Special Feature: Big sister

The ultimate noona romance, “Secret Love Affair” will not be broadcast this week. To tide you over, here are some noona romances that you could burn through in the coming week, and our assessment of how much naughty heat each noona romance delivers.

Babyfaced Beauty

Premise: Thirty-four year old Lee So Young (Jang Na Ra) assumes her 25 year old sister’s identity in order to get a job at a fashion house. Twenty-seven year old Choi Jin Wook (Daniel Choi) is the co-worker who she is initially at odds with, but becomes her biggest supporter. As their relationship progresses, So Young worries about Jin Wook finding out her true identity and age.

Is it sexy? More cute than sexy. Initially, Jin Wook plays the oppa to his 25 year old co-worker. When it turns out that So Young is older, a sexy noona romance fails to materialize.

How inappropriate is it? Not inappropriate at all, apart from the identity fraud. So Young and Jin Wook are both adults, and they work in different departments. – Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다

Dal Ja’s Spring

Premise: As successful as 33 year old Oh Dal Ja (Chae Rim) is professionally, she has no luck in love. After being dumped by a work colleague, Dal Ja attempts to overcome the humiliation by hiring 27 year old Kang Tae Bong (Lee Min Ki) to pose as her boyfriend.

Is it sexy? There is a sexy moment, but, otherwise, Dal Ja seems determined to treat Tae Bong like a roommate.

How inappropriate is it? Paying for the boyfriend experience is inappropriate. Dal Ja dating then sharing an apartment with Tae Bong is appropriate. I wish they were more inappropriate after shacking up together. – 중국어 캐나다

Flower Boy Ramen Shop

Premise: Twenty-five year old student teacher Yang Eun Bi (Lee Chung Ah) initially mistakes Cha Chi Soo (Jung Il Woo) for a fellow university student, then discovers that he is an 18 year old student at her high school.

Is it sexy? Chi Soo is surprisingly intense once he decides that he likes rather than loathes Eun Bi. Eun Bi plays out Chi Soo’s volleyball player fantasy for his viewing pleasure. The second lead, Lee Ki Woo has an amazing post-shower scene. I give the show points for attempting at sexy.

How inappropriate is it? It is inappropriate for a teacher to be dating her student, especially one who is borderline legal. Even worse, Chi Soo and a host of other men force their way into Eun Bi’s residence; squatting is definitely inappropriate.  – 중국어 캐나다

Last Cinderella

Premise: Thirty-nine year old hairdresser Sakura (Shinohara Ryoko) falls for 24 year old BMX rider, Hiroto (Miura Haruma), after meeting him at a party, but not everything is as it seems between them.

Is it sexy? The scene depicted above was pretty sexy, and Hiroto does spend a good amount of the show shirtless, showering, or rolling around in bed with his previous girlfriend, so I’ll say yes. The character of Sakura is deliberately unsexy though.

How inappropriate is it? Not really. The age gap is pretty wide, but she’s a big kid. Plus, everyone’s a consenting adult. – Only 만

Let’s Eat

Premise: Single neighbours 33 year old Lee Soo Kyung (Lee Soo Kyung) and 29 year old Goo Dae Young (Yoon Doo Joon) fall in love somewhere in the middle of spending 16 episodes stuffing their faces.

Is it sexy? His heart rate speeds up, her pupils dilate, the breath catches in the back of his throat as she licks her lips. Sounds sexy? It’s actually dinnertime.

How inappropriate is it? He’s pretty coy about his age for the length of the series, but even at his youngest, he’s not that young. – 만

My Love From the Stars

Premise: Do Min Joon, an alien with only three months left on Earth, meets 28 year old actress Cheon Song Yi, the reincarnation of his first love, just as her life goes pear-shaped.

Is it sexy? Sort of? Their kisses are very pretty, but the fact that he falls ill immediately thereafter is a huge buzzkill.

How inappropriate is it? He looks a lot younger than her, but he’s actually at least 400 years older. The bigger problem would be that they’re not the same species. Ew. – 만

My Lovely Sam Soon

Premise: Thirty year old patissier Kim Sam Soon (Kim Sun Ah) is hired by 27 year old restauranteur Hyun Jin Heon (Hyun Bin) to bake French pastries for his restaurant, then enlisted to pose as his girlfriend. Their bickering gives way to an inexplicable attraction.

Is it sexy? Does the idea of a rich young man chasing a vulgar and dowdy woman turn you on? If so, then, yes.

How inappropriate is it? The age gap is nothing, but dating the boss is always a bad idea. Never mix work with pleasure. – 중국어 캐나다

What’s Up Fox

Premise: Thirty-three year old Go Byung Hee (Go Hyun Jung) is the best friend of 24 year old Park Chul Soo’s (Chun Jung Myung) sister. In fact, Byung Hee used to change Chul Soo’s diapers. So, it is especially taboo when they accidentally have a one-night stand.

Is it sexy? For such an unsexy looking show, I think the interactions between Byung Hee and Chul Soo were surprisingly playful. Their chemistry overcame a soapy premise.

How inappropriate is it? Having a drunken one night stand with your best friend’s baby brother, whose diapers you used to change? Highly inappropriate. – 중국어 캐나다

I Hear Your Voice

Premise: Nine year old Park Soo Ha (Lee Jong Suk) swore to defend the teenaged Jang Hye Sung (Lee Bo Young) when she testified against his father’s murderer. He finds her again as a 19 year old high school student, only to discover that she’s a cynical, apathetic 25 year old public defender.

Is it sexy? The chemistry between Hye Sung and Soo Ha is strong enough to overcome a pretty inappropriate relationship. I am not objective about this show, especially when I think about the kissing scenes.

How inappropriate is it? Shacking up with a teenager who has a crush on you, even if a serial killer is on the loose, is inappropriate. Add the fact that he can read minds, and you have a potential for many naughty moments. Sadly, it was unfulfilled potential (cries). – 중국어 캐나다

I Need Romance 3

Premise: Shin Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) babysat Joo Wan (Sung Joon) until he moved to the States 17 years ago. He’s been nursing his love for her ever since, and comes back to Korea as a 26 year old superstar musician, only to find that, at 32, she’s become an unemotional robot.

Is it sexy? Since this show is about modern women doing modern things, there is a belated attempt at sexy. I had lost all patience with the characters by then, so it made no impact. But yes, they do have at it, and more than once.

How inappropriate is it? The age difference isn’t that big of a deal (no one would bat an eyelash if it was reversed), but she used to be his babysitter. Then again, none of the kids I babysat grew up to look like Sung Joon, so I can’t judge. – 만

Readers: Do you have a favourite noona romance?

Reminisce about their inappropriate love in the Comments below.


  1. Chi Soo, no doubts! He just loves her! Lol
    I remember when I was 25 I still felt immature, so young and trying to be an adult! And she heard the “bells” and it was hit by “tsunami”, rite!? Isn’t love?! Lol
    Anyway thanks for this post!! It was fun!!


  2. Well, i love FBRS and never thought of it as a teacher student relationship. She was a teacher all of maybe 2 -3 days and there was enough internal struggling on her part on what she thought she should want vs what she actually wants that made this more than just a fluffy rom com for me.


  3. Good list! Very comprehensive. I can’t think of one you missed. My favorites are:
    Dal Ja’s Spring (Though I agree: not as sexy as it could have been)

    Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (Loved! And I actually found Chi-soo really, really sexy. Jung Il-woo does intense incredibly well. And he actually seemed interested in getting her into bed. And she seemed to want to be there. Which is oddly rare in these sort of stories.)

    My Lovely Sam Soon (Also loved! Though, to me it barely qualifies as a “noona” romance. The age-gap is tiny and he uses it more to twig her than anything. But it took a pretty grown-up look at romance as I can recall. Another rarity.)

    What’s Up Fox? (More love! Not as sexy as the premise — or her job! — would lead you to believe, but it certainly tackled the whole “noona” premise and gave us a grown-up romance. So I like it. 🙂 )

    I Hear Your Voice (wait for it… Loved! 😀 It was strangely sexy. I think because of all the skin-ship Soo-ha managed to sneak in under the radar. And also the heatwave of the time putting them in shirtsleeves. I agree with your inappropriateness levels. But since I just could not buy Lee Jung-suk as a high school student — d’em shoulders! –, they didn’t effect me much. 😛 )


    1. LOL! Well… when he’s acting like a high school student, I can buy it. (Like he did in “High Kick 3” and “School 2013” as you pointed out in your first linked post.) But Soo-ha was incredibly mature for a student. And…

      Physically, no. He just does not say “high school student” to me. I go through in-depth reasons in this post (beware “I Hear Your Voice” spoilers):

      But to sum it all up: Since I first saw him in “Secret Garden” when he was uber-skinny (and young!), the way he’s bulked up pings me as older. A young guy, but not high school young.

      (Weird note: After seeing Sung Joon shirtless in “I Need Romance 3”, he’s pinging me as much younger than what I’d thought. I’d much more easily buy him as high school now. So apparently, I have a shoulder thing?)


  4. I think it is musculature that can make an actor look older. Just look at Choi Jin Hyuk. He looks a lot older than he actually is, because he is so built. Hence, the reason why Sung Joon looked young in “I Need Romance 3”: not much muscle.


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