Before my love for historical c-dramas is my love for anime which has expanded into the manga world. Since I’ve given c-dramas a break for now and moving on to mangas, thought I’d include blog posts here and there on mangas and anime that have me pinned to my bean bag as I struggle between taking a bath or moving on with the next chapter/episode.
Sakura Aki is a penniless high schooler who likes to cook and does other “unmanly” things. His grandfather and father are disciplinary on gender roles and beat up Aki everytime he does a thing that women would usually do, like cleaning. When his father leaves him absolutely broke, and with his grandfather realizing Aki’s “unmanly” flaws, he sends him to live at one of the dorms at an all girls’ school that he runs, a school where distinguished young ladies of the country attend, the Hanayashiki – Flower Estate-, to teach him a lesson. He meets Kitahiro Renge, a girl with un-ladylike manners and a meat loving obsession. An encounter that’s going to save Aki Sakura or just another problem in sight?!
Having just finished hanayashiki no junnintachi aka Flower Mansion’s Residents, I am left worn out with the emotional rollercoaster ride this manga has dragged me into. The manga starts off light and happy, heck even the synopsis made it seem like a shoujo romance (though I just realised that the tags never mentioned shoujo). I should’ve taken the “psychological” tag more seriously. Anyway so this manga is far from a shoujo romance. It is dark, twisted and its relationships complex. There are themes of incest, lesbians and domestic violence. Yes, this manga is definitely not as light-hearted as I initially thought. Or what the cover picture seems to imply. I love the characters in this manga. The characters somehow feel so real to me. The characters can get complex and sometimes even twisted but after seeing what they’ve been through, you can’t help but pity or even empathise with them. And the fact that they came out of it broken, even years on unable to recover from what they’ve been through.
I love the themes of friendship in this manga. The author has turned a typical love triangle into something deeper. I especially like Renge. She wasn’t noble or self-sacrificial in a way that most mangas portray their heroines. She just did what she felt at that time, then picking herself up and mended her relationships. And not to mention that she’s an awesome friend who stood by her mentally-disturbed best friend even after being stabbed. Shit. I would’ve been hell scared of Ayame. I really liked Kakitsubata as well. He’s probably the most broken and twisted character in this manga but he went through the most. I feel so much for him. I wasn’t very into the romance with Aki and Ayame though. Sure they made a great couple with all the stuff they’ve been through together (while Renge is being pushed to the side tsk) but nah I didnt feel anything for them. I ended up rooting for Kakitsubata and Renge though. He definitely needs some light into his life and Renge played a big role in helping him move on.
The ending kind of got to me. It is bittersweet and sort of conclusive. I like that it is realistic as well. Ayame and Kakitsubara knew that they were broken and may never become normal again but all they can do is pretend that they are, if only to move on. The cut on Ayame is a reminder that this is not the end and her relationship with Aki won’t be as smooth as most relationships. Sigh…that last scene with Ayame and Kakitsubara really hit me. Even till the end, only Kakitsubara is the only one who can understand Ayame’s feelings since they both went through the same thing.
Ayame: What do we need to do to become normal? Kakitsubara, how can we…even when remembering the past…still feel fine I wonder?
Kakitsubara: It’s okay that we don’t feel fine. You’ll deceive yourself if you do it just to please him. If you want to become normal then just act normal on the surface, so you don’t need to show anyone how you truly feel.
Shit them feels. Their relationship is so complex that no one could ever understand. I think that’s what makes me love this manga. The relationships between the characters go wayyy deep and hits you right in the feels.