Protagonist vs. Brotagonist
The spawn of many a high-pitched fangirl conversation between the two of us, this phenomenon begs documentation. We individually explain the Protag/Brotag phenomenon in the following paragraphs with many an allusion and spoiler. Ye be warned.
Without further ado, the culprits, side by side:
Characterized by diagonal cuts and flippy do. Characters that are coifed in such a manner are always the ones you want to win, added to by the fact that they are often played by beautiful men who you already know and therefore are biased towards. They are overflowing with cuteness and/or copious amounts of badassery (see Hyun Joon). When you’re not squeeing, you’re sobbing at the sorry lives of these poor Protags. Common phrases include “Awwww poor babiiieeee” and “WHHHYYYYYYY!?!?!” Luckily, they usually get the girl, beat the odds and generally kick ass (see all except Hyun Joon…WTF, I mean really, Seon Hwa? AHEM. We digress). Famous Pros include Dong Joo, Seung Jo, Hyun Joon, Bong Goon and Young Jae.
Characterized by short upward cuts giving the misleading appearance of floofyness you can’t help but try to reach out and touch but then you realize your mistake and promptly kill yourself…we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Bro hair derives its name from the character of Sa Woo, who for the longest time we presumed was Hyun Joon’s bro, but it turns out their bromance wasn’t as strong as previously thought. These characters are usually ok guys but are just not the same CALIBER as the Protags. They play the game commonly called “let’s win points from the fangirls then lose them almost simultaneously!” creating much confusion within the fangirl brain *coughcoughSaWoocough.* These characters usually find happiness away from Main Girl, and are therefore generally OK-ed by fans (DON’T see Seung Woo). Famous Bros include Yoon Ho, Ki Tae, Sa Woo, Seung Woo, and Min Hyuk.
Protagonist: Dong Joo
Played by Changmin of TVXQ, meaning, we were biased from…the moment we found out he was in it. Dong Joo plays the role of the handsome rich jerk that has a realization approximately ¾ of the way through the series which allows him to be with Main Girl. He has the uncanny ability of protagonists to be incredibly insulting while clearly establishing himself as a genuinely sweet person. Despite his stupid habit of treating Da Ji (Main Girl) like a child, Dong Joo experiences much character growth through the series, eliciting a sundry of rapturous squees from fangirls everywhere. Especially squee-worthy are the ADORABLE flash backs to happy times.
Brotagonist: Edward/Yoon Ho/Cedric
Let us explain his several names. Edward was the name he was first introduced to us with when Da Ji (Main Girl) met him at the horse auction. Here, his Bro-ness already makes itself known as Edward playfully flirts with Da Ji; he is a seemingly good person. Later, upon reuniting with him, Da Ji learns that his Korean name is Yoon Ho. (Perhaps a play off of Yunho, Changmin’s group member? This reporter hopes that FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NOT. She digresses…again). After getting to know this particular Bro more and more, we decided that he was too good for the name of Edward *coughTwilightcough* and yet not good enough for the name Yoon Ho. We, therefore, chose the name Cedric (because Cedric in Harry Potter was such a better character than Edward Cullen). ANYWAY. While trying much too hard to cling to Da Ji, thus enraging Changmin’s fangirls, Cedric remains a decent person who soon excepts defeat and finds love elsewhere. We salute you, bro, we salute you.
Protagonist: Seung Jo
Rich, snobby, jerkish attitude and ADORABLE flippy hair. Yep, that’s this protag in a nutshell. Very formula but cute nevertheless (OMG KIM HYUN JOONG KYAAAAA). Yep yep, does the whole ¾ way through “oh wait, I shouldn’t be an ass?” turnaround and gets the girl in the end, piece of cake.
Brotagonist: Ki Tae
Ummmm, what O.o? WHERE THE HELL DID YOU COME FROM!? I mean really, could you BE anymore competition character that doesn’t matter? One episode. ONE EPISODE. And you just get punched in the face and leave, no fight for your supposed soulmate. Here’s how it went down: “omg I love you! Omg he loves you! Omg JELOUSY! *punched* awwww *poofgone*” THE END. Yeah. Nontheless, he fits the Brofile, so he makes the cut. The hair cut. HURRRRR.
Protagonist: Hyun Joon
Dynamic hair styles abound with this Pro. From the super cute hair of all protagonists to “Imabout to killa bitch” hair of RAGE, Hyun Joon provides viewers with all aspects of his personality simply by changing his ‘do. Playing the character of BAMF secret service assassin, we quickly realize how awesome this character is. Soon, his tragic past comes to light and the phrase “Awwwww, poor babiieeeeee” is highly necessary. Not to mention, IRIS is out to kill him, using “Vick” (see another publication ENTIRELY). Once all is said and done, our hearts are about to explode with love for this Pro. And then he dies*. And we mourn for a week, pondering over it when we should be doing schoolwork. WTF, Seung Hwa…wtf.
*This is highly questionable. Which makes it all the more NERVEWRACKING and horrible. Come on season 2!!!!!! WE BELIEVE!!!!!
Brotagonist: Sa Woo
The Bro that started it all. The King Bro…the BroFo if you will. This man began our journey into hair analysis. Don’t be fooled by that utterly adorable smile…he’s a murderous BETRAYER. At the beginning, all is fine and dandy: Sa Woo and Hyun Joon= Bros For Life (BFLs). Gettin’ into club fights, bromantic frolicking, chasing girls…you get it. It’s all THERE. Too bad, so sad. Enter DIRECTOR BAEK and co. Soon, Bro finds himself being manipulated by every EFFING SUPERIOR AGENT MAN. He ends up believing every possible thing furthest from the truth, and makes it his sole mission to kill Hyun Joon (HE TRUSTED YOUUUUUU!) while simultaneously trying to spark a flame between himself and Hyun Joon’s woman. NOT COOL, BRO, NOT COOL. Whatever happened to Bros before hoes??? HUH??? Finally, after eighteen episodes of circle chasing and angst and man tears (oh. my. God.) he gets shot trying to save Hyun Joon and dies crying. A late repentant, but repentant nonetheless. And for that, we give you points, Bro.
Heading to the Ground
Protagonist: Bong Goon
OMG SURPRISE!!!! The only expression he has. We SWEAR. Anywho, this character is played by Yunho of TVXQ…so there is no chance in hell for any other man in this show. Completely obsessed with soccer, this Pro exhibits much of the cute aspect of the protagonist. With his ridiculous facial expressions and cranky rudeness to both female characters, Bong Goon wins over our hearts with his simplicity and lack of character development. JUST LOOK AT THAT FACE ZOMG. Bong Goon adorably calls his best friend Oh Potato, and she abhors it. Currently he can be found trying to escape a flippin’ mental hospital with the most stupid name in existence: Happy Mental Hospital. W.T.F. It is where all the medical school rejects were put. Seriously…how is that level of incompetence even LEGAL? There are a few good things, however, including BATM…BATMAN and Aeja. And luckily enough all of Bong Goon’s memories return. Oh yeah, we didn’t say. He saves Hae Bin’s (Main Girl) life and dies for about 30 minutes. He wakes up only to have temporary amnesia. Meh. *Subject to revision*
***Upon finishing the show: So all ends well for this adorable man. Hae Bin (Main girl) proves to be a kick ass character and Oh Potato ends up (at least in our opinion) with the person who should really be called bro save for his lack of bro hair, Dongho. EVEN MAXIM, THE SWEETEST FOREIGNER EVER WAS MORE OF A BRO THAN SEUNG WOO. SO. MISTER SEUNG WOO. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN YOURSELF? OH WAIT…I DON’T GIVE A %^&^%. *This reporter does not apologize*.
Brotagonist: Seung Woo
Die. Die in a fire or in a river or from tripping down the stairs. He has hit and killed a person, had Bong Goon framed for it (ultimately leading to his father’s heart failure so technically he killed two people), is trying to move in on Hae Bin (YOUR STUPID BOAT DOES NOT WIN POINTS FOR YOU), and has left Bong Goon to rot in the creepy hospital. Meanwhile, the most creeptastic music accompanies every scene he is in, and the camera always pans upward to reveal an evil smirk of VILLAINY. He is the only Bro who has failed in gaining any points in the “Let’s win points from fangirls and almost simultaneously lose them!” game. You started with negative infinity, dude. YOU DON’T EVEN DESERVE TO BE CALLED A BRO. Get out. Go punch a lamp post or something.
***Upon finishing the show. We assume this man gets a life behind bars but I feel like he should just go to a cruddy hospital and have it burn down. COUGH.
Protagonist: Young Jae
This protag is all fluffy hair, cute smiles and adorable grumpiness. He is played by the ever relevant Bi Rain making his innocent character all the more fun to watch. As per usual, he and Main Girl start off on the wrong foot what with her vomiting all over him and all. Of course, his interests lie with Female Competition, the skinny model and not the humble frizzy haired writer that is Main Girl. He EVENTUALLY learns of his mistaken choice and through many a trial and many many errors he finds his way into Main Girl’s heart with his derptastic charm.
Brotagonist: Min Hyuk
Min Hyuk starts off as a perfectly likable character, especially due to the fact that he has the highest IQ of anyone in the whole flippin’ show. About midway through the series, however, his short-cropped locks begin taking their toll and he feels he must make a move on Main Girl. Tsk tsk Bro, you were doing so well as Supportive Male Friend. After confusing the hell out of Main Girl, this Brotag must admit defeat in the end and remains foreveralone (even though Female Competition is all up on that like Onew on chicken).
Obviously not all dramas follow this ingenious formula, with the most well-known example being Secret Garden. There is no bro hair to be found and we are presented instead with two new contenders: Oska hair and Saddest-Asian-Man (Director Im) hair.