Well this is the final volume of Hana Yori Dango I had sitting on my manga backlog. This is also another really cute cover. I mean Tsukasa with a dog is just adorable! And funny given what Tsukushi compares him to this volume! xD Also looking at this cover reminds me of how much better Ms.Kamio’s art has gotten. It’s very lovely now. :) Also like with the last two volumes, the picture here is one I took myself. Fortunately, the lighting here is better than the last two times. ^__^;;;

Summary


Sakurako’s suspicions of Junpei turn out to be right when Tsukushi gets kidnapped by his accomplices not long after he saves her. She is tied up in an old gym warehouse and some of her hair is cut and sent to Tsukasa. Junpei finally reveals that he did all this (including planting the red slip) to get revenge against Tsukasa for beating up an old friend of his in middle school. Tsukushi doesn’t believe Tsukasa will show up after she told him to leave her alone, but he does and he takes the beating from Junpei’s accomplices to protect Tsukushi. Eventually, Tsukushi cannot take anymore and jumps in front of a chair Junpei means to attack Tsukasa with and pleads that they have done enough. Junpei then leaves and both she and Tsukasa fall unconscious.

Tsukushi wakes up in the hospital and after dreaming that Tsukasa dies feels she has to make sure he is ok. Unfortunately, the F4 play a mean prank on Tsukushi and pretend Tsukasa has died. Tsukushi is not amused by this, but she and Tsukasa do share a tender moment. Afterwards, the F4 (sans Tsukasa) try to persuade Tsukushi to become Tsukasa’s girlfriend. Running out of excuses and feeling very much cornered, she blurts out that Tsukasa reminds her of a dog before running away.

After returning home, her mom cuts her hair, but it doesn’t look very good, so Rui fixes it for her at school. She then gets invited by Tsukasa to his 18th Birthday party. Not aware of how big a deal this is, Tsukushi arrives in a simple black dress that used to belong to her mom and homemade cookies for Tsukasa. The F4 (sans Tsukasa) and Tsubaki realize she can’t go in there like that and lend her one of Tsubaki’s dresses. When Tsukushi asks why she has to dress up so much, the others inform her that Tsukasa’s mom is a very scary and judgmental lady. Thus when Tsukasa wants to introduce Tsukushi to his mother later, Tsukushi is terrified and does not wish to go. In her panic she grabs Rui’s sleeve, which happens to rip and falls onto a table, making a terrible mess and commotion. Tsukasa’s mother comes over and asks Tsukasa to send her home. However, Tsukasa refuses stating she is precious to him, bring a very climatic end to volume 15.

My Thoughts


Ahhhhh, why did it end on such a tense and important moment. Gah, I wish I could pick up volume 16 right away now. ;___; I think Tsukasa’s mom is the perfect new obstacle to wedge between them since the rival love interests and the three cronies were getting a tad bit repetitive. Thus, the final parts of this volume really picked up the slack and brought my interest back to 100%. Not to say the conclusion of the Junpei arc was bad, it wasn’t, but it was a bit too clichĂ© since Tsukasa once again rescue Tsukushi. Yes, it’s sweet and all, especially since Tsukasa taking a beating willingly is something he wouldn’t do under normal circumstances. But even so, I am a little disappointed that the only ways we see any progress from Tsukasa are in moments where he rescues Tsukushi. The rescue arc to build a romance strategy is probably as old as human civilization since this element is found in many myths (like Andromeda and Perseus), so unless it’s done with some kind of twist, I just prefer if storytellers didn’t use it like a crutch so much and truthfully, that’s what it feels like here. Instead of having some ingenious way to bring them together, it feels like Ms.Kamio is relying too much on “save the damsel” to make us root for Tsukasa and explain how Tsukushi would fall for him. I didn’t mind it in the Canada arc since it was a while since it last happened and there was a minor twist to the formula there being that the enemy wasn’t a person, but exposure to the cold, but this particular rescue follows much too soon after the last and it’s pretty much a standard rescue scene, thus it feels less fresh as a result.

But putting that one minor annoyance aside, I really liked volume 15. I found the little prank the F4 pulled on Tsukushi genuinely funny and the guys later teasing Tsukasa about being a dog made me chuckle too. It’s also interesting to see that Rui is slowly acting more and more open. He was laughing along with the others too. As for Tsukushi’s hair cut. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I do think she looked better with longer hair, or maybe I’m just used to her having long hair, but it’s not bad and it is a welcome new change. It almost feels like the manga is reborn and will now be going off in a new direction, which I don’t think is far-fetched since the introduction of Tsukasa’s mom feels like a big turning point in the series. And like I mentioned before, I think introducing Tsukasa’s mother was a good call and I am really looking forward to how Tsukushi will fare against her.

Finally, it was nice to see Tsubaki again. She is another favourite of mine and I hope she makes more appearances from now on. I’m also happy to see Yuki is continuing to get screen time, even if it is only a few pages. The new dynamic between Sakurako and Kazuya is interesting too. Seems like they are very similar in that both have accepted they cannot be with the one they love and root 100% for them regardless. I wonder if Ms.Kamio will pursue a more in-depth look into their relationship. It would be interesting to see how they get along. I don’t mean as a couple, but as friends.

With all that said, I’m really sad that volume 16 (and lots of other volumes) are now out of print. It means it will probably be a while before I get my hands on volume 16 and given that the newest arc is looking really interesting, I am very sad about this. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for a decently priced copy now. Wish me luck!

–SW

Advertisements