Yes, Korea has finally caved in and decided to jump on the Hana Yori Dango bandwagon. Their version, titled Boys Over Flowers (which I believe is the literal meaning of Hana Yori Dango in English), is just out on KBS. With China also coming up with their own remake of the manga, I believe the author of the manga is now laughing all the way to the bank and rolling in heaps of cash there. This is somewhat a compliment (coming from me, it definitely is), since I myself have watched both the Taiwanese version (Meteor Garden) and the Japanese one. Before I go into a lengthy comparison of the two (which reminds me, I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything on HYD), I’d better get back to the topic, which is Boys Over Flowers.
Now, being very foreign to Korean entertainment means that I’m not really familiar with their boybands. So basically I don’t know who’s who in F4 at all. After watching the first episode, I was kind of struggling to remember the names of the characters – I can’t recall what is Domyoji and Tsukushi’s names are in this one, let alone everyone else’s. But that said, I’m pretty sure at least one ot two of the boys of F4 are from a boyband, because they’re just so pretty.
Let me now do a slight assessment of the characters in BOF then. Makino in this version looks a little old to me. I think they must’ve tried really hard to find some actress who looks ordinary, like how Makino should be. To give them credit, the actress, Goo Hye Sun is an actual actress who’s actually had several leading roles before BOF. Buttt, she still looks much older compared to F4, who really do look like boys next to her. She looks a bit aunty la actually, I still feel that the most likeable Makino was Inoue Mao. Maybe she can change my mind later on.
Domyoji is the boy in the middle up there. It’s really quite obvious from his weird hairstyle and all. Thank god they didn’t give him the pineapple hairstyle, and opted for a more Matsumoto Jun approach, with the curly floppy hair and all. He didn’t really strike me as outstanding when he first appeared with F4 though; he looks too much like a little boy. Haha at least Jerry Yan’s bone structure is more masculine, and Jun had his crazy-eyes (LOL) thing going on for him. I should really give this boy some time, I can barely remember the name of his character.
Rui looks like he walked out from a boyband cover. He is the one on the right in the photo. Lol he really does look like the most boyband type in F4, but I feel his acting is a little odd, even for a character like Rui. I’d expected Rui to be more introverted, but this guy had Rui flash his pearly whites for the camera in the very first episode. Now, where’s the air of mystery about this guy? It’s a bit hard to imagine him with the lead actress though, when they were standing together onscreen, something about them just didn’t fit. Looks like I’ll be rooting for Domyoji-Makino again.
Now, Akira and Soujiro are the ones who baffled me the most, in terms of differentiating them as characters. Even after they introduced F4, I had a hard time telling who’s who. But…I believe that Akira is the one on the left, whereas Soujiro is the second from left. I think. I can’t be 100% sure yet, but I’ll defnitely find out through their characteristics over time. Heh. As if remembering their names in Korean was difficult enough. My lack of kdrama knowledge is really quite pathetic.
So far, the plot has not really deviated from the original that much, in the sense that it is set in a high school for the rich and privileged. It’s obviously not 100% the same as the original because it’s adapted to suit Korean lifestyle/culture and things like that. I’m not that satisfied with the lead actress as of now, and no one else in the drama is really outstanding enough to earn a mention, but I do hope that she grows on me, because if I can’t stand her, I probably can’t stand watching the entire drama.
Sidenote: Before the cast was picked, there were rumours that Jo In Sung was slated to play Domyoji. Now this actor is one of those few Korean actors that I know of, and it is such a pity that he’s not Domyoji. He would make a good Domyoji though, in terms of looks and height, he’s definitely qualified. And his acting chops goes without saying. He may even fit the main actress better, since he looks older. Aaaahhh why not him?
For more info on Boys Over Flowers, check out Dramawiki. =)