The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Hana Yori Dango

Title: Hana Yori Dango
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Format: 36 Volumes
Mangaka: Yoko Kamio

Synopsis: Makino Tsukushi is a middle-class, 16 year old girl who’s just entered the sophisticated Eitoku high school. Trying her best to keep a low profile in a school full of rich boys and girls, she ends up confronting the school gang F4: the four most handsome, powerful, rich boys in school. But that is not the end of her troubles, for she is developing feelings for one of them while being bullied by the entire school, will she make it alive through her last three years of school?

The Highlights
Drama:
Melodramatic and it only gets more so as the plot moves foreward.
Characters: Interesing cast of side characters.
Art: Endure the first halve, the second halve is OK.
Lenght: Be very patient.

Hana Yori Dango, known as Boys Over Flowers in the US, is one of the longest, most successful shoujo mangas to date. With 36 volumes and a bit over a decade of publications, you must think this is a good read and for the most part, it is.

Hana Yori Dango’s art is very weak for the first 14 volumes; from volume 15 onwards it starts to improve to the point that characters don’t resemble their original designs at all by the end of the story. This could be a good thing, unfortunately, the longer the story goes, the less interesting it becomes. The story’s original appeal was to witness Tsukushi defying the laws of the rich class while pulling a joke or two; however, the longer the story goes, the more melodramatic it gets. From Tsukushi’s indecisiveness over who of the many male prospects to pick, to plot twists that could make soap operas proud of their originality, it’s really hard to take Hana Yori Dango’s dramatic scenes seriously.

On the other hand, what saves this manga is its colorful cast of side characters. From Doumyouji’s older sister, to the two F4 playboys Mimasaka and Nishikado, to Tsukushi’s friend and co-worker Yuuki; their side stories, while short, were a pleasure to read. I might as well add that despite of all the melodramatic sap, the messages portrayed by Tsukushi through out the many obstacles she has to endure are optimistic and could influence others into achieving their objectives just like her.

Hana Yori Dango’s influence over plenty of shoujo mangas is still present to this day, both artistically and plot-wise, and not without reason. It is a must read for anyone interested in character relationships and a cast of characters adorable enough to want to make them part of the family. Just try to endure the crude art (it starts to grow on you eventually) and a very clichéd love triangle.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: Rove

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