February 3, 2009

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Flower of Life Volume 2

Written by Fumi Yoshinaga
Illustrated by Fumi Yoshinaga
Digital Manga Publishing

One of the reasons I will (usually) give a manga several volumes before I stop reading it is because certain stories take a bit of time to build up before they hold my interest.

That seems to be the case with Fumi Yoshinaga's mangas, as I definitely liked this better the second time than I did initially. The satire is a bit more pointed, the characters feel like they have more going for them than just props to skewer the shojo genre with, and the dialog (especially Majima's) is crisper than I remembered from the first volume.

This time around, we get two main plots (a classmate has a great idea for a manga, but Majima wants to change it into something he thinks will get them invited to manga conventions is plot A, while a school play--involving that manga--is plot B) as well as a continuation of Saru's dealing with his renewed life and a teacher's complicated relationship with another teacher. There is good movement on all four fronts, and all of them are blended together in a way that makes this stand out over other series, at least in my opinion.

I think the best part of this series is when Yoshinaga points the finger at the reader and says, "Look how silly you are!" The boys love the play when Majima tries to hurt his female classmate, but they love it more when she strikes back. The parts about trying to get into a manga convention and obsessive fanboy (and girl) antics also made me chuckle.

In fact, though he plays a smaller part this time, I think Majima's actions really drive this comic and lead to some inspired moments, as his seemingly careless ways impact on the remaining cast.

I'm not sure where some of these stories are going, but I definitely want to find out. I think you will, too.