Note: All pictures featured in this post were sourced from the Internet. I do not own any of these pictures.
I recently concluded my Asianovela reminiscing moments and found myself still thinking about Meteor Garden and how much of a hit it was years ago when it was shown on local TV. Not surprisingly, I also pondered over Boys Over Flowers, the Korean version of the Taiwanese hit. So as a result, I came up with this blog series to list down comparisons, likes and don’t likes between Meteor Garden (MG) and Boys over flowers (BOF.) To set expectations, while the story originated from a Japanese manga, I will not include the Japanese version in this show as I have not watched it.
But first, a background: MG/BOF revolves around a group of four friends, sons of the richest families in the country they reside in (Taiwan/South Korea) and the one girl (whose family’s bank account is nowhere near the guys’ family accounts) who basically shakes up this clique due to her involvement with the group’s leader. Now these guys are pretty much princes in their own right, spoiled (or so it seems) heirs to extremely wealthy enterprises. They attend this highly prestigious school, which is of course supported by their respective families, and reign supreme over it. Then one day, they messed with the wrong girl and things get going.
Who are the boys?
Dao Ming Si vs. Gu Jun Pyo
Jerry Yan played Dao Ming Si while Lee Min Ho played Gu Jun Pyo. Both were catapulted to stardom because of their respective shows. Both look similar to each other (check the high noses) even if Jerry Yan was already in his mid-twenties when he did the show and Lee Min Ho was just below twenty years old. So who takes the cake?
I’d have to say – Jerry Yan.
Jerry’s portrayal of Dao Ming Si was so funny and sweet (even when he was being a jerk) and it really made you feel that he was this lonely guy who was discovering that there was more to himself than just being an enterprise heir. Granted that both shows presented this male lead in good way, Jerry’s facial expression and body language (especially when he’s embracing Shan Cai!) was visceral and conveyed his message when his words would not.
Min Ho did a good job too, presenting a rich guy who’s finally growing up. It’s just that sometimes I can’t help but feel that Jun Pyo was being childish (instead of child-like) and he was just plain spoiled. As if there was no underlying reason to his attitude. But not to worry, I still love you, Lee Min Ho!
Hua Zi Lei vs. Yoon Ji Hoo
Vic Chou played Hua Zi Lei while Kim Hyun Joong played Yoon Ji Hoo. Once again, another case of similar looks (hair this time) and both played the role of the gentle member of F4 with lots of silence and blank stares. But who seemed more human this time around?
My vote goes to – Kim Hyun Joong
Hyun Joong is actually a musician, member of a boyband SS501 and skilled in playing instruments such as the guitar and piano which helped him in his role as the musically inclined Ji Hoo. Between the two, he played the role with a lot more emotion and even with the gentle demeanor you get the feeling that this is one guy you do not want to cross. The fact that Hyun Joong is way cuter and has lot more meat to his bones than Vic is no never mind to me (swoon…!)
Vic’s Lei is more prone to half smiles and even more blank stares (probably because Lei was supposed to be autistic as a child.) I hoped that he wouldn’t have a slouched posture which in turn gave him rounded shoulders. This sometimes made his take on the “meek look” to the “weak look.” There were some awkward moments where his movements or the way he walked was deliberately slow, all in line with the “gentle” persona.
I’ve taken care of the two major male characters, let me go the other two “minor” male characters that make up the rest of F4. While they both didn’t have as much airtime as Asi/Jun Pyo and Lei/Ji Hoo (who are embroiled in a love triangle), they are not as minor as other minor characters go. Both act as spine and glue for the F4 group, always stepping in when there’s trouble, supporting their friends and in charge of party planning. Both play Casanovas (yeah, who wouldn’t go for these guys?!) but are still grounded and knows when to step up or step down.
Xi Men vs. So Yi Jung
Ken Chu played Xi Men while Kim Bum played So Yi Jung. Their role of Xi Men/Yi Jung pretty much has geek sexy written all over it, both with sharp minds (Xi Men) and artistic talent (Yi Jung) all wrapped up in the boy-next-door look. And both guys certainly looked the part, but who delivered?
Boy, this is a tough one – I’d have to say, it’s a draw.
Ken’s Xi Men is smart, grounded and seemingly unafraid to say his mind. He challenges Asi, supports any of his friends and doesn’t like it if girls get bullied. The glasses he dons just serves to amp up the appeal and his longish hair looks soft to touch.
Bum’s Yi Jung is irresistible when he smiles, wears his pottery outfit and gets into fights with his dad. The Korean show gave him more airtime than the Taiwanese version did, with him actually falling in love and reconciling with his equally playboy father.
Mei Zuo vs. Song Woo Bin
Vanness Wu played Mei Zuo while Kim Joon played Song Woo Bin. Both roles have the party-all-day-and-all-night vibe, with both Mei Zuo/Woo Bin equally fond of good food, good drink and bad girls. It’s a pity that in both versions, these two come across as an insert, something to fill in the last space in the F4 group. The question is, who made the most of their airtime?
For those who know me, my answer would be a no brainer – Vanness Wu
Vanness’ Mei Zuo speaks English and looks like he spends a good deal of time in front of the mirror or lifting weights in the gym. His hair flipping was making me insane but then again when you have hair like his, why not flip it? I liked that he and Xi Men worked as a unit when Asi and Lei were having a row over Shan Cai and you could really see that this was a guy who liked action. As a unit, Xi Men was the brains, Mei Zuo as the brawn. Not saying he was dumb, but a group needed working arms and legs, and it was him.
Joon’s Woo Bin portrayal is quite similar, not sure if the Korean version screwed him over, but it seemed like he figured mostly in fight scenes (due to mafia background) and bar scenes. Unlike Mei Zuo, he seemed like the big brother of the group and really did not have any distinctive characteristic about him. Like I said, I think the Korean version screwed this character up.
So there you have it, my analysis and votes for who fared better in the F4 group. My next post will be about the girls, which should prove to be more interesting. Who was tougher, Shan Cai or Geum Jan Di? Who was more terrible, Asi’s Mama Dao Ming Feng or Jun Pyo’s Omma Kang Hee Soo?
I can’t wait to write that!