Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Walkin' Butterfly, vol. 3

The story: After Michiko's manager has a health scare, Michiko recommits herself to her career aspirations with gusto. She finally finds a way to have fun while modeling, on her own no less, and grows even more as a character. She also shares some surprising moments with Mihara.

Reaction: I came to really appreciate Michiko's attitude in this volume. It's like she finally found herself -- her self-confidence, maturity and determined mindset really shine here. As far as the rest of the story goes, I enjoyed watching Michiko's relationships deepen with the supporting cast of characters, including Mihara. After seeing her with Mihara in this chapter, I found myself wondering if Michiko and Mihara could get along as more than professionals. Since Mihara's admiration looks like something nearly imposible to obtain, I was intrigued by his reactions in those moments he shared with Michiko.

Unfortunately, I was also really disappointed when Michiko took another step towards her old ways by running away. I felt like shaking some sense into her, telling her that she needs to stay steadfast to her goals and to not tie her success to whether or not she can be more than friends with Nishikino. As far as frustration went, I was glad to see she found her determination and love of modeling again.

Deep thoughts: I loved the last chapter in this volume, "Michiko in Wonderland," as it drew parallels between Michiko's story and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Going all the way back to the first volume, Michiko, much like Alice, is bored with her life. After a passing interaction with Mihara, Michiko finds herself trailing after him in journey of exasperation, excitement and adventure. Of course, in the end, Michiko's story isn't entirely a dream and she realizes the possibilities that await her.

Artwork: Again, the outfits really shine here and we observe Michiko's transformation not only in her mannerisms, but in her clothing, as well. We see her in an elegant kimono, a fun cocktail dress outfit, modeling various outfits (from beach clothes to businesswoman) and more. By doing so, Chihiro Tamaki visually illustrates how Michiko has changed her self-image and how much more comfortable she is in her own skin. The one thing that got to me were the repeated suprised close-ups by Michiko and Mihara. Then again, maybe it was a visual plot device to portray their increasing parallel torylines and attitudes toward one another.

The verdict: Highly recommended. Ah, knowing that there's just one volume left after this has made me impatient to see just what is in store for Michiko. Will she make it to the show? And, even if she does, will she be able to walk in it? And what will happen between her and Mihara -- will she win the battle or not? Walkin' Butterfly is available in the U.S. from Aurora.

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