Flowers and Bees Vol. #05 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Monday, July 11, 2005
Release Date: Friday, October 01, 2004
Translated by:Yuji Oniki
What They Say
Komatsu manages to escape from indentured servitude at the construction site - his own personal churning hell of rebar, cement dust, and stinking middle-aged men! With the wisdom gained the stealth Casanova of the hard-hat crew, will he return to school and show the girls his Snake... and Tiger Style? And when he begins to find the "Way of the Stud" unpalatable, could Komatsu's pilgrimage on the path to pimphood take a dramatic turn?
The cover is similar to the original. It features Komatsu's three teenage love interests in their respective school uniforms on a green colored honeycomb background. The character designs for the females here are much better here than in previous covers. Interesting group image especially since they have been such an integral part of Komatsu's life in this series. The opposite cover has a weird image with the Devil Sisters and Komatsu in a private jet positioned beneath the logo and the volume description. Why?
Logo Check!! (©2003 Megs)... is pretty simple. Times Roman font italicized with a shadow. Pink daisies surround the words “Flowers & Bees”.
Inside, the printing is a little dark but everything seems to be properly aligned so it is not a total loss. I have to say Anno's chapter headers are a little etchi but completely random, I have no clue who she is drawing half of the time. As usual Viz included another chapters of the Adventures of Afterword Boy! and a blurb from Anno-sensei. They also included editor recommendations and ads for Hansel & Gretel, Vagabond and Nausicaa.
As different as Anno's art can be I think this is a clear step up from happy mania. Faces are still extreme, with their huge eyes, strange mouths and wild expressions. On the other hand, this series is about the superficial. Faces have to be detailed and with them bodies must look good and tight. Costumes are much more hyper than Anno's other works. In many ways, I find myself liking her style for this series, for her long bodies, crazy faces and weird taste works perfectly for something is narcissistic.
Backgrounds are okay, but what is really good is the layout. Anno just knows when to turn it on and here she is almost abusive with it. She knows how to use perspective and distance perfectly. Moreover, she can frame a panel much like a good cinematographer can.
SFX translated in overlays. The retouch is solid with art rarely being compromised. Everything looks pretty good but I still think this series would work better with subs as the SFX
Viz's adaptation sounds good. Yeah some of the localization and slang is frustrating but it does not compromise the story, much. They keep Japanese references in and provide notes on them in the gutters. They even kept yen in and gave a little note on dollar to yen conversion (why can't other studios do this?). Honorifics are not used much but at least Viz did not use first names when last names were used. I cannot say its great but I can deal with it.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kendou is the way of the sword.
Judou is the gentle way.
Kyuudou is the way of the bow.
Then the way of the stud must be "stud-dou"?
The way of the stud takes tremendous patience. A stud must read the field to quickly assess the situation before him. He must read his target, figuring out the best strategy for attack. There are varieties of methods the master can proceed with:
-Confident in his abilities a stud-dou master will occasionally play it passively and stall assuming that the waiting technique will bring out an opponent that grows impatient. Hopefully no longer capable of rational behavior or thought the stud's target will be easier to catch.
-The stud-dou master could also be slightly more aggressive direction after his assessment. If the opportunity is right, he could lure the target with bait. An aloof exterior hiding a "caring" soul could create confusion in some targets. The behavior of the stud will create a situation that could, when done properly, bring out the target from hiding open to the numerous options for entrapment the stud has at his availability.
-Once trapped the stud often tends to his catch. He moves in to tame and eventually train his catch. The process does not end until he gets what he set out for at the start... pleasure in the moment.
Komatsu has much to learn if he expects to ever become a master stud. Fortunately he has a few women around him to work his moves on. Taking in the wisdom of a stud, using the information gathered from the Devil Sisters and finally taking chances on ideas he always believed were impossible, he might be able to see the way open before him. If not he might be humiliated again and for a loser loner like Komatsu that is nothing new. Hell that is the way of the loser really. Loser-dou!
Maybe Komatsu was looking for advice in the wrong places. The moment he realized the Devil Sisters were the Devil Sisters he should have begun to look elsewhere. These women know of a specific kind of love. Their love is a cruel and painful love one full of bites, whips and embarrassment. Some say, "Do onto others, as they do onto you." These two women do onto Komatsu some bad things, and the Sisters like to be done bad!
Now Komatsu could have gone that way. He could have just given in to a lifestyle of abuse. But that would mean he has not learned a thing. After he has gone through the young man could not get past the basics. Look Komatsu is desperate. The kid is in so much need of affection, he is willing to do anything. He has been humiliated before, but he has never put his neck on the line for anything. Now is the chance. If he fails then he will be where he started, which essentially is where he is now. How much do you want it Komatsu? Do you want it enough to consider others first? Do you want it enough to risk leaving yourself vulnerable to whatever may impale you? Pass on it and your screwed, man.
With every new volume, I get a weird feeling about what I am reading. I almost feel as if I am getting a look at the twisted dark underbelly of a sick mind. I almost feel as if I am treated to the different pieces of a person's psyche. It is Anno's personality I feel I am seeing. I feel that as her own love life develops the cast of this series change along with each new problem or joy her life experiences. There are characters that are established long lasting aspects of her personality. They have grown cynical and sarcastic. Then there is Komatsu who is learning how to reel them in. It is a fact that Anno was going through her courtship and subsequent marriage as she was penning this story. She was the crazy mangaka that could not hold onto a man. She was the woman that always joked about how she competed with her editors on who would be single longer. Seeing her writing change as she got closer to her special day was interesting. And if one were to make a correlation to her life with that of Komatsu’s one might think there should be a happy ending right.
Don’t forget she married Anno Hideaki!! Maybe Komatsu’s story will end up with a sad ending after all!
Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left