Title: 1LDK ♥ Shitsuji ~ My Secret Butler
Author: MORITA Fuji
Flower Comics, 2010
This was an obvious and easy purchase for me, simply because of the title. My Secret Butler? Heck yeah! The scenario on the cover is certainly one that I approve of 🙂 I certainly wouldn’t mind having my own secret butler! Though now that I think about it, the butler in this story is not exactly a secret, so I’m not sure what’s going on with the English title. Anyway, there are so many series these days that involve maids, that I am always happy when I find one about a butler. There aren’t as many, however we are slowly getting more. This is a sweet little one-shot volume that contains 4 stand-alone stories (the first one involves the butler) and then a brief bonus side story at the end that brings back the couple from the butler story. All of these one shots are cute, though I like some more than others. They are all non-smutty, for the most part, though there is a little bit of sex just before it ‘fade-to-black’ in the 2nd story. The artwork is fairly ordinary, but certainly not bad or weirdly deformed (well, not any more deformed than usual shoujo manga proportions are).
Okay then. Story 1 is about our delightful couple on the cover. Her name is SAWAMURA Ryoko, and she is a 2nd year college student. She is an average girl, with an average starving college student income, and she lives alone in a small apartment near her school. Well actually, she used to live alone. Right now she has an unexpected house guest — a personal butler. Now how would an ordinary college student get a personal butler, you ask? Well, it all started one day when she was running late and dashing down the street in a hurry. Ryoko was so preoccupied with her own issues that she wasn’t paying attention, and she was hit by a car! Ow! Fortunately, Ryoko escaped the accident mostly unscathed, except for her right hand, which was seriously mangled. It’s a good thing that the person driving the car who hit Ryoko happens to be a very rich and spoiled girl who can easily afford to pay for Ryoko’s medical bills. In fact, the haughty rich girl is so eager to get rid of Ryoko, she foists her own personal servant onto the poor injured girl, ordering him to take care of her. He is named Miata, and from that day on until she is healed, he will be taking care of Ryoko 24 hrs/day!
Obviously, Ryoko is shocked by this, but the rich girl breezes off before she can make much of a protest. Now Ryoko is stuck with a personal live-in butler in her tiny apartment! Furthermore, he is a young and handsome butler! (of course!) And Miata is good at his job. In no time, he has Ryoko settled comfortably and easily assumes such duties as shopping, cooking, and laundry. Wow, what a dream! Ryoko is amazed by his skill, and how devoted he is to his work. As for Miata, while he is not perfect (there is an amusing incident involving his low tolerance for alcohol…) he has some unexpected talents. It’s therefore not surprising that Ryoko starts to fall for him. But he isn’t her permanent butler. This is just a job to him, and he already has a mistress he works for. Once Ryoko’s hand heals, he will be gone… is there any hope for Ryoko?
The 2nd story is my least favorite of this book, mainly because i think the heroine is a bit of an idiot. Thus I will not elaborate as much on this story, excpet to say it’s about a girl who studies every day at a library, where she sees a classmate of hers always hanging around with different girls. He is a total playboy, and not a nice one. He two-times the girls, and obviously is just playing around with their feelings. Our heroine hates him, and is less than thrilled when he starts dating her older sister. Actually, she has a rather low opinion of guys in general, after catching her friend’s boyfriend cheating on her. Therefore, it really bothers me how quickly and easily this girl hops into bed with one such sleazy guy. Sure, it all works out in the end, but in reality, he’d probably dump her too. Er, not that I’m really reading shoujo manga for the realism, but I really just wanted this girl to get a clue.
So, onward to story 3, which I liked much more. Every day, our heroine, MAEDA-chan, sees a classmate of hers, TOMITA-kun, turn down love confessions from girls at their school. Tomita is very cute and popular, so he always has a flock of admirers after him. Tomita is a nice guy, and the girls are cute, but he really just wants to focus on his schoolwork and playing basketball in the basketball club. One day, after witnessing him yet again break the hearts of his groupies, Maeda offers a suggestion to Tomita. Why doesn’t he go out with her, instead? Oh, no, not as a real girlfriend or anything, she can simply act as a shield to keep the other girls away. He won’t be bombarded with all the love confessions is everyone sees he has a girlfriend. And, well, she recently broke up with a guy who is botehring her, so having a fake boyfriend would benefit her, too. Tomita is surprised but he agrees. Soon they start to pretend to be dating. They go home from school together, study together, and Maeda’s presence works liek a charm and keeping away the fangirls. What Tomita doesn’t know is that Maeda is also in love with him. In fact, she has had a one-sided crush on Tomita for over 2 years now. This is her chance to finally be with him, even if it isn’t real….
I think the 4th story is my favorite in this book. It is about a group of hot high school guys who are members of a popular indies band. All the girls at their school worship them, including the heroine, a shy girl named MAYAMA Misato. Misato is dazzled by the band members, and nervously watches them from afar, hovering on the outskirts of the crowd that always surrounds them. She envies the way other girls can easily chat with them. Misato is especially enchanted by the guitarist, Yuuto. These guys are so sparkly, it’s like they are from a different world! Therefore, Misato is absolutely shocked when the guys actually seek her out in the crowd and make her an amazing offer — will she be their new vocalist? Wait, what? Her? How did they know she could sing? Turns out one of Misato’s friends heard they were looking for a new singer, so she sent them a cellphone video of Misato singing during and after-school karaoke trip. Misato is so shy and flustered, she thinks there is no way she could possibly become teh singer of an indies band! But when they put her in front of a microphone and start to play, something happens. Misato starts to gain some confidence, and her live singing voice stuns everyone in the room. This girl can really sing! In no time at all, Misato is accepted into the band, and she works to find her place as the vocalist. Her crush on Yuuto grows, and she receives unexpected love advice and support from another band member, the bass player, SUZUMURA Arata. Will Misato succeed in her new pastime as a rock singer? Will she capture the heart of Yuuto?
The last chapter is a brief story that brings us back to Ryoko and her butler. Not a lot happens in it, but some funny moments include Ryoko reading some manga about butlers and getting some naughty ideas, and a misunderstanding about Miata’s relationship with his mistress.
All in all, with the exception of story #2, this is a great book. 😀