WARNING: Rant ahead, as well as spoilers for the webcomic Rainflowers.
When I saw the description for Rainflowers, I was all for it:
A BL comic about a clueless, but cheerful human puppy who falls in love with a temperamental, hard-working flower-lover.
That sounds really sweet! I’m all for it.
The story follows two college-aged guys as they fall in love, start dating, and the struggles they have (specifically around one being financially very well off and the other working hard to get through school). I picked it up halfway through its release, so after the first part, I had to read it on a weekly basis. And let me tell you, when the characters had a big fight, I was on the edge of my seat to find out how they resolved it.
So it was a surprise when the next update had the parent of one character calling to inform the other character that Guy 1 was dead.
Yeah, So this “BL comic” ends with one love interest dying and the other one…continuing on with life. “BL” if you’re not familiar, means “Boys’ love” and is the term used for Japanese manga and anime that involves the romance between two men. The category has broadened to include other forms of media, but like most romance, the stories end (in everything I’ve read) with a happy ending. The reader goes in expecting a happy ending. So this suddenly and completely unexpected death threw me off guard. I was PISSED. And prepared to drop the story immediately.
But I thought “Maybe he’s not dead and it’s a misunderstanding”–except then we end up at a cemetery to leave flowers, so no, he’s super dead. But there were only a few pages left, so I bit the bullet to see where this would go.
And then I reread the whole thing to see if it makes sense. If it was good story writing that I just didn’t appreciate the first time round. If there was subtext and foreshadowing that I didn’t see.
Well, yes, in some ways there was foreshadowing. However, if you don’t realize that what’s happening, it just seems to be jumping to different periods where the one guy is collecting flowers, not as a completely different timeline. Now, if you look at the story as a whole and not as a BL or romance, it could possibly be considered a good story.
Except…there’s no point. There’s no character growth, there’s no plot, there’s no…anything.
We get two young men, who fall in love, one of whom dies. The end. The story ends five pages after one of the character dies, and there’s no room for the remaining character to grow as a person. In fact, if you re-read the story, you see him behaving exactly as before: spending money freely and without regard for what that might mean to other people.
So there’s really no point to the tale we’re told. Except that queers can’t get a happy ending, I guess.
The art is lovely and simple, the development of their relationship is nice. But when they have a fight about being able to afford taking classes over, stop. Or better yet, don’t read it at all.