Flowers and Bees, also known as Hana to Mitsubachi by Anno Moyoco is a 7 volume slice of life, comedy-romance manga and one of my favorite manga series of all time! I was originally introduced to this manga by a friend of mine back in high school. She lent me all of the volumes that she had (at the time the first five), it took me less than a week to read through them all. So I quickly ran back to get the remaining two volumes only to discover that she didn’t have them! I quickly turned to the internet for scans, but there aren’t any! After a brief moment of despair, I convinced my mother to order the remaining volumes from Barnes and Noble. The series is out of print…so it was a while before she could even track down the remaining volumes, hell it took me forever to get the first five volumes for myself!
Released in 2000, Flowers and Bees, follows ordinary high school student Komatsu, a hapless underdog in the most basic and literal sense. Komatsu is the guy that girls ignore or laugh at, especially the school it-girl, Sakura, who goes out of her way to make his life a living hell. Our poor hero is the guy that just can’t catch a break no matter what he does. So, tired of living a life of ambiguity, Komatsu vows to change his luck around and become a heartthrob girls like Sakura will be tripping over themselves to get with… He seeks the advice of the Devil Sisters Kyoko and Harumi, who submit him to their own special
torture training so that he too can become a Beautiful Man. He puts himself to all manner of treatments and make overs just so he can pick up girls and experience the sweet life. Follow Komatsu as he learns about a world of desperate housewives, sadistic women, love hotels, as he stumbles and fumbles his way towards love and self acceptance.
If you’re looking for a happy go lucky romance manga where the guy always gets the girl and everyone is happy…sorry but this is not the manga for you. Komatsu’s journey to becoming a beautiful man and finally getting laid is far from easy, it’s a complete mess. More times than not his dreams get shot down before they even have time to fly. His road to becoming a beautiful man is plagued with manipulative women, false starts, and good old fashioned lack of confidence. Poor Komatsu has it rough and I for one am glad that he has to work for his happy ending, it makes his character growth that much more believable and realistic. And, boy does he grow over the course of the story. He grows from a sad, pathetic caterpillar into a beautiful slightly more confident butterfly.
But all is not lost for our poor sweet Komatsu, he does get his fair share of booty calls and love connections. He and the beautiful it-girl Sakura even have turbulent on again off again relationship that spans the series. It’s no fault of his own that the relationship fails, beneath her polished exterior, Sakura is extremely vulnerable and damaged. Its interesting to see that as they age and start going out into the world, how drastically their roles change. When high school is over the things that mattered then no longer hold the same weight and some adapt to change better than others. This is a fantastic coming of age story and a must read for anyone feeling down on themselves. The series offers a funny and candid look into a young man on the cusp of finding himself and truly becoming a beautiful man.
There are some graphic scenes and nudity so consider yourself warned in advanced…