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Hana Yori Dango

HDY title

I happened to start watching Hana Yori Dango recently, and totally got hooked. I’m not an avid watcher of j-doramas, though I’ve seen a few in the past, but I watched all of the first season at once (I kind of like how j-doramas are short and sweet at around 10 episodes, although I do like the k-drama standard of 16-20 episodes — but only if the series is good!). Then, happy to hear a second season was in the middle of its run, I tuned into that as well.

 
(Theme) SONG(s) OF THE DAY

Arashi – “Wish,” Season 1 theme song [ zShare download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Arashi – “Love So Sweet,” Season 2 theme song [ zShare download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

main title

 

For Season 2, I had to get used to the pace of one episode per week, and the wait for fansubs too, which was new for me. I’m used to watching k-dramas as they air in Korea, but I don’t need subs for those, so I’d forgotten what it feels like to be dependent upon the goodwill of others. Let me tell you, it reminded me of my immense appreciation for fansubbers. You’d think that as a fansubber myself, I’d be the last one to forget that, but no, being a leecher brought me new insights.

Thankfully (and quite remarkably), the subbers are lightning-fast for HYD2. I’ve been watching the later episodes raw, actually surprised that I can understand most of the story, and I’ve gone back to my old drama-watching routine of standing by with a pad of paper and a dictionary. But the subs are still quite crucial for getting the full enjoyment.

(That’s why it pisses me off to no end when I go to sites and see some leechers complaining about the speed — or lag — of fansub releases. What’s up with that, huh? Complaining how the wait is killllling them, how they’re dyyyyying to watch the next episode, when’s the sub coming out already?? I’d like to see them complaining after they’ve spent hours downloading, an hour watching the show, five to ten hours translating, getting back perhaps one thank-you for every hundred or thousand people who take it, and THEN reading a bunch of ungrateful people complaining how it wasn’t done faster. Most fans are great, but those few bad ones really sour the experience. To them, I say: Hmph.)

 

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Anyway, back to Hana Yori Dango.

When I was watching Season 1, I thoroughly enjoyed it but felt it was a little over-the-top and melodramatic, mixing light and dark elements to create a strange overall tone. But then I read up on it and realized it was based on a (shoujo) manga, and the artistic choices of the dorama suddenly made so much sense. It made it so much better.

Hana Yori Dango, as a dorama in and of itself, is really well-done. It’s charming, funny, gorgeous to look at, well-written, well-paced. But Hana Yori Dango, as a dorama adaptation of a manga, is amazing. Fantastic. Superlative.

It also explains a few things I found perplexing, like Matsumoto Jun’s funky curly hairstyle. (I’d thought: “This guy’s a major pop idol in Japan, and this is the best style they could give him??”) Made a lot more sense to know the original manga character is known, and mocked, for his peculiar hairstyle.

hair1hair2

(I think I prefer the Season 1 curls, which looks like a perm, to the big roller curls in Season 2, but either way, I’m surprised at how fast I got used to his funky hair. Haha.)

 
I also rather love the title “Hana Yori Dango,” which is a pun playing on the Japanese adage, “Food more than flowers” or “Food before flowers” (as in, essentials are more important than the aesthetically pleasing but ultimately superficial). The characters for “dango,” which is a type of food, are switched to mean “boys,” suggesting that boys are just as essential as food…

But there’s one more meaning, which is what really won me over:

F4

 
The group led by Doumyouji calls themselves F4, for “Flower Four,” which is kind of girly if you ask me. I know Japanese society places a high premium on artistic beauty, including the art of arranging flowers, but the name isn’t really befitting a powerful group of bullies, is it? But if you bring in the title phrase, it could mean that the F4 members, and the violent and crude Doumyouji in particular, are at the core “boys more than they are Flower 4.” It hints that we’ll see these guys as singular, real people beyond the acts they play as members of F4. In meeting and falling for Tsukushi, Doumyouji will transform from the dictatorial leader of F4 to just a guy, who wants affection and respect and doesn’t care to hide behind the safety of his family’s zaibatsu (corporation) name.

(And then, of course, Tsukushi also works in a dango shop!)

 

CASTING and CHARACTER

First off, really great acting by the two leads. Inoue Mao as Makino Tsukushi is cute without being annoying, which is often not the case, and Matsumoto Jun does a really amazing job; he really sells Doumyouji as both a horribly mean and vicious person who is still relatable and sympathetic. And he inhabits the role so completely, he seems like he IS his character.

cute tsukushi

 
On top of that, they really got the flavor of Hanazawa Rui across with casting Oguri Shun, who looks and acts the part perfectly. I love that he actually looks like the manga character, which is sometimes really hard to pull off. Oguri Shun acts with that mannered politeness and quietness that totally characterizes shoujo heroes (he actually reminds me quite a lot of Matsuura Yuu in Marmalade Boy, although Yuu is much more outgoing than Rui).

 

rui and shizuka
(Perfect anime hero hair!)

 
I’m also much more accepting about character flaws when I realize it’s a manga adaptation. For instance, Doumyouji’s horridly callous mother, Kaede, is rather too villainous to be real for a normal dorama. But in a manga? Totally acceptable. Same goes for Tsukushi’s well-meaning but, face it, rather ineffectual parents. Honestly, they’re lovable but kinda incompetent. I’ve noticed it’s a trait of shoujo manga and anime to have silly parents acting even more childish than their teenaged children.

 

ADAPTATION

I have to give them kudos for knowing what to adapt and what not to. It adapts the best elements of the manga, but doesn’t get too bogged down in adapting it literally, frame by frame or plot by plot. (My argument for why the Harry Potter books have produced mediocre adaptations — such a strong desire to preserve the source material inevitably hampers the adaptation.)

Some well-executed parallels:

“F4”


 

Red flag

 

Fighting Doumyouji


 

Dango shop


 

Doumyouji asking out Tsukushi


 

Doumyouji out in the cold:

 

Rui kiss:


 

ARTISTIC EXECUTION

And last but not least, the series is just gorgeous. The shots, the locations, the sets, the lighting, everything. Even the simplest shots are exceuted elegantly.

 

rooftopbridge

blue cafeteria
violin
tearoomelevator
fall treesjiro?(tm)s bike

sunlight

 
Credits to hanayoridango.org for manga scanlations.

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yeah this show is really good, too bad season 2 will end next week, this season has been filled with a lot of angst!!

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Yeah, I don't know how they're going to wrap everything up in one more episode... and I agree, S2 has been so much more angst-ridden, it's borderline frustrating because after a while it starts feeling repetitive. I just want everyone to be happy together! lol. But the show is pretty great so I'm trusting that the finale is totally satisfying.

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love this series! and great review! you made me appreciate hana yori dango more.

by the way, i've been reading your blog for quite some time when i found the link to the goong summaries. thanks for those. it really helped a lot since the subs haven't been out yet. thanks for doing a great job subbing that series =) i really appreciate it. you don't know how much watching goong has gotten me through my life =) seriously ^^

thanks again!

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I was kinda hoping that u'dd come up with HYD in ur blog..n thanks for this. I love reading ur post. N it seems that they're palnning to do HYD 3 to wrap everything..I'm not sure but that's what I've heard.

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You know, as much as I love the show, I wish it would end with season 2... Not if they leave us hanging, but I don't know how much more they can do to Makino-Doumyouji before it gets really old. Already all of Doumyouji's women (the TOJ girl, Shigeru, Umi) have been somewhat repetitive.

But of course, if they make a HYD3 I'll be watching... :D

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hehehe..u r right. All girls are somewhat similar. All can be selfish in their own way..
I was hoping it'd end up with season one coz most sequels are major flop (Compare with meteor garden for example)..but if they really produce the 3rd one, I'll be looking forward to it. I love the second installation better than the 1st one. Hopefully the third will be better. But yeah, it'll be tiring to see Makino n Domyouji fight for each other again. I just want to see the developpement of other characters. Especially for Akira n Soujirou+Yuuki. As much as I knwo Jirou+yuuki wont end up together, I still have some hope that they will

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Yeah, I only started watching HYD since last Dec and I'm quite captivated by the show's plot and execution. But then again, it seems the japanese always have a flair for artistry. Quite stunning, indeed!

Btw, I absolutely luvvv your site!

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Yes, this series is absolutely LOVE. :) I finished watching this last Sunday and still I can't move on... the pain, heartache and the wait are all worth it.

I was brought to your site because of QSS. hehe, :) and I saw you also watch HYD. hehe.

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Love this series including season 2. Don't hope to see a 3rd installation cos season 2 sums it up pretty neat. The japanese has a way with this drama and i just love the 2 songs in HYD2 :Love So Sweet and Flavours of Life.
PS ;would you be summarising season 2 too? I love to read your summaries for the dramas. You have a way with words...

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I just finished Hana Yori Dango today!
HYD = LOVE.
It was a pretty good story with an adorable cast!
Oguri Shun was extremely kawaii!

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I watched all the first and the second installments of "Hana Yori Dango." I love the story. And I laughed so hard every time Domyouji made mistakes with Japanese. I personally liked Hanazawa Rui much more than Domyouji, but I have to admit that Domyouji and Tsukushi makes a more cheerful pair.

For J-drama, I highly recommend "Nodame Cantabile" if you haven't watched it. I've just finished watching the drama the third time and it became one of my favorite J-drama and K-drama of all times. It's also based on a manga series, the story's very refreshing and funny. It also has such a universal theme that I think everyone can find it so appealing.

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HYD is a pretty cool series. personally, i think it had a better (and more tightly knit) storyline versus the taiwanese version (metor garden) of years back. but i love metoer garden still (if anything, dao ming sz played by jerry hao made it much more, well, yummy!). it took me a while to get used to the cast, in my book, they were less on the hot meter versus the meteor graden cast (i think nishikado was the one with the most potential among them f4 boys of HD).

and i must agree, i think they should end it season 2, quit while you're ahead. aside from the possibility of tiring with the same plot, refreshing it with an alternate storyline might kill the momentum. but then, i'd still watch the thrd run if it does ever come on. hehe. :D

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I have seen both season 1 and 2 of HYD and I truly enjoyed watching it. The casting is really awesome and each actor/actress seems perfect for the parts they are playing. The other thing that I liked about this series too is the locations they used for the series. Its a very visual drama and the luxurious settings just highlight the story even more. I really appreciate them sticking to story details.

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I've watched the 1st and the 2nd series in one week.. it was really addicting!!!!
I love Tsukasa and Tsukushi's story.. Even if in the second part was a bit sad.. :(
But finally we had an happy ending.. and what an end!!! *_*
I really really really love it!!!!!
Jun was so cute!!!!!!!!!!!

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i haven't watch this series yet.. but i've been meaning to watch it for weeks now.. i think this series is great even if i haven't watched it yet.. hahaha... besides jun matsumoto is the lead character hahaha..
i found out about your blog through my obsession for information about witch yoo hee.. thanks by the way for the summaries..
i love witch yoo hee, its funny.. but, yes i agree its kind of confusing hahahha.. with the couples, i mean.. hehehe...
anyway.. i got hooked when i found out that jae hee would be there, and then there's kim jeong hun.. and dennis oh (i've seen him in sweet spy..)
i can't comment on his accent because i can't speak korean (harhar) and besides he's been speaking a lot of english in sweet spy,, and i like him hahaha.. he's cute..
anyway.. thankyou again for the summaries..

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I love how Domyouji fails his own language! :))
And the Hemming-yay! LMAO!!

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Do you know Meteor Garden? It's a Taiwanese drama adaptaion of the manga Hana Yori Dango!!! It's GREAT!!! It was developed even befor the Hana Yori Dango Jdorama ^^;

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I have heard of Meteor Garden... After hearing there was another drama adaptation of the HYD manga, I tried watching the first episode. I have to admit I didn't think much of it. But I can see how it was popular, especially for its time. It's hard to judge on its own terms if you're just watching for the first time now, though, given the high quality productions and budgets of dramas these days.

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where can i watch this.. ? i juz want to see and watch it!! pleeaase!!!

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I ReaLLy LoVe ThIs mOviE.......
i Was So aDDicted....... yEah iTs True.....
Tnx foR maKing ThiS mOvie!!!!
God Speed!!!

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Can I Have a CopY of Theme Songs Of HanA Yori Dango?! PleAse????? I'm BeGGinG.......
PLeAsE TeLL mE How Could i havE a CoPy of It..... PlZZZZZ????? TnX!!!!

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lovelyzel, they're already downloadable. you should be able to click the links and save.

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I KnoW ThaT It Is DoWnLoAdaBle,
BuT HoW CouLd i Have A CoPy oF It iN FriEndStEr?!
There's nO CoDe?!

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Lovelyzel, I'm not sure what you're asking...? What code are you asking for? If you mean to play it in friendster, you'll have to upload the song on your own program/server and play it that way. These audio players only work here in wordpress.

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THIS IS THE BEST SERIES I'VE SEEN SO FAR ! ! !

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I've only just watched this show but it has utterly captivated me.
And you are right, the execution from manga to live action is,
for want of a better word, SUPERLATIVE!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts,
I'm looking forward to reading more from you.(",)

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i like the song wish and i like the boy rui!!he's so cute!!

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uhh..don't u think that girl in the hana yori dango and utada hikaru looked like each other so much??

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haiz, guyz we all love HYD! right!? why dont we demand for another seson of it?,
the comic manga of HYD if i`m not mistaken have 35 episodes, if you will sum up the two seasons all in all it only have 20 episodes, tehre's still remaining 15 episodes huh!? so it wouldnt be too much for another season huH!?
guyz plesase help me out, i want to have the mailing address of TBS, i want to flood their site with our request^^,
i will really miss makino! and of course those 4 guyz! especially my idol!
OGURI SHUN!
please give their e-mail address,ONEGAISHIMASU!
i beg you guyz!^^
and oh! by the way, for those who have their friendster accnt.! you can add me up!
[email protected]
send me a message telling that you are a HYD fanatic^^
i will be waiting for your request!

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hai!! guyZZZ........

i really really like hanayori dango...
specially my idol oguri shun or rui hanazawa...he is a very good actor right?
also tsukasa,makino,sojiri and akira...they played their roles very nice...
and also you can adD me in your Friendster...
[email protected]
[email protected]...

and also in yahoo messenger...

shunji_1407...

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hey guyz.,
i really love HYD!! the reason i luv this j drama is because tsukasa's 1st luv was makino.. and there 1st kiss was with each other... im really lookig forward for season 3... if there is a season 3 ofcourse.. i've watched HYD more than 3 times, and im not tired of watching it again..

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ei guyz! add me up on your friendster, i came from the philippines,
for those who really loves HYD,
let us all demand for another season f it^^
we dont want to miss our fave artists, do you!?
and one more thing who among you knows where can i watch the live drama of detective conan?, i've already watched it's 1st episode, i want to watch the other episodes^^,
thx a lot!
you gUyz rOcKz! \,,/,
LovE yAh!^^,
here again my e-mail on friendster
[email protected]
and in YM,
ran_092003

ARIGATOU GOZAI-MASU^^
HAJIMEMASHITE! u oL!

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I totally like the series. The manga is so good!!! Kamio Yoko sensei best work I think. I like hanazawa rui but can't ignore domyouji character. And the live action is so great!!! The 1st and the 2nd season....both of them.....I really like the opening....I think both 1st n 2nd season opening is cool!!! seriously.....envy a lot me.....n oh what a guy they get to play hanazawa rui??? since knowing him from the series I've put quite an interest in him. Totally the best live-action
I've ever seen. If you have watched meteor garden you'll know what I meant. The live action looks totally live!!!! We get to see domyouji is freaking rich!!!!! The japanese sure spent a lot this time I heard. Totally worthy to watch.......I missed the series a lot and I don't know what to look for after this....I just hope that there'll be more nice manga n more nice live action like this.....let's keep our finger cross......

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This is the first time I've ever stumbled across your website. I love reading your reviews. Your comparisons on HYD manga vs. live-action was particularly interesting to me. The shots you chose to exhibit bring out some of the best artistic qualities of HYD, which is one of the main things that got me hooked on the series so quickly in the first place. You have a way with words that keeps things interesting, which is a great talent. The website is nicely simplistic, so readers aren't distracted from the text and the gorgeous images. I love it. Keep up the great work - I'll definitely be back to visit again!

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jun so cute he is my boyfriend right!!! im amo inoue in yokohama japan i hope more supurting my tv show hana yori dango..................

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I need help!!!! I watch hana yori dango 1, 2 and returns, and I think I skipped the episode where Doumyouji leaves and he gives her the saturn necklace. Please help me, what episode is that!!???

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you know what oguri shun/rui hanazawa, you are my crush forever!!!! i hope you can read this...

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hana yori dango is so cool especially rui! you are so cute! youre my crush!!!

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Hi ummm i totally agree i totally think rui hanazawa is so cute i wish tsukushi could have ended up with him!:(

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i go to the library to watch the hana yori dango series!and i request the books!

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i think this film is good

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i just started watching this and its my first j-drama omg i love it, even though they talk a little faster in j-dramas than in k-dramas i still enjoy and absolutely love the drama. I am on the last episode of the 1st season and i can't wait to see how it ends...... but form the synopsis of 2nd season i really want rui to have a chance with makino i mean ever since the 1st episode i was always rooting for rui but i did start to like doumyouji..... i'm seriously gonna die from the anticipation of season 2..... great analysis of the series i really do believe that the people behind it did a great job of adapting the right things and putting it in a more entertaining and lively way. i also enjoy the screen shots, there are some great scenery in a lot of the scenes in season 1 so far. ok i'm gonna stop now just wanted to say thanks and that i'm so ready for the second season.... :D

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Does anybody read manga? Hana Yori Dango is a very famous manga. I think it's better to read it than watch the series. I've watched the Taiwanese version of this series. It wasn't too bad but they change alot details of the manga.

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Hi again, i just finished the 2nd season, and though i was very disappointed to see that rui didn't really get a chance but all of makino and rui's scenes were sooo adorable. I really loved the ending, especially when the jealous umi sent makino out in the blizzard to get yuki, even when makino was practically frozen in the snow she was able to say her famous "unbelievable". The proposal was "unbeliable," and when eveyone was dancing in the end and rui and makino were dancing, i became teary eyed because i had really wished that rui would have been the one to propose to makino. Throughout the whole series i domyouji was so funny because he would always try to say meaningful things at key or random moments but would totally mess up the importnace of his statement because if his inabilitiy to master his own language. Finally, i am in love with OGURI SHUN, he is soooooooo cute, at first when i saw him i thought he looked kind of weird but over the course of the series i started to like him. and so far i have watch other movies and a drama that he has done, and i now not only like him because he is cute but also because he is actually a good actor, because he totally immerses himself in every role hes done...... well i'm gonna stop and i am sure it looks like an essay but i just had to say how much i loved HYD..... :D :P

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it's summer break, and i watched HYD1 until i couldn't keep conscious. this dorama is so addictive!
it's soo good, but i have a feeling the second season is going to be angsty and hard to watch (although i'll struggle through it, with a pillow and some tissues for support). javabeans! please write about the second season-- i love your writing :]

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hmm...don't really watch j-dramas. guess this is gonna be my first...thanks javabeans!

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My first J-Dorama was Hana Yori Dango .. But I watched after I finished Delightful Girl Chun-Hyang and My Girl.. So to me the series seemed over the top with acting and story wise .. Felt like It's only suitable for a 13 year old if they hadn't used so much profanity (that's before I found out about the Manga).. I really didn't like Doumyouji (and Jun's Ugly hair and make up and sometimes wardrobes .. What kind of guy has such shapely eyebrows.. Makes me jealous) .. But I continue to watch the show because of Inoue Mao as Makino Tsukushi (she's too cute and lovable to pass over) .. I agree Oguri Shun was perfect as Hanazawa Rui .. I was rooting for Rui and Tsukushi till the very end (as usual I fell for the 2nd lead male character .. Little did I know about the Manga).. However I liked season 2 better than season 1 ..

But I think I'm liking Japanese Hana Kimi more than Hana Yori Dango.. The story seemed to be more interesting (at some point insane) than HYD.. Also Oguri Shun is playing a relatively darker character (no longer that polite, smiley kid) .. Lead actress Maki is adorable and the comical reaction of Nakatsu Shuichi (Ikuta Toma) is just hilarious. To me it's more well written (the drama didn't exactly follow the Manga storyline) and funny (but not over the top funny) than HYD..

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Wow, that's all I have to say, WOW.
This was my FIRST Jdrama and I have gotta say.
It was so different from the Korean Dramas !!
Each episode is 45 minutes long, which I thought was impossible, judging from the Korean Dramas, which are pretty long, I think. An hour?! I'm just clicking my thumbs and laying down when watching my korean dramas (;
But HYD&HYD2 totally opened my eyes to all the OTHER Jdramas, Tdramas, to Cdramas.
Anyways, I thought this dramas was brilliant and wonderful for all the colorful characters and the creativity of it. I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE AND SHOT BY ONE OF CUPID'S ARROW FOR HANAZAWARUI/OGURISHUN. Needless to say, I disliked Domyouji in the beginning for his cold character, but I got used to him, oddly enough. HIM AND HIS CURLY HAIR. X] I have cried and used about 10 tissues for this drama, weirdly enough. o_o;
For now though, I'm watching Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (HanaKimi), both Taiwanese&Japanese. &I'm happy to say that OGURI SHUN IS COMING OUT OF HANA KIMI ; JAPANESE VER. : D KAAAWWAAIII
TOMO, MAKI, SHUUN !

JAVABEANS !;
YOU HAVE PUT ME IN A NEW POV !
quote:
(That�s why it pisses me off to no end when I go to sites and see some leechers complaining about the speed � or lag � of fansub releases. What�s up with that, huh? Complaining how the wait is killllling them, how they�re dyyyyying to watch the next episode, when�s the sub coming out already?? I�d like to see them complaining after they�ve spent hours downloading, an hour watching the show, five hours translating, getting back perhaps one thank-you for every fifty people who take it, and THEN reading a bunch of ungrateful people complaining how it wasn�t done faster. Most fans are great, but those few bad ones really sour the experience. To them, I say: Hmph.)
endquote. : D
I never thought of that&acted that way, but I finally realize what trouble translators have gone through(: I'll be SURE to thank them next time ^^

?????,
--??.

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Hana Yori Dango : that brings up memories... I really loved the series as well, and, strangely enough, without this particular japanese show, I would never have found out about korean dramas - "fate" works with very strange convoluted ways ; but I guess I have to thank SARS fansubs for opening me to this world of... wonders (?) (then again, "because of them" I've been spending way too much time watching K-dramas for the last year, so that I've almost become a no-life and/or no-sleep person).

In general, I am not much of a j-drama person : apart from HYD, very few of them have met my taste (like "LIAR GAME", for instance, or "Tokyo Wankei" - but that's "almost" a k-drama)... But I just love k-dramas, to the extent that my friends and family find I'm kind of weird, lately (because I'm just the average French girl).

Anyway, I never forget to be thankful to fansubbers for their work and for opening the doors of dramas to people like me : I know what I owe them ! So again, thanks to you and to the rest of the WITHS2 team for the wonderful work you all do !

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^Haha, same here!
After I started to watch HYD&HYD2 I became TOTALLY, AND UTTERLY obsessed with every OTHER J-Dorama. -_-;
I've been doing to much computer as well, getting myself into a little trouble with my parents ._.;
&I recently found out about UTorrent&Torrents on d-addicts, making my life feel like a total waste out of all my wasted time waiting for the full load of the episodes on Youtube, Veoh, and Crunchyroll.
Hm, I should stop watching :D
Any good suggestions how to stop my obsession on DRAMAS? >0

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