- Title: 花より男子
- Title (romaji): Hana Yori Dango
- Also known as: Boys Before Flowers / Boys Over Flowers
- Genre: Romance
- Broadcast network: TBS
- Episodes: 9
- Inoue Mao as Makino Tsukushi
- Matsumoto Jun as Domyoji Tsukasa
- Oguri Shun as Hanazawa Rui
- Matsuda Shota as Nishikado Sojiro
Dramaworld rating: 5/5
Hana Yori Dango, the Japanese version of the manga upon which Meteor Garden is based, is everything that is adorable and delightful. Makino Tsukushi is the only poor girl at a an upper-class high school full of rich kids and dominated by four of the wealthiest, a group of four guys known as the F4, or Flower 4. All that Makino wants to do is escape the attention of her shallow classmates and stay under the F4’s radar until graduating, but when the F4 go after a friend of hers, she can’t take it any more, and fate steps in to throw she and the leader of the F4, Domyoji, together.
The first adaptation of this manga that I saw was the Taiwanese version, Meteor Garden. Here’s what I think about the Taiwanese casting versus the Japanese: as far as the F4 go, the Taiwanese boys fit the physical profile much better; they’re all tall, buff, physically impressive men, particularly Jerry Yan, whose heavy features fit the character of Domyoji/Daoming Si very well. Unfortunately, Jerry Yan can’t act. While MatsuJun, who plays the Japanese Domyoji/Daoming Si, brings a depth of sensitivity and nuance to the character that Jerry Yan can’t even touch, but physically looks like a willow, and doesn’t possess the necessary sheer brutal force and charisma that the F4 leader should.