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Hanazakari no Kimitachi e - (Ikemen Paradise)



The story itself isn't all that original. In fact, it's something that has been done many times over. However, that doesn't really spoil anything. The main charms of this drama are the characters. Whether it's the main characters, supporting characters, or even the guest characters, I found myself caring about every single one of them. In comparison to the Taiwanese version, they focused a LOT more on the supporting characters and yet never seemed like they neglected the leads and the story was very cohesive and together the entire time. They did very well with balancing the subplots with the main plot. I also loved how Hibari, the closest the show had for an "antagonist", was not a traditional villain. Excellent job to the writers for leaving out that stereotype.

The casting was simply outstanding. I honestly have no complaints. While Oguri Shun and Horikita Maki certainly did justice to their characters, out of the main 3 Ikuta Toma was definitely the stand-out. While in the Taiwanese version Nakatsu/Xiu Yi was a goofball and had very little "meat" to her character, the Nakatsu of this version made you laugh and cry, embrace him and strangle him. I felt his pain and wanted so badly for him to find happiness, even if it wasn't with Mizuki. His performance was simply amazing. I also have to give shout-outs to Iwasa Mayuko and Kyo Nobuo. They were both highly entertaining as Hibari and Himejima, a true joy to watch. This goes for practically the entire rest of the cast as well.

One of the things I think J-Dramas is the best at is fitting the music into the show. Not only the theme songs were excellent, but also the insert songs. The songs painted the mood of every scene so perfectly. I wasted no time with getting my hands on the OST.

Overall, the drama was fantastic and the only reason it didn't get a 10 was due to a slight lack of originality plot-wise as well as one thing I haven't mentioned: the chemistry between the two main characters. It was there, but not as strong as I hoped. That is probably the only thing the Taiwanese version did better.

img Jess
2021-09-17 06:00:38
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