Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Butterflies, Flowers Volume 5

By Yuki Yoshihara. Released in Japan as "Chou Yo Hana Yo" by Shogakukan, serialized in the magazine Petit Comic. Released in North America by Viz.

I was rather surprised to find that this was a far more serious volume of the series. Oh sure, there were a few mentions of barge poles and some wackiness involving Choko's brother, but the slapstick violence was almost zero. After Masayuki resolving to try to stop being over the top and less sexually harrassing, it looks like the manga may be trying to do the same thing. (The one exception is a completely ludicrous parody of infomercials in the first chapter, which worked great as it was so out of the blue.)

But we also see a fire tragically destroy Choko's family home and business. After seeing her family lose their fortune and trying to get by as best they can, seeing even that taken away from them is a real kick in the teeth. It also serves to remind us of the sole reason why Masayuki is an up and coming corporate shark, as he immediately offers (with much anger that they didn't ask for help) money to help them rebuild, pointing out that this is pretty much what he has been working towards all this time.

We then get two problems, both of which dovetail nicely with each other. First, to his embarrassment, Masayuki is suffering from a bout of impotence. While he doesn't let that stop him from helping Choko to achieve her own pleasure (in a nice scene that once again reminds you why this manga is rated M), it is clearly frustrating to him. Meanwhile, Choko discovers this and worries that the reason for it is that he sees her more as his princess rather than as an attractive sexual woman.

Unfortunately, her solution doesn't quite work. It SOUNDS good - she wants Masayuki to treat her as an equal, and says they should just be normal ordinary lovers, with none of the master and servant dynamic that has defined them so far - but the trouble is that people are, to a degree, defined by their pasts, and her suggestion seems to indicate that she finds their back history meaningless. If they don't have the master/servant dynamic, then they cease to be Choko and Masayuki. And really, as Makie notes, 'ordinary lover' is not something one should strive for. Especially not with someone as extraordinary as Masayuki.

As readers no doubt will be relieved to hear, Masayuki manages to get over his impotence and have his "second sex" with Choko by the end of the volume. Moreover, he forcefully declares that he will continue to call Choko Milady. One can argue about how healthy this is, but at least it's not denying the past and present they have with each other. Plus, of course, it allows them to keep the humor. And as we still have 3 volumes to go after this, I'm hoping for a lot more wackiness in future volumes.

Oh yes, and Makie's face as Choko suggests Suou would be a good lover for her is adorable. :D

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