Author: Ken Saito
CMX; ISBN 978-1-4012-1597-2
The Name of the Flower Vol. 2
This volume of The Name of Flower is something special. I honestly couldn’t put it down. Out of all the shoujo manga that I’ve read in the past, this is possibly, one of the most realistic take on romance I’ve ever read.
In this volume, Chouko finally realizes her feelings towards her guardian, Kei. This realization of love causes for Chouko to feel awkward around Kei because she simply doesn’t know how to act in front of someone she loves. Kei, of course, becomes aware of her feelings of him and slowly tries to move away from Chouko’s presence.
In order to get away from Chouko, Kei reluctantly accepts to take a trip with his editor, Akiyama. Unbeknown to Kei, Chouko has joined a club that idolizes Kei as an author. The club decides to stalk Kei on the trip in order to get a picture of him to post up on their wall. During this trip, I believe that Kei finally realizes that he has feelings for Chouko. Throughout the whole trip, his mind wanders off to think about Chouko. I honestly don’t know how an author’s imagination work, but, Kei thought about Chouko so much that he imagine that he kiss Chouko. Funny thing about this situation, was that in reality, he did kiss Chouko.
Because of this incident, the relationship between Kei and Chouko begins to strain. Not knowing what to do with Chouko’s feeling for him. Kei starts to find another place for Chouko to live. He reminds Akiyama that Chouko was only suppose to live with him until she finishes high school, and that the agreement had only been extended a little bit. Adding to all this confusion, we meet a mysterious person name Iori, who apparently caused Kei to go into a deep depression at the start of his career as an author.
What I like most about this volume is Chouko’s interaction with her club members. We meet a book loving nerd name Yousuke, who obviously has a crush on Chouko because every time he’s around her he gets tongue tied. Could this be a love triangle I’m sensing? To further prove my thesis, Kei made sure that Yousuke knew that Chouko was in love with him, when they were both soaking in a hot spring. Kei wouldn’t make this statement, unless he felt threaten by the presence of Yousuke in Chouko’s life. I kind of like that Kei has some kind of competition in terms of Chouko’s love. Maybe, it will allow Kei to realize how important Chouko really is to him. I mean, he wrote a book about her, right?
The one thing that bothers me about this series is that Kei is such a blah person. He never smiles and he has no facial expression, except for his “blah” face. With the appearance of Iori, I have no idea how his relationship with Chouko is going to end up. According to the next volume’s preview, it looks like Chouko is taking it hard.
Regardless of such a boring hero, I still find this series to be charmingly bittersweet. Not only that, this is probably one of the only shoujo manga I know that is kind of realistic (I know the whole loving your guardian in a romantic way thing, is so not normal, but still…). I could only hope for Kei to Chouko to have a happy ending, but by the looks of it, it’s not going to come easy for the pair to find peace.