Walkin’ Butterfly 3

June 23, 2008

Wow, this series got way better in this volume.  It does a really good job of setting a goal for the main character and actually making her work hard for it instead of being innately talented.  She starts to get a little work here, but it’s after throwing herself against a wall for three volumes and basically being told by absolutely everybody at the beginning of this volume that she would never, ever be a fashion model.  She has her bad moods (she often thinks she can’t do it either), but things keep moving, and finally they’re moving forward.

You may have also gathered from that paragraph, but a lot of things about the heroine’s life suck.  Because she wants to keep her days open in case she gets a modeling job, she works at a gas station at night.  She seems to get rejected by people a lot, which affects her in various ways.  She weirded out her friends at the beginning of the series, and the one friend she does have she doesn’t get to see very often and also has a crush on.  The end of the volume also just dumps on her after things go pretty well most of the time.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just some sort of masochist.  This volume is quite good because it presents the possibility of letting the heroine succeed in at least some capacity after denying her any sort of victory for two volumes.  This just seems more realistic to me, and the difficulties presented to her make her story interesting and this volume that much better because she is finally given a reward.  It’s a great series, and anyone looking for a good josei series would do well to check it out.  I wasn’t totally convinced after two volumes, but this volume put it towards the top for me.

Walkin’ Butterfly 2

February 1, 2008

First off, I love that the main character has an incredibly hard road ahead of her.  No one seems to be giving her a break as far as modeling goes, and every audition she goes to she either is turned down politely or fails spectacularly.  Even when she does get a job, she doesn’t know how to model.  This insane sense of failure is something that a lot of my other comics lack.

As much as she fails and gives up during all these trials, she does always find some reason to keep going.  These reasons vary from wanting to impress a guy to not knowing what to do with her life to whatever, but one of the best things she says is that if she tries out 100 times, she has to get at least one job, because there’s no way she wouldn’t have more than a 1% chance.  I kind of liked that logic, hokey as it may seem out of context.

The designer Michiko feels she’s up against, Mihara, gets a lot of focus as well.  He and Michiko don’t really cross paths, but the story illustrates what kind of guy Mihara is, how much he loves what he’s doing, and exactly what he has in store for his company down the line.  While he may seem successful to Michiko, it appears he’s still fairly small potatoes in the fashion world.

So yeah, this is a great story.  It’s not up with the “gotta reads” and my favorites yet, but it does have a lot of promise.

Walkin’ Butterfly 1

September 12, 2007

I had to had to had to have this. Not only do I have a bad habit of picking up books from every new publisher, I also heard this one was something like Paradise Kiss, so yes. It was an immediate buy.  Aurora is using a very thick, high quality paper stock, which is nice, and I loved the huge interview they included in the back even though I wasn’t familiar with the artist.  I wasn’t so fond of the way they left dialogue asides in Japanese with a small translation nearby, like a sfx.  It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s kind of weird when it does.  The touchup is also very bare-bones and a bit plain, but it sort of suits the artwork in this case.  These are all minor quibbles, and are not things I regularly notice… I merely point them out since this is my first time with Aurora.

It’s like… Moyoko Anno. There’s an interview in the back with the artist, and I was surprised when she didn’t mention Moyoko as an influence, because they’re styles look so much exactly alike. So far, it’s reading a lot like Happy Mania except younger and with much less sex. The point is driven home rather solidly in the first volume that the main character leads a crappy life because she stands out so much for being tall. After a bit where we see just how much this affects day-to-day things for her (and also get introduced to her family and love interest), she accidentally winds up in a fashion show, where other people are just as tall as she is and don’t seem to be bitter about it. She fails spectacularly at this show, and her new drive is to somehow become a model so she can show up the smarmy designer who made her doubt herself and screw up. It’s actually not at all like Paradise Kiss except for the girl finding herself accidentally in modeling and perhaps eventually getting with the designer. Paradise Kiss did it well right from the first page, but this is still trying to get itself going. It’s doing a fairly good job so far, but Paradise Kiss it ain’t.

Things were mostly just set up in this volume, so I don’t want to pass judgment on it just yet. It’s got to go someplace interesting or not interesting before I figure out whether or not I’ll like it.