Butterflies, Flowers Volume 1 (Manga)
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 2009
Price: $9.99
Creator(s): Yuki Yoshihara
Format: 200 pgs.; B&W
ISBN: 978-1-421-53203-5
Age Rating: Parental Advisory / Explicit Content
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

This manga was written for adult women, and while well written, has material in it which will offend at least some readers.

The basic premise is that a young woman, whose family used to be quite wealthy, has gotten an entry level office job at a major company.  Unfortunately, her new boss turns out to have been one of her family’s old servants, one she cared for a great deal.  The difference in their ages is just small enough that a romance is possible, but a terrible idea.  The difference in their backgrounds makes it even more complicated.  Plus, as her boss and mentor, he’s a heavy-handed tyrant at work, but also overly protective to the point of being kind of creepy, and other employees notice.

The difficulty in their relationship, romantic and otherwise, makes for both drama and comedy, and the tension is well written.  Unfortunately, there are other story threads that make it a cultural land mine, ranging from a cross-dressing executive at the company to the main character nearly being raped by one of their clients.  Since the would-be rapist is an important client, her boss protects his protégé, but also criticizes her for not knowing how to handle the guy, which will outrage many readers.  He alternately places her on a pedestal or in the doghouse in ways that some will find uncomfortable.  His conflicted feelings really do make him a terrible boss.

The artwork is solid, although the few times the artist uses “chibi” styling it seems distracting.  Overall, well-done but with potentially awkward content.  For adults, due to the near-rape and a few other issues.

--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.