Author: Ushio Mizta
Manga-ka: Akiyoshi Ohta
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: August 2008
Synopsis: “Struggling with her feelings of helplessness, Momoka finds unexpected support from two fellow spirit sword wielders. Vowing to help her untangle the truth from the web of lies spun by the Mitsurugis, they don’t realize that an investigatory trip to the Futami family grave site will lead not only to the unsheathing of Suzukaze, but also to the dark side of Momoka’s heart.”
Orphaned after the death of her family, Momoka struggles now to come to complete terms with her newfound place in a world of spiritual swords and battling factions. Unable to draw her sword as others like her can, Momoka faces her own feelings of frustration before a visit to her family’s grave site ends up providing a lot more than she’d bargained for.
Kaze no Hana is definitely proving to be one of those titles that makes missing a volume cause more than a few speed bumps getting caught up. In my case, it was volume one, so I had some problems figuring out what was what, or I suppose I should say, who was who. There’re a lot of different characters in the story: wielders of spiritual swords, their enemies and those who seem to fall in-between. Fortunately not many of these characters played pinnacle roles so I was able to focus my thoughts on the main ones.
Momoka Futami amnesia offers lots of little gaps for readers to await conclusions for. This second volume serves to foster this curiousity ten-fold by introducing her (dun, dun, dun) thought long-since dead twin sister! Finally unsheathing her sword, Momoka is suddenly overcome by a darkness within her that triggers dark memories of a past she may not want to remember. More specifically, the death of her family that left her a memory-less orphan. Unfortunately I found her a bit annoying as a character, which made it really hard to care. On the upside, crazy Momoka was entertaining to watch in action, as some of the other characters.
Where this book really suffered at times was the artwork. Character designs are plagued with huge foreheads, eyes spread far apart in a way that gives a sort of frog-like expression, and often inconsistent appearances that sometimes proved a little too similar to each other for my liking. While I have been known to stick with a less than stellar story for its accompanying art, Kaze no Hana would not be one of those instances.
What I found stood out to me most about the book however, was the pacing of the story and its panels. It had a very movie-esque feel to it and I imagined it’d be a lot more interesting to watch as a live-action than read as a manga. Regardless, I found there to be enough interesting about this second volume to warrant a read of volume one someday. However, I’m almost hoping I don’t like it too much, since I may end up being even more disappointed with this second part, a mildly interesting but overall rather dull experience.