Sunday, September 30, 2012

Flower of Life: Volume 4

by Fumi Yoshinaga, 207 pages

Hanazono and Mikuni make their first attempt at trying to become professional manga-ka, Hanazono's shut-in older sister attempts to re-enter society, and relationships shift and grow as secrets are revealed, bonds are tested, and life moves forward.

A little something that's been niggling at the back of the reader's mind since volume one comes to the forefront with an emotional punch as the title's relevance becomes clear.  Fear and laughter, uncertainty and hope; life offers no guarantees, and family, friendship, and love are complicated--but that just makes them matter all the more.  Yoshinaga's a bit of a genius when it comes to the human condition, really.  She shows its weaknesses and dangers, but with an empathy and optimistic strength that make it feel worth fighting for.  The future may be scary and unknown, but her characters bravely face it, buoyed by each other and by their own inner strength.

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