Suzushiro Mizuki is a 1st year high school student who has the difficulty of constantly being mistaken for a girl. It's so bad that he's endlessly rebuffing the confessions of many men. Even the girl he has a crush on seems to think of him more as one of the girls rather than as a potential love interest.
Meanwhile, the trickster god Loki has grown bored with playing her tricks on her fellow gods. Turning her attention to the mortal world, she targets Mizuki for her next round of fun. The result: Mizuki wakes up with budding breasts and a missing part of his anatomy.
What else is in store for Mizuki and how will he deal with it?
I wanted to right this review before I was able to finish the series. The reason for this is so that I don't have a biased opinion due to having an ending I liked or due to it having an ending I did not like so let me begin.
First I would like to state I absolutely LOVE this series. Although there are quite a few issues I see being the cynic I am. So when it comes to the story of Boku Girl there is a pureness to it with a VERY lovable cast that makes this manga exceeds others like it and with a
the introduction of the Norse Gods into the story as the reason for Mizuki's change in gender adds a certain flare to the story for me.
When it comes to the characters of this series I must say that I love all of them like I stated before it's just a very lovable cast. There is still issues to be found though, when it comes to the development of any characters outside of the main cast which is maintained by a mere 3 characters really leaves a lot to be wanted for me. I would have loved to have seen more development in other characters and with this being said let me conclude this review.
I got a lot of enjoyment out of this series and hope it has a great ending (at least to me) and the art is phenomenal, well when I say phenomenal I just mean that it's a truly beautiful style. So overall I thought the story was very good. The characters that are developed being a good quality but leaving quite a bit to be wanted from other characters outside the main cast. An overall Enjoyable story and a truly magnificent art style, or at least one that caters to my taste. So if you like a good gender swap ecchi manga... well this is a great one.
This is written after reading (more or less) all 107 chapters, either through full scanlations, live TL threads, or reading raws with my extremely rudimentary Japanese skills.
Recognize that this entire manga is very cisnormative and heteronormative (aka there would be no conflict whatsoever if characters weren't straight and also weren't polarized as strictly masculine and feminine). I'm not a huge fan of the gender binary, personally, but I can put that aside to read some silly manga with nicely drawn boobs.
When I first started this manga it was silly, fun, had really nice art, didn't drag things out for too long, and I gave it
a 9 rating. Sugito Akira's storytelling style always includes some kind of misunderstanding, distraction, or interruption right before or in the middle of a major event (like a confession, realization of feelings, etc). At first it's funny, but after 107 chapters it gets tiring.
The main plot is far-fetched to begin with. Loki (in the form of a /very/ young-looking girl) decides to mess with a feminine-looking guy and give him a vagina, hijinks ensue. There are small story arcs that are basically either character introductions or the introduction of some problem that someone has to deal with. It seems like some things are brushed off or handled weirdly for the sake of moving the story along, but the kicker is that there isn't much plot progression at all when you step back and look at it. Let's all be honest with each other though, we aren't reading ecchi for the plot anyway.
Soft! Boku Girl is so soft and nice looking. Personally, I'm more of a fan of the art towards the beginning. Boobs sag more realistically than most manga boobs, and I appreciate that a lot. Sugito is a pro at drawing expressions. At the beginning, each important character design is very different from the others. If you only saw the silhouettes of most of them, you would be able to tell them apart. If you're looking for cute things that look really soft, nice looking lips, or a ruggedly handsome male lead (luv u takeru), this is a good manga for it.
This score mostly reflects my feelings on each of the characters by the end of the story. Everyone got a little more bland by the end. At the beginning, everyone had their own distinct personalities that made them unique. At one point or another, they all started feeling more generic. Certain characters had little quirks or secrets that gave them flavor, but basically all of those things ended up being irrelevant. Kind of disappointing, really.
The first 55 chapters were an absolute delight, and I would have given them a 9. After that point, all the little storytelling quirks that used to be sort of funny started getting really annoying. Things like the sudden interruption during an event that would have otherwise moved the plot along, comic relief characters overstaying their welcome, pointless "antagonist" and "rival" characters being introduced. If you're patiently waiting for new scanlations to be released, don't think about them too much. They've already hit the best part.
I won't spoil the ending, but I will say that I was genuinely disappointed by how vanilla and boring the last like 20 or so chapters were. Hate to sound hipster again or whatever, but early Boku Girl was the best. Chapter 55 was the peak. I'm not into super moe stuff, and BG wasn't /super/ moe, but Mizuki came pretty close. This series would have been better if it was half the amount of chapters that it was, I think.
The reason I was all about this manga at first was because it felt a lot like a BL but with boobs. What could be better than that? Over time, it lost the BL feeling, but I still hung on. When it started to get basic was when I started getting sad.
I know some people definitely like this manga, and I won't say that I dislike it, but I would have preferred for it to go in a different direction than it did. It's still a fun read, but if you aren't rearing to read it, just wait for the scanlations to finish and blow through it all at once.
I'm am going to write a mostly spoiler free review of this series as most of its faults can be detailed without given away any plot specifics (nothing you can't guess without having ever cracked the cover) aside from character names. Warning, this series is ecchi and carries all such related warnings. All of pronouns referring to Mizuki will be male because I'm lazy and don't feel like writing his/her and he/she etc. and I have no clue how the author intended for us to see the character.
Summary 3/10 :
In certain sporting communities the word potential is used as an insult. With that
in mind, I can only say that Boku Girl had potential. It had the foundations of a generally good gender bent series; but due to a phenomenal lack of a structured story, character development, sense of urgency, and consequences for actions taken, it failed to leave any positive lasting impression and left me asking what the purpose of the manga was by the end.
This is the most baffling part of the series. Boku Girl by all measures appears to be a tale of ecchi romance, and perhaps part harem; but, it fails to develop believable organic romantic relationships between Mizuki and any of his love interests.
The story begins with the expected gender transformation in our protagonist and the author writes a good twenty or so genuinely enjoyable chapters that deal with how Mizuki must proceed if he wishes to hide it from the girl he's interested in and the school at large. Unfortunately, once his secret is revealed the plot becomes muddled and rapidly devolves into a standard American romantic comedy filled with misunderstandings and a general lack of honesty between the characters. This causes the story to stall out and prevents the characters from developing proper relationship with each other.
This is because there is almost no causality in the story. Various characters will make attempts to court Mizuki but their actions don't result in any consequences. For example, a great number of characters try to rape him but it never changes the way Mizuki feels about them. If they were creepy before hand, they still are, but if they were a close friend Mizuki doesn't show any signs of emotional turmoil that his trust has been betrayed. This may be written off as generally ecchi behavior because the story never recognizes it as anything other than normal, but this would have been a strong opportunity to force much needed character development and offered a chance to escape the character and plot stagnation that was occurring.
Credit is due for the art. I'll quickly let it be known that the scenery and the general quality of the art work was slightly above average and never left me wanting or confused. Furthermore, some of the characters like Mei and Mizuki has designs which fit the characters well.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Yumeko, the female love interest. Her design was bland. It had no distinctive characteristics and made it very hard to see her as anything other than another pointless harem shipping.
While I can't complain about this specifically from a critical perspective, I thought the author should not have allowed the characters' designs to to so obviously explain their role in the story. E.g. random high school male is drawn like a creep so naturally he's going to hit on Mizuki and be a pest. Variety is the spice of life and although the author has plenty here, he isn't willing to break out of the mold and try anything daring and new. (Also, is it too much to ask that Thor be drawn with a bit more maturity?)
Show don't tell: that's the best bit of advice for any character development that I can give. Boku Girl puts forth a rather impressive amount of effort to explain how the characters feel about each other. Unfortunately it never goes anywhere thanks to this series utter lack of causality. The author mainly develops the characters through introspection and acts of physical contact that will not be expounded upon properly.
I touched on this a bit in the story section, but the development of Mizuki and Takeru does progress nicely for the first twenty or so chapters. Unfortunately, across the board the author leaves the character arcs unfinished for essentially all of the characters. Minor characters get undue time in the spotlight for character development but then they turn out to be tertiary to the main plot and only distract from cementing the primary characters as their own discrete entities. In general, all of the characters are too passive and unwilling to express themselves constructively to the ones they love.
Mizuki: While initially his struggles to pass himself off as a boy define him as a character; once his secret is revealed, his defining characteristics become so difficult to see that you could say that the character by the end is a totally different character. This is very problematic because there is no natural progression from point A to B that you might expect from a gender bender. The character is so passive in accepting roles from others, that I'm not quite sure how the character will behave on his own. I would preferred to see Mizuki take a dominant role in relationships so that we could better have seen how his behavior changed due to his transformation and societal influences. Also, Mizuki's passivity is one of the main causes of roughly fourty chapters of filler material that leads nowhere. I suppose as a study for how social pressures affects humans it's not the worst effort I've seen, but I'm here to watch a story about how a kid deals with a gender transformation and how that affects his love life and not about how wearing a dress prevents a person from behaving assertively.
Yumeko: Honestly, I can't say very much about this character beyond that she's a generic female love interest. She's in enough of the story to develop her own character but the author didn't seem to want her to be anything else. (He even has another character make fun of how stereotypical she is)
Takeru: In general I'd say he was the most believable character. His initial relationship with Mizuki makes sense, but as the story progresses he begins to behave erratically. I can only presume that he was the intended romantic partner for Mizuki, but his relationship with him bizarrely flip flops between best friends and love interests in a manner that I can only describe as manic.
Loki: A generally fun character that sets the plot into action. Unfortunately, her antics, past the initial transformation, don't really contribute to the story and it feels weaker as a result of all of the page time she receives in the final 60 chapters.
Depiction of Men 3/10 | Women 3/10 :
Unpopular opinion, but I feel that it is necessary to look at how a gender bender portrays the difference between the sexes.
Men: Simply put, just because a man likes a women doesn't mean that he's going to violate her personal space and take any opportunity presented to molest her. Numerous times throughout this manga we see various men plan to and actively molest Mizuki for no other reason than he's cute and available. I understand that this is an ecchi piece but rape/incest leaves a bad taste in my mouth and it wasn't called for in this series. How is it that the specifically creepy character Yamada is more respectful of Mizuki than his childhood friend?
Women: Honestly speaking, it's a mixed bag. Some individuals like Loki and Mei stand on their own and I have no complaints about them. But for crying out loud, Yumeko is nothing more than a cardboard cutout that I've seen many times before whenever someone needs a generic female love interest for the man to fall for. Mizuki's female form is even worse. From the start of the manga Mizuki is objectified by BOTH genders as an object of attraction. Only Yumeko and Loki have an explicit interest in Mizuki for a reason other than his appearance.
I can't say I would ever recommend this series to anyone as anything other than a textbook on how not to write a romance. I can't say that I wasn't enjoying the series while I was reading it. It presented enough comedy to keep me going, but that's probably the only major draw the manga has. To say I was disappointed by the ending is needless, because no ending presented would have satisfied me. The characters were simply too flat and dull to become invested in. That is quite the marvel in fact when you consider the length of the series. Manga such as Pluto have made me care for characters more in the course of two chapters than this manga did in the course of its entire length.
This is really one of a kind. Even if at the same time it is an
amalgam of almost everything thats wrong in manga and anime today, it still managed to give me a fun time, so I will give it that. There's no significant character development whatsoever through all the course of the story (even the guy to girl development seemed a bit off and in times, artificial (very, very artificial)), but this time it didn't really matter much. I will talk about the wrong things I mentioned before, and focus my review on that.
First and foremost, this is an ecchi manga, so I
believe fanservice doesn't apply here - however, it has just the same problem as bad fanservice goes: IT MAKES NO GODDAMN SENSE! Most of the time it was obscenity for the sake of it, and it just popped out of nowhere and went for about many pages just because, even sacrificing any kind of character traces it had built until now. Yeah, its clearly an ecchi manga, but I think even ecchi mangas should, I dunno, respect whatever kind of inteligence readers of the genre still have.
And this brings out the next problem: the nonsensical, sometimes utterly stupid humour and character actions. Yeah, a guy riding a trident into the sunset and exploding into a massive mushroom might sound credible in a Uncle Grandpa episode, but all this kind of crude humour through all the manga felt really tiring and boresome. The ecchi stuff enters greatly at this category as well.
The bizarre sense of pace: it may be just me, but almost all shoujo manga feels the same thing with a different story. This is not so bad, because the diversity fills this void, however it always goes like this:
*close at the handsome fella*
~shocking, foreseen catchphrase with sometimes a little bit of nihilism~
*sparkles flies, now both are blushed and the camera focus on both guy and girl, this second with a troubled face*
~actually unimportant character that just comes out of nowhere to create a false sense of choice for the protagonist and a drilling feeling of rage for all readers who were actually cheering for this second because the main's interest was actually boring, annoying, offensively retarded or even a serial rapist~
And yeah, Boku Girl follows this path, however, the problem with following a formula is that, if you screw up, it's more of a crime if you did create your own way of telling a story. The pace here felt off, but I can't really explain why (not a pro in this), however, reading Masamune-kun no Revenge, I can tell that at least Boku Girl didn't screw up THAT badly.
So yeah. As for the general rates MAL provides, the story, apart from being a transgender story, doesn't really have anything to offer so meh. I really, really liked the art though (apart from those bizarre eyelashes the girls all have - and for some reason even Mizuki before turning into a girl), even though the first chapters had one of the most bizarre senses of anatomy I've ever seen. The characters, too, hadn't much to offer, although I liked them, all of them are really bidimensionals and not that worth mentioning. But, welp, I really liked it overall.