Boys Over Flowers Vol. #12 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

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: 24.95
  • 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. #12

By Chris Beveridge     June 29, 2005
Release Date: July 05, 2005

What They Say
When Tsukushi finally accepts her true feelings and faces reality, life at Eitoku returns to normal with a few changes – The Terrible Trio is out of Tsukushi’s hair, the F4 is now the F3 with Rui gone to Paris, and Tsukasa is getting married. Tsukushi now just has to worry about graduating… at least that’s what she thinks!

The Review!
After all that's come, the finale to the series comes about with no less melodrama and angst than any other episode of the show.

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.

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.

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. To cap off the series they've gone with a center piece of artwork which has the F4 together as well as Makino. They're of different sizes for a couple of them but it doesn't look any worse than the previous covers which doesn't really say much. 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 picture of the three together in casual clothes while the reverse side has chapter listings for each episode.

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.

The last extra for the release shows a bit of love put into it as it's a photo album that has various stills from throughout the series placed throughout it. It's not a huge piece but it's a nice little extra to close things out with as sort of a yearbook/memory book..

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Completed in just under two years, the twelve volume release of Boys Over Flowers brings to a close one of the more enjoyable intentionally overly dramatic shoujo series that I've seen. While almost all shows in this genre have a lot of angst and drama to them, Boys Over Flowers just managed to take it up several notches and often had us making comparisons to its over the top nature with an opera. The series up to this point has been covered in roughly the first ten or eleven graphic novels, which means there's still twenty-seven graphic novels left, so the ending here is unique to the anime series. How can this all be wrapped up?

Carrying through with what has come before, the plot with Shigeru continues to be the main focus as the triangle that's evolved gets all the more confusing as each side plays things up to the best they can. Shigeru has transferred to Eitoku in order to be close to Tsukasa and this completely scares Tsukushi. But to her surprise, Shigeru still considers Tsukushi to be one of her best friends and intervenes with the Bitch Trio gets involved and tries to bully Tsukushi some more. This only confuses Tsukushi even more and it reinforces her wanting to keep away from both of them and to try and live her life as she's wanted to, quiet and away from any sort of trouble. But she still keeps coming across the two of them and her eyes do linger on Tsukasa. For his part, he continues to push away Shigeru and tells her she's not what he's interested in but it seems so half-hearted most of the time that it's getting harder to believe him.

A lot of this plays out across the first couple of episodes here and it's fun to watch as they all deal with the situation as it goes on. There's a great change that comes into play where Tsukushi gets challenged to taking a test that will allow her to study overseas and she manages to put all her focus into it so she can use it as an escape valve to get out of this situation will still being able to retain the school and all the trappings of it that her parents want. Her determination impresses most people as does the final result, but what it leads into is much more interesting as she and Tsukasa finally have one of those moments of clarity where they truly understand each other at long last and she realizes that she really does love him.

Which then brings in the challenge of Tsukasa's mother as she's intent on not letting all that she's built up be destroyed by an unworthy commoner. She's had enough of her son being the way he has and intends to put her foot down just like she did with Tsubaki but she's finding that he's not rolling over the way she did quite so easily and it's led to a rather curious situation where Tsukasa is being kept at home. With Tsukushi not wanting to let go of what she's finally got in her grasp, she heads to Tsukasa's place to finally confront his mother once and for all with the help of her friends, the rest of the F4 and Shigeru. The change in Tsukushi from when we first met her and she had barely one friend to considering these people all to be friends now and to be so much more comfortable around them is fun to watch. Her changes, forced and accepted, have really propelled this series all over the place as much as her denial over what's been happening.

Looking back at the series, it's been something that I've really enjoyed watching. Between the eleventh and twelfth volumes I read the first eleven volumes of the manga series and it was great to see how much they kept but also some of the changes, particularly in character design. There's more than enough things that this show can be ragged on about, but in the end what I found was that each episode provided a great sense of the dramatic done in over the top anime fashion while still being forced to play in real world realities. The cast say and do stupid things and come to regret them. Some give their hearts to easily, some never give them at all. But as we learn about each of them and their place in the world, it's easy to understand just how damaged they really are and that makes them all the more human.

In Summary:
With the conclusion of Boys Over Flowers, the last of the three big triumvirate of shoujo titles from the mid 90's has finally been released. Residing next to Marmalade Boy and Fushigi Yugi, these were the titles that gained an interesting if mostly fringe following at first and slowly but surely over the years gained more and more fans. I have no idea how this title sold but I can't imagine it doing well, but I'm extremely thankful for Viz for bringing it out since every other month it gave my wife and I great evening of fun with this cast and their situations. These final episodes bring the anime series to a close in a fun and very enjoyable manner. If you've liked what's come before, you'll really like this ending.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Photo Album

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


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