You’re beautiful (Korean: 미남이시네요, Minamisineyo) was written by the Hong sisters and aired in 2009. While it didn’t get record breaking ratings, it was extremely popular with international viewers and had a large online fan base.
The Plot: Go Mi Nyeo, raised in an orphanage with her twin brother Go Mi Nam, is now a nun-in-training under the name of Gemma at a convent. Mi Nam is off training to become an idol. Mi Nam is about to achieve his dream of entering an idol group- unfortunately, he is in the United States getting undergoing procedures to fix botched plastic surgery. (The exact reason for Mi Nam being unavailable is not the same in every version; however, the same thing happens as a result.) Mi Nyeo agrees to pretend to be Mi Nam for a short period of time when she learns that Mi Nam hoped becoming famous would help them find their mother, who may be alive. Mi Nyeo cuts her hair, dresses like a boy, and moves in with the other 3 members of A.N*JELL.
You’re Beautiful: (Korea, 2009) This is the original, and while the others have great moments, I would say it is the best. Jang Geun Suk as A.N*JELL Leader Hwang Tae Kyung creates a main lead that is vulnerable and caring despite a hard outer shell. Park Shin Hye’s Go Mi Nam/Go Mi Nyeo is adorable, if there are moments when she is unbelievably dim. She always looks like a girl, so people thinking she is a boy is a bit of a stretch, but I’ve only seen a few gender-bending dramas that were even slightly convincing. Lee Hong Ki’s Jeremy is comic relief, but there are moments when the character makes you want to cry (in a good way.) As for Jung Yong Hwa, while he is notably stiff in his first acting role as Kang Shin Woo, Shin Woo has nonetheless caused second lead syndrome for many watchers. Last but not least, Uee is fabulous as Yoo He Yi, the “fake fairy” you love to hate. The Korean version is, I believe, the only one to include the visit from Go Mi Nam’s high-school buddy, which was for me one of the most enjoyable plot lines. The complete absence of communication between Go Mi Nyeo and her brother (who barely appeared, understandably since he was also played by Park Shin Hye) was something that I found disappointing, plot wise, in every iteration of the story. But, also in every version, the great music made up for it.
Ikemen Desu Ne: (Japan, 2011)
Like most Japanese dramas, at 11 episodes this is shorter than the typical Korean drama. That lead to the plot being slightly condensed. For the most part, it was well done. Takimoto Miori as Mio/Miko wasn’t as endearing as Park Shin Hye, but looked far more convincing as a male. Tamamori Yuta as Katsuragi Ren (Hwang Tae Kyung) was pretty good and had a bit of a Jang Geun Suk vibe. (Speaking of Jang Geun Suk, his cameo in this is one of the best moments of the whole series.) One thing I did not enjoy was the unnecessary, stereotypical caricature of a gay male that was stuck in as the Yoo He Yi character’s stylist.
Fabulous Boys: (Taiwan, 2013) This version was very hard to find subtitled when it aired, so it took me a long time to finish. If you are not sure whether it’s worth looking for, I recommend you give it a shot. Jiro Wang as Huang Tai Qing (Tae Kyung), while possible a little old for the part, does a great job. Tai Qing in this version has more visible feelings towards Gao Mei Nan (Go Mi Nyeo) than in the Korean version, which makes the romance more fun to watch. This has the best version of the Taser scene, hands down. Su Li Wen as Goa Mei Nan both has Park Shin Hye’s adorableness and the ability to look at least slightly male. Although in the show, she looks not like a sex-symbol idol, but like a ten-year-old boy, in print she looks surprisingly like Jang Geun Suk.
Do you see a resemblance? If you have comments, if you disagree with me or if I’ve left anything out, please don’t hesitate to let me know! Next time I will look at the different productions of Itazura Na Kiss.