Story: Yuki Yoshihara
Art: Yuki Yoshihara
Translation/Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki/Nancy Thistlethwaite
What They Say
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 villainess 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…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I was a big fan of the earlier volumes of Butterflies, Flowers, because it looked like we were getting a josei manga series that dealt with adult relationships and sex, and with a dirty sense of humor, to boot. The last volume I reviewed, volume 4, ended with the couple of Choko and Domoto seemingly about to move in together, and perhaps dealing with domestic troubles for the first time.
So I can’t help but be disappointed when I pick up this volume and see we’re in for more junior high romantic rival antics: A new girl appears who’s in love with Domoto, and Choko becomes jealous, and a new guy appears who has a thing for Choko, and Choko becomes confused about whether Domoto really loves her or not. It’s not fair to hold it against Butterflies, Flowers that it wasn’t what I first thought it was, but I can penalize it for re-covering old ground.
First up is rival, female. This one is Kaori Wakabayashi, an ex-girlfriend of Masayuki Domoto. She’s completely two faced, and begins the volume by stepping on Choko’s hand in high heels and demanding that Choko break up with Domoto. Choko, doll that she is, takes the abuse and begins to question if Domoto, who has obsessed over her for his whole life, really loves her or whether he intends to go back with his ex-girlfriend. Spoiler alert: Masayuki doesn’t want to get back with his ex-girlfriend, and, in fact, ties her up in a hotel room because she was so mean to Choko. Arc resolved.
Next is rival, male, in the form of Senior Director Otaki. Also in my last review, I remarked that it was kind of creepy that a previous man working at Choko and Domoto’s company had kidnapped Choko and made a game of seeing which man could protect Choko’s “nether regions” the best. Otaki tops this by inviting Choko to his apartment and drugging her alcohol. Choko wakes up naked in bed with Otaki, presumably having been raped, and Otaki taunts her saying that Domoto won’t want her anymore after she had cheated on him. By being raped. Ever the stalker, Masayuki shows up, punches Otaki out, and tells Choko that despite what she did, he loves her anyway. So, eventually it’s revealed that it was not in fact a rape, but kind of a fake rape, to psyche Choko out. Problem is, Masayaki doesn’t tell her this until at least a day later, after she’s nearly eaten herself up with guilt and shame. And then it’s wrapped up with a punchline: It couldn’t have actually been rape, because the room didn’t smell like sex, and besides, Domoto would have killed Otaki instead of just punching him had it been rape. I guess this was supposed to be gut-bustingly hilarious, but the creepy feeling I get from the manga was just intensified after reading these chapters. As long as the manga’s about jokes and Gundam gags, the fact that Masayuki has been stalking Choko since she was a little girl can seem wacky and funny. But if Butterflies, Flowers wants to start tiptoeing into creepy territory, the relationship we’re supposed to be rooting for starts to seem kind of unhealthy.
The volume closes off as though nothing ever happened. No matter how many times she has sex, Choko remains an ever-blushing virgin schoolgirl with no self-confidence. No matter how much nearly criminal behavior Domoto gets up to in his quest for Choko’s love, she will forever be unsure of his love for her. Choko decides to wear a thong to entice Domoto, but this time Domoto doesn’t want to have sex, so she’s totally confused. Just in time for the next rivals to appear, I would have to assume. This does leave me somewhat curious for the next volume, however: Now that the heroine had a raped faked, how does the tension escalate for next time? A real rapist that Domoto has to fight in a Gundam he built during his time in the JSDF? Why not?
This volume proves Butterflies, Flowers is not the silly look at mature relationships I had hoped for, but another junior high shoujo series of romantic jealousy with the trash talk turned up. Unfortunately, the trash talk alone can’t redeem it in my eyes unless it intends to go somewhere new or interesting. This volume recycles the standard romantic rival plotline, and due to its oddly offensive humor, I can’t rate it anything better than below average, at best.
Age Rating: M for Mature
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: June 7, 2011
MSRP: $9.99 USA / $12.99 CAN