Makino Tsukushi, coming from a humble family of reduced income, feels out place at Eitoku Gakuen, a school largely attended by the progeny of the most rich and powerful people of the ... See full summary »
Makino and Domyoji have decided to marry, but are they really ready to take that step? F4 (Flower Four), 4 close friends, are crucial to helping them determine if they are ready to make a lifetime commitment to each other.
Mei is a quiet girl, who has had no boyfriend and couldn't even make friends in 16 years. One day she accidentally injures Yamato, the most popular boy in school, and for some reason Yamato takes interest in her.
Sawako Kuronuma is misunderstood due to her resemblance to the ghost girl from The Ring. But one day the nicest boy in the class, Kazehaya befriends her and everything changed after that and also everyone perspective of Sawako but there's going to be struggle await for her up in the future.
The tyrant student council president, Ayuzawa Misaki secretly working as a waitress in a french maid uniform for part-time. One day, the most popular boy Usui Takumi discover her secret and start to have interest in her.
Tohru Honda, a girl who lost her mother a long time ago. Tohru decides to live in a tent for protection. One day, Tohru was walking in the woods and she saw the Sohma house. What Tohru ... See full summary »
Miki's parents are getting divorced. Why? Because her parents bumped into another married couple, and found that each other's partners suited them better and plan to remarry. While this ... See full summary »
A socially inept girl, Ririchiyo, seeks seclusion from others to attempt to improve herself and hence moves to a building that is rumoured to house the rich and powerful, when in fact it is... See full summary »
It's about a cute girl (Aihara Kotoko) who loves a smart and handsome guy who's a jerk in high school (Irie Naoki) and when her house is destroyed she moves with her father in to the Irie Family home there he starts to develop some feelings towards her
Classic Series that Falters Somewhat in Denouement and Localization
Some notes on this domestic release and the series in general
The video transfer feels a bit rough and the Japanese track has kind of distant sound to it compared to other series made in the same time period (e.g. eva). I had only ever seen this particular anime in real player or vcd format previously however, so I have no version of similar or higher quality to compare it to (I wonder how the Japan region dvds are?). This, along with the slightly cheesy opening and ending themes, makes the series feel pretty dated while watching it, although it's nostalgic enough for me that I can get past that. The use of classical music as the primary bgm may also contribute to this somewhat, but it's a pretty unique feature and works well in setting a certain mood of refinement in contrast (and at times collaboration) with a lot of the action and dialogue overlaying it. The Japanese voice acting for Makino Tsukushi and Doumyouji Tsukasa are still a couple of my favorite va performances ever. But the dub just does-not-work in my opinion. Tsukushi is tolerable enough, although not quite as dynamic as the original, but the F4 are all very blah and grating, especially their notorious leader (whose dumb-jock dub performance just leaves an utterly different impression of the character compared to the Japanese).
As for the translation: one of the most notable changes is the conversion of all use of last names in addressing characters to the usage of first names (along with some concocted substitutes for verbal puns and such). I don't mind this type of alteration in dubs, as I feel the purpose of those can be to make material as relatable to one's own culture as possible. However, I was taken aback by the fact that they did this in the subtitles for the Japanese as well (when you can clearly hear that's not what they're saying). A lot of nuances/ironies of intimacy are carried in who refers to each other by their first names vs. last names, not to mention that the Makino/Doumyouji appellations are just so traditional for this series. I feel like they kind of lost the purpose of what a sub is supposed to do: that is, transmit the meaning of the original wording as much as possible; whereas a dub creates a new version. I also thought it was a bit sloppy when they messed up household-name designer labels like 'Elmarni suit' in place of 'Armani suit' (unless that was due to some sort of weird copyright issue, where they couldn't use the actual brands...).
The art style of the anime is modest but charming for the most part. Be forewarned however, that is starts to go a bit off periodically around the Shigeru arc. Most notably there are the slightly queasy, washed out, deformed parts and the bizarro, crackhead, eyeliner parts like in the *ahem* final episode.
Also, as a word of warning on that note: the ending here comes off as rather rushed, and will most likely not leave you feeling particularly satisfied. The anime was completed long before the manga finished, so I guess they had to make something up, and were on a short time schedule to wrap it up perhaps (hence a boat-ex-machina "resolution")... On the other hand, I didn't really care for where the story of the manga went eventually either (ridiculous amnesia stories, and so on), so I've yet to see a fully satisfying close to the Hana Yori Dango narrative. Perhaps some of the live action dramas do it better, I don't know. I fully recommend the first two-thirds of the anime series however, before it got kind of anemic (and with some caveats for the localization). The storyline during those early parts is pretty great, and deserves a look in any one of HYD's many forms. After the milestone hair-cut partway through the narrative, however, you can pretty much take it or leave it.
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