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.
High school student Chiyo Sakura has a crush on schoolmate Umetarou Nozaki, but when she confesses her love to him, he mistakes her for a fan and gives her an autograph. When she says that ... See full summary »
Kyouko went with her childhood friend, Shou to Tokyo to pursue his dream of becoming an idol. Despite she is supporting him, Shou deceive her. Kyouko vows to get her revenge by defeating him in the entertainment world too.
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Nanami Momozono's dad skips town, she is then visited by debt collectors and kicked out of her home. So when a man offers her his home, she immediately accepts. The place is a shrine, and ... See full summary »
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At the ultra prestigious Ouran High School, Haruhi Fujioka looks for a quiet place to read and walks into an unused music room, and accidentally stumbles across the notorious Ouran High ... See full summary »
After her mother's death, Tohru Honda finds herself living with the Sohma family consisting of three cousins: Yuki, the 'prince charming' of their high school, Kyo the hot headed, short ... See full summary »
Risa and Otani are always being laughed at as the comedy duo. Risa, a girl, is taller than the average girl, and Otani, a boy, is shorter than the average boy. However, Risa have a feeling for Otani that make him shock.
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.
Go Mi-Nyu, a girl about to become a nun, is asked to cover for her indisposed twin brother, Mi-Nam, who's on the verge of becoming a k-idol. To do so, she disguises herself as a boy and joins A.N.Jell, a really popular boy band.
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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