Manga / Freesia

Freesia is a twelve-volume manga series (adapted a live-action movie) drawn by Jiro Matsumoto. Set in an Alternate History Japan, rampant crime and dwindling resources due to a war with another nation led the government to passing the Vengeance Act to keep prisons from overfilling. As a consequence, instead of going to prison, victims of a crime can legally try to kill the perpetrator, or enlist the help of a proxy agency to have their enforcers do it for them. The target can also enlist the help of bodyguards to help defend themselves (in the event that the target can't find/afford any, the government provides bodyguards for him).

The story starts with the main character Hiroshi Kano applying for a job as an enforcer for one of the best proxy agencies. Kano has a special ability of being able to "disappear" by blending into his environment so well others literally can't notice him. He is also a very mentally unstable military veteran. Together with Wide-Eyed Idealist rookie Yamada and somewhat agressive mentor Mizoguchi, Kano begins his life as an enforcer...

Freesia follows the lives of our main cast, as well as the people that they interact with and how the Vengeance Act affects society as a whole. It's drawn with Matsumoto's distinctive dirty and sketchy art style. Like any Jiro Matsumoto manga, expect to see hallucinations, plot twists, and lots and lots of Mind Screw.

This series provides examples of:

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: At the end, Kano ends up becoming an entity, making him a living shadow if you desire to call it as such. But not before he ends up killing Tanaka... Or Is It?
  • Asshole Victim: The punks who incited Kano's wrath because they were going to hurt his mother. Doubles as Bullying a Dragon.
  • Ax-Crazy: Kano starts off relatively normal....
  • Badass: Kano
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shunpei, in the Tanaka arc, saves Higuchi and her bodyguard.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The war ends, and the Revenge Act ceases to exist, but enforcers are hunted, and pretty much every character, is dead, save for Yamada, who may or may not face trial. On the other hand, Kano's mom is alive, and she'll live in one of the best assylums in Japan, also, Kano ends up surviving his Last Stand
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Something very common.
  • The Chess Master: Higuchi ends up knowing a lot of Kano and his life, he ends up realizing later in the story, the reason she did this was because she's bitter because she was raped and Kano didn't help, it's understandable.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Masae Ogura, one of the victims of the program. Interestingly, she was skilled enough to build tunnels beneath her neighbourhood which connected all along the city, and could escape for almost the entirety of it.
  • Cuckold: Kano doesn't give a fuck about her girlfriend having sex with her lover, it's pretty eerie.
  • Dead All Along: Kano's girlfriend died somewhere in the middle of the story, and he never noticed it until authorities had to remove the decaying body.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Kano is shown as the protagonist in most images, but truth be told, Yamada has more development.
  • Dirty Cop: Government-appointed bodyguards are very easy to bribe. Yamada doesn't like that at all.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Kano and Higuchi are always eerily calm. Kano begins to show more emotion towards the end.
  • Doppleganger Spin: If someone saw Kano when he activated his Invisibility, that person will see an afterimage for a period of time, thinking that's the real Kano.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mizoguchi wife ends up hanging herself after all the abuse received, the sad thing that this is a real possibility of Domestic Abuse.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A big point in the series, Kano, the yakuza, among others...
  • Explicit Content: Dear God, in the first 50 pages there's already 3 sex scenes, and it all goes downhill
  • Extreme Doormat: Kano, you can see him argue, true, but always serene.
  • Fingore: Kano loses a couple of fingers at the end of volume 2
  • Forced into Evil: The Vengeance Act, a lot of persons take this job because they don't have anything else to do, a luck of soldiers of fortune. However, it's shown that eventually, one can lose their morals, or at least become extremely cynic. Kano becomes more deluded. Yamada becomes more cynic and stoic as a result. And Mizoguchi ends up acting more erratic.
  • Forever War: Against an unnamed nation, from the everyday citizens' perspective. And they're losing. By the end of the story, the government surrenders and the Vengeance Act is abolished by the occupying force.
  • Freak Out: Tanaka has several over the last act of the story. One of which ends up killing a woman with a whisky bottle and sets up the last execution of the story.
  • Grey and Gray Morality
  • Hikikomori: There's one in the middle of the fifth volume, he's extremely rude and doesn't care about life anymore, all he did was play porn games and being naked.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Yamada discovers that the girl kidnapped by one of his objectives, Koyama Mika enjoys watching hardcore porn.
  • Innocent Flowergirl: Miho, the florist girl who ends up selling her flowers to Kano. She tried to do it with Kanata, to no avail, and was punished by her mother.
  • Invisibility: Kano can blend into virtually any surrounding. How effective it is also depends on his mental state.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mizoguchi ends up being stabbed in the guts several times after he wants to take on Kano, by a Serial Killer in the middle of the street.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Yamada, after a few missions on the field.
  • Last Kiss: after Keiko dies, and Kano realizes the one she's seen is a product of his mind, she departs with a kiss
  • Marital Rape License: Mizoguchi raped his wife several times and it's implied she mis-carriaged several times... It adds to his assholish tendencies.
  • Mind Screw: Matsumoto loves this trope, and his art style adds to the insanity. Have fun trying to pick apart what's real and what's not.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: See Dead All Along above.
  • Mushroom Samba: Mizoguchi has one after his psychiatrist gives him some meds for his mental breakdowns and so he can cope with his life. It... doesn't go too well when they kick in an Execution.
  • Off Model: Secondary and not important characters are drawn without too much effort, it's a great giveaway to show who's important and who isn't.
  • Only Sane Man: Yamada.
  • Plenty of Blondes: There's a lot of blonde women in the manga. And all, or most of the guys are brunettes.
  • Rape as Backstory: Higuchi was raped by Kano friends a few years back...
  • Reality Ensues: Mizoguchi behavior is not tolerated, and he's even told that if he's fired or wants to get out of his job, he'll go to jail because of his tendencies.
  • Sanity Slippage: Mizoguchi. Kano slides back and forth throughout the story.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Kano likes to talk big.
  • Seinen
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Pretty cynical, but doesn't go all the way.
  • Title Drop: When the idol girl, Yoko, is in the hospital, both she and Tanaka talk, due the fact that she can no longer sing, she'll start a flower shop, she asks:
    Yoko: "Say the name of the flowers"
    Kanata: "Hell if I know... I'm not good for these kind of things"
    Yoko: "They're Freesias"
    Kanata: "Eh?"
    Yoko: "In the language of flowers, they mean, great expectations for the future."
    Kanata: "Cool, didn't know"
  • The Alcoholic: Hisae (the female bodyguard protecting Terajima and Ide).
  • Unreliable Narrator: We see events happening mainly through Kano's eyes, which makes us prone to his hallucinations.
  • Villain Episode: In Terajima's story arc, we get to see a proxy enforcement from the target's side.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Mizoguchi after his Mushroom Samba.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Yamada at the start of the story. Goes to Knight in Sour Armor territory in record time.