THE LADY AND ANIME

Exploring the World of Anime

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?

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22 Comments

  1. I’ve never watched a drama and then had to read the manga, but Boys Over Flowers was the first time I watched a drama after reading the manga. haven’t watched the Korean drama of Boys Over Flowers, but I have read the manga and watched the Tawainese and Japanese dramas. Boys Over Flowers is probably my favorite shojo series and I love Tsukushi and Tsukasa. I actually stayed away from the Korean series because I had heard that they made Tsukushi’s character much weaker than she originally was: a huge part of the reason the series initially became popular in Japan was because of how strong Tsukushi is. And you’re right – I hope Yoko Kamio is rolling in the dough for making such a popular (and great) series.

    • GoodbyeNavi

      It is true, Tsukushi’s character (Jan Di in the Korean version) is substantially weaker than the manga version. She cries nearly every episode and mopes around like a puppy without her chew toy. Her character annoyed me to no end in the series and she was in 80% of the scenes. What kept me watching were the other characters and I liked seeing what they would be wearing in each scene. Tsukasa’s characther (Jun Pyo/Korean) was very well played as were the rest of F4. I still wonder why they chose to change Tsukushi’s character so much.

      • All I can guess without having seen the show is maybe they thought making Jan Di weaker would make her more sympathetic. That, or different cultural values, especially regarding gender roles.

  2. i was never a fan of dramas nor mangas, the first drama i watched was meteor garden and it was not even consistent, then after that no more, then one boring afternoon, Boys over Flowers was showing in our channel and it caught my attention because of the grand sceneries and the opulent surroundings, after that i noticed the guys are really goodlooking and the story was entertaining, not an awards kind of drama but it was entertaining, makes one forget the harshness of real life even for a few hours. I can say that this drama started my obssession in K dramas especially if Lee min ho is in it.

    • GoodbyeNavi

      Lee Min Ho is what kept me watching the show. Now I’m watching City Hunter because he’s in it and he’s doing a bang up job acting in that one as well.

    • Jojo

      “I can say that this drama started my obssession in K dramas” i feel you.

  3. i have seen many dramas on the topic flowers. boys over flowers is impressive title and i think its working too. reading this is good experience.

  4. Rei

    Haha I love this show! I watch this because I need some material to talk to with the girl I like. Turns out this was one of the best korean show i’ve ever watched. Can’t been You’re Beautiful though. Haven’t tried the manga but I guess I might just give it a look if there is any online.

    • GoodbyeNavi

      I thought the manga was better but that was due to how the main female protagonist is portrayed. She is much stronger in the manga than in the Korean version. This is the first full K-Drama I have ever watched. I’m not exactly sure it provides the best material to talk with a girl especially if you take Jun Pyo’s way of dealing with women. Maybe going by Jin Hoo would be helpful but I thought he was a bit too passive and he was eccentric but that was due to his Asperger’s Syndrome.

  5. I kind of liked that the Korean Drama version totally went in a different direction than the anime Hana Yori Dango. The drama was much funnier in many ways, it took itself less seriously. Even if hearing those same songs over and over got a little annoying and managed to get them stuck in my head. “Together making love, forever making you smile…” those are quite the lyrics. Other than that, I thought it was alright. I still haven’t seen the other versions.

    • Oh, man, those songs drove me crazy! Haha. I started singing them every time they came on. Then when the songs came on, there was absolutely no action (usually). Those were the times I was really thrilled with Crunchyroll and I would just fast forward through those scenes.

      • I really should of fast forwarded them myself. I can’t even imagine why I didn’t think to do that. ;p They were too catchy though!

      • Yeah, sometimes I just wasn’t in the mood for them. I was more of “Get on with the story!”

  6. minoz

    I think jandi acting skill is not good f4 is the best! I wonder why? They change too much……..
    Anyway love you Jun Pyo.

  7. Jojo

    i like the korean version of BOF, but after watching the japanese version, i just cant. it is way too sweet to be compared to the korean version. anyway, both are good in their own way. and yes, the manga version is the best. :>

  8. Cora

    I was a fan of the manga before the anime/3 drama adaptations emerged — and I must say that BOF, no offense to its fans, is probably the worst out of the drama adaptations. I have really HUGE expectations at first cause hey, the full and completed story is already handed to them in a silver platter + there are already 2 drama adaptations to boot.

    What I don’t get is that unlike the two previous adaptations, it didn’t even made a tiny bit of effort to keep the essence of the source. It’s just a series of events with no connections and significance with the plot. And it also lacks the character growth and couple development which is one of the most outstanding things in the manga. By the end, they made it seem like Jandi needs Jun Pyo more than he needs her (and you know that in the manga, it’s very much the other way around). The way they handled the OTP made no sense and it wasn’t as convincing as the other two drama adaptations.

    • Wow. I can absolutely see where you are coming from with that, the drama adaptation was different from the manga. She went from being this extremely strong character to almost completely dependent upon him.

      • Cora

        Yeah, it really seemed like the creators of BOF didn’t understand the story at all. They mashed the manga and the Japanese live action series together resulting to the inconsistencies in both the plot and the characters. And not only Jandi btw, Jun Pyo too. You see how strong-willed and honest Tsukasa from the manga is. He won’t hesitate to give up everything if he can’t deny his love for Makino — yet they made Jun Pyo kneel in front of Monkey, begging the girl to call the marriage off… and for me, that’s a very cowardly act and very anti to the character he was based upon.

        Anyway, thank you for writing this. I thought I was alone in thinking that this version massacred everything I love about the manga. It’s nice to see that even you who have not seen the previous 2 drama adaptations saw something really wrong in it.

        Oops, it seemed like I wrote so much. Sorry!

      • Haha. No, you have very strong feelings. I love when people feel strongly about something and can clearly articulate it. I will say that the show motivated me to read the manga. I will admit that I watched it all the way through because I thought Jun Pyo was cute.

  9. Princess Ellas

    I really like this “Boys Over Flower” movie because it’s really romantic and so URG..I like the way they do the actions and all that stuff.I also love Lee Min Ho’s movie,”The Heir”,with Park Something,forgot the name.They really are a great actor and actress.Me,along with my fellow friends are a big fan of this movie.It’s really romantic.But mostly I like the way they do all the acting and good at being dramatic.Trust me I like it.Go guys,keep it up.I really like Korean Drama movie.The Heir,Boys Over Flower,Full house,and many more.

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