Hey guys! We have finally reached the halfway point for To The Beautiful You, woooo! I was originally going to post a recap and review after each chapter but I just couldn’t for many reasons. The main ones being that while I still watch the show, I am mainly watching it now to go “Oh come on now, really? Really show?”, to giggle at random times, or to compare the differences between Hana Kimi and TTBY. If you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you head over to DramaFever and do so, or, if you just want the recaps, check dramabeans. But now that we have reached this landmark, and flew by it, I have decided to give you a nice review of the first half of this series.
Lee Hyun Woo as Eun Gyeol (left) taking one of his “signature selcsas”
and Song Jong Min as Kwang Hee (right), Eun Gyeol’s jealous and very effeminate fan.
I’m going to do this in a “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” way, so here goes.
The Good- Do Not Panic! If you have seen Hanazakari no Kimitachi e or read Hana Kimi, you can still watch this show. Why? Because SM has taken the story and made it it’s own. So while the idea and general plot is the same, the episodes and the scenes are all very different. Meanwhile, they have portrayed a good portion of the characters just as I was hoping they would. I’m happy that they are still portraying Song Jong Min/Senri Nakao (Hwang Kwang Hee) as a gay, or at least extremely feminine, character. Well, sort of. He hasn’t come out and said he likes any boy yet, but the way he acts towards the other boys, his dress and mannerisms, and the constant lip balm/ chapstick application sort of indicate it. Also, Dr. Jang/Dr. Umeda (Ki Tae Young) was looking at men on his computer during the first episode, so it is safe to say he is also not completely straight. These things make me happy.
I also really enjoyed the portrayal of Daniel Goo (Julien Kang), Jae Hee’s brother. He doesn’t look anything like her, but I like the fact that he speaks English extremely well and uses it often when speaking with his sister. That is something they didn’t do in Hanazakari no Kimitachi e which I wish they had.
Lastly, while I liked the old way that Cha Eun Gyeol/Nakatsu (Lee Hyun Woo) talked to himself, using selcas is a pretty genius move. It incorporates current technology and fads while also helping the audience understand the innerworking of the character without having a silly random voice-over. Now the voice-over is in the form of a tweet. Good thinking, SM! Oh, plus? The show makes me giggle, even sometimes outright laugh. At times it is a “oh good lord what are you doing” giggle, but it is a giggle none-the-less. Since TTBY is a rom-com, this makes perfect sense and gives the show points in my book.
Sulli as Jae Hee (left). I just… I can’t. Especially this scene? Completely cringe worthy in my opinion.
But they make up for it with the sansaeng fans (right)! They are adorable and scary at the same time. Gotta love it.
That being said, here is The Bad- Goo Jae Hee (Sulli). No matter how you look at it, she doesn’t make that convincing of a boy. I suppose you can pass it off, saying that there are a lot of feminine looking guys, but I just can’t see it. Of course, I couldn’t see it in the Japanese versions either, but still. Next is the acting. I just can’t stand it sometimes. It keeps me entertained, but I won’t be going back and rewatching this series once it is done. Every now and then Choi Min Ho pulls off something amazing as Kang Tae Joon (like the scream at the cat, that made me giggle), and Lee Hyun Woo isn’t bad at all, but I wouldn’t say the acting is spectacular in this rom com.
They added some characters in because in Hana Kimi there is no real “bad guy”. In the Japanese version, they added a single bad guy: Hibari Hanayashiki, but she never went out of her way to make life hard for anyone, she was just annoying. In fact, while there is conflict, it is what I’d call natural conflict, the kind that pops up between two people who spend time together. There is conflict between our hero and his nemesis who, it turns out, is only pushing him because he wants to beat him fair and square, our hero and his father who is only acting the way he is because he feels his son has a right to hate him, our hero and his brother who is acting the way he is because he feels betrayed, and our hero and our second hero because they like the same person. Then there is the conflict of our heroine getting the hero to jump again, and our heroine keeping her secret safe, but even when it comes out that she is a girl the other characters are more concerned about the bad press it might bring the school.
In TTBY, so far it seems the father is a major jerk, the hero’s nemesis doesn’t want our hero to jump again and is trying to stop him, our heroine’s male nemesis is doing everything he can to hurt her because he seems downright evil and jealous, and finally our heroine’s female nemesis who also just seems evil and jealous. I sort of miss the natural conflicts, since it made the show more relate-able.
Oh Choi Min Ho… Your acting is getting better, but you don’t really have the face to play an expressionless creep like Tae Joon.
Finally, The Ugly- I don’t like how SM has added in those hokey sound effects when certain things happen, like when Jae Hee trips, or someone falls, or someone ‘evil’ shows up. Ugh, talk about over the top. Some of the camera work bothers me as well, but it might just be because I’m used to more serious shows. Most of the show is shot very well, which is probably why those little moments bother me soooo much. Oh, and the music. Oh the music. Most of the choices make me go “Why? Ugh… why…”. There are a few that have made me giggle, but I can count them on one hand so far.
Then they got rid of a few characters who I absolutely ADORED! Like the Kayashima, the guy who could read auras, and Noe and Saga and… The list goes on and on really. Plus they changed the way Eun Gyeol talks to himself. I know that I said the way they handled it was genius because it was, but I liked the other way! He was over the top and amazing and crazy. It was perfect.
Overall, I guess if I didn’t have Hana Kimi and Hanazakari no Kimitachi e to compare TTBY to, it wouldn’t be as bad. I probably still wouldn’t watch it again since, like I said, the acting doesn’t impress me that much. But I’m curious to know what you all think? Do you find it enjoyable? Am I just being biased to the original and I should learn to not compare the two like I had to with the Harry Potter books and movies?