Zig*Zag by Yuki Nakaji (amazon)
I enjoyed Yuki Nakaji’s other manga, Venus in Love, so I decided to give Zig*Zag a try. Takaaki starts at a new school private school that has just recently gone co-ed, but he’s so short and cute he is initially mistaken for a girl. Sonoh is Takaaki’s new roommate, who seems to have a mysterious past along with a twin brother who is his polar opposite. There’s a bit of a Hana Kimi vibe going on with Takaaki and Sonoh’s relationship because Takaaki is open, outgoing, and enthusiastic while Sonoh is much more reserved. Takaaki is surprised to find out that his old friend Tatsuki lives next door, and Sonoh tells them to take their enthusiastic greetings outside.
A couple of the girls that attend the school are Mei and Saho. Tatsuki has a mad crush on Mei, but Saho acts as her stern protector whenever Tatsuki approaches. While Tatsuki thinks Mei is tiny and cute, Takaaki notices Saho’s skills at field hockey and admiringly comments that she’s “kinda macho.”
The relationships between the three boys and two girls develop throughout the manga. Takaaki and Sonoh begin to relate to each other a little more. Saho and Takaaki develop a teasing relationship where they banter back and forth and occasionally hit each other over the head. Mei starts to notice Sonoh, while Tatsuki vows that he won’t give up on the hope of making her his girlfriend.
The flower theme that connects the characters is a little labored – Sonoh comes from a family that excels in traditional ikebana. Takaaki loves plants due to the influence of his older female cousin. Even the principal of the school enjoys pruning a magnolia tree occasionally. While the plot was a little disjointed as the character who is the focus of each chapter tends to change, Nakaji does have a knack for creating appealing characters, so I do plan to check out the second volume of this series.
There’s a preview of the first chapter available on the Tokyopop web site.