Miyoshi is always competing and losing against his childhood friend, Mamiya, who is good at everything. One day, Mamiya collapses from illness and is hospitalized for several weeks. When he returns to school, it turns out he is genetically female, and has decided to try living his life as a girl now much to Miyoshi's horror.
The premise of this manga is almost irresistible for someone like me, who is part of the LGBT community. In a world where the male-female ratio is equal, when there is an imbalance, a person will ‘emerge’. That is to say, a person will change from one gender to the other, on a chromosomal level. I couldn’t wait to read this when I heard about it. I wanted to see the impact that such a change would have on psyche, but it barely delved into that aspect of the story. If you are expecting a deeply meaningful, psychological manga with
elements of romance mixed in due to this premise, you’ll be sadly disappointed.
In short, this is just a romance, pure and simple and it does not focus on the problem of ‘emergence’ as a form of psychological or emotional trauma for the characters. It’s a love story where it happens that one of the main characters happens to have been a male and the best friends Neo (was male but is now female) and Miyoshi fall in love after Neo’s emergence.
While it does deal with gender differences and questions relating to being able to love someone despite gender, it’s very…shall we say shallow? It also tends to be very stereotypical, which isn’t surprising given that this is from Japan. Still, it’s stereotypical enough to make me cringe on several occasions. I was hoping for more, but I did not find it in this. That is not to say, however, that I did not enjoy it as a whole, because I did. I simply wish it had been done better.
The art was very eye-catching, and is completely my style of artwork. While I’ve definitely seen better, I have nothing bad to say for the art.
This is where the realism of the concept of emergence falls apart: the characters. While there are scenes that show discrimination for those who ‘emerge’ the characters themselves never seem to have the slightest problem with it. It’s completely accepted by everyone, which is very hard to believe. In this day and age, people have plenty of phobias regarding Transgender issues and it’s hard for many friends and families to accept because…well people generally don’t understand it. Yet in this manga, everyone (of import) is perfectly fine with the 17 year old boy suddenly becoming a girl, even the person in question. The father is fine with it, the step-mother, the little sister, the love-interest’s family, friends at school, etc…they even immediately switch to using the female pronouns, something that people even today have problems doing that easily.
The only one who really seems to show any since of having problems dealing with the change is the love interest, which I feel is a very missed opportunity. It does mention that the Main Character, Neo, didn’t want to change, but we never really see that internal struggle. If we had, the manga greatly would have benefitted from it. Instead, it’s mostly just hinted at and never really delved into too deeply, which was a very missed chance for character growth and development. Overall, I found the love interest and best friend, Miyoshi, to be much more developed than any of the other characters. He struggles greatly with the changes in
I did enjoy the manga. It was interesting to read, but it left me feeling…slightly annoyed. There were so many chances for this manga to be an extraordinary feat of perfection, but it never reached that protentional. Instead, the manga focused on things it should not (in my opinion) focused on. Examples:
- When Neo came out, he acted as if he was fine with it. It was mentioned that he hadn’t been okay with it, but we never really see that from Neo’s perspective. We didn’t see that struggle from becoming a female after living happily as a heterosexual male for seventeen years.
- It glosses over Neo’s struggle with fears of whether or not Neo can be loved by Miyoshi, something I thought was interesting, but it was done in a very haphazard way, and resolved way too quickly.
- The manga never mentioned Neo’s thoughts on changing from a heterosexual male to a heterosexual female. If his mind was un-phased by the emergence, there should have been a sexuality issue. While the issue was addressed, it was so brief as to be non-existent. Neo simply comes to the revelation that the only guy he/she could be with is Miyoshi and that’s the end of it. Neo’s change to liking men is briefly explained by the amount of estrogen in his body, but even so it was a weak explanation as lesbians have plenty of estrogen as well, but they don’t suddenly start having sex with men because of it.
- The manga focused too much on both of them getting jealous than it did most other issues, something I thought was irrelevant. Instead of focusing on petty jealousies, there was plenty of other problems the manga could have focused on.
- Neo slept five years of life away, yet the impact that had on his/her psychological wellbeing wasn’t discussed at all. If a person lay in a coma for five year and suddenly woke up, I imagine the person would have a least a bit of trouble grasping that five years had passed without awareness, yet those missing five years didn’t seem to bother Neo in the slightest.
- Too many male/female stereotypes for my taste, which was shown my pretty much everyone in the manga, even by Neo, who should have known better.
I understand that to many, these many seem like petty, minor details, but they are the details which interested me most, and where simply not addressed or not addressed properly, which is a shame. Otherwise, it is a good manga. Once I began reading, I couldn’t stop, and finished it in one day.
I wouldn’t say this manga is a masterpiece, or even that the manga is great. I enjoyed it greatly, and couldn’t stop reading once I began, but there were too many problems for me to ignore because of that. It’s one I might read again, but not one I’d give enormous praise to. Hence, I’m going to rate this as a seven out of ten.
A brief summary of my thoughts is that, Kanojo ni Naru Hi isn't bad but it's not great either. Read it if you want, just don't take it too seriously.
With that out of the way, Kanojo ni Naru Hi is a manga that, more so then any other I've read, will vary depending on what you want this manga to be. Don't get what I mean, that's fine I'll try to elaborate.
The first thing you'll notice when you approach this manga is the premise, a guy spontaneously transforms into a girl and it's out of his, or her, control. After that it follows
the misadventures of the guy who was best friends with the newly made female before she was a she. With this premise the first thing one might assume is that it's going to tackle gender issues, acceptance of oneself, and challenging common views on the two subjects.
But it really doesn't do that much. The manga portrays two sides, the side that thinks emergence is disgusting and the side that thinks it's fine. But neither side manages to portray their side outside of shallow emotional knee-jerk reactions.
In regards to the side that looks down on emergence, it's understandable the stance they take. Whether or not you support transgenderism or not, the reality is that it is a small subculture of human life. It's a foreign thing that very well may frighten or disgust people, especially if they have a preconceived notion of gender and sex. And on the other hand, if someone experiences transgenderism, or in the case of this manga 'emergence,' it's something that is outside of the individuals control. The individual likely didn't ask to be put in a position like they are in. And even if it was their choice, it is their choice and no one else should control their life.
See that previous paragraph is comprised of simple arguments for both sides that I came up with in maybe fifteen minutes, but the author couldn't manage to do the same in the entire publishing time. Instead of posing questions that challenges how people think on both sides of the issues the author goes down the path of "We should accept everyone," which is fine if that's what you want to read, but I was disappointed.
Instead when I look at it, and it's side story "Kanojo ni Naru Hi Another," both are much better read as stories about accepting oneself, especially Another. They both do decent jobs tackling how different individuals may feel, even if some of the romance is forced, and when read with that idea in your mind they're fun.
If you want to read something that better tackles the idea of sexual and gender identity, go read "Himegoto: Juukyuusai no Seifuku" or "Shimanami Tasogare." They tackle the previously mentioned ideas in real ways that help you understand what the characters face.
Other wise if you just want to read something that touches these issues on a surface level with average art but good character development, Kanojo ni Naru Hi is an alright pick.
Well, let's start by saying that this is one of my favorite manga of all time right up there with Nazo no Kanojo and Tasogare Otome x Amnesia. And just like with those mangas, I have no fucking idea why I love them so much.
I started thinking about this after I finished this manga and the only reason I can come up with is that they appeal to me on an emotional level.
They're flawed of course. I can tell you somethings wrong with this manga from the top of my head. One example of this is how the
romance feels a bit on the nose and weird in the first few chapters. Of course, fortunately, this goes away as you read more.
The characters were outstanding and the main couple was really developed. When you compare them with how they were at the beginning of the manga they're like different people!
Oh, and this goes way beyond the "first kiss". I won't spoil it (even though I already kinda did).
Anyways, this manga was great. It was amazing. The ending was amazing. Everything was amazing. It was cute, serious if need be, no unnecessary melodrama, no bullshit. Just a genuinely heart-warming story about love, overcoming difficulties, and coming to terms with yourself. Some people may find the gender-bender aspect weird and just ignore this... Don't. It's a really good story. You'd be missing out.
That's all I gotta say. It's a solid 10/10 although I know from an objective point of view it's probably an 8. But fuck that cause I enjoyed it and this review is 100% subjective (If you hadn't already noticed).
That's all I had to say. Just felt like writing this. Have a good day.
I've had mixed experiences reading gender-bender manga.
The better ones showed that gender is a social construct - that gender plays no role in determining who a person is or what they are capable of, and that preferences, hobbies, behavioral patterns... none of these are influenced by a person's gender, but rather by society's perception of gender and its need to assert gender roles.
The worse ones were quick to impose gender roles, swiftly establishing the Do's and Don'ts of being male or female, mercilessly confining their characters to a strict set of behaviors 'appropriate' to their respective genders.