to the trope that I hold so dearly to my heart.

I’ll be compiling a list through research, suggestions from my dramaland friends, and discovery with the hopes of being as complete a list as I can manage.  I’ll be covering everything that is obviously a Noona Romance, those when the Noona Romance is the secondary story, and hopefully sometime soon those stories that twist the idea of the Noona Romance to their own purposes.

As I watch and review these dramas I will be rating them on my basic system (Characters/Actors, Story/Writing, OST, Sets/Costumes, and Feels) with a 1 to 10 rating per category to be given an overall score.  However, I will then score it separately as a Noona Romance.

To grade the Noona Romance part of the Noona Romance I’ll be using the freshly minted Noona Meter!Noona_Meter_04

1) Emphasis on the Noona Romance being a Forbidden Love. = One of the most important parts of the Noona Romance for me is the titillating feeling of breaking the societal rules in such a taboo way.

2) Importance of the Noona and Dongsaeng’s Age Difference. = How much is the age difference stressed and agonized over.

3) Dongsaeng’s Persistent Puppy Love. = Another exceptionally important part of the Noona Romance is the quality of puppy love that the Dongsaeng has.

4) Noona’s Resistance to the Puppy Love. = Because of the love being Forbidden and the Age Difference the Noona must put up a believable resistance to the Dongsaeng’s Love.

5) Noona and Dongsaeng’s Relationship. = When they finally make that leap to be together, is it adorable and sweet and loving?

6) Noona is Consistently Strong. = Another great thing about the Noona Romance is the fact the lead female is an Ahjumma, or at least a Noona.  They are, for the most part, already established and confident in their lives.

Noona_Meter_03These are the six categories that I’ll be using to rate each Noona Romance.

Something that I am very excited about is that I’ll be asking all my other Noona Romance Lovers to participate in this project.  After I’ve rated the Noona Romance on the Noona Meter I’ll be adding Polls for each question so that you amazing people rate these dramas as well.

My hope is to give as balanced a view on the Noona Romance as possible, along with as complete a list of Noona Romances as I can create.

Please help me to make this a fundamental place for the Noona Romance.  Join me over at The Noona Meter!


27 thoughts on “Something New: The Noona Meter

  1. I have to confess that I’m not a fan of noona romances but I’m not averse to them either. I always prefer similar age romances or the opposite of noona romance, i.e., older man-younger woman….but there are so MANY viewers who love this trope to pieces.
    Anyway, this will be an interesting post to read


  2. AWESOME! So much fun Jaime! I look forward to casting my vote in all the noona roms that I’ve seen. And if this is a little late, I love the new look around here. Very grown-up!


  3. I also love the noona romance (if it’s done right). Two of my favourite noona romances of more recent dramas: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and then the currently airing Let’s Eat. I looooove how that one is playing out. And I really do love the Noona Meter!


    1. The Noona Romance done wrong is a painful watch to be sure. I loved the Noona Romance in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop! It was so good. I haven’t watched Let’s Eat yet, but you’re the second person to suggest it to me so I’ll probably get to it soon!


      1. Let’s Eat is sooooooooo good!!!! It’s well written and acted and it’s quirky and fun and feels more real and honest than a lot of dramas I’ve watched. It will however make you feel like you’re starving to death because of all the delicious food!


      2. Noted, watch just after eating or while eating otherwise I won’t survive! From the few reviews I’ve glanced at and the feelings from my drama friends is very positive. Plus it has a Noona Romance that I wasn’t aware of! That’s a huge plus 🙂


    2. I actually prefer the mature couple than the noona-dongsaeng pairing, the romance is slow-moving but I don’t mind as the whole thing is using food as a catalyst to bring people together and it feels like a slice-of-life drama about these people. The noona romance in this drama is not working that well for me because I just don’t understand how the heroine fell for him all of a sudden. I understand her idolization but not how it turned to be love, I hope future developments will clear this out for me.


  4. I do like noona romance for the reasons you stated but… it really depends on the coupling and cast itself, I don’t want to feel like the lady is a cougar. There’s a certain limit to the age gap and it also depends on the maturity and age of the guy. For example, I can hear your voice…. on paper it would never work for me, a high school boy and a grown-up lawyer?! But because of the casting, the way they interact and how the boy grown into a man in the later part makes their whole pairing SO awesome.
    BTW, I’ve already forgotten than Choi Jin Hyuk starred in a noona-romance before in I Need Romance, he was my favorite and I was SO rooting for him and the girl but sadly, the girl still went back to her jerk boyfriend. I think the reason I forgot he was in INR is because I hardly associate him with Noona-romance anymore due to his choice of dramas and characters in the recent years.


    1. I totally agree, the cast can really make or break the Noona Romance. However, that probably goes for any drama really. But with the age difference and so many other intricate details in making the Noona Romance function properly, if the cast has no chemistry then it absolutely doesn’t work. Especially the leads, they really need to work well together in order for the story to give me any feels. Hehe yeah there is definitely a fine line that the show needs to balance to avoid making the Noona a cougar.
      Agreed, the dongsaeng must either grow to become more mature through the story or he has lived through some life experiences that have given him more maturity than his peers. Yeah, I Hear Your Voice could have been badly done because of the ages, but it was well written with the actors delivering excellent subtitles.
      I loved Choi Jin Hyuk in I Need Romance so much, it was such a good part! I might be biases since he’s my current K-Crush, but I really think he did such an amazing job with that part. Yeah I haven’t enjoyed too many of the recent dramas he’s been in. Though I am LOVING Emergency Couple! And it’s a Noona Romance! So good!


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