Flower of the Deep Sleep Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Monday, April 11, 2005
Release Date: Friday, October 01, 2004



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kazumi Yuana
Translated by:Christine Schilling
Adapted by:

What They Say
Yuuki has the power to dream of the future, but with such a gift comes a great burden. Can she manipulate what's about to happen? And more importantly, should she?

In a haunting vision, Yuuki sees a mysterious little girl with whom she shares a secret connection. Who is this girl? Does she have an even greater power to influence events? In this hypnotically gripping tale that blurs the line between dreams and reality, will Yuuki find the answers in time?

The Review
Packaging:
TOKYOPOP does a nice job with the packaging for this series. The cover is great. It is a simple wrap around piece with the main character Yuuki on a white background. She is in an interesting position and there is a red chord wrapped around her right ankle. The chord goes across the cover, under the spine, and to another version of Yuuki (this one with a dress and blue hair) who is tied to the other end of the chord. This is perfect for the subject matter and I love its simplicity. The whole thing is done on a matted finish and is full of blues and pinks. Great job!

Inside TOKYOPOP does a decent job as well. They have a very nice volume header (one that reminds me of the simple Hakusensha volume headers used for Fruits Basket and KareKano) featuring a portrait of Yuuki's brother. This is followed up by a two-page spread chapter header. The printing is a little weird for this but it still looks pretty good. The rest of the volume makes up one of the better print jobs I have seen from TOKYOPOP in a while - full of dark inks and where screen tone looks clean.

Artwork:
As cute as Kazumi-sensei's art can be, it is not very clean. Lines are not clean, and the distortion gave me a little trouble telling some characters apart. There was too much going on with shading and manpu which were both out of control. Costumes are rather boring, mainly because the majority of scenes are set in school.

Backgrounds can look good, however they are used very little. The layout is pretty strong. It has a good pace and gives some good perspective. If there was a problem here, it had to be the awkward bubble placement.

Text/SFX:
The translation is sounds good in this GN. Honorifics are not used, but given how these characters talk to each other I don’t think it was used that often anyway. The tone is also very good for all characters present, which is important as these characters have sharp personalities. SFX are not translated and you know how I feel about that. I just don’t get why they do for some and why have glossary for others. Why can’t publishers just make a decision, a single way to translate them, and go with it across the board.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are some people who know there are two worlds we live in. We live two different lives, one while awake and another while we are asleep.
Most people do not wake up and the majority of people only live actively in one world, but Yuuki can live in both. While in her dream world Yuuki can see the future. Alone she watches the future unfold before her from one side of a window that connects one world to the other. Living this life has brought her pain and frustration, at the same time she could not ignore what she sees. Her world is blessing and curse and Yuuki is currently cursed.

Up to now she thought she was the only one who lived in this world. Lately, Yuuki has been running into another person on her side of the glass. That alone was a surprise, but the more she meets this person she gets closer and closer to breaking the barrier between the two worlds. Yuuki was always able to see and talk in her dream world, but she was restricted to just that. Never could she interact with the future. She could never bring back items from this other world. The glass is breaking and she is does not know the consequences of this happening.

Comments
Oh, dream worlds and magical boyfriends... wow, just straight up wow. As much as I am a fan of the dream world concept, Flower of the Deep Sleep cannot get a good grip on it. Kazumi-sensei tries really hard to make it work. She tries it over and over again, adding new components to what already is a great idea but she consistently misses the target. A dream world should be a place to escape the real world from and Kazumi-sensei explained that. She moved in the right direction by bridging the worlds, but it didn't lead anywhere. Instead, Kazumi-sensei decided to further complicate this world by adding a challenge to fixing the problem. All of a sudden collecting pieces of a puzzle became the goal. Introduce some new characters and then stop that thread, then move onto another thread and repeat. Then the GN comes to an end and all of a sudden, a manga that was setting up to go on forever turns into a manga that could abruptly end. The mystery is solved, leaving a cliffhanger about how this all happened. Wait a minute… this series is almost over, but what about… and then… and the other… Okay.

I guess what Kazumi-sensei is trying is say here is that there are connections, moments in time, that people share. They affect people in different ways, and sometimes what might be nothing to one person is significant to another. In this story, those little things are slowly being blown out of control. The main character and her new friends are all reasons why their lives have gone haywire. They do not realize it until it is too late, but the person who has done this to them has not realized their involvement either. Kazumi tries to have her readers look into those moments and those they shared them with. She wants readers to open up and accept them, fun or painful. That is obvious, but how she gets there is what I found painful.




Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 9.95
Pages: 174
ISBN: 1-59532-271-X
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left