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Manga / Mademoiselle Butterfly

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Mademoiselle Butterfly is a Historical Fiction Shoujo by Akane Ogura. Originally conceived as a one-shot, it was later turned into a full manga series, serialized in LaLa DX magazine from 2001 to 2006 and compiled into two volumes. It is based on the opera Madame Butterfly.

Butterfly is a young geisha in training in Japan. She loves and admires her childhood friend, Chinatsu. He's a tattoo artist, and he paints butterflies on her arms and is kind to her. One day she visits Chinatsu and finds a naked woman there. Butterfly is devastated at the thought of her friend with another girl all along. Soon after, a rich foreigner offers to buy Butterfly and take her to live luxuriously in a different land with him. She'll miss life at home, but maybe it will help her forget Chinatsu. But does he really want her?

Tropes used by the manga:

  • Age-Gap Romance:
    • Between Butterfly and the foreigner.
    • Also between Butterfly and Chinatsu: he's twelve years older than her. However, these kind of pairings weren't uncommon then.
  • Always Identical Twins: Chinatsu and Butterfly's first children are a couple of girl twins that look exactly like each other.
  • Babies Ever After: Chinatsu and Butterfly have four children: two twin girls and two boys.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Butterfly had always had a crush on Chinatsu ever since she met him for the first time as a child. Although he always thought of her as a little sister, eventually he realizes his true feelings for her. Chinatsu and Butterfly end up living together, and eventually marrying.
  • Conscription: Chinatsu is drafted into the Japanese army once World War II begins.
  • Costume Porn: Since it's set in the 1930s, when kimonos were still used as casual wear, the author has an excuse to draw Butterfly in some gorgeous outfits.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After getting married and having twins, even if Chinatsu is drafted into war, after an attack he's saved and healed by some locals. He manages to come back home and rejoin Butterfly and his children. They have two more kids and live Happily Ever After.
  • Happily Married: Butterfly and Chinatsu.
  • I Will Wait for You: Butterfly sends Chinatsu off to war with the hope that he'll eventually return, taking care of their twins in the process. When she's told he's dead, Butterfly doesn't take another spouse, which makes the happy ending even better once Chinatsu comes back home.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chinatsu's brother Akie never approved his relationship with Butterfly. However, he still helps her when she moves in with his father during the war and is extremely fond of the twins.
  • Kimono Is Traditional: Following the era the manga is set, everyone except Akie wear kimonos most of the time.
  • Meaningful Name: Butterfly. She's considered as beautiful as one, and the first tattoo she gets done by Chinatsu is a butterfly on her shoulder.
  • Older Than They Look: As the story progresses, Butterfly reaches adulthood but she still looks the same as when she was a teenager.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Butterfly's real name is never revealed: "Choucho" (lit. Butterfly) is the name she took when she entered the geisha house.
  • Parental Abandonment: Butterfly was sold by her parents into the geisha house when she was a child and hasn't heard from them since. Later in the story she starts sending them letters to tell her about her new life and her marriage with Chinatsu.
  • The Pollyanna: Butterfly.
  • Rags to Riches: Chinatsu's family is actually quite wealthy, and once Butterfly enters it, she never suffer hunger ever again. What's more, during the war, they still live quite confortably.
  • Romantic False Lead: The foreigner. Chinatsu ends up buying Butterfly and she starts living with him.
  • Scars are Forever: After a bad fall, Butterfly is injured on her back and the butterfly tattoo she got done by Chinatsu is covered by a big scar.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Subverted. Chinatsu eventually comes home.
  • The Unfavorite: Chinatsu is looked down upon for living as a tattoo artist (an illegal job at the time) instead of putting his drawing talents for good use. However, after some troubles he makes up with his father and his brother.