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8 K-Dramas That Will Make You Curious About Past Lives And Reincarnation

Do you believe in karma and destiny? These fantasy series might just be right up your alley.
K-dramas about reincarnation and past lives

“You must have saved the country in your previous life.” It’s a phrase often heard in Korean dramas when a character receives great fortune. Those who believe in reincarnation think that you will be rewarded when your past self did something great. Something that helped in liberating or strengthening the Land of Morning Calm.

What was your past life like? What was your job? Do you think the people closest to you know are your soulmates then, now, and in your next life? These are just some of the questions you find yourself asking when you watch Korean dramas about reincarnation. Some show star-crossed lovers from the Joseon era and again in modern times. Some show pain and suffering in the past and happiness in the present. Whatever the plot, it’s a thrill to see destinies unfold. And these fantasy-filled series offer a great escape from reality.

Here are eight K-dramas about reincarnation:

1. My Love from the Star (2014)

Where you can watch it: Netflix

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It’s one of the most beloved K-dramas in recent history starring Kim Soo Hyun and Jun Ji Hyun. If you watch the clips and trailers, you’ll see that it’s about a quiet and mysterious alien who meets a self-important actress. The backstory, though, is that the alien arrived on earth centuries ago and fell in love with a woman that looked just like the celebrity. Like most dramas of these top-paid actors, it’s fun to watch but tugs at your heartstrings, too.

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2. Legend Of The Blue Sea (2016)

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu, WeTV

Another Jun Ji Hyun drama (with Lee Min Ho this time), this fantasy was inspired by Korean folklore. In one of the stories written by Joseon scholar Yu Mong In, he tells the tale of a man who keeps mermaids as a hostage. In the K-drama, a 16th-century governor frees a captive mermaid who was his childhood friend. They meet again in the future, where the man is now a swindler and the mermaid finds herself in modern Seoul. Definitely a must-watch fantasy rom-com!

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3. Goblin (2016)

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu

This was the “gateway drug” of many Korean drama-obsessed Pinoys today. In the series, Gong Yoo plays a royal guard who slays for his king. He receives immortality as a punishment and lives out a lonely life in search of his bride. When he finds her, she’s far from his expectations but she does pierce through his icy walls. Spoiler alert: Death separates them a couple of times, but they get reborn and find their way back to each other. The second leads’ past lives were quite tragic, too, but their reincarnations get a happy ending. The wait before they met was short, so they had more time spent loving each other.

4. Chicago Typewriter (2017)

Where you can watch it: Formerly on Netflix

Here you see a tragic love triangle. Yoo Ah In and Go Kyung Pyo play friends and Korean Independence fighters who meet a spunky girl played by Im Soo Jung. In the present time, though, they lead their own livesand one of them plays a ghost who can’t remember how he died and how his soul got trapped in a vintage typewriter. Eventually, the trio becomes friends again to uncover their past connections. Inadvertently, they rekindle their affections for each other.

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5. Abyss (2019)

Where you can watch it: Netflix

This one is a combination of two fun themes: reincarnation and body-switching. Park Bo Young and Ahn Hyo Seop play characters who get immediately reborn into new bodies after dying in separate incidents. One gets more attractive looks, but the other… not so much. They cross paths and embark on a quest to find out how they really died.

6. Hotel Del Luna (2019)

Where you can watch it: Netflix

The heroine in this story is a sassy hotel owner named Man Wol who has lived for more than a thousand years. It’s played by the chic IU and she recruits scaredy-cat Yeo Jin Goo to help run the establishment. The hotel is a stopover of souls who have unfinished business in their past lives. They stay here to resolve their issues and then proceed to the afterlife to be reincarnated again. The highlight of the series is when Man Wol comes across reincarnations of people from her past.

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7. Mystic Pop-Up Bar (2020)

Where you can watch it: Netflix

It’s based on a webtoon called Twin Tops Bar by Bae Hye Soo. Like Man Wol, the lead female character in this story is stuck in service as a punishment. For the past 500 years, she has been trying to settle the grudges of 100,000 souls to make up for her sins. She then meets a guy with an uncanny ability that he wants to get rid of. Little do they know, they have crossed paths before.

8. Bulgasal: Immortal Souls (2021)

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Coming soon on December 18, this drama will star Lee Jin Wook and Kwon Nara. The namesake of the series is a mythical immortal creature who feeds off human blood. Like the goblin, he received that curse when he was serving as a military official in the Joseon dynasty period. Then, he meets a woman who was previously a bulgasal. She lives in hiding from a mysterious murderer but gets shaken when she meets an immortal.

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