Manga-ka: Yuki Yoshihara
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: June 2011
Synopsis: “Choko Kuze is in a relationship with Masayuki Domoto her current boss and former servant. Now that Masayuki’s ex-girlfriend Kaori has returned, Choko worries that the villianess has too many “hit points” and “magic points” for her to defeat. Choko follows Masayuki and Kaori to a hotel room and barges in unannounced, yet finds herself unprepared for the shocking scene in front of her.”
Butterflies, Flowers volumes have consistently been one of my most-anticipated since the series began. Despite some iffy aspects of an initially one-sided relationship, I fell in love with the adult humour. Anime-related puns, sexual gags and an over-the-top male lead who never failed to react in a way that had you reeling. Now we’re seven volumes in and… I’m not really laughing anymore.
To be fair, there seems to be a lot less jokes in this volume than books past. Still, even those scenes that were intended to be funny didn’t always work for me. Masayuki freaking out about not getting to have sex? It’s finally getting old. Events of this volume were probably the biggest point of fail however – bad, bad taste. To the artist’s credit, the majority of the gags themselves are at least condensed in the last two chapters when the main portion of the volume’s story is done.
Now that Chuko and Masayuki are officially a couple – having had sex three times and now living together (it’s all very measured you see) – it’s no surprise that the series needs to go to task of pulling them apart. Continuing from the previous book, Chuko is becoming more and more concerned about the time Masayuki is spending with his ex-girlfriend. At the same time, their new boss Otaki is still dead-set on making Chuko is own. These two issues collide when Otaki sees the already growing distance between Masayuki and Choko as the perfect opportunity to step in.
When Otaki orchestrates Chuko walking in on Masayuki and Kaori together, it’s an expected and thusly fairly appropriate in shoujo standards to have happen. Admirably Choko realizes what the ploy is immediately before even getting to the scene of the ‘crime’. This all well and good, and as we’ve come to hope for from the series, the ending is silly and still somehow heartfelt enough to plod things forward. Unfortunately what happens next is terrible and throws good fun out the window. Still unable to force apart Masayuki and Choko, Otaki does what any should-be-convicted-for-sexual-assault man would probably do – he drugged Choko and took her to a hotel room, leaving her to awaken naked with him overtop her. That’s sure to make her fall for him, right? Blech.
Of course everyone works things out – somehow not outright hating Otaki in the process – and they go on with their lives. I enjoyed the last portion of the book a lot better because it leaves all that groan-worthy drama behind.them and focuses more on the sexual frustration between the lead couple. First it’s Choko trying to find what it is everyone else finds so sexually appealing about Masayuki (and in turn try and figure out why they want to jump him every moment and she doesn’t), then it’s Masayuki getting a chance to live out his fetish of seeing Choko in a yukata. Both err on the side of funny over emotional and continue to show where Butterflies, Flowers is strongest.
Hopefully the next volume of Butterflies, Flowers, which is also the last, returns to being a good 100+ pages of laugh-worthy jokes and sexual play. The series has tried again and again to be dramatic and it always proves a failing task as far as I’m concerned. The assault in this chapter was unnerving and unneccessary – it just left me feeling grossed out, and that in a series that didn’t always have the best track record of consensuality either (though never like this). Butterflies, Flowers is still on my list of favourite ‘for-fun’ reads so I hope it goes out on a more positive note than it’s second last book provided.