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August 13, 2010

Bento Bako Bonus: Flower in a Storm vol. 2

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Flower in a Storm
Author: Shigeyoshi Takagi
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 2 (complete), $9.99
Vintage: 2008 by Hakusensha in Japan, August 2010 from Viz Media
Genre: Romance, comedy

Riko Kunimi is an average high school student…or she would be, if she didn’t have bizarre super human strength.  Because she was once rejected by a boy for her abnormal strength, Riko just wants to be a normal girl and live a normal life, so she attempts to hide that part of herself away as much as possible.  Her life is going perfectly normal until a boy named Ran Tachibana bursts into her classroom with a gun, and claims her for his wife.  Ran’s outrageous lifestyle as the richest and most powerful teen in Japan is exactly what Riko doesn’t want, but Ran refuses to take “no” for an answer.  He starts attending her school and following her around to try to win her heart, but Riko rigidly sticks to her desire for a normal lifestyle and continually brushes him off.  Slowly but surely however, his charms are wearing her down, and that leads us into volume two, the final volume, of Flower in a Storm.

Just as Riko is starting to develop feelings for Ran, a contender for Ran’s hand in marriage, the buxomly Rinko Kokonoe, appears on the scene to steal him away.  The presence of a rival, who tries to manipulate Ran into marrying her, flusters Riko, who is confused about her own feelings, but causes her to stand up for Ran.  When Riko attends a Christmas party for Ran’s business associates, she begins to feel that she could never belong in his world.  This feeling if further impressed upon her when she joins Ran on a luxury cruise.  But she can see how lonely Ran is while presenting his business persona, and she can’t leave him alone.  Ran has given her strength to accept herself, so she wants to provide him strength as well.  Unfortunately, there are many people jealous of Ran’s power, and jealous that he chose a commoner like Riko.  Worried about Riko’s safety and happiness, Ran begins to wonder if they should break up before things get too deep.  Things take a sudden terrible turn when a business rival kidnaps Ran and takes him away to a hidden base.  After a month with no sign or word of Ran’s whereabouts, his father gives up the search.  Riko decides to take Ran’s rescue into her own hands, for once thankful for her abilities.

This volume also contains a bonus story called “Warm to the Touch,” about a high school boy who doesn’t like physical contact with other people.  Until he has an injury treated by the school’s biology teacher, whose touch he is able to stand, and he falls in love.  Following that is a short addendum to the end of Flower in a Storm (separate from the original serialized ending), where the characters gather for a special event.

I don’t mind over-the-top goofiness (see: Ouran High School Host Club) when it’s done well; here, it’s not.  This title is rather bland.  Even with my megane fetish I have no attachment to Ran, and Riko isn’t that interesting herself.  That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing interesting to be found within these pages.  It’s just underdeveloped.  With just two volumes, the whole book feels rushed the entire time.  Riko wants a “normal” life, so she keeps rejecting her feelings for Ran because he’s so chaotic.  Eventually she learns to accept herself, and Ran as well, who always accepted her just the way she is.  Basically the message here is to be yourself, and don’t try to hide away what makes you unique.  Ran has his own problems, of course.  He’s essentially expendable, as far as the company is concerned.  His father is willing to toss him aside if he can’t get the job done, and do it well (meaning, without disgracing the company or the family).  He has to deal with with corrupts business people, and is often the face of the company…and he’s only 17.  It’s a lot to place on a teen’s shoulders, and it basically sort of sucks his soul out of him when he has to put on his game face and deal with business people.  The spirited Riko is a shining ray of light in his lonely world.  And more than that, she can protect him, rescue him, and protect herself.  She’s the perfect woman for his crazy lifestyle.  Aside from a general disinterest in the story and a detachment from the characters, one particular scene near the end of the book bothers me.  Ran is hanging off a broken bridge, and Riko has hold of him…but can’t pull him up, with all her incredible strength.  It doesn’t make sense, and makes the whole scene feel silly and over done, hurting the impact of the moment.  The set up keeps reminding me of Tokyo Crazy Paradise (though they have almost nothing in common; I’m just hung up on it), and how frustrated I am that it remains unlicensed.  Though with its nineteen volumes, the two volume Flower in a Storm is a much smaller risk.  Unfortunately, about the only really good thing I can say about the book (it’s not terrible, I just found it boring), is that I like the cover layout.

Next week…my current plan is to look at the first disc of the Vampire Knight anime, follow that up with a yaoi review, and then the newest volume of Biomega.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New #manga review @comicattack: @Viz_Media's Flower in a Storm vol. 2 https://comicattack.net/2010/08/bbbflowerinastorm2/ […]

  2. Billy

    Really like that cover.

  3. Kristin

    The cover is great; so is the back – it’s Ran’s glasses next to some rose petals. Simple and lovely.

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