Hotaru Kunoichi of the Iga Village accepted a request to infiltrate Oda Nobunaga's castle, Aduchi Castle. The one waiting for her there was Nobunaga's confidant, Akechi Mitsuhide. Under the lie that she is Mitsuhide's young sister, she stays in the castle and decides to investigate the internal conditions of the Oda army to see if there are any who would harm Nobunaga. Hotaru deepens her relations with great military commanders, from Nobunaga to Hashiba Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. However, it will all be over if they figure out who she truly is...
Since no one has done a review on "Geten no Hana" (Flower of the Human World) get, I give it ago. I base the scores on the 8 chapters that has been translated so far (and it ended with a major cliffhanger in the 8:th chapter - I wan´t the rest now!). It may changes to lower or higher depending on how it progresses from here. But so far I really like it! So what makes "Geten no Hana" so good in it´s genres (shoujo, harem, historical, romance) according to me? I will get down to that now.
It´s two main things that you should
now from the start. The first thing is a that this is a reverse harem manga, with a heavy focus on it. If that kind of stuff bathers you, this is not for you. I personally thought this was done in a very good manner - the interactions between the female lead and the men didn´t feel forced our very cliche. They all had personal chemistry and not always in a romantic way. We have some archetypes, but in the few chapters they deepen in personality which makes them all likable. I actually really like the female lead. In this type of harem/shoujo mangas, the female lead can often be pretty bland, boring, useless and so on. But not in this one. Hotaru is a female ninja on a mission, she is as strong as some of the strongest male leads. But more about the characters later, they deserve to be elaborated. The second thing is that "Geten no Hana" has pretty detailed (considering how few chapters there are) historical setting with historical personas. You have Oda, Nobunaga, Akechi, Mitsuhide and Oda, Nobuyuki which are all historical persons and the story lightly follows the interactions between them (for example the brother and best friend betrayals). So what we have is a reverse harem in a pretty interesting setting and story. It´s some mystery's and some action. It also contain a lot of comical moments, which I liked a lot - it made the manga feel like it was self aware to how much drama this type of story would manage. Good balance between the two. For this type of short manga I think the mangaka have managed to build up a interesting and light read story, without loosening some depth and taking it´s self to seriously. Looking forward to the rest!
It´s typical shoujo - very pretty characters (both male and females). But all the main characters has their own characteristic traits and clothing. One thing I liked a lot is that the characters don´t has the traditionally skinny bodies. They are much more well built - great plus in my eyes. Over wise it´s wasn´t anything spectacular about the art. It did it´s job of getting a since of the environment and historical atmosphere. Hotaru´s transformations was pretty well done and the firefly panels was pretty great to.
I liked all the main and supporting characters and their interactions. Hotaru (cover name princess Kikyou) is as i mentioned before a very likable and refreshing female lead for this kind of manga. She is strong (but not strongest), quick-witted and caring. Hotaru also can transform her self into pretty much any form she wants (human and animal), which is making her spy job much easier. She is a odd bird that has been brought up as ninja and think very much like one. At the same time she´s curious about things and loves animals and the nature it self. Her interactions with the people at the castle makes her start to really think for her self. What do she wan´t from life, and has she really the right to have dreams and live them as a ninja? Because in a ninjas world their masters word are law. Complete the mission at any costs. Just these things will put Hotaru in many difficult positions during this story. She actually has a pretty bittersweet character development - the more she developed, the harder her life became.
For the male cast we have a broad variety of personality and ambitions. They are all in the same close group and are on the surface very close. But under the surface many strong emotions and opinions are hidden.We have Nobunaga who is the strong and powerful leader, who is dreaming of unite all of Japan under his rule. We have Nobuyuki, Nobunaga´s more kind a fragile little brother, with no appearing agendas other when to support his older brother. We have the clever and cold right hand man Mitsuhide, that hired Hatoru to sniff out traitors. We have the fierce bodyguard Ranmaru, whom is suspicious of every new face around Nobunaga. And we have the very adorable Ieyasu, who is terrified of women after bad past experience. They all contribute to the story nicely in their own way. I really liked the interactions between the characters, they had sweet moments, intense moments and interesting moments.
So far I really have enjoyed "Geten no Hana" very much. The manga know what it want to give and delivers that very well. The combination of a surprisingly interesting story (in it´s own simplistic way) and of pretty interesting characters in the reverse harem theme, I think it´s a hit! Looking forward to the rest, hopefully it wont´t be any super cliche and boring conclusion.
Depending how the rest is playing out this score will probably change (hopefully to a higher). Overall a well delivered reverse harem/historical manga with nice and likable characters. I like how they play with historical personas and aspects. The story has some nice plot twist, so even if the story is simplistic it´s not very predictable - I liked that very much. It was refreshing in this types of genres and had surprisingly well balanced comedy/drama. I actually laughed out load a couple of times :) If you are into revers harems, with a cool story and pretty interesting and likable characters - well, then "Geten no Hana" is certainly for you.
Disclaimer: I have played through at least one route of the otome game this manga is based off on. May have influenced this review slightly despite me not wanting to focus on it. Slight spoilers.
Story - 7
Geten no Hana, or Flower of the Human World, is a manga that takes us back to the days of Nobunaga Oda. The story is different from other things I have seen or read before. It has a unique premise, and the story is enjoyable. It does have a few cliches that one would be able to find in 'infiltration' centred storylines, but it doesn't detract in the story
in any way. I mentioned earlier that this is based off an otome game, and as of writing this review, the manga's direction appears to be heading towards the neutral route, meaning the romance is not exactly skewered towards one character. The story is simple but it is the characters that makes it interesting. It's the interactions between Hotaru and the men of the castle that drive the plot and the actions of our main female protagonist.
For a short manga, the story is intriguing enough and has a definitive issue that pushes the characters forward. It also gives all of the guys a bit of the spotlight from time to time, so each of the male leads gets their own scene with Hotaru for a few pages at least once.
Art - 9
What can I say, Kumada Yuka's art is very nice to look at. It is very 'shoujo'-like, and it's smooth and clean, you'll never have any trouble trying to discern which character is which. There are also plenty of scenes that showcase the scenery, there's a certain one with lots of flowers that is very nice to look at. The volume covers are also pleasing to the eye. It's a shame that all the boys didn't get their own, but the ones that did - they look amazing!
Character - 6.5
I'm making this judgement excluding all that I know from the original game. They are less fleshed out in the manga, which I won't judge because it's already incredibly short. The characters are distinct enough in terms of personality, making each one stand out. Some of them are given brief moments of the spotlight to distinguish their personality even further but aside from this, they may come off as very flat because the manga does not explore any 'route' in particular - it takes the middle path, so the characters within the story are not explored. The only exception to this would probably be Nobunaga and Nobuchika but even then, I would say they are only about a step or two in front of the supporting cast.
However, putting this aside, I still think the characters are written well even with their lack of character exploration and/or development. Each character has their own motivations and dreams in terms of serving their lord, Nobunaga. Nobunaga's dream is given a spotlight of its own. It's their drive and I think the theme of having a dream is shown off well in Geten no Hana.
Although the story features a reverse harem, the main female lead is, for once, not useless! What a turn of events, she's a character that can handle other opponents. She actually has some skill of her own? Amazing! She bumps up the 6 to a 6.5.
Enjoyment - 7
I would have put up an 8 but I feel like it would be a biased answer. It was a good read, but not 'great'. It's something you could read over lunch and be happy about. It has a nice dash of romance (mainly with just one character but let's just skip that) and lots of cute guys to go around. Each and every guy is likeable in their own way and all of them have their quirks. I don't think I hated any of them, honestly speaking. Nobunaga is a bit amusing, Mitsuhide's antics with keeping up the facade of being her brother is hilarious, Hideyoshi is jolly, Ieyasu is sweet and shy, and Ranmaru (my favourite) is a little awkward but it's endearing.
If you like manga with pretty guys, or reverse harems with an actual not-useless main female lead, I recommend Geten no Hana. It has a light dusting of romance and a nice dash of suspense, tied up with lovable characters.