Boys over Flowers: Jewelry Box by Yoko Kamio Manga Review

Title: Boys over Flowers: Jewelry Box

Author: Yoko Kamio

Publisher: Viz

ISBN: 9781421530871

May Contain Spoilers

Taking place one year after the events in volume 36, Yoko Kamio revisits Tsukushi, Tsukasa, and the rest of the F4.  Tsukushi is finding her long-distance relationship a little complicated.  Tsukasa is busy all the time working for his family’s corporation, and Tsukushi is once again the chief breadwinner since her father has lost yet another job.  Constantly on the go, it’s hard for the young couple to stay in touch, and the time is taking much longer to pass than Tsukushi thought it would.  When Tsukasa learns that Rui has been a regular visitor at the Makino residence, he starts to see green.  Will their relationship survive their long period of separation?

I liked the first chapter, which chronicles the loneliness that Tsukushi is suffering as she waits for four years to go by, so Tsukasa can return to Japan and they can be together again.  His mother is making sure that he is too busy to even call her, and she’s also sending him jetting all over the world; everywhere, that is, except back home to Japan.  Thinking that keeping them apart will drive a wedge between them, his mother has found a very subtle way to interfere with their relationship. To complicate matters, Rui is spending a lot of time with Tsukushi, and when Tsukasa finds out, he very naturally flies off the handle.

When they are briefly reunited, it is obvious that Tsukasa has matured, and he even thinks up a way to keep Tsukushi so busy that she won’t have time to hang around with Rui any longer.  It was a lot of fun to see how much progress he has made, both with his temper and with his career.  He has developed into an almost respectable member of society and he seems to have his act together better than Tsukushi. 

The rest of the book was a short story about Rui and his doubt that he will ever be able to fall in love again.  Both of the women he had fallen in love with ended up with someone else, and he now prefers to keep some emotional distance from everyone.  He has to come to terms with how he feels about Tsukushi, and he has to learn to let go and move on with his life.  It’s not easy for him, and even at the end of the story, I didn’t think that he was successful in his efforts to put the past behind him.  Rui is such a deep and complicated character, and his struggles are bittersweet.  While I liked the chapter featuring him, I would have preferred to see him arrive at a better resolution to his emotional turmoil. 

Boys over Flowers: Jewelry Box will delight longtime fans of the series, but newcomers will miss out on the emotional punch of this volume.  While no new ground was covered, the older, more mature versions of the F4 made for an entertaining reunion.  It was comforting to step back into familiar territory, and see friendly faces again.  Also included are highlights from the series, a character guide, and production notes from the author.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by Viz

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