Fantasy is a lesser common sub-genre of k-drama usually incorporating fantasy elements from Asian history than fantasy from western media (think superheroes and other modern fantasy trends). Asian fantasy history gives way to the appearance of notably the Gumiho, or otherwise known as a nine tailed fox - if you're an anime fan, you'll know the backstory. Gumiho is commonly used in fantasy K-Drama and so to keep it interesting, I'll not solely focus on this and dig deep for other fantasy elements in k-drama whether Asian history inspired or western media inspired. This drama won't feature drama labelled as fantasy but instead more specifically those that feature 'fantasy creatures'.
1. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
This was a 2010 Romantic comedy starring the huge names of Lee Seung Gi and Shin Min Ah (both respectively doing rather well right now). It's the oldest drama on this list as fantasy is a considerably newer concept in Korean TV however with the technology you would never have known.
In this drama, Cha Dae Woong accidentally frees a gumiho from a painting in which it was trapped. A gumiho in Korean legend is a fox-like creature with nine tails, who once in human form turns into a beautiful girl who can entice men, and in doing so if she eats their liver, she will continue to live as a human. In this situation, Dae Woong flees the scene in fear and suffers a near fatal fall. The gumiho, who has taken the form of a beautiful girl, saves Dae Woong by giving the man her gumiho bead that gives him a portion of her immortality and powers. When Dae Woong discovers this, he strikes a deal with the gumiho that he'll keep he bead and he'll help her find another way to become human - as with this bead he improves ten fold in his job as a stuntman.
However, in the background the Gumiho has just met Dong Joo - a half human half supernatural creature who tricks the Gumiho into becoming a human via a different method, leaving out the fact that if she leaves her bead with Dae Woong, he will eventually die. The Gumiho and Dae Woong fall in love during the 100 day time frame, all without knowing Dae Woong is at risk of dying.
This drama was clearly for younger audiences and reflects a slight cheese that all 2010 K-Drama had at the time. I don't exaggerate. It was however, a nice little drama with its total of 16 episodes. It's usually a first drama for new time viewers. Check it out :)
2. Gu Family Book
Gu Family Book, like the drama before, also stars Lee Sung Gi this time alongside the actress Suzy. It aired in 2013 and was a hit drama for the network it aired on. It went for a totally of 24 episodes.
In this drama, the character of Seo-Hwa is being sold to a giseng house as property of the state after the execution of her father. Her prides keeps her from doing as she's told and continues to defy official orders resulting in torcher-like procedures. In this giseng house, she soon discovers she'll be forced to spend to spend her first night with the very man who killed her father. However, somewhere off in the distance, a creature - half human, half gumiho/monster - is watching the situation unfold and while in human form can't stand to watch the beautiful girl suffer. He plans to rescue her, but before that can happen she escapes herself with her brother. Her brother is caught and executed, however Seo Hwa is saved by this seemingly completely human man who goes by the name Wol Ryung. Wol Ryung and her live in the forest and have a short lived romance. They unofficially marry, however soon enough they are caught. In a rage, Wol Ryung reveals his true self as a gumiho/werewolf/monster creature in bid to save his wife, however the wife, now pregnant, is scared and feels betrayed. She in turn walks on her own two feet to the enemy and gives away Wol Ryung's location in a deal to save herself.
She also soon realises the child inside her will also be a monster like her father. Unknowingly to Seo-Hwa, however, Wol Ryung had uncovered the way to become human in Gumiho legends and was in the process of transforming - which included not letting out his monster side and avoid eating certain substances. If he did do any of this, he'd become a thousand year demon.
Wol Ryung is eventually killed, the baby is born, thrown away, and found by a noble man who takes him in, and Seo-Hwa is killed by the same man who killed her father in front of Japanese trades people.
This is all within two episodes ^. A time skip occurs following the baby who wears a bracelet given to him by the human witch friend of Wol Ryung to supress his inner monster. The noble man has raised the child to never take it off, as he was told by the witch that is he did, his business would suffer misfortune (when it reality it just stops the child, Kang Chi, from becoming like his father). Years later, Kang Chi is in his early twenties. He's wild but a loyal son to his adopted father. He's in love with his step sister too.
However, the man who killed Kang Chi's parents many years ago, Gwan Woong, has returned with greed in his heart, his eyes set on the supposed treasures hidden within the inn that Kang Chi's adopted family own. Using his noble status and connection with the king, he raids the inn. In a brawl, Kang Chi's adopted father is murdered in front of him. Gwan Woong, however, increasingly becomes suspicious of Kang Chi and the similarities between him and his real father whom Kang Chi never men, Wol Ryung.
Meanwhile, Dam Yeo Wool and Gon are entering the village to investigate murders on behalf of their martial arts specialist father and the military commander, Yi Sun Sin. This happens to be the same man who takes Kang Chi under his wing after Kang Chi's step mother who's never taken a liking to him, blames him for all the misfortune.
Kang Chi in the process of this drama discovers his origins, finds solace in Yeo Wool and battles conflicts never truly resolved from his parents time - also revealing secrets tucked tightly away from years before.
This drama is a great example of excellent script writing.
3. Surplus Princess
Surplus Princess was a short 10 episode drama airing in 2014 on tvN. It starred Jo Bo Ah, Oh Joo Wan, and Song Jae Rim.
The drama starts with the character of Ha Ni - a mermaid. She gazes through the waters at the character of Kwon Shi Kyung day in day out, wishing hopelessly to become a human and be with the beautiful man on the surface. On one occasion, he falls into the water and while semi-unconscious, they begin to kiss before she saves him and pulls him towards shore. After this, Ha Ni becomes adamant she'll be human to be with Shi Kyung - who happens to be a TV famous chef who has unclear memories of a passionate kiss but can't recall who it was. He's just a bit hung up on it.
Ha Ni strikes a deal with Witch Ahn to give her a leg potion, however he tells her if she can't find true love within 100 day she'll turn to bubbles. She becomes human and witch ahn finds her a place to stay in a boarding house full of unemployed students looking to find their way in live. Living here is the character Lee Hyun Myung who begins to like Ha Ni. Also living there are an array of funny and unique character who make the drama just *great*. This drama was certainly one centred around the characters - and probably for the best considering how short it is. I wished so bad for a season 2 of this drama, however it's very rare for a k-drama to have seasons. This is a good watch for people who don't want to dedicate too much time towards their TV :)
Will add photos and such later.
SUPPLEMENT #7 - KPOP AND KDRAMA ON 15/12/15, AND ISSUE #8 - MUSICAL K-DRAMA ON 19/12/15 :)