The legendary rom-com Boys Over Flowers is getting yet another remake. This time, it greets the audience in the form of a Thai drama, which recently dropped its first episode on Viu.
The Thai version of F4 is made up of Thyme (Bright Vachirawit), Ren (Dew Jirawat), Kavin (Win Metawin) and MJ (Nani Hirunkit), who are Tsukasa Domyoji, Rui Hanazawa, Sojiro Nishikado, and Akira Mimasaka respectively in the original manga. Taking on the female lead as Gorya, or Tsukushi Makino, is Tu Tontawan.
While the story remains largely the same, here’s how F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers is different from the other remakes. For a better perspective, the following points are based on the impressions of the Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean remakes.
1. It turns up the dial on bullying in school.
Instead of focusing on the rom-com elements, F4 Thailand takes a slightly more serious approach by exploring the social issue of bullying. As the story incorporates a more modern setting with the use of social media, Thyme said that F4 did not instigate the bullying, but merely provided a way for people to “have anonymous accounts in real life,” referencing the existence of keyboard warriors. The small pranks seen in other remakes have been greatly blown up into a somewhat maniacal game.
2. It loses the shojo essence and becomes more realistic.
While the other remakes portray a more dreamy and unbelievable setting, F4 Thailand adopts something more down-to-earth and relatable instead. The original Makino’s family saves up a lot of money to send her to the prestigious school that only the extremely wealthy can enter. But Gorya gets into the school through a scholarship. Nonetheless, her poor family still has to bear with miscellaneous high costs, such as textbooks and uniforms. However, without the fluffy and fanciful setting that generally makes up a shojo (targeted at teen females) manga, the allure of the drama is diminished.
3. F4 is not swag enough.
In the other remakes, F4 has idol-like qualities that make the other students flock towards them. Apart from commanding the fear of getting a red card, F4 also has an enchanting aura that makes people adore and in some sense, worship them. But these traits seem to be lacking from F4 Thailand.
This is possible because the actors are relatively young and cannot emanate the cool arrogance that F4 ideally has. However, the hopes are still high for Bright as Thyme and Win as Kavin, as the duo had gained international fame from the 2gether series, a popular Thai boys’ love drama.
4. It has not mentioned Gorya’s similarity to Thyme’s sister.
In the Japanese remake, one of the most iconic scenes is when Makino jumps with her fists in position, and launches a punch towards Domyoji’s face. It also marks the pivotal moment when Domyoji starts to develop an interest in her, as she reminds him of his sister. But F4 Thailand did not mention this resemblance, or at least not yet. The story will be difficult to progress without this revelation, so hopefully, we’ll see something in the second episode.
Tu makes her acting debut with F4 Thailand. But her portrayal of Gorya, partly also due to the script, sadly lacks the tenacity and boldness that the character should have. The young actress could not present certain nuances of the character, something she will do better with more years of experience.
F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers is now streaming on Viu, with new episodes every Saturday.