Amagakure Gido: 100 Blossoms to Love

I posted nine of my favorite yakuza themed stories and my friend asked, “you never read 100 Blossoms to Love?” So, obviously I was missing out on something, because it seemed not only like she expected me to have read it, but if I had, it would have definitely made the list. Or I could have been reading way too much into the quick question. Either way, it got me to read it, and I’m glad I did.

Honestly, this story is just the cutest thing. We meet Kotaro, the heir to a yakuza family who grew up with romanticized notions of the underworld due to the yakuza films his grandfather shared with him. He’s been looking for someone to call “aniki,” but has been unable to find anyone (suitable). Just when he thinks it’s a lost cause, he witnesses Toraji taking down a would-be purse-snatcher. Cue the sparkles.

While daydreaming outside of Toraji’s place of business about what it would be like to call this everyday hero “aniki,” Kotaro absentmindedly plucks the petals off a flower. Now, Toraji’s a florist and it’s understandable that he doesn’t look too kindly on floral abuse, so their first real meeting doesn’t play out too well. But Kotaro is such a pure-hearted guy and it’s his pure heart and his seemingly irrepressible spirit that convinces Toraji to give him another chance and eventually pulls him in. Fortunately for Toraji, he doesn’t mind being pulled in, although he’s not always completely aware of when it’s happening.

With the help of Toraji’s sister who owns the flower shop, Kotaro’s colorful yakuza kin, and a few more cast members, 100 Blossoms to Love turns out to be something of a yakuza fairytale. A prince searching for his true love, a night in uh … floral armor, a rescue, a storied past, a pervy uncle, and a few twists along the way.

It’s a solid, well-paced story and Toraji and Kotaro’s relationship kept me smiling, giddy, and laughing. I hope Amagakure has other works with a similar tone, because I could certainly go for more. And as for the list, I think it should be there, too.

Notes: I read the Toraji’s brother’s story, Akunin o Nakaseru Houhou, and I liked it. Not as much as this, but was pretty good, but the tone wasn’t as lighthearted. There’s also another continuation–the final, I believe–Warudakumi ni mo Hana wa Furu, which I’m looking forward to.

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