Boys Over Flowers Season 2 by Yoko Kamio
Boys Over Flowers Season 2 is available for free on a chapter by chapter basis on the Viz Manga app, Comixology, and on the Kindle.
I was a little hesitant about starting this series, which is a bit odd, because I absolutely adore Boys Over Flowers. I’ve collected the manga, and watched many of the tv adaptations of the property. I was worried that a return to Eitoku Academy would feel a bit stale. While this series doesn’t exactly feel fresh and new, Kamino is such an assured creator, it mostly won me over.
The social gap that was caused by the departure of the F4 has been filled by a new gang of students – the Correct 5. They are but a pale imitation of the F4, and they are lead by Haruto, a short boy with a penchant for superstition and ordering random quack objects out of the back of magazines. Haruto is joined in his misadventures by his right hand man Kaito, who seems reasonable and sane. There are two other male members, Sugimaru (the strong one), and Issa (mostly invisible). The Correct 5 is rounded out by Airi, a girl who you can tell is evil due to her curly pigtails.
The not-Tsukushi main female character is Oto, who is attending Eitoku while working a variety of side jobs. She used to be rich, but her family has fallen on hard times. She’s keeping up the pretense that she can actually afford to go to Eitoku, but the Correct 5 are determined to drive any poor students out of school, in order to try to better its standing. It seems like when the F4 left, much of the glamour that attracted students went too, and the school is struggling especially when compared to upstart Momonozono Academy.
Oto and Haruto meet when he isn’t able to send his butler in to the convenience store where she works to pick up his bizarre mail order packages. Haruto is worried about his secret being uncovered, and Oto isn’t afraid to try to blackmail him in order to keep her status as a student. One of the things I appreciated about Oto was her guarded personality. The first Boys Over Flowers was a bit more dynamic because Tsukushi was always so vocal, but Oto is doing her best to stay under the radar, to the point where she’s actually repressing her impulses.
Haruto is an absolute idiot, but he’s somewhat adorable in his lavish lifestyle, slavish devotion to the memory of Tsukasa, and bumbling reactions to Oto as he begins to realize that he has a crush on her. One of the things that I didn’t like much about the chapters that have been released so far, is that the rest of the Correct 5 haven’t really had their personalities filled in yet. I thought that the first Boys Over Flowers did a better job balancing out and introducing the cast of characters and giving everyone a chance to develop. To be fair, Kamino does realize this, there’s a side story about Issa making the point that he never actually shows up in the manga, so I’m hoping that there will be more plot development later on.
Kamio’s art is great – she has a facility with facial expressions that make the funny scenes teeter on the edge of caricature while still seeming fully human. Really, my main quibble with this series is that it does suffer in comparison with the original. It was a bit telling that one of the most exciting moments in this series was when one of the original members of the F4 popped back for a very brief cameo. There are cliffhangers at the end of every chapter, and it did want to keep reading once I got going. I appreciate that Viz is experimenting with a free, digital release for Boys Over Flowers Season 2 and I hope it leads to more digital shoujo!