Woohoo, another review, and this time it’s one of my favorite dramas ever, as this isn’t the first… or second time I watch it. I actually reviewed the Korean version before (Boys Over Flowers review), and it’s about time to review the original and more fantastic version. Of course you all know that “Hana Yori Dango and its Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese adaptions are all based on the manga by the same name by Yoko Kamio. It became super popular, even after all these years. I gotta say though I loved the Korean version, the Japanese one will always be the best, well after the manga that is, you’ll know why in the review.
Remember, there’d be some spoilers and photo spam. 🙂
- General info:
Title: 花より男子 / Hana Yori Dango
Also known as: Boys Before Flowers / Boys Over Flowers
Episodes: Season 1: 9 episodes, Season 2: 11 episodes, A special episode, A Final movie.
Genre: Romance, Drama.
Makino Tsukushi is the only poor student at Eitoku Gakuen, the school of the ridiculously rich and privileged that is ruled by Flower 4 or F4, a group of four boys who come from extremely powerful families: Domyoji Tsukasa, the leader and heir of the Domyoji World Finance Group; Hanazawa Rui, the introverted son of a large company; Nishikado Sojiro, a player who is the heir of a tea ceremony school; and Mimasaka Akira, a madam killer with ties to the underground. If a student gets on the F4’s bad side, he/she gets a red notice and is bullied and driven out of school.
Makino hopes to pass her days quietly– without drawing any attention to herself– but one day, she stands up to Domyoji in defense of her friend. The next day, Makino gets the dreaded red notice. Even though she is harassed, Makino decides to keep going to school because she is a “tough weed”. She declares war right back on the F4. Her resolve gets the attention of her crush Hanazawa Rui and oddly enough, rouses romantic feelings in her worst enemy, Domyoji Tsukasa.
Makino Tsukushi (played by Inoue Mao): The powerful independent poor girl, who manages to win the hearts of F4 and changes them all somehow. I like this version best of Makino, she’s sweet, powerful, and stubborn at times, but she’s the one that resembles the original Manga Makino the most. She’s a poor girl who’s dream (later on) is to become a lawyer, her first love is Rui, but her true love and the one she’s destined to be with is Domyouji. We see her change a lot during the two seasons, she starts off as somehow uncaring person, and ends up defending her love and her right to choose the way she lives. Well, we gotta give it to her; she stood up to Domyouji’s mom quite a lot. She’s funny a lot too, and cute. Well you obviously can see that I’m biased to this Makino.
Domyouji Tsukasa (played by Matsumoto Jun): The stubborn, selfish, aggressive, and adorable heir of Domyouji group, and Makino’s true love. At first I really hated him, for the two first episodes he was like this aggressive animal, who only cared about beating others for no apparent reason. After Makino enters his life he COMPLETELY changes, and turns into this adorable little boy, with a lot of mistakes, both in English and Japanese. He’s so passionate when it comes to love, he’s willing to do anything, and through the episodes he slowly develops to become a real adult. Also, That wink! ❤
Hanazawa Rui (played by Oguri Shun): The cool, somehow lazy, and handsome prince and heir, and Makino’s first love. You can always see him holding a book, like ALL THE FREAKING TIME (don’t get me wrong, I love books. But isn’t it a bit too much?)! He starts off as the one who’s saving Makino from all the bullying for no reason other than he just hates Domyouji’s ways, but later on falls in love with her after moving on Shizuka, his first love. After losing Makino’s love to Tsukasa, he works as her knight, whenever Domyouji’s not there. He even became the priest in their wedding, how sweet is that? I always felt sorry for him for not getting the girl, but I’m pretty sure he’d get the love he deserves, with this killer smile and angelic presence, and it’s not that hard! ❤
Nishikado Sojiro (played by Matsuda Shota): The playboy and tea ceremonial family descendant, and the love interest of Makino’s friend Yuki. He plays the role of F4’s playboy with traditional Japanese background, coming from one of the top Japanese families in tea making. He’s had a little cute sad love story with his childhood friend, Hinata Sara, but because of his arrogance, he lost her. But Yuki managed to change him, and they’re (somehow) dating, I guess. I don’t really get it since whenever he sees her he just runs away.
Mimasaka Akira (played by Abe Tsuyoshi): He played the son of underground business who loves older, married women. This Akira version is much better, since the Korean version gave him no depth at all. It shows the reason for his love to older women, having two little sisters, and a young and childish mother did that to him. Also at the end, when he takes over the underground business, he tries to make it all clean (but how, I don’t know). He’s like the glue and the brains of the F4; he’s the one who’s keeping them together.
Family: Makino’s family though they love money, they aren’t as horrible as the one in the Korean version. This family truly cares about Tsukushi and loves her dearly, and it clearly shows. I also love her brother Susumu; he’s got this cute pitchy voice. As for Domyouji’s family, his mother is pure evil, she becomes all sweet at the end, but you’ll really REALLY hate her through the drama, his sister is lovable, on the contrary.
The acting was superb, the chemistry between Mao and Jun was apparent; I was feeling like they’re a real couple (unlike the Korean version). Jun was amazing, he’s truly the only suitable Domyouji, he adds his quirkiness and language mistakes and his attitude, it all made him super lovable. Shun, was sweet too, but too lazy to act, I mean the only time I saw him actually acting and getting some emotions out when he was lecturing Domyouji about Makino, come on, Rui in the manga wasn’t that lazy. The rest of the cast was amazing, but I gotta say my least favorite character, is Abe Tsuyoshi, though he has his moments, I felt that his acting was awkward most of the time.
- Is it funny?
One word for funny, well maybe two: Tsukasa Domyouji. He’s hilarious; he’s the reason behind all the laughter throughout the drama.
- Is it Romantic/Tear-Jerking?
Romantic, YES, Tear-jerking, once again YES! There are a lot of romantic scenes between Makino and Domyouji or Makino and Rui. As for the crying scenes, all the times they’ve broke up or when his mother does something horrible… again. Also, the time when he lost his memory made me tear a bit, because of frustration.
The drama mostly focuses on background music, but it’s got four or five amazing songs, I’m still addicted to. The first season got “WISH” by Arashi and “Planetarium” by Ai Otsuka, the second season got “Love So Sweet” by Arashi, and “Flavor of Life” by Utada Hikaru. And the theme song for the movie is “Forever Love” by, yes you’re right, ARASHI. They did a good job working on these songs; they’re so addictive and sweet.
- Hotness level/Style:
There isn’t much style or fancy clothes like the Korean version, as this version is much older, and J-dramas doesn’t focus that much on clothes and wardrobe, though I loved Rui’s outfits. But they make up for it by the hotties that are Matsumoto Jun and Oguri Shun, who are enough for me! Also Mao is really cute.
- Moments to Remember:
When Domyouji was leaving to New York, the meeting in New York, The Proposal, their time on the island, the silliness, Okami-san boyfriend’s stories, the wedding, when Domyouji found out that Makino is pregnant, too much great moments, I’ll leave you some pics.
- Did it end well?
Season 1: YES! Makino running after Domyouji left her the Saturn necklace and telling him that she loves, also the kiss by the sunset. It was all too perfect.
Season 2: The proposal was so Domyouji-ish, he was in love and proposing, yet he couldn’t keep out stuff like “Almighty Me” which I found really cute.
The Movie: Though the whole movie is nowhere to be found in the manga, it’s completely fantasy of the writers, it was sweet, funny, and full of suspense, and we get to see them reconfirm their love, and the best wedding scene and happy ending. Ahh~~
- Rating: 5/5… if I could give it million out of five, I would ❤