From the editors of Love Hina and Negima Neo comes a new-age romance comedy of rural teens and classic French poetry.
A lonely, bookish teen struggles to find his identity through Charles Baudelaire’s poetry until two girls, a bully and the class beauty, help him realize true love and real friendship. In the eleventh volume of The Flowers of Evil, Takao Kasuga has blossomed. After years of struggling with his inner demons and a lifetime of boredom, the young man has found peace. Now a high schooler living in the growing city of New Urawa, he has come a long way from his days of riding his bike and hitting used book stores in his sleepy mountain hometown in the rural regions of Gunma prefecture. But now he returns to Gunma, intent on finding the person who set him on this journey of self-discovery, for some closure.
Recognized as one of the most engaging series in the world of shonen manga (stories with male protagonists), Flowers of Evil shuns the genre’s otherworldly conventions to tell down-to-earth stories of the trials of young people as they stumble into love and sometimes back out again. This new-style romance comedy of rural teens centers on the lonely, bookish Takao’s search for his own identity, under the influence of Charles Baudelaire’s poetry classic Les fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). Bound by emotion and circumstance to the beautiful Nanako, the girl he desires, and the scheming Nakamura, the girl whose torments put him on the path to adulthood, Takao is also challenged to settle his differences with his parents. Flowers of Evil creator Shuzo Oshimi was recognized as one of the most gifted of the young generation of manga artists, and in 2001 received the Tetsuya Chiba award.
Flowers of Evil tells the tangled tale of Takao Kasuga, a shy middle-school boy who falls in love with one girl and ends up being blackmailed by another in rural central Japan. Throughout a series of catastrophic adventures, Takao remains absorbed by French poet Charles Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), which becomes the key to this engaging, wide-ranging narrative of romance and revelation. Readers have been charmed and captivated by this all-too-credible, yet often outrageous, story of awkward, young love. Flowers of Evil creator Shuzo Oshimi was recognized as one of the most gifted of the younger generation of manga artists, and in 2001 received the Tetsuya Chiba Award.
In the seventh volume of the Flowers of Evil readers are sent to a completely new time and locale. Takao and Sawa have been forcibly separated. Takao is now living in suburbs of the big city. His parents have new lives in a small apartment and their past for the most part has been forgotten. Now and then little cracks appear in that facade but for the most part they are playing their roles to become a normal happy family.
Takao is in a new school; your average model student. And while he is just as awkward, Takao has made some friends and is even occasionally being asked to be social as a new high school student. Even more intriguing is the fact that Takao might have already found himself someone to open up to. Like Sawa this person can see that there is more to Takao than meets the eye. But in this case it is her who reintroduces him to literature.
In this sixth volume of The Flowers of Evil, Takao and Nakamura are now deep in the darkness. After creating their own secret world in the rice paddies of rural Gunma, someone who resented their relationship attempted to destroy that haven, in an attempt to disrupt the beautiful chaos the pair had created.
Now the duo have been wrongly-accused of a crime, and their previous hijinks -including many school pranks- have placed them in an awkward position within their tiny community. Furthermore local authorities now involved and are more than willing to blame all strange behavior this small town has seen recently on the two teens.
Is this the end of this drama? Will being treated as outcasts in their own community keep these two from crossing over to the other side?!
In the fourth volume of Flowers of Evil, Takao makes his decision… He will try to win the affection of one his muses. This will be no simple task, as the teens in this manga drama are all now damaged and warped. Growing up without a mother has twisted their hearts. Helping people like that open up may be impossible, but Takao has thrown away his own humanity as well.
Furthermore, Takao is now in search now a utopia. One that can only be shared with his best and only friend, that will sit, even if briefly, among the rice paddies and in the mountains of his rural hometown. And most importantly, it will be a place that pokes fun and underminds every little thin ideal that holds this town together. There is no way this new society will be accepted, but that is exactly what these two wanted in the first place.
After his grandfather falls ill, Kasuga goes with his parents back to Gunma—his first trip back to his hometown ever since the incident with Nakamura—and Kasuga must confront the friends and family he hurt in the past. A former classmate gives him a tip regarding Nakamura’s current whereabouts, but will he have the courage to track her down and ask her the question that has haunted him since that day?
In this final installment, time passes and people grow, change and heal, and we get a glimpse into the first fateful encounter between Nakamura and Kasuga, from her point of view…
After the climactic incident during the festival, we are sent to a completely new locale, 3 years later. Takao and Nakamura have been forcibly separated. Takao is now living with his parents in the suburbs of the big city, and they mostly act like a normal, happy family. Takao is in a new school, and a typical middling student. And while he’s as awkward as ever, he’s made some friends. Even more intriguingly—Takao may have found a girl to open up to. As with Nakamura, this girl can see there’s more to Takao than meets the eye. But this time, she’s the one who reintroduces him to literature…
Bookworm Takao and class bully Sawa may not appear to be the best couple, but together, by chance, they shake up their entire rural community to its core. In love with the class idol, Takao is given a chance to become a real hero and finally break out of his shell after righting a wrong he committed in a random moment of passion and affection. With the help, or blackmailing by, Sawa Nakamura, Takao is on his way to change his future and enter a world of decadence.
Contrary to Takao’s predictions, the girl he was falling for, Nanako Saeki, responds by eventually accepting the bibliophile for who he is. Or at least, who she thinks he is. In the second volume of Flowers of Evil, Takao’s lies have given him new life with his now new girlfriend Nanako. And as he becomes closer to Nanako, his relationship with Sawa only deepens as the “contract” they share weighs heavily on the teen.
Takao makes a decision… he will try to win the affection of one of his muses. This will be no simple task, as the teens are all now damaged and warped. Takao is in search of a utopia, one that can only be shared with his only friend, that will sit just briefly among the rice paddies of his rural hometown. But then Takao and Nakamura are wrongly accused of a crime, and the local authorities want to pin all strange behavior this small town has seen recently on the two teens. Will being treated as outcasts in their own community keep these two from crossing over to the other side…?
Takao Kasuga is a bookworm. And his favorite book right now is Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil. While the young man may often be seen lost in thought as he rabidly consumes page after page, Takao is not much of a student. Actually when we are first introduced to the middle school teen, we find him sneaking some reading as he receives and F on a recent language exam.
Nakagawa is known as the class bully. When she is not receiving zeros she is usually muttering profanities to those around her. While she doesn’t care for books or their readers, she does have a thing for troublemakers. Takao may not be one, but having read over his shoulder a few times, she knows he is not very innocent. If anything he is bored and aware of it.
Together, by chance, they shake up their entire rural community as Takao tries to break out of his shell in a random moment of passion and affection…not directed towards Nakamura. And contrary to Takao’s predictions, the girl he was falling for, Nanako Saeki, responds by eventually accepting the bibliophile for who he is. Or at least, who she thinks he is.
And therein lies the conflict. Takao is not a hero. He is not trouble-maker, either. He is a regular teen who through equal moments of cowardice and chivalry takes a long step towards adulthood as he desperately tries to cover up a dark secret. Takao Kusuga has stolen an item precious to someone he is attracted to, and if he doesn’t form a “contract” with his new best friend, she is going to tell.
The first combined edition of The Flowers of Evil features volumes 1-3 of this best-selling and acclaimed series. It follows the adventures of a lonely bookish teen struggling to find his identity through Baudelaire’s poetry, until two girls—a beauty and a bully—help him find true love and friendship. Edgy, intense, and romantic, this new edition will give fans a chance to reconnect with Kasuga, Saeki, and Nakamura as it explores the issues of bullying, loneliness, individuality, and identity.