In the beginning, there were the Inklings. From the Inklings were born Lord of the Rings and the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. These misbegot such things as the Sword of Shannara and the Belgeriad and from these were, ultimately, begot Harry Potter. From Harry Potter came Negima! and now, here we are at the seventh bastard of the seventh bastard, Butterfly Kiss Blade, Volume 1 (バタフライ キス).
Homura and Sakurako (who are NOTHING like Setsuna and Konoka, let me assure you,) attend Prinpikia Academy, which is one syllable shift away from being a pretty great name. It is a school of magic, of course. And there are fights, of course. With giant weapons. There is also a nadesico-type classic beauty, complete with henchchicks and political and magical power who is in love with Homura’s partner, the sweet, kind, passive, frontally lobotomized Sakurako. There are also panty shots, but I’ll come back to them later.
The bulk of the first volume is Shizuka’s ever more pathetic attempts at defeating Homura in order to make Sakurako her own partner in the “shiki.” (Shiki means “ceremony” among other things in Japanese, and it is always surrounded by quotes in this manga. 「式」)
And, um, that’s about it. Every chapter, a fight. Every chapter Homura wins with her ginormous Butterfly Knife. And Sakurako kisses things alot, because that’s how she uses her magic. She doesn’t just kiss other people, she kisses random passing objects, dolls, magic sigils floating in the air.
The art goes from inconsistent to downright horrible. At some point I actually entertained the thought that maybe this was an anthology, because the art changed so much from chapter to chapter, but nope, it was just bad art.
And then there are the panty shots. These are so forced and so intrusive that whole scenes have to be constructed around them and they are given their own panels so we can’t possible accidently miss them. They are pointedly pointless. I genuinely can’t believe that panty shots would significantly up the appeal of this manga. It’s so second-rate in every way, there’s no way you’d buy it just for the service like you might Needless or a similar fightin’ magic schoolgirls loli underwear action thing. (The Wife retorts, “You don’t know me at all.”)
Yuri is fanservice, of course, but there is no doubt that Homura and Sakurako genuinely love, adore and desire one another. Their liasons don’t ever get past foreplay, but it’s no less bodily fluid and voyeurism filled.
If you really like fightin’ magic schoolgirls, Needless and Negima! are way better than this. But if you really, really REALLY like fightin’ magic schoolgirls, then Butterfly Kiss Blade will appeal. Also, if you loved KimiKiss, as this is the same artist.
Art – 6 at best, often not even that
Story – 6
Characters – 6 It’s not their fault they are caught in a derivative of a derivative
Yuri – 8
Service – 7
Overall – 6 And, yes, I *am* being generous.