The year was 2001. Meteor Garden, the Taiwanese TV adaptation of the Japanese popular manga series Hana Yori Dango penned by Yoko Kamio, had just come out of our screens. Dao Ming Si, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men, and Mei Zuo swaggeringly started tickling everyone pink. By "everyone," we meant e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. Well, except for the initially unconquerable San Cai, who would later fall for two of the lead guys. Meteor Garden carried an epic story that would become a craze not just in Taiwan and in the Philippines but in most parts across Asia and even America. No proof needed here with the guys (who later formed the sensational boy band Flower 4/F4 IRL) making it big after the show. Meteor Garden as an unstoppable craze was understatement!
Call it nostalgia, but the news of the Taiwanese reboot of Meteor Garden slated for a 2018 airing is obviously inciting all the feels! Before this rehash, though, the original Japanese story had already gone through a lot of adaptations. Here's the complete list of Hana Yori Dango's other versions!
1. Hana Yori Dango (Japan, 1995)
Before Taiwan adapted the hit manga, Japan first produced their own live-action film starring actress Yuki Uchida. A lot of the characters from the manga were not present in this version, though, like Makino's parents and the two other members of F4, Akira and Soujiro, who had little to no screen time. But because it's a movie and the first adaptation of the manga, it's understandable that it didn't reach the audience's expectations.
2. Meteor Garden (Taiwan, 2001)
It may not be the first version, but as we mentioned, it was an absolute phenomenon! The actors who played the characters were so good that the storyline became more interesting because of the dramatic scenes that weren't really written in the manga. For example, San Cai had a scene where Dao Ming Si's parents tried to humiliate her by forcing her to play the piano, but it turned out that she was in fact a good pianist. In the manga, she couldn't really play the piano! And we can all agree that this was such a satisfying addition, right? And seriously, who could ever forget the iconic Flower Four grand entrance?
3. Hana Yori Dango (Japan, 2005)
This was another Japanese adaptation, but this time it was for TV. We could say this was the only adaptation that completely followed the original storyline of the manga— even the cast looks exactly like the comic book characters! It became one of the most popular Japanese drama series during its run. Plus, Jun Matsumoto and Mao Inoue, who played Tsukasa Domyouji and Tsukushi Makino respectively, had an undeniable chemistry that rumors of them dating in real life is still a hot topic up to this day!
4. Boys Over Flowers (Korea, 2009)
One of the reasons why K-dramas have been loved by many, this Korean adaptation is arguably the fans' ultimate fave! Some K-natics might even go as far as saying that this surpassed Meteor Garden's popularity here in the Philippines. Despite Gu Jun Pyo's weird curls (Sorry, Lee Min Ho!), Boys Over Flowers' F4 were so easy on the eyes in every angl! The storyline also came close to the original one, making it truly deserving of the recognition it got!
5. Meteor Shower (China, 2009)
A Chinese adaptation by Hunan TV, Meteor Shower wasn't as internationally successful across Asia as its predecessors. But the series still hit big in Mainland China during its run, paving the way for Chinese dramas to grow popular. The producer said the series was not an actual adaptation of the manga, though, and that it was simply inspired by it.
6. Boys Before Friends (2013)
It's not only Asians who were captured by the story of Hana Yori Dango; Americans were, too! This loosely-based American adaptation followed the characters in a performing arts graduate school, which already put a twist to the story we all came to know. Fans actully funded this series and released it online!
7. Kaisi Yeh Yaariaan (India, 2014)
A loose adaptation by MTV India, Kaisi Yeh Yaariaan reached extreme popularity among the young Indian audience. It was even dubbed as the No. 1 Youth Show in the country by its production company, BBC Worldwide India, during its run!
8. Meteor Garden (Taiwan, 2018)
After 16 years, the same producer of the Taiwanese adaptation in 2001 decided to do a fresh remake. He has teased that the new version will be 30 times fuller and flashier! He didn't discuss further details about it, making everyone all the more excited than ever. Though the 2001 version will always have a huge place in our hearts, we're definitely anticipating this new generation of the irresistibly charming F4 and our all-time favorite butt-kicking girl San Cai!
With all these different adaptations of Hanayori Dango, we can't help but wonder what a Filipino version would be like! Who would you cast as F4 and San Cai if that happens? Let us know in the comments below!
ALSO READ: In Focus: Meteor Garden Then & Now
Banner Photography from Chinese Television System