Note: Spoilers will be tagged as such *SPOILERS*
The Gist: Makino Tsukushi is a scholarship student at a ridiculously ritzy school run by F4 - part pretty boy, part bad boy, part future corporate owners of Japan. Despite trying her best to be ignored, Makino ends up drawing the ire of F4 when she stands up for a friend. As Domyouji Tsukasa, leader of F4 and inheritor of the Domyouji Financial Group, is determined to break her, Makino falls for Hanazawa Rui, Domyouji's silent and completely apathetic best friend who barely intercepts on her behalf. Not to be taken lightly, Makino stands up to Domyouji and knocks him on his ass. Shocked and intrigued by the new turn of events, Domyouji's interest in Makino turns sweeter. The love triangle that develops between the three is further complicated by Mama Domyouji's insistence that Tsukasa have nothing to do with Makino (that works swimmingly, as you'd imagine). Supported by the two remaining members and playboys of F4, Nishikado Soujiro and Mimasaka Akira, and Makino's best friend Yuki, Makino navigates the challenges of her unique high school while trying to sort out her love life.
1. Domyouji Tsukasa
By the end of the show, you almost forget these guys are essentially the school bullies. While they are by no means angels, they look out for each other and Makino. The way they work through things and depend on each other is enviable. The scene where tension builds between them until they finally just beat the crap out of each other in public before falling down and laughing is probably my favorite.
3. The Families
Mama Domyouji really is a piece of work, but she's the kind of villain that I love. As much as you hate her, you are constantly hoping for reconciliation between her and her son. The total opposite lives that Makino and Domyouji lead are only highlighted by their families. Makino's family is totally adorable, willing to sacrifice whatever they have to to let her achieve dreams. When comparing HYD to the Korean make (another review for another time) the thing that really struck me was how much more I liked the portrayals in the Japanese version.
4. The Pacing
This show doesn't drag at all and if you can stop watching at the end of any given episode - you are truly talented. I powered through both seasons in about two days and have done so multiple times since my first viewing. The tension is kept up without overwhelming the viewer. HYD nails its story telling.
1. Weird Manga Tropes
So at respective points in the show Makino ends up as Domyouji's maid, someone gets amnesia, and their first kiss happens when Makino falls on top of him and their lips happen to meet. They seem to be drawn straight out of any number of shojo mangas. All of these things are pretty cheesy, but the story is so good that you have to forgive the strange detours.
2. Domyouji's Outfits
Are you seeing the fur on this? But really. Ok, they are definitely not all bad, but there are some very pointy shoes that make an appearance. Of course, the time the boys show up in sharp suits more than make up for it.
3. Yuki's Obsession
I love Yuki and Soujiro, but at times, Yuki just seems a bit like a weird stalker. Or, maybe just a high school girl with a crush. Either way, we do get some very nice moments between the two - such as the episode when Yuki's boyfriend dumps her or when Yuki helps Soujiro reconcile his first love.
1. Ok. I'm just going to say it. There's nothing I really hate about this show. Honestly, there just isn't. Any flaws this show has never go beyond minor annoyances.
So... if you haven't already watched this show, I don't know why you are still here reading this! The characters are really the phenomenal part of this drama, framed by good plots and cast beautifully. If there was anything this show left me wanting, it would be a little bit more physical affection between the our leads. With all the crap those two go through - you'd think they'd kiss a bit more.Still, there's a reason the manga was a bestseller and this story keeps getting remade. It's a classic.
Final Grade: A+