Tsukushi Makino, a working-class girl, attends an elite elevator school called Eitoku Academy, populated by children 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, Tsukasa Domyoji, takes an interest in Tsukushi, because she is the only girl at Eitoku who doesn't 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.
I read this after I watched the drama, and having watched the drama - which I liked a lot - I didn't think the manga would be as good.
My expectations were blown away; the manga is absolutely fantastic, and despite its age compared to the newer dramas, the newer films etc... it still shines. The characters are absolutely fantastic - Kamio Yoko managed to turn around the high school genre on its head, and managed to produce a female teenage protagonist that actually WORKED. She was a brilliant character, with her own flaws, and her own strengths, and is definitely a character I and others can look up to, rather than the 2D static characters I'm used to reading highschool manga.
Her love interests were brilliant; a main female character in an anti-harem of attractive, respected males, in a school where everybody hates her? It doesn't sound very original, and yet Kamio manages to pull it off spectacularly.
It's interesting watching her progress; at the beginning, the art was not the best, but over time she improved an immense deal. If you compare the art near the beginning to the art near the end... it's almost unrecognisable.
The plot was brilliant, and as original as you can make this genre be. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and also plan to re-read at some point - considering how I rarely re-read manga, and how long it is, I can assure you that's quite some achievement for this manga!
If you've seen the drama, or watched the anime, and are interested in the manga... this is a must-read.
And if you haven't seen any of this series at all, then this is also a must-read! read more
I began reading this manga under the false pretense that it'd be good, since I saw so many recommendations and good reviews, and apparently it's the most popular shoujo manga of all time (even though I'd never heard of it before stumbling upon a reccomendation on this site). But I was extremely disappointed.
Story - Absolutely dreadful. The only thing that kept me from dropping this manga was my curiosity. I wanted to know who Makino would end up with, and if she really would conquer against those who bullied her, like was established in the beginning of the manga. But that never happened. I don't know about any of you, but I'd be pretty damned pissed at a guy who ordered the whole school to bully me, physically abused me and even attempted to rape me. No one ever thought about how the heroine felt, either. It was always made out to seem that all was her fault, and that she was supposed to fall in love with someone who "loved" her, even if they'd abused her in the past, and that she owed him everytime he saved her, even when she did not ask to be saved. The mangaka even tried to fix that issue by laying on a sad excuse like "he's different when Makino's around", and therefore he needed her, and because of that, they were meant for each other. That shouldn't excuse abusive behavior. This is the perfect example of what a romance SHOULDN'T be. And don't even get me started on the multiple potential love interests that pop up throughout this series. Seriously, how many men are going to fall in love with one girl?
Art - I have no complaints about the art. It's pretty fair, although I think the art became a bit more plain as the series progressed. It became neater, but lacked the same personality as the beginning volumes.
Character - I'm a bit split on this, because in my opinion, it seemed that every character besides the female lead and the male lead had great character development. In my opinion, Makino's character went backwards a bit. She was still as stubborn as she was in the beginning, but that isn't the same as being strong to me. There were many times when she could have justifiably supported herself, helped herself, and escaped that abusive relationship. But she did not, because everyone made it seem as though she had to stick around, as if she owed the bully something by unintentionally making him fall for her. With the bully, he never owned up to all of the horrible and abusive things he'd done. And he only apologized a total of what? Two times in the entirety of this series? His "character development", if you could call it that, was that he became less abusive towards those around him.
Enjoyment - I didn't really enjoy it much at all. Those are hours of my life that I probably won't get back.
Overall, I really did not like this manga. I suppose that since this is a pretty old manga, that it'd become an archetype, a basis for modern shoujo to base off of, and that would result in many of the cliches. One could even give credit to this manga for helping other mangakas make better manga. So, in a sense, I'm a bit greatful for all of the flaws in this manga. It COULD have been interesting, at the time. But, I think if it were me and I'd began reading this back then, as a female, I'd have still been disappointed in where this story went. But I guess with a manga like this, you either love it, or you hate it. It all depends on where your preferences lie, and your point of view. I view it this this one way, and I think it is awful. So I really, truly, would not recommend this manga to anyone.read more
Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers) is a excellent example of why not all things popular are good. (In fact, they're usually the furthest thing away from being good).
Hana Yori Dango is long running manga considered to be the cream of the crop of Shoujo series in Japan. It has spawned several TV dramas in different countries, an anime series and three movies, one of which is an anime. It's story is very well known in many Asian countries, and is very much beloved and popular as well.
It is also the best selling Shoujo manga of all time in Japan, having sold 54 million copies in Japan alone as of 2005.
...A title however, which it utterly does not deserve in the slightest. Why is that? Well, read on and see.
★ Story (1) - If there ever was a plot built entirely upon Shoujo manga cliches, this would be it. What starts off deceivingly about bullying in an outrageously top-tier school and the lone girl who rises up against it very quickly falls into a bubbling little mass and mess of one cliche after another.
As bullying is a serious problem in many parts of the world, but more so in places like Japan where the suicide rate is very high, the bullying aspect of this manga should have been treated seriously, and not used as a "romantic" plot device as the author makes it to be. The main female of this manga starts off strong and independent, promising to "take down" the bullies of the school and not give in to them whatsoever.
Guess what? She does, and very easily as well. What I find sickening and annoying, is how she feels she is constantly at fault and how she always apologizes to the bullies of the school who treat her pretty badly. Even after she dates one of them, when he treats her badly (physically abusing her far more than once, and really putting her down in other ways over the course of the series) she STILL feels like SHE and not him is in the wrong. The number of times she apologizes to him is too many to count. How many times does he say sorry to her? About two times during the entire 36 volume run of the series.
Other than how lightly the grave matter of bullying is treated, there is also the main plot problem, a plot (as I have said earlier) is built entirely upon cliches. Here's a list of what happens during the course of the series:
- Good girl falls for bad, abusive boy who bullies her to show his "love".
- Bad boy is outrageously rich and the good girl is dirt poor.
- There's attempted rape.
- Stolen first kiss, que cliche line, "Omg that was my first kiss oh noes I will never forgive him!!!"
- Other member of the bullying group falls for main girl.
- Main girl loses her house and *le gasp* then works as a maid for the male lead.
- Main male lead's mom hates his girlfriend, so she makes life a cliche hell for them.
- Relationship woes. Slap slap, kiss kiss, fight, kiss, break up. Rinse and repeat 50 more times please.
- Male lead rescues girl several times throughout the series in the nick of time.
- Male and female lead see each other in underwear/naked due to stupid series of events like getting locked in a cold cabin. "How should we keep warm?" "Let's take off our clothes and lie down together to preserve body heat!" Where have I heard that before.
- Every single other cliche you can think of. I'm dead serious.
Seriously, this is the entire story. You do not even have to read this manga to know what will happen, it's THAT cliche and predictable.
★ Art (8 and 5) - The artwork of this manga really needs two different scores as it is such a long running series, the artwork changes very significantly and obviously over time.
(8) The earlier volumes of this series feature quite detailed, unique artwork that pretty much screams 90's, so perhaps that is an acquired taste for some. Everything about the character's clothing, hairstyles, even makeup is very much individual to that character and well done. Shading, textures and detail are added on to all the characters and even the world they live in making everything stand out vividly.
(6) Later volumes of the series however fall rather short of the uniqueness that the earlier volumes had down to a T. While the lines are very clean and neat, the artwork is incredibly washed out and dull. There's no texture, no detail, no nothing. The pages look very neat and smooth, but very plain and boring. Not one thing stands out or is memorable. Everyone and everything is drawn much more sleekly, but unfortunately the author seems to have gone for clean, simplistic lines over artsy, original art.
★ Character (1) - Remember how I said the story was so cliche? The characters are pretty much reflections of that. Take whatever crappy stereotypes of Shoujo manga characters there are, group them all together, and you have the entire cast of Hana Yori Dango in a nutshell. There is not one unique of interesting personality among the lot, and every single character (even the side ones!) fall into already per-appointed characterization.
★ Enjoyment (2) - Really nothing is enjoyable here unless you love cliche, stereotypical, predictable series. If not, move along.
★ Overall (2) - Do yourself a favor and don't read this manga. Sure, it is not the worst series out there but it comes close to it.
If you want a series with a unique, wonderful cast of characters in a school (or rather, college) setting, check out something like the beautiful and bittersweet Josei series, Honey and Clover.
If you want a manga where a good girl does fall for a troubled boy BUT it is done very well and also features very realistic problems like abuse, drugs, etc that is handled well, check out the Josei manga, Mars.
If you want a comedy manga about an outrageously high class high school and a girl who becomes part of a group of filthy rich guys, check out the Shoujo, Ouran High School Host Club.
There are so many mangas out there that are truly worth your time. So don't waste it reading garbage like this.read more
At 37 volumes, Hana Yori Dango first seemed like a daunting read for a strictly-shoujo-reader such as myself. However, I won’t hesitate to say that the length of the series plays to its strength. I don’t think that the manga would have had such an emotional resonance if it had been a short series.
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