Boys Over Flowers 21 by Yoko Kamio: B+

boysoverflowers21From the back cover:
Tsukasa’s mother, Kaede, is back! Can Tsukushi really stay in the home of the woman with whom she is at war?! Kaede takes a new and vicious tack in her obsession to tear Tsukushi away from her upperclass son. If Tsukushi can’t be bribed, then maybe Kaede can destroy the lives of Tsukushi’s friends! Tsukushi is forced to take extreme measures—but which course will she choose?!

Kaede’s return has everyone in turmoil. Tama, the elderly maid who has been instructing Tsukushi in her duties, manages to keep Kaede from kicking Tsukushi out of the mansion, but Kaede simply turns to other means at her disposal and pulls strings to threaten the jobs of the fathers of Tsukushi’s two closest friends. Ultimately, Tsukushi agrees to stop associating with the Doumyouji family in exchange for their jobs being reinstated.

At first, I found this volume to be kind of frustrating, despite some nice moments. The scene in which Tsukushi attempts to hide from Kaede under a table is painfully dumb, for example, and Tsukushi’s decision to give up Tsukasa seemed like just another way to extend the drama for a few more volumes. But then that last page!

That last page made me cry! I shan’t spoil it, but suffice it to say that this volume contains a couple of very important actions and realizations on Tsukushi’s part, and the impact is enough that I immediately forget all the silly business and enjoy reading the last half dozen pages several times over.

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