花より男子 or Boys Over Flowers by Yoko Kamio was a lot of fun. Have you ever been bullied in high school? Ever been the uncool girl or guy in the entire school? Tsukushi Makino goes to a prestigious school, Eitoku Academy. This elite private school is for the privileged rich kids. Tsukushi is none of those things. She is smart, makes good grades but makes an enemy out of the most powerful clique of the school: The F4.
The F4 is composed of a group of four handsome rich boys who run the school and intimidate the student body. They are allowed to have the power to run off good kids when they are challenged by other students who choose to not bow down to them. One day Tsukushi stands up for her friend who happens to fall down a flight of stairs and lands on top of the leader of the F4 group: Tsukasa Dōmyōji . Dōmyōji comes from one of the wealthiest and most powerful family in Japan. The girl quickly apologizes but Tsukasa Dōmyōji will have none of that. Tsukushi stands up to the group by protecting her friend and quickly becomes the F4’s target for abuse. Their mission is to bully her to the point that she is forced to leave the school.
Tsukushi is a strong adversary for the F4. She fights back and this is where the story really starts to get good. Tsukushi is a hero of sorts to other kids who have been ostracized and bullied. Tsukushi has no money so she really can’t find her footing socially with any of the girls because of the size of their bank accounts. She can’t keep up with them. She is the “weed” of the school. When the F4 targets her by leaving a red flag in her locker, she struggles to keep it together, to stay focused and not disappoint her parents who are paying a fortune for her to be there. She won’t let these pretty boys run her off. However, one of the members of the F4 seems a bit different. His name is Rui Hanazawa. He is Tsukushi’s first romantic love interest. He doesn’t act like the other boys of the F4. He’s just a pretty boy with his own agenda. They talk a bit. Look at each other and do the usual boy girl thing. Rui doesn’t seem interested in Tsukushi on the surface. He just seems to be a loner who enjoys playing the violin and baffling Tsukushi.
However, there is a turn of events that makes things interesting and I don’t want to spoil it for you. An interesting triangle develops for Tsukushi’s attention so things should get interesting. Tsukushi has an unwanted admirer and you’d never guess who that might be. Anyway, the first pages in this story had me wondering why this manga was so popular. It took a while for me to really get into it. Then as the story progressed it did get better. It is very addicting. I’m half way through with volume 2 right now and I am off to get the rest of them. All of them.
A couple of comments on the artwork. It is ok. Not as sharp as I’d like. The boys are cute and a few not all that pretty to me. The dialogue is clear and legible. Even with all the sound effects it’s pretty easy to follow. Tsukushi is a great heroine with two very interesting romantic interests. So, this series should be interesting. I know who I’m rooting for. Anyway, if your looking for romance, a bit of comedy and a fun and very engaging story, look no further than Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers). This is another enjoyable Shōjo that I am having a lot of fun with right now. It’s rated T for Teens and reads from “right to left” and currently has 22 of 36 volumes in the series that is already out. Hmm. May have to purchase these three at a time or as I go. My grade, B+.
[tags]Hana Yori Dango vol.1, Yoko Kamio, Manga Review[/tags]