The first Jdorama that I watched was Hana Yori Dango. A friend of mine urged me to watch it. During that time, the show was airing on one of the local TV networks on a Saturday. I never had a chance to catch it on TV as it was shown on Saturday afternoons — and usually on Saturdays I would either be out of the house or watching other channels (we have cable! go figure :D). And I was also a bit hesitant, as I mentioned in my previous post, to watch it because I was afraid I would be disappointed as I still loved the Taiwanese version, Meteor Garden.
I finally had the chance to watch the drama one afternoon while we were lazing around on afternoon in her house. And from that time on I was addicted to the series and to Japanese drama! It makes me want to go to Ebisu Garden Place 😀
Hana Yori Dango is the drama adaptation of the Japanese manga of the same title (aka Boys Over Flowers) by Kamio Yoko. It is tells about the love story between Makino Tsukushi, the only poor girl in Eitoku Gauken, and Domyoji Tsukasa, a rich spoiled brat who is the heir to the Domyoji Group of Companies. Hana Yori Dango has 2 seasons and last year they made a movie (Hana Yori Dango Final). A fun fact: The author made another volume to the manga to incorporate the story of the movie.
Hana Yori Dango 1
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. (http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Hana_Yori_Dango)
Hana Yori Dango 2
This second season of Hana Yori Dango picks up right after Domyoji leaves for New York. After confessing to Domyoji, Makino has not spoken to him for a year. Rui and the other members of F4 try and help Makino meet Domyoji again by going to New York for the christmas holidays. Though F4 and Makino meet Domyoji again, he has become a completely different person, and so they leave for Japan.
Some time later, Domyoji’s mother annouces that they will be returning to Japan. There, they hold a giant super-rich and classy birthday party for Domyoji and announce something very important. Domyoji, like in the first season, is engaged to a rich girl and heir. The only difference is that they are to be wed soon. What will Makino do?
On the side, Rui begins to fall in love with Makino… will this become a love… square? (http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Hana_Yori_Dango)
Hana Yori Dango Final
begins as Domyoji holds an extravagant press conference to announce his wedding to Makino the following spring. The press is playing her up like a modern-day Cinderella and everything seems to be going well. Later, the families offer congratulations to the couple. Even Domyoji’s mother—who was formerly vehemently opposed to the relationship and tried desperately to break them up at every opportunity—is suddenly happy for them. She even offers Makino a family heirloom: a tiara worth 10 billion yen (about $95 million USD) called “Smile of Venus”.
Later in their hotel room, Makino begins to worry that her life is about to take a drastic change from what she’s used to. Domyoji consoles her by telling her he’ll spend the rest of his life protecting her, but just as he says that a man dressed in black crashes into their room through a window and steals the “Smile of Venus” tiara. Domyoji tries to chase the man but he vanishes into the city. By the time they get back to the hotel room the glass is completely cleaned up and the window is replaced as if nothing had ever happened. Obviously there’s some sort of conspiracy going on. Could Domyoji’s mother be meddling again, hoping to make it look like Makino carelessly lost the tiara herself? Or is someone at the hotel trying to cover up the crime? Domyoji and Makino are determined to get to the bottom of things, and end up going on a wild adventure together which takes them through Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and various places throughout the world. And don’t worry fangirls, the rest of F4 will show up too. (http://www.mysoju.com/hana-yori-dango-final/)
Makino Tsukushi was played by Inoue Mao (First Kiss), Domyoji Tsuka was played by Matsumoto Jun (one of the members of Arashi, you may also remember him from Bambino and Gokusen), Hanazawa Rui was played by Oguri Shun (Hana Kimi), Nishikado Sojiro was played by Shota Matsuda (Liar Game, Regatta), and Mimasaka Aikira was played by Abe Tsuyoshi (Sensei wa Erai!, Yume wo Kanaeru Zo).
Difference Between Hana Yori Dango and Meteor Garden (spoiler alert!!!)
I really like both series. However, though both have the same stories, there were differences with the series. One obvious difference is that the Japanese version had a movie while the Taiwanese version was only until the second series. Another difference is that the Taiwanese version had a total of 58 episodes (27 for the first season and 31 for the second season) while Hana Yori Dango had 20 (9 for the first season and 11 for the second). Because of this, when you watch it, you will feel that the story was dragged for the Taiwanese version while the Japanese version was fast paced. I’m not sure it it was me but I feel that the Japanese version exerted more effort on making the set more etravagant — you should see their props.
As for the story line, there was a difference in the time when Domyoji had amnesia. In the Hana Yori Dango, his amnesia was delimited to 2 episodes (last 2 episodes in the second season), in Meteor Garden, it was the basis for the whole story of the 2nd season. Hana Yori Dango takes us to New York while Meteor Garden took us to Spain. And while in Meteor Garden Domyoji was about to propose to Makino in Spain, the proposal in Hana Yori Dango happened in the last episode of the season 2. There were also some characters in Meteor Garden that were not in Hana Yori Dango — the most obvious would be Makino’s best friend Kazuya Aoike (Qing He).
To know understand what I am ranting about, I recommend to watch this series.