Boys Over Flowers Vol. #08 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • 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. #08

By Chris Beveridge     November 22, 2004
Release Date: November 09, 2004


Boys Over Flowers Vol. #08
© Viz Media


What They Say
The story of Tsukushi, an average teenage girl with the courage to stand up for her rights. Despite all her trials, she finds herself in a love triangle. Will she ever find her special someone and live happily ever after?

Yet another mystery guy, Junpei Oribe, approaches Tsukushi, asking her to be his friend. Both want to escape Eitoku Academy and Tsukushi accepts his friendship. However, Tsukushi doesn't realize there is a dark side to Junpei...

The Review!
Every time I think this show can't achieve new levers of being overdramatic, a new volume arrives and puts me in my place.

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. While the dialogue is clean and clear throughout the show, there are moments where the slightly muffled nature of the recording is more noticeable than others; 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. With this volume, the amount of grain seems to have increased a bit and made the print a bit more problematic. 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 central picture for this volume lets a slightly saddened Junpei take over with his lip showing a touch of blood to it. Having just arrived in this volume, and presumably not making a long-term impact, it seems right that he gets at least one cover shot. 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 him in his school uniform and glasses, 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:
The extras are a bit minimal but what we've seen in the past. Junpei's character gets a bio/profile section this time around and we also get sixteen pages worth of storyboards from episode thirty-two of the series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The swaying nature of relationships in this show had reached comical proportions quite awhile ago but it's amusing and amazing just how far they continue to manage to take it. Every time I think they've gone as far as they can, they top themselves a bit more and usually in a creative enough way for it to not be repetitious.

The early part of this volume brings to resolution the problem from the previous volume where Tsukushi had been tricked into going outside into the blizzard to find her friend only to end up falling down an incline and basically giving up on things. One massive pile of snow later, Tsukasa eventually finds her and rescues her. Knowing the general lay of the land, he brings her to a cabin that's nearby and tries his best to warm her up. This leads to all the kinds of situations you can expect between these two; Tsukasa's rough way of speaking where his intent gets clouded by his words and tone while Tsukushi simply overanalyzes everything and doesn't realize just how close to death she is.

Thankfully, the show brings its center back to Japan and to Eitoku Academy as it needs to find its roots again and get away from this big world traveling adventures to vast and beautiful place. The tight and skewed interactions of the school setting provides plenty of melodrama itself. One of the things that I'm sure Tsukushi had hoped would change after the Canadian adventure was that the troublesome trio would finally ease up on her a bit considering what happened and how Tsukushi saved them from being tossed out by Tsukasa. But instead they're right back to their evil selves and are truly a set of girls who will never be redeemed. The realization of that makes the show all the more enjoyable since you can feel quite free in despising them for what they do.

Tsukushi is still trying to get away from the F4 in general now and go back to living her quiet life. Her attempts to do this continue to underscore the fact that she simply doesn't understand the level to which she's affected Tsukasa or the way he's really gotten to her deep down. When Tsukushi comes across a geeky student who seemingly is fawning over her in strange ways, she finds herself seeing a lot of herself from before she got to know the F4 in him in how he wants to just quietly get through the next two years of school there. She tries to keep him at bay since she doesn't want any attentions at all but finds herself continually running into him since her return from Canada. Before she knows it, she's following him to a place after she gets out of work where he says he'll reveal his biggest secret to her so that they can consider each other friends.

Junpei's secret is actually amusing and not all that surprising considering how this show goes and it's revealed that he's actually a model who geeks himself down at school so that he can avoid the popularity problems inherent in being a model. His style is almost like that of Tsukasa's though and he just goes and does things and says things that set Tsukushi off. When she sees him as a model, he goes and picks her right up and drags her into the spotlight with him, with the promise of the pictures never being published, and she finds herself in a situation she absolutely does not want to be in. His manipulations of her are much more overt but the way he does it causes her to not really suspect anything but rather just view him as someone who doesn't know how to interact with other people. Gee, who else does that sound like…

The show goes in a number of ways with this volume and the Junpei piece, which is surprisingly fairly well resolved within this volume, brings out some interesting material for Tuskasa and Tsukushi to work through. I loved seeing the way Junpei was manipulating things but I also loved the way Tsukushi had to go through hell all over again when people found out she was friends with him after her pictures show up on the cover of a magazine. Her luck is so horrid at times it's little wonder that the terrible trio are always after her considering how much effort they put into trying raise themselves above everyone else. Tsukushi just happens to land into these things in their eyes.

In Summary:
This volume crosses over a few different places and has characters showing multiple faces at times once more as everyone is trying to get what they want without thinking of the other person. Tsukushi continues to be the one trying to do her best and just get by without anyone's help but always finds herself in other peoples debt or leaning on them more than she realizes. With this set of episodes she also becomes a tool to be used against other people and walks into a couple of situations that may change a lot of things as the series works through its second half. The drama continues to be high here and it's a very addictive show if you can get into it. If you're still watching at this point, you know exactly what kind of feeling this show creates as it plays out, especially as it feels like it's over far earlier than it should be.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profile,Storyboard Sketches

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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