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Flowers of Evil, Volume 1 Paperback – May 8, 2012
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“Oshimi uses surreal imagery—a wall of eyes, a fun-house mirror, a giant sink hole—to suggest that Kasuga’s normal teenage discomfort with sexual feelings has become something more powerful and destructive: shame...That said, The Flowers of Evil is a shockingly readable story that vividly—one might even say queasily—evokes the fear and confusion of discovering one’s own sexuality. Recommended.” —The Manga Critic
“[The Flowers of Evil], living up to its name, is a story that starts out very much like a seed that has only just been planted. That seed may represent Kasuga’s perversion, his progress towards becoming a different person, or perhaps Kasuga himself. The principle that matters is that this story will continue, that with Nakamura’s aide and instruction, we shall eventually see this seed sprout into a flower. What will its color be?...Vertical has truly picked a wonderful, new manga to add to their already colorful repertoire.” —Monor Manga Impressions
About the Author
At only 30 years of age, Shuzo Oshimi is already considered a seasoned veteran of the Japanese comics community. Winner of the most important comics awards for newcomers, the Tetsuya Chiba Award in 2001, Oshimi has been penning quirky slice-of-life dramas now for a decade for major manga publishers such as Kodansha and Futabasha. Raised in the slow laid back hills of Gunma, in mid-eastern Japan, Oshimi wished to someday escape his community for bigger pastures. Living solely off of comics and books, he is a man of words and that shows in his very humanist stories. While he has drawn nine series in the past decade, Oshimi's star began to climb just recently in 2008 with the release of his first hit Drifting Net Cafe. This horror-themed homage to the legendary Kazuo Umezzu work, Drifting Classroom, was adapted into a live action series and propelled Oshimi onto an international stage. He would soon reach new heights in 2009 with his most recent series Flowers of Evil. In 2010 and 2011, the property quietly landed on numerous must read lists and has helped revitalize the shonen genre.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a very gripping psychological story that is wonderfully told. Is the art great? Maybe not- it's nowhere near as polished as anything you'll see in Jump, but it fits the story perfectly. Oshimi uses this neat use of heavily modified photographs as backgrounds a lot, and it goes a long way to creating the mood for his story.
This is one of the few manga I've read that I'd like a hardcover, a signed one no less.
The story is set in middle school with our main character Takao Kasuga, who's a definite bookworm and in particular reading the work of Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil. As most boys of his age he has a crush on the class idol, but is often too scared to even try and approach her. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Nakagawa Nakumura who is considered the class bully. After a certain event that occurs early on, she latches on to Kasuga and binds him into a contract, of which the details aren't fully explored, we just know that she has blackmail information on him. The story really develops from there and we are treated to a realistic look at how certain events can shape your adolescence.
It's a perverse tale, but has some great ideas to take out of it. Reading this, I couldn't help but feel like the situations Kasuga faces, while not directly like mine, are paralleled to my youth. It's a quick and easy read and I'd highly recommend trying it out.
ZOMG! I feel a bit guilty for enjoying this tale of blackmail as much as I did. In a moment of complete stupidity, shy, timid Takao steals the gym clothes of the girl he is crushing on. Little does he know that this one lapse in judgment will bring about his downfall. Witnessed by Nakamura, the weirdest girl in his class, she threatens to rat him out to their classmates if he doesn't do everything she demands. As he spirals deeper in to misery, Takao is at his wit's end. How does he get Nakamura to leave him alone, without being outted as a perv in the process?
I haven't laughed this much in a long time. I couldn't help myself. Poor Takao is such a wimp. And an idiot to boot. I hope those clandestine sniffs of Saeki's t-shirt and shorts were worth the pain and embarrassment that this hapless middle-schooler is destined to suffer. Nakamura is one tough cookie, too! She is relentless, and she won't let Takao get away with anything now that he's under her power. I felt so bad for him! He's like a little puppy that keeps getting whacked with a newspaper. And darn me, but I kept laughing at all of his discomfort.
Even as his relationship with Saeki, she of the enticing gym clothes, blooms, his dealings with Nakamura keep bringing him nothing but trouble. His friends are rapidly ditching him because he's too busy dancing to Nakamura's tune to hang out with them, and his mother is fit to be tied because of his strange behavior. I fear that Takao will need serious therapy sessions if this continues much longer. I am eager to read more of this series, because I'm curious to see where it goes.
Grade: B+, leaning towards an A-