Monday, May 03, 2010

Manga Monday: Flower In a Storm

Flower In a Storm (Volume 1)
Shigeyoshi Takagi

The first of Flower In a Storm's two volumes introduces readers to Riko Kunimi, a normal high school girl (or so she'd like you to think).  She has superhuman abilities that make her feel really self-conscious, especially since she was rejected by a boy when she played a boys' sport well.  Since that devastating rejection, she has wanted nothing more than to be normal and fit in.  But she's unable to do just that when powerful, rich teen Ran Tachibana enters her classroom, waving a gun and demanding that she be his bride.  She tries to outrun the overzealous admirerer, who comes at her with armies of ninja and helicopters, and manages to evade him for a time, but he turns up at the most unexpected times.  And soon he actually displays genuine affection for this girl who wants nothing to do with him, doing outrageously romantic things to woo her (which she hates, since it brings extra attention her way, the opposite of the normalcy that she seeks).  I love the tone of this book, at once silly and over-the-top, and action-packed and emotional.  And the characters are really great.  Once Riko realizes that Ran really loves her and does things to make her happy, she has a conflict of exactly what she wants in life.  Does she really want to be a normal girl with a normal boyfriend?  Or should she embrace this charming strange guy who accepts her for who she is, and wants a life for her as far from normal as one can get?  She's already a very conflicted person.  Whenever she's running late for school or someone's in trouble, she doesn't hesitate to use her powers in the name of doing what's right.  She's completely selfless.  It's especially hard for her to accept Ran's advances at face value, because it means that he likes her for the real self that she tries so hard to hide from everybody.  There's a lot of cool things going on in this book, and Ran's amazing luxurious life (complete with assassins trying to take out the heir, and planting car bombs in his vehicles) bring a ton of action to an already rich premise.

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