Boys over Flowers (aka: Hana yori Dango) Vol. #16 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Translated by:JN Productions
Adapted by:Gerard Jones
What They Say
Tsukasa's eighteenth birthday party did not go smoothly for Tsukushi, as anyone could have expected. Tsukushi is introduced to Kaede, Tsukasa's mother, by way of falling over a table and causing a scene. Kaede tells her to get out, but Tsukasa defends her by declaring that she is precious to him. Thus begins a three-sided war between the three most headstrong people you've ever seen!
While the anime version of this has long finished its run here, the manga continues to be brought out and for those that only saw the anime before, we're able to re-live many familiar scenes. Mixed into those are a few more moments and smaller scenes that flesh things out a touch more but for the most part there is a very accurate rendition of this in the anime. Most series tend to have dramatic changes from one medium to another but this property just seems to stick very close to its origins.
In some ways that can be really bad if you're watching the anime and reading the manga at the same time. It was like that for me during many of the early volumes here since it started to blur things and I'd not remember which was from where. This was especially true since a lot of the anime version featured nearly identical stills to pages in the manga. Kamio's side bar columns in this volume talk up the anime a fair bit as well as she goes on about her meeting the main voice actors and spending time with them. What really surprised me is that as of this volume in its original run, it celebrated its six year anniversary � at the same time she turned twenty. I'm used to there being a lot of young authors, but I never knew how young she was when she started this. It certainly provides a different perspective on the book in general but also those earlier volumes.
This volume in particular is one of the key ones in the series as it sets the stage for the latest character introduction. While we've had words and I believe glimpses of Tsukasa's mother before, the full on introduction of Kaede as she starts to make sure that her son is not going to ruin his life or the family's reputation. Her plans have long been set, something that is plainly obvious by the way she carries herself and deals with every situation. The introduction of Tsukasa's planned marriage fianc� certainly puts a wrinkle in things, but at the same time Shigeru turned into one of my favorite characters during her run in the anime. In here, she doesn't have a lot of time since it's early yet but she has a presence just like many of those in the upper class in the book tend to do.
The theme of class and social standing is still a very strong element in the book, though it does take some time out during particular arcs. With Kaede here and the marriage that's planned with another wealthy family in order to expand the Domyoji portfolio, that theme is back and it's very strong. What was really nice was that as much as Tsukushi's family comes off badly in the eyes of others, they have some really great moments here in dealing with the situation that Tsukushi is in now. Of course, these moments are very brief but it does show some of the bond that they all share, something that again plays back to the differences in the Domyoji family. This book is a lot of fun and I love where it's angling to go now that Shigeru is here.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left