Flowers and Bees Vol. #06 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-59116-348-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Flowers and Bees Vol. #06

By Eduardo M. Chavez     December 09, 2005
Release Date: February 19, 2005

Flowers and Bees Vol.#06
© Viz Media

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

What They Say

Komatsu’s devotion to his new love leaves him desperate to please her, so he goes above and beyond (and below, and around, and between) to locate the perfect romantic seaside setting for their date. But will Komatsu end up all wet? Yes. Literally. And very, very cold.

The Review
The cover is similar to the original. It features Komatsu and Sakura (?) on a purple colored honeycomb background. The image almost gives the impression that Komatsu has made a breakthrough… I hope that isn’t giving away too much of what to expect in side. The opposite cover has a color image of the volume header with the Komatsu trying to put his arm around Sakura next to the volume description. 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 and completely random, I have no clue who she is drawing half of the time. Fans of the series have to rejoice as Viz included another chapter of the Adventures of Afterword Boy along with a blurb from Anno-sensei. This time Viz also added a preview page for the final volume.

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)
The time has come for Komatsu. Years of struggle has finally paid off as the world of love and romance has finally opened its doors and accepted him. Moreover, Komatsu has found himself standing and lying beside the beautiful and freakishly compassionate Sakura. This is very much like the start of Komatsu's life after being stunted for so long.

This metamorphosis has not come without its consequences, however. Now that Komatsu has got the girl this game has been playing has turned from where he was desperate to get the girl (any girl), to one where his objective is to keep the girl. The magazines cannot help you there, or else break ups and divorces wouldn't be so common. Making things worse for Komatsu is that he can honestly say he has come to love Sakura and his devotion to her and respect towards her was present long before he even had her in the picture. Now, everyday is spent working on keeping her. Studying up on the cool places to go to and the hot spots to go eat. Meticulously collecting and compiling data from her interests to make sure she is not bored. Working so hard to make sure she doesn't give up on him and more importantly to prevent his own neuroses from taking him down the road to splits-ville. So that maybe he can truly experience the spring of his youth someday (soon).

Komatsu is going into uncharted territory. While others tend to fake things for their "love" - often resorting to doing the stuff you see in sitcoms like kissy faces, nicknames and feeding each other before hitting the love hotel - Komatsu has to fumble here to make sure he doesn't end up like "the other guys". You know all the guys you know that hooked up, hit it and they say they "quit it". Yeah, like most if not all of Sakura's previous steadies. This might be the first time for Komatsu, but heaven be damned if this ends up being his last that he isn't going to try his best to make this work.

But where do you start? And what about what Sakura feels? Why is love so hard to understand?

Man this title is so darn good.

Let me say that Anno seems to somehow clearly see how the game of love is not a winnable concept. Okay let me explain what I mean by that. Love, whatever that means to you, is exactly that only relevant to the person in love. The next person sees love in a completely different way. Everyone else has completely different ideals about what their own version of love is about. So in reality there was no real way for Komatsu to get this until he realized that as much as he loved someone, he had to make sure they loved him back. Moreover, he then had to understand why!

But this is where Anno completes the circle, cause unbeknownst to Komatsu the same can apply to an experienced person like Sakura. She might feel something for Komatsu, but hell if she knows why all the time. The insecurity caused by the lack of knowing can drive people nuts and that part of love, if love means more than just sex and corny nicknames, is natural as frustrating as it may be. I have almost always felt that the sense of initial insecurity often was an indicator for how I felt about someone. If an attraction was not that serious I would not worry about first impressions, second impressions and subsequent misconceptions; instead, I’d be casual and off guard. Komatsu is always on edge and as we get to see Sakura isn’t always ready for everything as well.

Anno-sensei from the start of this series gave her readers a goal for her hapless main character. Komatsu had no real direction in his life and he had no real ambition for anything. In him Anno created someone with tremendous room to grow and develop, but that was just the half of it. As the story progressed, we got to see Anno work on a few story-lines, most of them moving in the same direction but it was hard to tell that they were all actually clearly dealing with the same issue – how impossible love is to understand.

The characters are complete caricatures of what “normal” love should not be about. Within the nonstop barrage of satire and sarcasm the characters, even in their extremes, are so human and so real that I am consistently shocked by who accessible they are at their core. Anno has crafted a story filled with madness and self-deprecation that has been poured into what feels like the mold of a very simple coming of age romance. It is up to readers to chip away at the sharp humor, the over-stylized art and all the self-doubt from the lead character to get to what Anno’s crazy mind is protect within… the fact that there are no real answers to the questions we all have about love.



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