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|Digital List Price:||CDN$ 7.99|
|Print List Price:||CDN$ 12.99|
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Butterflies, Flowers, Vol. 3 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 200 pages|
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When Masayuki mentions her being in her menses at the office, Choko wants to die. She is working in reception when the elevator opens and she accidentally collides with the person who exits - only to discover the long-lost young servant she had just been thinking of, all grown now and nice looking! Will wonders never cease! He is now the president of a famous talent agency. As Choko serves tea to him and the President, she asks him if he remembers Domoto, who was once called Yoshida. He does, and at that moment who should step into the office but the man himself. Recognition is quite mutual between them, and Masayuki goes into instant protective mode with Choko, when the other man, Jinguku, invites her to dinner. Choko doesn't like this one little bit, especially when he pulls her aside for a private conversation, so she agrees to dinner, but forbids Masayuki to come with them, wounding him with her cruel words. When Jinguku reveals his true nature to her, who will she turn to?
When Choko comes down with a slight fever, Masayuki, Jinguku and Mikihiko fight over who will take care of her. But bigger problems brew - Choko's father's back is bothering him so much he cannot work, and her mother wishes both that Mikihiko could cook the soba for his father, and that she had two more male staff to help out with serving the tables . . . or the restaurant might just fail! With such unsubtle manipulation, how can the three men not step up to the plate? While Mikihiko cooks, Masayuki and Jinguku play butler (and they look very nice, I'm here to tell you). Jinguku has not recognized Mikihiko up until now, as he was still very young when he worked for the family. In the meantime, Choko feels even worse, as Masayuki discovers, and when he goes to administer her medicine to her, he discovers that it is a suppository. Oops! When Suou reveals information that Choko was previously unaware of, her fears that Masayuki will leave her get out of hand.
Choko is nervous as she and Masayuki take their first overnight trip together. She is also happy at being with him, but as he carries her into his family's vacation home, they discover that they are far from alone - Makie, Suou and Jinguku are already there, and Mikihiko has stowed away as well. Masayuki's well laid plans are more than foiled, and the gullible Mikihiko is in for his own shock - the naïve boy has yet to figure out that Suou is no lady. But if Suou shows up in a swim suit, the truth will be impossible to conceal! Masayuki has his hands full, keeping all eyes and hands off of his Choko, and he is frustrated. When Choko catches him alone, swimming in the pool, their passion rises to the point where they decide it's time to consummate their relationship - but first they need to slip past the others.
When they return to the office, and back to work, Masayuki gives out celebratory buns! Everyone was quick to figure out what happened the next morning, with one glance at the two. Choko is concerned because all Masayuki seems to have on his mind is second-sex - and the first was actually painful to her. Frustrated, she agrees to Makie's request to go on a group date, as Makie (who at one time tried to force Masayuki to marry her) is getting desperate to meet someone of her own. When Makie takes off with one of the group, Choko finds herself approached by a strange but good looking man, who tries to make conversation with her. She has had too much to drink, and runs her mouth a little bit too much. He follows her out the door, and has the nerve to kiss her, which is the last thing she wants! Frightened, she runs to the office, searching for Masayuki, and they come to terms once more. But unbeknownst to them, the strange man who found her so entrancing is none other than . . . . (Did you think I'd really tell? That would be spoiling!)
The relationship between Choko and Masayuki is growing more intense in this third volume of Butterflies, Flowers. But life is always throwing monkey wrenches into the works, problems that they have to work through. Or perceived problems, anyway, usually in the form of other people, which causes jealousy to rear its ugly head. They both suffer from it. I love the way that unlike most manga, or many novels, Choko's first sexual experience contains some pain - that is more realistic, cause it does happen.
One of my favorite scenes in this volume was after Choko learned of Masayuki's plans to leave the company, and she panics. As he heads toward his car, she cries out to him, "Cha-chan . . . " the same way she did when she was a young girl and he had to leave her. Heartbroken and fearful, she confesses her fears and begs him not to go. That is such a sweet scene, so much of both of them is revealed, and it is also so very romantic .
I love Yoshihara's artwork, whether it's the romantic hearts and flowers lovers or the chibi Choko who is dragged around by the evil eyed Masayuki. The cover of this volume, like all the others, is lovely - Masayuki with the butterflies, looking very enigmatic. Even the people who start out as either rivals or enemies can't help but become friends. Judging by the ending, though, more evil will be afoot, from an unexpected source. I can't wait to see how Masayuki handles it.
Although this is a shojo, it is also intended for a more mature audience, as there is some explicit content. Viz has rated it M for mature, so I would recommend the reader be at least 16 if not 18. These two lovebirds still have a lot to learn about one another, but we have the pleasure of watching them do it, rooting for them all the way. Another great volume of Butterflies, Flowers - I love this series to death, can't wait for more.
The problem for an adult female who likes comics is that there just isn't much out there geared to my demographic. Romances for teenagers? Out there. Hard hitting violent action-adventures for adult males? Out there. Romances a la Nora Roberts or Jayne Anne Krentz? Good Luck!
Then came Yoshihara Yuki. Her series are smart, funny, sweet and NOT for little girls. And Butterflies, Flowers is her best yet. The setting is the Japanese office place and the office culture is very different from an American business, but I found it very easy to identify with the characters despite the obvious cultural differences and (even for Japan) unrealistic circumstances. Ms. Yoshihara plays the series for laughs, but she explores some universal themes in the process. Male insecurities, Sex, Office Romances with superiors, loyalty and family are all treated with humour and sympathy.
You find yourself cheering for Choko and Mayusuki,and laughing at the varied and eccentric hodgepodge of side characters while, just maybe, realizing that some things are true no matter where you are. This series is a must read.