Flower in a Storm

September 15, 2010 dreamkaleidoscope
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TITLE: Flower in a Storm
AUTHOR/MANGAKA: Shigeyoshi Takagi
PUBLISHER: Viz
RATING: Older Teen (16+)
CATEGORY: Shoujo
NUMBER OF VOLUMES: 2
SCORE: 7 (Good)
RECOMMENDED FOR FANS OF: Shigeyoshi Takagi, Ouran High School Host Club, romance, action, comedy

When I first heard about this series, I was a bit iffy about the summary. It sounded like it was going to be about some controlling, possessive, and possibly violent guy forcing a girl to fall in love with him, something that I do not consider romantic at all. However, after reading a handful of reviews that assured me that was not the case, I decided to give it a try.

Flower in a Storm is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Riko Kunimi. She’s known for her exceptional, almost super-human, physical abilities, but she wishes nothing more than to be an ordinary girl after the boy she has a crush on rejects her because of her above-average strength and agility. Her dream of living a normal life and finding a normal boyfriend becomes impossible, though, when Ran Tachibana, the richest, most powerful teenager in Japan, bursts into her classroom and proposes to her a gunpoint. (Don’t worry; it’s not a real gun.) Riko doesn’t know him at all, but he fell in love with her at first sight, and Ran is not one to take “no” for an answer. Determined to win a resistant Riko’s love, he decides to transfer to her school, turning Riko’s life upside down as he whisks her off for romantic dates while also dodging his many enemies from the business world, who want him dead.

This series is definitely over-the-top. Though it’s only two volumes long, it is jam-packed with exotic locales and exciting action scenes. It’s not realistic in the least — not many seventeen-year-olds run their own business empire, after all — but that’s part of the story’s charm. It’s pure escapism, and it’s easy to get swept away in the whirlwind that is Ran’s crazy life.

It also helps that Ran is such a magnetic character. Some might consider him a stalker — and, well, he kind of is — but he’s so silly and flamboyant that his actions don’t come off as creepy at all. (He reminds me a lot of Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club.) Even Riko begins to soon enjoy his attention, despite her initial reluctance to getting involved with him. Ran’s love helps her realize that she doesn’t have to be “ordinary” for somebody to like her; Ran loves her just the way she is, “superpowers” and all. As for Riko herself, she’s not quite as engaging a character as Ran, coming off as, well, kind of ordinary aside from her physical strength, but it is nice to see a shoujo lead who doesn’t have to always rely on a man to save her. In fact, in the last arc of the series, she’s the one who saves him when he is kidnapped by a rival.

Still, I would have liked for the story to be a little longer. Riko’s realization that she likes Ran too seems a tad bit sudden, and I would have liked to have learned more about Ran’s family life. He doesn’t seem to be on good terms with his parents, especially his dad, for reasons left largely unexplained.

The art in Flower in a Storm is quite stylish, with a great character design for Ran. Putting a guy’s hair up in a topknot is an unusual style choice in the modern era, to say the least, but Ran manages to pull the look off by pairing it with glasses and a suit with a skinny tie, giving him a kind of hipster vibe that suits his personality well. Riko, on the other hand, is given a very ordinary look, appropriate for a girl who just wants to blend in with everybody else. I also thought the many action scenes were well-drawn and easy to follow for the most part.

Flower in a Storm is a fun, breezy read for somebody in the mood to escape from reality for an hour or so. It’s not the greatest romance in the world, but the characters are likeable and the plot is fast-paced with lots of action and humor. Plus, at only two volumes, it’s definitely easy on the wallet!

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