This week, a look at two of Viz's Editor's Choice books...
This book is really nice looking. It's gritty and urban, with graffiti covering much of the background (thus translator's notes are abundant on many pages), with black sensor bars covering some characters' eyes to "protect their identities" and a white blur to half-heartedly cover a penis. Also throughout the realistic drawings are touches of cartoony art: a teacher with a mouse head, bug-eyed students, etc. It all combines to make an interesting project that I think works great. Blue Spring is basically a short story collection that focuses on disenchanted, bored high school students who risk their lives to break up the day, playing dangerous rooftop games that ultimately end in several deaths, and shooting off a discovered revolver. This is a very dark work, and honestly, I didn't know what was going on some of the time, but it was ultimately a very satisfying read with the art alone making it worth the cover price. B+
Flowers & Bees (Volume 2)
The second volume of of Moyoco Anno's tale of a nerd-turned-metrosexual in his quest to gain popularity among the ladies, picks up immediately after the previous volume. Komatsu learns new lessons from the evil, twisted salon proprieters as he keeps his eye on the girl of his dreams. The relationship between Komatsu and Sakura gets more interesting as Hiromi decides to see what the fuss is all about after all. What really bothers Komatsu most in this volume is how his ugly, cocky best friend Yamada manages to get dates when he can barely talk to a girl without blowing it. Komatsu tries even harder to follow the instructions of those around him, not realizing that the girl of his dreams may be closer than he thinks, just not the one he had in mind. Anno's pencils are as wonderful as ever in this book, with some spots that honestly made me stop to just stare at the drawings of her characters, particularly when it came to Komatsu's dream girl Noriko. A nice refreshingly silly read after Blue Spring. B+