[RECAP: To the Beautiful You] Episode 1
With another season of dramas starting, we stand face to face with SBS’ new drama To the Beautiful You.
We approach this drama with a lot of caution, not only because it’s filled with idol singers, but because we’ve read the original manga series and absolutely LOVED the Japanese dorama Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (Hana Kimi).
Our biggest fear is that this drama will not be up to par with the Japanese version, and that no matter how we view the Korean version, we’ll end up comparing it to the Japanese version.
So we’re throwing out this disclaimer in case we do start comparing To the Beautiful You to Hana Kimi (which we recommend watching).
We fly into a large stadium, where Kang Tae Jun (SHINee’s Minho), the amazing high jumper from South Korea, is being introduced at the Junior World Championship.
At a hospital, a perky girl turns to her emotionless friend, Jay or Gu Jae Hee (f(x)’s Sulli), and remarks that the athlete is Korean, which sparks the friend’s attention. She watches as Tae Jun jumps and makes it over the pole beautifully as a wave of wonder sweeps over her face. (Loving SM Entertainment’s fancy pants 360-degree camera here).
As Kang Tae Jun celebrates, the next thing we know is Jae Hee is cutting her hair, saying she’s ‘gotta do this.’ Snip, snip. And her long hair is gone.
Jae Hee arrives in Seoul and looks to a large poster of Tae Jun donning symbolic angel wings with the caption, “Miracle… is another name for effort.” She smiles, excited for what’s to come.
On the soccer field, Cha Eun Gyul (Lee Hyun Woo) is kicking everyone’s butt. He pulls off a butterfly kick and manages to score as he runs through the field, strategically avoiding everyone’s hugs, and finally reaches for his cell phone, taking a picture of himself for his victory goal.
Fan girls outside of Genie High School wait for something/someone with their cameras and weirdly-decorated defibrillators/suctions cups as Jae Hee walks up the hill to the entrance of the school.
Meanwhile, Tae Jun sits inside his van, as Director Jang chats up a storm about a commercial shoot that he doesn’t really want to do. It’s apparently a very important commercial with a scene of Tae Jun jumping for the first time since he has come out of rehab. Director Jang continues to chat as Tae Jun blocks her out with his headphones.
The large group of fan girls shriek at the sight of Tae Jun’s van and Jae Hee gets caught in the craziness and ends up getting her face plastered on the window as Tae Jun lifts up the shades.
The track coach, Baek Kwang Min (Kang Kyung Joon), yells at the fans to leave and catches Jae Hee on her way into the all-boys school.
Immediately, she starts acting like a boy to prove she belongs. She even shows him her transfer papers, which Coach Baek says lots of fans have faked before. But upon seeing that everything’s in English, he hurriedly lets her pass before his ignorance is exposed...
There are actually a lot of things wrong with her transcript that it might as well have been faked, (for example, why would you take the same classes for two semesters or how do you get a 4.0 with those grades when none of the classes are honors or APs) but we’ll look over it, since that’s not the focus here.
As Jae Hee looks around the campus, Tae Jun’s van passes….along with some of those crazy fans with the weird suction cups, firmly attached to the back of car. It turns out these girls are pretty much the members of the paparazzi, providing the all-girls school with pretty pictures of the flower boys next door.
Jae Hee walks up the steps, stupidly hitting her suitcase on the concrete steps each time, until her suitcase can’t take it anymore and unclasps, causing all of her clothes and personal belongings to spill out.
Coincidentally, Tae Jun picks up a pair of teddy bear underwear and comments that Jae Hee has interesting taste. Shocked to see Tae Jun standing right in front of her (and holding her under) Jae Hee snatches it out of his hand, claiming it’s a handkerchief (ew) before she accidently slips inside her suitcase and goes flying down those steps that she just climbed.
Tae Jun is quick with his reflexes and steps on the suitcase handle, but it quickly breaks, sending Jae Hee flying back into the air until she crashes into a tree. Tae Jun casually walks away, as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Jae Hee finally reaches the main office with her broken suitcase, where’s she’s greeted by a not-so-bright vice principal, who scolds her for not wearing her school uniform, like what is she…a transfer student?
Lee So Jung, one of the teachers, saves Jae Hee and looks over her transfer papers, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Jae Hee’s impressive track and field record, which Jae Hee whispers inside her head that it was all from the women’s competitions and not the men’s.
After dressing in her new school uniform, she heads for her classroom, where a group of rowdy boys don’t even notice her entrance. She tries to grab their attention and introduces herself, but the boys respond by throwing a banana peel smack in the middle of her face.
The only sane student in the class, Eun Gyul, kindly guides her to an empty seat next to him.
Already proving that he’s going to be a douche in the drama, Song Jong Min (ZE:A’s Kwanghee) tells Jae Hee that as the new student, he needs to be initiated…which means getting a tennis ball from the school’s pet, Sangchoo.
The signs leading to the doghouse are deadly, as Jae Hee sees a sign that says, “I don’t bite.” Then she picks up the broken half that completes the sentence, “I don’t bite….if you don’t come close.”
She’s a little disturbed and freaked out by it, but determined to fit in at the school.
She approaches the school and sees a giant furry white dog, who starts growling before charging at her.
Jong Min is back in the classroom, predicting that Jae Hee is getting bitten and gnashed up right and left, and Eun Gyul turns around and says Jong Min went a little too far with the joke. Jong Min scowls, but is certain that Jae Hee can’t even get close to the doghouse.
And how wrong he is, because Sangchoo is giving Jae Hee doggy kisses all over. She doesn’t understand what the fuss was about and quickly retrieves a tennis ball from the doggy mansion.
Just then, Tae Jun arrives to greet the dog, while telling her about jumping in his commercial. “Should I not shoot the commercial tomorrow? And maybe ditch high-jump all together?”
Jae Hee yells out a no and crawls out of the doghouse, scaring Tae Jun. She asks if his ankle is still not well yet. Tae Jun recognizes the teddy bear underwear and tells Jae Hee to mind her own business.
Jae Hee eventually returns to the classroom, triumphantly putting the tennis ball on Jong Min’s desk. She makes her mark and impresses Eun Gyul.
To Jae Hee’s surprise, Tae Jun is also in her class and coincidentally sits right behind her. She’s extremely happy to see him, while he’s all, “Ugh, teddy bear underwear again?”
At lunchtime, all the boys (and girl) get their food from the buffet. Jae Hee piles on her plate and begins eating only to realize that everyone is already done eating by the time she begins. She’s shocked at how fast the boys eat.
The inevitable time finally greets Jae Hee as she starts performing the pee dance. She drags her feet into the boys’ bathroom and waits for a stall to open, but not before awkwardly meeting people at the urinals.
Jong Min is there, still bitter about getting embarrassed.
Jae Hee does her business inside the stall, probably momentarily wondering what in the world she’s doing in the men’s bathroom.
She comes out after and is immediately trips over Jong Min’s foot. She falls and ends up pulling down a burly student’s pants (cameo by Mighty Mouth’s Sangchoo!), who obviously does not enjoy getting pants-ed in front of his peers.
He picks up his pants and doesn’t take Jae Hee’s apologies.
Eun Gyul hears about the fight in the bathroom and rushes over.
No-Pants man is ready to beat down Jae Hee, who does her best not to get hit. She pushes him into the urinal and he freaks out when he touches it. Jae Hee tries to resolve things in a peaceful manner, until she picks up a plunger and goes Olympics fencing on him and sticks the plunger right into his face.
The situation finally dies down when Ha Seungri (Seo Jun Young) stops the fight. He warns both No-Pants man and Jae Hee and tells the crowd of students to leave.
Escaping the bathroom, Eun Gyul escorts Jae Hee to Dorm 2, where they both live.
Eun Gyul tells Jae Hee that he’s severely impressed by Jae Hee’s actions on her first day at school, especially the tennis ball, since Sangchoo hates boys.
Suddenly, Eun Gyul gets suspicious and says that Jae Hee is really malang (soft). Then he goes and full on touches her chest, which causes Jae Hee to freak out.
“But your chest is so firm!”
Jae Hee changes the topic about the dorms and finds out Tae Jun is also in dorm 2.
Eun Gyul then explains the different dorms.
Dorm 1 is led by Jo Young Man (Yoo Min Gyu), which covers wrestling and taekwondo.
Dorm 2 houses the soccer and track and field athletes and Ha Seungri from before is in charge.
Lastly, Dorm 3 has an elegant, delicate vibe, with the dorm head, Na Chul Soo (Kim Yi Han), being a figure skater, and its athletes focus on fencing and gymnastics.
Eun Gyul explains that the school’s upcoming sports competition has all the dorms going nuts, wanting to win. Jae Hee asks if Tae Jun will participate, and Eun Gyul replies that Tae Jun might not, because he hasn’t exercised in a long time.
Eun Gyul then baptizes Jae Hee with the nickname Malangie, since she’s so soft.
As Eun Gyul and Jae Hee walk away, an angry Jong Min watches, jealously rubbing his lips with lip balm. “I knew I wouldn’t like him.”
At a photo shoot, Director Jang is apologizing for her star who is totally late. In comes Seol Hannah (Kim Ji Won), who melts away the anger of the director by using her aegyo power, then carries on with the photoshoot.
During break time, Director Jang announces that Tae Jun won’t be joining Hannah in the shoot, and Hannah throws a fit and storms out of the building.
Eun Gyul and Jae Hee finally arrive at Jae Hee’s room. Jae Hee is extremely impressed by the interior (probably not as much as we are) as Eun Gyul closes the door to show that Jae Hee’s roommate is none other than Tae Jun.
Eun Gyul leaves and Jae Hee takes some time to register everything that has happened. She mentions that Tae Jun is a total jerk, but still beams at the idea that she’s actually there.
Meanwhile, Director Jang has a meeting with a rep of Tae Jun’s endorsement companies, who’s unsure of Tae Jun’s contact with the company, but Director Jang reassures the rep that Tae Jun is healed and will jump in the next commercial. The rep decides to wait until the commercial shoot before finalizing the contract.
A bit turned off by the rep, Director Jang snaps, “You didn’t choose Tae Jun. Tae Jun chose you,” before walking away.
Back at school, Jae Hee arrives at the classroom, only to find out that it’s swimming time.
She hesitantly walks into the locker room where everyone has their shirts off, showing off their perfectly defined athlete’s bodies. Jae Hee lies and says she doesn’t have a swimming suit.
Jong Min takes this opportunity to offer her one of his, which has a hole in it. Jae Hee declines, but Jong Min gets a little forceful, only to have Eun Gyul step in and tell him off. Jong Min stomps off.
But another problem occurs when Eun Gyul struggles to open his locker, and when he does, the three paparazzi girls pop out, snapping photos on their run out of the locker room. Eun Gyul screams that he’s been shot, and Jong Min runs after the girls to destroy the evidence.
Jae Hee safely passes swimming class by claiming she has a chlorine allergy, which Eun Gyul finds strange but doesn’t question. Jae Hee asks about the whereabouts of Tae Jun and Eun Gyul points out that she’s a Tae Jun “Stan” (stalker fan), which Jae Hee’s denial.
While cutting swimming class, Tae Jun makes a visit to the doctor’s office.
There we meet Jang Min Woo (Ki Tae Young), who is seriously ogling over a picture of Bae Yong Jun, but when Tae Jun arrives, he quickly clicks out of the window and onto an X-ray of Tae Jun’s ankle.
From the look of things, Tae Jun’s Achilles’ Heel is completely healed, but Tae Jun needs clearance from a larger hospital, just in case.
At the hospital, Tae Jun gets a call from Director Jang saying that he will jump tomorrow at the commercial shoot, since a famous high jump coach will be there to watch him.
In the evening, Jae Hee is unpacking her stuff, carefully hiding her feminine products in the last drawer under all of her boyish clothes.
She admires every little thing about her dorm room before going into the bathroom to take a shower. She doesn’t notice that the door doesn’t lock and opens ajar.
Back at the dorms, Tae Jun holds onto a silver necklace, asking for advice on what to do. Suddenly the phone rings and it’s a call from Darth Vader-ahem-his father. (This seems a bit out of character for Tae Jun to have Darth Vader as his father’s contact picture, but because it’s funny, we′ll look over it).
As if things couldn’t get any worse, Tae Jun finds that he has a new roommate, and what’s even creepier is that his roommate has his picture taped to the wall. Way to be subtle about your crush, Jae Hee.
After finishing up her shower, Jae Hee sees that another person is in the dorm and quickly reaches for a towel, just as Tae Jun makes his way into the bathroom.
He opens the door, but luckily, Jae Hee is covered and the two have another, “It’s you again” moment. Jae Hee finally finds out who her roommate is and Tae Jun walks out, completely and utterly annoyed.
Jae Hee gets dressed and overhears a conversation between Tae Jun and Director Jang that the commercial shoot will take place at the hospital tomorrow.
Jae Hee gets excited to hear that maybe he will jump and Tae Jun tells her to mind her own business and to leave the room right away. He doesn’t like sharing rooms with anyone, especially her.
Jae Hee stands up to Tae Jun but ends up getting kicked out anyways.
While Jae Hee becomes homeless, Min Hyun Jae (Kang Ha Neul), another track and field student, is practicing high jumping in a dark gym. Things aren’t going well for him judging by his disappointed face. Later we see that he also keeps a picture of Tae Jun taped to the inside of his locker, but it’s not in admiration, as Hyun Jae whispers, “Just wait, Kang Tae Jun.”
The only place Jae Hee can turn to is Sangchoo’s doggy mansion and she rants to Sangchoo that she’s not just about to give up after coming this far.
Then a flashlight beams on them, and Seungri comes to save the day, just as Sangchoo starts barking up a storm seeing a boy in the area. Seungri cautiously asks what the problem is.
Luckily, Tae Jun can’t overpower the dorm head and Jae Hee is reinstated back into the door. Jae Hee happily hops into bed and beams at the fact that Tae Jun is just at arm’s length. She gets more excited that she might be able to see him jump in person.
She dreams about Tae Jun’s winning jump that had inspired her so much as wings sprawl out and Tae Jun soars above the pole.
In the morning, Tae Jun wakes up to a post-it greeting about not knowing which Vitamin Water he likes. Everywhere he turns, there’s a post-it note encouraging him in everything he does, and Tae Jun annoyingly rips each of them off. We’re pretty sure she’s on her way to exposing her true identity with all those girly doodles.
It turns out Jae Hee has left the dorm early, in order to not be a bother, while she cuddles with Sangchoo in her doghouse.
Doctor Jang announces that Tae Jun’s ankle is completely healed, but Tae Jun doesn’t seem all that thrilled about the news. As he turns to head out, Doctor Jang comments that he’s heard Tae Jun is Seol Hannah’s friend. Tae Jun affirms this and Doctor Jang asks if Tae Jun can get him her autograph at one point.
Tae Jun smiles and says he will as Doctor Jang celebrates quietly. He’s an interesting one, this one.
It’s soccer class time and Tae Jun is leading with the ball. Out of nowhere, Hyun Jae tackles him, hitting his ankle in the process.
Hyun Jae gives a fake apology and worries about Tae Jun.
Tae Jun tells him not to worry about the other team, and Hyun Jae makes a sarcastic remark about having money. Tae Jun snaps back by revealing the reason why Hyun Jae has never been able to beat him: “You worry too much about useless crap.”
The soccer game continues on.
Tae Jun scores a goal and Jae Hee excitedly cheers him up. Tae Jun is still adamant about Jae Hee leaving their room, which Jae Hee does not want. She asks for a chance, and Tae Jun tells Jae Hee to make one goal and he’ll think about her staying in the room. She agrees. Tae Jung replies that he keeps all of his promises.
Meanwhile, Director Jang is bringing Coach Holton to the school to see Tae Jun and she tells him that Tae Jun is all healed and ready to jump, heightening the expectation. In the back, Hannah comments that of course Tae Jun will be amazing, since she’s set her eyes on him.
Director Jang warns Hannah on creating a scandal and Hannah blatantly says they should just go public about their relationship. Director Jang pretty much tells her to shut it.
Jae Hee is trying to score a goal, but she’s no soccer player. Hearing that she needs to get a goal, Eun Gyul, who’s playing goalie, tells Coach Baek to let him play. Coach BAek says no, because he’s basically a pro soccer player.
Despite the coach saying no, Eun Gyul goes out and runs the field, giving Jae Hee a chance to score. Unfortunately Jae Hee misses and she apologizes to Eun Gyul.
Eun Gyul then tells her, “It’s a game where winning or losing doesn’t matter, but after seeing you run, I don’t know about winning, but I definitely don’t want to lose.”
Jae Hee smiles at him.
Eun Gyul kicks the ball to Jae Hee again, giving her another chance at the goal. She sprints to the end of the field, surprising both Eun Gyul and Coach Baek at her speed. But out of nowhere, Jong Min pops out and pushes her hard into the ground, knocking her out.
Tae Jun and Eun Gyul both run to Jae Hee’s side.
Tae Jun picks her up and runs over to the doctor’s office.
Doctor Jang reassures the two boys that she’s just temporarily knocked out and will wake up soon. Meanwhile, Tae Jun receives a text message from Director Jang that they’re ready for him at the commercial shoot and Coach Holton is standing by.
Tae Jun runs to the gym and firmly grasps his silver ring. “This might really be my last time.”
He stretches to get ready for the jump as cameras flash all around him. In the spectator’s section, Tae Jun’s dad sits watching.
At the same time, Jae Hee wakes up.
Doctor Jang explains that she momentarily passed out from the soccer game. Then he approaches her. “But there’s something strange,” says Doctor Jang.
Tae Jun goes for his first attempt….and despite everyone’s expectations, Tae Jun lands straight on the pole. Devastation falls over him.
Doctor Jang hovers over Jae Hee.
“So tell me…. Why is there a girl in an all-boys school?”
Jae Hee looks back at him in horror.
Okay, so that was a pretty decent start to things.
We were delightfully surprised to see that the Korean version is closely following after the original manga while taking certain ideas from the Japanese drama. It was a bit disappointing that the silliness of the story being based on a manga is not yet there, but it’s only the first episode so there is plenty of room for improvement.
The thing about this Korean version of Hana Kimi is that it seems to be going a lot more realistic and dramatic (confused? just hear us out) than the original story (we can already see these unnecessary side stories in the works - the love square, the sports rivalry, etc, as if having a girl dressed up as a boy is not complicated enough already).
Yes, it’s a drama in order to be dramatic in the most realistic way possible, but honestly, if we’re trying to go for realistic, how does it make sense that a girl drops everything and pretends to be a boy in an all-boys school just to see this guy she has an obsession with?
Perhaps we’re being a bit too critical from the first episode, but we didn’t particularly enjoy how Boys Over Flowers played out and To the Beautiful You is being directed by the same person who sort of ruined the Korean Hana Yori Dango for us despite its high ratings and popularity (Mostly because the F4 members were just too good-looking).
We’re just hoping that the drama will begin to lighten up and not take this already ridiculous story too seriously, especially since it is the beginning and if they don’t set the tone in the beginning, it’ll be hard to do it later on in the series.
Add in more humor, more character personality! Less complications and side stories that the drama can’t take responsibility for.
We can’t wait to see how Eun Gyul rises in the drama, because Nakatsu, the Japanese counterpart, was our favorite in Hana Kimi because of Ikuta Toma’s amazing and absolutely hilarious performance. Lee Hyun Woo has some big shoes to fill, and after seeing his soccer goal selcas, we think he’ll be able to fill them.
Other than that, the drama is too pretty for words.
All these vibrant colors and fancy cameras just make all the flower boys shine even more. And their dorm room...we’re completely floored and totally jealous that every student lives in a place like that.
Hopefully the story continues to get better since we would like to continue this series while enjoying both the eye candy and the plot.
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