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Walkin' Butterfly Volume 1

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Cover artwork for Walkin' Butterfly Volume 1 by Chihiro Tamaki

Walkin' Butterfly Volume 1

© Chihiro Tamaki / Ohzora Publishing Co. Ltd.

The Bottom Line

Like Paradise Kiss with Sex and the City sexiness, Walkin' Butterfly is a fun, dramatic and romantic story about a gawky misfit and her transformation into a runway model. But make no mistake, its story, content and style are more 'grown-up' than the average shojo manga teen/tween love story, so be prepared for some nudity, drugs and matter-of-fact sexual encounters.

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Pros

  • A fiercely fashionable fable that won't bore older teens or twenty-somethings
  • Stylish, contemporary artwork that crackles with energy
  • A likeably imperfect heroine who's strong without being stereotypical

Cons

  • Includes scenes of alcohol abuse and drug use, so it's not for younger readers
  • English translation is slightly awkward; sometimes lacks natural-sounding dialogue
  • Interior typography lacks flair and seems slapped on without really enhancing the story

Description

Guide Review - Walkin' Butterfly Volume 1

Tall and gawky, Michiko has spent a lifetime feeling self-conscious and misjudged because of her height. After years of rejection, this 19-year old high school dropout has built up a hard shell around her heart that hides the pain and lack of self-confidence that makes her feel like a failure in life and in love.

A case of mistaken identity throws Michiko smack-dab in the middle of a high fashion runway show, where she's primped up, dressed up and walking the runway with other über-tall glamazons. Does she blow the fashion world away at her debut? Not really. But it does light a fire in her gut, one that she hasn't felt in years. Michiko then embarks on a quest to prove that she's better than anyone thinks she is and to transform herself, inside and out.

Geared for older teens and twenty-somethings, Walkin' Butterfly is more "grown-up" than your average shojo manga love story. There's nudity, drug use, alcohol abuse and an attempted rape (that's very efficiently stopped short by Michiko's mean upper cut )

Even Michiko is not your average shojo heroine – she's tough, prickly and prone to bad decision-making. But her flaws are what make her so likeable and relatable. By the end of volume 1, I found myself hooked and eager to see what happens next in Volume 2.

The artwork is stylish and it crackles with energy that matches the gritty city setting of the story. However, this trendy tale does hit a few snags: The English translation is uneven – some dialogue sounds stiff and awkward. The interior typography is also pretty pedestrian, which is a missed opportunity to enhance this fashionable story. But that's me nit-picking. Overall, it's a great debut offering from Aurora, making them a publisher worth watching.

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