8 Soul-Swap K-Dramas To Lift Your Spirits
Imagine waking up in someone else’s body, having your soul swapped with that of the opposite gender, or even ending up in a different place or time altogether. These unforeseen circumstances can range from laugh-out-loud scenarios to comical, unnerving, and even borderline scary situations. From a high priest’s confusion when he finds himself in the body of a K-pop idol, or when a CEO and stuntwoman find their souls have been swapped, to a chef who time travels and finds himself in the body of a queen, here are eight soul-swap K-dramas which have entertained fans over the years and thrown up some hilarious as well as bittersweet scenarios.
He is super wealthy and a bit of a narcissist, while she’s a sturdy and self-reliant stuntwoman. What happens when these two find themselves in an inexplicable situation with their souls swapped? Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin) is a snooty CEO of a department store, and his good looks and charm make him irresistible to women. When he meets Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won), a hardworking stunt woman, he is attracted toward her, only to be constantly pushed away. However, on one fateful night on Jeju Island, they find themselves in a rather bewildering situation when they wake up in each other’s body. As they try to fathom the occurrence, the two begin to experience conflicting emotions. Joo Won and Ra Im, though polar opposite personalities, are strongly drawn toward each other, and their body swap helps them understand each other and the world around them better.
“Secret Garden” has a timeless appeal amongst K-drama fans. You have a badass female lead and a handsome male lead, and the show has an engaging blend of romance, humor, drama, and music. The chemistry between Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won is electric, and the two give several dreamy screen moments together. “Secret Garden” also has a chart-busting OST with many memorable ear worms.
Start watching “Secret Garden”:
A handsome, arrogant, and immensely talented chef named Jang Bong Hwan (Choi Jin Hyuk) is the star cook in the kitchens of the Blue House, the presidential home. But fate works in strange ways when Bong Hwan meets with a freak accident and time travels to the past. He finds himself trapped inside the body of Kim So Yong (Shin Hye Sun), a queen in the Joseon period. Stuck in a time that’s eons away from his modern world, he is also in a body that’s not his, and to make matters worse, it’s that of the opposite gender. Bong Hwan is frustrated with his situation, but others only see that So Yong has started to behave rather uncharacteristically. It’s comical as well as chaotic, especially when So Yong and King Cheoljong (Kim Jung Hyun) get romantic and share some intimate moments together. Nevertheless, Bong Hwan’s inquisitive nature leads him to discover palace intrigues, feuds, and manipulations within the royal family. And the chef in him comes to the fore as Bong Hwan aka So Yong spices up the royal kitchen by bringing them a taste of flavors and aroma not known and sampled before.
“Mr. Queen” is a fun watch, sprinkled liberally with humor. The comic timing of Choi Jin Hyuk and Shin Hye Sun does not falter at any point. The show, with its unique narrative, highlights the social standards especially given to gender in the past as well as modern day society.
Start watching “Mr. Queen”:
“Oh My Ghostess”
A timid commis chef has the unique ability to see ghosts, but matters get complicated when an avenging spirit takes home in her body. Na Bong Sun (Park Bo Young) is an assistant at the kitchen of superstar chef Kang Sun Woo’s (Jo Jung Suk‘s) restaurant. Bong Sun aspires to be a chef, but the main obstacle in her way is the ghosts! Bong Sun can see and feel the presence of entities. But when the virgin ghost Shin Soon Ae (Kim Seul Gi) possesses her body, Bong Sun’s bashful nature undergoes a personality shift. The once mousey Bong Sun is now bold and flirty. As she coyly teases Chef Kang, whom she has had a crush on, things get awkwardly hilarious, especially when Soon Ae the ghost also develops feelings for the chef.
“Oh My Ghostess” is akin to a buffet where you get to sample romance, a dash of revenge, and a pinch of comedy which is sprinkled with some supernatural fare. From Jo Jung Suk singing “Gimme a Chocolate” to the cute moments between him and Park Bo Young, all these things make this show very watchable.
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A teenager finds himself in the body of a 30-year-old man, and to make matters worse, he is about to be married to his teacher. 18-year-old student Kang Gyung Joon (Shin Won Ho) and Doctor Seo Yoo Jae (Gong Yoo) meet with an accident. Though Yoon Jae is initially declared dead, upon waking up, he realizes his heart and mind is that of Gyung Joon. Yoon Jae is about to marry Gil Da Ran (Lee Min Jung), who is Gyung Joon’s teacher. And matters get even more complicated with the arrival of Jang Ma Ri (Suzy) in Yoo Jae’s life.
“Big” blends in a rom-com with fantasy elements as you watch a grown man’s confusion in reading life through the eyes of a teenager. But the highlight of the show undoubtedly is Gong Yoo. The charismatic actor is a scene-stealer and lights up the screens with his sheer presence.
Start watching “Big”:
A twist of fate happens when an honest detective finds himself in the body of a con artist. Cha Dong Tak (Jo Jung Suk) is a morally upright officer and is investigating the murder of his partner. When a swindler named Gong Soo Chang (Kim Seon Ho) meets with an accident and finds himself in Dong Tak’s body, it is the perfect opportunity for him. Soo Chang realizes he can now solve a mystery concerning his family as Dong Tak. The arrival of reporter Ji Ahn (Hyeri) also complicates matters for both as Dong Tak and Soo Chang fall for her. And unbeknownst to Ji Ahn, they are not the same, but two different people.
A comedic crime drama with a love triangle and peppered with a twist of the supernatural, “Two Cops” is a fun watch. Jo Jung Suk and Kim Seon Ho’s bromance is in complete sync as they work together to solve a mystery while giving us some entertaining moments.
Start watching “Two Cops”:
“Scarlet Heart: Goryeo”
Would you go back in time to meet a prince? Hae Soo (IU) is nursing a broken heart and wallowing by the sea. She tries to save a child from drowning but finds herself sinking deeper and deeper into the ocean. When she does, there’s also an eclipse, and according to folklore, strange occurrences are bound to occur. She is mysteriously swept back in time and is now a 16-year-old woman in the Goryeo dynasty. She falls in love with the gentle prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul), but Hae Soo soon finds herself in the midst of royal politics and rivalries. And when the cold and lonesome prince Wang Soo (Lee Joon Gi) falls in love with her, things take a complicated turn.
“Scarlet Heart: Goryeo” is an ambitious drama. The bittersweet narrative comes to life with the stellar ensemble cast, which delivered pitch-perfect performances. The show continues to have a loyal fanbase over the years, with fans still hoping for a Season 2. A mesmerizing OST is an added plus which makes this drama a must-watch.
“Please Come Back Mister”
Two men get a second lease on life, but not in the way they envisioned it. Kim Young Soo (Kim In Kwon), a section chief at a women’s clothing store, is having a tough time in his married life. His long work hours have taken a toll on his family life, and a mishap at work results in him losing his life. Han Gi Tak (Kim Soo Ro), a former gangster, is in love with an actress and runs a restaurant. Gi Tak gets into a car accident around the same time as Young Soo’s death. In their afterlife, they plead to be given second chances to live so that they can complete some unfinished business. Their wishes are granted but not how the two imagined it. Young Soo inhabits the body of Lee Hae Joon (Rain), an ambitious young man, and Gi Tak finds himself as Hong Nan (Oh Yeon Seo), an attractive woman. Despite this glitch, the two set out to right the wrongs and help their families move on. However, there is a snag: they only have two months to complete their tasks before returning to the spirit world.
“Please Come Back Mister” is an underrated drama and seamlessly blends in comedy, suspense, romance, and thriller. The characters are perfectly cast, and the story touches upon the transient nature of life and to live each moment to the fullest.
Start watching “Please Come Back Mister”:
“The Heavenly Idol”
Pontifex Rembrary (Kim Min Kyu), the high priest of god Redlin, is warding off evil in his realm only to find himself on earth as a K-pop idol. Rembrary has taken home in the body of pop star Woo Yeon Woo, who is also played by Kim Min Kyu. Yeon Woo is the frontrunner of the struggling band Wild Animal, which has failed to take off since their debut. His heavenly robes have now been traded for crop tops, smokey eyes, and glittering accessories. The high priest realizes life on earth is way more trickier. As Rembrary awaits his return home, he could very well be the answer to Wild Animal’s prayers and their only hope.
“The Heavenly Idol” takes a look at the competitive and manipulative world of show business through the eyes of a heavenly being, and Kim Min Kyu is the star of the show. The actor who won hearts as the second lead in “A Business Proposal” carries “The Heavenly Idol” effortlessly on his shoulders.
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Hey Soompiers, which one of these shows is your favorite soul swap drama? Let us know in the comments below!
Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yoo Tae Oh and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min Ho, Gong Yoo, Cha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram.
Currently watching: “Call It Love.”