The Name of the Flower Vol 3 by Ken Saito Manga Review


Title: The Name of the Flower Vol 3

Author: Ken Saito

Publisher: CMX

ISBN: 9781401215989


May Contain Spoilers

From CMX website:

Ever since Kei left home so abruptly and has stayed away, Chouko has been worried sick. Akiyama—Kei’s friend and editor—rushes over to check on Chouko’s state and is alarmed by what he finds. Her abandonment issues are back, and she has fallen into another depression. When word gets back to Kei, will the news make him rush back to be by Chouko’s side? Or will it push him further away?

If two people ever needed each other, it’s Kei and Chouko.  Both of them have been abandoned and have issues trusting other people.  Kei is living with the crushing guilt of feeling responsible for his mother’s death, and Chouko is just a shy and very lonely girl.  When she moves in with Kei, the two develop an awkward closeness that grows into something much more.  As Chouko begins to emerge from her shell and starts making friends in college, Kei begins to feel threatened.  When a ghost from his past reappears, he snaps.  Left alone again, Chouko falls into an abyss of depression of her own.  Will Akiyama be able to save both of them?

This series is interesting because both Kei and Chouko are so fragile.  One little bump in their road, and they descend into a black void created within their own souls.  After a flashback sequence with Kei, it is easy to understand why he is so distrustful of others.  He is consumed with a darkness that is so overpowering that it spills into his writing and sucks in Akiyama.  Akiyama is bright and carefree, but he is drawn relentlessly to Kei.  When Kei spirals into a deep, black hole of depression, a situation that Akiyama unwittingly causes, he runs, too, abandoning Kei yet again.

When Kei is revisited by his inner demons, it is Chouko who also suffers.  Kei disappears, and now it’s Chouko who is left alone.  Again.  As Akiyama tries desperately to save his friends from themselves and to redeem is failure in the past, the story takes a very dark turn.  Kei is one footstep from falling over the edge, and once he goes, it’s going to take a whole lot of therapy to get him back.  He really needs counseling now, and he probably needs some medication, too. 

One of the reasons that I like The Name of the Flower so much is because it tackles the issue of mental frailty with compassion and a whole lot of emotion.  You want Kei to find the inner happiness that has been denied to him, to free himself from the madness that threatens to consume him. You want Chouko to be his salvation, and ultimately, you want them both to find the contentment that they are so desperately longing for.  

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by CMX

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