Flowers and Bees Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 1-59116-124-X
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Flowers and Bees Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     August 01, 2004
Release Date: January 01, 2004


Flowers and Bees Vol.#02
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Anno Moyoco
Translated by:Yuji Oniki
Adapted by:

What They Say
Stripped, blindfolded and bound to a chair by cruel dominatrices/salon proprietors Kiyoko and Harumi, helpless teen Komsatsu is told that he is to be transformed into a "chosen flower: by they, who seek honey. But his chartroom made flesh isn't Komatsu's metrosexual true awakening -- more like his stumbling around town, half-asleep. He should feel more confident now, having lost his virginity, yet Komatsu still finds that what really matters to women are the simple things, like money, looks, and style. And now Kiyoko and Harumi insist on accompanying him on certain dates, to help him mack on people his own size. Strangely enough, this not only fails to see Komatsu score -- I mean, score again, of course -- but leads him to new, improved humiliation of witnessing a cute girl on the arm of his butt-ugly bud, the utterly self-assured Yamada. Wait a minute -- did he lose his virginity in that chair, or didn't he? How can he not know? He can't handle the truth -- which is kind of a shame, seeing as how he gets it.

The Review
Packaging:
The cover is similar to the original. It features Sakura in a bee bathing suit type costume on an orange colored honeycomb background. Fan-service on the cover... nice! The printing is a little dark but everything seems to be properly aligned so it's not a total loss.

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... is pretty simple. Times Roman font italicized with a shadow. The words "Flowers & Bees" are surrounded by pink daisies.

Artwork:
As different as Anno's art can be I think this is a clear step up from her earlier work, happy mania. Faces are still quite 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 not quite as hyper as Anno's other works I actually find myself liking this style for this series.

SFX/Text:
Viz presents this series in right to left with all of the 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 looks good. Nothing seemed Americanized; 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 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)
What do most young males have that Komatsu doesn't? He has some style (well according to magazines he should). He has some personality (hell he is better off than gorilla-boy Yamada). He knows what he wants (well kinda. He knows he wants to get to know Noriko.) So what's missing?

The gals from The World of Beautiful Men, Kiyoko and Harumi, think he is just missing the right attitude. Attitude could take time for someone like Komatsu, so to speed things up they try a technique that should change anyone's attitude about the opposite sex.... SEX! Sexual frustration is bad enough for people who are not virgins but in Komatsu's case losing his virginity was a godsend! After getting it on with Kiyoko he was ready to take on the world. And no more than a few minutes after leaving the salon and he was picking up older women! Good looks, sexual experience and.... and was that all? Wait something is missing? Money! Ah, that's right. Once you have a date how are you going to go on one without it? Komatsu paid for his with a public beating!!

With failure Komatsu takes a step back (again). Now he thinks he is a "flower" to be wanted by "bees." He thinks he can date anyone but he still is not man enough to compete with guys with more self-confidence. So as he tries to get closer to Noriko the wall of men just tends to get wider and thicker to the point where Noriko is no longer in sight and he is left feeling worse off than when he started. Finding out that he had sex with a sex toy did not help his confidence either. Poor sucker.

But there is some hope for Komatsu. The guy is growing up a bit and as shocking as it may sound, Kiyoko and Harumi's advice is actually paying off in other ways. Being an ass seems to be working. Somehow by being cold and ignoring people he has the attention from two of his classmates. Sure Sakura is dating someone else but she is actually being social now (instead of critical). Cute but evil Hiromi is on his trail again now that she believes Komatsu has the upper hand in the breakup. His classmate Sakura has been in a tough relationship since the start of the series. For some reason or another she has been pretty sympathetic towards Komatsu and now he has a chance to return the favor. It's a great time to be single but what how will he make either of these work out?

Komatsu may be the only person that knows she is two timing her beau. So when he finds her feeling her lowest, the guy actually showed some sensitivity. There was a little maturity as he listened, tried to give some insight and even seemed interested and supportive. It was still too much for either one of them but it really presented Komatsu in a different light. On the other hand, Hiromi was trying to play Komatsu and his attitude (game plan) towards her seemed to keep him a step ahead of her. Hiromi has relied on her cuteness to use'em and lose'em in the past. She can tie someone down and once she does she dumps them. I think that could be fun if you are not very confident with your personality. Komatsu is too wrapped up to get any of her games. He doesn't notice her wanting to embarrass him cause he does it himself without her help. He doesn't fall for her calls for attention cause he is playing the silent-type! He doesn't get a boner when they have sex because... well he is sexually frustrated and she just thinks he doesn't like her. Game set Komatsu six-love but now Hiromi really hates him cause she cannot manipulate him. Women.

What can you do really? Komatsu cannot live without them and from the looks of things they want to be with man-beasts like Yamada. And somehow the really good-looking ones want him?

Comments
If it is anything Flowers & Bees is a different perspective of the seinen coming of age comedy. Where you would have characters struggling to find an identity to start off but soon they find their niche. Anno's Komatsu is going nowhere and at the moment he has little purpose. The kid is basically a kid and he is going through the growing pains. It takes time and Anno is doing that justice by not making it easy for the poor boy. Beauty can be a lot of different things to different people and if Anno having Yamada dating a hottie doesn't illustrate that I don't what can!

For those looking for a seinen comedy with a little sex, a lot of adult comedy and the makings of a decent plot this is a good one. This series is good on so many levels it's amazing. Yeah you have Komatsu, but seeing Hiromi's games was a hoot. I still cannot stop wondering why Sakura is usually so comfortable with him (even though she puts up a front now and then).

For those who are afraid of romance from a male's point of view, you're missing out. Anno is selling this for the guys. There is sex, there is nudity, there is social violence but Anno makes sure the ladies are in charge most of the time. Guys are there for the ride quite often but some gals need lovin' as well, so why not show them at their worst just as often (sell to the demographic and still use your expertise. What a skilled artist!!).

I have been a fan of Anno for ages now. But the more I read F&B the more I consider this one of her best. Yeah, its a little over-dramatic (Anno is always guilty of this, as the Adventures of Afterword Boy clearly indicates) but there is actually some genuine character development and a few well rounded concrete characters here. Anno can go all out with a character like Shigeta Kayoko (happy mania) and it could work if you want to prove a few points along the way. With Komatsu and crew she sets up another realistic world filled with issues but she actually tries to solve those problems. There is nothing wrong with avoiding reality, hell some other series make a living on doing just that, but in a series that is so over-the-top finding some direction can be surprising. And for me it's a surprise I cannot get enough of.

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