by Mikiyo Tsuda
published by Digital Manga; $12.95 US
Kei is a schoolboy so cute that even his best friends can’t resist hitting on him. When he passes out and is taken to the hospital, it’s revealed that he’s really a girl, genetically. He decides he must live as a female, hoping that his unusual choice will bring his family arguments to a head.
This decision to become the “proper” gender affects his relationships with his family, school life, and his former best friends. Typical of many manga, Kei doesn’t get along with his father, acting out to get his attention in spite of Dad’s emotional absence. Perhaps his starting over, gender-wise, will allow for a fresh start with his family.
Kei’s friends, in contrast, love the idea, since they don’t have to feel weird any more about their crushes on him. As Megumi, Kei is assigned another girl to teach him how to behave correctly. She also hits on him, and he responds out of a new fear of men, providing some yuri interest. Add in the attractive young boy being hit on by his classmates (yaoi) and the following typical boy/girl shojo comedy (complete with allusions to date rape), and the result feels like a book that’s trying to be everything to everyone.
That approach rarely succeeds, and this is no exception. There isn’t enough of any given approach to satisfy fans of that genre, and what does make it to the page is standard and typical, both plot and art. If one reads the lead as male, mentally, then this story is no different from the many yaoi titles that feature a young, attractive boy dressed as a girl for some contrived reason. If one instead reads the lead as “really” a girl, then female readers can sympathize with the stereotypical gender role expectations forced upon the lead.
Promising elements are raised, briefly addressed in the expected fashion, and dropped, not to be explored again. Overall, disappointing.