Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Not a whole lot of news caught my eye this week, and most of the manga related news is actually more like anime news. Still, there’s a few things that might be worth sharing.
And now, onto this weeks review of The Flowers of Evil, Vols. 4 + 5!
One month after the emotional climax on a mountainside road, Kasuga, Saeki and Nakamura are back at school and struggling to cope with those events. The uneasy stasis that all three have been in falls apart as Kasuga makes a decision to dedicate himself to one of his would be paramours. A move that takes him deeper into madness and exposes a new side to one of the trio. Shuzo Oshimi’s Flowers of Evil enters into a new phase as the tangled web of emotions deepen with Flowers of Evil, Vols. 4 + 5!
Kasuga struggles with what’s happened and eventually he comes to one conclusion. Saeki will be fine without him, but Nakamura had no one but him. With renewed fervor he dedicates himself to pleasing Nakamura and her bizarre wishes and whims. The relationship becomes even more twisted as Kasuga struggles to win her back and prove his dedication to her. Unfortunately this leaves poor Saeki in a lurch, and while Kasuga may have been envisioning her as a pure, untainted angel, she’s actually a teenage girl with desires and wishes of her own. Kasuga’s decision to leave her awakens something within her that drives her development in some rather unexpected directions. It’s interesting to see and something that’s been needed, as the first three volumes really just set her up as an object for Kasuga’s affections and for his own hopes and dreams. In these two volumes Oshimi develops her into an individual with her own wonderfully screwed up views of those around her.
Oshimi’s art is pretty solid and he does an amazing job at conveying emotions through the characters’ faces. His backgrounds are nicely detailed, grounding the series in the here and now rather than in some grey tone spattered netherworld or in some all white void. The story flows easily from panel to panel, with some really disturbing transition choices. Combined with his fondness for the eyeball flower and things that reinforce that visual hook, it results in this surprisingly unnerving three panel sequence moment in volume five.
These two volumes of Flowers of Evil end on a bit of a cliffhanger, but everything seems to be building to another emotional apocalypse for our trio. Oshimi’s emotional, twisted, coming of age love story continues to be a fascinating read. The series is set to end this Summer in Japan, and the current US release from Vertical is up to volume 9, so it seems like we’ll probably be getting the entire series, and I for one can’t wait to see how it all ends.
The Flowers of Evil, Vols. 4 + 5 are available now from Vertical.
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