Originally posted: Saturday, December 11, 2010 on Blogger

The roller coaster relationship between Tsukushi and Tsukasa continues in this volume once more. I, surprisingly, haven’t gotten bored of it yet.

Summary


Volume 12 begins with the conclusion to the Miss Teen Japan contest. Tsukushi has somehow made it to the finale through sheer luck and perseverance, and now faces against her rival, Ayano, in the final challenge.

Unfortunately, the final challenge is to play with a group of children, and Ayano garners all the attention of the children in one quick sweep by playing the piano. Tsukushi is left dumb-founded, shuffling through toys, until she notices a group of four boys that remind her of a certain other group of four boys. The four boys start a fight with Tsukushi and she retaliates by challenging them to a series of games, which she all wins. While she looks absurd doing so, it eventually garners the attention of the other children, leaving Ayano struggling to keep the remaining children with her. Being good-natured, Tsukushi calls Ayano over to help her with jump rope, which shocks Ayano, but she accepts Tsukushi’s invitation with a smile and utters to herself that she finally understands why Seinosuke fell in love with Tsukushi.

When the challenge ends, the announcer asks the children to choose who they liked playing with more. The children, however, break down into tears and refuse to choose one girl. The judges then announce that the winner will be decided based on points. Ayano wins but Tsukushi also gets a special recognition prize of 300, 000 yen (around 3,000 US).

Afterwards, Tsukushi quickly runs out to meet Kin-san (Seinosuke), who is still waiting for her answer. While she tells him she does not love him, she cannot answer his inquiry whether she love Tsukasa. She admits that when it comes to Tsukasa, her feelings are a mixed jumble. Kin-san takes all this with a smile and leaves Tsukushi saying that if she ever need some help, she can call on him.

Later, the F4, Tsukushi, and Kazuya all celebrate Tsukushi’s special recognition. Tsukasa stares at Tsukushi earnestly, which leads her to remember his request. Tsukasa had asked Tsukushi to spend Christmas with him to repay him the rest of the money, 700,000 yen. However, the more Tsukushi thinks about the request, the less she looks forward to it. She questions just what Tsukasa is thinking, buying her for a day, and whether he expects that her to anything and everything.

On the day of their date, however, Ryu, the leader of the children’s F4 shows up and asks to spend the day with Tsukushi. When she asks him to spend it with his mom and dad because she is busy, the little boy tears up and states his parents are away on business. With nothing else to do and as a measure against Tsukasa’s advances, Tsukushi brings Ryu along on their date. While Tsukasa is visibly annoyed, Tsukushi manages to convince him to allow Ryu to join them by reminding him that he had the same sad experiences as a child.

The day goes good and Tsukasa even shows off a fatherly side by holding up Ryu to see the elephants at the zoo, but everything is ruined when Ryu, asleep, accidentally pees on Tsukasa, and the latter tosses the former into the air. Tsukushi manages to catch the falling Ryu, but she loses all patience with Tsukasa and the two leave in a rather stand-off-ish way.

When Tsukasa gets home, he makes it abundantly clear just how angry he is and the other F4 members wonder if the two of them will ever hitch up. Sojiro, however, hatches a plan to get them back together. Basically, he and the other F4 member, Rui and Akira, come to the dango shop Tsukushi works at and attempt to sell the dango by sweetening the deal with a kiss from Akira. They manage to sell out the whole stock and Tsukushi and Yuki get 500, 000 yen in commission. Tsukushi, uncomfortable, refuses to take the money because she did not earn it. The boys suggest that she and Yuki then use it to come with them on their Canada ski tour. Yuki is ecstatic, but Tsukushi flat out denies the invitation stating that she cannot leave her family in the state they are in. The boys tell her to think it over and to give her final answer in six days.

While discussing the issue with Yuki at a cafe, the three crones, aka Yuriko Asai’s group, overhear them and decide they cannot let Tsukushi keep the F4 to herself. On her way home, Tsukushi admits that she would like nothing more than to travel overseas, but she is too proud to ask Tsukasa to go to his villa after the fight they had. When she gets home, her parents inform her that her father has found another job so she won’t have to work as hard. The phone then rings and Tsukasa screams through the receiver that Tsukushi cannot come and that he won’t go if she goes. Tsukushi, now really angry, yells back that the others invited her and that she will be going.

When Yuki hears the news, she is ecstatic. On the day of the departure, Yuriko’s group shows up and asks for Tsukasa. Rui points out that he will be going there in his own private air plane, much to the shock of Tsukushi. And that is it for volume 12.

My Thoughts


Where to start? I really liked the cover of volume 12. It’s not the best cover out there, but I liked how the two leads both looked angry while dancing, which, to me, looked like a visualization of their romance. The dance is their romance, since just like with dating it involves two people, and while dancing, they both look displeased, which is what they both usually feel when they are together.

As for the actual volume, I felt like I was see-sawing along with Tsukushi. The Miss Teen Japan plot was pretty well concluded and I liked that Kamio-san did not give us a crop out win for Tsukushi. The date, however, was where my mixed feelings began. At first, it seemed like Tsukasa was finally starting to move out of his jerk phase only to rebound back into it. In this volume, in particular, his immaturity was pretty extreme: he couldn’t tell Tsukushi how he felt and in turn got angry at her because she brought it up and his anger culminated in his tossing up of Ryu. At that point, just like Tsukushi, I had lost all patience for him and I was back to wishing Tsukushi would just give up on him and move one (although that would be boring, wouldn’t it. ;] ). Thankfully, she didn’t get back with him this volume and I think her “I won’t take this shit” attitude keeps me coming back to Boys Over Flowers/Hana Yori Dango. I’m sort of torn about them as a couple though, just like Tsukushi, since at one moment he appears to be a respectable nice guy, but the next he’s throwing tantrums and demanding everything be his way or nothing.

That aside, I’m still enjoying the story and just Tsukushi, herself, makes reading the manga worthwhile. I especially liked that she had some pride and wouldn’t accept going to Tsukasa’s resort until he had the gall to call her up and tell her not to come. I enjoy seeing her not take his antics lying down…unlike some other shoujo heroines. Tsukasa’s vainglorious displays, like riding his own plane, are also amusing. Overall, it was a pretty good read and I look forward to future volumes.

–SW

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