Wednesday, June 14, 2006


In the last few weeks I've read several excellent manga. They were so good, in fact, that I've put off reviewing them because I was scared of not being able to do them justice. So instead, here's another shoujo gender-bending comedy: CUTExGUY vol. 1 by Makoto Tateno.

Sumi, a high-school student, is in love with her classmate Mitsuru, but hasn't told him. She hears a rumor that he likes more mature girls, so in order to work up the courage to confess, she takes a drug given to her by her scientist father which will make her sexier and more mature. Or so she thinks. In fact her father, using her as an involuntary guinea pig, slips her a drug which turns her temporarily into a guy, and a very masculine, rugged guy at that. This transformation,which Sumi desperately tries to keep secret, recurs every time her feelings about Mitsuru get too strong. And since Mitsuru regards her as a best friend and keeps confiding his problems to her, that happens a lot. As a further complication, "Jun" (as Sumi's male persona becomes known) proves to be Mitsuru's ideal of masculinity, and Mitsuru, who is rather girlish, asks "him" to be allowed to become "his" pupil. (There's no actual yaoi in this volume, but a lot of jokes about it.) Throw in a lustful, voluptuous teacher who chases after Jun, and a couple of other sex-changers, and you get...

...Nothing particularly original, unfortunately. Nor is the art distinctive. Still, the book is entertaining enough. I don't think it's worth the ten or more bucks an English version would cost, but I'd probably spend six bucks for the next Japanese volume at the Arlington Heights Asahiya.

CUTExGUY is published by Hakusensha. There are three volumes out so far; the price for vol. 1 is 390 yen, and its ISBN is 4-592-18191-3. Here's amazon.co.jp's partly-English page for vol. 1. (I've found it's easy to order from them even if you don't know Japanese, though the shipping costs will be high, at least for a single volume.)

And I really do intend to write up those excellent manga I mentioned.

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