Thursday, January 11, 2007

Little Butterfly, Volume 1


Little Butterfly, Volume 1 by Hinako Takanaga. Digital Manga, Inc. Copy donated by publisher; Cybils nominee.

The Plot: It's about two teenage boys in their last year of high school. Kojima has many friends and everyone likes him. Nakahara is the brooding loner. The only other thing I need to add -- it's yaoi manga. Which means, Kojima and Nakahara get together.

The Good: This is a romance with two very pretty boys. It's fairly tame: boy meets boy, boy feels something for the other boy but doesn't realize what happens, kissing, confusion, anger, reunion, kissing. I've been told that later volumes are more explicit, which is probably why the publisher has put this on the cover: "Yaoi Manga. Parental Advisory. Explicit Content. M for Mature Audiences. 18 +" I'd follow the publisher on this one, and if buying it for a library shelve it in the adult collection.

For those of you new to manga: from what I've seen in the library, it's the norm for manga publishers to include some type of age advisory. In my opinion, this volume doesn't warrant such an explicit label; but, if this advisory is being done for the entire series, I appreciate that the publishers are up front about that and view the story as a whole.

Another explanation for those new to manga: Yaoi is like slash fanfiction; it's about boys with boys. And like slash, it's read mainly by girls and women. As a matter of fact, the flap of the book has a link to a website, yaoi-manga.com, with the tagline "the girls only sanctuary".

While I'm aware of yaoi, this is the first yaoi one that I've read. What struck me is that it was a very non-seduction seduction. Kojima likes Nakahara and wants to be his friend, but is oblivious that Nakahara loves Kojima. Nakahara kisses Kojima and oh, the angst! Add to it that it has the whole good boy/ bad boy thing going on, and OF COURSE, the bad boy has a wounded inner child that only the good boy knows about . . .

It's a sweet romance, very emotional about who likes who as Kojima tries to figure out what he is feeling and what he wants. The pretty boys (and these are two very pretty boys) end up together (hello, no spoiler there! I TOLD you it was a romance, and everyone knows that romances have happy endings!); but since this is first in a series, there is more angst and drama to come. I'm interested in reading the rest of the series, to see what happens to these two.

Note to those who know more about me: If I've totally messed up a definition or such, please let me know in the comments, just be kind!

Links: Mitali's Fire Escape asks about Yaoi
Yet Another Comics Blog: Asks for Yaoi Recommendations

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