Korean producers tapping hit Taiwanese dramas for inspiration





With news of the Korean version of Japanese manga “Itazura na Kiss” being in the works, the upcoming update would mark the third international drama adaptation since the 1996 Japanese version of the same name and the Taiwanese duology “It Started with a Kiss” (2005) and “They Kiss Again” (2008). The original manga captivated readers and continues to expand its readership with the first of a dozen parts seeing an English release late last year.

South Korean producers hope the upcoming 'Itazura' update will repeat the successful formula of last year’s “Boys Over Flowers”, another Korean idol drama based on a Japanese manga that also originally saw major live-action success as the Taiwanese 2001 idol drama “Meteor Garden”. The practice of adapting live-action versions of Japanese manga is prevalent in both Japanese and Taiwanese-based idol dramas, but until the 2009 release of “Boys Over Flowers”, the phenomenon in South Korea had been mostly restricted to big-screen adaptations such as 2003’s “Oldboy” and 2008’s “Antique Bakery”.

The sudden move to update the classic ‘Itazura’ manga after the overwhelming success of “Boys Over Flowers” follows the growing trend by South Korean producers to invest in existing intellectual properties that originally seen success in other live-action adaptations. Furthermore, the original Taiwanese idol drama adaptations and the actors who starred in them have a faithful following in both Japan and South Korea.

Since it has been almost half a decade since the original Taiwanese idol drama adaptation of the ‘Itazura’ manga, producers hope to take advantage of the elapsed time to update the series to South Korean audiences who did not see subtitled versions of the original idol drama. And much like how “Boys Over Flowers” was produced partly due to the previous idol drama success of “Meteor Garden” that launched the acting careers of Barbie Hsu and the members of Taiwanese boy band F4, the South Korean update hopes to fare with similar success experienced in the previous idol drama “It Started with a Kiss”, which itself launched the acting careers of Ariel Lin and Joe Cheng.

With “Boys Over Flowers” and now “It Started with a Kiss” getting the Korean idol drama treatment, other hit Taiwanese idol drama such as “Devil Beside You” and “Mars” receiving possible consideration would not be out of the question.



 
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