Hanazakari no Kimitachi e

August 10, 2007

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e

I have been known to get into a shoujo manga. Sailormoon is what I credit with my entry into the fanbase of anime and eventually all things Japan, and I like most anything by CLAMP. However, I find that putting a shoujo manga into the form of a live action drama makes it easier for me to sit through since the live action strips away most of the excessive flowery imagery. This lets me concentrate more on the story and enjoy something like Hana Yori Dango that I would have never consumed in manga or anime form.

However, Hanazakari no Kimitachi e really pushes my limit.

The series is about a Japanese girl named Ashiya Mizuki (Horikita Maki), who has been living in the US. While there, she idolized Japanese track star Sano Izumi (Oguri Shun). When Sano stops jumping for some reason, Ashiya disguises herself as a boy and transfers to the same exclusive private boys’ school in Tokyo that Sano attends. The school is not exclusive based on academics, but rather on how attractive you are. Hence the show’s subtitle “Ikemen Paradise”. Insert enormous eye rolling here. Ashiya’s mission is to get Sano to jump again.

This show seems to delight in every opportunity to put in a cheesy effect to give the show a sort of anime feel. Its overall color palette is also extremely bright, down to the hot pink crest on the school’s uniform blazer. The effect could come off as really fun, or really obnoxious. I haven’t decided yet.

The plot has little that’s unpredictable or even interesting, but the strength of the series is its cast of wacky characters. Mizushima Hiro and Yamamoto Yusuke appear, having played Kabuto and Sasword respectively in 2006’s Kamen Rider Kabuto. My personal favorite is Nakatsu Shuichi (Ikuta Toma). Nakatsu has developed a crush on Ashiya, leading him into a comical crisis over the nature of his own sexuality. Of course, amongst his cries of “Ore wa homo ja nai!” Nakatsu is oblivious to the fact that his crush actually is a girl, but such is the comedy of the situation.

So the series has its strengths and weaknesses. It’s really the cast that keeps me watching. That, and the infectious ending theme “Peach”, which has the honor of being a rare song by Otsuka Ai that I can listen to repeatedly. HanaKimi seems to be really popular in Japan though. I can’t understand why a show bursting at the seams with pretty boys would be so big over there…

One Response to “Hanazakari no Kimitachi e”

  1. […] the sequel to the popular movie based on a Yazawa Ai manga. As I mentioned when I talked about HanaKimi, watching live action versions of shoujo stories tends to help them get within the boundaries of […]

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