If ever there was a manga with “snark” built right into the title, it’s Chou no you ni Hana no you ni, which would translate into “Like a Butterfly, Like a Flower”. Or, maybe I’m reading into it. I don’t think so. ^_^
Kanda Itsuki is a suit-wearing playgirl, who has a lot of female fans in her office. She encourages them in every way, because she *likes* being the object of admiration by women. Her co-worker, Nishino Kyaka, is neither besotted by Itsuki nor interested in her, and is confused as to why the girls go so gaga over her, when she’s such a gigolo. Despite not being “interested” in Itsuki, Kyaka’s a good friend and an important tsukkomi to Itsuki’s boke. In fact, their dynamic leads to the one truly funny line of the book that is going to lose any punch at all in translation. Here’s the strip:
They are out on new Year’s day doing their hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the year. The upshot is that Kyaka smacks Itsuki after she says something dumb, and answers her with a Osakan accent, to which Itsuki replies “Ah, so that’s your first tsukkomi of the year.” The joke is the phrase “Shinnen hatsu…kkomi.” Which is a play on “first /whatever/ of the year” and tsukkomi. Anyway, it made me laugh out loud. (^_^);
One of Itsuki’s obsessive fans is part of the cast, and her creepy obsession is creepy and not really funny, but when one of Itsuki’s ex-girlfriends arrives, that is marginally more interesting. Up until that point we weren’t really sure that Itsuki was actually gay. Now we know she is, and later we learn that she had female lovers from high school on.
Annnnnnd…once you get a good look at Itsuki and Yamamura Mikiko, her ex, you suddenly realize that they are Sei and Youko. ^_^
The end of the book supplies one minor conflict. Kyaka is asked out by a guy. Kyaka takes pains to hide it from Itsuki, although she’s not entirely sure why. When the guy confesses that he likes Itsuki, Kyaka’s peeved, but also discombobulated as to who, exactly, she’s jealous of. When Itsuki arrives, saying she’s been trying to track Kyaka down, Kyaka’s half annoyed and half relieved. When Itsuki tells the guy to bag off, Kyaka’s more relieved than annoyed.
We then back up to when they met, and Itsuki’s unsuccessful macking on Kyaka, and the beginning of their friendship.
We’re *clearly* supposed to see that Kyaka has genuine affection for Itsuki and it’s entirely possible that Itsuki actually genuinely likes Kyaka, but that’s not the story, so any effort thrown into that direction is all but wasted. That’s what fanfic and fanart is for, after all. ^_^
Art – 6
Story – 6
Characters – 7 (8 if the fact that Itsuki is Sei and Mikiko is Youko and, if you want to go there, Kyaka is Shimako, means anything to you)
Yuri – 6
Service – 1 Loser FanGirl for Suit-wearing playgirls – 9
Overall – 7
In the mean time, Chou no you ni Hana no you ni is a 4-koma gag comic set in an office instead of a school. For that alone, I’m glad I read it. Like most other 4-koma gag comics, it’s not going anywhere, so the best thing to do is read a few pages at a time, and just relax….the gags are the point.
My very sincere thanks today to Okazu Superhero George R for sponsoring today’s review off the Amazon JP Yuri Wishlist! That was a fun read and I’m totally game for volume 2.