Butterflies, Flowers Book 2

After reading Book 1, I was unclear on what I was supposed to take away from this series. The contrast was unusual — I got that the male/female roles were being stereotyped for comedy, but underneath it all, there’s still a romance, and if we’re supposed to root for the central couple to get together, then there’s only so far we can perceive them as ridiculous. The exaggeration is sometimes working at cross purposes to the shojo/josei genre. (The book is labeled Shojo Beat, but with its working woman heroine, it should skew older.)

Butterflies, Flowers Book 2 cover
Butterflies, Flowers Book 2
Buy this book

So to truly enjoy this romantic comedy, I must embrace the contradiction at its core, and by the end of this volume, I was able to do that. It’s not meant to be realistic, so the boss can be both desirable and a completely frustrating, controlling jerk. And the art fully supports the idea of “forget rationality, it’s out the window”, as within the first few pages we see him slamming our heroine Choko in a locker door, where she’s drawn with what looks like her eyeballs falling out and blood gushing out her nose. (But it’s all big-headed caricature, so not gross, just loony.)

As the book opens, Choko spies a young lady propositioning Director Masayuki. When he catches her eavesdropping, he makes her scrub the floor as punishment. (I’ve had some bad secretarial jobs, but nothing like this!) Women throwing themselves at him are a common problem, because he’s so well-off and handsome and popular. That sets the stage for the couple’s next major hurdle, since the company president’s niece has set her cap for Masayuki. She’s spoiled, and she finds his refusals attractive (demonstrating his strength), and her pursuit knows no boundaries. As a reader, her demented single-mindedness is highly amusing.

Throughout the book, Choko overreacts — since her character’s power is in her emotions — and Masayuki swings from heartwarming nostalgia for the way things used to be to extreme domination of everything around him. His aims to bring back the good old days, where he pampered Choko as her servant, through his willpower and determination. Their complicated relationship takes a twisted turn when sex enters the picture, too. As a virgin, Choko can’t cope if things get too intense.

The last scene of the volume, which I won’t spoil, sold me on following this series for a very long time. It’s goofy and oddly charming and sexy and demented and even plays with the reader’s expectations. It’s all crazy, enjoyable in its lunacy. You’ll like it if reading an extremely flowery, overwrought declaration of his feelings for her, followed by him ordering her to “open your mouth. I’m going to put my tongue in”, strikes you as funny. She can’t do anything right, and he’s perfect. Together, they give hope for anyone finding love, even if the relationship only makes sense to them. And their farcical crackpot journey, once you learn how to play along, is immensely entertaining.

8 Comments

  1. […] Zacarias on vol. 30 of Bleach (Animanga Nation) Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of Butterflies, Flowers (Comics Worth Reading) Greg Hackmann on vol. 1 of Deadman Wonderland (Mania.com) Susan S. on […]

  2. I’m not sure I’ll like this series…but I would like to give it a try. Some parts described get me curious, and others make me want to stay away. So in the end I have to try it out to see which it is.

  3. […] like another exaggerated shojo comedy for older audiences, like Butterflies, Flowers. […]

  4. […] a future where librarians become soldiers to protect the freedom to read without censorship, or Butterflies, Flowers Book 4 (JUN10 1188, $9.99), a twisted take on relationships that leaves one uncertain whether to […]

  5. I loved the manga. It was a little cheesy and sometimes over the top…but it’s also a shojo, so it just flows with the way it is written. The only thing I really didn’t get the first time I read it was the entire, “Are you a virgin” thing. I didn’t understand why he cared, but as the manga progressed it all made sense. In the end I recommend everyone to try reading it.

  6. I didn’t get it when i first read it. The first few pages and i thought, “this is going to be one of those weird ones”, but as i read on, i started to like it. The virgin comment got me suspicious though, but it’s good, and i would recommend it to shojo fans.

  7. […] Previous review […]

  8. […] publishers to believe that there is a market for manga for adult women, not just girls, but its exaggerated sense of humor doesn’t quite match up with mine. […]

Leave a Reply