IC in a Sunflower (集積回路のヒマワリ Shūseki Kairo no Himawari?) is a gothic science-fiction josei manga written and illustrated by Mitsukazu Mihara. It is a collection of seven short stories, and includes her 1994 debut, "Keep Those Condoms Away From Our Kids" (ゴムのいらない子供たち "Gomu no Iranai Kodomo-tachi"?), which appeared in the Japanese manga magazine Feel Young. It was published in Japan by Shodensha on October 18, 1997.
Tokyopop licensed IC in a Sunflower for an English-language release in North America and published it on January 2, 2007. It was positively received by English-language critics who praised the stories, ideas, and art.
IC in a Sunflower consists of seven unrelated short stories.
"Keep Those Condoms Away From Our Kids" (ゴムのいらない子供たち "Gomu no Iranai Kodomo-tachi"?) revolves around a future in which teenagers do not have a desire for sex, as a result of an AIDS vaccine.
Taking its name from the medieval torture device, "The Iron Maiden" (リッサの鉄の柩 "Rissa no Tetsu no Hitsugi"?) focuses on a woman who struggles to create a happy life for herself despite her compulsive biting stemming from childhood sexual abuse. She settles down with a husband and child, but after discovering her battered doll which triggers memories of her unhappy childhood, bites her child.
"The Sunflower Quality Of An Integrated Circuit" (集積回路のヒマワリ "Shūseki Kairo no Himawari"?) centers on a robotic maid named Vanilla. She keeps house for an old man married to a verbally abusive woman who lets her boyfriend sexually use Vanilla. After the old man reveals his plans to divorce her, she murders him and orders Vanilla to bury the remains. Vanilla obeys and keeps her promise to the old man by having tea when the sunflowers bloom. This story is a crossover with another work by the same author, Doll. In which Vanilla is one of the ten prototypes.
In "The Other Side Of The Rose Wire" (バラ鉄線のむこう側 "Bara tessen nomu kō gawa"?), a boy falls in love with a girl taking care of her elderly father. After she fails to appear, he follows her back to her house and finds her dressed in mourning clothes with a smile on her face and burning the basket she kept with her.
"Fish Out Of Water" (籠の魚 "Kago no Sakana"?) focuses on a captured mermaid and her refusal to speak. Her captor attempts to pull her out of the bathtub where she had been living and she remembers that she was a girl whose mother had tried to drown her and herself in a lake years ago. Her mother died but she survived. She then finds herself in a hospital and can begin to recover.
In "Mister Mineral" (鉱物君 "Kōbutsu-kun"?), a college student collects rocks and is tormented by his memories of dissecting a frog. After learning that his girlfriend is pregnant, he becomes upset and tosses her into a busy highway.
Set in a future where cloning is allowed, "Alive" (あなたは生きている "Anata ha iki te iru"?) focuses on a clone named Tou who is sent to live in an orphanage of humans as part of an assignment. There, he meets a cheerful girl named Riika and after some time, she is taken to have her organs harvested. It is then revealed that Tou was actually a human who thought he was a clone.
Written and illustrated by Mitsukazu Mihara, the seven short stories of IC in a Sunflower appeared in the Japanese manga magazine Feel Young from 1994 to 1997, and were published by Shodensha in a bound volume, (ISBN 4396761716), in Japan on October 18, 1997. Tokyopop licensed IC in a Sunflower for an English-language release in North America and published it on January 2, 2007.
IC in a Sunflower ranked 8th on About.com's 2007 Reader Poll for the best new josei manga. Dan Grendall of Ain't It Cool News praised the art of the collection as "top-notch", although he noted that a few stories were "not as refined artistically as...Doll", and commented on the "really intriguing and thought-provoking ideas". Leroy Douresseaux of Coolstreak Cartoons praised the collection as "easily some of her best work made available in English". Writing for Mania Entertainment, Nadia Oxford noted "themes of dystopian society and the fragile nature of the human mind" in the stories and commented that the author "packs emotion and substance into the stories with her character's actions and expressions". IGN's A.E. Sparrow highly recommended the manga, describing it as "a darker counterpart to Beautiful People", and thought the theme of the stories was the meaning of humanity. Jason Thompson, author of Manga: The Complete Guide, stated "The art is attractive and the best stories are darkly satisfying, but in some cases the ideas go nowhere, or the twist endings are predictable in their grimness."
- ↑ "Manga+Comics: Mitsukazu Mihara: The Embalmer". Tokyopop. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
Mitsukazu Mihara debuted in 1994 with the short "Gomu no Iranai Kodomo-tachi," which won a contest in the magazine Feeling Young.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Thompson, Jason (December 4, 2009). "365 Days of Manga, Day 80: IC in a Sunflower". Suvudu. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ "Mitsukazu Mihara: IC in a Sunflower". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
- ↑ Aoki, Deb. "2007 Readers Poll: Best New Josei Manga". About.com. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
- ↑ Grendall, Dan (February 14, 2007). "AICN Comics Reviews Shazam! Impaler! Cthulhu Tales! And much more!!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
- ↑ Douresseaux, Leroy (January 21, 2007). "IC in a Sunflower". Coolstreak Cartoons. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
- ↑ Oxford, Nadia (January 1, 2007). ""IC in a Sunflower"". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
- ↑ Sparrow, A.E. (January 5, 2007). "IC in a Sunflower Review". IGN. Retrieved March 28, 2010.