You’re beautiful vs Ikemen Desu, Ne! :Drama wars!
To improve on my Japanese I listen to alot of music and get through loads of dramas, but if you asked me what my favourite drama of all time was out of the 1 Korean and 5 billion Japanese titles I would pick the Korean drama, ‘You’re Beautiful’.
‘You’re beautiful’ is a wonderful drama which has made me bawl my eyes out like a chump, but also made me do my satisfied-psycho-witchy-cackle laugh.
So when I discovered this had been remade in Japan, titled ‘Ikemen desu ne’ I was a little more than worried. Japanese dramas usually get wrapped up pretty quickly due to the series being an average of 10 or less episodes, but in this case I could be wrong as the episodes are 40minutes longer.
So for those who are completely unaware of what this drama is and was brought here by typing your favourite Asian idols name, I will explain the oddness that is this series.
The show is based around the character ‘Go Mi Nyu’, who is going about her daily duties as a
virgin nun in training preparing to go to abroad to become certified like her mentor and the frequent advisor in her fantasies.
She is then stalked by the agent of her identical twin brother ‘Go Mi Nam’, who has just been accepted as the 4th member of current, successfully-sexy group A.N.GELL.
It’s then revealed that Go Mi Nam wanted to become famous so that their mother whom they assumed abandoned them at birth would recognise him and have an awkward reunion.
However, after a botched eyelid surgery which left her brother unable to close his eyes, Go Mi Nyu takes his place as the 4th member of A.N.JELL.
The rest of the series revolves around her trying to keep her gender a secret, which is understandably difficult when you frequently find yourself in a changing room surrounded by men.
So I’ll get straight to it, the Japanese version has completely missed the point, but when I see the kids they’ve cast for the lead roles it all becomes clear.
This remake is almost completely identical to the original, only some ass-hat thought it would be a good idea to take away almost all of the humour. Now it is just another gender bender drama, with weighty emotional issues sucking all the fun out of it.
The lead character Miko (Go mi nam), whom this drama is supposed to be based around is so dull that I have no feelings towards her. I don’t even hate her, I just wonder why she is there. This is in no way the fault of the actress who actually does a very good job! But her character has been drained of personality, so that when something ‘dramatic’ does happen and she makers her “ZOMG! WTF!?” face, it’s pretty damn weird. Its a shame but so far all her humorous scenes from the beginning of the series have been taken out so far…something her character needs.
The character who most benefits from these humorous moments are Katsuragi Ren (Hwang Tae Kyung in the Korean version) who is initially very cold, and a seemingly uncaring person.
However, through various events that I won’t spoil too much (she pukes in his mouth!) you come to understand that his coldness is more from his own clumsiness when it comes to friendship and even love.
He is a deep, musical genius who is troubled by his past and Tamamori Yuta failed tremendously at portraying him.
Relying more on his angrily plucked eyebrows to play the role instead of doing that thing actors sometimes do…’act’. In the Korean version his anger and feistyness served as comic relief, but in this version…it’s just awkward.
I realise it’s not all of these bad actors fault, a lot of it is down to the fact that so many of the scenes where you grow to love the characters, have been taken away and replaced with quick scenes of Kyung/Ren scrubbing a smudge on the table or doing the dishes…obviously because that is the only way to represent someone who likes cleanliness.
An undeniable fact here is that Jang Geun Suk from the Korean version got this role from extensive acting experience, whilst Tamamori Yuta got it from being a Johnny.
By saying this I run the risk of Johnny’s Entertainment fans hexing me and cursing my unborn Ameerkittens, but probably the only groups I don’t care about are ‘Hey!Say!Jump!’ and ‘Kis-My-Ft2’ so I have no problem in critising their performance.
Factually they are too young to realistically represent these mature characters, and in comparison have barely any acting experience when it comes to starring as main characters.
If they were remaking any other drama, I would probably let this slide…but they didn’t, and what annoys me most is that J-drama fans who are unaware of the original will probably think this is worth their time. It isn’t.
Also if this ‘Johnny’s Entertainment’ thing is going over your head, basically it’s the greastest young male talent recruiter in all of Japan. They kidnap KAWAII looking boys and turn them into a little girls fantasy in both the music and television.
So if you love Asian dramas solely because you like looking at idols, then Ikemen Desu Ne is for you! But if you favour actual acting talent, a wonderfully developed storyline with plenty of laughs with relatable moments then you should opt for You’re Beautiful/Minami Shineyo. It set the bar so high that to be fair, anyone trying to mimic it would fail miserably.