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Boys Before Flowers: Episode 1 [Korean Hana Yori Dango]

Word of warning: Lower those expectations, folks. Episode 1 of Boys Before Flowers was not a home run.

I’d say it got off to a choppy start, with good and bad points and a couple nice surprises. I’m not terribly disappointed, but I also wasn’t expecting gold, either.

On the other hand, I think I’m going to have a blast watching this, regardless. (Let’s just say: Before this drama, Jeon Ki-sang directed Delightful Girl Chun-hyang, My Girl, and Witch Amusement. Two of those were good, one was terrible — but all were hilariously watchable.) Either way, I’m set.

 
CAVEAT

Now that the drama has started, I’d like to write about it as its own entity, away from the established details of the Hana Yori Dango universe. (There are a few exceptions to this rule, but I’ll explain when I get to those.) The reason is, while it was fun to speculate and make comparisons before its broadcast, I recognize that one can only say “Well, in the original series…” so many times before it gets really annoying. Plus, it alienates people who are watching without pre-existing knowledge.

Of course, you’re free to say whatever you like — these are mostly ground rules for myself.

 
BACKGROUND

In the spirit of that decision, I’ll be describing everything as though it were new, so fans of Hanadan, please bear with me.

The title “Boys Before Flowers” (or the Japanese hana yori dango) refers to the privileged quartet who rule the roost at their elite private school. They’ve adopted the name “Flower Four,” which gets shortened to F4, and are in their last year of high school at the incredibly exclusive school for the insanely wealthy, Shinhwa High School. It’s so sought-after that aspiring attendees are placed on a waiting list practically upon birth. The school starts with Shinhwa Kindergarten and goes straight through Shinhwa University.

Apparently “hana yori dango” is a Japanese adage meaning that food (dango) is more important than flowers (hana) — or rather, sustenance comes before superficial beauty. The manga twisted that to suggest that boys (dango) were more important than flowers. A third reading suggests that these four characters are “boys” before they’re “flowers” — that is to say, their roles as people are more important than their collective fame as Flower Four.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

In this world, Shinhwa Group (“shinhwa” meaning “legend”) is the most powerful corporation in Korea, perhaps best compared to real-life Samsung, only bigger and more powerful. Shinhwa makes cars, owns department stores, and is virtually everywhere — its empire even includes an elite school. At the beautiful Shinhwa campus, pampered students flaunt their wealth and band together in cliques.

Unfortunately, just being rich isn’t enough to survive the teen tyranny at Shinhwa — outsiders or loners are often marked as targets by the bored uber-clique F4. Once a student is delivered F4’s “red card,” it signals the rest of the school to go all out in harassment and bullying.

This guy, having just received the dreaded red card, is immediately chased by students and beaten. He’s cornered into a bathroom, puts up a good fight, and manages to escape.

Geum Jan-di (actress Gu Hye-sun) arrives at the school bearing a dry-cleaning delivery, amazed at all the splendor. Students talk excitedly about the newest F4 victim, joking that they’d known he wouldn’t last long. Recognizing the boy’s name, Jan-di follows the crowd outside, where they all look up at the rooftop, where the battered guy stands poised to jump off the building.

The guy shouts to his audience, “This what you want, isn’t it? Fine, I’ll give you what you want.” He starts to step off the ledge — but Jan-di bursts on the scene, yelling to get his attention. She’s got his dry-cleaning! That’ll be $30, please!

Jan-di isn’t too quick on the uptake, because she doesn’t grasp the severity of the moment until the boy tells her to get the money from his family after he dies. At this, Jan-di gasps in horror: “Are you about to die? Why? You go to such a nice school.” He tells her, “This isn’t school, it’s hell.” Jan-di corrects him, saying, “Excuse me, but the real hell is outside.”

He asks if she knows what F4 is (she doesn’t), and explains that their red card makes you a hunted man. Finally realizing that this mysterious F4 is why he’s all bloody and ready to jump off a building, Jan-di indignantly asks, “And you’re going to let them get away with that?” If this was her school, she’d show them who was boss. The guy tells her that her friends are lucky to have a friend like her — and then jumps.

Everyone gasps — Jan-di lurches forward — and grabs him on his way over the ledge. Saved!

Photos are uploaded, news spreads quickly, and pretty soon, Jan-di is hailed as a hero in the media, a sort of Wonder Woman for the working class. As this occurred on a Shinhwa campus — and worse, a Shinhwa heir is involved (albeit indirectly as F4’s leader) — citizens denounce the Shinhwa Group. Housewives agree to boycott Shinhwa stores, candlelight vigils are held, people demonstrate.

Jan-di’s best friend Ga-eul and her boss cheer her on (the girls work after school at a neighborhood restaurant). Ga-eul wistfully wonders if the F4 boys are as cute as they say, but Jan-di is not at all impressed. She calls them Fly Four instead — dung flies.

Naturally, the outcry is a pain in the neck for Shinhwa Group’s CEO, Kang Hee-joo, who happens to be mother to F4 leader Gu Jun-pyo. She vents her ire on her secretary, Mr. Jung (perfectly cast, by the way): “You know why public opinion is frightening? Because they’re ignorant!”

What, then, can be done for damage control? Offer the commoner a scholarship to Shinhwa High School, of course!

Jan-di’s family is thrilled. Jan-di is not.

She refuses to go to the school, preferring her life as it is. Her parents, on the other hand, think it’s foolish for her to pass up a free education that even the rich and powerful would kill for. Plus, they wheedle, the school has a swimming pool… and remember how much she liked swimming? Jan-di is not so easily bought, but still, the end result is a foregone conclusion. The next day, she arrives at her new school.

Predictably, she is a complete fish out of water in this place where students flash luxury vehicles (Jun-pyo arrives by helicopter) and designer clothing.

Jan-di wanders around, searching for the swimming pool, when she hears the strains of a violin. Curious, she follows the sound and comes to its source: It’s Yoon Ji-hoo, dressed all in white, playing his violin out in the woods. As we all do.

When he sees her, she asks in a flustered tone for the pool, and he points her in the right direction. She runs off in mortification, but also impressed at Ji-hoo’s skills sensitivity pretty face.

Now for the Grand Entrance:

F4’s appearance sends all the girls squealing and everyone rushing to the entrance to welcome their overlords. No seriously, you practically expect somebody to genuflect at their feet. As it is, F4 arrives in a blaze of glory and glamour-shot backlighting.

Jun-pyo looks over at one of the bystanders, who immediately quivers in fear. In a supremely bored but authoritative voice, Jun-pyo asks Woo-bin for the rest of his juice, then pours it all over the hapless student.

(The guy had been bragging earlier about wearing a shirt only he and Jun-pyo owned, and Jun-pyo is not pleased to be caught similarly dressed.)

Afterward, Jan-di sputters at Jun-pyo’s assiness. She calls him a crazy bastard, then wonders if everyone else is also crazy, watching his reign of terror without saying anything.

This attracts the attention of the school’s three queen bees, who introduce themselves as Ginger (the leader), Sunny, and Miranda (or Shinhwa’s “jin, sun, and mi” — a way of saying they’re the most beautiful). Ginger’s affectation is to make horrified exclamations in English (e.g., “Oh. My. God.”), while Sunny’s my favorite because she seems vaguely dim. They stick up for F4 and tell Jan-di to watch what she says.

Deciding to acquaint herself with the members of F4, Jan-di and her brother surf the internet for their bios:

Song Woo-bin (actor Kim Joon) is heir to a construction enterprise; his father is a real estate magnate.

So Yi-jung (Kim Bum) is a pottery genius who comes from an artistic lineage; his grandfather also owns a famous art museum.

Yoon Ji-hoo (actor-singer Kim Hyun-joong) is the grandson of a former president, and the sole surviving descendant, as his parents died in car crash when he was five. His family owns a variety of rich-people toys, like an art center, a European soccer team, and a major league baseball team.

And then there’s Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho). The others are famous among rich society, but Jun-pyo, as the heir to Shinhwa Group, is known to practically the entire country.

Finding out how privileged F4 is sends Jan-di into a rage — life’s too unfair. She takes particular umbrage at Jun-pyo for being such an asshole, because if he was born so lucky, he should be thankful and act kindly to others.

Too late, Jan-di looks down the staircase and spots a set of legs — someone’s taking a nap on the landing below. It’s Ji-hoo, who saunters up to her, telling her in his soft-spoken way that she’s disrupted his sleep. He heard the whole tirade, such as her calling them flies, and tells her the guy’s name is Jun-pyo, not Jung-pyo — if she’s going to rail against him, she ought to at least get the name right.

Lunchtime. The Bimbo Trio make it a point to hover and comment on Jan-di’s poor-person lunch. The cafeteria serves gourmet offerings, but Jan-di ignores them in favor of her plain lunchbox (rice, egg, Spam), which they now ridicule.

Unexpectedly, Jan-di receives a friendly overture from another new girl, Oh Min-ji, who is sweet, pretty, and recently transferred from Germany.

Ga-eul expresses relief that Jan-di made a friend; she was afraid she’d wind up an outsider. Jan-di replies glumly, “I am an outsider.” Still, she figures she can lie low until graduation, which prompts Ga-eul to ask what happened to the fearless protector who used to always stand up for her in elementary school.

But Jan-di figures she’ll have to stick it out. Her father’s absurdly proud of her fancy uniform (as a dry-cleaner, he can appreciate quality), while her mother pushes her to work on her looks so she can snag a rich boy. (Nobody ever said kdramas were feminist.)

Jan-di’s patience is tried the next day, when F4 struts in looking cool, as usual, and a shy student presents Jun-pyo with a homemade cake and hopes that he’ll “accept her feelings.” Jun-pyo stares at her in his blank, haughty way, and takes the cake, as though accepting — to the girl’s excitement and the Bimbo Trio’s horror — until he then smashes the cake into her face.

Jun-pyo walks off, only to find Jan-di in his path, trying to do her best to tamp down her fury. She unleashes a diatribe:

Jan-di: “You! Don’t you even have the barest human courtesy? I don’t bother hoping you’d have any humility for your riches. But if you didn’t want to eat it, you could have politely refused. Or, couldn’t you think of the feelings of the person who made the cake and accepted?”

Unfortunately, Jan-di’s tirade is only in her head. When it comes time to say it, she backs down and mutters, “Never mind.” As Ji-hoo passes, though, he gives her a smile, as if knowing what’s running through her mind.

The next encounter isn’t so easily dismissed. Min-ji and Jan-di eat ice cream cones and chat cheerfully, when Min-ji slips and falls at Jun-pyo’s feet, getting ice cream all over his shoe. Immediately scared and apologetic, Min-ji tries to offer to pay for new shoes, then offers to do “whatever I can” to rectify the situation. When he tells her to lick the ice cream off his shoe, Jan-di steps in, saying he should accept the apology — it’s not like Min-ji fell on purpose. So Jun-pyo turns his derision onto Jan-di instead:

Jun-pyo: “Is it your thing to be obtuse and interfering? Why butt into someone else’s business?”
Jan-di: “She’s not just anyone, she’s a friend. But I guess they don’t include words like ‘friend’ or ‘friendship’ in rich people’s dictionaries.”
Jun-pyo: “Friend? Let’s see some of that great friendship in action. You lick it.”
Jan-di: “What?”
Jun-pyo: “If you do it for her, I’ll let this go.”

Resignedly, Jan-di starts to bend over as Jun-pyo waits expectantly, but stops mid-bow. Instead, she shoves her ice cream cone in Jun-pyo’s face, causing him to fall over.

Jan-di scoffs, “So what, did you earn all that money yourself?” And no, her “thing” isn’t to interfere, it’s to stand up to the behavior of rich punks who rely on their rich parents.

Furthermore, she takes out a couple of bills (equivalent to a dollar) and throws three at him, referring to his stained clothing: “Our business charges 2,500 won, but I calculated using Kangnam [rich neighborhood] standards. If it still won’t clean, bring it by.”

That night, Jun-pyo remains in a dark mood, trying to figure out how to get back at Jan-di. I’ll admit I burst out laughing when the song “Never Say Goodbye” came on, since it’s one of the main themes of PD Jeon’s previous series, My Girl, and he likes giving little nods to his previous works.

As the rest of the guys aren’t taking this seriously, they find Jun-pyo unusually fixated. Yi-jung suggests that Jun-pyo act in their “usual way,” and Jun-pyo’s gleeful reaction gives us our first glimpse of his, uh, not-quite-bright tendencies.

The next day, Jan-di gets the red card, but it doesn’t really mean much to her and she just tosses it away.

She finds out what the effects of red-carding are when she walks into class and her desk is gone. One of her notebooks is lying on the ground, graffiti’d with hate words, and when she bends down to pick it up, it jumps out of reach — someone’s tied a string to it.

Jan-di follows the leaping notebook out into the hallway, where her equally defaced desk is parked. Students start pelting her with eggs — and then a bucket of flour is dumped over her from above.

It’s the despoiling of her uniform that gets to her — she remembers how her father so proudly ironed it — and Jan-di shouts at them defiantly, “Go on! Keep going!”

When she looks to the crowd around her, Min-ji rushes off, too scared to show her support.

Meanwhile, F4 watches the proceedings on a television in their lounge. The other two (Yi-jung, Woo-bin) figure that’s the end of story, but Jun-pyo corrects them — it’s over when Jan-di comes begging on her knees.

I admit this is the scene when I totally fell for Lee Min-ho’s dunderheaded charms, because he’s absolutely convinced Jan-di will come through the door any minute now. He counts down, and his consternation when she doesn’t is hilarious.

Jan-di retreats to her shouty stairwell (“Do you think because my name is Jan-di [grass], you can trample all over me?!”). Again, she’s interrupted by Ji-hoo, who’s relaxing on the landing below.

Oddly, he asks, “Do you know how to make pancakes?” Confused, Jan-di lists the ingredients. Taking in her appearance, Ji-hoo peers at her closely, then wipes the flour from her face and uniform with a handkerchief. Surprised and touched, she promises to return it later; he answers that he won’t be coming back, since the stairwell’s gotten a lot noisier recently.

Jan-di’s mood lifts when she goes back to the now-empty classroom and finds a set of gym clothing and a stuffed animal on her desk. The toy has a voice-recorded message from Min-ji, which tells her, “I’m sorry. Forgive me for being a coward.”

When she goes for a swim, Jan-di finds the pool littered with trash — it’s Jun-pyo’s next phase in the Jan-di Tormenting Regimen.

In fact, Jun-pyo’s so into his plans to ruin Jan-di’s life that even his friends are surprised he’s still so fixated on them, a week later. Yi-jung muses, “Isn’t she the first to really stand up to F4?”

(Ji-hoo isn’t with them because he’s off sleeping in a new location, although how anyone can sleep with legs crossed like that is a wonder. Way to go, Ji-hoo.)

All the while, Jan-di cleans out the pool, picking out all the empty bottles and soda cans. By the time she’s dressed in the locker room, she’s visited by more of Jun-pyo’s minions, who grab her, ignoring her screams, and start to carry her off.

 
THE BAD

(1) Why hello there, familiarity. Waaaaay too much direct cribbing from the Japanese Hanadan. I was hoping they wouldn’t, and unfortunately, there were enough similarities that none of the plot points packed any punch. I suspect the drama will take off once it sheds the similarities, or so goes the hope.

(2) Character mimicry. As with the point above, it seems like a few characters have been lifted directly from the Japanese drama. Kim Hyun-joong playing Ji-hoo is fantastically cast — he looks and sounds the part completely. Only, it’s kind of like him acting as Oguri Shun, more than him acting as Rui. He’s pretty good, but I wish he’d do something to distinguish himself — add a little character tic, a variation or nuance — so that he isn’t just going to be labeled Shun #2.

(3) The overacting. There’s a lot of it. Jan-di, Jan-di’s family, the Tarty Trio — everyone’s laying it on rather thick. Gu Hye-sun actually looks fine as a 2nd-year high school student — but it’s her acting that’s the problem, because it’s like she’s acting 12 to overcompensate for being 25. If she just pulls back, she ought to be fine.

If you base the story in real emotions, you can carry the audience through some extreme plot turns, but if you never ground those emotions (and keep exaggerating everything), it’s a lot harder for us to get invested. There were some moments that broke through that cartoonishness (Jan-di’s reaction to being egged, for one), so let’s hope they go in that direction.

(4) The English. Oh my God, the English. There’s a scene where Yi-jung, ever the player, makes a move on an older woman in a store as she shops for china plates. He, the ceramics expert, suggests a better selection, and combined with Kim Bum’s questionable English and the white lady’s questionable acting, the scene was unwatchable. (The mute button and embarrassed laughter came into play.) Ginger the English-spouting Mean Girl gets a little embarrassing as well, although I suppose it’s her character to be absurd.

(5) Kim Joon, wassup man, that’s da bomb, yo yo yo! Let me reiterate: Oh my God, the English. I wonder if they’re, um, incorporating Kim Joon’s pop-singing background into his character. And don’t get me wrong, I am ALL in favor of giving F4 some added flair — letting these actors make the characters their own, and whatnot. I am NOT, however, in favor of bastardized gangsta-rap-inflected Engrish. Please. Stop.

The apologist version: If one were to make a defense against those complaints, I suppose one could argue that some scenes are just so iconic that even if it’s a repetition, it’s so much a part of the story that one shouldn’t just ignore it. For instance, the red cards in the lockers. Also, I think that Episode 1 requires a lot of setting up, which necessitates repeating many elements that are familiar to those who know Hanadan. When Boys Before Flowers did diverge from the familiar moments, it did much better. Hopefully things will improve once the series really gets going.

 
THE GOOD

The casting, hands down.

Surprisingly, the best part of Boys Before Flowers (for me) was Lee Min-ho. I was worried about him the most, but ended up totally relieved. He — unlike Gu Hye-sun, the Tarty Trio, Jan-di’s parents — did not overact. Also, he — unlike Kim Hyun-joong — seems to embody his character more than as a mere imitation of the Japanese Hanadan. He’s great playing the snide, arrogant leader of F4, but he’s also showing real promise at the character’s thick-headed, slightly ignorant side — he doesn’t play the character’s dumbness as overtly as Matsumoto Jun did, but it’s enough to be pretty funny. He totally looks the part, and acts the part, but so far isn’t just copying Matsumoto’s interpretation.

Despite my comments in the “Bad” section above, I’m actually pretty pleased with the overall acting. There don’t appear to be any glaring, unfixable deficiencies — I think flaws can be adjusted with some toning down and fine-tuning. Kdramas have typically done better (in my opinion) when they focus on the down-to-earth aspects of stories rather than the outlandish — Goong was better when it was about the troubled teenage marriage than when it was about monarchial conspiracies — so once the story gets going in earnest, I hope the drama finds its feet.

 
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wow im surprised u gave it more credit and hope that i thought u would. i kinda think HJ's acting was not quite there. granted he is acting his first major role but he looks more sleepy than rui. i donno

but i also like minho's acting!! hes adorable and does a really good job. not to be comparing but he's the best domyoji so far. :)

"bastardized gangsta-rap-inflected Engrish"- LMAO!!!

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thank you javabeans..love you for recapping this series coz i dont understand korean languange but alittle bit.
love lee min ho along the way:D domyoji/jun pyo is rock!

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I agree that the drama should not just be a repetition of what it's predecessors have done, but it will no longer be Hana Yori Dango if they do not incorporate enough of the certain events. Besides that, I'm looking forward to watching how this version maintains some of the original flavor and creating something fresh at the same time. Thanks for the summary as always!

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That's just so in time, i finished watching BOF chinese subbed a few minutes ago and ran here to see this review!

I gotta say it isn't as bad as i thought or maybe i put my expectation very low. I always thought Lee Minho has the tsukasa look even before i watched the drama and hands down, his expressions are good. He got a different feel from Matsumoto Jun's Tsukasa, he totally nail down the arrogant vibe. I think Jandi's overreacting is still okay because that's how cartoonish characters are like and i believe she'll improve her acting in the upcoming episodes because the storyline will be much more deeper in the later part.

Although i agree BOF is kinda repetitive but if it isn't so, how is it Hana Yori Dango?

And now i'm waiting for the next episode eagerly~~ BOF fighting~

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I don't like the ost as well. SO far i still dun like the 1st episode bcoz its totally like watching the taiwan version. I thought they will do something different but the plot is mostly the same. So this drama is boring for me. I hope it gets better in the following episode.

thanks javabeans for the your summary.

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thank you so much for the recaps since i can't watch it yet with out subs and hope i can watch it somewhere
and i'll try not to compare it to the japanese ver. since it seems like this might be good and i liked the three other dramasthis director has directed
someone like to send me link to drama with sub?
or knows who's subbing it?
thanks

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I have to admit that the best part of the Korean HYD was definitely Lee Min-ho. At first I was surprised by the cold, calculating approach being used to the overt approach by the Jun but at least he finds a way to make his own interpretation of the character. And the glimpses of buffoonery (not exaggerated by Lee Min-ho) was perked up my interest. I think there is hope that he can carry off this character after all. We'll see in the next eps.

The rest, I don't know. The music selection was horrible. And Gu Hye-sun needs to it tone it done a bit. The overacting makes it obvious that she is significantly older than her role's age. Which kind of sucks because I was ready to believe that she is a high school student.

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yeah agree with all of u.LMH is a really distinct tsukasa. not really dumb, not really mean but just as a cutie guy who enjoying his life otying his comrade. he portrait very well his character. but i hate the rui here. he is out of the context. seems he comes from another planet!

and yeah the background music reeally weird! why didn t they choose some like in choon yang or my girl?! erfff maybe we have to bear with it

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i'm quite annoyed with jan-di as i thought she tried too hard to be younger, cuter and tougher. i think if she tones down or chill out a lil bit it'll be fine, i hope so.

but anyways, i LOVE lee min ho's acting and i think it's way better than matsumoto-jun. huhu. thumbs up for that. owh, and i like Kim Hyun-joong's acting too eventhough i feel like he seems kinda lost sometimes (or is he supposed to be like that?)

before i forget, the Bimbo Trio is hillarious especially the leader, "oh, my GOD!" (i guess that there's something wrong with her head, try to observe the movement of her head when she says the word god, lol). owh, bout the part in the restaurant, the english-rapping (or is it speaking) i dont find it funny, at all. i find it kinda foolish. at least if they wanna bring that up, do it better please.
am i being biased? naa, i feel quite disappointed with the first episode. hopefully it'll get better. (fingers crossed!!!)

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thanks for your review javabeans,,
my point on this drama
1. the music director is just blah,,,
no bashing but i don't think that the song is appropiate for some scenes
2. it's just too comical,
as you said the girl's acting is way too comical expression
3. too much useless scene
,,,
but i will watch it until i get bored
i like the taiwanese version better than this one
but since it's just on its first ep,, i wonder what will happen next ep

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I think I have finally found a new drama to watch - I was beginning to lose hope...

Thanks for the recaps - don't understand korean but with your recaps I can watch the raw and actually know what's going on...now I can wait patiently for the subs

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I can't really say anything new, but,.. I love Kim Bum, so even if Korean HYD drops from fine to bad, I'm staying :)

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omo I love you Sara. It's always so fun reading your recaps :D I was laughing out loud at your comments dear.
mwah... looking forward for the nest eppies, cause this drama looks really great.
and OOOOOMMMMMMGGGGGG... Kim Bum is soooooooo hot :P

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thanks for recapping this fast! I 've seen a few parts of Episode 1, I agree that Goo Hye-sun overacted in some parts but it didn't annoy me somehow, the Bimbo trio annoyed me a bit more haha, I did made my expectations low on this drama, and I'm glad I did, but the drama wasn't bad at all, I'll check on Episode 2 later as well, may be I'll continue to watch this

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nice recap!

soundtrack = sucks!!

lee minho = awesome! i was honestly never really a huge fan of matsujun's doumyouji, but i really like LMH's interpretation of tsukasa. he plays the rich, arrogant brat very well, but the subtle displays of his, uh, lack of intelligence is endearing in a way.

gu hyesun = overacting, omg. but i expected it. hopefully it will tone down.

kim hyunjoong = he reminds me of oguri shun as hanazawa rui but doesn't at times (does that make any sense?). i don't know, i guess we'll just have to wait and see how his character develops. i do hope he doesn't just try to be oguri shun #2 because i love oguri shun and am way too biased toward him to like it if KHJ tries to copy him, hahhaa.

kim bum = yes, his engrish was not that great, but i've certainly heard worse in kdramas, hahaha. he didn't do all that much in this episode, but i loved him because... he's bummie. haha.

the engrish, ahhhhh. ji.sun.mi's engrish didn't bother me that much, since most of it was just "oh. my. gawwwd," but ahhhhhh the "gangsta" engrish... i hope that doesn't continue in the episodes to come.

oh, and i liked the actress playing sakurako's character, just because i think she really does seem the part of a sweet but naiive, weak girl, which is how she should look at this point.

and i didn't mind the similarities between this and the jdrama since this is the first episode, and they need to do some setting up. i also think there were enough differences, which makes future episodes seem more promising.

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i think the red card in locker is there bcuz the manga says so... its like the main pointers of this manga

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I'm still looking forward to seeing it when it hits the US airwaves

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you are absolutely right the soundtrack is horrible

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isnt the secretary the one in yoon kye sang's who are you?

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i think it was a bit Meteor Garden-ish than Hana Yori Dango-ish.
kinda seeing TW's Meteor Garden in here.

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great recap you've done as if i was watching a video seeing through your eyes & words! thnx a bunch! i'll probably still wanna watch it inspite of some negatives cause of the cute actors!

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OMG!!! the boys are uber cute!!!! i looove them alll!!! go HDY korea! AZA!!!

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The K Domyouji is really good -- I am enjoying his interpretation of the character. The K Makino is pretty awful--I want to kick her. Although the K Rui is really quite hot when he smiles, all I can think of is that he is a cuter Oguri Shun. I wish K Rui were slightly more interesting.

All in all, I think this K version is a rip-off of HanaDan. Having said that, I'm still going to watch every episode.

Thanks, DB!

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A lot of ppl keep comparing it to the japanese version, but how many people have actually read the manga? There are some basic plot points and character traits which the Korean drama is adhering to such as the red card, the leader's curly hair, and even Rui/Hyun Joong's character's who is often protrayed as dressed in white...so I'm not necessarily sure if I would say it's a copy of the japanese drama so much as the manga.

That said, I agree with some of the cons and pros...and am looking forward to how LMH will continue to portray the Domyouji character. The little Korean bits (the netizen's rage, the candlelit vigil was a nice touch). I thought Hyun-Joong was very smile-y which was a little unexpected for his character--but I'm also interested in his direction. Kim Bum is cute but looks almost too young to pull off the player and the other character (don't know his name) and his gangsta rap was both cringe-worthy and hilarious. I also like the Ji-Sun-Mi trio as decent comic relief.

I think I'll keep watching and see how things turn out. I actually compare the storyline and characters to the manga more than the other versions and see how true they stay to it, or vary from it. Of course, it'll be good to see the Korean version also stay true to themselves and develop their own, unique perspective to the very popular manga.

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omg so many comments already! everyone loves dramabeans~ :D

anyway... i saw this when it came out here(korea :P) and it was pretty funny. i totally think javabeans got the good and bad points spot-on - altho it seemed to my (unexperienced, questionable) eyes that jun pyo was underacting at some points, just the ones where he yelled and stuff... otherwise he was awesome:D (i love his perm)
and yes, jandi's overacting was kinda painful to watch, especially her accent - it sounded really forced.
hehehhehe...."yo yo yo my man ! etc etc etc!" killed my ears... it was really loud too...
jandi's mom was cool! :D once i delved deep enough under the tons of makeup, i recognized the mom from goong:)

@44 !! lololl!!! i caught that too! was there another one as well? im not too sure. but it was hilarious :D

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I look forward to your recaps on this one, hope this is a good start for 2009 dramas!

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Thank you so much for your recap - always enjoy reading your thoughts, especially as I have only watched it without subs so far.

I totally agree with you on Lee Min Ho - he was brilliant, which was a relief!!
And I absolutely loved it that it shows that the boys are Super RICH! I love the sets.

I agree with #10 - I think the Jan-Di is the weakest link here. She is over acting and she absolutely cannot scream. Inoue Mao was fantastic doing that.

And yes, they've got to lose the English, it's embarrassing!!

Overall, I think it was very promising though - I'm looking forward to tonight's episode.

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i seriously want to kidnap Kim Bum!! He's so..so hot!!

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Just finished watching the first episode and I must agree with most of the comments made above:
1) the english/engrish/gangsta wannabe english: IT. MUST. STOP. I was literally cringing in horror in front of the screen.
2) ugh the music! none of the songs played during the episode caught my attention and YES! the artists singing the songs and the type of songs seemed to be ripped directly from Witch Amusement's soundtrack.
All in all though, it wasn't terrible and hopefully we can look for more depth in acting and character development as well as some decent music perhaps?
Thanks javabeans for the recaps!

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Oi, the soundtrack is awful, I'm in total agreement with some of you there. Not a fan of Gu Hye-sun's overacting, but I think she'll tone it down in the future...or at least I hope so...
All of the boys did a great job, and I like the way they introduced the Sakurako character, whatever her name here is again. They really picked the perfect looking actress for her, she looks like she popped right out of the manga! Hopefully ep2 will have a lot more scenes with the boys, we barely saw them at all in this one~

Definitely love Lee Min Ho's subtlety. He's great!

But the english...erg...I hope it goes away ;P

Overall I'd give it...an A- or maybe B+

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Thanks javabeans for the recap (so fast!)

Glad that you weren't totally sold over, because I agree fully agree about the bad points! Those were exactly the things that bothered me when watching the episode ^^;;; Really cheap about that "My Girl" and I sure hope Gu Hye-sun will stop overacting, ie. stop making those ugly expressions...

But all in all, it wasn't bad and seems very promising :) Let's see how addicted I get to this kdrama XD

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Well havent watched it yet but from wat u say ill be prepared
i want to watch it though cos the japanese HYD is my fav drama of all time I&II and the movie.and so i want to see how this one turns out but 24 episodes is long for me last drama i watched this long was Goong i hope it doesnt drag, i hate long dramas.

"Word of warning: Lower those expectations, folks. Episode 1 of Boys Before Flowers was not a home run." where do u get ur lines from lmao ^_^

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Thanks for the recap! I haven't seen it yet, but I was hoping they would change things up from the original Hanadan a bit. I'm a huge fan of the original and would have enjoyed the korean drama twist to it. I guess we will have to wait and see.
As for Gu Hey-Sun.. I was unhappy with them choosing her in the lead girl role. I saw her in Chil Woo and thought she wasn't a natural actress. Since this female role is one of my favorite characters, I'm worried about her doing it injustice. Hopefully the director will lead her to compensate for her lack of skill.

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The female lead reminds me like Ueno Juri in Nodame Cantabile (japanese drama) !!!

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I LOVE junpyo. The acting, mean. Lee minho was fantastic, I think, as a fan of the manga. In the short time that he appeared he perfectly embodied his character.

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i've watched it. everything is good for me, except the background music...
like goong, the whole story are great, except the background music which i found not good enough to bring out the right mood.

but i still like it alot. i hope i never knew the whole story so i can enjoy it to the max!! but leider, this is the 3rd version i'm going to watch.. haha.

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i actually found the first episode really enjoyable, but totally agree with everyone on the horrible engrish. it was cringe worthy beyond mention. personally, i think lee min ho totally rocked and is probably the best thing about this drama and koo hye sun was adorkably cute and brought the korean flare with her tough school girl performance. and i'm pretty sure her "over-exaggerated" acting is in line with the manga and typical kdrama female lead stuff. as for kim hyun joong's performance, i'm also pretty sure the whole stiff, cold, uncomfortable, indifference thing is part of Rui's character as, according to the manga and even khj's character description on the kbs webpage, Rui has Asperger's syndrome, a high level functioning form of autism. his interactions with other ppl, especially non F4 members, should feel slightly awkward or off if that's what the director is going for.

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Wow...Thank you so much Sarah...
I haven't watch other versions so I can't make any comparison...maybe it's better that way.
It feels familiar...sometimes it reminds me of Goong.
So far so good.

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i hope this is as entertaining as it promises! all the hype... a dismal 2008... im ready for some drama fun :D

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watched it twice..
1(w/out subs) : i think i had way too high of an expectation~~
: omg kim bums soo smexii~~he really lives the character!!
: tsk tsk tsk..hyunjoongie~was brilliant at expressionlessness..expected more of him! very cute tho!
: funny van!!!

2( with subs): waah~~its actually quite fun!
: f4--> startin to love every single one of em
:and am startin to like the girl now~~it myt take awhile but..ill try!
( shes exaggerating a bit..reminds me of nodame!!!i thinks it makes it a bit comical~)

aja!!!

,..thanks dramabeans!!

BTW

is it just me or do u think the kHYD seems to only focus of the appearance??
i dunnow~~cus i thinks its a bit too much to take in as a first episode so..all i remembered was how pretty everything were~

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I thought it was pretty good but I think everyone had REALLY high expectations. Hopefully it will edge out it's own mark in the ever growing franchise. They wil have to mix it up in their own way because it's not as if no one knows the story. Have a little faith, people! And maybe send up some prayers: )

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I'm actually really excited for this. I've been looking forward to watching a "young" drama (although, I'm unfamiliar with practically the entire cast...and what is with the weird eyes that people seem to have nowadays? esp. the girls...). I have no prior knowledge of the manga or the Japanese version of the show, so I'm starting fresh (and that's probably best). As for them basically copying the entire first episode of the Japanese version, I'm hoping that it's like you say, and it's just for the set-up. Despite the fact that I don't know the previous carnations, I just feel it'll be better for the show if they show a bit of originality. I imagine that it may be like the American version of "The Office." I actually refused to watch it after watching the first episode because I thought that they were just going to recycle the British jokes and gags. Luckily, I was wrong.

Anyway, I just wish that there were an easier way to watch these...*sigh* I don't have a PC, and I only have internet at work (where I DO have a PC). BUT, I imagine that my boss wouldn't appreciate me downloading videos during work, haha.

Thanks for capping!

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i can't wait to watch this. yeah the English in kdramas sometimes gets to me, like with Fantasy Couple & East Of Eden, they seem to find people with the worst English sounding & acting, more so with the side/extra characters, i was quite impressed with the lead characters' English, but i always had to turn up the volume to get what they said.

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the soundtrack is so awful TT...TT

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Lee Min Ho did so good.
I hope he will keep it up.
He's a cool bad guy.

*..*

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Overall, I was not impressed. Then again, I didn't think I would be. Comparisons really can't be helped and I'll always love the 1st Taiwanese version just because it was one of my first TW dramas. I tried to watch the Japanese one but it was too soon after the TW one. I thought enough time had passed so that I could watch the Korean version without reflecting on the others and I just can't and it's really distracting.

That said, except for the lead F4, the acting is hellacious. The only actor (and I say that loosely) that I'm familar with is KJH, having seen him on We Got Married. I thought he would be perfect for the role based on his general demeanor and he kinda is but as of yet it's as though the character has no flesh. Given time, I think he may get better. The other two F4 were fodder and not good fodder at that.

The worst thing though, aside from that english speaking actress, is the lead actress. In promos she "looked" the part, but under the harsh light of the camera she looks her age and she overacting to compensate for it. Mugging and facial gestures work as a cuteness factor for some actresses. It's not working for her.

I don't think I'll stop watching it though. I'll probably fast forward through much of it because knowing the storyline isn't helping me. Still, the lead guy is a hottie and I'll be interested in his character development and continued hotness.

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omg the english is hilarious in the first episode and i know it's not supposed to be funny. also, the music has got to go or at least change drastically! i laugh every time there's nonvocal music being played in a scene.
but i agree with you javabeans. the casting is awesome, although kim bum looks like a bonafide baby rather than a player.

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I don't think GHS's character is supposed to be THAT stupid. I mean, I know that's typical in Korean dramas, but Makino was SMART in the Japanese version. It's the opposite formula: GHS goes from loud and outspoken to silent while Makino went from silent to outspoken and courageous. The Korean version is going to lack character development in the female lead if she is obnoxiously loud from the start. How is she going to grow throughout the drama?

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And, oh yeah. Those school uniform skirts are too short! OMG, what the hell? I felt like a total pedo.

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I didn't like epi one that much, of course watching without subs..lol..since the subs came out today, I rewatched and it was pretty entertaining overall. Episode two is definitely a step up up from epi one. So I think as the series progress, having the cast getting to know each other and their roles more, it will be able to meet the expectations of the loyal fans, hopefully:)

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