Papillon Volume 2
Shy Ageha has just lost out on Ryusei to her twin sister Hana. That plot is quickly forgotten, though, as the strange guidance counselor Kyu-chan instead starts meddling in Ageha’s relationship with her mother. The parents raised Hana, you see, while Ageha was raised by her grandmother, resulting in long-standing feelings of abandonment. The situation changed, reuniting the family, when Grandma hurt her back and went to the hospital, where much of the drama takes place.
After blaming Ageha for not being strong enough to break up her sister’s relationship, Kyu-chan tries to reunite her with her mother by having them lie to each other. Strangely, it works. Then there’s his idea of an appropriate location for a counseling session: a love hotel. It’s left up to the reader to guess at what his real motives were, whether that choice was part of a well-meaning scheme or he was intimating something less savory. It could go either way.
There’s also a convenient car accident (nothing like the risk of vehicular injury to cause people to share their true emotions) and forced babysitting to teach a lesson about how hard parenting is. Since the babies are adorably drawn by author Miwa Ueda, I didn’t mind the stereotypical role for a teen girl as much.
Even with all this overheated emotion, it’s the smaller reaction scenes that maintain character verisimilitude. When Ageha tells Kyu-chan how she feels about growing up without her mother, the description is poignant and believable, made up of the kind of small moments that do stick with someone over the years. It doesn’t hurt that the cast is absolutely lovely to look at. Ageha is always believable as a lonely girl with potential confused by new emotions.
Beautiful, popular twin Hana barely appears in this volume of the series, with her presence mostly restricted to observing from the background. I hope that’s foreshadowing some juicy plots in the next book. And I kind of want Kyu-chan to get what’s coming to him — any man who introduces two women to each other with their name and bra size deserves some comeuppance. He is one demented counselor, and when Ageha starts falling for him instead, he doesn’t react in the expected fashion. I hope he’s not one of those guys who teach a girl to be the kind of woman they want in the guise of helping her, with the prize being their love.
As a side note, I have never seen back cover copy get things so wrong by simply using the wrong name. (It calls the guidance counselor “Ryusei”.) I’m surprised to see a Del Rey manga make that kind of mistake. (The publisher provided a review copy.)