-- The HYD Japanese Live Action TV Drama -----------------------

HYD J-Drama! After so many years of fan speculation about whether the official people would ever make a Japanese live action TV drama out of HYD or not...it's finally happened! There is now also a Hana Yori Dango J-Drama. :D The drama aired in Japan on October 21, 2005 and finished on December 16, 2005.

There are a total of 9 episodes (yep, ONLY NINE) running for about 46 minutes each, with the final episode a bit longer at an hour long. The series was fansubbed by SARS, and as far as the current status goes- I think this would be the only way to watch it with English subs. Region 2 DVDs have been released, though still without English subs. More info about the DVDs are touched upon further below, at the very bottom.

There's also an official website that you can visit. It's all in Japanese, but you can still enjoy the galleries and gauge the sections for some miscellaneous info. :D


Cast Information:

For those of you who have watched the Japanese live action drama of GOKUSEN, you will probably recognize Matsumoto Jun and Oguri Shun who plays Doumyouji Tsukasa and Hanazawa Rui in HYD. I admit I was a bit iffy about them at first, but Jun definitely bought me over with his performance- I absolutely love his facial expressions! Matsumoto Jun is also a member of ARASHI, the music group akin to a boy band. In fact, the drama's opening theme song is also by them, called WISH. Last but not least, those of you who know Matsushima Nanako (very popular) will be happy to know that she actually plays Doumyouji Tsubaki!

Below, I've included a snapshot of all the major characters in the drama along with the actors' names and the roles they play. :)

Makino Tsukushi
Makino Tsukushi
{ Inoue Mao }
Doumyouji Tsukasa
Doumyouji Tsukasa
{ Matsumoto Jun }
Hanazawa Rui
Hanazawa Rui
{ Oguri Shun }
Mimasaka Akira
Mimasaka Akira
{ Abe Tsuyoshi }
Nishikado Soujirou
Nishikado Soujirou
{ Matsuda Shota }
Matsuoka Yuki
Matsuoka Yuki
{ Nishihara Aki }
Toudou Shizuka
Toudou Shizuka
{ Sada Mayumi }
Doumyouji Tsubaki
Doumyouji Tsubaki
{ Matsushima Nanako }
Doumyouji Kaede
Doumyouji Kaede
{ Kaga Mariko }
Sanjou Sakurako
Sanjou Sakurako
{ Sato Megumi }
Asai & Co.
And of course
The Infamous Asai & Co.
Asai & Co.
{ Seto Saki }
{ Fukada Aki }
{ Matsuoka Emiko }

Other characters and their respective actors are:

Makino Chieko (Mama) - Ishino Mako
Makino Haruo (Papa) - Kobayashi Susumu
Makino Susumu (Brother) - Tomiura Satoshi
Sengoku Sachiko (Dango shop owner) - Kato Takako

Adaptation of the Manga:

Like many other fans, I was rather in shock when it became known that the series was only going to span 9 episodes- which is actually shorter than even the typical 11-episode runs of Japanese TV dramas. I couldn't imagine how they'd fit in 36 manga volumes of content...but I've gotta hand it to them for their super editing job. While they couldn't have possibly included everything (and some changes were inevitable), I think they still managed to capture the essence of HYD. Somehow, they were able to squeeze in quite a bit of memorable key moments and then mixing and merging them together to produce a compact version of the manga. It's quite admirable, really. ^^;

What you will have noticed fairly soon is that the keyword to this adaptation isn't so much "change" as it is "condensation". They didn't really change the core of the storyline- rather, they merged events that had common aspects to them. For example, the party where Tsukushi and Tsukasa had their first kiss, Shizuka's birthday party, and the party that Asai & Co. tricked Tsukushi into going...they were all mixed together to form one party where everything happened on the same night. Yet through all the condensing, they found room to include even the Miss Teen of Japan arc- something that no other adaptation has ever even touched upon.

I think one of the things that made me really like the drama is how true they are to the series, and I'm not talking about the storyline here. I meant this in terms of the air, the portrayal of characters, the style, and the setting. Most things were just as how I would've pictured it- Eitoku's campus and students, the cars students arrived in, the F4's houses, etc. It was so fun to watch because it was as though the HYD universe came to life (which I thought was something sorely lacking in Meteor Garden). And let me say now that watching Makino's facial expressions and Doumyouji's idiotic/cool demeanor come to life in such an uncanny resemblance to the manga is indescribably awesome. It made up for all the lesser aspects of the adaptation. ;p

HYD DVD Box Set

DVD Releases:

The HYD Japanese drama came in five DVDs, which then made up the box set released on March 10, 2006 in Japan. You can find them sold as individual DVDs or as a box set. The DVDs are Region 2 and does not include English subtitles (how sad) - you can see a picture of the box on the left, which holds all five discs consisting of the complete series plus some extras and specials like interviews, features, and the making of the series, etc. Each disc holds 2 episodes, with the exception of the 5th disc, which holds the final episode and the extras.

You can purchase the box set at Amazon Japan or CD Japan, among other places that sells Japanese drama DVDs. Prices range from 15,960 yen to 19,000 yen (about $137 to $163 U.S. Dollars).


Miscellaneous Facts:

• The J-Drama adaptation won the award for "2005 Watashi No Dorama Taishou" (My Drama Award).

• The insert song you hear throughout the series is called "Planetarium" by Otsuka Ai.



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