Makino Tsukushi, a girl who comes from a poor family, just wants to get through her two last years at Eitoku Gakuen quietly. But once she makes herself known by standing up for her friend to the F4, the four most popular, powerful, and rich boys at the school, she gets the red card: F4's way of a "Declaration of War." But when she doesn't let herself be beaten by them and is starting to fall for one of the F4, Hanazawa Rui, she starts to see that there is more than meets the eye...
The shoujo romance genre is littered with countless series with predictable formulaic plotlines, bishies, and uninteresting characters. Often we are left with a terrible non ending or one in which usually one side can’t express their feelings for the other until the credits start to roll. Hana Yori Dango completely captivated me from the beginning and left me with a rewarding ending that restored my faith in the romance genre.
The premise starts out in a way that you wouldn’t expect much romance to develop from. Tsukushi Makino is a middle to lower middle class student at an exclusive high school attended by mainly wealthy students. Tsukushi is not particularly happy with her high school life nor does she really even want to be at this school. But she attends because of her parent’s insistence and because they have sacrificed a lot to send her there. The school is controlled by the F4, a gang of 4 guys from extremely rich and powerful families. Basically the entire school lives in fear of getting on their bad side and getting the "red card", which basically means your school life becomes hell on earth until you transfer out. Tsukushi goes about her day just trying to be unnoticed until she graduates, leading a fairly miserable existence. This all changes when the only real friend has accidently incurs the wraith of the F4, she jumps to her defense and finds herself given the red card. But she’s not the kind of girl who's going to back down and she declares war back on the F4 herself. As Tsukushi fights back and starts to gain the respect of many classmates and even begins to befriend the F4 and we learn that they are not quite as bad as initially thought.
I found the story to be quite moving and powerful and found myself experiencing the full range of emotions. The portrayal of the bullying, which becomes quite intense at times was often very difficult to watch. There will be times you will cringe and times when you will jump out of your chair and cheer. Eiktoku High School may just be one of the 4 or 5 worst places on earth. It truly was a hell on earth and it doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture of high society and the people who populate it. I’m not sure I would have had to strength of character Tsukushi had to stick things out and not let them win. It’s difficult to talk about the romance aspects of this anime without giving away spoilers. Though it will become pretty obvious fairly early where they are going and who she’s going to end up with. The journey to this revelation though is quite the ride. The ending differs completely from the manga version, since this anime was completed several years before its run had finished. Despite the original ending it is still very satisfying and believable.
Tsukushi Makino emerges as perhaps the best shoujo heroine of all time. I really cannot give her enough praise for how I felt about her as a character and how much I would love to have a friend like her. She is tough, practical and no-nonsense type of girl in a world full of shallow materialistic bitches. Viewers will be drawn to her both her likeable nature and the sheer torture she has to endure over the course of the series. The things that are done to her and the torment she is put through are both frightening and inspiring. Seeing the events of the story told through her inner monologue made me feel even more connected to the plot and her emotions felt even more intense because of it. Though perhaps she is in the end a bit more forgiving than I personally would be if I was in her place, she is overall a very inspirational character.
Tsukasa Domyoji is the leader of the F4 and one of Tsukushi’s love interests. He has all the classic elements of a shoujo love interest. He’s fabulously wealthy, handsome, and an asshole. I have mixed feelings on him. Initially he is an extremely frightening character. His menacing demeanor and the adjunct terror that Tsukushi often feels in his presence makes him initially almost impossible to like at all. However as the series progresses he becomes less and less the horrible boogeyman he begins as and actually turns into a decent and even sympathetic human being. While I tried my best to keep hating him, he wore me down not unlike Tsukushi into believing someone could actually fall in love with him. As a character, Tsukasa makes a huge amount of growth. He changes from selfish and egotistical brat into a much more humble and likeable guy while still maintaining the essence of who he is.
Rui is another member of F4 and another main love interest. He is almost the complete opposite of the hotheaded Tsukasa. While still from an enormously wealthy family and suitably good looking, Rui is far more introverted and shy. I liked him far more at first than any of the other men in the cast but he really isn’t any nicer that Tsukasa is. While not physically violent his cold nature and inconsistency in when he does or doesn’t jump to Tsukushi’s defense doesn’t exactly win him any feminist awards. My feelings for him are pretty much the reverse of what I felt for Tsukasa. By the end of the series I grew tired of his personality and while he does manage to change a little, his nature just gets more and more annoying. He was also just a bit too bishie for me.
Most of the remaining supporting cast is pretty detestable. The two remaining members of F4, Akira and Sojiro are not very well developed as characters being their basic personality archetypes and never emerge as serious love interests. Tsukushi’s childhood friend Kazuya is likeable and provides comic relief, often at times when the story can really use some. While he is in love with Tsukushi he is more of a friend to her and he provides her with a much needed friend at times when she really needs one. Shizuka also is one of the rare decent characters who also provides Tsukushi with plenty of support and encouragement in times of need. There are plenty of absolutely spoiled rotten waste of skin bitches and assholes to get mad about. But despite the anger you’re likely to feel every time one of them appears on screen or plots against the heroine they do serve a useful purpose in the growth of the main characters and in the development of the romances.
Given the age of this series the animation and visuals are understandably dated. Unfortunately they are bad enough that it’s possible that it will discourage some people all together from even giving this series a chance. That is a real shame. While I can’t say that I loved the artwork, I did eventually develop some appreciation for it as the series progressed. The color palette used is very drab and the hairstyles and fashions are also extremely dated. The character designs are true to the manga and are realistic body types which adds to the overall sense of realism. The settings and backgrounds though are strength are all look pretty good.
The audio is also a bit of a mixed bag. While the voice acting performances are all top notch, I didn’t much care for the music at all, especially the lame and uninteresting OP animation sequence. The incidental and background music is also very dated.
Ultimately Hana Yori Dango is a series that should not be missed by serious romance and anime fans alike. It’s a very intense series likely to stir up just about every emotion there is for the viewer. Though as much as I loved Tsukushi and the story, I just can’t give this series the perfect score I wanted to because of the uninspired art and music. I highly recommend it. read more
Considering that this anime aired about 10 years ago, the animation and sound are not as great as the shows you'd see nowadays, but that's no reason to shy away from this great series.
The characters are fully developed and you really start to put yourself in their shoes once you get to know them better. While some of the storylines can be a bit farfetched, there's just enough balance of drama, romance, and comedy to draw you in. The storylines have so many twists that you'll never be bored while watching this series.
Bottom line: If you're looking for an anime packed with drama, romance, comedy, and interesting plots and characters, this is the anime for you. If you are more concerned with pretty animation and good OSTs, you should look elsewhere.read more
Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers) is the best anime you will ever watch in your entire life the reason behind this is because Hana Yori Dango isn't just your typical shoujo romance anime with the main female character being a masochist by falling in love with a guy who treats her like shit and the girl doesnt know how to defend them self against the guy. The anime starts out in a most likely way that you wouldnt expect any romance to develop from. Tsukushi Makino is ranked has a middle to lower class student at an all exclusive high school with the majority of the students coming from a wealthy background. Tsukushi didnt initially wanted to attend eiktoku high school but her parents insisted on her going. The school is crontrolled by the F4 known has the Flower 4, a gang of 4 guys that come from extremely rich and powerful families. Basically, the entire school idolize them but also lives in fear of getting on their bad side and getting the red card a declaration of war by the F4, which basically means your school life becomes a living hell until you transfer out.Tsukushi goes about her day just trying to be unnoticed until she graduates, leading a fairly miserable existence. This all changes when the only real friend has accidently incurs the wraith of the F4, she jumps to her defense and finds herself given the red card. But she’s not the kind of girl who's going to back down and she declares war back on the F4 herself. As Tsukushi fights back and starts to gain the respect of many classmates and even begins to befriend the F4 and we learn that they are not quite as bad as initially thought.
I found the story to be quite inspirational, moving and powerful and found myself experiencing every single moments of the anime. The bullying that this anime brings becomes quite intense at times where it becomes very difficult for me to watch because i have so much pity towards the person who is undering all of it. There will be times where you will cringe and times you will jump out of your chair and cheer. I can tell you by watching this anime i thought to myself that i would never have the strength that Tsukushi had to stick things out and not let them win. About the romantic aspect of this anime is quite difficult to say without giving away any spoilers. Though has the story progress it will become pretty obvious or fairly early who she is going to end up with. The journey is quite an unforgettable ride that you dont want to miss out on.
Tsukushi Makino in my opinion is a boss bitch. I honestly can't praise her enough has a character and how much i would love for her to be my friend she is one of those few characters who i wish actually existed in real life. She is tough, honest, loyal and no-nonsense type of girl in a world where she is surrounded by narcissitic, douchebags and materialized bitches. Viewers will be drawn to her both her likeable nature and the sheer torture she has to endure over the course of the series. The things that are done to her and the torment she is put through are both unbearable, unthinkable, frightening and yet inspiring. She is overall a very inspirational character.
Tsukasa Domyoji is the leader of the F4 and one of Tsukushi’s love interests. He has all the classic elements of a shoujo love interest. He's wealthy, handsome and not to mention a douchebag. I have mixed feelings on him. Initially he is an extremely frightening character. His menacing behavior that he gives off often makes Tsukushi feel like being in his presence makes him almost impossible to like at all. However has the series progresses he becomes less and less the cold spoiled little brat and turns into a decent and sympathetic human being. Although i tried my best to keep hating him, he wore me down into actually loving him. As a character i believe Tsukasa has made a huge amount growth and maturity out of the other characters. He changes from douchebag, egotistical brat into a much more humble and likeable guy while still maintaining the essence of who he still is.
As for Rui another member of F4 and another main love interest. He is almost the complete opposite of the hotheaded Tsukasa. While still from an enormously wealthy family and suitably good looking, Rui is far more introverted and shy. I liked him far more at first than any of the other men in the cast but he really isn’t any nicer that Tsukasa is. Even though he isnt physically violent unlike Tsukasa his cold nature of which he doesnt normally jump to Tsukushi defense doesnt show any compassion that he has for her. My feelings for him are pretty much the reverse of what I felt for Tsukasa. For me personally i feel like at the beginning he was both mysterious and sarcastic and has the series went on he became boring and i eventually grew tired of his personality.
Given the age of this series the animation and visual arent very much a fair site to look at. And i know some people really do care about the outer appearance of animes and for that reason people won't even give this show a chance which is really a shame to me because like they say don't jude a book by its cover the same goes by not judging this show by its visualization and animation. I cant be a complete hypocrite and say i love the artwork when really i dont but has i kept watching the show i eventually got to appreciate the animation. Even though the hair styles and fashion are extremely dated. The artwork given for the anime does match the one for the manga.
The audio for me gives me mixed emotions. There are time where i would despise the background violon music which obviously dated. But overall the voice acting is outstanding and again for the music in the beginning you will hate it but further along you'll get used to it.
Now for my personal reason has to why I love Hana Yori Dango is the first anime that i have ever watched in my entire life when i watched the show i got hooked by the first episode usually when i get hooked on shows i have a tendency to watch episode after episode and eventually finish the whole series in just one day but that wasnt the case with Hana Yori Dango i didnt want to pace quickly along with the show i felt like i needed to take my time with this one go slowly episode by episode because when you come to the realisation that you finished the show already you'll be left wanting more and thats what happened with me. When i say there is no other anime like Hana Yori Dango i mean it. If you are wondering how did i watch the show like if i watched in english dubbed or english subbed well i watched in english dubbed but if you dont wanna watch english dubbed you can try english subbed.
Overall Hana Yori Dango is a series that should be on your number 1 must watch list of animes for a serious romance anime fans like me. This show is very intense and it will bring you so much emotion as a viewer. I can say that it is one hell of a rollercoaster ride. Sadly i cant give this serie a perfect score like i wanted to because of the visuals and the music but it doesnt mean that you shouldn't be able to watch this series because you should and if you still dont wanna watch this series and your looking for a serious romance anime with amazing animation and to die for music then i suggest for you to look somewhere else which will be har for you to find. and finally i highly recommend this anime for everyone to watch. read more
I really want to write a review for this anime I don't think it will be as long as the others however, this is my first review.
This anime, while old with older art, was amazing for me. I had been feeling like I hadn't seen a good romance in a while and what brought my attention to it was a review that had said it "restored their faith in the romance genre"
The main characters while childish and obnoxious at the start slowly seem to develop into mature-ish young adults. Starting with Makino, throughout the anime she is rather stubborn, naive and headstrong. She is a strong female character that faces many emotional trials, while struggling with her life she manages to overcome everything relatively well. Her character has been constructed in a way that places you in her position, withering away in fear when she does or feeling happy when she does.
The F4 boys that she stands up against also go through changes as well, making you cringe and want to pull your hair out. There are many things that could be said about the things they do wrong and right, however, overall they are young boys going through school with emotions and things that a normal person could not understand.
The story was captivating and by the first episode I wanted to know more and see more. It was an anime with life and has many lessons in it. It addresses bullying and other themes that high school comes with, and was easy to relate to.
I enjoyed Hana Yori Dango a lot more than I thought I would and I managed to watch it in two days, days off work spent well in my opinion. I felt extremely satisfied with it and the way it ended. There were times were I couldn't help but laugh along with the characters. The anime came alive to me, it became a real thing and I wanted to give Makino a good slap every now and then. There was not one moment I wanted to give up on it and not one moment I wasn't entertained.