Because I have a tendency to do everything else except study, whenever I absolutely need to study for a test, today, I decided to see the first episode of the Taiwan version of Hana Kimi. And right after it, I saw the first episode of the Japanese version again. And perhaps it could be because I saw the Japanese version first, or because of my bias towards Japanese versions of things, but after having compared the two so closely, I realized something: I’d rather see the Japanese version again and again, than see another episode of the Taiwanese version.
Yes, I’m very very biased. And just to make myself seem more evil, I’m going to be honest and tell you that I think the reason Japan makes liveaction dramas of the mangas that other countries have already dramatized (like Meteor Garden : Taiwan, Hana Yori Dango: Japan), is because the Japanese want to show the others how dramatization of a manga is properly done. You know what I mean, right? It’s like that saying; “When you want something done right, do it yourself.”
And so, after seeing the others butcher their stories, they come up with their own dramatizations, and vastly improve it.
Okay, I’m aware that the Japanese version of Hana Kimi isn’t consistent with the original story, but let’s face it, even the original materials (like manga, or novels) aren’t perfect, so there’s no harm in changing a thing or two every now and then, especially when you’re translating it into a different medium.
Here’s how I found the Taiwanese version of Hana Kimi (at least the first episode, I haven’t seen the rest (and am no longer planning to)): It was boring. I mean, when you compare all the scenes leading up to the point where the lead girl character finally meets the lead guy–Rui Xi (the girl) , talking to her friend/cousin while she cuts her hair and tells her of her plans to go to an all-boys school, and then showing up a bit late to the school and running into Quan (the guy) without knowing yet that it was him, showing up in class, and then somehow running into him again because she dropped her bag on their first encounter and he was the one who returned it to her, and then she makes this weird shocked expression… I guess her expression is more comedic compared to Horikita Maki’s in the Japanese version, and since it’s supposed to be a comedy then that should be fine, but it was just too weird/unbelievable to the point of silly.
Okay, I guess the atmospheres are completely different, so it’s really not fair to complain, but the sequences where Rui Xi meets the people in the dorm, and they all explain to her the way things work in the school are just so slow, that you get bored watching them. Whereas in the Japanese version, there’s already so much exposition in the first five minutes: You know right away that Ashiya (the girl) is in an all-boys school where girls go wild over the guys, and that they have a sister school where some annoying girls go to, and that the school doctor right away knows that there’s something fishy about the new student, and when she and Sano (the guy) finally meet, because she left her shoes in his shoe locker and he hands it to her (instead of a bag they used shoes), and she stares at him in awe, while thinking “I’ve finally met him!” well, they just made it seem more believable.
And because all these scenes happened in a very short time, with lively music in the background, it’s not boring at all, and you’re already entertained as soon as the first character appears on screen.
So maybe people will say I’m being too unfair, but I just can’t help it. I’m so in love with the Japanese version of Hana Kimi, that it kind of disappoints me that the other versions of the story isn’t as good.