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Book Review < Back

Flowers & Bees vol. 1

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Moyoco Anno
Publisher: Viz


Men! Did you have body image problems in high school? Did you think you were ugly? Did you worry that your looks would never get you laid? Are you having that problem now?

Have no fear! There's always some poor schmuck who's worse off than you! And this is the comic all about him!

Meet Komatsu, dweeb Number One who becomes so obsessed with his average looks keeping him a virgin that he goes to one of those expensive makeover salons to get the makeover he believes will make him popular in school. And the owners of the salon are more than happy to take his money. In fact, they make sure he keeps coming back so that they can eventually take all his money. And Komatsu, being the insecure, indecisive, easily-manipulated masochist that he is, keeps going back like a month to the flame. The male salon owners are replaced later on by a pair of bored, sociopathic women, which only lends added sexual tension to the proceedings as they tweak and tease and humiliate him into further frenzies of desperation.

This is the train-wreck school of storytelling. Only the most masochistic reader would identify with Komatsu. The object here is vicious, black satire on insecurity and vanity, and creator Mayoco Anno might be working out some issues of her own, which is great fun for the rest of us. In fact, as an added bonus, she has a little back-up strip in the back of the book depicting herself as a screeching neurotic baby moaning over her still being single. Anno has also vowed that she will continue to make Komatsu suffer as long as she stays unmarried. Well... manga creators have no time to go out and social, so Anno may not get to meet someone to marry anytime soon, which is good for the rest of us reading this series.

-- Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a screenwriter and filmmaker who writes comics when he has the time. He has recently completed JLA: The Age of Wonder for DC Comics, and written and directed Open House, a short film for Studio FP in Italy. His current projects include the forthcoming Blackshirt for Moonstone Books, Anna Passenger, a novel being serialised on Opi8.com, and various film and television projects.


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