[Twdrama] Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu: Taiwan’s Hana Kimi

June 27, 2008 at 11:37 pm Leave a comment

Starring:
Ella as Lu Rui Xi
Wu Chun as Zuo Yi Quan
Jiro Wang as Jin Xiu Yi
Tang Zhi Ping as Mei Tian
Tang Yu Zhe as Liang Si Nan
Xie He Xian as Da Shu
Xie Zheng Hao as Guan Ri Hui
Chen Wen Xiang as Jiang Ye Shen
Yang Hao Wei as Li Cheng Yang
Ethan Ruan as Shen Le
Nissa as Julia
Kao Chi Hung as Jiu Duan
Duncan as Yuan Qiu Ye

Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu is the Taiwanese drama adaptation of the popular manga Hanazakari no Kimitachi e. It aired in late 2006 and early 2007 and was a great success, averaging ratings of 3.89 (out of 10). Pretty much an idol drama, it starred Ella of S.H.E fame and Wu Chun and Jiro Wang from Fahrenheit, Taiwan’s hottest boy band after the Taiwanese F4 (now known as JVKV). Generally, Taiwanese dramas are cheesy with exaggerated characters and plotlines. Hua Yang is no exception. Taking the hit Japanese manga and transforming it into a huge success, Hua Yang was largely successful due to its all-star idol cast. But how did these idols match up in this adaptation?

The majority of Taiwanese adaptations of manga, if not all, follow the original plotline very closely. Of course, this makes for a true manga-come-to-life live action, unlike most Japanese drama adaptations. Also, since there’s no getting around comparisons to the Japanese version, I won’t hold back, okay? I’ll just call the Taiwanese version Hua Yang and the Japanese version Hana Kimi.

Hua Yang was surprisingly mature compared to Hana Kimi. There are a lot of references to sex and plenty of drinking abound, whereas in Hana Kimi nothing of the sort popped up at all. Even the Sano getting drunk wasn’t drinking but vegetables pickled in alcohol. In Hua Yang, don’t be surprised when you see the college guys sitting around and guzzling beer.

The appearance of Julia was nice and very welcome. The interaction between Ella and Nissa was really charming, as well as the random English phrases that popped into their conversations. It really made it feel as if the two were from the States, instead of both just speaking only Chinese. I was sad to see that Julia wasn’t present in Hana Kimi, but it seems like the upcoming Hana Kimi SP has cast Minami as Julia, so it’ll be interesting to see her take on the character and how the writers portray her.

Hua Yang’s ending, though, is a complete cop out. I mean, it’s not a bad ending, but it ignores the building tension throughout the series and seems as if a sequel is due, but it has already been announced that there will be no sequel. I just get the feeling that the writers didn’t want to deal with it and left it open for a sequel because they were lazy or something. Also, the series focuses heavily on Rui Xi and Quan’s relationship and not too much on high jump. In the end, the writers didn’t really resolve that either. This really was a series that deserved one or two more episodes to wrap up the story and give it a proper ending.

Now, onto the characters. Ella as Rui Xi was definitely very endearing, but there is one thing that bothered me throughout the entire series. Ella is so boyish looking that, unlike Maki, I cannot understand why other characters could mistaken her for a girl. That’s no real fault of Ella, though, and overall I did enjoy her performance. Wu Chun as Quan was better written in this adaptation than the Japanese version. He and Ella interacted really well together, and it was obvious that they were very close friends (unlike in the Japanese version, which I think I have complained about enough already, I still love you though Oguri Shun!). Jiro Wang as Xiu Yi was over the top and crazy but not endearing the way Toma was. Though it was entertaining sometimes, it was just as annoying, if not more, at other points. I don’t think there will ever be a better Nakatsu than Toma.

Japan is a lot better at fleshing out side stories for other characters, but I’m afraid the same is not true for Taiwan. In Taiwanese dramas, there really is only the main storyline; there are no sub plots. Although this does make for an exciting main story, but for someone like me who likes hearing about smaller characters too, it’s can get pretty annoying. Like Yi Hui and Ye Shen (Noe and Sekime), are they like connected at the hip or something, because they don’t ever appear alone. Even Mei Tian (Umeda in the Japanese version) didn’t get the attention he deserved, though he appeared plenty of times. And Rio made only one very short appearance. Although Nan was not bad, I’m just in love with Mizushima Hiro’s Nanba. Seems like Nan here looked more like a preppy prick with his sweater over the shoulders rather than a charismatic playboy.

I could go on and on and talk about all the little details, but I think you get the point. Don’t get me wrong, though, I really enjoyed this adaptation. It was very funny and Ella made this character really loveable. Though it doesn’t really utilize all the special effects as the Japanese version, it doesn’t really need it. I laughed out loud at a lot and would definitely recommend this version, especially to Hana Kimi, manga and drama, fans.

So which adaptation is better? I’m not sure which one I like better. I liked the slickness of the Japanese version as well as Ikuta Toma’s Nakatsu, as well as many other characters, but Hua Yang had the better plot adaptation and Wu Chun’s Quan was written eons better than Oguri Shun’s Sano. All I have to say is that if you need an answer to this question – watch it yourself! Everyone has different thoughts and it’s hard to compare the two because Taiwan and Japan have two very distinct style of drama production. If I watched parts of each without any sound or without recognizing any actors, I would still be able to pin point which is a Taiwanese drama and which is a Japanese drama, that is how different they really are.

Buy the boxset: Taiwan Version

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