The hero of Asami Tohjoh’s moody crime drama X-Kai is a florist by day and an assassin by night. It may be an odd combination, but it does give our plant-loving protagonist a reason to mark his targets by bringing them dramatic bouquets of white Casablanca lilies. Kaito Yagami works as a killer-for-hire to support his older brother, who’s in a coma. His clients contact him through his flower shop, ordering lilies for their victims. While Kaito will go to great lengths to complete a job (and I must say, he looks quite fetching in drag), he’ll also take revenge on undeserving clients. In the main storyline of volume 1, a mystery surrounding a string of murdered prostitutes (depicted in fairly graphic detail) brings Kaito into contact with a mysterious orphaned little boy. Kaito vows to protect the child, but how can an assassin keep an innocent bystander out of his dangerous life? X-Kai is an angst-filled noir story, full of characters who live in the shadows. So far the tale has more style than substance, but fans of tortured bishonen, fragile, beautiful innocents, and corrupt and kinky villains may enjoy this new addition to that crowded field.