There are many individuals online who seem to believe that all anime, regardless of its genre or general quality, is art. According to them, each and every series is something to be admired from a suitably safe distance, and any sort of criticism is basically heresy.
The problem with this theory lies in shows like Hana Yori Dango. The show seems interested in nothing but catering to the lowest common denominator, and throws all manner of clichés into the work to do so. If Hana Yori Dango is "art," so is fast food.
The shows derivative nature is most noticeable in the plot, which seems to be moving on rails from the very start. Even those with minimal experience in either traditional shoujo or Hollywood romantic comedy will still probably find the "twists" predictable and the by-the-book dialogue all too familiar. Everything feels hackneyed and overdone. In one scene, a character shouts out that he loves the protagonist, but his voice is drowned out by a noisy vehicle that happens to be driving by at the time. Seriously, who hasn’t seen that somewhere else?
Despite this, the plot is initially entertaining on camp value alone. The cheesy and predictable nature of the plot lends a certain charm similar to what Fushigi Yuugi had going for it. However, this isn’t really enough to carry the series for all 51 episodes; it’s only a matter of time before the gas runs dry and the show tanks.
All of this leads to an ending that is at once obvious and moronically illogical. The contortions that the writing has to go through in order to twist the ending into something acceptable to the studio execs surpass mere deus ex machina and into absolute absurdity. The anime doesn’t quite dip to the level of the “it was all a dream” style of conclusion, but comes far closer than any respectable work ever should.
The series is also hurt somewhat by its age; the animation was most likely only serviceable when the show was aired, and has since aged horribly. In particular, the character designs feel extremely dated and ugly, and any sort of action looks clunky and unnatural.
For the soundtrack, practically the entirety is comprised of classical music mixed at a fairly high (and noticeable) volume. This might have actually worked better in a classier show, but when played alongside the soap opera antics that the characters engage in, the music feels distinctly out of place. The music also becomes a little repetitive when the same handful of tracks is used for all 51 episodes.
Such a story has been saved in the past by a set of solid, likeable characters, but Hana Yori Dango has no such luck. The protagonist has the perky, survive-through-any-hardship vibe that seems to be a universal trait among shoujo heroines, but is otherwise a blank slate (similar to male “heroes” in harem shows). The two main love interests fare slightly better in originality, but I hated them all the same. One character is a violent, stupid and snobbish oaf that will probably be beating his wife in 20 years, while the other shows so little emotion that it’s difficult to feel anything for him at all. The two personalities seem as if they were made specifically to appeal to shallow female adolescents, most likely because they were. The supporting cast ranges from mildly annoying to completely forgettable.
As a whole, whatever charm the series might initially have in the beginning is lost as the longwinded, predictable and dull plot drags out the premise to the point of tedium. The technical elements are lackluster, and the characters are sub-par. Like other "classic" romance anime from the 80s and 90s, the show will never be forgotten by its fans, but probably should be.
Story: Putting it simply, the story of HanDan is very simple and just like every other romantic shoujo comedy out there- but theres a reason why they are a all like this: Because HanDan managed to pull it off with such success that the others all followed suit. From the first episode of the series, I could tell it would be an emotional, magical story what would pull me in and amaze me, and it did. Easily my second favourite anime of all time (It would be first, if not for the fact that Digimon was my first ever anime hence my top favourite) Hana Yori Dango boasts great characters, great gradual storyline-what may have sometimes dragged- but was still pure genius, and superb at everything.
Animation: I'd wanted to watch this series for a long time, but the art style had put me off as it really wasn't to my tastes and since the show was older than I was I immediately presumed I wouldn't become much of a fan of this show anyway-how wrong I was. Within about 3 or 4 episodes I was used to the animation and old style of it, and by about episode 15 I was in LOVE with the animation- I wish there were more shows with that style of animation in fact. It could be a little slobby at times, but in general it was very good and got better as the episodes progressed.
Sound: Sad to say, music isn't the strong point of this particular anime, but hey, we don't watch anime for the music after all. The opening sequence I ALWAYS skipped as soon as I got to episode 2 or 3- I just HATED it. It sounded like it was from the 60s and was horribly outdated and cheesy. The music in the actual show was sweet and mostly instrumental with piano and violin accompaniments. They were VERY repetitive to the extent that you knew each song almost off-by-heart but they sounded good and suited the overall mood of the anime, so I can't complain.
Characters: Characters are what make this show sparkle; their all superbly etched out, their individual personalites made clear from minute one, and you end up loving them all from minute one. The love triangle between Tsukushi, Tsukasa and Rui is one of the most memorable ones in history and the greatness of it is that its never clear exactly whom Tsukushi will end up with, not like most Shoujo's where its blindingly obvious and you know exactly how it will end.
Overall: Easily the best Shoujo I've ever watched or read, this is a must-watch, regardless of its age and old animation.
I watched this anime non-stop front beginning to end, it left me wanting more out of it with the plot, twist and turns. Sadly the girl is too stupid for her own good, I was expecting more romance out of it and was sadly dissapointed. For being an older series, they did pretty well with the graphics and storyline, overall I give it an 8.
Hana yori dango is a great Anime. I'm not a fan of the animation though, I really like the 'new ones' better. Still, the story is such a great one that it need to be watched!
Hana yori dango is about a girl comming from a poor family. During her middle school she went with all sorts of middle class kids, but since her parents is all about getting rich, they pay a big amount to get Tsukushi into the rich kids high school, high hopes for their daugther to find a rich man to get marry to. Tsukushi is not a big fan of the idea though. During middle school she were a strong person who prevented kids for being bullied. This isn't the case anymore, now in high school she wants nothing but getting through the years totally unoticed and avoid any kind of trouble.
At the high school four boys, who calls themselves the F4, is ruling the whole place. They are feared and noone is brave enough to step up to them. Everyone in the school is obeying them and if a student is bullied by them, noone dares to help. If anyone gets the notorious red card in their locker, everybody around the person will either step away or bullying them.
The kids in school carry out sick pranks on those who is victims for the F4.
One day Tsykushis friend is being pushed by them. Even so Tsukushi refuse to just let it go and she interfere. This cause some problems for Tsukushi, because now she stepped up to the F4 and noone have ever done that. Tsukushi is fighting with the leader Tsukasa. She is now being bullied by pretty much everyone in the school! Slowly she begins to make friends with the F4 and Tsukasa is even saving her sometimes from serious pranks played on her. The two of them evovles feelings for eack tocher even though Tsukushi is denying it the whole time.
Lots of problems and persons is interfering in the evovling of Tsukishis and Tsukasas love but they end up having each tocher. A perfect love story! This will be totally worth of time!