July 17, 2012
Cover-to-Cover: Boys Over Flowers
Cover-to-Cover is a column where I’ll choose my favorite cover from a particular series. This time around I’ll be doing one of my favorite series ever: Boys Over Flowers a.k.a Hana Yori Dango. This Cover-to-Cover is an interesting one because it seems a lot harder than it actually is. With 37 volumes, there are so many covers to choose from that it’s difficult to know where to start. Right away I knew I wouldn’t be choosing any of the covers from the first fifteen volumes or so: the earliest covers feature Yoko Kamio’s artstyle before she perfected it, and I like her later artwork for the series much better. More than that, many of the series’ earliest covers look cluttered: they feature way too many characters who are all different sizes from one another, which I tend not to like. However, because many of the series’ later covers feature group images with the characters in proportion with each other, I actually really like these covers, especially volumes 19 and 36. I love the character’s poses on volume 19‘s cover: they all look very cool next to each other. With volume 36, I love that each guy is in a suit and is holding a flower, while Tsukushi is standing in the center. I love seeing Tsukushi with the F4 because of how much their relationship changes over the course of the series. At first, Tsukushi only looks at the F4 as a group of spoiled rich kids, but as she gets to know them she sees them as good friends, and realizes that they truly are boys more than they are flowers. Yet as much as I love seeing the group all together, what makes me even happier is seeing the series main couple, Tsukushi and Tsukasa, together.
There are several covers that feature Tsukushi and Tsukasa alone together. Volume 23 shows a very sweet Tsukushi and Tsukasa, while volume 20 features Tsukushi and a sleeping Tsukasa in the fall leaves. Even though I love the pose and the colors of volume 23′s cover, I’m not a fan of the way the characaters were drawn (I think Tsukasa’s neck looks way too thick). And while I love the seasonal imagery of volume 20′s cover, something about this cover doesn’t draw me to it. But if there’s one cover that makes me smile every time I see it, it has to be volume 26. I love the combination of the pink and yellow – the colors really suit the series and have a very energetic feel. More importantly, this cover captures Tsukushi and Tsukasa’s dynamic very well: she’s giving Tsukasa a hard time (and loving every minute of it) as she grabs onto his head while he looks on with a grumpy expression. And the fact that he’s giving her a piggyback ride is adorable. But I love more about volume 26 than just its cover: this volume is the start of probably my favorite storyline in the series. In volume 21, after Tsukasa’s mother threatens to have Tsukushi’s friends’ fathers fired unless she breaks up with him, Tsukushi and Tsukasa decide to go their separate ways. After realizing she can’t forget him, Tsukasa makes an earnest plea to make her happy and Tsukushi realizes that she’s still in love with him. Volume 26 follows the two as they learn to mesh as a couple, and it’s very fun and sweet to read. Right from it’s cover, volume 26 showcases the best Boys Over Flowers has to offer.