Shakespeare Salarymen in love.
Sorry, still no pictures on this blog… trying to find a better internet connection around here, haven’t been successful thus far.
Flutter is about a salaryman who has been noticing a co-worker of his for a while, with the assumption that he’ll never actually meet the man. Surprise, surprise when he suddenly finds himself assigned to a project with him! Where would we ever be without such plot conveniences?!
You know, considering that I genuinely liked Flutter quite a bit, I probably shouldn’t be so snarky right off the bat. The “working on a project together!” trope doesn’t really bother me too much in BL; it seems much more natural, than, say, the mysterious transfer student gambit so common in manga set in high schools. After all, they’re already both at the same company typically, so I can live with it. And, hey, these men are adults, so that’s already a big leg up on a lot of the manga out there!
Anyway, our smitten salaryman in question is Asada, and the object of his attentions is a man named Mizuki, who is that rare bird of BL – the gay man. We only find this out after Asada really steps in it by asking him if he’s married, much to the mortification of everyone else in the room, since apparently Asada is the only person in the whole damn company who is blissfully unaware on this point. But Mizuki is already taken, alas.
Of course, we all know where this is going – complicating factors or no, our main pair will end up together, somehow, some way. These two, though, may make it a bit more difficult than is strictly necessary, as this is an ukexuke type of BL, per word of author… and it does show. Neither man is quite willing to make a decisive move for a while; they alternately drag the other this way and that, only to back off and declare what a bad idea the whole thing is when it gets down to brass tacks. On paper, it sounds annoying, but it really isn’t in action. Both have good reasons for when they back off – Asada backs away because of the already-on-scene significant other, Mizuki backs off because Asada isn’t gay. I wasn’t tempted to reach into the pages and throttle the characters at any point.
Speaking of one of the characters not being gay, there’s that little devil of BL again – the Not Gay guy. Y’know… he just happens to be mad about a guy suddenly. This can be a really obnoxious trope, although I think we’ve been seeing a slight shift in that now it seems to be increasingly common for only one of the guys in BL couples to be Not Gay. So, well, progress. And Flutter doesn’t belabor the idea – in fact, it doesn’t explicitly get brought up until Mizuki calls Asada out on it, and Asada fairly effectively dismisses it as an issue. He hasn’t shown any interest in women in the story previously, either, so it’s easy to take it as a closet-key type moment than as a “only if it’s you!” one.
I’ve complained about the steady deterioration of June’s releases previously, so I won’t hash over that too much. Honorifics don’t exist in this release; I wasn’t too bothered, but I think a lot of folks will given how hierarchical office settings are. There aren’t any typos, nor are there grammatical issues, and the text reads smoothly, so no complaints there. I still am irritated with the size of the volume, though.
Flutter’s a solid pick if you’re looking for some BL. The characters’ are engaging, and the story is fairly strong; the minor “Not Gay” hiccup is easy to overlook in the grand scheme of things. I especially recommend it if you love salarymen BL, as it definitely ranks amongst the better of that category in the English-language market.
Oh! And, of course, how could I skip over mentioning that there isn’t any sexual harassment or issues with consent present in Flutter? It’s tough out there for a fujoshi/fudanshi who likes their men of BL to have consensual sex! When the sex happens, both parties are on-board with it. Awesome!