Boys Over Flowers: Episode 1

You know, some things never get old. Like pimptastic, overindulged Korean privileged boys entering their high school backlight with a halo of light, as they stroll in in suits and ascots.  Oh, yeah, I guess I should say something about Jan Di first.

Yes, she’s plucky (kinda), I know as the audience we are supposed to side with her and her “positive” attitude.  But her habit of being ambivalent isn’t attractive.  F4 treats her badly, like they treat everyone badly in the beginning, but somehow that doesn’t make me like  her more. She’s all for the underdog, but do you see the way she screams at her parents? You know THAT ain’t going down in the average Korean household.

One thing I forgot is that Jan Di also declares war on F4, this is after she finds out they are affluent, and before the real abuse from Jun Pyo really starts. She’s no innocent. And I also forgot how the rest of F4 laughs at Jun Pyo. I think they know he’s got issues, and secretly want Jan Di to beat him down. I also remember thinking, “Jan Di is too trusting of people she shouldn’t trust, and can’t bring herself to trust the people she should.” She calls herself a loner, and so this must explain her utter inability to deal with people in a sane way.  Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Nolan Nabi, what you got?

 

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4 thoughts on “Boys Over Flowers: Episode 1

  1. Hmmm, Episode 1…The first thing I want to know is what happened to the guy at the beginning that Jan Di saved? Where did he go? He fought pretty well for three days before the roof incident, he’s in a good 10 minutes of the show, couldn’t we get a little sentence on what happened to him?

    I basically feel the same way about the first episode as I did when I first started reading the manga: it’s a mixture of horror and shock that (Asian) high schools are like this, pure rage at the F4, and a personal ambivalence towards Jan Di. I actually liked the way she tried to stand up to her parents, but maybe that’s also because her parents just kind of ignore her. I loved the mom’s happy dance, though! The horror/shock about the high school situation may also come from the fact that other manga/anime that I’ve seen with high school themes are simply not THIS bad. I mean, take Ouran High School Host club for comparison: a school for the rich – yes, a group of very attractive guys – yes, leading lady who one sort-of cares about the guys and is called ambivalent by other characters – yes, extreme violence of the other students towards pretty much ANYONE – nope, that’s definitely not in Ouran High School Host Club. And I know about bullying and hazing, with an up-close view from Arata: the Legend, but the physical violence that goes with it, and the crowd mentality that EVERYONE is against her, that’s just very disturbing to me.

    It’s difficult to watch the first episode and already know who I’m rooting for, and then have to suffer through his beginning stages of interactions with her all over again. Jun Pyo, seriously? “Lick it.” Ew. At least his “naturally permed” hair looks pretty decent on him, in the manga Jun Pyo (called Tsukasa Domyoji in the manga) has this weird Shirley Temple-ringlet octopus hanging out on top of his head. That is in NO WAY attractive! 4 boys walking around in super-expensive suits? Yes, I can at least admit to the visual attraction. And I’ve already noticed that Ji Hoo almost always wears white – even at that random dinner scene, he had a brown vest (was it supposed to act like a bib or something?!) but the rest of his outfit is white.

    Ji Hoo. Played by Leader Joong SS501. I told my roommate that she will love the first episode because you get to see Ji Hoo in the act of putting on his shirt, bare-chested because apparently no one in Japan wears undershirts. First meeting him made me laugh, though. Of course you’d be out in the woods playing your violin in your white suit. There was almost a full minute of montage, zooming in on the violin, his face, her face, the general picture, back to his face…and all I can think about is why he is the way he is IN THE MANGA. I won’t spoil that aspect for you (the reader) until the show explains it, but once you learn you will never look at him the same way!

    1. Oh, jumping of the roof guy makes a reappearance later…..sort of.

      Yeah, Koreans are hard core. If you are going to catch a beat down at school, you REALLY are going to catch a beat down at school. What I find interesting at Shinwha is how the class hierarchy is rigid and enforced. “Do you have more money than me?” It’s not just that you are rich, you are richer than some people and not others and this determines your status. Even the more rich will treat the less rich badly. Either this means that this is the case not only between classes but within classes, or that too much money destroys the ability to relate to people as actual human beings. I think that’s part of Jan Di’s problems at the school. Not only is she an outsider, but she comes from a working-class family. This is not to say that having money has done ANYTHING for the manners of F4 and the rest of the Shinwha population, which, as you point out, often manifests itself in violence. I might not like Jan Di, but that doesn’t mean I want to hit her in the head with a bottle…….yet.

      I know, I know, Jun Pyo is NOBODY’S ideal man in the beginning. He is arrogant, all the time! And so demeaning, but I think he will grow on you. Fungus! One thing I noticed is that Ji Hoo likes Jan Di from the beginning. Like she amuses him (in a Joe Pesci kind of way, “do I amuse you?’), and I think that is going to be his problem, namely, that he never sees her as a person, but like a bunny who is cute, and eventually needs help. Jan Di initially is something that breaks up the monotony of their dreadfully boring super rich lives. But I was very impressed at the material ways they convey their wealth, and snottiness, and arrogance and extravagance.

      Yeah, they totally took advantage of shooting Leader Joong’s face for as long as possible in that forest scene. The man is PRETTY! You know this! But he’s not the way he is in the MANGA, you have to forget that! He’s just…..different….in the kdrama.

      Any other thoughts? Or should we move on to Episode 2?

      1. I just can’t forget the way Ji Hoo is in the manga. It’s too late! But I kind of get where you’re coming from with his view on Jan Di, that she’s simply a cute little pet instead of an actual girl with real emotions and affections.

        One of the other things that I just can’t get over is what I like to call “The Horrible Cake Scene”, where that poor little baking-girl attempts to present Jun Pyo with a beautiful cake and he SMASHES IT IN HER FACE. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, in America he would have ended up in some serious pain, retribution-style! I have to remind myself over and over again that the hierarchy really matters here, not only in classes and between the money ranks, but also (sad to say) between genders – guys are allowed to be total jerks, totally cold and rejecting a girl outright, while the girls suffer internally from their emotional embarrassments. The girls turn it around, though, when all of a sudden the guy is trying SO HARD to get her to like him and she JUST. DOESN’T. GET. IT. From the manga: “Why doesn’t anyone consider MY feelings?” What are you talking about Jan Di, there are at least three guys vying for your affections at this point!?

        I was so happy when Jan Di shoved that ice cream cone in Jun Pyo’s face, but the egg throwdown in the hallway broke my heart for her, you could hear the tragically-inspiring music in the background and when they replayed her father saying that her uniform was to be treated as a family keepsake it was just so horrible that all those students could just completely beat her down.

        Seriously, the crowd mentality is really freaking me out. The group of people behind Dude On Roof before he attempts to jump, the massive amount of group beat-downs, etc. I mean, the end of this one, she’s getting jumped IN THE BATHROOM BY DUDES. Yes, this happens in the manga. Yes, it totally freaked me out, these types of scenes happen all the time in mangas but it’s usually after the heroine has established 1. the fact that she will kill anyone who tries to take advantage of her or 2. is in a relationship with the hero and just waits around until he comes to rescue her.

        I’m “pleased” with everyone’s portrayal so far, even our two background guys who provide commentary on the whole thing. I’m especially “pleased” with how conceited and clueless Jun Pyo is. I’m looking forward to Episode 2, but I’m going to have to fortify myself mentally and emotionally for it, because the series is probably going to make me angry for a while.

        With that, let’s move on to Episode 2!

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