Boys Over Flowers 16 by Yoko Kamio: A

From the back cover:
Tsukasa’s 18th birthday doesn’t go smoothly at all! 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! Tsukushi and Tsukasa get away for a while and spend some time on Tsukasa’s boat, but they can’t hide from Kaede forever…

A lot of awesome stuff happens in this volume!

Firstly, Kaede is such a great antagonist. Not only does she create strife for the two leads, she also sets off the sorrow in the lives of the other rich characters around. In the previous volume, Soujirou talked about how he cannot choose his own spouse, and now it seems that Tsubaki might have a lost love of her own. I hope that gets explored in future volumes.

Secondly, so many of the supporting cast get awesome things to do. Tsubaki has now completely redeemed herself for her bizarre actions of the past and is acting as Tsukasa’s champion of sorts, helping him get away from the party and then expressing concern at what their mother has planned for him. Tsukushi’s mom is also (very briefly) cool, showing for an instant a strong resemblance to her daughter.

Lastly, I loved the scenes with Tsukushi and Tsukasa on the boat, especially the part where they’re fishing and discussing their families. She also finally gives him the homemade cookies she made as a birthday gift; the awesome thing is that he’s still proudly showing them off two chapters later.

Kaede’s plot involves accelerating plans for Tsukasa’s arranged marriage with Shigeru, a tomboyish girl who is the first serious rival for Tsukasa’s affections that Tsukushi has faced. She’s likable and also seems to be amenable to the arrangement, not letting Tsukasa off the hook so easily.

All in all, a very solid volume through and through. Alas, I’m now caught up with my original reading plan (two per month, finishing just as the final volume comes out next June) so here’s where I’ll be pausing until next month. It’s soooo tempting to just keep plowing on, as this series is seriously addictive, but I expect I’ll regret it afterwards during the long wait between volumes.

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