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Manga / Boys over Flowers

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Don't be so full of it!

Boys over Flowers (花より男子 Hana Yori Dango) is a Japanese Shōjo manga series written by Yoko Kamio. It ran for thirty-six volumes over a period of eleven years. It has enjoyed massive popularity in Japan and Asia. It has been adapted into an anime, thirteen live-action television dramas, three of which are sequel seasons, two remakes, In order of production: , an animated movie set in a parallel universe, and a live-action movie. Takarazuka Revue also put on a stage adaptation in summer 2019.


The story varies a bit from continuity to continuity, but the basics are thus. Plucky Girl Tsukushi Makino is the sole middle class student attending the Fiction 500 prep school Eitoku Academy. The school is presided over by the F4 (short for "Flower Four"), Tsukasa Domyoji, Rui Hanazawa, Sōjirō Nishikado, and Akira Mimasaka, whose parents have paid the administration a massive amount of money to grant their offspring free reign over the school. As a result, they lord themselves over the school and use their influence to get the entire student body to attack students physically for such transgressions as "accidentally squirting lemon juice into our leader's eye." For about a year and a half, Tsukushi tries to preserve her safety by being ignored, but steps in to protect her only friend at school (Shrinking Violet Makiko Endou), who accidentally offends Tsukasa, the F4's leader. This instead causes her to be assaulted and ostracized by the entire school, except for Tsukushi's crush Rui (who often steps in and saves her when he's not busy spacing out) and Tsukasa (who is more intrigued than outraged). She eventually befriends the F4, and her influence largely seems to stop their bullying ways.


The series gradually changes focus to the Love Dodecahedron surrounding the main characters, and eventually focusing on the main couple of Tsukushi and Tsukasa. The latter half is largely composed of them working around their massive class differences (his parents are Corrupt Corporate Executives, hers are increasingly insolvent) and thwarting the plans of Tsukasa's Evil Matriarch Kaede to separate them...

See also Boys Before Flowers for the Korean Series based on this manga. A sequel named Boys Over Flowers: Season 2 (Hana Nochi Hare in Japan), which stars a whole new cast two years after the original series' characters graduate from Eitoku, started in 2015 and is published in Shonen Jump+. This series also got a live-action adaptation in 2018, but changed the time window from two years to ten years.

Boys over Flowers provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Tsukasa's Freudian Excuse is the unbelievable neglect coming from Kaede. See the main page.
    • Some mention should go to Tsukushi's parents. While they're generally flighty but loving, one chapter has her coming home from school to find them and her brother packing their things: they were moving out to the city, not taking Tsukushi, or planning to tell her until that very day. Keep in mind Tsukushi is in school and has no job... Her parents promise to send money for her, but when she finally gets a letter from them, it says that they don't have money to send her yet, so here, have some strips of seaweed. Tsukushi honestly thought she'd starve, and probably would have if not for her friends. They are also incredibly stupid, want Tsukushi to be a gold digger and keep losing money on pointless things like pachinko resulting in their poverty... Ultimately, less abusive and more just plain useless. Thankfully, most of the live-action adaptations avert this.
  • Accidental Kiss: Happens in the live action version between Tsukushi and Tsukasa due to an unlikely trip-fall-catch.
    • In both the Manga and Anime, this was how Tsukushi lost her Sacred First Kiss to Domyouji.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The jDrama neatly compresses the sprawling plot of the manga into a much smoother, shorter story.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Tsukushi goes through one when she decides to stand up to the F4. Most obviously shown by her taking down her pigtails.
  • Airplane of Love: Twice, and both more literal than most cases. First when Tsukushi watches the plane in which Rui is flying to Paris take off, then when she watches Tsukasa's jet take off for New York.
  • Air Voyance: At least three times.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: The cause of Shigeru's attraction to Tsukasa.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Tsukasa is definitely the most rough-edged and morally questionable member of F4, and the one who gets the girl (although Tsukushi was initially turned off by his Jerkass ways and preferred the more subdued Rui). Also a possible factor in Yuki's feelings for Sōjirō.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: In the first half of the story, at least. Tsukasa wants Tsukushi who wants Rui who wants Shizuka, and that's not even getting into all the minor characters.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Tsukushi gets a lot of this.
  • Alpha Bitch: Yuriko, Erika, and Minako. They start out pretty malevolent, but get closer to Butt-Monkey status as Tsukushi's position with F4 solidifies.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: A few of these, notably when Tsukasa is first confessing his feelings, then later when Tsukushi reciprocates (it's still an anguished lash out, because that's just how Tsukushi rolls).
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: None of the F4 ever seem to run out of money, at least until Kaede cuts Domyoji off
  • Arranged Marriage: Kaede Domyoji succeeds in forcing Tsubaki into one of these and tries and fails to force Tsukasa into a few, specially with the very quirky Shigeru Ookawahara).
  • Attempted Rape: Poor Tsukushi...
    • And it actually comes up later in a humorous fashion Tsukasa and Tsukushi are close to making love, but Tsukushi is so nervous that she starts crying. It remains an awkward moment for them until Tsubaki walks in on them, sees Tsukushi crying and thinks Tsukasa is trying to rape her. Even Tsukushi trying to reassure her doesn't stop Tsubaki from once again kicking Tsukasa's ass.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Par for the course with Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Actually subverted. Tsuakasa's behavior does take some leaves of it depending on the adaptation (specially in the manga), but Tsukushi doesn't fit in the archetypical Shrinking Violet girlfriend so they fit better into the dynamic of Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Tsukasa once asks his maids to give Tsukushi a bath and change her clothes since they were ruined. Tsukushi, however, believes he's going to rape her and attacks him.
  • Beauty Contest: The Teen of Japan competition is a cross between this and a Talent Contest.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: All over the place with Tsukushi and Tsukasa
  • Beta Couple: Sōjirō and Tsukushi's friend Yuki, to a varying extent depending on the continuity.
  • Betty and Veronica: Rui (Betty) and Tsukasa (Veronica) to Tsukushi (Archie)
  • The Big Damn Kiss: In the J-Drama, Tsukasa and Tsukushi have one of in both season finales. The first one is particularly epic.
  • Big Damn Movie: Hana Yori Dango: Final, the film conclusion to the J-Drama series, changes the plot from a melodramatic Will They or Won't They? to a globe-spanning quest for a missing tiara. Subverted when the whole thing is revealed to be a plot by their friends and family to test the strength of their relationship.
  • Big Fancy House: Several. We see Shigeru's, Sakurako's, Shizuka's, Akira's, Sōjirō's, Rui's and three of Domyoji's, but particular focus is given to the Domyoji primary Tokyo residence, which is enormous. Every wealthy character is actually implied to have several more Big Fancy Houses around the world.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sakurako wrote the book on this trope. See her entry on the page.
  • Break the Cutie
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Sort of, one-sided. One of the first things that attracts Tsukasa to Tsukushi is that she treats him in the same manner his older sister Tsubaki did... 'kay.
  • Bumbling Dad: Again, Tsukushi's father.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tsukushi and Kazuya.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: On both sides, but eventually Tsukasa tends to be upfront about his feelings, while Tsukushi still has some difficulty expressing hers.
  • Catchphrase: Tsukushi's "Unbelievable!" ("Arienai-tsu no!")
  • Category Traitor: A big tool in the F4's corruption of the student body; if you don't at least seem to actively participate in the public shaming and bullying they assign to those who they "red card," then you're likely to be the next recipient.
  • Chastity Couple: The Official Couple ends up being this, mostly due to Tsukushi's nervousness and much to Tsukasa's chagrin.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Rui and Shigeru.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Kaede's machinations eventually force Tsukushi to be torn between the well being of her friends and family and her relationship with Tsukasa
  • Cool Big Sis: Both Tsubaki Domyoji and Shizuka Todo serve in this role.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kaede Domyoji, and implicitly the parents of the rest of the F4.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Domyoji is incredibly clingy.
  • Dances and Balls: The party during Tsukushi's vacation with fellow students on the cruise.
  • Disappeared Dad: While Tsukasa's father is referenced occasionally in the manga, he is never seen and it's stated that Tsukasa himself hasn't seen him in years. In the drama, he is simply not mentioned at all until the movie.
  • Distracted by the Luxury: Tsukasa tries to pull this on Tsukushi in order to get her to drop out of Eitoku. It doesn't work.
    • Researching the Makino's financial situation, Kaede visits their home and offers them a suitcase containing ¥50,000,000 in cash in exchange for Tsukushi never seeing Domyouji again. Tsukushi's mother - who has been the most vocal with her lamentations regarding their lack of money - goes to the kitchen, gets a bin of salt, and coolly proceeds to dump the contents over Kaede's head, saying "Get your money and get out!" making this her Moment of Awesome.note 
    • This is even better if you know that dumping salt on someone is considered incredibly insulting in Japan, where it's a way of telling someone you think they're as slimy as slug.
    • It also means that you find their very presence spiritually corrupting, as salt is used to purify an area of evil spirits. It's the Shinto equivalent of tossing holy water on someone.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A couple of Tsukasa's previous bullying victims, including Sakurako in particular manage to get some rather brutal revenge on him, both directly and through his relationship with Tsukushi.
  • The Dutiful Son: Sōjirō, Tsukasa himself when he decides to return to New York even without his mother's intervention because of his father's illness.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Tsukushi goes through so much crap, to hell and back, before she gets to her Happily Ever After. Most of this is Tsukasa's fault, but she never gives up on the world despite how terrible it is, but in the end, things turn out alright, and you might say, good.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Tsukushi does this to Rui and Tsukasa several times during the manga.
  • Femme Fatale: Sakurako, especially after her Heel–Face Turn
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: F4 fits with Tsukasa as choleric, Rui being melancholic, Sōjirō being phlegmatic, and Akira as sanguine.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Shigeru is a girl. Just a heads-up.
  • Genki Girl: Shigeru, full stop.
  • Golddigger: Tsukushi's family wants her to be this, although she technically qualifies as an aversion.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Sakurako, after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: At the end of the J-Drama, Tsukasa hijacks Tsukushi's senior prom and turns it into a giant Wacky Marriage Proposal with thousands of people cheering in the seats of the stadium.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Tsukasa, Sakurako, Thomas, Junpei, both of Tsukasa's parents, the list goes on. Probably the only "villains" who don't are the Terrible Trio; however, don't expect any of these to be perfect nice guys and gals after the switch.
  • Heel Realization: His relationship with Tsukushi forces Tsukasa to go through this. This becomes a Funny Moment in at least one continuity where, after having allowed himself to be brutally assaulted to protect Tsukushi, he writes her a letter thanking her for teaching him what it's like to get beat up.
  • Heroic BSoD: Rui, as a product of his upbringing, tended to have panic attacks. Shizuka helped him get rid of them.
    • Tsukasa goes through this when he sees photos of Tsukushi in bed with another man. He's so out of it that he doesn't even notice Sakurako taking him to her house, or Tsukushi screaming for help from classmates brutally hazing her.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners - Akira Mimasaka and Sojirou Nishikado. Extremely hetero? Yes. Always together? Yes.
  • High-School Dance: The J-Drama ends with one combined with a Wacky Marriage Proposal of all things!
  • Hollywood Psych: In the anime/manga, Rui tells Tsukushi he used to have autism. He got over it.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The F4 pull off one in a flashback of Rui grating apples.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Domyoji becomes this for a while when Kaede cuts him off.
  • Inter-Class Romance
  • It's a Costume Party, I Swear!: In the television series.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: Tsukasa's first act after developing an interest in Tsukushi is to have her kidnapped for an impromptu makeover.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Pretty much everyone who's in love in this series pulls it at one time or another, but special mention goes to Rui, who pulled it on Shizuka, and then fell in love with Tsukushi, who was already falling in love with Tsukasa, meaning Rui had to pull one again. Poor guy can't catch a break.
  • Karma Houdini: The F4's bullying borders on Kick the Dog territory at times, up to and including Tsukasa authorizing some underlings to gang-rape Tsukushi (though varying media have different levels of how explicit the authorization was). They never particularly suffer any consequences.
    • Laser-Guided Karma; Tsukasa does get beaten nearly to death on one occasion and is stabbed almost mortally on another, add to that all the emotional tolls he goes through throughout the series. It does occasionally suck to be Tsukasa.
  • Jaded Washout: Tsukushi's father falls into this.
  • Jerkass —> Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tsukasa, so much.
  • Kick the Dog: F4, and especially Tsukasa, start doing this in their first appearance, wherein they are shown ordering their peers to bully a student into dropping out.
    • Rui also gets this treatment, when he is vocally dismissive of Tsukushi's worries and safety despite being the only other semi-sympathetic character shown at that point.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Plucky Girl Tsukushi. She lives in a Crapsack School, but she almost never gives up, and isn't allowed to when she wants to. Partially subverted as that she gets her happy ending, though she has to work for it.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: very much the reason underlying Tsukasa's initial infatuation with Tsukushi when she clobbers him, and this developing into a real relationship later on. Throughout the anime series, Tsukushi gives as good as she gets from her upper-class oppressors (including the girls) and refuses to take any crap from anyone despite her lower-class status. As she puts it in one episode, she's the "no-brand" girl: nobody else gets to define her as his "brand" of girl no matter how much money and status he might have, which is why she shrugs off Tsukasa's "generosity" in ordering that makeover for her, which in turn just intrigues him all the more.
  • Important Haircut: Shizuka gives herself one as a symbol of her resolution to leave showbiz and become a lawyer.
    • Also, after Yuuki gets over Nishikado she gets a new short haircut.
  • I'm Not Pretty: Sakurako, to the extent of getting plastic surgery because Tsukasa relentlessly bullied her due to being merely plain in looks.
  • Lap Pillow: In the japanese television series, when Tsukasa gets sick and Tsukushi takes care of him. Twice.
  • Large Ham: Sachiyo, the owner of the okashi shop Tsukushi works at. Tsukasa has his moments too.
  • Last-Name Basis: Typical in Japan, but rather unusual in that it continues between the main couple even once they're in a relationship/ engaged.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: The rest of the F4 and company often engineer to put Tsukasa and Tsukushi in these situations, occasionally locking them in if they thing the concerned parties will object.
  • Likes Older Women: Akira, having been turned off of younger women by his mother's behavior.
  • Locked in a Room: In the television series, the Official Couple ends up locked in an elevator.
    • Happens on a few various occasions in different locations in the manga as well
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Rui, Tsukasa and Sōjirō .
  • Love at First Punch: Why did Tsukasa fall for Tsukushi? Because she didn't take his crap.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Very much so in the first half of the series. Less so in the second half, but still with the obligatory shojo set of unrequited lovers surrounding the Official Couple.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Sakurako's Freudian Excuse.
  • Love Redeems: Tsukasa starts acting less of a Jerkass as he develops feelings for Tsukushi.
  • Malaproper: Tsukasa. "Anyway, the point is, you sleep-talk during RAM sleep!"
  • Mafia Princess: Akira's a bit of a male version in the jDrama, and his little sisters qualify.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Shigeru tries to become one of these for Tsukasa. When he makes clear that he doesn't like her that way, she resorts to play Shipper on Deck and get him and Tsukushi together instead.
  • Meaningful Name: "Tsukushi" really is a stubborn weed (a type of horsetail, to be exact), and the character holds herself to it.
  • Mood Whiplash: The serious tone of the story gets interrupted with commercial breaks marked by humorous sitcom style antics of the guys trying to peek at Tsukushi in a bubble bath, especially jarring when it is seen in the middle of an attempted gang rape.
  • Not What It Looks Like/That Came Out Wrong: When Tsukasa is telling his buddies about how his rather abortive first date with Tsukushi went horribly wrong, they don't realize he's complaining, and he doesn't catch on to their interpreting everything he says to mean that he and she had a really wild and kinky night; mainly because when he tells them that "she strangled me all night long" he neglects to explain that she was wrapping a leek around his neck to bring down his fever because he was getting sick; and when they ask him what hotel they were using, and he says they were not in a hotel but in an elevator, he neglects to mention they were trapped there by mistake. They're all impressed at his "exploits" and one of them even remarks "Wow! My girlfriend's never tried anything like that!"
  • Once per Episode: That insert song they use in the drama.
  • Oranyan: Tsukasa.
  • Pair the Spares: Sakurako and Kazuya might be in their way to this, in the end of the anime.
    • Yuki and Soujirou are teased as a potential secondary love duo in the Japanese live action version, though it never comes to fruition. Their Korean live action counterparts — Ga Eul and Yi Jung, respectively — do end up paired up in the end.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Kaede spends most of the second half of the series trying to exercise this.
  • Parental Neglect: All members of the F4 (except perhaps Akira) seem to display this to some extent, but Tsukasa seems to have been the most negatively affected by it. Ironically, when his mother starts paying attention to him, his entire life takes a turn for the worse.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: The party on the yacht in the manga, during which Tsukushi stumbles from room to room and finds that nearly everyone but her, Tsukasa, and Kazuya are having sex with each other.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: This trope gleefully shoves the entire student body over the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: Tsukushi being this is the main conceit of the story.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Tsukushi's family.
  • Plot-Induced Illness: This happens a few times but the most ridiculous example is when Tsukushi falls into a swimming pool in a warm, tropical setting and instantly gets a bad fever. This prevents her from getting physical with Domyoji when they are finally alone together.
  • Pretty in Mink: Male example; Tsukasa wears a fur-trimmed coat to the zoo.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title is an old Japanese Idiom: "Sweets before (are better than) flowers." (The practical beats the purely emotional). Except they use a different "Dango" character (a fairly obscure word for boys) instead of the character that means "sweets".
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Rui for both Makino and Shizuka.
  • Running Gag: Domyoji has a tendency to mispronounce certain words.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Given the Serious Business treatment (ominous music, freeze frame) after Domyoji kissed Tsukushi in the dark during a party. It's as if everyone just found out that Domyoji was a murderer or something.
    • Makes some more sense once you recall the Values Dissonance in regards to close physical contact in Japan.
    • Not too mention the class difference, which the school body takes fairly seriously.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Tsukushi, in spades. Part of what draws Tsukasa to her.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The F4 are certainly not above using theirs. Akira's Yakuza ones come particularly in handy.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: AND HOW!
  • Second Love: Although Tsukushi initially loved Rui, she ends up with Domyoji.
  • Second Place Is for Winners. Tsukushi enters a fashion contest where (due to nepotism) the 1st place winner has been preordained. She wins second place, but since that was the highest spot that hadn't been "reserved," it effectively makes her the winner of the contest.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: The F4 and assorted minor characters. Notably, all of the common subtypes are represented in the F4 (Sōjirō and Akira are clownish but charming buffoons, Tsukasa is the pompous, arrogant meanie (who is also a buffoon), and Rui isthe composed, reserved and usually highly intelligent one).
  • Shrinking Violet: Makiko.
  • Shipper on Deck: Shigeru is a Tsukushi/Tsukasa fangirl. The rest of the F4 joins in sometimes.
    • And Tsukushi tries her damnedest to ship Rui/Shizuka.
  • Ship Tease: Considering how many volumes the mangaka got out of leaving open whether or not Domiyougi and Tsukushi, the Official Couple could count as this early on. But there's also liberal Fanfic Fuel for any Yaoi Fangirls who wanted to ship Akira and Sojiro, in spite of the obvious
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Tsukasa gives one to Makino in the J-Drama right before he leaves for New York.
  • Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: Tsukushi is subjected to graffiti on the wall saying that she's had 'two abortions' and photos of her and a boy in a compromising position.
  • Team Dad: Akira is this to an extent. He doesn't particularly care about forcing morality on the group (and probably couldn't if he wanted to) but is the general mediator for conflicts and seems to take it upon his shoulders when the group isn't getting along, eventually leading to him getting in a fistfight with Tsukasa when the latter won't stop stirring up drama with Rui.
  • Team Mom: Shizuka seems to have formerly filled this role for the F4, and her absence may have something to do with the extreme levels of jerkassery they've fallen to by the beginning of the series.
  • The Teaser: Used in the J-drama. There might be a recap mixed in with it, too.
  • There Are No Therapists: Tsukasa has displayed serious behavioral problems his entire life, Rui was said to be pretty much mute and uncommunicative as a child. Neither of their sets of parents, despite being of considerable means ever sought professional help to address this.
  • This Is Reality: (Paraphrased:) "Falling on top of your worst enemy and kissing her? This isn't a manga, you know!"
  • Through His Stomach: Attempted by Umi on Tsukasa when he was suffering from Amnesia and had forgotten all about Tsukushi. In a potential Moment of Awesome for Tsukasa, he rejected the romantic upstart because her cooking wasn't like Tsukushi's.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Tsukushi gets her hair ruined by a bunch of bullies and has to get it cut, first by her mom and then by Rui.
  • Tsundere: Both Tsukasa AND Tsukushi.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Tsukasa will hit a girl, and has, just like he'll hit anybody else, whether it's his Love Interest for ticking him off (who is more than happy to return the favor) or some Rich Bitches who need it.
  • Underdressed for the Occasion: At the "betrothal party" in the anime.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Sakurako and Kazuya.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A significant part of the second half of the story is about Tsukasa having to face up to the consequences of all the lives his bullying and carelessness ruined.
  • Will Not Be a Victim: Makino.
  • Woman Scorned: Oh man, Sakurako.
  • You Must Be Cold: It seems as though Domyoji is constantly giving Tsukushi his coat...
    • Genderflipped on at least one occasion, when Tsukushi gave Domyoji her scarf after he caught a cold.

The sequel, Boys over Flowers Season 2, has the following tropes:

  • The Ace: Haruto is handsome, smart, fit, etc., so he's considered as this at school.
  • Expy: The main characters, Eto and Haruto, are expies of Tsukushi and Tsukasa. Plus Haruto's friends, the Correct Five, are expies of the F4 to one or another degree.
  • Gender Flip: In the original, the F4 was boys-only. In the sequel one of the Correct Five members is a girl named Maya Airi.
  • Secret Keeper: Eto pretends to be rich, but in reality she's poor and has a part-time job. Haruto secretly buys gimmicky self-help items to become strong. They find out about each other's secrets, then agree to be this to one another...
  • Scholarship Student: Eto seem to be this, as the local Tsukushi expy. In reality, she's there because she's in an Arranged Marriage to someone else.

Alternative Title(s): Hana Yori Dango


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