Papillon Vol. #05-06 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, January 20, 2011
Release Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Relationship drama abounds in the omnibus volume of Papillon, as old loves return, and a war between sisters could split Ageha and Kyu-chan apart.
Writer/Artist: Miwa Ueda
What They Say
Ageha is finally living her dreams. After a fabulous makeover - and a little help from her handsome guidance counselor-turned-boyfriend Kyu-chan - Ageha is happier than she's ever been in her life. But she still has one problem: Hana, her twin sister, has her eye on Kyu-chan. Hana is willing to do anything to snare him - even if it means disguising herself as Ageha! Will she succeed?
Ageha's excited to work at her new job, ready earn money for her and Kyu-chan's summer trip, but she's shocked to find her co-worker is Shindo, Hana's ex-boyfriend. Ageha's floored when she finds out what Shindo's real feelings about her have been, and she tries to sort out what she should do with Kyu-chan as her counselor. It's hard not to laugh as Ageha straightforwardly, and ignorantly, asks her boyfriend for advice on a past relationship, and the stunned look on her face when she finally figures out her faux pas shows Ueda's sense of comic timing, even while she rushes back into the drama.
These volumes prove Hana to be one of the most interesting characters in the manga. We don't get the same inside look into her thoughts that Ueda gives us with Ageha, but watching her from the outside is fascinating as we try to determine if her actions are based on trying to get at her sister, or if her feelings stem from something real. Her own desire and jealousy get the better of her when she finds out from Ran how strongly Kyu-chan feels about her sister. She takes an important item from Ageha in the hopes that she can use it to steal something else. But even as she seems to be winning, she can only cry.
The waters can hardly settle when another character steps in to bring up the tension even more. When checking in on Hana after a minor accident brings her to the hospital, the trio is met with a young female doctor who seems to know Kyu-chan - and isn't too happy to see him there. She accuses Kyu-chan of murdering her older sister, and warns the twins to stay away from the man. When Kyu-chan refuses to open up, the girls go straight to Ran for answers. But while Ageha understands this is a situation to be dealt with carefully, it may have been a mistake to let Hana in on the secret.
Miwa Ueda never gives the melodrama a rest in these two volumes: as soon as you think there will be a moment of calm a new character shows up, or a horrible accident occurs. It's a bit overdone at times - I found it annoying, rather than upsetting, when Ageha wishes Hana would go away at the same time that Hana just so happens to get hit by a car. But the high drama is something that glued me to the pages, even as a reader who's unfamiliar with previous story arcs, getting to the point of not just wanting but needing to know what would happen next. Would Ageha get to Kyu-chan's apartment in time? Will the twins get along? And what will happen with this new woman? Papillon has a mini-soap opera vibe with overwrought declarations of love and hate, but if you're not already intolerant to this kind of story Ueda's manga will suck you in.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Del Rey
Orientation: Right to Left