Welcome back to the wildly irregularly scheduled Weekend doujinshi review!
After a look at a slightly disturbing book last week, I am back to more all-ages appropriate fare this week, as usual firmly rooted in the sci-fi/fantasy category.
Kimi no Hanazono (Your flower garden) by Kotaro Yuki (duke)
I covered a book by the same author in my Halloween post last year, which was a tale of giant monsters.. The style is so different I didn’t connect them at first (which is funny considering I bought this one directly from him).
A young girl walks the wasteland of a post-apocalyptic future, accompanied by a crude spider-like robot she calls “Maruzo” (maru means round, and zo is a suffix common to traditional male names, so the robot is basically called round guy). What they are looking for is not explicitly mentioned, but it is obvious that Maruzo has a different idea about it than his companion, when he tries to bring home a filthy old toy he found along the road, and she makes him put it back.
Back at home, they turn to watching old films, and the girl expresses her confusion at the actors’s emotional facial expressions. The world has become such an empty place that she has no concept of human emotion.
Inside their little home, Maruzo has taken to fashioning flowers out of scrap metal, and they have even managed to plant a small patch of real flowers in their front yard, a rare thing as real vegetation is scarce in their barren environment. We learn that this is the result of a war of unprecedented scale, which ended up decimating the human population along with the Flora.
In search of other survivors, the girl and Maruzo decide to check out a distant city they see on the horizon.
The girl is overjoyed when she hears a voice, but it turns out to be a display board rerunning news broadcasts from the war: A new robot weapon, “T.A.K.O.” is being introduced to deal with dissidents against government policy – no way that’s going to backfire, right?
When our protagonists take a wrong turn (against Maruzo’s instincts), they are ambushed by the very same robot weapon, which promptly aims for the girl – and Maruzo takes the shot for her.
But T.A.K.O. (Japanese for octopus) isn’t done yet, and life takes a serious downturn for the protagonists.
But when all is said and done, they are able to turn the situation around, and end the book on an up note – and a wide field of flowers that has expanded well beyond the front yard.
I feel that the biggest appeal of Kimi no Hanazono – apart from the beautiful art – is the characterizations of the protagonists. Contrary to stereotype, it is the girl who is emotionless and practical, while Maruzo builds scrap flowers, cherishes stuffed toys, and faints when a bug lands on him. Even so, there is a strong connection between the two, and when things look hopeless for Maruzo, the girl finally learns what the tears she saw in the old movie really meant.
Kimi no Hanazono is 38 story pages, framed by a beautiful, matte wraparound cover (the whole illustration can be found on the artist’s pixiv page). There is a light grey, textured cover sheet next to the inside cover, which does not wrap around anywhere. Little details like this are a testament to the artist’s investment in the project. In the afterword, artist Kotaro Yuki explains that the characters first appeared in a single illustration he did 2 years ago, and he ended up getting more and more attached to them as he drew them more. He started seeing something of himself in the character of Maruzo, and decided to draw a comic featuring them. It’s great to see when characters develop a life of their own like that, and the love for them shows in the pages of Kimi no Hanazono.
Hope you enjoyed the read.In for more? Make sure to check the doujinshi tag for books I have previously reviewed.
As always, I welcome feedback and interaction, so I’d be happy if you liked/reblogged, or even commented. Questions and suggestions are welcome!