Flower of the Deep Sleep Vol. 1
Yuuki has the power of being able to see into the future, although she cannot do anything to change what she sees in her "dream visions." That hasn't stopped the high school student from trying throughout the years, but much to her dismay, her efforts have never paid off.
Instead, her visions, which only depict unfortunate events, do nothing more than taunt her and her twin sister, Yuuka, offering nothing more than the illusion that they might make a difference. As they grew up, Yuuka began to resent Yuuki because of her agonizing ability, and the two became distant.
One day, Yuuki sees a strange little girl who appears to be aware of her presence in one of her visions. Shortly thereafter, she sees the little girl again, only this time, she's near Yuuka. Yuuki soon discovers that her sister passed out due to some strange affliction, but she's not in a true coma. Instead, Yuuka has merely fallen into a deep sleep -- one from which her doctor is unsure of whether she will ever awaken.
As a gifted member of her family, Yuuki's life becomes even more complicated when she discovers that she must choose her future husband between two twin brothers. Ryuunosuke and Ryuune both possess powers of their own; the former has the ability to absorb negative emotions from whomever he touches, whereas the latter can peer into the heart of other people -- also an ability dependant upon contact.
Toss into this mix is an eccentric, yet attractive shopkeeper with an affinity for ventriloquism and an unsettling ability to understand Yuuki's troubles, and you have a recipe for an engaging psychic drama.
If the story sounds convoluted, that's because it is. It took me multiple rereads of the volume to completely figure out what was going on in this series, although I'm not sure if this is the fault of the writer, or if it's just a complex tale that requires careful reading.
While the plot may be a little confusing to some people, the artwork is gorgeous. Most of Yuana Kazumi's skills are spent on illustrating Yuuki, which is completely acceptable, seeing as she's such an attractive character. Kazumi's style reminds me of the works of the well-known character designer (and occasional manga-ka) Haruhiko Mikimoto. Her work isn't as loose as Mikimotoís style, but the complex shading and supremely appealing character designs, combined with a knack for breathing emotions into her characters is just as praiseworthy as his work.
Most of the sound effects have been left untouched, and for the most part, the adaptation reads well. There's at least one typo where Michael (the shopkeeper) uses his puppet to say "irashaimase" in a creepy voice. The word, in hiragana, is broken down into three component parts to indicate the drawn-out intonation, and the English translation ("Welcome") is broken up in the same way. However, instead of reading as "Well...co...me," it was broken up as "Well...co...well." It's a little typo, but times like that makes me feel glad that I paid attention in Japanese class.
Still, little mistakes aside, this is a fine adaptation. Since Flower of the Deep Sleep isn't a high-profile title, there's less inclination for edits to be made to Americanize the book.
As it stands, this is a well-adapted and pleasingly illustrated work that is sure to please fans of Land of the Blindfolded or other school-age psychic dramas. The characters have distinct personalities, and the storyline is promising. It's unfortunate that books like this one have a high probability of slipping under the mass market radar, so if it sounds interesting, grab it when you see it. I can't see the future, but Iím willing to bet that you'll find it as a worthy investment.