Ninjas and Office Ladies and Sparkles
I went to Barnes and Noble today and bought three manga: Shinobi Life; Butterflies, Flowers; and Otomen.
I haven’t read them yet but here are the plots.
Shinobi Life by Shoko Conami is about a modern girl Beni who is suicidal and uncouth in her speech. A thug is attacking her when a ninja falls into the future from the distant past to save her. He thinks she’s the princess that he has sworn to protect. She thinks he’s crazy. The first couple of pages are funny and I like the slightly simple artwork. I’m not big on ninja but he’s very cute.
Butterflies, Flowers by Yuki Yoshihara. The title refers to raising a child as gently as you would handle a butterfly or a blossom. There’s nothing delicate about the story though. It concerns an inept office lady named Choko who comes from an aristocratic but impoverished family. Her boss Masayuki is openly set on tormenting her but in a moment of stress, he reveals that he was her family’s chauffeur’s son. Choko used to adore the boy he was but it’s hard to see that boy in the arrogant man he’s become. It’s much funnier than it sounds. For instance, he tells her to say to him, “I look forward to working with you, Director Domoto. ♥” She repeats the sentence. Then he insists on the “♥” at the end. She responds, ““ How could you not like her after that?
Some reviewers were disturbed by the overt sexual harassment in the story. I’ll have to read more to see if the narration condones the inequality between them. At the moment, it is much less off-putting than Hot Gimmick.
Otomen by Aya Kanno. Asuka acts like the perfect male teen (at least in manga): good at sports, emotionally repressed, last minute rescuing of damsels in distress. However, he has an embarrassing secret. He likes girly stuff: plushies, romance comics, sewing, preparing bento. But then he meets the girl of his dreams Ryo who really likes his macho display when he rescues her from thugs. Now he must keep his secret and win her heart.
My favorite part of the opening pages is when he wanders through stores while pondering his dilemma with Ryo. He finds himself in the PINK aisle. You know the one where there’s nothing but pink tulle and glittering tiaras all the way down the aisle. He stands there surrounded by sparkles and giggling plushies. He succumbs, of course and comes home with piles of girly stuff.