-- HYD Manga Guide -----------------------
The Hana Yori Dango manga all began back in 1992, appearing in Margaret, which is a Japanese bi-weekly shoujo manga magazine that compiles installments of several different series. The picture on the left is one of the many Margaret issues that featured Hana Yori Dango on its cover. HYD continued to run in Margaret up until August of 2003, when the series finally ended.
A special installment was later also included in the January 2004 issue, featuring one of the lesser developed main characters, Mimasaka Akira. The Margaret releases were quite nice as they often include color pictures of the series- these are generally not found anywhere else. :)
There are a total of 36 manga tankoubon volumes, which is basically a book that combines several issues of the Margaret installments into one. Margaret is published by Shueisha. Then around June/July of 2006, almost three years after the series was finished, there was another 50-page special HYD one-shot released in Margaret to complement the ending of the series. It isn't known whether another will be released in the future, but we can always hope right? :D And last but not least, the wonderful series is written and drawn by none other than Kamio Yoko.
The great news for all those English readers is that HYD was finally licensed by Viz, and there are already several volumes released. Unfortunately, they only release 1 volume for every two months...which means if they keep at this pace, the English version of HYD won't end until mid-2009. ^^;; I should add though, that it's all worth it even with the length of the series. :D
The manga's art is relatively similar to the anime version and the same look was kept pretty consistent between the two. This comparison is only applicable to the beginning manga volumes though- the drawing style in the manga changes later on, somewhere after the 10th volume. Perhaps we can call it Kamio-sensei's "growth" in terms of her drawing skills. ^^; The art greatly improves as the series continue, and it becomes quite obvious when you take a take a later volume and compare it to the first few. But there are also some nice aspects about Kamio-sensei's style in the beginning as the characters tend to be much more distinctive.
In terms of story, the manga naturally comprises of all the details and events that the anime has left out. It's not to be missed! If you're curious about more comparisons between the anime and the manga, please refer to the anime guide.
Below, I've included a few manga cover images of both the U.S. release and the original Japanese release. The English covers are volumes 1-3, while the Japanese covers are volumes 4-6.
Additional images of the cover plus the original translations done for the manga back when the manga has not been licensed yet, can be found on this page.
Aside from the Margaret magazine and the manga tankoubon releases, HYD is also available in a "novel" version. These are called Cobalt Pinky books, which are basically a text only version of the manga. Sometimes there's a picture or two from the manga that's added into these books as illustration. Additionally, there are also 2 color pictures added into each volume as a bonus. Note: Cobalt Pinky doesn't only exist for HYD- they also do these books for some other series. Also, these are available in Japanese only. I don't think Viz will do something like this. :p Below are 4 images of the cover; by the way, they're not the same as the tankoubon covers.