Flower of Life Vol. #03 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1569708290
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Flower of Life

Flower of Life Vol. #03

By Patricia Beard     October 10, 2007
Release Date: July 31, 2007

Flower of Life Vol.#03
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Fumi Yoshinaga
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:

What They Say
It is Christmas and Harutarou and his classmates have big plans for the holiday. But when the cake, the tree and the music turn up missing, all that is left for them to do is commiserate under the Christmas Eve sky.

The Review
Garlands of roses and cherries surround a beaming and congenial Harutaro and Sumiko - perfect for a volume that centers around Christmas with its feelings of fellowship and romance.

A theme of this volume is the nurturing of friendship and the accommodations made to maintain it. Sumiko, frightened about spending the considerable amount of money her mother has given her to buy clothing, meets Isonishi and Jinna, two classmates who offer to help her shop. After a day full of each other's company and experiencing the other's interests, the girls reach a thoughtful understanding of their differences that lets them appreciate the other person without letting the differences get in the way. In the second chapter, mature and "manly" class chairman Yamane and scattered, unfocused Sakai find a common ground in a love of books, but the condition of a borrowed book causes some tension and misunderstanding. Each girl comes to a personal resolution of the problem in a way characteristic of each personality. Even Haru and Shota have a falling out when Haru makes a unilateral decision with regard to their manga. In each instance, there is reflection on behavior and a willingness to modify it that shows the value of friendship above self.

It's Christmas and the classmates will be having a party at Haru's. Everybody has their assigned task and Haru's "shut-in" sister, Sakura, will be cooking a special meal. However, the holiday cheer seems to sour when every individual plan goes awry. The hastily devised backup plan, which everyone is sure will be a disaster, turns out to be a minor consideration, for it's the gathering of good friends that's important. Sure, it's a cliche, but Yoshinaga has made us like these young people so much that we do want to share their holiday. And as a subtle counterpoint to the festivity, there is a very short and very touching scene of Haru's medical follow-up, where Haru is reminded of his own mortality through his acknowledgement of the recent death of a hospital friend. This is very skillful story-telling.

But what about Christmas for the other major characters - Saito sensei and Majima kun? Saito sensei has been pressured to accept an invitation from married lover Koyanagi sensei, whom she has been trying to avoid since she "dumped" her story on Majima kun over dinner after the wrap of the cultural festival. Whether it be out of guilt over her relationship with Koyanagi sensei or a nascent attraction to Majima, Saito sensei makes a "date" with Majima (dinner and train fare) at another hotel at the same time as her date with Koyanagi. Where will she go? The outcome of the decision she makes will be an eye-opening one.


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