Flower in a Storm 1 by Shigeyoshi Takagi: B

After being rejected by her first love because of her superhuman strength, Riko is trying to live as unremarkable a life as possible. She believes that the only way she’s going to fall in love is to be “normal,” but this point of view is challenged by the dramatic arrival (with gun and menacing retinue) of rich boy Ran Tachibana, who barges into her classroom one day and proposes marriage.

Unlike her first love, when Ran caught a glimpse of Riko’s abilities he was smitten and his unstoppable pursuit leads him to transfer to her school. Ran’s got quite a few enemies, so his proximity involves Riko in all sorts of dangerous situations involving assassins and treacherous friends, but his acceptance of her as she is gradually endears her to him despite all the chaos he introduces into her life.

In no way did I expect to enjoy Flower in a Storm as much as I did. In fact, I remember reading the back cover description aloud to someone and the two of us groaning. In reality, though, it’s actually a lot of fun, even though some of the situations the leads find themselves in are fairly ridiculous. Ran might be outrageous, but the fact that he appreciates Ran for her competence and independence goes a long way toward making his presumptive actions more tolerable. Also, this isn’t one of those series where the domineering guy must come to the aid of the helpless heroine; instead, they do their fair share of rescuing each other.

After Ran and Riko’s tale comes to a nice stopping point, there’s a bonus story called “Need for Artificial Respiration.” It’s about a girl, Toko, with a bad reputation at school due to frequently being spotted kissing different guys. After having his first kiss stolen by Toko while napping in a classroom, Kiyoharu becomes interested in figuring out why she does what she does. The answer is rather surprising, but the story is quite good and definitely more interesting than many bonus stories tend to be.

I like Takagi-sensei’s art a lot, especially Ran’s character design. Riko resembles the title character from Alice in the Country of Hearts, but Ran—with his tied-back hair and impressive collection of stylish specs—has a look all his own that I actually find kind of sexy. Also, there’s just something about Takagi’s angular profiles that reminds me at times of Tomoko Yamashita, creator of Dining Bar Akira.

Ultimately, Flower in a Storm was a very pleasant surprise. Probably a story like this would fizzle out over a long serialization, but the fact that it concludes in its second volume (due in August) reassures me that its end will be as unexpectedly entertaining as its beginning.

Flower in a Storm is published in English by VIZ. Volume one is available now and the second and final volume will be out in August.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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