de Old_Anime_Lady, abril 26, 2018

With Hana Nochi Hare: HanaDan Next Season airing this month and Meteor Garden (2018) coming out this year, I decided to write an article comparing the previous versions of this story, whether they be remakes or adaptions.

My love for this story probably comes from the fact that it resonates with my own love life (minus the money). Despite many obstacles, the OTP still gets together and oh, are those obstacles Big and Profound.

And I married a man very close to Domiyoji in personality.

I have watched: Meteor Garden s1 (Adaption), Let's Go Watch Meteor Shower s1 (Adaption), Hana Yori Dango  1995 movie, and 2005 drama and movie, Boys Over Flowers (Remake), and Moon River (Adaption).

I have not seen: Meteor Rain (Adaption), Meteor Garden s2 (Adaption), or Let's Go Watch Meteor Shower s2 (Adaption).

The Manga

Hana Yori Dango (花より男子, lit. "Dango [preferred] over Flowers") is a Japanese shojo manga series written and illustrated by Yoko Kamio. The story is set in Eitoku Academy, an elite school for children from rich families. It follows lead protagonist Tsukushi Makino, a student from a working-class family, and the members of Eitoku Academy's elite clique Flower Four, commonly known as the "F4".

Hana Yori Dango was serialized in Shueisha's bi-weekly Margaret magazine from October 1992 to September 2003 and was collected into 37 tankobon volumes. The manga has been adapted into a 51-episode anime series (which closely follows the manga) and an anime film. The manga has been licensed by Viz Media for publication in the United States and has also been adapted into live-action television drama series in Japan and Korea. In Taiwan, it was also adapted into two live-action films. [Source]

Let's go in chronological order:

Hana Yori Dango (1995)

MDL Rating: 6.4/10 from 653 users

This one is what a lot of people accuse all Japanese dramas of being: Horribly comical. Domyouji's wardrobe and the overacting is just facepalm-worthy... if you love the story, you will get a kick out of it. The whole story is crammed into 140 or so minutes and felt like HanaDan on speed. Nothing stuck out like in the other adaptions.

My rating: 7/10 (but I am a sucker lol)

Meteor Garden (2001)

MDL Rating: 7.7/10 from 3,973 users

Chemistry Between the Leads

This has 27 episodes in one season and has more time to tell the story so it feels more natural. Yet, I felt the chemistry was not there.  

You know he loves her, she hangs out with like five other guys while trying to distance herself from Dao Ming Si. I am not sure if that was in the manga but it sure wasn't in the other versions.

Chemistry Between F4

The bromance from these four was definitely real. Lei's character (Rui) was ok. To be honest, the Korean version Boys over Flowers fleshed him out so much better. Xi Men had an interesting story arc which was better done than in HanaDan. This couple was my favorite in both Boys over Flowers and Meteor Garden.

Evil Mom 

#2 on my Evil Mom list. You believe she is doing it to protect her son, not to save the family or keep the riff-raff out. (Mind you, I still haven't watched season 2).

My Rating: 8/10

Hana Yori Dango (2005), Hana Yori Dango 2 (2007), Hana Yori Dango Final (2008)

s1 MDL Rating: 8.4/10 from 18,175 users

s2 MDL Ratings 8.4/10 from 13,869 users

Special MDL Rating: 8.0/10 from 2,212 users

Chemistry Between the Leads

There is a reason why people seeing Matsumoto Jun with any other woman beside Inoue Mao makes the news. It did as recently as 2017 and the people that were upset were upset not that he was dating, but that he was cheating on Inoue. Their relationship has never been confirmed and it is all inferred by interactions on games shows and this drama. By the ending of the final movie, you still want more.

Chemistry Between F4

The bromance between Rui and Tsukasa is real (maybe because they are buds IRL). The other two F4 members felt tacked on.

I love Matsuda Shota but Nishikado Sojiro constantly running away felt weird. Aside from that, his sad side love story didn't do much for me.  

Evil Mom 

OMG, this woman just loves power and money... not even her children can penetrate her obsessed heart, she already killed the joy of her daughter's life and now she is on the way to do the same to her son. Finding any girl with money to marry him off to, so her family isn't sullied with Makino genes to dilute the gold vein.

The actress played the part so well in this and also in 5-ji Kara 9-ji Made that when I saw her playing NICE OBA-CHAN in Tokyo Bandwagon, my brain could not wrap around it.

My Rating: s1 - 10/10, s2 - 9.5/10, Special - 9.5/10

Boys Over Flowers (2009)

 MDL  Rating: 8.0/10 from 33,990 users

Chemistry Between the Leads

The main leads are almost secondary in this version of the story, with the stories of So Yi Jung (Nishikado) and Yoon Ji Hoo (Rui) being more of the focus. I think this is the first and only time I had Second Llead Syndrome.

Honestly, this one left such a blah impression on me that I only remember the parts I described above and the Dr. Clinic, the rocky place where they fished, and his house (all connected to Yoon Ji Hoo) as well as the Potter and his struggle with love, and the best friend.

I believe this one has a dad in it, too, none of the other versions previously did.

My Rating: 8/10

Let's Go Watch Meteor Shower (2009)

MDL Rating: 7.1/10 from 1,154 users

I only watched Season 1 of this because reading the reviews online, they said the story went so far from the original story that it was no longer recognizable, and that the writer denied even using it as a template when clearly in season 1 he did.

Chemistry Between the Leads

The chemistry was good, not great but good. The Rui character's (Duanmu Lei) story was just boring and sad and took way too long.  The rest of it was good

Chemistry Between F4

I remember the basketball game and even though they were on opposite sides, they were still together.

Evil Mom 

I remember the mom being like a real-life person and not Evil Incarnate. A possessive nut job for sure, but it could happen. Dad is also present in this one and actually cautioning the mother for behaving the way she is.

My Rating: 6/10 (wow, I never rate this story that low)

Moon River (2015)

 MDL Rating: 7.7/10 from 1,725 users

This adaption takes the skeleton out of HanaDan and dresses it up in all new clothing. The female lead is a martial artist. There's an F3, not F4. No evil mom, but evil dad side character. No "does he love me, does he not love me" until the last eight episodes, and then the drama ramps up. Total badass fight scenes in the last few episodes.

Chemistry Between the Leads

In my opinion, this compares with Domyouji and Makino in terms of chemistry.

Chemistry Between F3

Dude! The bromance is real, yo (lol I could not resist)! But seriously, these three guys have been friends forever and it shows. Watching how Dong Hao Nan's clothes would evolve to match his love interest Tie Sha Xing "Sha Sha" was amusing and it was more about friends and their evolving relationships.

Evil Dad

This guy... This guy... could make the mom in HanaDan cry a river, he is more devious than her. What he did to Mu Liu Bing's entire family is just Pure Unremorseful Evil.

My Rating: 10/10

I hope this article peaked your interest in this story, one of my favorites of Asian Drama Land, and made you excited for the upcoming two related shows!

Which one was your favorite so far?   

meteor garden hana yori dango boys over flowers hana nochi hare meteor shower moon river meteor rain