Mo Money, Mo Problems: Boys Over Flowers

Shoujo love: if you think you know this story,

you may yet be surprised.

Happy new year, otakus! In February I’ll have been blogging about anime for an entire year, which I can hardly believe. I’m working on a few fun changes for Otaku Haiku, and of course there’s the awesome anniversary special to look forward to, but for today let’s start the new year off right with my review of a most excellent shoujo series: Boys Over Flowers.

JanDi encounters the F4 as well as the disdain of the rich, which smells like aftershave and dollar bills.

I wrote about the setting in detail in my First Impressions post, so I’ll just sum it up briefly here: Geum JanDi is cute, spunky, and comes from a very kooky, but very poor, family of dry cleaners. By being a good Samaritan she is given a full scholarship to ShinHwa, a very ritzy, private school for the super-rich. Once there she encounters the F4, a group of four of the wealthiest and cutest guys around. They can also be a**holes. Everyone at ShinHwa either admires them or fears them too much to do anything about their evil ways, but not JanDi. Soon she begins having encounters with the group, and the leader, Goo JunPyo, gets more and more upset about this poor upstart until he gets it into his head that she must have a crush on him. After that turning point (which is very early on in the show) he begins wooing her in his blunt and aggressive way. The problems arise one after another, from JanDi’s initial hatred of JunPyo to jealous schoolmates to the big bad of the entire series, JunPyo’s evil mother, who hates the hold that JanDi has on her son.

Sorry my friends had you beaten up. They can be dicks. How about ice cream and a living statue to make up for it?

Yet for every bad thing that comes JanDi’s way, something equally good works in her favor: she has a low-key job at a porridge shop with her best friend, and thanks to her earnest and caring nature she gains powerful friends such as a famous model, JunPyo’s sister, and the rest of F4. Most notable on her friend roster is JiHoo, the quiet, musical member of F4. He starts out viewing her with detached fascination, but soon their friendship grows to be the strongest on the show. Perhaps there’s even more than friendship on their minds… but what about Goo JunPyo, who began courting JanDi in earnest and seems to have true feelings for her? And how will the rest of F4 react? And don’t forget JunPyo’s evil mother, who seems intent on destroying JanDi…

Even JanDi's bestie gets a side story with a member of F4! This show has layers, man!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in this shoujo Kdrama. There’s romance in spades, as well as heart-wrenching drama and action. Sometimes it gets to be too much, and the situations become melodramatic to the point of being laughable, but even so I never stopped enjoying this immersive series for a second. The episodes seemed long at first, but the more that I watched, the more surprised I would be when the closing credits flashed onscreen. The white subtitles bothered me less as well because I was so eager to continue the story and find out what happens next. Speaking of which, the show is excellent about ending on cliffhangers, constantly drawing you back for more and more. There were many sleepless nights as I drank caffeine so that I could watch “just one more episode!” However, the series as a whole came to a definite conclusion, which is an aspect that I enjoy and find refreshing (especially after watching so many open-ended anime series).

Every smile on this show means that a heartache is just around the next corner...

The cast is adorable. JanDi is genuine and sweet, and though she makes some questionable decisions (especially based on her own sense of pride) she was never stupid, which made her identifiable and the sort of girl you’d want to be friends with in real life. The boys of F4 are indeed super cute, and each plays his part perfectly, especially Minho Lee as the blustering and prideful, but at times sweetly innocent Goo JunPyo. The story was originally a Japanese manga called Hana Yori Dango, and it’s currently the best-selling shoujo manga of all time. As such, it was turned into an anime as well as a live-action television drama in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. While the Kdrama is the only one that I’ve seen thus far, I can’t imagine loving another version as much as this one. Everything from the setting to the characters came to life beautifully and drew me in completely. If you love shoujo like I do, you really can’t afford to miss Boys Over Flowers in any form, but especially the excellent and enthralling Kdrama.

Rating: ★★★★★ There may be better Kdramas out there, but I’ve yet to find one as addicting and indulgent in romantic fantasy as this one.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. llj
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 20:06:42

    The anime Boys over Flowers is quite good, actually. I have not seen this Korean version, but I would imagine that the end would be closer to the manga, though. The anime Boys over Flowers, you see, had to make up its own ending due to it finishing before the manga. I think it’s pretty OK for an alternate ending, though some purists have complained about it.

    Reply

    • Miss Pink
      Jan 06, 2012 @ 11:08:25

      I loved this one so much that I’d jump at the chance to check out any and all other versions, especially the animated one, even if it deviates from the manga. I think it would be interesting to see an alternate ending! Though I’ve looked at pictures, and no other cast, animated or no, is as cute as the Korean cast, imho. 😉

      Reply

  2. Super Bloomers
    Mar 11, 2012 @ 20:22:57

    I love Kdrama like no other, but I just can’t get into this series. I tried reading the manga first, but just could’t get into it. I then tried the Kdrama because a friend said it was good and all the guys were super cute. Yet, I just didn’t like it. I loved how strong the female lead is, but I just couldn’t get past my own desire to punch all of the guys in the face. ^_^”

    Reply

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