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Hana Yori Dango/Hana Yori Dango 2 Ep1-9/1-11 (complete) March 25, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in Drama, Japan, Manga, TV.
Tags: , ,


In short: From aww to agh!


Thoughts: Let me start by admitting this is a terrible, terrible series. The acting is bad, the scripts dreadful, the presentation is poor and the actresses aren’t even that attractive. To top it all off they insist on using the same insert song in every episode. That’s not to say I don’t like Ai Otsuka’s Planetarium (season one) or Utada Hikaru’s Flavor of Life (season two). But even the best song can be bludgeoned to death if used repeatedly each week – although I guess they don’t have an ED credits as such, so maybe this passes.

Anyway, Hana Yori Dango rather illustrates the frustration and embarassment I have as a JDorama fan. It’s bloody awful, but there’s something about it that keeps me watching – in this case, my soft spot for romantic comedies and the fact that it is based on a manga.

I actually rather enjoyed the first series. It started with purpose: the tale of a lower-class girl at an exclusive academy, standing up to the bullies and finding unlikely friendship (and love) with the spoilt leader group F4. After a number of fantastic, but just about believable twists and turns, the series ended with a bittersweet cliffhanger – a confession of love, but with the hero and heroine apart. And yes, I cried. It’s JDorama, you’re supposed to.

Now, like any fan I want to see the complete happy ending. But not for the price of 11 episodes of complete trash. Consider Exhibit B: Hana Yori Dango 2: Hana Yori Dango Returns (even the title lacks imagination…). Two episodes longer than the first season and with a two hour opening ep to boot, and all for the purpose of prolonging the agony as long as possible. It’s like watching a beloved pet die a slow and painful death. Or in a slightly less graphic metaphor, the ultimate demonstration of a show jumping the shark – in slow motion.

Now, it’s not as if the first series didn’t have some random plot twists – this is Japanese television based on manga! The end of season one – with the Miss Teen Japan pagent was perhaps the most unexpected bit of plot development I have ever seen. But this was nearly outdone by some of the season two stuff, or at least it would have been if they’d actually followed up any of it. Every episode ends with a cliffhanger, but by season two they would quietly resolve this within the first ten minutes and then shoot off on some other random plotline. When it all boils down to the same thing – the classic will-they-won’t-they-can-they – do we really need so many ultra-dramatic moments? Or indeed so many annoying characters?

Having said that, the very end was reasonably satisfactory. Tsukasa’s marriage proposal was very sweet and it wrapped the whole thing up quite nicely. But I can’t help but wish they had done this with a one-off special and not milked the cash-cow. Fat chance of that happening though, I know.

As Nodame Cantabile, manga-based dorama can work out rather well. But after it’s first run, Hana Yori Dango 2 stretched the original premise too far, without any real thought as to how the series would pan out. It sure dilutes whatever good feeling the series had initially.

But I admit, I did look forward to Hana Yori Dango every week. And I would heartily recommend the first series as a bit of very light entertainment. I just hate to see nice things ruined!


1. Chelsea - April 5, 2007

I don’t think you’re a good judge of anything. It’s a good series. I like it. Neither the acting nor the scripts are bad. Maybe you’re just an idiot.

2. beatrice - April 6, 2007

….you’re idea of what’s good has got to be completely wrong . i loved that show! i reckon it was well played and i was quite happy with the second series!

3. frankie - April 11, 2007

damn how can you be so wrong?!
HYD2 is bad?! I hardly believe anyone could say things such “…the presentation is poor and the actresses aren’t even that attractive. To top it all off they insist on using the same insert song in every episode.”

Anyone is free to say whatever he wants but this sounds something like written by an irritated kid… maybe you wanted to marry Makino and you are angry that she choosed Tsukasa?!

4. deane2005 - May 18, 2007

I do love this series no matter how you say that it is the worst you’ve ever watch . I think your comments are really drastic but this is one of the series that I love to watch. Actually I watch it more than 4 times already. The guys are not that handsome like F4 of Taiwan but the girl seems ok and she is really pretty when she smiles. The more you watch her the more she becomes prettier. I do like it more than meteor garden 2 of taiwan .

5. ayasawada - May 24, 2007

Wow, angry HYD fans.

Just to clarify, I do not think Hana Yori Dango is the worst thing I’ve ever watched. My comments were written tongue-in cheek.
To quote:

“I would heartily recommend the first series as a bit of very light entertainment.”

I really liked the first series, but was disappointed by the second. Yes, I do think the technical quality of series wasn’t great – but this is JDorama. JDorama is always like that! I still love it.

6. inoue_ren - June 1, 2007

how come you don’t like the acts of the cast?! for me it’s fine and much better than the meteor garden.. and i like to react on this..

“this is a terrible, terrible series”

!! it’s not a terrible series!.everybody loves it!! you’re not good in judging!.. are u stupid?!.. haiz!

7. Harsharan Kaur - July 6, 2007

can someone please tell me the website where i can watch the second season to hana yori dango

8. ayasawada - July 7, 2007

SARS fansubs has all the eps for dl

9. jess - August 14, 2007

im inclined to agree with you about the plot/acting etc. although i dont think the acting was terrible. anyhoo most of it is no doubt ludicrous and from my experience far from the normal experience of a japanese teenager…specially seeing as girls and boys seem to struggle to talk to each properly until about the age of 17 lol. but i am obsessed although i havent seen the second series yet. i dont no…maybe because japanese ppl hav so much trouble expressing htemselves that wen it comes to a drama they think it has to be way out there…no such thing as a happy medium. anyway nice review none the less

10. mini_chan - August 29, 2007

Quite good. Love it !!!

11. Yamada Taro Monogatari Eps 1-10 (complete) « Canned Memory - October 7, 2007

[…] them even in a ridiculous fantasy situation. And the start of the last episode reminded me a bit of Hana Yori Dango 2’s penchant for ending on a cliffhanger, then swiftly resolving it in the first few minutes of […]

12. Aizy kay Manoguid - October 22, 2007

hay! Hana Yori Dango (^-^) ang ganda nito noh promise, nakakaadik ang bawat series nito. basta this is my favorite tv show in GMA. I LOVE this so much.

13. Alicia - October 30, 2007

can some one pleas tell me whwere i can find the first season finale?
the site i was using is only giving me 5 minute previews now, im so addicting and its killing me not to noe how its gonna end. im driving myself crazyy trying to find it. Helppppp!

14. ayasawada - November 1, 2007

I think SARS still has the episode for BT download.

The final bit of the first season finale is soooo sweet!

15. eden licos - February 19, 2008

U R SO WRONG MY DEAR…! hana yori dango is GREAT..!! AND NOT A BAD SERIES.. even though im not always watching it bec . of the conflict in my schedule,but i love hana yori dango..!!

>dis is my account if u want me to debate..hehe..
i am studying in DMMMSU NLUC, located in sapilang,bacnotan,la union.
my nasl? uhm, eden,19, female, la union.

SOMEONE OUT der, f u want me to be my frend, just ad me.. tnx..
HANA YORI DANGO 4-ever!!!! weeeee,,,,…!!!!

16. maena loves fuji - February 21, 2008

So you’re saying that Hana Yori Dango was a good thing which was ruined by the actors and scripts and everything? Really? Ha…ha…ha, one thing– stop watching it! You kept on saying that the series was a trash and a dumb and everything but in the end, you cried because it was a JDorama and the romantic comedy scenes were driving you to watch it. What the hell do you want to tell? Insult but take it back. Stop playing safe if you want to judge something and you should not consider the WONDERFUL things in it while you’re insulting it! You’re making the fans MAD–very much–.

The second series was damn so romantic though some problems stuck them. And goodness, the actresses were not so ATTRACTIVE? Oh my GOSH… do you know what ‘attractive’ means? Maybe you need a pair of eyeglasses dude.

I think I should stop typing in here because I think I’ve already wrote the things I need to prove to you that HYD2 Rocks! Watch again…and learn how to appreciate WONDERFUL things.

17. Satomi Ishida - March 8, 2009

lol Wow…I agree wholeheartedly with everyone who wrote a comment. I think the series was quite well done. It only got better in season 2. The way they managed to squish a lot of what happens in the manga into the series, especially when they chopped it up and mixed it up and it still managed to flow, was wonderfully done. Aside from the Densha Otoko (Train Man) drama, this has to be one of the best Japanese dramas I’ve seen.

The fact that you got pulled in to keep watching is proof of how good it was. All you did with your comments was make a lot of fans angry. Luckily they watched and loved it anyway so they don’t care what a negative reviewer would say. And it’s popular so those are your two cents but no one wants them.

Have a good day =)

18. Jeanae - April 22, 2009

I don’t really understand why there is so much anger being shot at you for having an opinion, but oh well. I mostly agree; season 2 was pretty much beating a dead horse. We get it, Makino and Tsukaksa are ~meant to be. His mother being bitchy gets really old really fast. And amnesia? Really?

Season 1 was the second J-drama I ever watched and I loved it. It annoyed me that Makino and Tsukasa never had any really romantic scenes (maybe American television and its common makeout sessions have ruined me for Japanese shows) but overall, it was good. Then season 2 came around and it was just…too much nothing. It went on and on and on and had little substance. The proposal ending was necessary, but the rest…no. I could have settled for a special. And don’t even make me get started on the (somewhat enjoyable, I must admit) mess that was HYD Final.

Once again, sorry for the ridiculous anger from everyone else. I’m late, but I happened to stumble upon this post while searching for Hana Yori Dango scripts and felt the need to add my opinion.

Also, the main thing I disagree with what you said about the actresses not being attractive. Inoue Mao is one of the most gorgeous women I have seen! But I think the Korean Boys Over Flowers cast was much more attractive as a whole. But hey, opinions, we all have them. It happens.

ayasawada - April 23, 2009

Thanks Jeanae ^^

I am coming round to Inoue Mao. True, not all the cast were my cup of tea, but I thought she was a good Tsukushi.

Haven’t seen HYD final yet. I’ve got it, but was a bit trepidatious. Might watch it this weekend. As I’ve tried to stress in my posts, even though I obviously have my criticisms, I still enjoyed a lot of the series (esp. the first one), so I would like to see the end.

I was thinking of trying the Korean version too. Heard some good things about it. You’ve convinced me to give it a go!

19. The lazy round up post « Canned Memory - December 29, 2009

[…] Yori Dango Final: The Director’s Cut: I’m almost afraid to talk about this lest I get flamed again. Honestly, if I hated the show so much, would I have subjected myself to the near 3 hour version of […]

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