I don’t normally like slice of life series. I really don’t. If I want to see a bunch of people I have nothing in common with talk, I’d follow around some random group sitting together at a lunch table for a few hours before they caught on that I might be stalking them and then need to run away.
But it would seem there are some slice of life series I can get behind and Flower of Life is one of them. The reason? The mains are manga nerds and even the non-totally manga nerds have some of that in them too. Of course, this would
probably make you question why I would just do the same thing but at an anime or manga club and the fact of the matter is that we tend to start talking about the Pokemon games or things that we’ve seen or read but here, there is no direct parodies or mentions of anime or manga that you’d need to know to be able to follow the conversations (they do put in some rather similar names that will make you smile if you get it or not be lost if you don’t, but they don’t happen too often). The other thing about this manga is that it also parodies yaoi and manga gay couples hilariously, I was honestly not expecting the plot twist I got on that one. It lampshades its tropes in a good way and especially likes to parody yaoi from time to time without ever taking away from the overall plot, which is really special because a lesser series would have done just that.
Fumi Yoshinaga is popular for a reason and this manga shows why really well for me, she has the ability to switch from drama to comedy or vice verse in just two panels without feeling rushed nor forced and then she does both of them equally well and incorporates them together well. I enjoyed her drama in this series which was usually one of two things: the main’s past battle with Lukemia or the teacher-student yaoi-like thing going on but at the same time entire chapters were never devoted to it, but enough time was given that I got what I needed to know really well and could still get into it. The other part is mostly slice of life or comedy which as I said before involves a bunch of manga nerds and takes up a lot more of the page space here but I quickly felt myself drawn to the characters here and really enjoyed them and whatever quirks they had but I also liked the integration of Majima, a massive jerk who likes to ignore other people but doesn’t necessarily like being ignored himself (that part reminded me of myself for one) but everyone stills interacts with him for what he is and no one tries to really change him to fit in with more normal people.
So, this is a wonderful little slice-of-life with nerds and character trope lampshader with good use of drama to drive character development. Any Fumi Yoshinaga fan should read this right away and anyone unfamiliar with her should start here or Antique Bakery. I think the ending was a bit weak though, I would have liked to seen more perhaps? But for how it ended, I think that was good too. It’s a real treat to read and I feel any manga fan worth their salt needs to read this one.