C-Blossom – Case 729

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Here’s a synopsis from MyAnimeList:

“Synopsis

Matsumiya Kana’s world is turned upside down when her father is arrested on charges of embezzling from the Ministry of Defense. She decides to escape the trauma by transferring to a private boarding school, but trouble follows…

Megane bishounen Kisaragi Kou gets Kana to open up to him, but what’s this?! He isn’t really who he says he is? And who’s the dude in the trucker’s cap lurking outside her window? Welcome to C-blossom -case729- a series with action, intrigue, and well…a plot.

[Summary from Condensation]”

This entire manga is only 4 chapters long, so it’s not an extremely long read, but each chapter is also a hundred or so pages each.

I usually don’t like shoujo that isn’t really shoujo. Don’t roll your eyes at me and say that I’m pathetic for liking the repetitive, boring romances and the stupid stereotypes and cliches. That’s what a lot of shoujo is, and if you don’t like it, then you can’t call yourself a shoujo fan, can you?

Anyway, C-Blossom isn’t the normal kind of shoujo. The artist’s style is clean and the characters aren’t drawn to be beautiful. By an unfortunate turn of events, a normal schoolgirl is forced to become captive and suddenly shoved into the complicated world of adults. There is gun shooting, secret organizations, blackmail, and betrayal, but it’s not the overly dramatic, superficial kind. The characters are ambiguous, the romance is subtle and the ending is not the typical, happy conclusion. It was an ending where a teenaged girl matures and faces reality.

“Sup gaiz, you guys don’t really know me and I don’t really know you.  I also don’t normally read shoujo, even though I do occasionally read this blog. As a manly man, I spend most of my time watching Gundam and learning how to make and sell drugs by watching Breaking Bad. One day I was chillin with my bro and co-host Andy and he came across Harutoshi Fukui’s rather hilariously amazing attempt at writing shoujo manga, C-Blossom Case 729.

In case you don’t know, Harutoshi Fukui is a renowned author of awesome novels that involve things like Japanese nationalism and war, and all that jazz. He’s essentially Japan’s equivalent of Tom Clancy. Among the anime community, he has become a really big name because he wrote the Gundam Unicorn novels that have been adapted into a 6 episode OVA that also just happens to be the highest selling OVA of all time.  Now, while mentioning Gundam Unicorn I can’t help but stress that it is amazing, I am supposed to be talking about C-Blossom here.

Basically, Fukui opens the manga with the rather gruesome image of a tree talkin about slitting wrists and all that.

Given the rather gruesome imagery that conjures up, you might assume that this would be some emotional roller coaster that spirals with the full force of gravity at its back off the rails. Given that the premise of this short manga (it’s only 4 volumes) is a girl’s daddy who is a big time politician is found to be embezzling money from the ministry of defense (come on the ministry of defense, Japan needs that money to fund all its wars AMIRITE?) and then loses all her friends and her fancy home.

For like I don’t know, 30 or 40 pages or so it is completely normal shoujo manga with all the right conventions and everything, there’s a teacher who is young handsome who is all like ‘LETS DISAPPEAR TOGETHER’ and all that typical stuff may you expect from formulaic shoujo. OF course, this manga cues you in to the fact that this was WAY too formulaic in a brilliant act of self-reflexivity that foreshadows that there is a lot more to than is just seen. Having already seen the name Fukui and with all this foreshadowing, I already knew that this would radically change and become something interesting.

That change comes after those first few pages chronicling a teenaged girl’s angsty crisis there are like political kidnappings, conspiracies and gunfights with grenades. And then in chapter 2 we discover the REAL love interest in the manga and he is basically hilarious…. Or at least he would be to anyone familiar with Gundam Unicorn. Because he starts talking about his ideology behind his actions… and it turns out that his ideology is basically the exact ideology of Daguza from Gundam Unicorn. He does all this crazy stuff like rescues and kidnappings BECAUSE HE’S A HUMAN BEING AND THAT’S HIS CODE OF HONOR.

Fukui’s love for romantism in anime shines brightly with the few panels where ideology is concerned. In fact, that’s basically why we have found Fukui writing shoujo. He actually went on to say that the value that Shoujo manga has for authors is how flexible it is. Whereas shounen manga has crazy deadlines and is extremely formulaic, shoujo has plenty of space for authors to explore ideas like romanticism, etc.

You might probably think that this article has contradicted itself by talking about how earlier I was all like ‘THIS MANGA BREAKS SHOUJO CONVENTIONS’ and in the previous paragraphs I go on to say that shoujo manga is more willing to accept alterity, but there is no contradiction.  Naturally, within any genre there are going to be conventions that pop-up after a while because having these conventions is what defines genre. Fukui’s observations on the problems associated shounen manga are not as simple as ‘one has convention and the other doesn’t’ but rather involve more of a critic on industry issues like deadlines that produces uninteresting shounen manga.  (Just so we’re clear here)

Ah, look at me; I have already gotten way off topic by talking about romanticism and criticisms of shounen and all that jazz. I suppose the real point to talk away from this (if you’re being all like TL;DR) by this point is that Fukui finds more freedom within the shoujo market and thus exercises this new found freedom to explore ideas like humanism and romanticism which scream throughout this manga. So I suppose the basic message is that this manga is awesome, and you should probably check this out. (unless you are not an awesome person, if you aren’t grab someone who is awesome and learn what it means to be a human being before the machine gets you!)

I probably won’t ever do this again, so if you want me you should check out my podcast Anime Graruru that I do basically every week, at this point I should say, every other week. We talk about all kinds of awesome things there because we are trying to rediscover our love of anime and all that jazz. So, I suppose it’s good-bye. Bye I guess.” – Anime Graruru

I’m not crazy about this manga, but it’s a good read and presents an interesting story, so I recommend it to those who want to read shoujo that doesn’t revolve around romance and a ditzy main character (ugh to shoujo girl stereotypes). :)

Maria

2 responses »

  1. Hi,

    I just recently created a website called http://www.mymangareview.com
    It is a manga description / review website.
    I just came across your website and was wondering if you wanted to exchange web links.

    I am just starting at this so i dont know too many people online.
    It would be great if we can exchange link.
    and since i dont do shojo manga reviews i thought we can help each other

    Thanks
    Sho

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