Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Viz Media
- MSRP: 24.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Boys Over Flowers
Boys Over Flowers Vol. #03
By Chris Beveridge
January 05, 2004
Release Date: January 06, 2004
Boys Over Flowers Vol. #03
What They Say
© Viz Media
Tsukushi gets invited to Shizuka's birthday party. On top of being overwhelmed by the appearance of celebrities and gourmet hors d'oeuvres, she hears shocking news - Shizuka is going back to Paris, never to return. Tsukushi wonders - what will Rui Hanazawa do? The Review!
As Tsukishi’s life continues to change, she makes sizable impacts on those around her in quite unexpected ways.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix here is very simple with the bulk if not all of the dialogue coming from the center channel while the music made use of the stereo channels. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions.Video:
Originally airing in 1996, the look and feel of the show is a curious one. The transfer itself looks good with only a few minor nicks and dirt in a few scattered places, with the main issue being the grainy feel to the look of it. Depending on the setup and equipment being used, this could either be slightly noticeable or glaringly so. The print itself is completely as the Japanese saw with the original opening and ending credits left intact as well as the title cards. The show’s color palette is very much real world style, which lends to a slightly dull looking print.Packaging:
Providing for fans of both names, the cover works out nicely here as the top bar of the cover features in prominent type the English translated name but also nicely places the original Hana Yori Dango in there, as many fans only know it by that name. The center bar provides a close-up shot of Rui while the bottom has some images from the show that are softened up a bit under the volume title. The back cover provides the logo again and a short summary of what the premise is. With a few shots from the show, a listing of extras and the episode numbers and titles, the cover is good all around with the exception of no real volume numbering. The insert provided has a full length shot of Rui in a hitchhiking pose a pose while the reverse side has chapter listings for each episode.Menu:
The menu layout is nicely done but much too heavy on transitional animations. Opening with one (after front-loaded skippable trailers for other shows) where we see the legs running, it settles into a nice relaxing series of images from the show playing out underneath the logo and selections. But every time you want to go to a submenu, you get more transitions. Actual menu load times are decent outside of the transitions and the layout is nicely done.Extras:
Similar to the previous volume, we get a character profile and then a series of conceptual character designs for them. This time around, Rui gets a look and there are two pages of bio and ten pages worth of designs. For a new extra in this installment, there’s a look at Tsukishi’s toys, such as the checker and communication toys she has. A brief page of design sketches is included for each of them and a scene with them used, though it’s in English only and no subtitles.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The series takes something of a surprising twist, but something that continues to be rather cultural, and turns it into a situation that seems normal after only a few episodes of angst over it.
After all that’s happened between Tsukishi and Tsukasa, Tsukasa finds himself in a situation where he’s basically snapped to some extent. At an encounter with Tsukishi at school, the two end up in something of a confrontation that leads Tsukishi to run away from him through the hallways. But in standard tradition for women, she falls along the way and Tsukasa catches up to her. His look when he stops running and stares at her is one of a hunter finally cornering his pray. With her already on the ground, he proceeds to hold her down and kisses here, and even pops the top button of her blouse. But as he does this, he has an almost boyish look about him as he nuzzles her neck and holds her close.
Her reaction to this, once she manages to get back home to the surprise of her mother, is to try and understand why Tsukasa did that and what it all means. When she sees him over the course of the next few episodes, she ends up just being mad at him and doesn’t talk to him, holding a grudge of sorts but not furious about what really happened. She has some flashbacks to it, but her reaction to it continues to be subdued in some senses. And as the two seemingly start to get together, where she comforts Tsukasa while he’s sick, she remembers back to the event but it doesn’t even seem to register much anger.
But again, this is just one of those areas that culturally Japan is different, as seen through numerous anime, novels and newspapers articles citing studies.
Beyond that, there are some interesting moments throughout where Tsukishi causes ripples in the otherwise perfect world of the F4. After being invited to Shizuka’s for her birthday party (and fretting over what to wear), she and a few friends show up to find Shizuka making a life altering decision to give up her inherited fortunes, place in her fathers company and even her life in Japan so that she can return to France and study to become a lawyer so she can help the poor. To illustrate her change, she even cuts off her long hair to a much shorter cut in front of everyone.
Only Shizuka could cut her hair with a blade and have it turn out to be great looking.
Tsukishi’s reaction to this brings her to a point where she thinks she may actually have a shot at Rui now as he’s seemingly being cast aside. A life change like that will place them in completely different circles. Her plans become abruptly different though after Tsukasa of all people puts an important thought into her head abut the entire event and causes her to try and convince Shizuka to stay for Rui’s sake – an event which sends him into the closest he’s come to being truly angry yet.
There is a lot going on in this volume and some of it can be hard to digest depending on how you view a potential date-rape situation. It’s handled well within the cultural context that I’ve come to expect from an anime show or any other Japanese drama. I liked how the situation with Shizuka played out and how Rui dealt with it. One of the bad parts of these episodes are some of the Americanized culturalisms that come across. During a moment at the party when one lecherous drunken producer hits on a girl, Tsukishi helps stand up for her and tells the guy to “stop macking on my friend.”
Now, while this phrase may have been making the rounds in 1996 in places like college campuses and some techie circles, it was more than likely not a popular phrase among Japanese high school students. When this phrase came up in the subtitles, it completely took us out of the flow of the show and tried to be more “kogal” oriented than it had been before. There are one or two other instances in these episodes like this that just threw us off completely.In Summary:
While there are some minor gripes with these episodes, the show continues to evolve in ways that leave me completely unsure of how it will all play out in the end. Tsukasa flips between a love/hate relationship so easily depending on what part of him you get to know at the time. The fact that I can’t see where this show is going to go is one of the real pleasures, especially since it maintains a manga-like flow with its design and style.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Bio,Character Sketches,Tsukishi's Toys
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.