Our pick this month is Hana Kimi (our Highlight of The Week is also a character from it, Nakatsu, but for our first Highlight and first Pick we wanted to pick something we all love (: ) and since there’s a few versions of it – we decided to highlight them all. I’ve seen all the live versions aside from the remake (I’m debating if I’ll make a part for it, I feel a semi-rant coming on again about it), and I’ve read the manga. Because I loved each version (excluding remake) I have a little something about each I want to write about. So to start it off with – I’ll write about my very first drama EVER – the 2OO7 Japanese version of Hana-Kimi 😀
As I’ve stated quite a few times already – it was the drama that started it all for me. I originally read and loved the manga (which I will write about in Part 3), but even though there were many parts about this drama that strayed from the original storyline – it was still something special, something I watch over and over again (:
Synopsis: The drama is based on the popular comic of the same name by Nakajo Hisaya. Horikita plays the protagonist Ashiya Mizuki, a Japanese girl in the United States who one day sees the young athlete Sano Izumi compete in high jumping on television. She begins to idolize him. Sano gets injured one day in America while trying to help Mizuki escape from some gangsters. He stops high jumping ever since. Mizuki blames herself for the incident and decides to go to Japan and help Sano find his love for high jumping. However, Izumi goes to an all-boys school, so Mizuki disguises herself as a boy in order to meet with him again. –Wikipedia
So what is it about this drama that’s held my interest for so long? Let me explain:
I was new to the drama world when I watched this drama – and never before had I seen something so random but hilarious and well told before! I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with the drama and the characters – especially Nakatsu (Read my “1O Things I Love About Nakatsu Shuichi“). This story was very original for me at the time, and it still is. What I want to talk about in this post are the things I loved and the things that I didn’t like as much, but got over it.
The Things I Loved:
-The randomness. This drama had me laughing so hard over the random things and events that just seemed to happen. They didn’t have to make sense, it just worked out in a way that made you laugh out loud – like how everyone just comes talking out of nowhere and all at once. Usually right before or after a scene that’s on the more dramatic side which is nice 😀
-The characters. Each one of them add to the specialness of Hana-Kimi. Plus they picked a great cast to play them! Horikita Maki made a good Ashiya Mizuki. She definitely does look like a girl though, haha, I still never understood how nobody thought she was a girl earlier, but it’s a drama and the things that happen in it make me brush it off :p Oguri Shun as Sano Izumi….I’ll post in the next section, not that his acting was bad. And of course I LOVED Ikuta Toma as Nakatsu Shuichi 😀 Also Mizushima Hiro looked exactly like Nanba senpai from the manga – they couldn’t of gotten a better person to play him (:
-The music! “Ikenai Taiyou” by Orange Range is a nice jrock song that kicks the drama off. It has a sort of fun, happy, summery type feel to it. I looked up the lyrics and they do fit with the drama (: [English lyrics]
The ending song is “Peach” by Ai Otsuka. The lyrics also go with the drama [English lyrics]
I would also post a video from Youtube but every video has been flagged for audio content. It’s not my favorite song in the drama, but it’s not bad. It’s pretty upbeat and also catchy.
One piece that I definitely loved were the instrumentals! Especially “Ikemen Boogie” and “Ikemen Boogie Nights”!
The soundtrack is still one of my alltime favorites! I loved it all!
Things I Didn’t Like As Much:
-It was really off from the manga. There were scenes that were similar, but they changed many things in it. Such as how Sano finds out that Mizuki is a girl, why she went to Japan. Also there was no Director in the manga, and Akiha was actually a guy not a girl (the photographer that hangs around Umeda). Maybe they thought it’d be too awkward, I dunno – but they had Toma doing his “Homo Janai” dance so I don’t know how it would’ve been too awkward haha.
Hibari also was not a main character, more like a side character that showed up a few times. Also – Hibari 4 did not exist. And Sano’s character…I mentioned above that I was going to write about it. His character was just…darker and emotional, more rude, too, than the original Sano. It’s true that him and Mizuki didn’t get off to a good start, but it also didn’t start off the way it did in the drama. Sano opens up more and he’s funner in the manga. It’s one thing I will admit I was disappointed in, because even though Nakatsu is my favorite character (always was and always will be) I loved the Sano in the manga. And this leads into…
-Some parts were done to be more dramatic, such as when her brother came to take her back to America (and also – her parents never visited). While Mizuki is 1OO% Japanese her brother is half American, but you wouldn’t know that by the drama. Also he wasn’t as fun in the drama. I felt they added unnecessary scenes when they could’ve added other scenes that were actually in the manga. Ohh and when Julia came to Japan she did it on a study abroad trip – her goal wasn’t forcing Mizuki to go back to America like she was in the Special episode. And her character is American who learned her Japanese phrases from watching Yakuza movies (haha), but the character you see in the Special episode was a Japanese girl with a blonde wig (at least I think it was a wig). And her Japanese was of course, good.
It’s little things in some parts, bigger things in others. I’m a little OCD when it comes to accuracy and I’m not going to say I wasn’t semi disappointed when I watched it. I know that new things have to be added to keep the it original and separate from the original version, but there also should be a lot of similarities as well. YET – there were soooo many good things about this drama that I got over it! There were so many parts that had me laughing, moments that I just found myself wrapped up in the story, I really really felt for Nakatsu – I wanted him to find someone for himself in the worst way! Sano was a bit of a disappointment, but after his character starts to be more sociable and lightens up it didn’t bother me as much. And they do look nice together!
Overall, it’s still one of my all time favorite dramas – it has it’s flaws and it’s not perfect, but there’s definitely many reasons to watch it – and come back again and again to rewatch it!! (:
Read my Part 2 – Hana Kimi [Taiwan]
We have some lovely galleries: Ikuta Toma