Flowers and Bees Vol. #07 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59116-777-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Flowers and Bees Vol. #07

By Eduardo M. Chavez     January 18, 2006
Release Date: May 15, 2005


Flowers and Bees Vol.#07
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Anno Moyoco
Translated by:N/A
Adapted by:

What They Say
He's been seduced by a housewife, dissed in a love hotel, and molested with a rubber novelty. He's been tutored in the ways of romance by a pair of sadomasochistic beauticians and a thrice-divorced construction worker. He's been baptized in the waters of the Sea of Japan and burned in an unfortunate hair-bleaching accident. But now that Komatsu is dating Sakura, his dream girl, he shouldn't have anything to worry his bald, scabby little head... yeah, right!

Still plagued by anxiety and self-doubt, Komatsu suspects that Sakura has a wandering eye and sets her free to romp in greener pastures. Crushed, Komatsu seeks solace in the arms of another, but he discovers that, far from the player he once aspired to be, he is a one-woman man at heart. Will he win back his ladylove? Will the Devil Sisters actually help him in his quest? How will Komatsu's saga of suffering end?

The Review
Packaging:
The cover is similar to the original. It features Komatsu and all his women on a hot pink 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.

Artwork:
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/Text:
SFX translated in overlays. The retouch is solid with art rarely being compromised. Everything looks pretty good but I still think this series could have looked better with SFX subs.

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)
Nothing beats being in a new romance. Everything is so new and exciting, it is like everyday is Valentine's Day or something. Dates, someone talk to and sex are just a few of the endless number of perks to this type of relationship. Moreover, since everything is basically at the probation stage the sense of commitment might not force couple's into long-term relationships that go nowhere.

Komatsu has hit gold. He has finally found that special person that is willing to put up with his madness. On top of that, Sakura was truly the person Komatsu was really in love with all this time. He has long respected her; listened and cared for her in his uniquely Komatsu way. Best of all she seems to actually care about him back. That's the trifecta of romance there. A lovebird cannot ask for much more than that in life.

But Komatsu is no where near whatever anyone can define as normal. Even with as good a deal he has made for himself, with a woman that is willing to chase him to the far ends of the country, this guy still does not have enough strength to trust her. I don't think anyone who has read this story can deny that Komatsu suffers from poor self-esteem and his share of problems with self-confidence. And knowing that the person you are dating has been seen with her ex instead of you is going to make any imagination run wild. To someone like Komatsu this is going to drive you to dramatic measures. And knowing Komatsu anything is possible!

The dramatic conclusion of Anno Moyoco's seinen romance wraps up by giving readers a look at this relationship a year or so later. Now as two young adults, have they learned anything about love? Apparently along the way life has given each an opportunity to look at the harsh and not so bad realities of the real world. Fashion magazines don't knock on you door after you are 17. No one is going to jump in and pay your college tuition if your parents aren't. And a job is a job even if it means working for the Devil Sisters! Sometimes you need to know yourself before taking on the world, but then again not knowing can be fun too.

Comments
Sometimes people never learn. You see people go through hell, lose their hair and their youth over the smallest things and in the end they find themselves doing the same things all over again. Maybe, they are not quite as foolish and blind as they were before. More often than not, they seem to be more aware of what they are looking for the second or third time around. But the pattern just continues repeatedly and as an outsider you might find it either sad or funny. Guess it all depends on your own twisted look at the situation.

As I got to see Sakura and Komatsu going through the motions over and over, I could not help but wonder if either of them learned anything through these 7 volumes of their lives. Komatsu’s downfalls were almost expected. His neurosis is such that he could not get over anything without it literally hitting him in the face (which a couple of Sakura’s ex’s end up doing). Love is a two way street. So even if facing the road you are following is important, it is not always about you, even if most of the time you have no idea where the other street is going. This is where people should get off their personal highways and ask for directions. Our cast would just hitchhike their way through relationships. Sometimes they would get somewhere along the way, yet these two never get where they really want to go.

After thinking about the ending and looking at these two characters closely, I think Anno's let it be ending was the only real solution. There are times when people of all ages find themselves falling for the same old traps over and over. The goal in these situations is usually to outgrow those shortcomings. An open mind and a healthy does of reality should easily have all of that could be taken cared of, for most. Obviously, some people will never grow up (you know who they are; you possibly know your handful) and they seem to never change for good or bad.

These two do change, though it takes some time and some a lot of heartache and embarrassment. Maybe they would still like better lives for themselves, but as we have seen throughout this series, sometimes you need to take baby steps. Through the seven volumes of this series, I really felt I got to know these two for the individuals Anno made them out to be. They seem to be polar opposites on the surface, but inside their personal weaknesses made them much more similar. They were once young, impressionable and a little stubborn. Their perspective on life was really too narrow, even for the all knowing Sakura. With time what they thought was clear became really clouded and their own self-doubt condemned their relationship into something awkward and stunted. Second, third.... chances might fix that, Anno really leaves that up to the reader to pursue. Ultimately, she says it is never too late to fall in love again (and again) as long as you are willing to take chances and learn along the way.

Pretty simple idea considering all the madness, huh? I wonder if Anno learned something from her own relationship along the way. I know I had more than my share of laughs and shed my share of tears following Komatsu through this journey. In many ways, this has to be Anno's best title. Easy to pick up because of its art and the comedy, it should be accessible for young male and women manga readers. Most importantly this title shows that seinen love is much more than salaryman romances and the weekly love conquest. Yup love takes some time to get better; Anno understands that more than most.

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