Butterflies, Flowers 8

August 16, 2011

Yuki Yoshihara – Viz – 2011 – 8 volumes

Yay, final volume! This has been up there with Tramps Like Us as one of my absolute favorites of the josei I’ve read. Both are great, and Tramps Like Us is better, but Butterflies, Flowers is definitely funnier.

One of its best qualities is highlighted in the first story of this volume. One of the chapters is about an arranged marriage between Choko and a wealthy family her father is indebted to. The dramatic tension isn’t very high, since this is the last volume and I knew this wasn’t going to go anywhere. But for some reason, Masayuki goes along with this, and even attends as her butler at the meeting between Choko and her future spouse. There’s all sorts of sadness and drama, not only because of the marriage, but because Masayuki is forcing Choko to say all the right things to make her a perfect bride.

But the reason I love this series is that Masayuki also knows the exact right time to say something shockingly inappropriate. Like, not only funny, but a real mood-smasher, too. Which is okay, because Butterflies, Flowers is best at its character-based humor, and Masayuki’s horrible innuendo is the reason I read.

But seriously. The first chapter of this volume. I couldn’t believe that came out of his mouth. Bravo.

As expected, marriage is discussed several times in the chapters here. There’s some feeling affirmation, some other stuff… but what’s interesting is that, while both of them want to get married, the hang-up at the very end is that Masayuki can’t give up calling Choko “Milady.” He can’t call her by her first name, and she doesn’t want to be addressed like a mistress in marriage.

The real proposal was sudden, but Masayuki does something hilarious and inappropriate to make up for it. Not inappropriate in the sexual innuendo sense, but in the social sense. It’s definitely the most memorable marriage proposal I’ve ever seen. And Choko pursues him relentlessly because of it. Choko gets to use a lot of underhanded tricks. Including her parents. It was genuinely funny, and I laughed hard through the last chapter or two. Romance manga that are both genuinely romantic and genuinely funny at the same time are a rare treat.

The last chapter is all sorts of funny and sad, and I wouldn’t have traded that last scene between them for the world. It was obvious how it was going to end, so it doesn’t get many points for creativity story-wise. But I love and adore Masayuki and Choko, and seeing them together was great all the way to the end.

This series gets a high recommendation from me. Even if you don’t normally read romance manga, this one might be worth picking up anyway. My roommate usually hates them, and he seemed to genuinely enjoy this one after I forced it on him. It really is both that funny and that touching. And outrageously full of innuendo. Seriously. Masayuki, you try so hard.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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