Series / Boys Before Flowers

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bbfdr.jpg
Left to right: Song Woo Bin, So Yi Jung, Goo Jun Pyo, Geum Jan Di, Yoon Ji Hoo

Boys Before Flowers is a Korean Series created in 2009, based on the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango. The live Adaptation Distillation uses similar characters but with different names and outcomes over the course of a 25-episode arc. It is the fifth adaptation of the original source, and it is the only Korean-produced adaptation.

After saving a rich kid from suicide, Geum Jan Di is invited to go to Shin Hwa Academy, a kindergarten through University campus set up strictly for the rich and beautiful. There she gets bullied by F4, a foursome of bored rich upperclassmen who rule the school. After standing up to their leader, Goo Jun Pyo, her life becomes a Love Dodecahedron as some of the members become attracted to her.


The series contains examples of:

  • Adorkable: Jun Pyo. He is still childish and naïve compared with the rest of the F4.
    Yi Jung (listening to him flirt with Jan Di): "Seriously, I'm embarrassed to be around this guy."
  • Adults Are Useless: The teachers at Shin Hwa Academy are almost unseen, presumably because they are either clueless or too afraid to go against F4 to do anything about the bullying that occurs at the school (especially considering Jun Pyo's family is the owner of the Academy).
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Once any student is targetted by F4, everyone in school bullies them. And Jan Di got it worse a few times, especially once she got the attention of them.
  • Amnesiac Lover: Jun Pyo goes through this in the last few episodes due to an Easy Amnesia, when he was finally getting reunited with Jan Di.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Jun Pyo's preferred method of showing concern.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • Jun Pyo's engagement to Jae Kyung, which was the result of his mother giving much more importance to the family's business than gving some of it to her own children's lives. Jae Kyung eventually call it off, because Jun Pyo still felt love towards Jan Di.
    • Jun Hee, Jun Pyo's older sister, went through the same thing with her actual husband (and she was against the marriage).
  • Attempted Rape: Averted in episode 2 when Yoon Ji Hoo shows up and saves the day.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Goo Jun Pyo. He starts all of Jan Di's misfortunes, then decides he likes her. He is also a control freak around her as well.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: In one episode, Jan Di is kidnapped, drugged, then cleaned up and brought to Jun Pyo's house.
  • Batman Gambit: Lee Jae Ha's revenge plan towards Jun Pyo (and the F4) was involving Madam Kang (Jun Pyo's mother) in the whole mess.
  • Beach Episode: Spent entirely in New Caledonia, a string of tropical islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Most of the students at Shin Hwa Academy are incredibly beautiful, including the F4, who are their "idols". Justified that this is a school for rich people, and most of the physical "beauty" that the students possess is mostly due to plastic surgery.
  • Berserk Button: Jun Pyo is not pleased when Jan Di is threatened. Even though a lot of her bullying was instigated by him in the beginning of the series, once he starts to warm up to her, it's better not to mess with Jan Di for your own safety.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Yi Jung is most confrontational (compared to his Hana Yori Dango's counterpart) after Jun Pyo. He's normally softspoken and willing to go along with Jun Pyo's antics, but he doesn't hold himself back when he thinks Jun Pyo and Ji Hoo need some sense knocked into them.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jan Di gets saved a lot in the drama. For example, while in Macau, she gets her wallet stolen. Jae Kyung calls attention to it, and saves her from the mugger.
  • Bridal Carry: When Jan Di gets bullied into unconsciousness, Jun Pyo saves her while carrying her as such.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Yi-Jung was the Brooding Boy to Eun-Jae's Gentle Girl. Ga-Eul later takes over Eun-Jae's role.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Jun Pyo and Jun Hee do this several times to Madam King, when she is already crossing a line in threatening the life of Jan Di AND Jun Pyo. Especially when it is found out that Madam King lied to her children about their own father's death, when actually he was in a comma.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Jan Di gets a chair smashed on her shoulder when she was kidnapped by Lee Jae Ha. The long-term damage means the end of her swimming career.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Jae Kyung shows up many times in Macau before and after meeting Jan Di, and even runs into Jun Pyo a few times, before she is revealed to be Jun Pyo's fiancee.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Ji Hoo wears white or light colors; Jun Pyo generally wears black, and they both drive vehicles in their preferred colors.
  • Cool Big Sis: Jun Hee, Jun Pyo's older sister, is known at school as "The Charisma Queen". She becomes like an older sister to Jan Di, as does Jae Kyung.
  • Cool Car: Yi Jeong's and Woo Bin's cars are the most prominent due to their bright colors (yellow and orange, respectively).
  • Cool Old Guy: Butler Lee and Manager Jung (Madam Kang's secretary) — both of whom seem to be fully aware of the rotten schemes their respective bosses (Jun Pyo & Madam Kang) are capable of, and do their best to protect people (read: Jan Di) from being unnecessarily targeted by the aforementioned two if they can avoid it. Manager Jung even goes out of his way to schedule time for Jun Pyo to see the rest of F4 in the midst of all the crap he has to do as the Shin Hwa group's heir.
  • Cool Plane: Jun Pyo's personal jet.
  • Comforting Comforter: Nonromantic example when Ji Hoo does this to Jun Pyo. Jan Di and Jun Pyo do this to each other a few times.
  • Dances and Balls: Several are showcased in the series, mostly set up by the school.
  • Disposable FiancÚ: Jae Kyung to Jun Pyo, although the bride is the one to call off the wedding.
  • Distant Finale: The final scenes of the series show us what happened to various characters four years after the main events. For some characters, it's a case of Fast Forward to Reunion.
  • Dynamic Entry: Jun Hee introduces herself by running Jun Pyo's car down, cartwheeling over, and then whaling on him with a wooden sword.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Reconstructed. Lee Jae Ha wasn't the dog that Jun Pyo kicked, his older brother was. However, he did feel the effects of F4's bullying as his brother is his only family member. His Revenge scheme is pretty much this trope: quiet previous victim tries to take vengeance on unsuspecting villain.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Jan-di is arrogant only when it comes to Jun-pyo. She also cheats on him with his best friend but Jun-pyo goes ahead and forgives both (with the force of his elder sister, though). Also the series ends with Jun-pyo's proposal to Jan-di.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lee Jae Ha's older brother, who high-dives off a school building after being bullied by the school thanks to a "red card" from F4. Jan Di just barely manages to stop him, which is the reason she is invited to become a student at the school.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • Jan Di accidently gets drunk, but still uses the situation to mumble her sorrow over Ji Hoo to Jun Pyo. This starts the transfer of her feelings to Jun Pyo.
    • In later episodes, Yi Jung is seen drinking when he is sorrowing about his past love, and his parents' situations.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Several important scenes are either at or within viewing distance of Namsan Tower in Seoul.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: this is the Alpha Bitch's response to Min Ji's betrayal of Jan Di.
    • Though this may be a case of the Alpha Bitch just switching sides as usual now that it's known that Jan Di is innocent. She can go from adoring Jan Di to setting her bike on fire depending on whether Jan Di is accused of cheating on Jun Pyo or not. She never seems to have many standards where bullying is concerned.
    • Even though he's the one that ordered the bullying, Jun Pyo is actually pretty pissed when he finds out that some students went so far as to almost rape Jan Di.
  • Everyone Can See It: Pretty much everyone who sees Jan Di and Jun Pyo together thinks they are a good couple.
  • Evil Is Petty: Madam Kang makes sure Jan Di's family falls into misery just because Jan Di is dating her son. There is a moment where Jan di's mom pours a bowl of salt on her, because she couldn't accept the money she attempted to give them over the condition to keep Jan Di away from seeing Jun Pyo... and Madam King's response was forcing them out of business.
  • Evil Matriarch: Jun Pyo's mother, Madam King. She is emotionally neglectful of both her children and vindictive toward Jan Di.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Jae Kyung, after finding out that Jan Di and Jun Pyo had a relationship and that they still liked each other. She asks Jun Pyo whether he would choose love or friendship and he says he wouldn't give up on either. She eventually calls off the wedding, giving up on Jun Pyo.
  • Food Slap: Ga Eul throws a drink in Yi Jung's face for being rude to her on their date. Jan Di's mother also pours a bowl of salt over the head of Madam Kang.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: In an instance where Jan Di steps in the way of a blow meant for Jun Pyo, she is badly hurt to the point where she is told she can no longer swim without aggravating her shoulder.
  • Girl Posse: The Mean Girls Trio that make fun of Jan Di whenever Jun Pyo is having a temper tantrum.
  • Gratuitous English: Usually from the Girl Posse and Woo Bin.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: After Ji Hoo has an argument with his grandfather in episode 21.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Jan Di has a pretty bad one when she's told she can no longer swim.
  • If I Can't Have You: Jun Pyo's attitude at the start. He eventually realizes that he can't treat Jan Di like a toy to take away from Ji Hoo, especially since he feels the same way about her.
  • In-Series Nickname: Jun Pyo calls Jae Kyung "Monkey"; she doesn't mind as she sees it as an Affectionate Nickname. She calls him "Jun" sometimes.
  • Instant Fan Club: All of F4 are guaranteed this if they show up in public. They exploit it in one episode to drum up publicity for the porridge shop.
  • Insult to Rocks: Jan Di's brother comments that a stuffed pink cat looks like Jun Pyo, and their mother replies that Jun Pyo isn't as nice or cute and that the toy would be insulted to hear that.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Ji Hoo and Jan Di share an intimate moment on the steps during episode 18.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Jan Di asks Seo Hyun not to leave the country for Ji Hoo's sake, and doesn't ask Ji Hoo to stay for her when he says he's leaving. Ji Hoo, upon his return, steps aside for Jan Di and Jun Pyo to have a chance at a relationship, with the full knowledge that he missed his chance for anything with her anyway.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: Goo Jun Pyo gives Jan Di a complete wardrobe before whisking her off to New Caledonia for a tropical weekend.
  • Kiss of Life: When Jan Di rescues Jun Pyo from the pool.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Yi Jung. Also his father, who claims that "once you let The One go, all the others are the same."
  • Lonely Rich Kid: All the F4 members, with the exception of each other.
  • Malaproper: Jun Pyo butchers every quote. Jae Kyung also qualifies, with blunders such as "A man's word is as good as a blond."
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Ga Eul comes off as this in the Bodyguard CF with Yi Jung.
  • Meaningful Name: Jan Di's name is played with throughout the series because it also means "grass" or "lawn".
  • Misplaced Retribution: Jae Ha's revenge plan involves kidnapping Jan Di.
  • Mr. Fanservice: F4, and how! They are a group of sharp dressed men who get Shirtless Scenes and Shower Scenes.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Is Woo Bin's family the mafia or involved in the construction business? Or both?
  • My Greatest Failure: Jun Hee considers that the moment when she was unable to go against her mother's wish to marry her off to a wealthy businessman was her biggest failure. Her current unhappiness with her life drives her actions in supporting Jan Di and Jun Pyo, and also uses the story as a cautionary tale to Jun Pyo to drive him to make a decision regarding marrying Jae Kyung or being with Jan Di.
  • Mythology Gag: Ji Hoo's horse, given to him by Soo Jin, is named "Rui" after Rui Hanazawa, Ji Hoo's counterpart in Hana Yori Dango.
  • Nosebleed: Used in this series to indicate overwork and a general shutdown of the body. It mostly occurs with Jan Di when she is working more than two jobs, and that she hasn't eaten properly as a result.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: In episode 7, Jan Di on her bicycle chases Jun Pyo in the limousine, somehow arriving at the Shin Hwa residence at exactly the same time. Slightly lampshaded: he asks her how the hell she got there.
  • Piggyback Cute: Jan Di and both of her love interests multiple times — getting bullied, trapped in a blizzard, collapsing from overwork, breaking a heel on her shoe, etc.
  • Plot-Based Voice Cancellation:
    • A passing plane drowns out what Jun Pyo says to Jan Di regarding their relationship.
    • Also, a motorcycle roars by when they are setting up a graduation party date.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Ji Hoo and his grandfather — they each blame themselves for the accident that killed Ji Hoo's parents, and Ji Hoo's grandfather left the family and the company because he couldn't deal with the guilt. Ji Hoo takes this to mean that his grandfather blamed Ji Hoo for the accident, leaving Ji Hoo to deal with the mental trauma that comes with the entirety of his family dead or absent.
    • To a lesser extent, Eun Jae says that this is the reason things didn't work out between her and Yi Jung.
  • Ramen Slurp: Jan Di frequently slurps her instant noodles, to the annoyance of her boyfriend and to the amusement of the rest of F4.
  • Rescue Romance: One-sided on Jan Di's part towards Ji Hoo.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Oddly enough, Jan Di and Ji Hoo... to each other. Jan Di crushed hard on Ji Hoo as he continued to save her from bullies that came after her because of Jun Pyo, but he ends up leaving Jan Di to follow Seo Hyun out of the country. By the time Ji Hoo returns and realizes he also has feelings for Jan Di, Jan Di has already started to fall for Jun Pyo, and Ji Hoo realizes that it's too late for him to pursue a romantic relationship with her. He then opts to push Jun Pyo and Jan Di together, though there are occasional moments that indicate he regrets his choice.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Ji Hoo and, for a given degree of manly, Jun Pyo.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Jun Pyo tries to get Jan Di kicked out of school after she kissed Ji Hoo.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Like all the other adaptations of this series, up to level WTF.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: All the men of F4 wear nice clothes.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Jan Di's family really wants her to marry Jun Pyo. At first, it's because he's rich, but they like him a lot when they meet him. In fact, everyone in the series seems to ship Jan Di and Jun Pyo at some point.
    • Ji Hoo's grandfather is very obviously trying to push Jan Di and Ji Hoo together near the end of the series.
  • Sibling Triangle: Yi Jung and his brother both fall for Eun Jae.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Jun Pyo's attitude towards the rest of F4 and Jan Di when he meets them post time skip.
  • Sleep Cute: Jan Di and Jun Pyo after getting stuck in a building overnight. Jan Di falls asleep on Ji Hoo's shoulder in another episode.
  • Slut-Shaming: Jan Di gets this a few times, such as when a man drugged her and took a picture of them in a hotel room together and after she cheated on Jun Pyo with Ji Hoo. The majority of the students write bad things about on her desk and the board, attack her physically and verbally, and even set her bike on fire. Jun Pyo's mother also does it, accusing Jan Di of trying to seduce Jun Pyo.
  • There Are No Adults: School children being bullied to suicide, burning bicycles and throwing trash into the school pool, kidnapping, blackmail, etc., yet no adults seem to exist on campus, and there are no consequences.
  • Time Skip: A six-month skip in the middle of the series (after Jun Pyo leaves South Korea, due to his father's sickness), and a four-year skip at the end.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Subverted: Ji Hoo has a ticket on the next flight out.
  • True Companions: The F4 are each other's only friends, though Madam Kang doesn't think that Jun Pyo should have any.
  • Underdressed for the Occasion: Played with. Jan Di shows up in her school uniform for the after-graduation party — but her friends think it's the perfect outfit for her.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Well, they are rich.
  • Will Not Be A Victim: Jan Di tries to stand up for herself, even while physically being assaulted by groups of classmates.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Jun Pyo usually, especially as a response to his treatment of Jan Di in the second half of the series. He also got this when he cheated in the horse race against Ji Hoo, injuring the horse in the process, who had to be put down as a result.
    • Ji Hoo to his grandfather, for leaving him alone and and letting him think that he blamed him for his parents' deaths.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Almost word for word when Jan Di wonders if Jun Pyo is still going to be waiting for her in freezing weather for hours. After her mother quotes this, she takes off running.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Jun Pyo is flat-out terrified of bugs, snakes, and swimming.
    • Ji Hoo has a driving phobia because his parents died in a traffic accident that he thought it was his fault.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Geum Jan Di has Grade B in her school girl outfit in some of her shots.
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