2015 Korean romantic comedy She Was Pretty, who starred Seo-joon Park, was such a success that it received not only a Chinese remake in 2017, but also a Japanese remake of the same title, which premiered in Japan in July of this year.
In Singapore, She Was Pretty of Japan is currently airing on cable TV channel GEM, where it premieres every Thursday and Friday at 8:45 p.m. (SGT).
The stars of the Japanese version Kento Nakajima as Sosuke Hasebe, and Fuka Koshiba as Ai Sato. Sosuke was a dull fat boy who grew up to be a handsome associate editor of fashion magazine The Most. On the other hand, Ai was a beautiful student, but lost confidence in her appearance when “ugly features” began to appear in adulthood.
Although they were childhood friends, Ai couldn’t muster her courage to meet Sosuke, who returned from New York to Japan. Ai begins a tumultuous journey of deception when she finds out that Sosuke is now her boss.
Here are four things to know about the Japanese remake of She Was Pretty.
1. The characters and the setting are not as glamorous.
As the Korean version used brightly colored clothes and more accentuated makeup and hairstyles, the Japanese version may look less glamorous in comparison. To some extent, this seems odd as the characters, especially Ai’s best friend Risa (Yui Sakuma), are meant to look fashionable. At the very least, Risa should have colored hair like her Korean counterpart, instead of relatively boring dark hair.
The workplace decor of The Most is also a far cry from the Korean version. Instead of showcasing chic tech and sleek furnishings, it presents a cramped, messy workplace that doesn’t suit a high-end fashion magazine. In one scene, Sousuke even had to manually close his office blinds, when the Korean version uses smart windows that can be changed to translucent with the push of a button on the controller.
2. The pace of the story is much faster.
Typical of most Japanese dramas, the Japanese version of She Was Pretty also has a faster pace. What would have lasted four episodes in the Korean version was condensed into just two episodes. Some details have been cropped out, making the characters less complete than they might have been. While the personalities of the main characters in the Korean version are more important, the characters in the Japanese version can appear relatively flat.
3. The adaptation is fairly faithful to the original.
The Japanese version remains somewhat faithful, making sure to retain the key events that build the relationships between the four main characters: Ai, Sousuke, Risa and Ai Higuchi’s colleague (Eiji Akaso). It also dramatically alleviates Ai’s hysterical side – having a howl in almost every episode can be really annoying – and introduces a more logical, less over-the-top flow into events.
4. The actors are relatively younger and more recent.
The Korean version features actors born in the 1980s with relatively more industry experience, while the Japanese version features actors born in the 1990s, who are more recent to play. Additionally, Kento Nakajima, who is part of J-pop boy group Sexy Zone, stars in the male lead. As such, the Japanese remake feels more like an idol drama than a drama with more emphasis on acting. Nonetheless, it’s still a good attempt to let young talent shine, rather than being conservative by using established actors.
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