Category Archives: School
Genre: romance, school
Episodes: 25 (Somewhere in the middle of the series is an imaginary cut and the second season begins but since it’s not marked anywhere let’s just ignore that.)
Main actresses: Ku Hye Seon, Kim So Eun
Main actors: Lee Min Ho, Kim Hyun Joong, Kim Beom, Kim Jun
Story: Geum Jan Di (Ku Hye Seon) is an ordinary poor young girl who unexpectedly gets the chance to study at the most prestigious private high school in Seoul. Unfortunately she involves herself with the so called “F4”: The four richest and most handsome guys in school. Captained by cold hearted and fearless Goo Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho) are he and his three friends – the breathlessly beautiful Yun Ji Hu (Kim Hyun Joong), playboy So Lee Jeong (Kim Beom) and gangster son Song Woo Bin (Kim Jun) – the kings among the students. Everyone tries to please and help them in any way possible since they fear the consequences if they don’t obey. Everyone – except for Geum Jan Di. First bullied by F4 because she won’t listen to their wishes is mysterious Yun Ji Hu soon starting to be amused by her stubborn behaviour and begins to help her out. Thanks to his charming ways it can’t be helped that Jan Di falls for him – just when F4s captain Goo Jun Pyo sets his eye on her.
But Geum Jan Di’s not the only person being confronted with confusing feelings: Her best friend Choo Ga Eul (Kim So Eun) gets to know F4s playboy So Lee Jeong and is immediately drawn into his charm. But he’s not interested in a serious relationship and only wants to play around. Really, what can be done with these pampered guys?
The thing about the second-couple syndrome:
Own opinion: It is THE drama among korean dramas! Many people who’re new to the asian TV-series-wave start with this one. It’s one of the most watched romance dramas of all times and still on one of the top places when it comes to popularity. The hype around “Boys Before Flowers” never died down and it’ll probably stay that way for the next few years. But what makes this series so darn famous?
Well, the cinderella story of a poor but nice girl falling in love with the rich handsome prince never gets old. Many romance movies are based on this theme and I totally understand why since a lot of women – buried somewhere deep inside of their hearts – still like to dream about the sparkling hero on the white horse. It’s something people of every age and nationlity can refer to. South Korean citizen are no exception – and neither am I. “Boys Before Flowers” is the ultimate cinderella-drama and brings the story to its own limits. This series really deserves being called “drama”. It’s so dramatic that it starts to become tiring at one point of the story. In each korean drama you’ll find at least one or two stereotypical situations because they’re simply a part of that business but here you’ve every single one of them! Every single one!
Beginning with the so famous poor-but-nice-girl-and-her-rich-but-totally-arrogant-boy story, going over several stupid misunderstandings, the bitchy mother-in-law who can’t stand the poor girlfriend of her son, humilations, jealousy which isn’t detected as such and even amnesia – this drama has them all! Like I said: At one point of the story it became a hassle for me to watch it any further and if it wouldn’t have been for the love line between Kim Beom and Kim So Eun I don’t know if I could’ve finished this one. But really, these two are just so very perfect and adorable in this drama that many fans still want them to date in real life. They suit each other so breathtakingly fantastic that the viewer must wonder about them being real after all. ❤
Rating: 7 /10 – Despite the fact that “Boys Before Flowers” has everything a Korean romance drama should have it might be a bit too much, though. And the acting of Kim Hyun Joong – even though he may be really good now – doesn’t convince me in this one. Yes, I know that he was still some kind of a rookie back then but especially then they shouldn’t have given him such a major role. A handsome face doesn’t make up for a so-so acting performance. Nevertheless, he wasn’t bad. Just… kind of weak compared to actors like Lee Min Ho and Kim Beom right next to him.
PS: There is also a japanese version of this drama called “Hana Yori Dango”. I’ll review that one in the japanese drama section sometime later. 🙂 The taiwanese version calls itself “Meteor Garden” for those of you who’re interested. ^^
Genre: school life, comedy
Episodes: 1st season – 12 episodes
2nd season – 10 episodes
3rd season – 11 episodes
+ Gokusen: The Movie
Main actress: Nakama Yukie
Main actors: 1st season – Oguri Shun, Matsumoto Jun, Waki Tomohiro
2nd season – Kamenashi Kazuya, Akanishi Jin, Koike Teppei
3rd season – Miura Haruma, Takaki Yuya, Ishiguro Hideo
The Movie – Kamenashi Kazuya, Takaki Yuya, Miura Haruma, Ishiguro Hideo
Story: Yamaguchi Kumiko (Nakama Yukie) is a passionate young teacher who just got her certificate after graduating and can’t wait to take on her first class now. Idealistic as she is she wants to have a lovey-dovey teacher-student relationship with all of her cute little pupils. That seems like an impossible dream though as she’s assigned to class 3-D at an all boys high school. Class 3-D occupies the worst students Yamaguchi could possibly think of. They’re undisciplined, disrespectful and really daring. Everyone else failed to teach them anything at all. But Yamaguchi isn’t a normal teacher. Yamaguchi has some tricks up her sleeve… for example that she’s the granddaughter to a big Yakuza-Boss (japanese mafia) and had martial arts training when she was young. Class 3-D needs to be prepared – here comes “Yankumi”, the most unique teacher you’ve ever seen!
Own opinion: It’s my favourite drama of all times! The first and only one I’ve ever spend money on so that I can have the original DVDs at home. It lacks many things if you’re looking for a story with a lot of different genres and twists and surprises ect. “Gokusen” is as simple as a drama can be – which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.
If you’re into japanese dramas you’ll definitly recognize some of those names I wrote down. They’re all quite famous in their home country, some for their acting skills and some for their singing and dancing talent in some boy groups. Either way these are names you should remember sooner or later. They’ll come up a lot in good japanese series. But back to the point: “Gokusen” is neither melodramatic nor really romantic or complicated. It revolves around “Yankumi” and the problems she’s facing with her students. Some of them have trouble with their parents, girlfriends, future dreams and other things high school guys need to think about. It’s a heartwarming story about friendship, trust, self confidence and learning to forgive someone.
There is a manga which was the model for this drama but I haven’t read it because – honestly – I don’t like the drawings. Nevertheless you can clearly tell that they’ve put in a lot of effort to make it as manga-like as possible. Every single character is simply lovely, the friendships between those guys really adorable and Yankumi the most hilarious hero I’ve ever seen! Personally, I like the second season the most but that’s just because Akanishi Jin and Kamenashi Kazuya were/are members of my favourite japanese boy group called KAT-TUN. Plus Koike Teppei! I just love that guy! Asian drama fans are confronted with baby-faces each and every day but Koike Teppei has the most baby-faced baby-face I’ve ever seen in my whole life! The ultimate baby-face you could say. But really, isn’t he just the cutest thing on earth?! >.<
The acting is – as most of the times – a little over the top but that’s what I like about japanese dramas. They’re so carefree and hilarious! On the other hand “Gokusen” can also teach you a lot. I always feel like thinking about me and my life after I watched it. The moral at the end of each episode’s quite obvious which, nevertheless, doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.
Rating: 9 / 10 – the only thing that annoys me are those totally senseless one-sided-love-scenes of Yankumi. Pretty unnecessary.
Genre: school life, romance, comedy
Episodes: 13 + a special episode
Main actors: Oguri Shun, Ikuta Toma
Main actress: Horikita Maki
Story: Mizuki Ashiya (Horikita Maki) is a Japanese girl who originally lived in California together with her parents but decided to come back to Japan for the boy she’s in love with: Izumi Sano (Oguri Shun), a high jump star whom she only knows from TV but wants to meet by all means! Since Izumi’s attending an all-boys boarding school Mizuki needs to disguises herself as one of them and enter the school as a new student. Living together with a bunch of young guys, however, isn’t as easy as she may have thought. Besides the trouble that she mustn’t get caught while taking a shower, changing clothes or lying sick in bed there’s another problem in front of her: Nakatsu Shuichi (Ikuta Toma) falls in love with Mizuki even though he thinks she’s a boy and starts to question his own sexuality. And as if this wouldn’t be enough there are still a ton of other troubles for a student living in a boarding school such as rivalry between the dorms, festivals which need to be organized, sport events or just the ordinary madness. How is Mizuki ever going to confess in all this chaos?
Own opinion: Oh yes! My first asian drama of all times and still one of my favourites! I already loved the manga which’s undoubtedly one of the cutest things I’ve ever read but this drama’s even better!
Let me tell you that Oguri Shun, Ikuta Toma and Horikita Maki are one of the most famous actors in Japan. Sure, “Hana Kimi” was a huge help for all of them to get known by the people but their performance here really IS awesome – in a cute, funny and heartbreaking way. Horikita as the strong willed but nevertheless shy girl disguised as a boy is perfect. Since she’s small and skinny she doesn’t really has a chest either but her adorable face compensates these features – she doesn’t seem manly per se but on the other hand not female enough to be troubled over this. Definitly a good boy-aka-girl. 😉
Oguri Shun as the cold but somehow really lovely Izumi Sano is exactly as I imagined him while reading the manga. If I remember it correctly Izumi is said to be handsome but has more of an interesting face rather than a common pretty one. Oguri pulls that off perfectly! On first glance I thought he isn’t handsome at all but the more I looked at him the more I thought that he’s kind of sexy. And his huge thin body made him the perfect actor for this character.
Now to the secret hero of this drama: Nakatsu Shuichi! Really, this is the most adorable love driven guy I’ve ever seen in a drama or movie! Ikuta Toma acts so unbelievably passionate that the viewer has no other chance but to fall in love with him! His character really is the secret hero of this drama since he has a bigger fan base than Izumi Sano or any other guy involved. His funny yet romantic yet heartbreaking actions make him the audiences darling and even though everyone knows how his love for Mizuki will end they still cheer for him. He’s the one who makes the whole drama more enjoyable and interesting. Nakatsu, the viewers sweetheart. ❤
Just let me tell you this one before you start watching this: Japanese people tend to overact sometimes. They want to make their dramas as original-like as possible so they act out everything! And with everything I mean even things like getting a nosebleed, screaming directly into the camera, having hearts instead of eyes and seeing pink frames around the face of the beloved ones. 😀 But that’s what makes “Hana Kimi” so really great!
Rating: I give this one… hm… well, yeah: 10 / 10. Because they made it as good as it was possible. There couldn’t have been any more.
PS: Maybe I should mention here that there also exists a taiwanese version of “Hana Kimi”, a japanese remake and a korean one called “To the beautiful You”. I tried to watch them but for me the original japanese one’s still the best. 🙂