Boys over Flowers
I’m not much of a manga reader. In fact, I generally don’t read manga at all. Every now and then, I watch a show that I really enjoy and when I find out there is a manga associated with it; I check out the manga. This is what happened with Boys over Flowers (2009 Korean version). It’s not an anime so why was I watching? If any of you use Crunchyroll, you know that they have a drama section. I don’t watch drama often whether its Korean, Chinese, or Japanese. I really can’t tell you what made me click on this show. It was probably a combination of wanting to watch something new and I thought it would be funny. Who knew that I would be captivated for a couple of weeks by this show? I did some research on this show and found out how popular it was; so popular that there is a Japanese and Taiwanese version. All of these versions spawned from the manga Hana Yori Dango. I really hope the writer, Yoko Kamio, from Hana Yori Dango is rolling in the dough since her manga created three successful tv series, a live action film, an anime film, and an anime series. Who else can say their work has done all of this?
I found the manga to be much better than the show. It is very rare that I find a show/movie to be better than the written version. I have not seen the Japanese and Taiwanese versions of Boys over Flowers but I am interested in checking them out. Now let’s go to what I have seen and read. There were some things in the Korean version of BoF that annoyed me which the manga fixed. Jan Di (Korean version) initially came across as strong-willed but as the series progressed she became the damsel in distress that always needed to be saved by F4 preferably Jihu or Gu Jun Pyo. Hey, I wouldn’t mind being saved by Jun Pyo myself; Lee Min Ho is hot! Ok, focus. Back to my point, in the manga, Jan Di’s character who’s name is Tsukushi Makino is a bad-ass. If they would have kept her like that, I think the show still would have been as popular. It bothered me in watching the K-Drama that Jan Di was such a crybaby and seemed to give up quite easily. I’m glad I read the manga because it made me feel much better. Why turn the heroine into such a weakling when her original character was not? Do women always need to be saved by men? Can we not save ourselves? We can kick ass, too.
I enjoyed how both the manga and its drama adaptation explored bullying in schools. The manga started in 1992 before people were talking about bullying (Well, in Western media not sure about Japan). Going by the comments that the author would put in the manga, many people experienced bullying and wrote her about their situations. In watching the Korean version, the bullying was pretty hard to watch especially in the first episode in which Jan Di saves a student who is about to jump off a roof. Can you imagine being taunted daily? Can you imagine being beaten daily by your peers and not being able to do anything about it? Not to mention those who are bullying are extremely wealthy and protected. What does a student do? They have no one to turn to except themselves or their friends. I can see this blog turning into a long rant if I don’t slow down. I wish they hadn’t changed the heroine’s personality in the Korean version but it was still a delightful watch mainly because Lee Min Ho who plays Gu Jun Pyo is an outstanding actor. His face was very expressive and he made his role believable because his facial expressions matched what he was saying or what you presumed he was thinking. I don’t think I have ever seen a young actor as talented as him and I plan on watching more of his work because of his impressive performance. He and Lee Hye Yeong (the actress who played his mother are what kept me watching the show. She was absolutely fabulous. I was terrified of her every time she walked on the screen which was the point. She played a scary woman. I would never want to meet someone like that in real life.
If you’re interested in K-drama and have not seen Boys over Flowers, watch it. If you like manga from the 90s, read Hana Yori Dango. You won’t regret it. Has this happened to you before? Have you ever watched a show and started reading the manga because the show was that good?