Tsukushi comes from a working class family, but attends an elite school where most of her classmates come from rich, powerful families. When she stands up to the most popular boys in school, who call themselves the F4 (flower four) she garners their wrath and later their admiration. The leader of the F4, Tsukasa, is especially perplexed by her not falling down at his feet, and can't seem to stay away from her. Will she eventually fall in love with him despite his bullying and quick temper or will she fall for his quieter friend and fellow member of the F4 Rui?
Tsukushi: While she originally wanted to stay in the background at her elite school, she barely paused when it came to sticking up for her friends and later herself. She's a strong character who doesn't back down when she's pushed. She is determined to do her best, stubborn and hardworking. At times her stubbornness can be annoying, because she resists love when its right in front of her. But in the long run, her strength of character is what makes her love last, no mater what obstacle is put before her, she will eventually face it and overcome it.
Tsukasa: The leader of the F4, much of what they do to pick on other students is done at his say so. When Tsukushi stands up to him and refuses to back down, he finds himself intrigued by her. While he continues to pick on her, the fact that he likes her becomes very apparent by all the things that he does in an attempt to impress her. (similar to my review of Ryoki from Hot Gimmick, Tsukasa is somewhat like an over grown kid, unaccustomed and unsure of how to go about being in love). At first he can be a real jerk, with a bad temper and a jealous streak, but as the story continues he grows as a character, becoming more mature and more able to deal with other people.
***I read this series in scanlations before the series was bought. This should have no impact on the story.***
***This series is 37 volumes long, and ran from 1992-2003, so things like clothing and style and technology will reflect the changing times that the story was written**
To say that I'm a huge fan of Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers for the US release) is an understatement. I have read all manga, watched the anime and watched the Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden which is bases on it. Tsukasa is one of my favorite male leads and I adored watching his relationship with Tsukushi unfold.
So much of this series is the dramas of their relationship. First its will the get together at all? Then its can their relationship actually work? And the problems keep coming. Each time you think that things might be perfect a new problem arrives. But all that drama just makes you hope more and more that these two can make it work and figure out how to be together, because through all their differences they really love each other.
When I originally finished the series, I was disappointed by what I considered a week ending (though I've been told it's very Japanese). I was thrilled when the American release completed though, because I found out that she had written a few chapters for after the story that came a somewhat more satisfying ending. It wasn't as final as I may have liked, but it made you know (not just suspect) where the characters were headed.
Reading this series is a real commitment of time and possibly money (unless you can borrow the series) but I think its one of those shojo titles that every shojo/romance fan should read if they can.
Looking at the art from this series you can really tell that it was written over a long period of time, because the characters in the beginning look very different by the end. While the art in the beginning is just OK for me (maybe a 3 out of 5) the art at the end of the series is a strong 5 out 5.