Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunflower vol. 1 by Hyouta Fujiyama

Sunflower vol. 1

Author/Artist: Hyouta Fujiyama

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M – for ages 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance, School Life

Grade: A+

I have been posting reviews on this site since March of 2008 and for some reason I haven't posted any reviews from one of my all time mangaka. That mangaka is Hyouta Fujiyama. To kick off my reviews of her work I'll start with Sunflower vol. 1.

Ryuhei Ohno spent many years pining after his older tutor, Aikawa. Aikawa, however, had a different idea. He's seeing someone else. After getting his heart broken, Ryuhei decides that he's going to give up on love. He worked so hard to get into a good high school. The high school of his choice is Kinsei High. For those who don't know Kinsei High is a boys school that is rumored 90% gay or bi.

Kinsei High is a school with the escalator system, so many of the students came from the same middle school. Just so you know the escalator system is where the middle school, high school, and university are connected. Once you get in, you pretty much have it made. OK, back to the story. Ryuhei is a very popular student and has many friends and admirers. There is one student that caught Ryuhei's eye. His name is Kunihisa Imaizumi. Imaizumi grew up out in the country so when he was accepted into Kinsei, he had no idea about the 90% rumor. Ryuhei who is a calming influence on him immediately befriends him. When he finds out about the gay rumor he freaks out. Imaizumi is straight.

Our two handsome students really stand out and are singled out by the student council vice president. He approaches the two of them to convince them to join the student council. Will they join? What craziness awaits Ryuhei and Kunihisa?

When I first saw Hyouta Fujiyama-sama's work I didn't think I was going to like it. Boy was I wrong. Her style is so natural looking. Her men look like men. She also has the ability to tell a great story. Now that I've read all of her works (I have all of her English releases) I can't get enough. I wish there was more!

Sunflower is part of a larger "series." I put quotes around series because the stories all involve Kinsei High. We meet Ryuhei in Ordinary Crush (I don't remember which volume, I think it's volume 2). This is a fun series because in Sunflower vol. 1 we see several characters that appeared in Ordinary Crush. The story isn't hard to follow. It meanders in and out of the past and future and is an enjoyable read. It's not intense, but the ending leaves you hanging. When I first read volume 1 I couldn't wait for volume 2 so I ordered the original Japanese tankobon.

I recommend this book to all Hyouta Fujiyama-sama's fans. Also anyone who likes schoolboy stories this is a great book to pick up. The sequel is also out now and it is well worth your time, too.

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