Why I Think the Taiwanese Cast of Hana Yori Dango Was the Best!
Meteor Garden was a localization of Hana Yori Dango started from scratch when it came to filming. They modified the story into a Taiwanese setting and I thought the first five characters really knew what they were doing, the essence was captured and everything was really, really brought to life. During this time, we had a few average actors namely Ken Chu and Vanness Wu. On the other hand, Vic Chou really was the best Rui Hanazawa even if that time, his acting wasn't all that ripe but, you can tell he was already ready to emerge.
Now for my opinions on who really stood made the drama stand out even more:
The heroine Makino Tsukushi. Barbie Xu's version imo is easily the best. Although I find Mao Inoue more attractive, she knew how to act better. For a start, it's easy for some old timers to compare Barbie Xu to senior actress Liu Xuehua because of them really knew how to act out their parts as leading ladies. Plus, it was interesting to test her out with Jerry Yan and her ex-boyfriend Vic Chou.
Another person worth praising is Jerry Yan. Like Qin Han, he has a debonair performance that would make him another Qin Han for the older audiences. Until now, I can't help but think this guy made me want to check out Qin Han's series in his younger days... because some of my older aunts compare his charm to Qin Han. Jerry Yan knew how to act every character that Doumyoji Tsukasa carried - the mean side and the soft side. Acting out Tsukasa is no easy task! Jerry Yan, like senior actor Qin Han, manages to please both seniors and juniors alike!
The late Mary Hsu's performance as big sister Tsubaki Doumyoji was another one worth praising. I mean, kickass and everything, she's an action star. While I didn't find it all that surprising she also starred in "Red Love" starring Qin Han and Liu Xuehua. She had a very strong performance and she's the best Tsubaki Doumyoji ever! Although I felt like it's a huge cast mismatch considering she's just a few years older than Zhen Xiuzhen who is just as old as Liu Xuehua. Then again, she really convinced me that she and Zhen Xiuzhen were playing as mom/daughter not as siblings even if the age gap was only 11 years.
Zhen Xiuzhen makes the best version of Kaede Doumyoji. What's interesting is that the actress looks a lot like the Anime/Manga version. It's easy to admire her acting especially when she makes a hateful character come to life. She's so good in acting out a villain I had a hard time believing she usually played the main protagonist in her younger days. I really love how she brings Kaede to life as a mean tempered, overbearing woman that it's easy to forget the actress herself is a really nice person. Although I think Liu Xuehua would have been a better Dao Mingfeng though.
So that's that why I think the Taiwanese version of Hana Yori Dango really stood out!