[blog] what?! it’s a remake?!

So Korea’s NODAME CANTABILE finally got its dream Noda Megumi after what seemed to be a complicated courtship that played out like a drama itself. I haven’t watched any of Shim Eun-kyung’s work but I have read glowing reviews about her from my blogger friends who watch more films and dramas than me. And when they say she’s the perfect fit for Nodame, I believe them.

Now all KBS has to do is give justice to the original work.

Remakes are par for the course for successful films or dramas. But it amuses me that many Korean remakes are more famous than their original ones. A perfect example: BOYS OVER FLOWERS.

I don’t know whether to be amused or offended when people say “that Japanese remake of BOF”. Uh, the original material, HANA YORI DANGO (or “boys over flowers”) was the manga (1992-2003), which was turned into a film (1995) whose cast included Fujiki Naohito as Hanazawa Rui, then the anime (1997). The first drama based on it was Taiwan’s METEOR GARDEN (2001) and Japan followed suit with HANA YORI DANGO (2005). So if we’re talking of remakes, it might be more accurate to say that even the Japanese drama was a remake of the Taiwan version, better known among fans as MG and HYD or Hanadan.

If it’s any consolation, no one would take the Korean version of NODAME CANTABILE, called CANTABILE ROMANCE (that sounds ominously disastrous but this post is not about the plot), as the original what with the hoohah that preceded the casting and filming. Unless of course Korean drama fans live in a cave or in a universe where the only dramas that exist in the world are, well, K-dramas.




I can let pass the utter cluelessness of some K-drama fans but I cannot tolerate the snobbery sometimes, especially when they dismiss Japanese, Chinese or Taiwanese dramas as too boring. But I guess it also boils down to accessibility, not so much on material.

While there has been a dearth of late of really good Taiwanese dramas (I don’t know anything about Chinese/mainland dramas to comment on them), the Japanese regularly produce really good dramas that offer more diverse, experimental plots. The thing is, subbing Japanese dramas take longer time than Korean ones, most probably because there is a smaller community and pool of volunteer subbers. Sometimes it takes forever for an episode to be subbed that you eventually lose interest. I know because it always happens to me.

So yes, it all boils down to accessibility. Many are more familiar with Korean dramas because it’s easy to find subbed episodes and there are a lot of bloggers who do recaps. I can’t say the same for Japanese/Taiwanese/Chinese dramas although I’m lucky to know some of those who do.

Aside from the lack of volunteer subbers, it may also have something to do with raw files of Japanese dramas being hard to get or the long arm of Japan’s copyright laws preventing streaming sites from hosting them. So maybe I shouldn’t mind that people know Jun-pyo more than Domyouji, although it’s their loss.

For sure, Korea is not the only one remaking dramas originally done by its Asian neighbors. Many Korean dramas have been remade too but since this post is on Korean drama remakes, then let’s see what are the other known ones aside from BOF and NODAME:

FATED TO LOVE YOU (Jang Hyuk & Jang Nara) – remake of Taiwan drama with Ethan Ruan and Qiao En
TO THE BEAUTIFUL YOU (a bunch of idols) – remake of Taiwan’s HANA KIMI with Ella Chen, Wu Chun and Jiro Wang; and Japan’s with Horikita Maki, Oguri Shun and Ikuta Toma
PLAYFUL KISS (Kim Hyun-joong) – remake of Taiwan’s IT STARTED WITH A KISS with Ariel Lin and Joe Cheng; and Japan’s ITAZURA NA KISS
WITCH’S ROMANCE – remake of Taiwan’s MY QUEEN with Ethan Ruan and Cheryl Yang

With Shim Eun-kyung on board now, I hope that Korea’s version of NODAME will give justice to the original material. And not turn out to be like this:



Credit: misodrama.blogspot.com



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24 thoughts on “[blog] what?! it’s a remake?!

  1. honestly i don’t really like korea’s ver of HYD.. i only survived the 1st epi..just give me the taiwanese & japanese ver anytime..


  2. My sister is downloading witch’s romance. Is the original version really good? It’s been ages since I saw a taiwanese drama. I find them more difficult to dl and I’m more cautious when it comes to Taiwan dramas. Hehe

    Hmm, it really annoyed me when someone commented in a blog that nodame seems like the usual japanese exaggerated anime-like drama. What’s with the stereotypes? I like Asian dramas and I think Kdramas are as good and bad as j or cdramas. I also have some prejudices and impressions but i think it’s always up to the compatibility of the actors, plot, and directing. And since i’m biased to it, I just hope some people will stop bashing and generalizing jdramas when they have not even seen enough of it (though for how much is enough, i also don’t know. :p).


    • I started My Queen but didn’t finish it so I can’t say if it was good till the end. but from what I saw, it was nice with an interesting plot.

      the stereotypes on Japanese dramas is either they are anime-like or boring. I just feel most J-dramas are underrated and they have a toned down, simplistic treatment which I feel is closer to real life, that’s why I like watching them. K-dramas are polished and glossy, not surprisingly so since it’s a big export for them XD


  3. I’d like to add these dramas/movies to the remake list. I think the movie remakes are still relevant because they are often based on jdramas.

    -Love Me Not (movie. Based on Ai Nante Irane Yo, Natsu)
    -That Winter, the Wind Blows (drama. Based on Ai Nante Irane Yo, Natsu)
    -You’re My Pet (movie. Based on Kimi wa Petto)
    -God of the Workplace/The Queen of the Office (drama. Based on Haken no Hinkaku)
    -God of Study (drama. Based on Dragon Zakura)
    -Dr. Jin (drama. Based on JIN & JIN 2, Jin manga)


      • Oy, Dr Jin was so bad it became the standard of a crappy kdrama for quite a while. 😀 I only sampled the first few episodes and dropped it like a hot potato. You should try reading some of the recaps @ Dramabeans if you have time. They were hilarious! The poor recapper who was stuck with it.^^


    • As far as I know, they’ve also remade:
      – The Queen’s Classroom (Jyoou no Kyoushitsu)
      – The Strange Housekeeper (Kaseifu no Mita)
      – Perfect Number (Yougisha Ekkusu no Kenshin)
      – Behind the White Tower (Shiroi Kyotou)
      These remakes are less popular than those such as Boys Over Flowers, God of Study,… but I think they’re among the best ones that Korea’s ever made, albeit inferior to the originals. But to be fair, Japan has remade quite a number of korean works too (Ikemen desu ne, Ryokiteki na kanojo, Maou,…)


  4. The truth is I never watched Boys Over Flowers except for the first episode. I was turned off by Goo Hye Sun’s and Lee Min Ho’s shallow acting and unnecessarily exaggerated facial expressions (Sorry, it’s just my opinion). It was just way over the top, but not in a good way. Although BOF is more popular than Hanadan, for me Hanadan is way, way, way much better in terms of acting and the story. Jun is Domyouji! Also, MG for me is really phenomenal and great. I love both HYD and MG. My mom also loves MG. I still watch HYD when I feel like doing it, which is to a minimum twice a year, and my love for it never dies. i never get tired watching it. Same with MG.

    According to someone I know, BOF is better because the casts are good-looking. I thought, the shallowness of it! Haha! BOF seemed to be better for them because of the Halyu wave bandwagon that everything that comes from Korea must be cool and good. Again, I find this very shallow.


    • BOF fans say the production value was better and F4 really looked like they were filthy rich. To a certain extent, it’s true because MG, while still my fave version, had little budget that the cast even bought some of their clothes from nightmarkets lol

      but HYD in terms of cast and acting trumps any other version. the production value ain’t bad, the Japanese just don’t do things over the top lol and Matsumoto Jun IS Domyouji.


  5. Yes, HYD cast has superb acting. Shun Oguri nailed Hanazawa Rui, too. Even Mao. She made a refreshing take on the role of Makino. Goo Hye Sun really irritates me until now. I’ve read somewhere that it is a good thing that there is the US remake because Goo Hye Sun can claim that at least she is not the worst Makino ever! Haha


    • LOL!!!
      yeah my first impression of GHS as a terrible actress based on the few seconds I watched her on BOF has lasted till now that I’m surprised she’s kind of multi-talented and even is a director herself? like… what? LOL


  6. But there are really many good K-dramas. I really love K-dramas made from original concept. I just think that they don’t make good remakes most of the time.


      • … which I find to be ironic. aren’t remakes supposed to be better than the original? i’m really more into jdorama because they are more realistic and funny. as for those commenting that some dramas are very anime-like, it is because the story or the character calls for it. i don’t think that people who say such things have really understood the context or background of the story or the Japanese culture and society in general.


  7. I’m not a big fan of remakes myself as almost without a fail they end up sucking. Quite often the reason is that the content is too heavily anchored in a specific country/culture and/or even a period of time and just won’t work in another setting without heavy tinkering. And that would make it a totally different thing. It’d be a lot easier on everyone concerned if they just dropped the whole ‘remake’ label and called the new version a ‘story inspired by…’, which a lot of them basically are anyway. In all honesty, some of these ‘remakes’ are just plain cr** and it’s clear the makers didn’t have a clue what the original was truly about, or they just didn’t care. Who needs fresh ideas when you can turn to something that’s already proved it’s merit (and pinch it) or keep re-using the same standard pap ad nauseam, which is very much the unfortunate norm of most k-dramas today.

    The best ‘remakes’, imho are those that take the core content of the original and dress it up to fit the new reality, while cutting or remaking those parts the didn’t work in the orignal either.

    Another reason I’m not too hot on remakes is that if the original is really good, why try re-doing it? The chances are you’ll only make a mess of it.

    Oh, and hi! I stumbled upon your blog today and have spent far too much time reading you posts while ignoring all tasks I should have been doing instead. 🙂 It’s been very interesting to see the view of someone who has j-ent as their ‘background’. I’m predominantly immersed in things Korean myself as that side seems to suit me best but I’ve never limited my interest solely to Korean dramas/music. There are a fair number of Japanese dramas that I’ve loved over the years.


    • hi there! thank you for reading and taking the effort to comment XD

      I totally agree with you that one of the reasons why most remakes do not work is because the core of the story does not fit the social and cultural reality of the one remaking it. perfect example would be INFERNAL AFFAIRS. though Scorcese was decent enough to say that THE DEPARTED was inspired by IA, the story at the heart of IA would have been lost in another context since it talked about Buddhism and eternal hell. I thought the Koreans would fare better in NEW WORLD but I guess they opted to pick what works for them and drop those that doesn’t from the original material. and it worked.

      I guess the charm in making remakes of successful materials is people now the original already and maybe it’s human nature to imitate something that’s good and try to do better? only most of the time they fail? or perhaps it’s simply the case of running out of ideas haha!

      I like Kdramas because the production is so sleek and glossy it’s obvious they pour a lot of money to it. but I prefer Jdramas more because they are closer to real life in their depiction of human relationships (as opposed to makjang) and are also underrated.

      thanks again for the very interesting comment!


      • You are welcome! 🙂 I’ve enjoyed exploring the blog. I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing me around, now that I’ve found my way here, ha.

        Sleek and glossy are the trademarks of k-dramas but unfortunately it’s often just surface that lacks proper content underneath. Sigh. If the script ain’t good, the drama is just a house built on qucksand. Ah, the days when all was new and shiny and one had the rose tinted glasses firmly on. I’ve become very picky and hard to please in the past couple of years. XD

        The more real life feel of j-dramas is what I like about them too, and the lack of makjang. My favourite j-dramas are the slice-of-life ones. I also like procedurals/crime shows but there seems to be too many of those in Japanese TV these days and not always very good either.


  8. Can’t believe I missed this write-up of yours! (You know I read everything you write… *sheepishly blushes* :p) Thank goodness I caught a link back to here cos oh man, spot on about some Kdrama-fans acting all snobbish and ignorant especially when it comes to comparing quality. I enjoy Kdramas more than their counterparts in general, but quality- and insight-wise I still concur the Japanese does it way better – but maybe it does come down to personal preferences, who knows.

    As for remakes – haha, spot on again. Funnily though, I don’t begrudge the K-ent for its atrocious-but-oh-so-cracktastic HYD remake – I just kind of look at the two of two separate shows, like totally separate, and both good and bad in their respective ways. It makes me able to re-watch them from time to time when the mood strikes 🙂 Though of course (and maybe my bias viewpoint strikes again) HYD is definitely way better and does total justice to the original story. Can’t say about the rest, but those few remakes I have caught – oi vey, they were all lackluster and terrible.

    Fingers crossed about Nodame, I’m so relieved Shim Eun Kyung finally signed on! Now the nail-biting “will they? will they not? (deliver)” anticipation begins, and ugh I’m trying really hard to keep my cool… :p


    • that’s the billion-dollar-won question now in everyone’s mind: will the Korean remake of NODAME deliver? we can only hope so. they already have the best cast that’s acceptable to fans, they shouldn’t bungle it.

      I do enjoy Kdramas too, we have to give it to the Koreans. their production values are high and that’s obviously because they export these dramas. I wish the Japanese would be more outward looking. their protectionism towards their pop culture is like a microcosm to their attitude in general… I know it’s a long stretch but Japanese firms like Sony and Toyota have lost against globalization because they were too insular. the same thing could happen to their entertainment industry if they don’t take giant steps now. I mean, it’s difficult to buy Jdramas and Jfilms online… don’t even get me started on the other aspects of pop culture lol


      • Yup I hear ya about the Japanese’s microcosm attitude. Cos JPop remains insular and domestic even if started off yearssssssss ago, hell prolly defined the Asian pop market that we know now. I stand corrected about giving credit where they are due with Kdramas though, thanks 🙂 high production value yup, I just wish that they don’t cave in so much to the fans and ratings… but since ratings determine viewership and therefore moolah coming in, I guess I’m not in a position to say anything more…


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