You remember Thieve’s World, don’t you? It was a multi-author fantasy fiction series. Each author would write stories in their own style, using their own character(s) and those of the other authors, all set in a single world. It felt like a good table-top RPG that people other than the players could follow. It was, depending on your opinion of author, character and story, variably successful.
Flower Festa is a very similar concept. Set in a generic girl’s school, each one of 20 creators was given the opportunity to create a character page, with character info and a single page comic showing us the character’s personality and/or interaction with other characters. After all 20 characters have been introduced, each artist then draws a short story with their and/or any of the characters in the story. The characters are all named after a flower, which might get cloying fast except that most names used are not unknown as girl’s names. Imagine a story where Lily is friends with Rose and Willow. It’s like that. Okay, by the last few characters, the names get a little sillier – one of my favorite characters is the foreigner Hibiscus (imagine an older, more together Tanya from Battle Athletes,) and a few of the names are just really stretching it, like Gabera and Higanbana. Aren’t those lovely names for young women? But heck if you were picking name #18 of 20, you’d be stretching too.
There is a generally Yuri overtone to many of the stories, with one semi-regular, established couple, Tsubaki and Bara. They are given a very Takarazuka air every time they appear, but they aren’t the only couple. Gabera’s got a thing for Kiku and there are a few other snuggly moments scattered throughout. I picked this book up specifically because Hojou KOZ was contributing. Her character, Momo, seems to be locked in a like-triangle with Ume and Sakura.
It’s a great idea that, I don’t want to say that it fails in execution, because it really doesn’t, but it does not make exciting, compelling reading. Each character is all right individually and cute with the other characters, but nothing really creative or particularly unique happens here. However, if you genuinely love girls’ school life romantic fantasy, this book will appeal. The multitude of characters will, at least, keep you from becoming bored.
Everything was variable
Overall – 6 but I’m not really the audience.
Surely I can’t have been the only person in the world who read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s character in Thieve’s World and went, “oh duh, he’s a woman,” can I?