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March 23, 2012

Bento Bako Bonus: Butterflies, Flowers volume 7

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Butterflies, Flowers
Author: Yuki Yoshihara
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 7 (of 8), $9.99
Vintage: 2008 or 2009 by Shogakukan, June 2011 by Viz Media
Genre: Romantic comedy

[Volume 6 review.]

Choko Kuze comes from a rich family, where she was raised as a young lady with the help of her servant Masayuki Domoto. Her family suddenly fell into debt and lost everything, including their home and their servants. Choko’s parents now own and run a soba shop, while Choko has found a job as an administrative assistant for a real estate company. It is here that she meets Masayuki again, as he is the supervisor for the Administration Department. Choko eventually learns that Masayuki has been working hard to return her family’s home to her, and that he has long been in love with her. The two have been dating for some time now. Things were going relatively well when a woman from Masayuki’s past shows up and starts causing problems. Kaori Wakabayashi is Masayuki’s ex-girlfriend, whom he promptly dumped when Choko came back into his life. Jilted and jealous, she has returned to Masayuki’s branch of the company to win him back. While Masayuki is distracted by Kaori, Senior Director Otaki starts making moves on Choko, attempting to sway her feelings away from Masayuki and toward himself. At the end of volume 6, Choko received a warning from Kaori to give up Masayuki. Otaki is ready to take advantage of the situation, and follows Choko who goes to a hotel in search of Masayuki and Kaori. Otaki gives Choko the room number, but also suggests she join him in his own room instead. Choko gives Masayuki a piece of her mind, and her determination wins over Masayuki’s heart once again. In front of Choko, he bluntly refuses Kaori’s advances and explains that he’ll never give Choko up. They return to their lovey-dovey selves, but Otaki isn’t finished with Choko, and he declares his feelings for her once again, right in front of Masayuki. Masayuki, upset with both Choko and himself, says some unfortunate words and angers Choko. When Otaki orders Choko to accompany him on an overnight business trip, she doesn’t care if it makes Masayuki angry. On their trip, she is able to see a new side to Otaki, who has a fondness for traditional Japanese architecture and completely geeks out on the subject to her. Seeing this other side to him, and also how hard he works to achieve his goals inside the company, makes Choko respect him as a boss and colleague. Unfortunately, Otaki takes things too far when he attempts to disgrace Choko by sleeping with her so that she won’t be able to face Masayuki again. As usual, Masayuki comes to the rescue, but Choko is already devastated and is embarrassed to be around him. Frustrated by her refusal to talk with him, Masayuki confronts Choko and reminds her just how much he loves her. Back together and with the air clear between them, things between Choko and Masayuki go back to normal, including Masayuki’s constant sexual advances. Choko, however, is annoyed by Masayuki pestering her for sex, as she is happy enough just being near him. The other girls in the office can’t understand her, as they all would pounce on Masayuki immediately if given the chance. Choko ends up saying something cruel to him, but eventually realizes that she does want to have sex with him, she’s just overwhelmed by her feelings for Masayuki. Summer festival season arrives, and Masayuki asks Choko on a date to view the fireworks…which he promptly ends when Choko doesn’t show up in a yukata. Choko can’t understand why he would prefer that over sexy underwear, but she decides to make him happy and wears one for a do-over date. Masayuki is absolutely thrilled, but unfortunately he’s so happy to see her in a yukata, and finds it so unbearably sexy, that he can’t bring himself to take it off of her in order to have sex with her. A confused Choko spends the rest of the date slightly disappointed.

Choko is really annoying in this volume. Masayuki, pay attention to me! Masayuki, go away! Masayuki, I love you! Masayuki, stop trying to have sex with me all the time! Masayuki, why won’t you have sex with meeeeee? Ug, just SHUT UP already. There’s no pleasing that girl. If I had a boyfriend who couldn’t keep his hands off me (and¬†incidentally, I do), I’d be thrilled he still found me attractive enough to bother. Persistence can get annoying, but Choko outright hates it. It’s the way Masayuki shows his affection, though, so eventually she’ll have to accept it if he’s the guy she wants. It’s nothing new; he’s acted that way since the beginning of the series. I really just don’t understand her anymore. She’s so annoying. Masayuki must have an infinite amount of patience, not to mention being hard core head over heels for her, to put up with her inconsistent feelings. Admittedly Masayuki is kind of creepy with his level of sexual harassment, but that’s his character, so it’s normal for readers, and it should be normal for Choko, too. It’s an annoying character, to be sure, but he fits into Yoshihara’s story, so while I can complain about his actions, within the story confines it’s normal. There’s only one more volume of this, so I assume she’ll overcomes her extreme shyness, otherwise there’s no way I can buy that they’ll have a happily ever after, or even a relationship that lasts very long. I can’t agree with Choko’s coworkers and say that she’s a horrible girlfriend for not having sex with Masayuki, because I don’t believe that a relationship is all about sex. However, if the desire to be intimate with the person doesn’t exist, well, that’s called friendship, not being “lovers.” I feel sorry for Masayuki. For Otaki, too, because Masayuki is right – Choko doesn’t give him a 100% clear rejection, so he keeps coming back to try again. Granted, what he does in the hotel room is inexcusable, though it feels out of character for him. Otaki isn’t really a sneaky guy; he’s pretty straight forward about what he wants, so drugging Choko and removing their clothes so she thinks they’ve done something more (when in fact they did nothing) is not only scummy, but honestly doesn’t feel like something he’d normally do. He is the kind of guy who will do what he has to in order to get what he wants, but he never struck me as the type of guy to play a dirty trick like that. He’s manipulated things before, sure, but that’s really going far. Though it should be mentioned that Choko forgives him (even before knowing that nothing actually happened), and retains her respect for him as her superior, and even expresses the desire to continue working for him. The guy she thinks drugged and raped her. Right. As you can tell by its publishing date, I’ve been putting this one off for a while. It got buried beneath a pile of better books, and was eventually forgotten. I’m glad to get it out of the way. Especially since I’ve chosen to clean my pallet with Dengeki Daisy.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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