Monday, April 18, 2016

Flower in a Storm (manga, vol. 1) by Shigeyoshi Takagi, translated by HC Language Solutions, Inc.

Flower in a Storm is a romantic comedy. It's licensed by VIZ.

My review doesn't include any spoilers for the main story, but it does for the unrelated short. As for read-alikes, I opted not to include any for this volume, but I might come up with some for volume 2.


I finally made myself finish reading this. Yay! Except I still have to get through volume 2...

Riko Kunimi wants nothing more than to be an ordinary high school girl. Unfortunately, her amazing physical abilities (super strength, ability to survive a three-story fall without injury, etc.) bring her to the attention of Ran Tachibana, the 17-year-old heir of one of the world's richest families. Ran is determined to marry her. He tells her he'll give up if she can evade him for the next 25 hours, but the deck is stacked against her. As Riko spends more time in Ran's world (because she has no choice), she learns that he's constantly in danger. And now that Riko is his fiancee, so is she.

I requested this one via interlibrary loan for two reasons. One, I liked the artwork on the cover. And two, I learned that the series was only two volumes long. Which I knew probably meant it was going to feel rushed, but short series are so much less daunting and time-consuming that I couldn't resist.

This first volume was a mess. It was too over-the-top and ridiculous for me to truly be enraged by it, but boy am I glad that I got this through the library and didn't buy it.

Ran's reason for falling in love with Riko was pretty silly, but I liked that his reaction to her physical abilities was usually a great big grin and some version of “Isn't she amazing?” He didn't seem to care that she could probably wipe the floor with him.

That said, as a romantic hero Ran sucked. He first met Riko when his driver almost ran her over. As the accident was happening, his first thought was “How am I going to hush this up?” Later, he arranged it so that he and Riko were locked up together and then got mad when she accidentally hit him while trying to get him to leave her alone. His exact words: “I'm being nice and you give me this attitude? What don't you like about me? My looks, family financial situation and prospects are great. If you ignore my personality, I'm perfect!” (29) That last line showed that Takagi was at least a little aware of how awful Ran was, and it might have worked out okay if he'd realized the error of his ways and backed off a bit (okay, more than a bit), but no. He basically badgered Riko into spending time with him, and then she let him convince her that she was falling in love with him.

Riko and Ran's various adventures, which included an assassin and a jealous rich kid, were pretty forgettable and weren't fun enough to make up for their terrible budding romance.

The volume included an extra unrelated story, “The Need for Artificial Respiration,” which was a bigger mess than the main story. The premise: Kiyoharu becomes curious about Toko, a girl in his school who once kissed him out of the blue. She doesn't seem to be dating anyone, but she spends a lot of time around one particular guy and is known for kissing a lot of guys.

Takagi tried to tell a serious story about a girl who ended up having an abortion, but the end result was muddled and confusing, and the characters were under-developed. Also, the sudden romance between Kiyoharu and Toko made me uncomfortable. Kiyoharu had no reason to fall for Toko, other than that one kiss she forced on him, and I got the impression that Toko had emotional problems she was trying to fix with boys.

  • A three-page Flower in a Storm bonus, in which Ran worries that he may be gaining weight.
  • A one-page author's afterword.
  • A brief note about the poem Ran quotes earlier in the volume.

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