Boys Over Flowers 29-35 by Yoko Kamio: B

These seven volumes leading up to the conclusion of Boys Over Flowers, which now has the distinction of being the longest shoujo series I’ve read, feature some pretty drastic reversals of fortune. Through spontaneous trips to New York City, love confessions from unexpected sources, kidnappings, deserted islands, stabbings, and amnesia, Tsukushi and Tsukasa endure a whirlwind of on again, off again romance that can leave the reader rather dizzy.

Because it’s better simply to go with the shoujo flow than try to reconstruct a linear account of what happens, I’m going to forgo any attempt at a comprehensive summary and instead write a little bit about each volume individually.

Volume 29: B
boysoverflowers29Tsukasa is convinced that he can make his mother understand his feelings for Tsukushi. The two of them have a very sweet date, one of their first that’s uniformly happy, with visits to pet stores and attendance at a baseball game. Alas, this game is the scene for a record-breaking home run for an American player, and Tsukushi’s catch of the ball ends up televised in New York, where Tsukasa’s mother happens to see it. She yanks Tsukasa back to New York, and Tsukushi pluckily follows.

After a couple of dumb chapters wherein Tsukushi just happens to run into someone she knows, things pick up again when she finally gets to see Tsukuasa. He coldly tells Tsukushi to go home and that he’s staying in New York of his own volition. She is stunned, but then sweet Rui arrives to lend her his support.

Volume 30: B+
boysoverflowers30Rui reveals that he is in love with Tsukushi. Although they don’t really work as a couple—the one date they had in the past was pretty awkward—I still see why they’d be drawn together. There’s a certain aura that Rui exudes, a strong, wistful kind of pull, that produces romantic angst of such a wonderful quality that it quite literally makes my heart ache a little. Even better is that this time, Tsukushi’s feelings for Tsukasa don’t waver in the slightest.

On the annoying side of things, Tsukushi just accepts Tsukasa’s cold dismissal and is on the verge of returning to Japan, when Kaede turns up at the airport and gives her one wish (in return for helping save a business deal). Tsukushi wishes for Tsukasa to keep his promise to have a hot pot dinner with her. A few days later, Tsukasa returns to Japan to spend just one day with Tsukushi, and it’s wonderfully sad and they’re about to have a tearful goodbye when suddenly some thugs with tasers arrive and kidnap them.

Volume 31: B
boysoverflowers31Tsukushi and Tsukasa awake to find themselves on a ship set on auto-pilot. When they arrive at a deserted island, Tsukasa proves himself surprisingly reliable by catching some dinner and, as they explore their surroundings, he reveals why he sent her away in New York and Tsukushi finds the courage to declare that she never wants to be separated from him again. Predictably, it turns out that their friends were behind the kidnapping, but neither Tsukushi nor Tsukasa is mad, since Tsukushi feels the experience has taught her what’s really important to her and Tsukasa decides that he’s going to leave his family.

Alas, Tsukasa’s sudden disappearance has hit the news. There’s a media frenzy upon his return and, in the commotion, he ends up getting stabbed by a guy with a grudge against his family. “Why is it,” Tsukushi wonders, “that every time I’m about to grasp that hand it just slips through my fingers?”

Volume 32: B-
boysoverflowers32Tsukasa nearly dies from his injuries, but miraculously recovers, though he has amnesia as a result and can’t remember Tsukushi. This ailment is untimely since, in grudging gratitude for Tsukushi’s life-saving actions after Tsukasa’s attack, Kaede says she’ll consider her son dead for one year. Throughout the rest of the volume, Tsukasa continues to be unable to remember Tsukushi while a very annoying, supposedly innocent girl at the hospital begins spending a lot of time with him.

A new romantic rival this late in the game is irritating. It’s strange—previous volumes prove I can accept and be entertained by all kinds of ridiculous drama, but this arc is just incredibly frustrating. I do like that we get a glimpse of a softer side of Kaede, though, and hope that it’ll be followed up on in the future.

Volume 33: B-
boysoverflowers33The amnesia plot persists and Umi continues to hang around Tsukasa, prompting him to wonder if perhaps she is the person he’s forgotten and taking credit for making a bento lunch that he found nostalgic somehow. Kamio-sensei attempts to portray Umi as naive and oblivious rather than calculating, but it doesn’t really work for me and I still hate her unreservedly. Thankfully, Tsukasa begins to realize that being with her simply doesn’t feel right and eventually scares her away with his temper, still awful when not modulated by Tsukushi’s influence.

Tsukushi, meanwhile, has become convinced that the Tsukasa she loves no longer exists and decides to see him one last time to return the mementos of their relationship. The encounter angers her enough to bean him in the head with the baseball she caught on their date and viola, his memories return. I’m more relieved than anything else, though there are certainly some nice moments after their reunion. The volume ends with them heading out to enjoy the freedom granted by their one-year grace period, promising to think about what to do after that when the time comes.

Volume 34: B+
boysoverflowers34Now that Tsukushi and Tsukasa are back on the right path—though Tsukushi can’t quite believe that it’s not going to all fall apart again, given their track record—focus shifts back to the subplot involving Yuki and her feelings for Sojiro. After helping him to attain a bit of closure regarding the one girl he ever really loved, she’s been keeping her distance. When they reconnect at a dinner to celebrate Tsukasa’s recovery, he offers to do something for her to repay her actions, and she asks him to instruct at her school’s Tea Club, unaware that the Sara in the club is the very girl that Sojiro once loved.

Angst ensues, but it’s enjoyable. Yuki is a strong and likable character (whose increasingly mature outlook has been an inspiration for our heroine), Sojiro has some unexpected layers, and it’s nice to give the main couple a break sometimes and let others bear the brunt of the drama burden for a while.

Volume 35: B
boysoverflowers35The Yuki/Sojiro storyline plays out to its conclusion and it’s awesome. Less awesome, alas, are the developments with our main couple. They couldn’t possibly be allowed to enjoy the year of freedom they’ve been granted! Instead, Tsukasa’s father collapses and he decides to go off to New York after graduation and take the reins of the company, leaving he and Tsukushi only a few more days together.

Firstly, this is entirely out of the blue and runs contrary to what Tsukasa was just saying a few volumes ago, about how he’s going to leave the family and all that. Secondly, as his departure approaches, the story turns into a tour of memories, with random reappearances by side characters that I don’t really care about.

All in all, of these volumes, I loved the scenes between Tsukushi and Rui the most, followed by the resolution to the Yuki and Sojiro story. There are some really great moments with the main couple in there, but the amnesia plot and this latest announcement of Tsukasa’s kind of bum me out in that department. Instead of being excited at the prospect of what the final volume will bring, I’m now kind of wary.

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  1. Danielle Leigh says

    Excellent break down of the final volumes leading up to the conclusion.

    AND OH THAT AMNESIA PLOT. I feel we’re actually being punished with that one. I think this might end up being my longest shojo series as well, unless Skip Beat never ends. Which is looking possible at this point.

    • Thank you! And at least the amnesia plot didn’t go on for too long.

      There really don’t seem to be too many shojo series that are longer—Glass Mask is the one that comes to mind—and none that have been licensed. Maybe the next closest is Red River, at 28 volumes.

  2. Wow, you finished it in a marathon effort! Congratulations! Pity these volumes have a slightly lacklustre feel to them (bleh – amnesia; bleh – Umi), though there’s also lots of good stuff in them as well.
    There’s a certain aura that Rui exudes, a strong, wistful kind of pull
    Very prettily put!

    • Thank you! I love, too, how his confession doesn’t really seem so out of the blue when you look back on how he’s been there for Tsukushi throughout her trials and tribulations.

      • What I also love is how lacking in melodrama his feelings for her are, and how “un-upset” he is about her being with Tsukasa, if that makes sense. And finally we manage to get a bit of closure on his relationship with Shizuka, which is nice.

  3. Nope, it was just a huge blank in the narrative that finally got addressed! And apologies if this counts as a spoiler for you, but you’ll get to see Shizuka again briefly in Vol 37.


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