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From SNSD to KinnPorsche: 15 Things We're Thankful For in 2022

Written by YumCha! Editorial Team Tell a Friend

Thanksgiving is upon us! Let's take the time to look back and give thanks to the Asian entertainment shows, influential figures and pop culture moments that have made our 2022 so special and memorable!

BTS Solo Debuts

Following the release of their anthology album Proof, BTS announced their temporary group hiatus in the 2022 BTS FESTA video. While fulfilling their military service in the span of three years, they will also pursue solo endeavors to showcase their individual artistry and musicality. Starting from j-hope's Jack In The Box and Jin's The Astronaut to RM's Indigo, the BTS members have been dropping solo releases that express their own unique colors. Though we temporarily may not be able to see BTS as a group for a period of time, their best is Yet to Come.

Cyndi Wang on Sisters Who Make Waves

"If you sneeze suddenly, it must be because I'm thinking of you." With that iconic opening line of "Love You," the forever-sweet Cyndi Wang sent everyone back to 2004 on a sugary high. The Taiwan pop idol's blast-from-the-past first stage for Sisters Who Make Waves Season 3 went viral in China as older fans showed they could be just as enthusiastic as the young'uns. Middle-aged fans even rushed to buy Hunan TV stock in order to demonstrate their support for Cyndi, and she delivered with memorable performances and strong leadership. For even more nostalgic good vibes, she gathered fellow oughties icons Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung of Twins into her team on the reality show.

The Dictionary Of Useless Human Knowledge

The Dictionary of Useless Knowledge is back with Season 4! Following three seasons plus two crime version spin-offs, the Korean TV franchise officially launches The Dictionary of Useless Human Knowledge in December – this time hosted by director Jang Hang Joon (from the spin-offs) and BTS's RM! Novelist Kim Young Ha (from Seasons 1 and 3), physicist Kim Sang Wook (from Season 3 and the spin-offs) are joined by two new experts – forensic scientist Lee Ho and astronomer Shim Chae Kyung – to share their interesting and thought-provoking views on miscellaneous topics while visiting different historic sites, museums and tourist spots in Korea.

Elden Ring

What happens when Dark Souls director Miyazaki Hidetaka and Game of Thrones writer George R. R. Martin team up for a game? Elden Ring. Soulslike makes its biggest foray into mainstream gaming with this latest dark fantasy RPG from FromSoftware. The Soulslike subgenre has developed a reputation over the years for being difficult in both the best and worst ways. Deep mechanics, comprehensive worldbuilding and uncompromising action provide rich and challenging gameplay – that's also obtuse and punishing, depending on who you ask. With over 16 million copies sold, Elden Ring has become the most successful Soulsborne title ever, reaching mainstream gamers by being more accessible and visually arresting, yet no less complex (or punishing). Ooh and aah over the stunning open world environs full of nooks and caves to explore, glaze over cryptic dialogue that should probably be read more closely, and brace up for button-mashing combat against all the creatures that keep beating you into pulp. Hours well spent.

EXchange 2 & More Dating Shows

Korean dating shows rose to a new level of success following last year's global hits EXchange (a.k.a. Transit Love) and Single's Inferno. EXchange 2 comes back with more addictive and heartrending stories of five ex-couples gathering in one apartment to seek a new start in their love lives, be it with a new person or past lover. Given that this season's ex-couples had longer relationship periods on average than last season's, the show gets you in the heart with the cast members' uneasy feelings as they stray, struggle, move on or see their exes with new dates. Besides EXchange 2, we're also glad to see more diverse dating reality shows, such as the sexy and revealing Eden, Merry Queer that provides more insight into the LGBTQ+ community, and Stranger's Love about matchmaking among a gay cast.

Girls' Generation Comeback

A-yo GG! Korea's legendary girl group Girls' Generation made a comeback five years after hiatus to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their debut in August. Tae Yeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyo Yeon, Yuri, Soo Young, YoonA and Seo Hyun pull off amazing vocals, visuals and stage presence in their seventh full-length album FOREVER 1. Amidst hectic individual schedules, the queens still managed to greet SONEs at music shows, the SMTOWN family concert and fan events, as well as launching their own variety show Soshi TamTam and appearing on hit programs like MMTG and The Game Caterers. It was worth the wait! #GG4EVA

Hanyu Yuzuru

Hanyu Yuzuru, one of the greatest and most popular figure skaters of our time, announced his retirement from competitive figure skating in July this year, though he plans to continue skating professionally. The 27-year-old athlete leaves a huge legacy in men's figure skating as a two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time world champion and six-time Japanese national champion. Bursting onto the international arena at age 16, Yuzu broke record after record over a decade-long run, and brought renewed attention and devoted fans to the sport in the process. He stands out not only with his technical skill but also his great artistry on the ice that made every performance a breathtaking watch. We will miss watching him compete – and the shower of Pooh bears.

Hong Kong Movie Box Office

The long-beleaguered Hong Kong box office got a boost this year from two very different releases that have become the all-time highest-grossing domestic films in the city. Warriors of Future goes where Hong Kong cinema has never gone before with a sci-fi action special effects spectacle that took three years of pre-production and cost over HK$450 million. Produced by and starring Louis Koo, the ambitious film is set in a post-apocalyptic future that pits humanity against plague, pollution, war, robots and monsters. In contrast, the Dayo Wong vehicle Table For Six is a dysfunctional family and romance comedy-drama about three brothers and their complicated relationships that play out at the dinner table. One groundbreaking and one quintessential, Warriors of Future and Table For Six are now ranked #1 and #2 as Hong Kong's biggest films of all time.

KinnPorsche The Series

Several long-delayed Thai BL series arrived this year, and none made a bigger splash than KinnPorsche. Premiering in April, the sensational drama depicts the steamy love story between a mobster and his bodyguard, and the bloody power struggle within a mafia family filled with all kinds of colorful characters. Besides Mile and Apo as the eponymous Kinn and Porsche, the series also spawned the popular pairings of Bible and Build plus Jeff and Barcode. And there are more bodyguards than you can shake a stick at. Not shy about trooping out the hunks or the mature content, KinnPorsche sets a new standard in Thai BL not only with its bold depiction of sex and violence, but also with its ambitious scale of production, action and storytelling. The KinnPorsche team went big and bold with the KinnPorsche The Series World Tour 2022 as well, which kicked off soon after the series finished broadcast.

The Na PD Universe

Korean variety show producer Na Young Suk continues to expand his universe with more quality TV and YouTube series filled with endless laughter and a few tears. Earth Arcade shows girl power and ultimate synergy from the cast of up-and-coming stars including comedian Lee Eun Ji, Oh My Girl's Mimi, rapper Lee Young Ji and IVE's An Yu Jin. The Game Caterers 2 uncovers the fun sides of Hallyu actors and K-pop stars – from HYBE and Starship Entertainment artists to the cast of Confidential Assignment 2 – through Na PD's signature games. Unexpected Journey records the ordinary and unpredictable happenings of veteran actress Youn Yuh Jung's trip to LA as an award presenter at the Oscars. And then there are the blithe yet deep talks in the latest season of Look, My Shoulder's Dislocated and new ramyeon recipes in The Idol Ramyeonators!

No Prepare by Lee Young Ji

Known for her strong comedic presence and down-to-earth character, rapper Lee Young Ji is well-loved for her interactions with different artists in her YouTube series No Prepare, also known as My Alcohol Diary. On top of the countless meme material and viral videos, No Prepare allows us to witness the rare on-screen tipsy moments of Hallyu idols while watching them drink and engage in randomly hilarious chit-chat with the host. The star-studded lineup of guests – including Twice's Na Yeon and Chae Young, TXT's Soo Bin, Monsta X's Hyung Won, ITZY's Chae Ryeong, Seventeen's Hoshi, SHINee's Key, Danish singer Christopher and, last but not least, BTS's Jin – clearly attests to the show's popularity.

Offline Concerts & Fan Meetings

Two years ago, we were thankful for the "untact" online streaming shows that quenched our thirst for concerts while being stuck at home forever. Now, let's celebrate the comeback of offline concerts and fan meetings again! With the relaxation of travel restrictions in many countries, we're finally able to actually watch our favorite artists and idols in person, and wave our real light sticks in real concert venues. Even if you're not ready to travel yet, you can still feel the lively and electrifying atmosphere of live music stages with audiences through fancams of university festivals!

Re-Employment Boy Group

Chen Chusheng, Allen Su, Wang Yuexin, Zhang Yuan, Reno Wang and Lu Hu. Individually, they are past-their-prime singers hailing from 2007's Super Boy, the OG of China's male idol audition shows. Together, they are variety gold. Jokingly dubbed the "Re-Employment Boy Group," the six came together to record 2.5 episodes of Welcome to the Mushroom House, a quickie spin-off of the slow living reality program Back to Field. Aired in April, the episodes drew such a huge reaction that the six soon got their own outdoor reality show Go For Happiness. Hailed as the best Chinese reality program of the year, Go For Happiness has a super high 9.6 rating on Douban. Besides the rosy glow of nostalgia, the Re-Employment Boy Group clicks with audiences simply because they're keeping it real – the longtime friends are laugh-out-loud hilarious with their frank banter, clumsy antics and merciless ribbing of each other while struggling to fulfill basic tasks. Idol baggage: zero.

Sasaki Roki's Perfect Game

For two weeks in April, Sasaki Roki was the best pitcher on the planet. On April 10, the Chiba Lotte Marines phenom pitched a no-hitter against the Orix Buffaloes. It was the first solo perfect game in Nippon Professional Baseball since 1994. He also pitched an NPB-record 19 strikeouts, including a world-record 13 consecutive strikeouts, for one of the most dominant pitching performances in professional baseball history. For his next start on April 17, Sasaki pitched another eight perfect innings before getting pulled. For the entire 2022 season, he posted a 2.10 ERA. And he did all of this at age 20, living up to his nickname of "Monster of the Reiwa Era."

Spy x Family

In order to fulfill his latest assignment, legendary spy Twilight needs something unexpected: a family. Taking on the identity of consummate gentleman Loid Forger, he adopts odd little girl Anya, not knowing that she can read minds and is very excited about doing spy things like her favorite anime. He forges a marriage of mutual convenience with shy civil servant Yor, not knowing that she actually moonlights as a deadly assassin. Thus, this unlikely family of three with many secrets set out to keep up their respective covers while taking on challenging parental-kid missions to get Anya accepted into a pretentious school and befriend the target's son. Endo Tatsuya's best-selling manga, which was adapted into a hit anime this year, has a bit of everything for everyone: espionage action, family drama, school drama, comedy, romance, political intrigue and mystery suspense. It's no wonder this found family of dangerous yet clumsily earnest spies has charmed their way into the hearts of so many!

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Published November 22, 2022

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