When I first got into dramas, I didn’t like them. I had just discovered anime, and seeing these being adapted was strange. The comedy was different than what I was used to, the kiss scenes were creepy, and overall, I wasn’t sure about them…
Now after having grown up, I can safely say that dramas are something everyone will end up enjoying. What title that is, is up to what you like. For many, the series that everyone ADORES is Hana Yori Dango, adapted from the classic shoujo manga from the 90’s that has been adapted into God knows how many other dramas/anime/plays/etc.
So influential in fact, that this manga inspired an American tv series called Boys Before Friends…which thankfully didn’t make it past episode 5 before tanking.
And that’s not all! There’s even a book published in ENGLISH that was “INSPIRED” by Hana Yori Dango….yet is literally a rewritten version…and somehow hasn’t violated copy-write…the author even says that she based it off her
ANYWAYS, now that we have that background out of the way, I was asked by Anonymous on Tumblr to review the jdrama adaptation.
To be honest, I’d seen part of the kdrama version already, and was ready to tear apart this series. I didn’t like what I saw. While I am here to provide an honest review and will be pointing out just a few things that no other review I’ve seen has so far done, I have to say I was so relieved to love this show.
Basic Gist: Makino Tsukushi (BEST HEROINE EVER!) goes to the elite Eitoku Gakuen where everyone is a prissy, stuck-up, mean person. She lays low until the day she stands up to the bullies of Eitoku: The F4.
This show got pretty dark guys. I wasn’t prepared for some of it. Thankfully, it quickly rounds out to the awesome romcom it is.
Makino was GREAT! Holy crap this girl was awesome. I was so proud of her. Inou Mao is a fantastic actress, and damn, was she is a badass. I liked how she knew how wrong the school was letting these snotty F4 pretty boys boss and beat up people because they had money. And for doing something about it.
In the kdrama, she was such a bore!! She had no backbone and when she did stand up to the F4 it was laughable. Sure, the cast was gorgeous….but damn were they boring. The Jdrama captures the charm you will find in most jdramas-superb acting and heart.
And this is only 9 episodes.
The kdrama took 25…
The controversy: Makino stands up for her friend and gets the Red Mark which means everyone will now abuse the crap out of her until she runs away and never comes back to school.
Instead of running, Makino takes it. Since she got into the school based on her excellent grades, the fact that her parents named her after a weed that can endure all hardships, and her work ethic, the girl survives the day. She doesn’t want to disappoint her family who’ve scrounged everything together to send her to this private school.
This title of even going there earns her family respect, and she doesn’t want her family to be mocked.
She’s at school the next day, which astounds everyone. And the childish leader of F4, Doumyouji literally orders her rape.
See, the only major flaw this series has is this. This fact is swept under the carpet once he decides he likes Makino…and while I was livid, I had to sit back and contemplate his character. Due to his background which was vaguely hinted at, how we see how horribly he’s treated at his home, and how warped his mother is, I found it in myself to understand. Not forgive him for what he did, but for the fact that he doesn’t know it’s actually wrong.
Now, if you were offended like I was about this, please don’t let this consume you. The show seriously backhands Doumyouji and teaches him many lessons. The heroine beats the snot out of him. He gets his medicine.
FINALLY this d-bag starts to realize maybe money doesn’t make the world. Maybe he’s really a lazy ass who hasn’t made a penny in his life. And that life should be treasured.
The one thing that really got me was the fact that despite how he changes, he doesn’t do a complete 180. He has no idea what he needs to do to change, and his awkwardness shows. He still gets violent and takes out his anger on others. He has difficulty expressing his feelings, his life has been bulldozed over too many times for him to remember, and he constantly misuses the Japanese language, confusing everyone.
I can’t even begin to tell you how hilarious this was.
As the series continues, we have Makino fighting against her growing feelings for Doumyouji as he matures, and her old crush for Hanazawa Rui, the one person who helped her when F4 bullied her.
He literally was the Prince Charming of the show and I almost wished they ended up together. But we realize he has his own issues and as I watched the show, I realized how bad it would be if Makino became his girlfriend. Thankfully, he’s a great friend.
The other members were practically forgettable and I don’t really have much to say about them other than they both like women. And one loves tea.
Yes, it’s a cliche love-hate, but it was done well. We go from this
And all of you know how much I adore well-done love-hate stories. So beautiful ❤
The strength of the show really resides with Makino. Not only is she a fiercely independent girl, but she isn’t afraid to know when to quit, when to cry, when to punch the crap out of someone, and when to forgive.
And as usual with most dramas, the bitch-mom must be present. And a bitch she was.
Ugh, please go away.
The show delves into controversy surrounding Japanese culture and the obsession with beauty. It talks about how women are just as equal to a man and can go out and do their own thing. And that love really can change someone. And I believe it can.
Guys just watch this. Do it for Matsumoto Jun, for Inou Mao, for a FUN time and for 9 episodes of FEELS. The kdrama wasn’t good imo, and I can’t recommend it. This one has the heart. The acting, the feels, the everything.
Thank you for the request, Anonymous, and if anyone has a request, let me know.