Papillon Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 978-0345505927
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Papillon Vol. #02

By Erin Jones     July 07, 2009
Release Date: January 27, 2009


Papillon Vol. #02
© Del Rey

This volume focuses more on melodramatic psychology than catfights and backstabbing, which transports it from a guilty pleasure to guilty boredom.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Miwa Ueda
Translation: Elina Ishikawa
Adaptation: Elina Ishikawa

What They Say
Ageha has always lived in the shadow of her popular twin sister, Hana. But with the help of her eccentric and brilliant guidance counselor, Ryûsei, Ageha is turning her life around. Now she�s confident and in control . . . and falling for Ryûsei! Is Ryûsei really the right guy for Ageha?

Includes in-depth translation notes and a preview of the next volume!

The Review!
Picking up from the cliffhanger at the end of the first volume, Ageha is crushed to see Ryusei kissing her sister Hana, but picks herself up and heads to visit her grandmother alone.  Guidance counselor and college student Hayato continues comforting Ageha, all the while discovering that her self-esteem issues are based around the fact that she feel her mother doesn’t love her.  It turns out, in fact, that Ageha has been purposefully holding herself back in school because she feels that her mother gets upset when she does better than Hana in any subject.  But when her mother is hit by a car saving her, and ends up in critical condition in the hospital, Ageha finally lets her frustration spill out and tells her mother everything… Only to discover that it was all an elaborate set-up by Hayato to get her to confront her issues!

If that makes you want to roll your eyes, then I’m afraid that the rest of the volume won’t do much else for you.  Although some of the psychology behind the characters’ actions is interesting, as shown by the author’s notes at the end of the volume, it comes off as awkward and clunky.   Characters spill out their feelings in incredibly articulate, tear-filled confessions that feel forced and just too perfect.  Ageha’s mother’s tearful admittance that she couldn’t deal with Ageha crying all the time when she was a baby, and therefore let her grandmother raise her, doesn’t elicit any sympathy at all.  Even worse, Hayato proceeds to show Ageha just how hard taking care of small children is by having her baby-sit his two young nieces while he sleeps through their screams and Ageha’s frantic cries for help.  Ageha’s mother is, of course, the one who saves the day with some well-timed advice.

The last chapter of the volume was my least favorite, as Hayato encourages Ageha to use him as “practice” for a potential date with Ryusei.  They go, as you might expect, to an amusement park, where Ageha confesses to him while they’re riding in the Ferris wheel, and he agrees to go out with her.  Although this isn’t a bad attempt at showing Ageha’s character development--Hayato was telling her earlier in the volume that if she really liked Ryusei, she wouldn’t let the fact that he was dating Hana stop her--I still can’t make myself okay with a college-aged guidance counselor agreeing to date a girl with exceedingly low self-esteem that he is supposed to be helping become a stronger person.  Sure, there’s the potential for a train-wreck of a relationship down the line if Ageha becomes too dependent on Hayato for her own happiness, but I don’t know if this series is self-aware enough for that to happen.  For now, it’s just failing at being a guilty pleasure, because although there is some guilt, there’s really not that much entertainment.

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