Boys Over Flowers 1 by Yoko Kamio: A

From the back cover:
Tsukushi Makino is accepted into the prestigious Eitoku Academy. Life changes dramatically for Tsukushi when her friend falls on Tsukasa Doumyouji. Tsukasa is the explosive leader of the “F4,” a group of the most powerful, rich, and handsome boys. Doumyouji refuses to accept Makiko’s apology and Tsukushi steps in to protect her friend. A red tag appears in Tsukushi’s locker the next morning, which is a sign from the F4 that she is to be bullied by the school. Tsukushi continues to stand up to her oppressors.

I’m not unfamiliar with this series; I’ve seen (and loved) the anime, but it’s been a while. Though this preceded Veronica Mars by many a year, I now can’t fail to see some parallels between the series. I swear Doumyouji even looks like Jason Dohring in a particular panel. Maybe I just like series where rich jerks fall for spunky poor girls.

Anyway, the story is good and moves along briskly. There is hardly a panel where something isn’t happening, so it probably took me twice as long to read as a volume of manga usually does. The art is sometimes a little distracting: when Doumyouji is looking particularly devious, for example, the artist draws his eyes and mouth in a way that reminds me a lot of a weird ghost shinigami from Full Moon o Sagashite.

There are also a few annoying editing errors on Viz’s part: text appears in the incorrect bubble a few times, text from one sidebar is repeated in another, someone calls another character by her own name, and the phrase, “I’m just got well” is employed in the bonus story. Not to mention the grammatical errors on the back of the book (corrected for use in this review).

The bonus story itself is called “Seikimatsu,” and is the story of high-schooler Miki who indulges in imaginative fantasies to avoid the reality of the world and her parents’ impending divorce. She dreams about a particular guy, and when she encounters him at the bus station, becomes a creepy stalker and tries to convince him that they’re destined to be together. It’s continued in the next volume, though I kind of wish it had been a one-shot without a romantic resolution; it’d be more interesting if it didn’t go the conventional shoujo route.

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