Although there’s an identically pronounced Japanese proverb espousing the pleasures of the flesh, when many non-Japanese people hear Hana Yori Dango, the first thing they think of is the title of the rags to riches and romance manga penned by Yoko Kamio. Also known as Boys Over Flowers, Kamio’s manga debuted in 1992 and would eventually see animated and live-action adaptations both on TV and in theaters.
Now, 12 years after the conclusion of the comic that started the franchise, Kamio is penning a sequel series. Plus, as if that wasn’t enough to make the day of Hana Yori Dango fans all over the world, it’ll be available to read online, free, and in English simultaneously with its Japanese release.
The original Hana Yori Dango followed teenager Tsukushi Makino as she began her high school career by enrolling in the prestigious Eitoku Academy. Unlike many of her classmates, Makino doesn’t come from a privileged economic background, and she soon finds herself butting heads with the sort of influential non-official student group that can often be found in manga and anime, in this case a group of four wealthy and handsome young men who collectively call themselves the F4. As the story goes on, Tsukushi finds herself increasingly drawn to the group’s de facto leader, Tsukasa Domyoji, who’s the brash scion of Japan’s wealthiest family, to boot.
After 37 collected volumes, Hana Yori Dango came to a fairly conclusive ending in 2003. Kamio seems content to let the original cast enjoy their happily-ever-afters, so the Hana Yori Dango sequel will instead focus on a new batch of students at Eitoku Academy.
Titled Hana Nochi Hare-Hanaden Next Season (“Sunshine After Flowers-Flower Boys Next Season”), the upcoming serialized manga is set in Tsukushi and Tsukasa’s alma mater two years after their graduation. Plot details have yet to be revealed, but judging from the artwork above which features one girl dressed in a different uniform from everyone else, it looks like we’ll be seeing another newcomer to the elite prep school. Likewise, Mr. Sticking-Out-His-Tongue looks ready to continue the Domyoji tradition of messy hair and initially pathetic social skills.
The new series is set to start February 15, with new installments being released every other Sunday. Like the original, the sequel will be published by Shueisha. However, whileHana Yori Dango ran in the pages of biweekly girls’ manga anthology Margaret, Hana Nochi Hare will make its home on Shueisha’s free Shonen Jump + manga app.
While Shonen Jump has traditionally been thought of a boys’ manga anthology, the brand has adopted a far wider range of content in recent years. Among the titles currently available on Shonen Jump + are Retsu Haikyu!, Hetalia World Stars, and Kuroko’s Basketball Replace PLUS, all spinoffs of series with much larger female fanbases than male ones.
Alternatively, Hana Nochi Hare will also be available in North America free, online, and in English from manga licensor and translator Viz Media through the company’s Viz Manga service under its official English title, Boys Over Flowers Season 2. Releases are also being planned with separate distributors for Korea and China, two more territories with significant numbers of established Hana Yori Dango fans.
Finally, if you’re looking for a way to kill time until you can read the first issue of the sequel, each and every volume of the Hana Yori Dango manga series can be read here, absolutely free, on Shonen Jump +. They’ll only be available between now and February 15, though, with a staggered release as the week goes on, so if your goal is to be all caught up for the next chapter of the Hana saga, you’ll want to get started reading right away.