Like­able read

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE -

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

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