Silver Diamond Volume 1: Silver Seed by Shiho Sugiura (amazon)
The first volume of Silver Diamond has a somewhat random mix of plot elements and over the top symbolism that is extremely entertaining. The manga opens with a brief scene in a fantasy world. A cool looking man with a twiglike gun takes aim on a Prince. He is so cool, he wears sunglasses while engaging in sniper activity. As he shoots a whirlpool opens behind him, carrying him away to another world. In present day Japan a boy named Rakan carries flowers to his teacher. He has such a green thumb that his garden at home is overgrown, so he acts as an amateur florist at school. I found it hilarious that the art was able to incorporate many traditional introduction scenes of Rakan surrounded by flowers, except in this case the flowers were present because he was walking around with a giant bouquet instead of being surrounded with blossoms appearing as background panel decoration. Rakan is very popular but he doesn’t have a girlfriend. When a classmate hints around about the possibility of eating dinner together he doesn’t pick up on her signals. Instead he indulges in a speech about the comforts of cooking for oneself and runs off to take advantage of a sale at a fish shop.
Rakan is a bit of an odd duck, because although he’s in high school he lives alone in a giant house that he inherited from his adoptive grandfather. He talks to his plants and misses his mother. His usual solitary afternoon is interrupted when he finds a strange yet incredibly good looking man passed out in his flowerbed. It is Mr. Sunglasses from another world! When he wakes up and sees Rakan, he thinks he’s failed to kill the prince and attacks again. But his plant-like gun reacts to Rakan’s presence, planting itself in the ground and growing into a giant tree. He calls Rakan a Sanome. Rakan orders him to get off his flowers and then fixes him some tea.
The mysterious bespectacled man is Chigusa, and the desert world that he comes from may be Rakan’s true homeland. He also has some plant like characteristics which make him view Rakan’s special powers as particularly valuable. Rakan starts introducing Chigusa to the conveniences of the modern world, and Chigusa starts following Rakan to school in his self-appointed role of protector. There are strange political intrigues at work on Chigusa’s world and soon another handsome man pops up in Rakan’s backyard. This time it is Narushige, a noble who goes everywhere with his talking snake Koh.
Koh can conveniently transform into a sword, so when Chigusa discovers him they begin to duel in an extremely artistic manner with their snake-sword and plant-guns. That sums up the loopy appeal of this series. The plot elements are a mishmash, but the characters all look impossibly pretty and they fight with insanely symbolic weapons. I think Silver Diamond would be a must buy for fantasy shounen ai fans. I’m curious to see if the second volume settles down a bit since first volume spent plenty of time setting up the characters and their relationships with each other. Is Rakan the true prince of Chigusa’s world? How will he manage to go to high school while taking care of two otherworldly warrior house guests?