By Leroy Douresseaux
July 8, 2007 - 12:14
FLOWER OF LIFE 3
CARTOONIST: Fumi Yoshinaga
TRANSLATION: Sachiko Sato
ISBN: 978-1-56970-829-3; paperback; Drama/Comedy; “YA” for Young Adults-16+
200 pp., B&W, $12.95
In Flower of Life 3, it’s the Christmas season, and Harutaro Hanazono and his friends (all first year high school students) are planning a big Christmas bash. Each guest takes responsibility for one task – getting the tree, preparing dinner, making a cake, providing the music, etc. However, when getting those items proves to be a snag-hitting magnet, the party looks like it won’t happen, and if it does, it’ll be a disaster, anyway.
Meanwhile, Shigeru Saito, the female teacher who looks like a man, finds love a complicated thing this holiday season. Should she keep having an adulteress affair with a married man or finally make a move on one of her male students – the sullen, but strapping boy, Kai Majima?
THE LOWDOWN: Manga-ka Fumi Yoshinaga is more than just a creator of explicit boys’ love manga such as Lovers in the Night and Gerard & Jacques. She’s equally adept at creating heartfelt young adult tales about high school students struggling just to find true friendship and first love – never mind the sex.
A teen girl discovers that shopping for clothes (something she doesn’t like) will land her two unlikely friendships. Two pals create a manga and have a falling out that only helps them to better understand each other. Such little vignettes within a larger story simply feel authentic, and they actually help a narrative that is occasionally dry and is sometimes dead on the vine find new life. The long Christmas party storyline is particularly good.
FOR READERS OF: Flower of Life is a “Young Adult” title that seems more like an American indie comic (or DC/Minx title) than manga, so it might be the manga title for fans of indie and alt-comix titles.