You know who’s been up till 3 in the morning marathon-watching Hana Yori Dango? Me, is who. I’m super puyat since Sunday night - I wonder why I always get the urge to start watching long series at the most inopportune time – i.e. late night on the last day of the weekend – when there’s always the possibility that hindi ko na mabibitawan yung pinapanood ko. It didn’t help that I’ve been staying long hours at the office this week and I get home late. How dare my job take away from my precious couch potato time!
Topic? Hana Yori Dango. For those who don’t know it yet, HYD is the Japanese live drama equivalent of Meteor Garden. But then, Meteor Garden is the Taiwanese version of the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango, so. I admit that I initially disliked HYD because its actors pale in comparison to the hotness that were the MG boys. I only decided to watch HYD because my Toma Ikuta (Nakatsu of Hana Kimi) have a short guest appearance. I’m happy to say that, after three nights (and going) of puyatan, I changed my mind completely about this Japanese series.
I can’t say which version is better – I love both to pieces. After all, the story is essentially the same. If you’re after the eye candy, MG definitely trumps HYD. BUT. The Japanese F4 has a certain appeal to them. They look better the longer you look at them. I used to have the biggest problem with Domyouji Tsukasa, the Japanese equivalent of Dao Ming Si, because I love Jerry Yan as Dao. But Jun Matsumoto brought a darker but more emphatic character to the F4 leader; I hate Domyouji as much as I love him. His bad side was bordeing on the psychotic, but he's so adorable when he's trying to convince everyone of his greatness. Dao was cocky because of his stature but there seemed to be a certain awareness of his own appeal in it. Domyouji was just as cocky, but it's more of the spoiled brat cockiness. And he's always at a lost on how to deal with his attraction to Makino Tsukashi, the Japanese counterpart of San Cai. I just love watching their scenes together!
I still have about 9 episodes to watch and storywise, HYD is very engaging. Japanese live dramas are usually short (1 season is about 10-12 episodes) so the story is fast-paced and cohesive. Some scenes in MG were kind of dragging; in the case of HYD, I’m yet to fast-forward to any scene (which is why it’s taking so long for me to finish the series!). The transition of Domyouji’s feelings towards Makino, from hate to attraction, was emphasized well; I always felt that Dao seemed to be suddenly head over heels in love with San Cai. The actor who played Hanazawa Rui, Lei’s counterpart, was Shun Oguri, who was also the same actor who played the lead in Hana Kimi. As you all well know, I didn’t like him in that series. He redeemed himself in HYD; in fact, he looked better here. I love the scene where the four boys were fighting among themselves.
I don’t know which version is more faithful to the manga. I don’t think it even matter. All I know is that I love MG first, but HYD made me want to read the manga and watch the anime version. Addict di ba? And considering how out of this world and outrageous most of the plotlines were (the level of bullying by the F4, how insanely rich and poweful they are), it still feel real because the basic story is something that we all recognize – the triumph of true love against all odds. And who does not love that?
That’s all for now. After all, I still have a series to finish!