Synonyms: The Queen's Flower, The Flower of the Queen
Published: 2008 to ?
Score: 8.081 (scored by 307 users)
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SynopsisAki, an exiled princess of the Akoku kingdom, lives a happy, if simple life, taking care of her mother. One day, the cheerful princess meets Hakusei, a slave with hair the color of gold and eyes rivaling the blueness of the sky. Despite hailing from different backgrounds, the two become friends. Will their relationship advance or is our princess destined for someone else?
Don't be fool by the cover everyone!! It may look like a lovely dovey manga but believe me those who think that has got it completely, and yes I repeat, completely wrong, including myself. So why?
I was slightly iffy with the artwork, it's not great but it isn't that bad. It can be rather shaky at time with characters looking rather different in every page/panel. The detail of the artwork is normal and the historical dresses are very appealing but it's not something you wouldn't have seen before if your a historical genre fan. The characters appearances do however kind of grow on you and you begin to love the artwork, to the point where forget all of those minor things I have just listed.
The characters are rather interesting even though I've only read 3 chapters. The main character is a forgotten Princess name Aki who lives in the palace of a fictional (but resembles ancient China) world. She's fiesty, couragous and not scared to speak her mind which makes her a well respected character as she gains a lot from nothing. As she is the bottom of the palace royalty heirachy along with her mother, a very weak Queen, the second Queen with a prince does cause problems for her which is the main theme in the early chapters. But due to her bold and pure atitudes, she deicdes to stand up against the daunting Queen and tries her best to make herself known to her father, the King.
By her side is a caucasian boy name Hakusei who was initially to be a slave for Aki's 'step-mother' but due to a chain of bold event from Aki, Hakusei decided to serve her. He's very loyal and, like Aki, hold the same grudge to the second Queen (probably influenced by Aki also) which makes the story rather funny whenever he manages to talk back to the Queen even though their statuses are miles apart. He is obviously very close to Aki, regardless of their status, and their relationship is definitely a easy to like one - a very big reason why I love this manga.
Other characters include the second Queen, King and Aki's mother along with some other minor characters. All of them already has a good stable 'soul' drawn into them and once you read the manga, you'd realise the characters are full of life. The 'romance' moments with Aki and Hakusei are not blown completely out of proportion and the hate and bitter anger from the queen can easily be felt. The emotions of the characters are dipicted very well making this a very moving manga as the reader can see how the character feels easily.
So far the main themes of this story are these: Ankowledgement, Revenge, Status and Adventure.
Aki literally has to fight everyday to make sure she is know within the palace walls. With the help of Hakusei, she desberately does everything in her power to make herself be acknowledged by the King as so far, her half brother, a prince, is the main centre of attention. The Second Queen, mother to the prince, however does all she can to prevent Aki from being noticed by the king and this grows to be acts of revenge as Aki and the Queen take turns to embaress each other. The second queen also has her own fight of maintaining the love from the king to only herself as the first queen, Aki's mother, lays sickly in her bed. The second Queen want to makes sure the her son will be the next King, hence the bitter relationship with Aki.Status is a recurring theme as well. First we can relate to the royal family: even though they may be the same family, there is a constant fight for the higher status as that would lead to the love from the king. Those who loose will simply by trampled by the higher status fellows. Hakusei is also a slave so he also has his problems of dealing with the abuse he get from early age. What i find the most enjoyable is how the manga bend the status theme and managed to show that even a large difference in status would still help you to succeed i.e. the relationship with Aki and Hakusei - Aki may be the higher status character but without the underworld knowledge from Hakusei and putting their differences aside, she would most likely have to walk a even harder road.Their relationship is pure and very sweet even though Hakusei always remind her he is only her slave. Finally, adventure. What I mean by this is the story of how Aki tackles her problems even when she has completely nothing to help her other than Hakusei, a mere slave. I said that she is a Princess but she is no better than a poor villager in ancients time as the king has completely neglected her and her mother leaving them living in a small room in the palace and poor food. This is completely heart wrenching to see especially when Aki is beside her mother's side and gives the sick Queen a stolen bun saying it was a 'gift' from the king. Aki want to make her mother happy and be acknowledged by the King. To do that however, a long road of adventures lies ahead and this manga will never give the characters a straightforward success. For this reason, this is a very enjoyable manga to read as the outcome can come very unexpected but still remain true so that history fans will still learn to love it.
A low status Princess trying to get the attention from a thoughtless King and a angry, proud Queen always stand in the way. A very typical storyline for the historical genre so why am I putting such a high mark on it? Simply because of the all rounded development of everything in this story. It's is not rushed and explores nearly all the detail you want without making you bored to continue. The challenges and outcomes are very interesting and at time can even be very heart wrenching! Believe me, Aki does not get what she wants easily but when she does, she has to pay a horrible price. This manga is very unpredictable, one minute you're laughing with the characters and the next thing you know you're sobbing and looking for tissues. The emotional touch to this manga is very strong and hits the reader very hard which makes it evermore believable and well liked. My friend descibe the emotional parts to this story as 'it punches you, rips your heart out this chucks it back to you again as if it done nothing wrong' i.e. very moving indeed.
Overall, for those who want an emotional rolercoaster but also a well balanced historical manga to read, Joou no Hana is definitely the perfect choice. It's is lifelike and enjoyable to read. It explores plenty of perspectives making you love the characters within. The art may not be the best, but the story will definitely won't let you down - sooner or later, you don't really care how the artwork is as long as you get a good story out of it, which you'll definitely will. (8/10) read more
If you ever wanted to see a female lead who's a brilliant tactician of politics and war with enough charisma to bring people down to their knees, both series will fulfill your wish and do it incredibly well.
Joou no Hana and Song of the Long March/Chang Ge Xing/Chouka Kou both detail the life of an extremely gifted princess (Aki and Li Chang Ge respectively) who is forced into hiding after a political upheaval that she only managed to escape due to her enemies underestimating her by the virtue of her sex. Unfortunately for them, she wants revenge, and she has the skills to do it.
The main difference lies in the demographic. Both stories feature legend-worthy figures as their main lead, which leads to them being almost superhuman. Joou no Hana, being shoujo, aims to explore more of the emotional aspect of such a character. Through the perspective of Hakusei, a "barbarian" slave who is nonetheless the closest confidant and friend of Aki, the manga allows you to see not only the "future ruler" but the "human girl". Song of the Long March does not get involved as closely with the emotional weight of Chang Ge's actions but puts more focus on the details of her strategic decisions and thought process. It doesn't mean that the two series lack in either character development vs plot, but only that what the two series prioritize is slightly different. Both series are very interesting and compelling takes on a similar premise.
Historical settings with war in the background and with Strong princesses as the mc who are blessed with military minds but have to suffer from political upheavals. These stories revolve around displaced princesses who are intelligent military strategists along with politics, revenge and battles. They are both excellent in terms of art, plot and characters and stories too.
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