Manga Characters brought to LIFE

I’ve always believed that different forms of expression should not be intertwined and stories never re-adapted. With change, uniqueness of the narrative fades and there is a lesser appreciation of the story in its original format.

Drama adaptations of manga are no exception. While some casting choices mean a personification of a two-dimensional drawing for manga fans, others are eye-liquorices. I sincerely dislike liquorice.

Check out if your favorite Asian stars have acted as manga characters! And if they happen to be a liquorice or a drool magnet.

Goong / Princess Hours

Story: Set in an imaginary modern day South Korea, a common girl is set to marry the nation’s hot Crown Prince, Lee Shin. But juggling politics, love squares and school is not easy for the princess-to-be, Che-Kyung.

In 2005, Yoon Eun Hye acted as Che-Kyung in the drama Goong or Princess Hours. This was her first main acting role and became a huge stepping-stone for her successful acting career. Her big round eyes resembled Che-kyung’s and received much love with her portrayal of the innocent and arrogant princess. The drama debuted with average ratings, but as it progressed, viewership increased to 28.3% nationally. Her latest work includes the movie, My Black Mini Dress, and drama, Lie to Me.

Shin Lee, the cold crown prince of Korea, is portrayed by actor/model Joo Ji Hoon (3rd from right). Fans of the manhwa initially protested the casting of Joo into the lead role, and I would too. Gone are Shin Lee’s double eye-lids, sharp jaw, milky skin and cool demeanor. Replaced is an awkward new actor with small slit eyes. However, he did win a MBC Best New Actor award that year for Goong.

In 2008, Joo Ji Hoon was caught with the use of ecstasy and ketamine and was sent to six months of jail with one year of probation and 120 hours of community service, plus a penalty of 360,000 won. After that incident, JJH underwent military training and in 2011, signed up with Bae Yong-joon-owned KEYEAST Entertainment.

Hana Yori Dango / Boys Over Flowers / Meteor Garden

Story: A poor girl gains entrance to the most prestigious school in the nation. Filled with the rich and bored, will she survive?

If you haven’t watched any of the three dramas, then you’re way out of the times. The first Hana Yori Dango Live action was the 2001 Meteor Garden starring F4 & Barbie Hsu, followed by 2005 Hana Yori Dango and 2009 Boys Over Flowers. Since the three dramas come from different parts of Asia; China, Japan and Korea respectively, there has been fierce ongoing debate on which representation was the best.

Regarding the female lead, Makino Tsukushi, Korea’s Koo Hye Sun (28) seemed to flair the worst with her noticeably three year age gap with Lee Min Ho (25). While Inoue Mao wins in appearances, Barbie Hsu’s portrayal of the Makino came out both stronger and funnier.

Domyoji was portrayed wonderfully by all three male actors and all three are strikingly handsome. If i said else-wise, i’m sure i would have a gaping hole in my head by tomorrow. T.T

Rui is again acted by three exceptional actors. However the trophy goes to Oguri Shun. His calm yet deep stare and relaxed composure reflected his seventeen years of acting experience. Both, Vic Zhou and Kim Hyun Joong were stiff in comparison and lacked acting experience. Vic was discovered for his looks and casted for the role when he was accompanying a friend to an audition. Kim Hyun Joong also only had elementary acting experience, previously being the leader of idol group SS501.

Note to aspiring celebrities: Never take better looking friends with you to auditions. You’ll be quickly forgotten and your friend’s face will be plastered everywhere, reminding you of your failure for years to come. Kim Heechul was also discovered this way.

Skip Beat / Extravagant Challenge

Story: Kyoko sacrificed her all for Sho, her youth, home, education and pride, to support him to be a successful singer. When she finds out that he was just using her as a slave, she vows to get revenge … as a celebrity.

Ivy Chan is Kyoko Mogami. Her cute face is indeed very manga-like but that’s where the likeness ends. Kyoko’s conflicted character is very hard to portray without looking crazy since she is immersed in her hatred and self-doubt. However, Ivy came off as maniacal and extremely loud in the drama. Kyoko’s hair is also supposed to be dyed and layered while Ivy’s hair is bob like and un-dyed.

Tsuruga Ren is supposed to be masculine with broad shoulders, burdened by his past but instead we got Siwon of Super Junior. Undeniably good looking and actually tall but Siwon just looks too happy and unburdened. Ren is supposedly the best actor in Japan. They should of at least casted a proper actor and not an idol-turned-actor.

Surprisingly, Donghae did the best job of depicting Sho. Being short (well shorter than Ren), cocky, second rate singer and a narcissist came naturally to Donghae. His character actually made me laugh. But the casting could’ve been better overall. With the international popularity of Super Junior, it is hard to imagine tension between love rivals Ren and Sho.

Sailor Moon

Story: Five girls discover that they are the reincarnations of princesses from the Moon Kingdom. They fight evil monsters on Earth and later travel to the moon. Actually not a bad manga. Was very popular in the 1990s.

I won’t even go into detail why the drama is so wrong. In the name of the moon, i will punish the directors! But if you’re looking for a whole lot of laughs and panty flashing then this series is for you.

Check out if you’re favorite dramas were actually based on manga:



3 thoughts on “Manga Characters brought to LIFE

  1. I find it really weird how I love Hana Yori Dango(Season 1, 2, and the movie) to bits, and hating Boys Over Flowers when they are actually the same story-wise. Inoue Mao really did a great job there, and I agree with the guys who portrayed Domyouji, they were all good.

    Sailor Moon?? Seriously?? They made a live-action of that one? I loved the anime sure, but the anime being a hit doesn’t mean they should do a live-action of it. Gosh, that’s really bad in every way haha.

    • Ooo I agree with you on the Boys Over Flowers thing! But for some reason, (even though I love Kdramas most), I can’t really like Korean dramas that were based off of Japanese manga… it feels like they didn’t capture the right feeling, maybe because of different cultures?

      But then, not every Japanese drama based off of Japanese manga is good either XD;

  2. Sometimes the dramas based on manga are totally amazing like Hana Yori Dango or Mars, but sometimes it feels like they’re just trying to make a quick buck off an already popular story… like Host Club or Otomen >.<

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