Remember the butterflies in your stomach when you had your first crush? The excitement of embarking on a new adventure? The uncertainty and hope that filled your teenage years?
Kdramas have a very unique way of bringing those memories flooding back and capturing the essence of coming of age with heartfelt storytelling and compelling characters.
Just in case you aren’t in the know, coming-of-age Kdramas are centered around the themes of youth and characters on the cusp of maturity.
Featuring the growing pains that inadvertently dog everyone, there’s a very good reason this genre of Kdramas is so well-loved.
In this article, I have curated a list of the best 13 coming-of-age Kdramas that will transport you to the world of teenage dreams, aspirations, and the universal experiences that shape us into who we ultimately become.
Here are some of the best coming-of-age Korean dramas to watch right now:
1. Hello My Twenties!
Five vivacious young women who have different personalities, backgrounds, and challenges share a vibrant home known as Belle Epoque – which is French for ‘a beautiful time.’
Amidst their dynamic camaraderie, a mystical sixth presence, believed to be a ghost, resides within their cherished abode, albeit perceived uniquely by each resident.
Bound by an unspoken understanding, the girls forge unbreakable bonds and navigate the rollercoaster of their eventful twenties.
In this amazing coming of age drama, they’ll navigate relationships within their circles, explore the thrills of dating, support one another, and embrace a myriad of experiences: from work pursuits to spirited nights, and from cherished aspirations to heartfelt dreams.
2. Fight For My Way
Ko Dong Man, fueled by his lifelong ambition to become a renowned taekwondo athlete, finds himself stuck in a humdrum role as a contract employee.
Meanwhile, his quarrelsome yet loyal friend, Choi Ae Ra, yearns to shine as a television anchor but finds herself confined to an information desk in a department store.
As for their close companions, Kim Joo Man and Baek Seol Hee, their six-year relationship faces an unexpected challenge.
While the characters in this drama aren’t exactly on the cusp of adulthood, there’s a recurrent theme of transition and all the characters have superb arcs.
3. Sassy Go Go
Set in the prestigious Sevit High School in Seoul, this spirited school coming-of-age drama chronicles the lives of five students navigating the treacherous realm of academic elitism.
Kang Yeon-doo (Jung Eun-ji) is the spirited leader of the outcast street dance club “Real King,” composed of students who bond over their academic struggles.
Opposite her stands Kim Yeol (Lee Won-Keun), the charismatic president of “Baek Ho,” an exclusive club for the top 5 percent.
When circumstances merge the two clubs into a cheerleading squad, they set aside their differences for the greater good.
Through their misadventures, they forge an unbreakable bond, experiencing love, heartbreak, pain, and friendship.
4. Who Are You School 2015
At Sekang High School, nestled in the esteemed Gangnam District of Seoul, Go Eun Byul reigns as the school’s beloved queen bee.
However, her identical twin, Lee Eun Bi, endures a life of torment in an orphanage and faces relentless bullying at her school.
Fate takes a dramatic turn when Eun Byul vanishes under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly, Eun Bi finds herself stripped of her memories, mistaken for her missing sister.
Embracing this unexpected twist, Eun Bi courageously steps into Eun Byul’s shoes, embarking on a transformative journey of self-discovery as she assumes her sister’s life.
5. Twenty-Five Twenty-One
In the vibrant year of 1998, Na Hee-do shines as a skilled fencer at Seonjung Girls’ High School.
However, the infamous IMF crisis disbands her beloved team. Undeterred, she transfers to Taeyang High School, determined to chase her dreams.
Through unwavering determination, she secures a coveted spot in the National Fencing Team.
Meanwhile, Baek Yi-jin’s family faces the harsh realities of the financial crisis, forcing him into a string of part-time jobs. Eventually, he rises as a passionate sports reporter.
Fast forward to the present day, Kim Min-chae, Hee-do’s spirited daughter, embarks on a transformative journey as she discovers her mother’s diary at her grandma’s house.
6. Dream High
Go Hye Mi is a gifted classical musician who makes a sacrifice by joining Kirin to settle her father’s debt. However, she must convince two fellow students to join her for enrollment.
Enter Song Sam Dong, a country boy with hidden potential, and Jin Guk, whom she encounters while fleeing from a loan shark.
As the trio embarks on their musical journey, Hye Mi’s former sidekick, Yoon Baek Hee, becomes her formidable rival, fueled by a betrayal during a crucial audition.
7. Record Of Youth
In an era where dreams have become a rare luxury, witness the invigorating tale of young individuals navigating the paths of love and ambition with unwavering hope.
Sa Hye Joon, blessed with both intelligence and good looks, is adored as a popular model. However, his true passion lies in acting, a dream he relentlessly pursues amidst countless auditions and setbacks.
Despite lacking a noticeable presence as an actor, Hye Joon remains undeterred.
Ahn Jung Ha is a vibrant make-up artist whose sunny exterior masks a hidden loneliness. Seeking solace, she finds refuge in idol fandom.
This coming of age Kdrama has the very best of what makes this genre superb – the relatable feeling of young souls chasing their dreams in their own unique ways.
8. Because It’s The First Time
Yoon Tae Oh is a carefree and spirited 20-year-old college freshman who shares a lifelong bond with Han Song Yi, whose radiant and optimistic nature captivates him.
As their friendship deepens, Tae Oh discovers newfound feelings for her.
Alongside them is Seo Ji An, a well-mannered and exemplary friend in their circle.
Soon, an enchanting love triangle unfolds, pitting these three individuals against each other in a whirlwind of emotions.
9. Welcome To Waikiki
This hilarious Kdrama revolves around three distinct young men: Dong Goo, the embodiment of bad luck with dreams of filmmaking; Joon Ki, the quirky actor hustling for a living; and Doo Shik, the laid-back writer.
Together, they open the lively “Waikiki” guest house in vibrant Itaewon, welcoming a stream of foreign visitors. Despite their lack of expertise, they’re determined to rake in cash for their upcoming film project.
And then there’s Dong Goo’s capable sister, Seo Jin, the mastermind behind Waikiki’s operations, and Yoon Ah, a single mom with a mysterious baby who unexpectedly joins the mix. Adding to the chaos is Dong Goo’s ex-girlfriend, Soo Ah.
This eclectic bunch are just the right choice if you’re in the mood for a Kdrama about chasing dramas that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.
10. My First First Love
Since childhood, Tae Oh and Song-I have been inseparable and through a twist of events, they end up living together.
And then there’s Choi Hoon, a passionate theater aspirant, and Ga Rin, an heiress from a wealthy family.
As their lives intertwine, a twist emerges when Song-I encounters Tae Oh’s acquaintance, the seemingly distant Do Hyeon, known for his icy demeanor towards girls.
Soon, they’re living together under one roof, and if you want a coming of age Kdrama that shows the strength of friendship and how a lively group manage to navigate love, challenges, and the joy of companionship.
11. Love All Play
Park Tae Joon, a young man entangled in the badminton world through his parents’ business, initially viewed the sport as mere work.
However, his perspective shifts when he encounters a woman who sparks a renewed passion for badminton, reigniting his love for the game.
On the other hand, Park Tae Yang, a former aspiring Olympian, was faced with a setback after being embroiled in a bribery scandal.
Forced to leave the badminton scene for three long years, she yearns to reclaim her place in the sport, driven by an unwavering determination to overcome past obstacles.
This is another utterly exhilarating sports romance drama that will definitely give you all the feels. Once they’re united as a mixed doubles team, you can literally see the way they rediscover their ardor for badminton and get back on track for pursuing their dreams.
12. Rookie Cops
Jin Young and Ji Soo, students at the Korean National Police University, embark on an exhilarating coming-of-age journey in this amazing Kdrama.
Brimming with youthful spirit, they face the trials and triumphs of life, all while striving to become accomplished police officers.
Together, they bridge generation gaps with remarkable harmony and discover the enchantment of campus romance.
Through every challenge, they persistently pursue their dreams and aspirations, fueled by an unwavering passion for their noble profession.
13. Seasons Of Blossom
This heartwarming Kdrama revolves around five high school students at Seoyeon High School.
Lee Ha Min’s vibrant exterior hides a deeper darkness within, Han So Mang is a warm-hearted soul with a timid nature, Lee Jae Min is a popular student burdened by a painful past, yet displays kindness to all, and Yoon Bo Mi is the embodiment of sweetness and a model student.
Lastly, there’s Choi Jin Young, a game enthusiast with an initially unfriendly demeanor and a delicate personality.
Together, they navigate the complexities of youth, forming unbreakable bonds amidst their individual struggles and joys.
And that’s a wrap!
There are plenty of other coming-of-age Kdramas, but I strongly believe you can’t go wrong with any of the picks on this list.
If you’re in the mood for something different, please check out the related posts below for more amazing recommendations.