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|Digital List Price:||CDN$ 7.99|
|Print List Price:||CDN$ 12.99|
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Butterflies, Flowers, Vol. 1 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 200 pages|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Butterflies, Flowers is technically josei manga (for adult women), but in tone this series is closer to shoujo manga (for girls); the older audience is acknowledged mainly by the ages of the characters (young professionals, rather than high-schoolers), a bit more sexiness (not much yet, but later volumes earn their 18+ rating), and a more realistic (for which read "pessimistic") view of Japan's gender hierarchy. Domoto saves Choko from sexual assault at the hands of a drunken client, then promptly berates her for not being able to handle the situation herself ("Idiot! The way to deal with lechers like that is to make them drink until they pass out!"). (This is, sadly enough, pretty much the way things work in Japan; as a woman in the secretarial department, flirting with clients is part of the job, and you need to be able to keep things from getting out of hand without offending the client by actually rejecting them.) Other borderline sexually-harassing situations, like the jaw-droppingly inappropriate question that Domoto asks Choko at her job interview, and knowing her bra size, are played for comedy. On the other hand, Choko has moments in which she shows more spine than your standard-issue shoujo heroine, talking back to Domoto in a manner that would probably get her fired in real life.
Yoshihara's art is nice and clean, and the characters look their (unspecified but presumably early-20s) ages, although her chibi version of Choko is obnoxiously unattractive. The story moves briskly, with a few moments of ridiculous melodrama interspersed with the comedy, and the translation is fine. So if you are interested in a series with the silliness and unrealistic nature of shoujo comedies but with adult (agewise) characters and the promise of future smuttiness, check this one out.
The hallmarks of a Yoshihara work are comedy, zaniness, and romance. You'll find all three of those in equal measure in this series. Another interesting aspect of Yoshihara's work is that the romance is almost always AFTER the marriage and not the typical "leading up to a marriage" that is the hallmark of many romantic type of novels. As such, her work is written for women and typically features adults.
One thing I really love about her work is that there is a lot of sweetness - you really like the characters and there isn't overly heavy melodrama as with so many shoujo type of novels.
Butterflies and Flowers is a great introduction to Yoshihara's works. It's a wonderful book to read when you want to lift spirits and laugh out loud. I especially love her chibi characterizations since they really punctuate the humor in this particular series.
This story has all the hallmarks of a Yoshihara manga - the hero is strong willed but fairly clueless and stiff. The female is energetic, kind of silly, and very funny. Yoshihara loves to play off those characters.
It should be emphasized that this is intended for adults. The scenes, situations, and nuances are risque at times and definitely meant to touch the humor of the modern woman.
Enjoy a pleasant and fun read of a novel to make a modern woman's days a bit lighter and friendlier.
The answer, as it turns out, lies in Choko's privileged past. Back before her family was running the local ramen shop, they were the lords of a great estate with many employees. One of these was Choko's beloved "Cha-chan," a gentle boy with whom she became fast friends. The heroine soon learns that Director Domoto is actually Cha-chan, all grown up and apparently hardened by life after the Kuzes, and he continues to secretly cherish the girl he once called "Milady." Armed with this knowledge, Choko decides to tough it out in the Administration Department--no small decision, given that Domoto is just as autocratic a slave driver as ever. But of course, you never know...love might be just around the corner!
Not since Yayoi Ogawa's Tramps Like Us has such an observant, flinty-eyed--yet riotously funny--vision of the working woman's life in modern Japan been published in the United States. Manga artist Yuki Yoshihara, who made her professional debut over 20 years ago, is a consummate professional. On top of the usual workplace romance scaffolding, she has hung matter of fact depictions of sexual harassment, over the top gender-bending, and humor enough to make Choko's long-suffering employment exploits seems nearly worth it all. Plus, the artwork of Butterflies, Flowers is exquisite and clean-lined, yet another hallmark of the experienced creative professional that Yoshihara so clearly is.
At times, it may be hard for the Western reader to take Domoto's abuses at face value...or, for that matter, the many indignities, both major and minor, that Choko faces every day. Arguably among the worst is the time where she nearly gets raped by one of her company's most important clients during an after-hours carousing session. On the other hand, her cross-dressing colleague strains believability in a positive, cathartic way. Fortunately, there is never the sense, as there could easily have been, that any of this behavior is condoned, and you often get the sense that the humor, invariably delivered with impeccable comic timing, is a sort of whistling in the dark.
Yoshihara's beautiful layouts and character designs are the icing on top of what, on the strength of story alone, would have already been one of the best shoujo releases of the year. Her lines are delicate yet confident and charismatic, and it's easy to love Choko, Domoto, and the rest purely on the basis of the subtlety of their facial expressions. In short, Butterflies, Flowers is a must-read. Highly recommended.
-- Casey Brienza
Meh. The art was cute- at least the art that wasn't chibi, but this is the last in the series I will read. I just found the hero to be too mean, and the heroine too docile for my tastes.
Chouko is the main character of Butterflies, Flowers. Her family had been wealthy until Chouko's father failed in his investments and had to send the servants away. A decade after the family lost its wealth, Chouko's father owns a small ramen shop. Chouko applies for a job at a large real estate firm, and it turns out her boss is the son of her family's former chauffeur. While he acts like a tyrant to her at the workplace, her boss has actually had a crush on her since they were young. The manga follows this romantic conflict.
Butterflies, Flowers was an OK manga, but it's not a series I'm going to go out of my way to track down more volumes of. However, if I ever come across the next volume at the library, I might check it out just to see if the story progresses or not. With the subject matter involved, this series is not meant for younger readers. I would personally recommend Butterflies, Flowers to manga readers who are 18 years of age and older.
I wrote this review after checking out a copy of this manga volume through the King County Library System.