Hatena no Hana
What would you do if you discovered your spouse had a secret stash of S&M equipment?
So, what would you do?
- Run and call a divorce lawyer.
- Confront him angrily.
- Put it back and pretend you saw nothing.
- Suit up, grab the handcuffs, and pounce on him when he gets home.
What was the reaction of the heroine of Hatena no Hana? Since it was written by the lovely Kawachi Haruka, you know it’s gold.
Youko is a housewife, married for 3 years to her husband, Jun. Things aren’t great–Jun hasn’t been sexually interested in her for over 6 months and she’s understandably uneasy and frustrated. Just like that shiny new toy you finally get your hands on, relationships can also lose luster over time. She idly wonders what’s lacking–would she feel more fulfilled if she had a job, a pet, or even a baby? Would any of that change things? With all that tumbling around in her head, tears well up and her husband (not a particularly sensitive person) asks her if she’s feeling ill due to her period. Now utterly annoyed, during a minor spat, Youko slaps Jun. Initially mortified, she’s met with an odd reaction. He asks her to slap the other cheek and flustered, she complies. He beams happily and sports an impressive erection. OH, so now it shows up, late for the party!
While cleaning out a closet, Youko finds a hidden box containing rope, a whip, a candle, handcuffs… now that odd reaction makes more sense. So what should Youko do about her discovery?
However, the story doesn’t end with a spicy revitalized sex life. Too simple and boring–two things you won’t get from Kawachi Haruka. Cue the next character: the professional dominatrix “Midoriko-sama” who Jun visits on occasion.
The best part of this book is the dominatrix (whose real name is Maho) and shockingly enough, the husband as well. Both show surprising depth of character despite this being a relatively short work. I love Maho’s playfulness, laced with a touch of seriousness, when she makes a pass at the clueless Youko. But Maho’s attitude is tempered by her own resignation that her love for women has little chance to be fulfilled. She makes a living out of dominating men, but is defeated herself once she realizes just who is Youko’s husband. But she’s not the type to go down quietly!
Even Jun has redeemable qualities. Despite Youko’s attempts to accommodate him, he still seeks release outside their marriage. It’s no secret either–the wounds noticeably increase on his body and yet Youko still can’t help but love him and his scarred form. Jun himself doesn’t fully understand why he engages in this behavior even though she means so much to him. It’s something he contemplates all while Midoriko-sama burns him with a candle. This moment is surprisingly… poignant. I never, ever imagined that a scene involving burning ass hair would be so moving.
The only downside to this manga is that there’s no true resolution, but just like life, it’s a complicated, muddled gray and there’s no magic solution to everything.