Butterflies, Flowers Vol. #04 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011
Release Date: Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Butterflies, Flowers gets a little too crazy for its own good. Can the spark be rekindled?
Writer/Artist: Yuki Yoshihara
What They Say
Choko Kuze is in a relationship with Masayuki Domoto, her current boss and former servant. But his eccentric behavior is nothing compared to that of company president Yanagi. Yanagi issues a challenge for Masayuki to protect Choko's nether regions from him for three days while she stays in the president of Benten Estate's home. Can Masayuki rise to the challenge - and will Choko get caught in the cross fire?!
When we last left our crazy couple, Domoto and Choko had consummated their relationship. It's time to take the series to the next level, which leaves Yuki Yoshihara with three basic choices. One, she can lean more on the barely there dramatic plot and flesh it out, letting us learn more about Domoto's plans to restore Choko's family estate. Second, she can raise the kink factor and turn Butterflies, Flowers into an even more shameless bodice-ripper. Third, she can go full-on crazy and make Butterflies, Flowers into an even more insane gag manga. Yoshihara goes with option three, unfortunately, and attacks the already tenuous ties the series has to reality with demented glee. Now completely unmoored, the ship may be hard to set back on course.
The last chapter in the previous volume introduced us to Domoto's playboy boss, Kodo Yanagi, who also has his eyes on Choko. Yanagi wants Choko as his personal assistant, and when Domoto refuses to allow this, Yanagi literally kidnaps Choko out from under his nose. In superdeformed mode, Choko is carried away like an infant, and driven out to his Yanagi's estate. Domoto is equal to this challenge, however, and shows up at Yanagi's mansion, posing as a butler. Choko's still expected to perform Yanagi's assistant, and helps him monitor financial markets via monitors in an office modeled to look like the control room of Gundam's White Base. Suddenly, Domoto blasts a whole in the wall with a bazooka, and attempts to take Choko back. In response, Yanagi issues a frankly creepy challenge: Domoto is to protect Choko's "nether regions" from him for three days or Choko is his. Whether we're to seriously consider this a threat of rape or not, it completely derails the romance, making Choko a mere pawn as Domoto and Yanagi battle it out with heavy artillery, helicopters, and robots.
The volume ends with Domoto asking Choko if she wants to live together with him. This suggests that Yoshihara had her fun, and is now planning to develop the plot more in the next volume. In the closing, Yoshihara promises that otaku jokes will infest later volumes "like maggots," but I hope they're used more carefully in the future. Volume 3's colony drop gag was brilliant. The robot-assisted kidnapping of Choko was decidedly less so.
Around the time we learn that Domoto, Yanagi, and even Suou have special forces combat training I was about ready to check out. While previously the gag humor was there to exaggerate reality for the purpose of parody or satire, it now threatens to derail the romance which (I assumed) was the core of the story. Hopefully, the series will get back on track with the next installment, and we can pretend this fourth volume never happened.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 17 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Butterflies, Flowers