DECADES ago, Choko Kuze’s family was one of the richest families in Japan. When the economic crisis hit Asia her family became bankrupt, and they were forced to survive as soba noodle sellers. They had to dismiss their servants, including a chaffeur, whose son once took care of Choko. Cha-Chan, as he was affectionately called, swore to his “milady” Choko that they will one day meet again.
Years later, Choko joins a real estate company as an entry-level office worker. However, her new boss, Masayuki Domoto, is giving her a harsher treatment than anyone else in the company. Then, when he suddenly calls her “Milady”, Choko realises that her boss is Cha-Chan, the chaffeur’s son!
It gets better. At work, he’s a douchebag, but after hours, he insists on treating Choko like a lady of nobility. With such a twisted role reversal, is romance between Choko and her boss/former servant even possible?
Yuki Yoshihara, well known for her hot, sexy romance manga, writes a story about class, status, role-reversal, and of course, dashing bishies. And by that, I mean Masayuki Domoto, a former servant boy of the Kuze family who is now Choko’s boss. Introduced as an arrogant and rude jerk-ofa-boss to Choko, readers will later warm up to Domoto as he begins to unravel, bit by bit. And I don’t just mean his shirt, fangirls, I mean his human side. Just stay put.
Choko is sweet, and kind, but has flaws, too. Seeing her and her family trying to survive and start over makes her relatable to readers. When bad things happen, Choko reacts as a cartoonish chibi girl. It’s jarring at first, considering that the chibi contradicts most of Yuki’s near-realistic art-style, but once you get used to it, it’s actually kind of cute.
Beyond Choko and Domoto, the rest of cast are just as likeable, from Choko’s overdramatic brother to a romantic rival of our heroine. The characters have such an amazing chemistry together, you felt like you are part of them.
Artwork is beautiful, as expected from one of the veterans of shojo manga. The lines are clean, straightforward, and easy to read. The characters are expressive, show- ing a sufficient range of emotions than the current “stiffs” found in other shoujo manga. Besides the pretty artwork, the manga does leave enough room for the humour and drama to grow on the readers.
Despite the positives, there are a few caveats. Readers will squirm at how Domoto keeps harassing and insulting Choko at their workplace, so, feministsat-heart, be prepared.
And if you’re expecting sexy scenes, you may have to move on to the next volumes, as there is none in this first one.
Butterflies, Flowers is a sensuous, sweet romance of role-reversal set in the office. Fans of old-school shojo, as well as curious readers, should lap this up in a jiffy. The manga is only marred by the harassment of the heroine, but beyond that, the likeable characters and the beautiful artwork will definitely draw you in. — Rating: 4