A Prince's First Love, also known as First Love of a Royal Prince, is a Korean television drama (K-drama) produced by the South Korean television network MBC. It first aired in Korea mid-2004. It is an uplifting tale about a sordid love affair involving multiple people who find drama, conflict, and the occasional laugh at every turn. The general premise is common to the other K-dramas in that the main focus is a sordid love affair with love triangles and bouts of jealousy. Overall, A Prince's First Love is an enjoyable drama that is also sweet and humorous at times.
The primary character in A Prince's First Love is Kim Yu-bin (Sung Yu-ri). Yu-bin is an adorable girl, who works for a sandwich shop making deliveries. She has a degree in recreation and aspires to work as a guide at a fancy resort. Her parents are good-hearted people who want the best for her. In her father's eyes, he wants her to do what makes her happy. On the other hand, her mother believes she should marry and marry soon. Yu-bin is approaching thirty. Without a high paying job or much direction in life, Yu-bin has to get her priorities in order.
Yu-bin's life slowly changes for the better when she meets Choi Gun-hee (Cha Tae-hyun, My Sassy Girl) and Cha Seung-hyun (Kim Nam-jin) and is caught in the midst of a love triangle, as well as some family drama. Gun-hee is the spoiled son of Eun-chul, who owns ten upscale resorts/hotels around the world. Seung-hyun is the opposite of Gun-hee. He is not spoiled, but hardworking and dedicated. He works at Daegwang, which sells cell phones.
Seung-hyun and Yu-bin first meet without realizing it. Amongst her common delivery routes, Yu-bin delivers sandwiches to Seung-hyun's office. And she has a crush on him and affectionately refers to him as Batman. Without knowing it, their mothers set them up on a blind date, which Yu-bin skips when she finds out she won a free trip to a fancy resort in Sapporo, Japan, where her best friend Shin Yae-suh works as a guide. When Yu-bin comes to Sapporo, she is mistaken for a Japanese girl by the name of Asako and attends Gun-hee's birthday party. Their first meeting is pretty bad, as Gun-hee mistakes her for a prostitute.
When Yu-bin returns to Seoul, she is given an opportunity to work close to Seung-hyun and interviews with him for a secretary position. Later, their mothers set them up on another blind date attempt and they are awkwardly shocked to find out they already know each other. But as chance would have it, Yu-bin helps Seung-hyun out of a bind and she goes to work for him--for only a week. Later, Yu-bin is offered a position as a guide in Bali. The only catch is that Gun-hee is her boss. His father took him out of school and put him to work because he is lazy and doesn't take his studies seriously.
While in Bali, Yu-bin and Gun-hee have difficulty getting along. He harbors ill-will towards her from their first meeting in Japan. He soon realizes his emotions towards her are more than they seem, as he falls for her after playing a terrible prank and almost costing her her life. And as fate would have it, Seung-hyun comes to Bali and rekindles his affection with Yu-bin. Yu-bin is caught in the middle of a love triangle. Complications are introduced by Gun-hee's pseudo-girlfriend and best friend. Hae-mi has been at Gun-hee's side for years. She is a famous actress who refuses to let their relationship end. She has a lot of issues with Yu-bin, and even slaps her on more than one occasion during a heated argument about her relationship with Gun-hee. Jin-ho, the best friend, was also burned by the Yu-bin 'Asako' incident and works with Hae-mi to get her out of the picture. Between these two, they scheme small scale plans to debunk her.
As a side story, there is more to the relationship between Seung-hyun and Gun-hee than just a girl. They turn out to be blood relatives, as they share the same father. This relationship is an important subplot to the development of the overall story. Both of their parents, Gun-hee's father Eun-chul and Seung-hyun's mother Mi-hee are at the source of the drama. Imagine having son and keeping it a secret from the father, only to have him learn about it thirty years later.
What works for A Prince's First Love are the characters. The leading female Sung Yu-ri is fantastic in her role. She gives her character an adorable cuteness that makes her a pleasure to watch throughout the story. She also interacts with the other cast members well and produces a strong chemistry with the leading and supporting characters. There is also a subtle humor and playful banter that comes from her character. As for the leading males, Cha Tae-hyun and Kim Nam-jin fit their respective roles quite well. Cha has goofy, non-serious personality that resembles his role in My Sassy Girl. Kim is good as the serious businessman, the polar opposite of Cha's character.
As for other elements that give A Prince's First Love what it needs to be a successful drama are the writing and storyline. While this K-drama tends to be soapy and melodramatic, the content is not too over-the-top. There are a couple moments when the drama is laid on a little too thick, but for the most part, the story flows quite well and develops the relationships between the leading and supporting characters quite well. In the end, A Prince's First Love is an enjoyable K-drama that is easy to get into. It offers a soapy, melodramatic love tale with characters that are easy to like.