In Volume 1 of Hanayashiki no Junin-tachi (花やしきの住人たち,) we met Aki, a boy who excels at “women’s” tasks like cooking, sewing and being functional. As punishment he is sent to live at a girl’s dorm, which just goes to show that his father and grandfather are idiots.
In the Hanayashiki dorm, Aki meets energetic, cute and hungry Renge who falls for him, and creepy loner Ayame, who has an extra creepy twin brother who is really damaged. Aki falls for Ayame and, of course Ayame is interested in Renge, in standard fashion.
In Volume 2, we learned that Ayame is a lesbian because she’s only met broken and disturbed men and that her mother was distant and cold, just like Freud said.
Now we are at Volume 3, and any chance that Ayame and Renge will get together is receeding quickly. Renge comes to grips that Aki isn’t going to be hers anytime soon, and somehow Aki finds himself protecting Ayame more and more from Kakitsubata, her brother. When Kakitsubata starts to sexually assault Ayame, Aki’s had enough and takes Ayame to his room to give her somewhere safe to stay. And it is safe, as we had previously established that Aki is a good guyTM. He’s not going to do anything to Ayame and he may keep her from hurting herself.
Aki’s Dad shows up to free him, so of course everything comes to a crisis. Ayame, having met the first non-violently insane man of her entire life is cured of her lesbian desire, Kakitsubata does not kill himself, which is a shame and in the end everyone lives happily every after. Oh, yes, they do.
I never really expected this series to go my way, so I can’t say I was disappointed on that score, but the pat ending really makes all the DRAMA sort of meaningless. Much like the ending of Mai HiME, I feel as if we were cheated on an actual ending that dealt with the consequences of everything that happened in the story. Also, the lessons we learn, that cross-dressers are violently insane and lesbians are also damaged until they are fixed by a heterosexual attraction, are massively uncool.
On the other hand, if you like DRAMA, then this series does have some decent qualities. Aki being a very decent human being and Renge also not being a freak go a long way to helping the book not suck.
Also, I should probably point out that they do all live happily ever after – as friends. For which I was very grateful. Because frankly, there is no way any of the possible pairings would feel right.
Art – 6
Story – 5
Characters – 5
Yuri – 1
Service – 2
Overall – 6
As a whole, the series is like watching a Tornado. Aki shows up, and through no fault of his own, pulls the house down. But in the end, the skies are blue and there’s always tomorrow to rebuild.