Monday, May 30, 2011

Manga Monday! Boys Over Flowers

Title: Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango)
Author: Yoko Kamio
Price: $9.99/book
Books in series: 37 (37!!!!)
Get it at Amazon or wherever Viz is sold! (Or try to buy it boxed at eBay!)

Description (from Wikipedia, to give you more info): Makino Tsukushi, a working-class girl, attends an elite school called Eitoku Academy, populated by children and older youths from rich, high-society families. She is the "weed" of the school, surrounded by all the rich kids, including the "Flower Four" (F4). The F4 leader and son of the wealthiest, most powerful family in Japan, Domyouji Tsukasa, takes an interest in Tsukushi, because she is the only girl at Eitoku who does not fawn over him. However, his hot-headed nature and bullying ways are originally a major turn-off for Tsukushi, who has her sights set on someone else (Hanazawa Rui).

The violinist Hanazawa Rui, Tsukasa's best friend, becomes Tsukushi's first serious romantic interest. He is a quiet and cool guy, but he has a soft spot for his close friend and Tsukushi's idol, the model Todou Shizuka, whom he harbored feelings for since childhood. His character is a bit complex, and always has changing feelings for Tsukushi, but above all cares about her a lot.

Over the course of the series, however, Tsukushi's feelings evolve, and she begins to appreciate the degree of change that occurred in Tsukasa once he fell in love with her. He becomes fiercely loyal to Tsukushi and believes in her beyond all doubt, and slowly gets her to see him in a different light. The physical obstacles and emotional challenges of their rocky high-school courtship form the basis of the story. Other themes include Tsukushi's attempt to fit in at the school, the problems of her family's lifestyle and income, and the decadent lifestyle of upper-class Japanese girls.

Why you want this manga: It is the best-selling manga of all time in Japan. It's been adapted into 5 television series. It had its own anime. It even had a movie made! But mostly--because it's a love story full of twists and turns, likable characters you love and hate at various times, and plot twists aplenty! One minute you love Rui. Then you love Tsukasa. Then you love Rui. Then you love Tsukasa. Soon you're as confused as Makino, experiencing the agony with her as she tries to sort through her feelings for the two--all while still trying to deal with bills piling up, being in an elitist rich school she can't really afford to be in, and being harassed by members of the student body. Enemies become friends, friends become enemies, and no one is ever really all-bad in this epic tale of love and friendship.

And, if you like the manga, you absolutely have to check out the live Japanese adaptation. I'm not kidding. I have never, ever cried so much in my entire life. Ever. Ever. And at the end of the day, it was all worth it. (But don't watch the Japanese anime--it kinda sucks. Total opposite of Love Com--Lovely Complex!)