Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: C+
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Viz Media
- MSRP: 29.95
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Boys Over Flowers
Boys Over Flowers Vol. #10
By Chris Beveridge
February 05, 2005
Release Date: March 08, 2005
Boys Over Flowers Vol. #10
What They Say
© Viz Media
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? Tsukasa’s overbearing mother tries to arrange a marriage between him and Shigeru, the daughter of a well-known wealthy family. Tsukushi faces another dilemma – should she stop the marriage, or help the new couple?The Review!
With a shift to five episodes, the drama only seems more intense and over the top as a new character enters the fray and changes the dynamic.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 adapted 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 gives Shigeru the main image and with her cute design and overall look it's fairly cute and keeps in the same style as past character images. Since she's obviously a major player in the last arc it's not surprising she gets a 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 Shigeru 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. Shigeru's character gets a bio/profile section this time around and we also get a series of production stills for Tsukushi's home.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For the last three volumes of the series things get upped to five episodes per volume so that it can all finish out relatively quickly but also I'm sure for maximum cliffhanger fun as well. The storyline takes a surprising turn from where we left in off in the last volume as Tsukushi's mother poured the container of salt onto Tsukasa's mothers head but it's also an interesting turn of events because it once again puts everything into play – do you shift who you want the various characters to end up with based on what changes here or hold onto the series intent of getting Tsukushi and Tsukasa together?
After the roughly 5 million dollar bribe to stay away from Tsukasa that Tsukushi's mother refuses, we learn the real reason why and it's definitely something you can imagine coming from her; she doesn't want to settle for chump change when there's a chance Tsukushi could marry into the family and end up acquiring it all. Now that's a plotting mother if there ever was one. It's no wonder that she and Tsukasa's mother are probably similar snakes. While Tsukasa's mother handles the entire situation well enough since she was the one that instigated it, she sets forward her next plan that was being saved for after Tsukasa graduates college.
Essentially enforcing her will on the two kids, she has her enforcer type employees procure both Tsukasa and Tsukushi at different times and brings them to the Maple hotel. With Tsukushi in her work outfit and Tsukasa showing up in a full black dress kimono outfit, they're night and day when they see each other again. Before either can say anything though, an attractive somewhat tomboyish looking woman is thrust into the room and it's revealed that her name is Shigeru and she's the one that was picked for the arranged marriage between her family and the Domyoji's and it's the first time the two have met. With Tsukushi only hearing what Tsukasa's mother is saying and seeing what Tsukasa himself is wearing, she falls for the gambit easily enough and is now truly done with Tsukasa.
Tsukasa's not quite done with Tsukushi though and in an attempt to recreate certain recent events, he reaches for her hand and yanks her out of the hotel and hustles off into the city night. This is a great romantic moment but since Tsukasa initiated it, it goes completely downhill because he ends up grabbing Shigeru's hand and doesn't realize it until they're rather far away. To Tsukushi, it was truly the final straw and a final humiliation so she simply returns to her life and sets about forgetting about Tsukasa. Tsukasa on the other hand finds himself having to deal with this new woman who's actually interested in him and wants to pursue him and make him hers, something of a mindset that's fairly prevalent among the rich kids we've gotten to know in this series.
Where the really fun twist in all of this comes is that Shigeru ends up coming across Tsukushi again later on and she just latches onto her as a friend, much to Tsukushi's shock and worry. Shigeru questions her on it fairly early on to find that Tsukushi at least says she has no interest in Tsukasa anymore so Shigeru has no problems befriending her and asking for her help in things like picking out outfits and other ideas as she's never really dated someone like Tsukasa before and wants all the help she can get since he is going to be a challenge. This just completely blows Tsukushi's mind as she gets carted all over with her, finds herself getting an expensive gift or two from Shigeru but also discussing rather plainly her past relationship with Tsukasa and giving Shigeru tips on how to win him over.
Shigeru's a great introduction at this point in that she's something of a tomboy but she wears her feminine side over it very well. She's quite attractive, smart and able minded and has the kind of drive you find in part of her society but she's also fascinated by things that are usually kept out of her reach, which has her visiting Tsukushi's for dinner quite often so that she can try out all these really neat unheard of basic meals. She and Tsukushi play off each other well enough and Shigeru is definitely a strong enough personality that she's able to handle Tsukasa well enough that he ends up unsure of where he really stands with Tsukushi anymore. Tsukushi gets so thrown off by how fast things go that she starts finding herself with surprising feelings for Rui again of all people.In Summary:
Everything changes with this volume and Shigeru's arrival. The way all the relationships exist gets changed here and though most of them are being honest to themselves about it, there's still things being kept secret about their feelings that will cause trouble in the long run. There's a lot of big moments throughout these five episodes that has plenty of angst and drama but it doesn't feel quite as over the top as earlier pieces, mostly because Shigeru doesn't bring it up to that level but to a more realistic one. This is just a lot of fun to watch with the way the dynamic changes and peoples feelings become more malleable – or do they?
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profile,Character Sketches
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.