Sakurai, who works for an ad agency, bumped into a young man on his way home. He dropped some business materials and a magazine and messed them up. Luckily, the young man happened to have the same magazine and offered Sakurai to hand it over, so Sakurai followed him to his house. The young man, Minagawa Youichi, was a college student and owned a big old house, which was used as a boarding house. Sakurai thought Minagawa was unsociable and hard to go along with, but somehow he started to visit his house frequently and...
"You're friendly to everybody.
But the truth is you're not interested in anyone."
Sakurai Kazuaki is 37 years old and addicted to work. It would, however, be wrong to say he is a workaholic since that might imply he actually enjoys what he does. The much sadder truth is that he spends fourteen hours at the office each day for no other reason than feeling compelled to. Almost needless to say, his relationships don't usually last for very long. As much as he'd like to take up gardening as a hobby, he's painfully aware that he lacks not only the necessary leisure, but is also not exactly blessed with a green thumb. All in all, he's just another "salaryman" stuck in a rut without the motivation or know-how to get un-stuck.
One day he crashes into a younger guy at the train station, causing a cherished copy of a long sold out photography magazine - he works for an ad agency - to become stained. He sure is irritated, but as fate would have it, the guy is an art student who just happens to own another copy of the issue. And if he trades his copy with Sakurai's, he won't have anything to complain about - or will he?
From there, the relationship between these two moves forward at a pace that will endlessly madden and frustrate anyone who is just is just looking for the kind of manga in which two guys are all over each other from the moment they meet. This largely owes to the fact that neither Sakurai nor Minegawa Youichi, the art student, comply with the standardized character types of the genre. Whereas average titles rarely present more than just archetypes to the reader - the cold, aloof, comically self-assured seme and the uke who is either a hyper kid very much in touch with his feminine side or a feisty tsundere -, Hana wa Saku ka paints interesting psychological portrays of its characters with simple words and frightening ease.
As a result, they feel rounded and refreshingly authentic, making it easy for the reader to empathize with their struggles. And what they both struggle with above all else is the ability to express themselves. Especially Youichi turns out to be a rather peculiar fellow. Unusually plain-spoken for a Japanese person, his blunted affect and seeming lack of interest in other people would probably cause him to fall quite high on the schizoid or autistic spectrum if he were to see a psychiatrist. Still, there is also an almost child-like and unassuming aura to him. Sakurai, on the other hand, presents himself as a kind person in the presence of his underlings and co-workers but upon meeting Youchi must face the fact that his social relationships are not genuine.
Naturally, things are bound to get a little awkward once they realize they're interested in each other, and the art conveys this really well. It frequently includes panels with no dialogue that capture the tension of the moment, and the characters' facial expressions give away at least as much as their written thoughts. The quality of the drawings is generally very high. A frequent depiction of natural scenes and the recurrent flower motif, albeit a bit cliché, make for an overall atmosphere that is rather calm and mellow. And as if their personality traits wouldn't cause enough problems for Sakurai and Youchi already, the former also struggles with both his sexual orientation and their significant difference in age as well as experience. Both aspects are handled in a fairly realistic manner.read more
Hana wa Saku ka is really one of my most fave yaoi manga out there and probably my most fave work of Hidaka Shoko-sensei.
I've read this along time ago and I must admit, the first time I read it didn't really left an impression to me. At that time I thought it was just your typical BL and a forgettable story but I didn't find it that bad. It was still a good read. But still not good enough to satisfy me... probably because there were only few chapters available around that time (though the manga is still on-going even now and currently has 28 chapters - woah almost 8 years on-going and still only 28 chaps?!)
Then few years after, I decided to read it again and for some reason, I just became super attached to it. I don't know if it's because my taste changed or what or is it because I came to understand the story more when I read it the second time? Either way I guess it's the latter. I just really enjoy realistic stories especially when it comes to same sex relationship. Not to mention the age-gap. It will make you really want to know more how their relationship will work out.
I've always like Hidaka Shoko-sensei's art style. It calms me down and probably because it's kind of realistic? Anyway the art expressed the greatness of the story properly.
I guess because it's one of my kinks but I really like "age-gap" stories.
Older seme (like a lot) and younger uke. Their gap is like almost 20 years?? Youichi is 19 and Sakurai is uhh around 37 I think.
You're probably gonna think how their relationship will work out if their age gap is so huge. But for me, this was one of the reasons why I came to love HWSK and the characters so much (specifically Sakurai and Youichi).
First of all, Youichi is not your normal teenage boy. He's kind of a loner and doesn't express his feelings well (in short he lacks emotions) while on the other hand, Sakurai is like the independent adult type.
I just love how they fell for each other. At first they really dislike each other but then how? You'll see~ How their feelings will develop and all, the age gap and how the people around them will accept their relationship (though we're not there yet in the manga)
Enjoyment / Overall: 10/10
It's really hard to find a manga like this with a great plot and pace of story.
I mean most of the yaoi I read were rushed stories like one moment they just confessed to each other then the next thing you knew.. they're already all over each other. (well not that I mind stories like that but sometimes it's nice to read something realistic)
This manga is sweet and pure and it's really really nice. The love I have for this manga is too much you have no idea. I've read it so many times now and never got tired of it and even listened to the drama cd.
And this doesn't just focus on "sex". So if you're just looking for pwp then this isn't for you since that wouldn't happen until Volume 4. (though they really didn't have "sex" yet but anyway it still has some R18 scenes)read more
I can't believe no one has written a review yet. This is definitely a must read for shounen ai fans!! I must say that I'm only on chapter 10 currently, so I may not be a good judge of the entire storyline but I thought I'll write a review on what I've seen so far.
First of all, the characters are very interesting and believable. One of the main characters is actually bordering an oyaji-type, and that's very refreshing in the ocean of bl mangas that frequently revolve around high school/college students only. Every character has many layers that are revealed slowly through the course of the story - this keeps you hooked and wanting to find out more.
There is nothing overly dramatic about the plot development. The story progresses naturally. The build ups leading to turning points or climatic moments are very well thought out, so nothing appears forced. For once, it isn't about two guys who jump into each other's pants and are suddenly head over heels in love/lust... The emotional development is well-paced and its easy to empathize with the characters.
Some moments of tension are conveyed simply by a few frames and no dialogue at all. But you really feel the implication of a single glance or a shake of the head.
There are also a lot of really cute moments *3* too
I plough through a lot of bl manga. I google ‘Best Shounen Ai Manga’, scour the forum lists and sift through the piles of recommendations in a never-ending quest to find the gems of this genre. This manga, written and illustrated by Hidaka Shoko, is one of those.
There is a ‘boarding house’, where Youichi, a college student lives with his cousins, Shouta and Take, as well as a caretaker. His deceased father was a well-respected, very popular and well-liked artist of great talent. Basically, when he died, Youichi was brought up surrounded by immense pressure to conform to his father’s identity. He was a child when this happened. I’ll leave you to grasp how this affected Youichi and his emotional well-being.
And there is a workaholic named Sakurai, a bachelor in his late 30′s. On the contrary though, he’s addicted to his work not because it’s enjoyable, but because its something to pass the time with, something to distract himself from the passionless, monotone life he leads now.
What happens when Youichi’s and Sakurai’s paths cross?
Let’s talk about the characters first. Sakurai is a very well-developed character in my opinion. Kudos to Hidaka-sensei for fleshing out his emotions and growth with her skillful storytelling. Initially, he seems like an arrogant, self-assured person, with his uncanny calmness and maturity. He also speaks bluntly, in the sense he does not entertain small talk, and approaches conversations in a rather dry manner, devoid of emotion. He’s not very friendly either. Sounds familiar? Probably, because a lot of manga, not just bl, employ such personalities: the classic lone wolf. (These people are usually good-looking.)
Gradually, at a lovely, natural pace, this shell is peeled back to reveal a far more complex personality. You see his insecure sides, his thoughtful sides, his endearing sides. You start to understand him.
And of course, Sakurai is no less important and intriguing. I find him a rather charming man, who is capable and has a quiet strength about him. This quality is probably conceived from his age and experience. His reactions are loud and he cannot restrain his emotions. Such a contrast from Youichi. Yet interestingly, in some ways, they are so similar.
The fact that they have a huge age gap results in some complexities. I always enjoy reading age gap bl manga (the good ones of course) because its so interesting. Especially when one is schooling and the other is well settled in his career. Different priorities, different experiences, different expectations. That last one is especially important and apparent, and it always results in tension. It is this tension that helps elevate a bl manga from average to amazing. You got to have that rawness in emotion to stab the reader’s heart. Wait, no, that’s not the right phrase. To tug at the reader’s heartstrings. Ah.
Once you find yourself rooting for the characters, when you are so absorbed into their story that you forget they are fiction, ah ha. That’s when you know you have found something special.
"You're friendly to everybody but the truth is, you're not interested in anybody."
- Youichi: philosopher painter mode.
This is a also a manga that you need to take your time with. Partly because the beauty is in its details: letting the words slowly seep in, finding the hidden feelings found in the characters' subtle expressions, and appreciating the emotions they convey, and partly because THIS MANGA TAKES SO GODDAMN LONG TO UPDATE. Ahem, excuse me. On a related note, I feel that this manga has very good re-reading value; I must have read it more than 8 times so far.
Moving on, let’s talk about the art. Ok, I love love love it when characters in bl manga are drawn like this. Good proportions, boyish faces with little exaggeration in the features. Also the naturalness of their movements and posture. You know how some characters looks so stiff and mannequin like? Yeah, none of that here. Art like this looks deceptively simple but it is in fact, so hard to draw and conceptualise.
The scenes at the boarding house develop a very serene atmosphere, that complements the slice-of-life nature of this plot to a T.
Bottom line: To some, story’s pacing is slow, to me it is natural. Because of its pace and details, the relationship feels genuinely believable and heartwarming. In this story, the relationship develops from not liking each other, to slow friends, to attraction. Great story and writing, a must read for all dedicated bl fans. But if you’re just looking for a quick sex romp, you can just skip this coz you ain’t finding it here.read more