The Day Which I Became a Butterfly Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, April 12, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
What They Say
There is a rumor going around school that Mikami can "hear" when one's death is near. Uka has just turned fifteen, but doesn't know how much longer he'll live... Will the budding love between Mikami and Uka have a happy ending?
A lovely collection this may be, but yaoi it is not.
This book sports some extra nice presentation as far as June books go. The dust jacket has a smooth matte finish that compliments the pretty artwork and pastel colors it presents. June uses the original cover art, an image that captures well the meditative melancholy of the stories inside. The paper stock is brighter and thicker than most of June's releases, which makes the printing look crisp and provides some nice contrast for the dark inks. The author's afterword is included at the end.
The artwork here is a bit minimalist, often relying on shapes rather than detail, giving it a sort of ethereal quality that suits the stories' moods quite well. Thin lines and lots of tone mark a modern style of design, while abundant close-ups and white space replace background art. The effect is one of airiness, but also gives off the impression of characters existing in a vacuum. It won't be for everyone, or every manga, but it works well for this collection.
There are few SFX in this book, but those that are present have been translated using a mix of overlays and subtitles. Text elements look good overall and I didn't spot any typos or grammatical errors. The flow of the script is at times so poetic as to be a bit awkward, but I am inclined to believe it's a reflection of the original text given the style of narrative, rather than a fault of the translation.
Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
This is an anthology collection of teen-aged romances, the title story occupying only one chapter of the book. In it, terminally ill Uka and loner Mikami (who mysteriously senses when people will die) each become a savior for the other, in spite of the unfortunate fate they believe awaits their relationship.
In The Lonely War, childhood friends Suzu and Kawashima struggle with becoming something more. This story did a nice job illustrating the uncertainties one feels at edge of change; how some long for the unknown future, while others cling to the security of the past. In Blue Cat Tunnel Suzu's friend Tokiko struggles with loneliness, need and a type of self-destruction many young girls fall victim to.
Tokyo Alien Ulala defies explanation, while You at the End and Planet Yours are perhaps best left to the reader's own interpretation. This book reminded me, unsurprisingly, of the author's previously released work Same Cell Organism " a book I'd all but forgotten about until I read this one.
For the June Manga crowd, this release is one for those who don't like their BL to look like BL. But it is perhaps also an unfortunate imprint; this is more a book for fans of romance of no particular persuasion, yet is certain to be overlooked by those uninterested in June's more typical "yaoi" offerings. Nevermind the girliest looking boy this side of Lily Hoshino in the title story " there are couples in this book that are, actually, hetero.
Aside from some undecided orientation, these are stories whose interpretations can " and will " be based on the reader's own sensibilities. Though at times heavy with exposition and haunting melancholy, they are affirming examinations of the origins of love and self. They're also just as much about acceptance and friendship. YA enthusiasts and teen readers will eat this up, but adult fans may be put off by the teenaged profundity and a dream-like narrative. This is a lovely collection (if you're not too jaded to enjoy it), but it isn't yaoi.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
Orientation: Right to Left