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Friday, July 19, 2013

Hana Yori Dango

Hana Yori Dango (2005)


Country: Japan
Format: drama season 1, 9 episodes
Genre: romance, comedy, school
Cast: Inoue Mao, Matsumoto Jun, Oguri Jun, Matsuda Shota, Abe Tsuyoshi, Nishihara Aki, Kaga Mariko, Sato Megumi, David Ito, Sada Mayumi, Tomiura Satoshi, Kobayashi Susumu, Ishino Mako, Matsushima Nanako
Synopsis: Makino Tsukushi goes to elite high-school which is ruled by world-famous F4 - Flower 4 -  the richest and most powerful guys in the school - getting a red notice from them means definite leaving from school. As a commoner Makino tries to live her high-school life being unnoticed, but everything changes when she gets on bad terms with F4's leader Domyouji Tsukasa. Makino's first name stands for "though weed" and she proves that she deserves it by declaring war to F4. Oddly enough slowly she is starting to fall for the enemy.
Rating: 4/5
It took me years until I convinced myself to watch it - after all everybody are praising it to heaven and it is one of the must-see classics. Before watching these were my thoughts - "I'm gonna hate Curly, luv Sweety and dunno 'bout others" (Excuse me for slang - these thoughts are already simplified from the actual slang in my head - you do not want to know how my mind works) But lets see how and why my thoughts changed after watching it.

As I told you I had biggest prejudice about Matsumoto Jun as Tsukasa. Without any personal thing against Matsumoto-kun, I just did not find him appealing. But for my surprise I fell for him really fast. Tsukasa was, is and will stay my favorite character from "Hana yori Dango". Even his cute curls became really precious to me. At first they seemed like a impenetrable rain-forest. At the start of the drama he is a wacko psycho sadist who enjoys putting others to the torture. But he changes! After getting punched by Makino and beaten up by a gang he changes for good and he becomes the best guy in the world.
He is cute, caring and silly. He basically sucks in all languages and defends himself by saying that language is only words and has nothing to do with stupidity. Not the sharpest pencil in the box, but I will forgive him that because the magic in "Hana yori Dango's" fame lies in him. He might look carefree and über-rich, but his life is not as easy as it seems. He has the responsibility of taking over the company and there is only few things that he can decide on his own. It is not easy when your mother is the devil's counselor.
With first episodes I had my hopes up and I was so sure that I start to like Makino. Tsukushi showed her strong side - not being a push-over, standing for her beliefs, being a strong character. But as the drama went on the less I liked her. She prioritizes money too much (just finished a money-saving book by Bodo Schäfer who said that not having money actually makes people more prioritize it than having money all the time. It is so true about Makino)   Also she starts to show how indecisive she is and how less she thinks about how Tsukasa is feeling - she always worries about what others think and then about herself and the last person is Tsukasa. Sadly for me Makino is a failure and more episodes and movie only proved it even more.
Now to the man I was supposed to fall desperately in love with - Rui. As you already predict I did
not fall for him at all. Yes, Rui is the sweetest and perfect in every way - intelligent, plays violin, reads much, isn't violent, peaceful, protective, mysterious and manly. I could go on with a list, but the reason why I did not fall for him was that at the same time he was indecisive, a bit naive, steps over bromance rules and is super-duper stuck on his first love with whom he seems to have friends-with-benefits situation. It is difficult to say exactly what was going on with them without reading manga (again I am in fault). I think that he was the most absent-minded from F4 which is also is one reason he seemed mysterious. Now when it comes to Tsukushi he keeps sending her mixed signals - saves her all the time, shows attraction to her, but at the same time discusses love-things with her like a friend. This is no way to get the girl -.-. And the biggest reasons why he lost my support are in the spoiler review.
Sadly, they did not talk that much about Akira and Soujiro. It seemed like they were side-characters who just had to be in drama in order to be accurate to manga, which is actually wrong. Only story what we get from Soujiro is that Tsukushi's friend falls in love with him. They both play the role of being the "rational" thinking in the F4 and between Tsukasa and Rui. Soujiro tends to be more hot-tempered than Akira - which in a way does not make sense as Soujiro does tea-ceremony which needs patience and Akira is from yakuza-family.
Shizuka is Rui's first love and childhood friend of all F4. She is like only girl before Tsukushi who
was allowed to hang with them. She is older than them, she is very beautiful and intelligent, but I think that not all of her choices have been correct. Shizuka has a great influence on Tsukushi as she was the reason why Tsukushi decided to attend Eitoku. Another girl who helps Tsukushi a lot is her old friend Yuki who is also her work-colleague. She is really cute girl who gives many advises to Tsukushi and she is the one reason how we get to know what goes on in Tsukushi's heart. But Yuki has a bit annoying side too - her first boyfriend choices are not that good and later she aims a bit too high. There is nothing wrong with liking Soujiro, but I think that you must "up-grade" yourself too before thinking that he will love you back.
Like I mentioned before Tsukasa's family situation is not easy. His mom is really powerful all over
the world and when she disagrees with something, it will take a lot of time and effort to show her that sometimes she is not right. But the bright side of the family is Onee-san who comes to save everyone when they are feeling like giving up. She is really cute character who is not afraid to go against her mom, because she knows what it means to give up on the person you love for business.
Tsukushi's family is the opposite direction. They stick together in every situation and try to look at the bright sides of things. I must admit that Tsukushi seems to be the smartest of them. As the drama went on, I felt that they were using Tsukushi's position and relationships in order to receive better things. They do not mean to do any harm by this, but I just find it really insensitive and low of them. Of course marring into a rich family will make the girl's family richer too and get a name that will open all doors, but I think that family should think more about Tsukushi's real feelings. Well, she should do it herself too.
The villain of the first season is Sakurako, whose actions go rather extreme. Her sweet naive looks are deceitful, especially when you like to see the better side of people. After getting to know her story i really wondered "is there a guy who is worth going this far?" The most suitable way how to describe her is "lunatic crazy bitch".
Okami is Tsukushi's boss who likes to talk about her relationships with different man. Each story is one of a kind and usually gives hints about really famous or historical men that make Tsukushi and Yuki wonder who Okami really is and how old is she?
This is it, now you know most of the characters who you must meet in this drama. I hope you like some characters more than I did, expect Tsukasa because I do like him a lot. "Hana yori Dango" is one of the "MUST-WATCH" dramas for every drama-watcher in the world. So I suggest that you watch it as soon as possible so that you can go on with other dramas.

SPOILER review:  The fact that Rui left to France in order to be with Shizuka shows that he did not have that big feelings for Makino. After getting heart-broken in Paris he flies back to Japan just to act as a bitch and disturb others relationship. Your own damn fault that she looked at another guy who was not afraid to show his feelings to the whole world. I know he gave an excuse that it all was the revenge to Tsukasa for making him unable to eat apples, but seriously, dude??

 

Hana Yori Dango S2(2007)

Country: Japan
Format: Season 2, 11 episodes
Genre: romance, comedy, school
Cast: Inoue Mao, Matsumoto Jun, Matsuda Shota, Abe Tsuyoshi, Nishihara Aki, Kaga Mariko, Sato Megumi, Kato Natsuki, David Ito, Sada Mayumi, Tomiura Satoshi, Kobayashi Susumu, Ishino Mako, Matsushima Nanako, Quests: Ikuta Toma, Oomasa Aya, Kanjiya Shihori, Tanaka Kei, Toda Erika
Synopsis: Domyouji and Makino's communication has been cut off over a year already when Domyouji left for USA. The guys and Makino decide to go to states for Christmas holidays to meet up, but for their regret Domyouji is not the guy he used to be. Soon after that Domyouji is sent bac to Japan only for announcement of his engagement with Okawahara Shigeru - the only daughter of rich oil-businessman - and their wedding that will take place in a matter of time.   
Rating: 4/5
The second season goes on a year later when Tsukasa has been in USA and all others are in Japan. Sadly, no one knows what he is doing as they all simply lost contact with him.
Domyouji makes a big fall back in New York. He turns into emotionless guy who puts business before everything else. we all can see that he is suffering due to something, because he has lost all of his former personality. As soon as he is back in Japan and his feelings toward Tsukushi are back on roll he finally turns back to normal silly self. With every second he makes it clear  that he loves only Tsukushi and is willing to go against world, but he has become afraid of hurting people who are not involved.
Makino continues to lose her points in second season when she makes assumptions without knowing the truth and is not fighting for her man. if you love someone then fight for her, but again she is finding comfort from Rui. I wonder where her brave personality left because she is not standing for herself anymore and lets Shigeru play her dirty tricks on her and Tsukasa. It seems that Tsukushi does not trust Tsukasa that much and finds it easier to give up on their relationship.
Shigeru is the first real rival that Tsukushi is facing. She is bold, funny, friendly, sometimes
tomboyish, sometimes girly, but she definitely is not accepting losing. All signs are for her and she knows that there is little that Tsukasa can do to stop them from marrying. If Tsukasa would not know that Makino is his destined love, he might have had a good relationship and marriage with Shigeru. Though, Shigeru is pushing Tsukasa to like her, which is really annoying because she turns everything that he says or does in her favor. Another bitchy thing she does is playing best friends with Makino just that she could constantly stab her back with lies so that Makino would throw Tsukasa out of her heart. Of course Makino is not honest enough either to say her real feelings and thoughts out to Shigeru.
No matter how much I tried I was unable to like Rui. He is so certain that he can bring Tsukushi happiness so that he is fastening his pace to conquer Tsukasa's place in Makino's heart. I think that saying "I can bring her happiness and you don't" is egoistic and wrong, because only the person itself knows who will bring her happiness. Even if you really want and give 110% effort to make her happy you might be unable to give her the real happiness she is longing for.
Most of the time I was rooting for Soujiro. Not that I ship friends-to-lovers thing, but I just adore Kanjiya Shihori and Soujiro is the second best character in drama. The fact is that this sweet playboy has a childhood friend who stole his heart away and is the only girl who is allowed to sit behind him on motorcycle. Sadly, Soujiro is certain that Sara has feelings for his rebellious older brother, who was cut from family some years ago. Misunderstandings and past mistakes can be really painful when they cannot be corrected anymore.Yuki makes some progress by understanding that she must expand
her horizon in order to understand Soujiro's world. Which make up the fact that she does not stop obsessing over him.There is still no further development about Akira, except that he should stay away from Tsukushi's work as Okami loves to tick the "young man" on her man-list.
Domyouji's mom continues messing with everyone and in second season she is the worst. Even when the whole world has accept Tsukushi, she is fighting against it. Only when she is finally pushed into the corner, she must surrender.
There are also too guests who should be mentioned. First is Ikuta Toma from first episode, which was a special as it was longer than others. He plays Junpei, who is Makino's old classmate's brother. He is really outgoing and works as a model, but at school he is dressed up as a nerd and keeps low profile. But his not just living two different lives, he also has third side which brings a lot of trouble to everyone. Ikuta Toma as a high schooler? that is something to see. Another guest is Toda Erika who sweet Umi. I think that she was unnecessary character who comes up with another evil plan to destroy Tsukasa's and Makino's happiness. In second season you may be sure that as soon as they finally get to hold hands something bad will happen. It is a big roller-coaster that just is going up and down all the time without giving you the chance to enjoy the moment. I just felt sick of it. Seriously, they could have given me at least a minute to enjoy that they can be together again.

 

Hana Yori Dango SP(2008)

Country: Japan
Format: Special
Genre: romance, comedy, school
Cast: Inoue Mao, Matsumoto Jun, Matsuda Shota, Abe Tsuyoshi, Nishihara Aki, Kaga Mariko, Sato Megumi, David Ito, Sada Mayumi, Tomiura Satoshi, Kobayashi Susumu, Ishino Mako, Matsushima Nanako, Fujiki Naohito, Kato Natsuki, Tsurumi Shingo,
Synopsis: It has been two years since the end of second season - Makino is starting to graduate from university within some months, when Domyouji makes a world-wide announcement that they are getting married in spring. They receive "The Venus Smile" tiara as a wedding gift from Domyouji mother, but tiara - containing 4 rare gems - gets stolen the same night. Afraid of wedding being canceled they go on a trip to get it back.
Rating: 4/5
Special brings the end to the "Hana yori dango" drama. The filming also took place in Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Osaka. So the cast traveled a lot between the locations. That also gives us the chance to hear them speaking in English again. Well, Tsukasa just loves to swore in English..
Domyouji proves he is a perfect man - loyal, trustworthy, clever and all that one woman could dream of. Like seriously, dude makes a knife out of a credit card and fishes/hunts for a month so that you would have something to eat! Besides, the fact that you do not have a wash-machine on the island does not mean that his clothes cannot be white as snow everyday. It shows how much there is actually hidden in him or how much Tsukushi has changed her. For him the most important through out the trip is Tsukushi and getting the tiara back so that they could happily marry. Matsumoto Jun's acting is priceless, because all comedy and cutesy in the special comes from him. (thank you, scriptwriter and mangaka too!).  

He has fights with Tsukushi, but I think that the one in fault was Tsukushi, because it is very wrong to make a guy choose between a girl and his friends. It is like the most common thing in world that argues about it will bring bad luck for relationship.
Funny thing is that in Special they did not need to add any new bad "fiance-like" bitch, because Tsukushi filled that role perfectly on her own. From the start she seems doubting about the marriage - if it is the right thing to do etc. After the tiara is gone, then she worries more about the money than marriage. Okey, understood - she is from poorer family and she looks at money differently. But the lowest point of her is on the island - On the other hand as a woman I understand that when they had been about month on the island then she definitely had period, but I wonder how many woman think of NOT marring the love of her life then? I know that emotions go up an down, but believe me - there is a bitch-control button too.
I was so angry at her that I thought of strangling her and I am very peaceful person (most of the time :P). She worries that her life might always be extreme like this and must face all the negative sides too, but not even for a second she thought about how much is Tsukasa giving up just for her. The easy math goes like this after everything that they have been together: the amount that Tsukushi has suffered or given up < the amount she has gained from this relationship; the amount that Tsukasa has suffered or given up > the amount he has gained; so Tsukushi > Tsukasa. After a calculations like that it is clear that Tsukushi does not think much about Tsukasa.
As  I wrote already Tsukushi starts to have funny thoughts about Rui, Akira and Soujiro. I know that
her worries had reasons, but it was wrong to accuse them without definite proof. Guys are always there to help the couple and sometimes they are too eager to help just like they know more than they show out. For your information, Rui is back to normal great friend. I hope that someone is going to do spin-off of what happened to him later. It would be funny. I found out that actually the manga has a spin-off of his story. It is called "Ore no hanashi o Shiyouka" oneshot, but it is more about what he felt during the time Tsukasa and Tsukushi were getting closer. But the special also gives you the perfect view what has finally happened to Akira and Soujiro after these years and about Rui - let's leave him mysterious like he is.
The most interesting part of the special is the development that families have had. This section might include big spoilers, but do not continue reading if you have not watched the special. Finally we can see Domyouji mom's humane side. She is worried, nice and shows that no matter what she is still a mother. Tsukasa and Tsukushi are going through rough times on their trip and the fact that Doumyouji's mom does not know how they are doing makes her worried too, especially because she knows that she is the last person to who Tsukasa would come to ask help. The special also gives the irrational rational side to Tsukushi's familiy. After years of being overwhelmed by joy of this couple, they finally show concern if Tsukushi is certain about the marriage and stuff.
In a way the special is perfect end for "Hana Yori Dango" drama and it also gives the hint how their life will go on later. To take the whole drama together then I had to give them only 4 stars, because I was much more annoyed by some characters and only Tsukasa was able to make me love the show. Maybe it is not my favorite cup of tea, but I know many who even love the sound of the title. Lastly, I would like to thank SARS for subbing it!

2 comments:

  1. I love your review and I loooove Hana Yori Dango <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like Hana Yori Dango, but I don't really think that this is the best drama in the world (sorry for Hana Yori Dango's fan). It was great to watch it but not more.
    I don't know for you, but I really LOVE Soujiro-Yuki and Akira. I still think that this is better than the korean version, because Soujiro and Akira seem to be more important in the japanese one.
    Well, those are what I think!

    ReplyDelete