-- Meteor Garden -----------------------
Meteor Garden, aka Liu Xing Hua Yuan, is actually the Chinese name for the Hana Yori Dango series. However, in this case, we're speaking in reference to the popular Taiwanese live action television drama based on HYD. Since the manga is called Meteor Garden in its Chinese manga counterpart, the TV series also adopted the same name. You can view how the main cast look like by clicking on the left picture for a larger version.
There are a total of 2 live action series to date, Meteor Garden and its sequel Meteor Garden 2, as well as a side-story special called Meteor Rain. Furthermore, the F4 in the series also started an actual singing group, releasing albums and songs, some of which are in the MG soundtrack. And guess what their group is called? Yes, they're also called F4. ;p
The TV series was first aired in Taiwan's Channel Hua Shi on April 12, 2001 and has since become immensely popular all over Asia and even the United States. The F4 themselves became huge idols with tons of screaming fans, and their albums also sold very well as a result. Yoko Kamio herself had also appeared in Taiwan to support the production of the drama series back when it was still being filmed. The TV drama had long since ended, but you can still purchase VCDs or DVDs if you never got the chance to watch it. Those can be found on just about any place that carries Chinese dramas or movies, as well as on ebay or at MG's official site.
Makino Tsukushi "San Cai" played by Barbie Hsu (Big S)
Doumyouji Tsukasa: "Dao Ming Si" played by Jerry Yan
Hanazawa Rui: "Hua Zhe Lei" played by Vic Zhou
Nishikado Soujirou: "Xi Men" played by Ken Zhu
Mimasaka Akira: "Mei Zhuo" played by Vanness Wu
Aoike Kazuya: "Qing He" played by Edward Au
Matsuoka Yuuki: "Xiao You" played by Rainie Yang
Toudou Shizuka: "Teng Tang Jing" played by Winnie Qian
Doumyouji Kaede: "Dao Ming Feng" played by Zhen Xiu Zhen
* If you're familiar with their Japanese names, you may have noticed that they're called something different in their Chinese counterpart. This is due to the way the Kanji characters are pronounced in Chinese- it's read differently, hence the "sound" is different. Therefore, if you met a HYD fan who read the Chinese translated manga, you would hear them refer to the characters as stated in the quotations above. Basically, it's not something they purposely changed for the TV series.
Hover your mouse over the picture to see who plays which character!
The following consists of some excerpts from articles as well as interviews that was made early on when the series was still filming or was freshly new. For more updated news, please refer to the links section and look under Meteor Garden for some sites related to the series.
• Translated Cast Interview - There used to be a wmv file for you to watch the interview- but sadly, that has since been taken down from the TVBS site. But here's the translation of that interview for you to read about anyway. ^_^
• "Sons of the Rise" Article on MG and Cast - This was a 07/07/01 article in Singapore about the MG series and also included some information of the main cast. Take a look.
• "Gorgeous Guys Fuel Manga Craze" Article - This was a 07/27/01 article on The New Paper covering how the series had affected fans and the actors that were cast as F4. Pictures of the article are also available.
There's also a 2 page ad/article that came with the Chinese Margaret 6, 2001 issue. You can click on the thumbnails below for a larger version. This ad isn't translated and I didn't bother, because it's quite old news. But if you'd like to see it translated, please either drop me an email or a message on the gbook. I may take some time to do it if enough people are interested. Meanwhile, the pictures are relatively self-explanatory. :)
Storyline & Brief Info:
* I may include some screenshots of the actual series when I find the time to screencap them. Look for them in the future! ^_^
Meteor Garden: Some of you may be wondering how closely the TV drama follows the actual manga- and you'll be glad to know that MG1 follows the storyline quite accurately, though with some minor changes as is to be expected when they try to condense 29 volumes into 19 episodes. However, they did have to make up their own ending since the HYD manga series was still ongoing at the time that they were filming...so MG1 did have their own conclusion. Other changes are little things like how the cast attended a university rather than a high school like the manga. Several characters were also "combined" into one character, most likely due to cast limits. They also skipped some parts of the manga to move the story ahead at a faster pace- which tends to be case when a manga is converted into a TV series or animated series. And then of course, the series took place in Taiwan rather than Japan.
Meteor Garden II: Although plenty of people continued on to follow MG2 when it was released, this sequel didn't do anywhere nearly as well as the first MG did. The reasons for this probably had a lot to do with the turn its storyline took. Due to the fact that when they began filming the sequel, there still wasn't a substantial amount of manga released after volume 29- which means they had to make up a majority of their storyline. HYD fans then found themselves in a completely foreign plot that most weren't particularly happy about.
In brief (very), it deals with Dao Ming Si taking a trip to Spain with San Cai- where he had made plans to propose to her. However, tragedy ensues when he got into an accident while he was on his way to meet San Cai at the location where he plans to give her the ring. Dao Ming Si had lost his memory and became acquainted with another girl, whom he eventually became romantically involved with while San Cai and everyone went frantic wondering what happened to him. The 30 episode run then mostly dealt with his relationship with this new girl...and some drama between San Cai and Lei, etc. Many felt it dragged a little too far and got a bit boring. But you can be the judge and try it for yourself?
Meteor Rain: This is a bit different from MG and MG2, in that it's actually a mini-series that consisted of three side stories starring 3 of the F4. Lei's story was the one that wasn't included due to his lack of time to film one at the time. Meteor Rain was then an attempt at a look into the characters outside of the main plot. For example, Xi Men's story was roughly based on Soujirou's side story in the manga about the "Once in a Lifetime" thing about Sara and such.