The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Hana Kimi / 花ざかりの君たちへ

Hanazakari no Kimi Tachi E

2007 JDorama that starred Oguri Shun as Sano Izumi, Mizushima Hiro as Nanba Minami (2nd Dorm Leader), Ikuta Toma as Nakatsu Shuichi, Kimura Ryo as Senri Nakao, Okada Masaki as Sekime Kyogo, Yamamoto Yusuke as Kayashima Taiki, Igarashi Shunji as Noe Shinji, Mizobata Junpei as Saga Kazuma, Sakimoto Hiromi as Kyobashi Arata, Chiyo Shota as Yodoyabashi Taichi, Tajima Ryo as Arashiyama Jyo, Shimegi Enoku as Tannowa Kyoichi, Okada Hikaru as Takaida Riku, Ikeda Jun as Kamishinjo Itsuki, Shibasaki Keisuke, as Minase Manato, Ishigaki Yuma as Tennoji Megumi (1st Dorm Leader), Takahashi Mitsuomi as Daikokucho Mitsuomi, Takeda Kohei as Kitahanada Kohei, Suzuki Ryohei as Akashi Soichiro, Sato Yuuichi as Tetsukayama Shota, Hayakawa Ryo as Gotenyama Sakyo, Matsushita Koji as Shojaku Ren, Nishiyama Sosuke as Shichido Soma, Hagiwara Tatsuya, as Ishikiri Hiroto, Kyo Nobuo as Himejima Masao (Oscar M. Himejima, 3rd Dorm Leader), Kato Keisuke as Yao Hikaru, Watanabe Toshihiko as Imamiya Sho, Takahashi Yuta, as Shijo Haruki, Matsuda Shoichi as Kuzuha Junnosuke, Miyata Naoki as Saiin Tsukasa, Furuhara Yasuhisa as Ogimachi Taiyo, Ojima Naoya as Kaizuka Kohei, Suzuki Kota, as Uenoshiba Kanata, Nakada Yuya as Katabiranotsuji Ken, Kawakami Yu as Korien Genji

and Horikita Maki as Ashiya Mizuki - a high school chick from America who runs away to Japan in order to help Sano Izumi (Oguri Shun) return to his former glory as a high jumper.

I know I'm super-late with this, and that everyone around the globe has already watched Hana Kimi at least five times already - but, whatever ... the storyline never appealed to me, and I had no idea it was so, freakin' FUNNY, either.

Even if this revolves around Shun's Sano-sama, and the unlikely but inevitable romantic relationship between him and Mizuki; for me, it was Ikuta Toma's Nakatsu Shuichi who stole the show.

I adored him in Majo Saiban, and now I really want to see him in the rest of what he's starred in.

Guy's got talent, an interesting presence, and staying power along with his unusual, good looks.

In Hana Kimi, he's supposed to be Sano's best friend, but at the start of this campy adaptation of yet, another manga/anime, they are struggling to maintain that relationship when, after a trip to America, Sano is injured, forcing him to have to let go of his high jump career for awhile.

Sano turns into a brooding mess of angry emotions while his Ohsaka Gaikusen buddies continue on their merry way through high school dorm life, soaking up all the revelry and mayhem it has to offer.

(now, I ask you - WHY would the chick at left want to wear a bikini bottom like that?)

Along comes Miss Ashiya Mizuki turned Mr. Ashiya when she decides to enroll in the all-boys high school so that she can undo the wrong she thinks she's done to Sano-sama since it was because of her that he was injured in America.

She wants to see him smile again, but more important to her is the goal of getting him to return to the high-jump sport so she can finally exhale.

Of course, the in-house Doc is the first person to notice something ain't right about our new student, but the bi-sexual with eerie, blue eyes decides to give Mizuki a break since she's there for noble reasons.

Mizuki ends up sharing a dorm room with Sano, and at the same time, our heterosexual Nakatsu struggles to maintain his coolness when the closer he gets to Mizuki, the more attracted to him he becomes until he believes he is gay and wants to accept that fact just to be intimate with him/her.

Japanese humor is ridiculous without being insulting or over-stressed, and I like that.

Timing is the key, I think, and they've mastered it.

Belly laughs are a good thing - especially if you're in the mood to lose some weight, and hopefully I shed a few pounds over the weekend, because Hana Kimi had me laughing out loud to the point of tears at least a dozen times an episode, and there were twelve, along with a lame-ass special always meant to clear up loose ends - but this one failed big-time.

Shun's character almost seemed out-of-place in this one, but that was the whole point.

Mizuki meant to make him smile again, and she almost succeeded, too - but, I think that occurred in the special, I don't really remember.

He returned to the playing field, and he broke his own record shortly before Kagurazaka Makoto (Shirota Yu) broke it again, but Sano never smiled much during this drama.

He made ME smile, though ...

Oguri Shun as Sano Izumi in Hana Kimi

Another character whose performance helped to make this a winner was Yamamoto Yusuke's Kayashima Taiki.

Yamamoto Yusuke as Kayashima Taiki in Hana Kimi
The guy who reminds me a lot of Mick Jagger and whose style is beyond hip can also act damn fine and knows how to do the is he/isn't he thing as if almost down to a science.

Speaking of questionable gender or preference, this drama was rife with curiosity in that regard, but I know it's just the thing to do over there - to behave as femme as possible without stepping over that imaginary line.

Which was probably why Mizuki had such an easy time slipping past the guys, who obviously don't possess gay-dar in Japan the way they (heterosexuals, anyhow) do over here.

That I kept noticing how 'female' Mizuki behaved despite herself is probably neither here nor there as well ... since the Metro-sexual attitude abounded in this drama, and I was hard-pressed to decide what was real and what was make-believe in that regard.

Sano only mentioned the fact that baking cookies wasn't a cool thing for a dude to do, but what about her overly feminine concern for his health, his welfare, his mind-set, and his personal issues with the old man?

Wasn't all that stepping over the line, too; at least from a guy's perspective?

The fact that she kept chasing after him the way a love-sick girl would do seemed like a huge indicator of her true sex as well, but I seemed to be the only one to notice or care, so what the heck.

Do guys do those kinds of things with their homies in real life?

Yeah, yeah, so Sano already knew he was a chick from the start, but the others accepted him/her without noticing anything funny, and perhaps that was a bit of a stretch, but whatever - the show was too, damn funny for me to care.

Hana Kimi was another of those make-believe, comic-come-to-life stories everyone (me included) wishes could be more like reality; especially when it concerns such mundane but necessary things as school and/or work ... to have constant excitement in your life, to be surrounded by buds who actually DO care, and to have adults around who truly want to see and hope you do succeed.

Accepting everyone for who they are and not poking fun at them because they're NOT like you seems to be a running theme with most manga turned anime turned drama from Asia, but it's an underlying theme hidden rather subtly by the stars of the show, who go through life's pangs & woes while striving for perfection, or at least a better outcome to their seemingly bleak future.

We could all do with a bit of this from time to time ...

... but, wouldn't it be totally cool if, for once, they did this for the gals and had a bunch of slobbering males standing outside an all-girl's school waiting for the precious cuties to appear?

Refreshing (for me anyway) was that Hana Kimi chose to dis the pop-chicks and make them look as stupid as they really are, and that when push came to shove (as it always does), the pop-chick who thought she was all-that didn't do anything overly unrealistic to our Mizuki when she could have but chose not to.

Why don't I like this guy?

Don't mean to sound mean, but I don't think I've ever liked him in anything he's done - which is probably opening a huge can of worms and likely to cause protest among his billions of fans.

I don't know what it is or why it is I don't care for him, I just don't.

He's probably the sweetest thing to come along since candy and the most appealing of dudes to a lot of bubble-gum chewers, too ... but, for whatever reason, I can't warm up to Mizushima Hiro.

Actually, I think I do know the reason; and it's kind a like my reason for not getting into Bae Yong jun the way the rest of the women of the world have.

Mizushima-san looks a lot like another boy from my childhood, and Luke wasn't a mean boy or unpopular; we actually got along rather well back in the day - but, I couldn't say there was even the slightest hint of sexual attraction going on inside me for him the same way I can honestly say Mizushima-kun does nothing for me in that regard, either.

Considering the fact there was only one Asian boy in my childhood, you'd think I knew a lot of them based on my comparisons with today's hot actors and the boys I grew up with here in Michigan ... which, to me, says a lot about the way of the world.

Or at least my lop-sided view of things, who knows.

Should I take a chance on the Taiwanese version, which I hear is a thousand times better than this one?

Maybe after school lets out in late April and I'm totally free to waste away a few, more days of my life without the thought of readings, study guides, term papers, and final exams looming over my head to distract me.

Okay, so here are the rest of my pictures from the show, and YES, I highly recommend you watch Hana Kimi if you haven't already.


  1. actually, I prefer the Taiwanese version. have you seen that version with Ella Chen? that one just seems funnier to me. but then again, I dont' watch that many Japanese dramas.

    how come there's no label widget on your sidebar? I like to browse by labels.

    have a sweet day.

  2. I don't like labels - sorry. They take up way, too much space down the sidebar, and I've tried in the past to simplify, but it doesn't work.
    I haven't watched the Taiwanese version yet, but I do intend to soon. I keep putting it off on account of Ellen Chen, whom I'm not as fond of as the rest of the world ^^.

  3. I don't know. But after watching the Japanese Hana Kimi twice, still have no intension to watch the Taiwanese version. Maybe it's just because I love Ikuta Toma and Oguri Shun too much. They look so cute in the drama. (especially when Sano is drunk.)
    For me, I love the setting of Japanese version more since every supporting characters add a little merit to the drama. The Taiwanese version mainly focus on Mizuki, Nakatsu and Sano.
    And one more thing. Sano knows Mizuki is a girl in the 3rd episode. When he said baking cookies wasn't a cool thing for a dude to do, he is actually playing a joke with Mizuki.


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