Content warnings for Vol. 1: Stalking, obsessive behavior, kidnapping, suicide (?), some gore including eye horror

While on one of my recommendation rabbit holes on Anilist, I stumbled upon this manga - Bukita-kun (不気田くん), by Kanako Inuki. Something about the cover image immediately drew me in. It was clearly an older manga, and the imagery of the girl trapped as a butterly was just so evocative that I decided I wanted to read it sooner rather than later.

When I tried to locate it, I found that not only has nobody scanlated it yet (or its sequel for that matter), but that there are very few raw panels or caps of the manga itself floating around. I mostly saw covers of the tankobon collections and a few panels from the sequel, Shin Bukita-kun. The lack of concrete information made it much more interesting to me, so I ended up finding a digital version of the first volume on sale on DLSite (which also has the other volumes!) and bought it so that I could scope it out. It's entirely in Japanese, so I haven't fully 'read' it yet, but I've skimmed through all of the chapters several times and read the majority of the first chapter for real.

Bukita-kun, the protagonist, is an lonely boy who is shunned by nearly everyone around him for his looks and creepy behavior. He falls head over heels in love with Makko-chan, a fellow student, who is disgusted by him and wants nothing to do with him. She throws a fit and declares how much she hates him in front of everybody, but Bukita doesn't seem to take her word for it, and insists on giving her a doll as a symbol of his love. He tells her that even if he dies, the doll will serve as proof of his love - and sure enough, Bukita is hit by a truck not long after this conversation and dies.

However, Bukita continues his attempts to get Makko to return his feelings even after death. He watches her from outside her window, and ambushes her in the bath, chasing her around the house. She screams that she could never love someone with a creepy face like his, and he peels off his skin to make himself more palatable to her. Makko finds the doll that Bukita gave her and smashes it, hoping that doing so will kill him for good - but the next day, Bukita is waiting for her in the classroom, telling her that he's been kept alive purely through the power of love.

Each chapter of Bukita-kun is somewhat standalone, with Bukita finding a new girl to 'fall in love' with, and something terrible befalling either one of them - thus, he must move on to the next girl, in search of someone who can be his eternal love. Kanako Inuki's artwork is fascinating to look at it. I'm obsessed with how she draws eyes, most noticably the young girls' eyes, as these bulbous, glassy things that look wet and frog-like. It almost feels like a self-aware parody of the stereotypical giant, shiny anime eye, but at the same time it feels very genuine and horrific as well.

In the next chapter, Specimen Box of Love, Bukita falls in love with a girl from a different class named Chouko-chan after she lets him keep a used handkerchief. I'm a little unsure of the plot in the middle, but essentially, Bukita casts a spell on a butterfly so that its body is connected to Chouko's, and kidnaps her, keeping her inside the school during summer vacation when nobody is around. When she 'misbehaves', he pins the butterfly to the wall, and Chouko loses the ability to move her arms and legs. She's able to crawl her way to the butterly and remove the pin with her teeth, and begs Bukita to at least take her outside to the school's roof. Chouko seizes her chance to escape, and ends up leaping off the roof, impaling herself on the sharp fence below. Bukita laments the fact that even though he loved her so much, his love just wasn't enough for her.

There are a few other (six total, I think?) stories in the first volume, with all of them seeming pretty interesting. I will probably write up some short summaries of those ones soon and then talk about my overall thoughts once I read through them more carefully! My Japanese is still pretty rudimentary, but luckily these stories were aimed for a pretty young-ish audience, so they have furigana and simple vocabulary throughout and I can follow most of the plot/dialogue without issue. I will probably not be able to provide images for the rest of these chapters unless I take photos of my screen with my phone, since the DLSite reader prevents any screenshots from working properly.

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