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149

“Boys Before Flowers,” aka the Korean Hana Yori Dango

I’m a little late to this info, but this news gets me excited. And apprehensive. But excited!

So the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango has been made into an anime series, a Taiwanese drama (Meteor Garden), and a Japanese dorama. The Japanese versions are already popular in Korea, but now a kdrama adaptation of the drama has been announced, with the tagline that “Third time’s the charm!” But really, when every version has enjoyed immense popularity throughout Asia (and the world), the tagline is a bit misapplied, methinks.

The production team behind the series is none other than Group Eight, who did Fantasy Couple and Goong S, and says they were selected by the copyright holder Kamio Yoko (the original manga writer) and Japanese publishing house Shueisha based on the strength of those prior drama series.

I could go into a whole long post about why I really dug Hana Yori Dango, but OH LOOKY HERE you mean I already did? I just love when I do my own work for myself. (Btw, that link doesn’t have any substantial spoilers, but there are screencaps and I mention, in a vague way, some of the larger plot elements.)

So the immediate question on everyone’s mind becomes the casting, particularly the fearsome foursome “F4” who rule the school as quasi-celebrities, and the Doumyouji character in particular, its hard-hearted (and -headed) leader. A Group Eight rep explains, “Rather than casting based on popularity alone, we’re going for actors in the Korean F4 who fit the original characters best,” and intends to scour talent from already famous stars to unknowns in search of the most suitable F4 candidates.

I actually think going with unknowns can be a good move, because a super-popular series casting super-popular actors can overshadow what’s already a compelling, time-tested story. (But, might I suggest: Choi Shiwon would make a great Doumyouji, wouldn’t he? He’s got the right mix of popularity and freshness, and if he can manage the character’s mix of brutish assholery and thick-headed charm, he might just be perfect.)

Still, I think the big concern ought to be how to make the Korean version a series in its own, and yet remain true enough to the original story to please its existing (sizable) fan base. Also, how do you top the excellence of the Japanese version, made so recently? The dorama version was superlative in its adaptation, its casting, its music, its lighting, its production. Every aspect of the series was handled with great care, and it was rewarded with large success. Furthermore, the current Wikipedia news (so take with a grain of salt, obvs) indicates the Japanese series is planning to wrap things up with Hana Yori Dango: The Movie, to be released in the summer of 2008. Group Eight is certainly no stranger to expensive, gorgeous-looking sets with Goong S, but they’ve got their work cut out for them.

The series is set for a 24-episode run and, for now, aims for an airdate in the latter half of 2008. Dude. I am so there.

(And now all this Hanadan talk makes me want to rewatch the drama. Weekend marathon!)

Via My Daily

SONG OF THE DAY

Anamu & Maki – “ひとつだけ” (hitotsu dake / only one). Neither the song nor the group have anything to do with Hana Yori Dango; merely an excuse to post a Japanese 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.

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First, haha. 8D

WHOA. I'm super-de-duper psyched! And I'm just curious: What does Hana Yori Dango translate into in Korean? Because the Taiwanese version was known as Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu. ^^

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interesting......thanks!

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Do you mean the phonetic Korean title? Or the meaning? The title in Korean basically means "hana yori dango," or "boys before flowers," and is pronounced "kkot boda namja" (꽃보다 남자).

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wow i am effin psyched yay!!!!

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I can't wait. Watching Meteor Garden was fun, but when the Japanese dorama came out...WHOA. I enthusiastically anticipated each episode release. I agree that the dorama was done with great care, paying attention to details and selecting such great leads.

Choi Shiwon would be fantastic for the part of Doumyouji. The role he played in "18 vs. 29" is similar to Doumyouji's character, and I personally think he pulled it off great. Plus, he's such a cutie. His smile makes me go ga-ga.

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I've read the manga, watched the anime, watched the taiwanese (albeit cheesy) drama and the Japanese (also cheesy but great enjoyable) drama.

I will watch it again :D

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Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu is the Taiwanese version of Hana Kimi...

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HAHA I just thought of another pun for the title. In Korean, there's an added layer (though unintended, since they had nothing to do with the titling) because pretty boys are called "kkot-minam" or, loosely, "flower boys." So the title kkot boda namja can be extrapolated to suggest that we want MEN before we want PRETTY BOYS, lol.

Too bad that's not an intended interpretation. Ha!

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i don't remember you being so excited anticipating a series in awhile! makes me a little excited too....if just by your description alone...maybe i should go rewatch the dorama again....i felt like i watched it ages ago :/

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oooooohhhhhhhhh

i love the dorama hana yori dango...... soooo much..........

so who will play Makino..... do u have any idea....

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I still play the Meteor Garden series once in a while..
aahh...what a youthful series.

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I look forward to your recaps! hehe ^^

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i have only watched the taiwanese version. the first time i watched it, i became a total taiwanese F4 fanatic. but watching it again...it didnt have the same magic. funny that. but Jerry Yan and Vic Zhou were such eye candy.

casting and writing the Korean screenplay will be of absolute utmost importance. the story is already solid enough. but giving it that magic kdramas are famous for is the trick.

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oh dear, i think i may regret asking this, but where can i DL episodes& subs for the japanese version? :)

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so incredibly excited!!! i'm really glad the focus is on less of the hugely popular actors. i've noticed that a lot of japanese doramas cast solely on the star's popularity, attracting fangirls worldwide. one of the reasons i prefer korean dramas more!

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So far, the manga is still by far my favorite form of Hana Yori Dango. But maybe throwing in some hot Korean boys will change my mind. Usually does. XD

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Best news all month.

Seriously.

YAY!!

I kind of can't wait. Koreans do drama best. It'll be cool how they mix that more traditional family sense into the story (like his mother and her acceptance from his mother, ect).

So excited >;3

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I'm really stunned about this, because I always thought HanaDan was, at heart, a Korean Cinderella story. You have the poor plucky heroine, a chaebol, an evil mom, one plastic surgery-obsessed rival, etc. Above all, it's a screwball romantic comedy, and that is the core of good Korean rom-com.

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I am so excited...and I really do see Choi Si Won in it but if he's in it then they would need guys with a similar age to make up f4 and I don't want a total newbie cast >.> don't know---

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dramabeans, thank you for the link to your blog about the japanese Hana Yori dango! i didnt realize that you wrote about it.. and i think ill watch it again.. that blog was mostly for season 1 no? how about season 2? i havent watched it because many said that it sucked.. was not as good as season 1.. ill do what you recommend me about season 2. ^^

anyways. thanks for the heads up.
who do you like as the lead girl? ^^

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I am so excited about this! i remember thinking to myself when watching the TW and Japanese versions, "i wish the koreans would make one too, it would be so interesting to see their take on it"...and now it finally happened! YAY! I am more of a kdrama fan than dorama so this is pretty exciting...

and i agree with you Javabeans, Siwon would be perfect for the role..when he acts serious he seems like such an a*hole but once his smiles, he makes you melt into a puddle like in 18 vs. 29

another kdrama to look forward to. YES!

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ohmigod. this just made my day. please please please, don't mess it up. i've only watched the jdorama version. i vote for casting new faces. Siwon is not a bad choice. i don't think they have to worry about rating slumps for this one.

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jaime, as for Hanadan 2, I liked it. Not as much as I liked Season 1, but it was enjoyable. S1 was over the top and totally fantastical, but it was gleeful in its excess, so I didn't mind even though it veers on camp sometimes. S2 seemed like a lot of treading water -- find ways to keep the couple apart even though they've already realized they're meant for each other -- and so it was fun but repetitive. I suppose that's why they go into Soujiro's story more (I wished there were more Akira), which is fine because DAYUM somewhere between S1 and 2 he got seriously hot.

As for the lead girl, it's hard to say... It should be someone young and fresh -- the characters are supposed to be 17-18 -- but a lot of young Korean actresses trade on the cutesy, girly image, and Makino's supposed to be resilient and tough. I actually think Moon Geun Young would be great but she's probably too big a star for this kind of trendy drama. Lee Yeon Hee is a good actress, except she doesn't seem tough at all. Park Min Young (from I Am Sam)? Park Shin Hye might work actually, but I lost all faith in her acting from Goong S. It's difficult, because I think the class of trendy/popular actresses with some experience are on the old side (Gu Hye Sun, Han Hyo Joo, Han Ye Seul, Yoon Eun Hye) for the main lead, but they might be in the right age range for the older roles, like the older sister.

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ohhhhhhhhhhh! i agree - apprehensively excited is the best description. please please please don't screw this up korea. no weird re-writes or weird characterizations please. and how do you do the names? still the same but korean-ized somehow?

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looks like the lead girl casting will be much anticipated. i agree she should be young and fresh. i imagine a younger lee ji ah. tough but cool and not your typical korean girl if you are to attract the F4. unconventional but with a girl-next-door appeal. ah! my imagination is running away with me...

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I wondered when there'd be a Korean version! Yay!

HYD2 did bore me a little with the repetitive storyline. I actually didn't watch the last two episodes but vowed to go back eventually. Maybe I should do that now?!

I agree that Choi Si Won would make a good choice, but I'd hate to see him with such bad hair lol.

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I can't believe that there's going to be a Korean version...LOL. I love the Japanese version and the Taiwan one, I have yet to finish. I hope they put some of their own style into it and don't try and copy the other versions. Also, about Choi Si Won, I actually think he would suit the Rui character, more cold and stand-offish but with a cute image that comes out when he warms up. For Doumyouji, I think they need a more quirky personality and maybe less conventionally good-looking because I think he's a character of extremes which makes him comical and I don't see Si Won playing that kind of role...but I could be wrong. LOL.

Hmm...do you think a Hana Kimi is next on the cards, if this one goes well? ^-^

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oh man...so much hana!!! hehe...the taiwanese one made me into an F4 follower :) also got me into dramas...as in asian dramas. loving dramas at all came from my mom who as a child had me watch novelas~ no longer limited to Spanish dramas, i absolutely love Hana Yori Dango. i became a HUGE Inoue Mao and Oguri Shun fan...of course we cannot forget Matsumoto Jun!!!! thus, leading me to find japanese music...now i am an Arashi, NEWS, and KAT-TUN fan...hehe. Oguri Shun is a great actor but he himself has stated to not wanting to be a pivotal main actor, rather a supporting actor like in イケメン♂パラダイス aka Ikemen Paradise or Hanazakari no Kimitachi e...i loved him in this drama. this drama is much better than the Hana Kimi (taiwan version)! the actress Maki as well.

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@aneh1028,

Most likely Korean names. Lately, KBS has been producing many manga and manhwa adaptations (i.e. becoming the Korean version of TV Asahi) lately, and they've rebranded the work into Korean-friendly names and settings. It only makes sense to do that, just as Meteor Garden and the Thai version of HanaDan did.

I think Park Shin Hye would be wonderful in the Makino part. She's the right age; she's worked with Group Eight; plus, if you've seen her in her daily drama, she definitely has the right spunk for the part.

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I think almost all of the cast should be some newbies. It would definitely give the storyline some freshness and generate new interest. I think for the female lead, instead of sticking to the conventional very girly, pretty and cute beauty, they should cast someone who seems tomboyish which is what I feel when I think about the character. As for F4 I think its time for some fresh faces. And more importantly than looks, at least try to find someone who can act.

After watching the Japanese version, I have to say I was hooked. Matsujun and Oguri Shun are rather famous so there wasn't much curiosity to their style of acting (in reality Matsujun is rather like his character, very extravagant and often sharp tongued) and Oguri Shun has played quite a few roles. However, I must say that Soujiro played by Matsuda Shouta really got my attention. He was a newbie that shot to fame after this role. In fact, I was often more interested in his storyline in S2 than the leads. Of course, being a complete hottie totally helped!

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i'm super excited, i just hope that HYD is just as good when they do it, cause it would suck really bad if they mess it up..... awww i can't wait to see who they cast for F4 and Makino

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thanks javabeans! do you know when they plan to broadcast it? i hope its good as the orignal...but i'm sure won't top it. i really wanna know teh cast!

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I don't know if the korean version will be able to top the japanese version because it was borderline amazing (my favorite japanese drama to date)! But, they can try! and I think Choi Si Won would make a pretty good Domyouji, and I wouldn't mind seeing him in another drama ;) But, one question that comes to mind is if he could pull of the childish part of Domyouji's character; where he makes puns that don't make sense because of his bad english or something xD those were so funny in the japanese version!

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wahh. thanks dramabeans. you are the best!
ill watch HanaDan2 just because you said its fun, but it seems like that ill be having a hard time finishing it..? Maybe, also because each episode of Jdorama can stand by itself. i mean, an episode is a complete story by itself. it drove me crazy when there's a new theme or one big event on each episode, and there's no smooth transition in between (maybe its just this and HanaKimi?). ehh. nevertheless, it will be a treat this spring break. hehe

btw, thanks for that write up about HanaDan1 because i missed all those points. i mean, if you didnt point it out, then i would have never seen its "artsy" beauty.. thats why ill watch it again too. ^^

then, you made me change my mind about the main lead actress. you have a great point there! i was actually pulling for YEH, but now that you mentioned it.. anyone will do as long as they execute it well! so, i dont really care anymore on who it will be because ill be watching it for the F4 boys, not the girl. hehe. ^^

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omg so happy! but i'll go crazy if they cast yoon eun hye, no offense, i like her, but they should pick someone new and fresh like they said they were going to do.

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...........omg....omg...omg....omg!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM SO GOING TO WATCH THIS! i wonder who is going to be cast for this drama heheheheh!! hope it ll be good. Have really really high expectation!!!! ohohohoho!

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haha it also makes me wanna rewatch..
the 3 asian countries im most interested in all make a hana yori dango
even though meteor garden wasnt that great
but the japanese one just completely awesome, but how would the names be translated so that they sound aliike?
hmm i hope the korean version will have a really great cast especially for f4 and more especially makino (and kinda yuki [makino's best friend).. i wonder who's going to play her.. lots of the young korean actresses (that can act passably) are more cutesy i think.. but choi si won would be a great choice if he manages to pull the roll off well
urgh.. i hope they don't mess up by putting in random eyecandy that cant act -.-
i think relatively new actors/actresses would be ok..if they've got either genius talent.. or just an extra xP

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woot-woot... can't wait for this one.... I love HYD - both series... love it so much, I've got original DVDs of both. I actually watched it first before I did Meteor Garden - which made me wonder why the taiwanese version was such a big hit... Anyway, I hope the Korean version would not disappoint... :)

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One of the best news i read so far!!!!!^^

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Thought it was just a rumor when I read the news a few days ago, but since it's true, I'm worried. And reading here that the people behind Goong S are handling this, now I'm scared.
Hanadan is one of my favorite series (manga, anime, j-drama) of all-time, and if they pull crap like they did with Goong S, there will be blood...

I'm not up-to-date on which young stars are hot these days, but as you said, I think Park Minyoung could pull off Tsukushi..she's got the tough look, but could she pull off being a poor girl?
Tsukasa is my favorite character, but no one comes to mind...If this were made years ago, I would say Won Bin, but he's obviously too old now and is MIA, so..
If Jang Geunsuk isn't too busy, I think he'd make a good Soujiro or Akira..
Rui...hmm. I didn't like Oguri in the part, so I hope for the Korean version, they pick someone who really captures the softness of the character...

Sorry for the long post. I'm a Hanadan freak XD;;

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ghir: and if they pull crap like they did with Goong S, there will be blood…and if they pull crap like they did with Goong S, there will be blood…

I can totally see Daniel Day Lewis playing Doumyouji. If they cast Ellen Page as Makino, this would be the greatest Korean drama ever.

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I heard about this a few days ago, and I am excited but nervous about it. The Japanese version is AMAZINGLY WELL DONE, and I doubt that the Korean version would be able to top how good the Japanese version was. I bet it will be better than the Taiwanese one though.

I really wonder who will play Makino???????? I just hope they do some really casting. It would be cool to have a talented unknown cast though

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http://www.stoo.com/news/html/000/855/444.html

I was browsing around on search engines, and I thought this was a pretty interesting article about who netizens are voting for to be cast as F4. I could see Jung Il Woo and/or Jang Geun Suk cast as part of F4, but I'm not so sure about Jo In Sung or Kang Dong Won. This drama doesn't exactly seem like something they'd usually do.

No real concrete information as to who's going to be playing who, but it's still fun to speculate! I just hope that the girl will be someone more bearable than Ella. I tried to watch the Taiwan version of HYD, but half an episode with Ella's (overly!) over-exaggerated acting and I couldn't watch any further. Not even the hot boys could keep me watching! The Japanese version I liked, but my only issue is that I'm not a huge fan of Matsumoto Jun. (Oguri Shun kept me hooked!) Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to this Korean version. I can't wait to see who'll be cast!

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omg the 1st female lead that popped up in my mind is BAE SEUL GI lol she can look so soft and tough at the same time. Hehe, she can be such a bully at times too. Choi Shi Won is definitely a great pick for the cast. Omg i just cant wait to see who will be cast in the F4 roles. I have watched the Taiwanese drama, which i've never completed the drama. It was addicting at 1st then it started to be so cheesy and draggy. I have watched some episodes of the japanese dorama but same thing, never finished it cuz i simply got hooked on other dramas. So im looking forward to the korean version since i like korean drama alot more than japanese.

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i think TOP from big bang should be Doumyouji!!! like the chaemooshin character he played.. and and maybe DBSK's hero for hanazawa rui hahahaha.. and maybe moon geung young for shan1 cai4 / makino!

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I'm not too thrilled about this version. The japanese version would have to be my all time favorite. It must have been the cast they had. When i look at the potential actors and actresses they have in mind, they don't really fit the part. I mean, a lot of them are too old for the role, hana yori dango and meteor garden, their cast was a lot younger than the potential candidates for the korean version.

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choi shiwon!

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"No real concrete information as to who’s going to be playing who, but it’s still fun to speculate! I just hope that the girl will be someone more bearable than Ella. I tried to watch the Taiwan version of HYD, but half an episode with Ella’s (overly!) over-exaggerated acting and I couldn’t watch any further."

@g35733: The actress who did the Taiwanese version of HYD was Barbie Hsu, And i agree with u about Jo in sung, i love him but he's too old for this role :-X

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Why, loads of comments. Tells how huge a fanbase HYD has.

Basically, I'm jumping up in anticipation and yet crying in despair at the same time. WHY WHY remake perfection? MatsuJun and Inoue Mao had it perfect as their character last time, and the series, especially HYD1 was beautifully executed, and not dragged/tightened plot so that non-manga fans can get it but enough trueness that manga fans ALSO loved it. I'm an avid fan of the dorama and the manga (NOT Meteor Garden. God, no. Couldn't Barbie act better?! She didn't look at all tough. I swear, a scene where Tsukushi is supposed to be screaming she just looks and acts the nice/quiet girl-next-door.)

However, a great story can be told to a bigger audience. Maybe I'll fall in love again. I agree with you on getting new stars, UNLESS the star they find fits the image well. Inoue Mao was a newbie. HYD was her first series and she shot to stardom through it. She fitted it to the T. But if left it the hand of an unexperienced actor/actress, it'll be just like killing Domyouji or Tsukushi...Tsukushi is going to be hard to cast. She needs to have lots of charisma and charm, and yet NOT be pretty. Charming and charismatic, yes, but she shouldn't be as pretty as some of the bigger Korean stars--either that, or they need to tone down on their clothes/makeup, and dress more plainly. Because she's a blunt, raw sort of girl. And they need to be completely into their character. They won't be looking cute (in Goong, for example, YEH was supposed to be arguing with Shin but she looked glamorous every time. There needs to be more of a raw appeal.) but tom-boyish. I wonder if there's any that can pull Tsukushi off while not over-acting? They need to be comedic but also dramatic (for the crying scenes...) and yet still believable and still be charming....(God, now that I look back, I realize what a brilliant job Inoue Mao did. Can't imagine how any Korean star is going to pull this off.) Perhaps YEH? She threw herself into Coffee Prince, after all...I don't think she's TOO old. She has a baby-enough face.

Agree with your choice for Domyouji. The guy's pic is hot. XD Though I wonder if he'd be able to pull of the perm...? Domyouji is also hard. How is he going to pull of violent, rich boy yet have such a stupid, naive, lonely and twisted air to him? I think the actor will probably be prone to act too cool or not violent enough. He's suppose to be sympathetic, and change as the story goes on, but...he's definitely not prince charming before, and not quite even after. (Looking back-again-MatsuJun did an awesome job. Did not know how hard these characters were to play until I'm analyzing it...:P)

The script will have to be great also...to make this worthwhile to watch as I'm sure Asia knows the story by heart by now. It'll have to be fresh and witty while staying true to the story.

All I can say is Group Eight has got their work cut out. (and I'll be looking for high production values and awesome music as well. ;)

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I had seen this news already and it was kind of a shock! I am HUGE fan of the Japanese version (really hated Meteor Garden)! The big issue is definitely the cast. everyone here has pointed out that they should be young actors. But, come to think of it, in HYD the only one playing a character her age was Makino (actress Inoue Mao); of the F4 guys, 3 are at least 4-5 years older than the characters, the exception being Soujiro, played by Matsuda Shota.
Makino's role is really crucial, of course, because she's the trigger to the story, the one that causes such a big impact in all their lives. it's going to be hard finding a suitable young actress!

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