Monday, July 26, 2004
Flowers & Bees Vol. 3
by Moyoco Anno
Viz 216 pgs $9.95
This is my real guilty pleasure manga series, that follows a cast of characters who are way too obsessed with their looks and sex, but do so in ways I find extremely funny and interesting. Most of the stories center around Komatsu, a hapless virgin who in an effort to attract the opposite sex finds himself in a male beauty salon.
There two equally sex obsessed women known as Kiyoko and Harumi, who enjoy torturing him ruthlessly as they improve his looks. Despite the treatment, he actually does see an improvement in how others treat him because he has improved his style.
Which is a rather interesting take, as far too often in stories of this type the point goes back to "if people are going to like you, they'll like you for who you are not how you look. " Which is a nice dream, but in reality it doesn't quite work that well usually.
I actually appreciated the idea that a guy should pay attention to how he looks. All too often in stories, female characters are the only ones portrayed as being obsessed by clothes and the like. Yet I've known quite a few guys, including myself at times, who appreciate certain looks in shirts, hair style and the like. Yet that seems to be a "no no" in comics, which leaves me wondering "What's wrong with a guy wanting to look and dress nice?"
In this volume Komatsu enters a nationwide idol type contest, in order to try to beat out his best friend and rival Yamada. Yet when he becomes distracted by a beautiful print shop clerk, who he eventually loses his virginity to. Yamada takes the opportunity to steal Kiyoko and Harumi's help away from him, in order to better his chances in the contest.
This volume's approach to sex was very mature in it's rather immaturity. Building up to it Komatsu's idea of sex was this grand life changing event, yet when he achieves it he's unable to rationalize the experience. The story doesn't demean the wonderful feeling the act can bring, but also doesn't make a fairy tale type like "now everything's changed" approach either which I found a very realistic type approach.
This is just a fun little series, that's oddballness can be sort of eye twirling at times, but I think has a good heart at its center and has me wanting to read more with the end of each volume.