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241 of 244 chapters read
Starting out, HYD is very much like your typical shoujo. It features this seemingly meek heroine who, in fact, is much tougher than her exterior suggests. I would daresay that it’s Makino Tsukushi that really keeps the manga afloat for some of the early volumes.
At times it felt like much of a chore having to sludge through the first half of the series - dated art, and an inordinate amount of dissembling from the often dense heroine. The ever-revolving door of love interests that kept appearing in the story got old and frustrating really fast. Yet, like almost everyone here, I couldn’t stop once I got started.
Thirty-seven (36) volumes flew by, and like many other people have mentioned, the manga actually gets better after the first 20 volumes. Of course, our beloved manga-ka exhausts a fair amount of clichés to get there, but because HYD is so character-driven, it’s nearly impossible to stop once you’ve begun.
It is the characters, above all else, that endears you to its story. Youko Kamo strikes a delicate balance of a strong, but vulnerable teenager in the admirably bold and earnest Makino. Tsukasa Doumyouji, similarly, is an exceptionally vibrant character. At first, he appears to be the typical bully bishonen archetype (with bad hair at first ^_^), but unlike many other shoujos, Doumyouji is a surprisingly rounded character. His demanding, spoiled, and violent personality is redeemed by his unrelenting determination to fight for what he wants. He’s honest to himself regardless of everything and anything else, and it’s probably this particular quality that makes him so attractive.
My biggest complaint about this manga would probably be the gradual loss of Doumyouji’s perspective later on down the road. For a good portion of the manga, the budding romance between the two seemed to be told as much from his view as it was from Makino’s. Nonetheless, with all its flaws, Hana Yori Dango has been well-worth the time and emotional investment. It is my regret that I never gave this manga a chance when I had first heard about it, so don't make the same mistake I did, give Hana Yori Dango a chance. read more