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A rude girl and an effeminate boy switch bodies and find that it might be a better fit for both of them in this crazy comedy:
Nanako Momoi is the belle of high school... as long as she stays quiet. Once she shows her true self, guys' dreams are shattered for she is a true tomboy. Akira Uehara has the looks and brains, but, unfortunately, his personality is so dull it overcasts a shadow, and nobody notices him.
One day, Nanako's grandfather comes up with a crazy invention, and Nanako and Akira trade bodies! She's his body, and he's in hers!
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I laughed my head off with this. Plus the artwork is divine. And although Momoi can be irritating i actually do like her (him), lol. Everyone is crazy in this manga, and i love the shoujo-ai, shounen-ai and gender bender presented XD
I randomly picked this series up in the bookstore due to the slightly odd twist on the typical gender-bender and the fact that I (admittedly) like feminine boys (and Momoi's character design looked pretty, too).
This was the first of Ai Morinaga's works that I have read, and after reading it, she has become my favorite mangaka for comedy and parody.
Yup, that's right. PARODY.
While I know that everyone's mileage may vary, I would just like to point out some things about this series so that those of you looking it up on here and seeing all of the negative and somewhat misinformed ratings won't just throw away the chance to read a unique and funny manga.
Yes, it is a Shoujo. And yes, it is a gender-bender. But what I find so great about (whatever you want to call it seeing as there are three different legitimate names) My Barbaric Girlfriend is its satire.
There have been many interpretations, most of them revolving around how terrible and sadistic Momoi is (something I can't totally argue with), but after reading the entire series (I was lucky enough to find complete scans and translations), I'm pretty sure that Morinaga was trying to make some sort of statement.
In the manga the characters are so far-fetched (other than Shiina, perhaps) because they are meant to mock society. It even brings out what I found to be disagreeable things from the viewers. Even though Akira is separated from his family, his friends, and his old lifestyle and is completely abused by everyone around him (minus Shiina), people still say that he should just shut up and be happy with his life because "he's better as a girl." Well I would always ask myself what that even meant. Why does someone have to "act" either like a "girl" or a "boy?" It's kind of silly to put people in boxes like that...and I felt sad for the main characters (Momoi and Senbogi) for thinking like they couldn't be with the person they loved without having it be societally correct (as in a heterosexual relationship). People often complain about Akira's softness and Momoi's cruelty, but that's basically our faults for mandating them to be that way. Girls have to be cute and men uber-manly. I think the over-the-top-ness of the whole thing is pointing out that it DOESN'T have to be like that; there are an infinite number of ways to be happy.
But this is just my interpretation of the manga. Others can see it any way they like. But please read it with a grain of salt. Morinaga's works aren't meant to be typical in any way. They are parodies and meant to be whacky, crazy, and just what you DON'T expect. That's what's fun about this series. And for those who complain that it's too repetetive and that the characters don't develop at all...I just can't agree. Sure, it's episodic, but many successful manga and anime are (let's face it). And it's not boring repetition. The characters ARE well developed and there are even special chapters that delve into their inner psyches and pasts. Momoi and Akira DEFINITELY change over the course of the series (which is weird, given that they switched into roles that "suited them better" anyways), and there are a lot of scenes which show other characters' hidden insight and depth (despite the fact that people call Shiina stupid, she definitely has great moments of intelligence and knows those around her very well. Same with Senbogi).
And after (FINALLY) getting to see the end, I can honestly say that it's worth the read. Not if you're looking for some lovey-dovey romance, however (minus the ones that develop later on...but this is arguable). And for those that complain that there's to much homo-eroticism, I'd just like to point out that, while not exactly "girly," it IS a Shoujo. And there's not really any sexual action (other than for comedy), so it doesn't really distract from the story...or at least I don't think it should...for those that get uncomfortable from such things.
Ultimately I think Your and My Secret is about love (no duh). I guess the fact that sometimes we need to change our perspective before we can see the truth, and allow the ones destined for us a chance...
Please don't be discouraged and read it!
Postie: And...I'm sorry...but nowhere does it say that in a Shoujo the two main characters have to end up with each other. Shoujo simply means, a manga with girls as a target audience. ARE WE SERIOUSLY GOING TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO BE LESS CREATIVE!? IN THIS DAY AND AGE!? We need all the creativity we can get! If everything was just in formulas, then THERE WOULD BE NO POINT TO WRITING ANYTHING! WE'D ALREADY KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN!!! <--- Sorry, major pet peeve, and no, I couldn't let it slide. ><
... Last updated on December 6th, 2011, 7:57pm
Stopped at Vol 3
I have so much hatred for Momoi, I cant even find any bad enough words to describe her. She is ruining this manga for me and I cant take this shit anymore. Akira should hurry up and confess to her (though I cant figure out what he liked in her anyways), so that the story can hurry and end. Momoi's acting like a child that takes another kids toy and refuses to give it back and frankely, she's one of my most hated characters as of now. Yeah, Akira may fit being female, but he was originally male, and thats HIS body. If she likes Shina, then she can still like her in girl form. If thats the way its gotta be then so be it.
The comedy with this is taken to far. It was funny throughout the first volume but starting dampening out by the 2nd. It doesnt HAVE to be this long!! I just wanted Momoi to take Akira seriously. I dont even care about the pairings anymore. I just want the story to end. I wont continue this until it's completely finish. Because then I can skip to the end and get this over with.
... Last updated on June 20th, 2011, 11:04am
I don't know what to think of this manga. On the one hand I really like the budding romance between Akira (in Momoi's body) and the dude who has a complicated name beginning with S. But I'm worried about where the plot is going. I really hate the real Momoi and I don't want her and Akira to get together cuz it would totally spoil things. But it looks like a real possibility and if that happens my score of around 10 for this manga would drop to 0.5 so the mangaka should make sure that pairing NEVER HAPPENS. I shall save my rating for now. Other than that, the art is good, the characters and scenes are entertaining and the romance could do with kicking up a notch. The one thing that is getting on my nerves right now is Uehara's insistance on wanting to change back. He needs to accept that he works better as a girl.
pt 1) It's a gender bender pt 2) Good comedy pt 2.5) A little promising
I understand that the characters are exaggerated to the point where it's pretty much impossible for any human to be so onesided but, I must say, it's really PAINFUL to have to read about these characters. I picked it up because it was a genderbender and because it is (or so proclaims to be) a SHOUJO manga. I don't know Morinaga can even handle making characters this sadistic.
What's the point of labeling it a shoujo when the two main characters don't even show signs of mutual feelings? Isn't the main point in a shoujo manga to bring the two main characters together in the end? But this series have already spanned on for 7 long volumes. Just how much longer does Morinaga intend to torture the doormat Akira? Also, Momoi is way too exaggerated and out of this world. Even though she is a girl she has no feelings of one even though she is obviously cute on the outside. She's so exaggerated she isn't even like a guy. Especially in the the first volume, HOW CAN ANYONE (MUCH LESS A GIRL) JUST GO AND SLEEP WITH A RANDOM GIRL THEY MET FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER SWITCHING TO A BOY'S BODY? AND FEEL NO REMORSE AFTERWARD? Yeah I get the male stereotype hinting but come on, it's a bit too much....
*Sigh* This story is so cruel I don't think it even deserves to be labeled as a shoujo manga =.= The only reason I'm still skimming through (cause it's too crude to read it all) this manga is that I'm holding onto the tiny little string of hope that Morinaga will turn this wacky story into a real shoujo manga (like so many others are hoping for).
....But you know, 7 volumes and they have gotten nowhere with character development and storyline, just how much longer will this charade continue?
Ugh one more thing I just noticed, "Nanako and Akira trade personalities! She's he, and he's she! " If they only TRADED PERSONALITIES.....WHY are did both of their memories and everything get swapped? If it was only their personalities then shouldn't they still be themselves? And just their attitudes and actions swap places? =.= *sigh* this is making less and less sense now.
One of the worst female characters ever
Holy shit this is sooo badd. The female character who is in the dudez body is horrible and people just accept that behaviour cos he is a dude. It would be one thing if Momoi/now dude after switching over was just arrogant or cold, but she is selfish to the core and is the most irritating characters I have seen. The comedy is alright but seriously its so sadistic that unless you have some masochistic qualities in yourselves the appeal will go away after the first couple of chapters. Despite the negative feedback I gave this manga a chance and I regretted it. The dude is probably worse than some of the shounen male protagonists out there and thats saying something, he has the worst life ever and its stupid how he just seemingly accepst it all and lets the girl get away with everything. To make it worse he is supposedly ok with recieving advances from his male friend. I didn't know a body switch also means a change in sexual orientation. Wtf? Totally gross. Momoi also had a change in sexual orientation from nowhere and I hate it how the author potrays that its a sign of manliness to just be horrible towards other people. Momoi is now one of my most hated characters now. Seriously i know its a comedy but the characters have to be somehwat likeable but I found them to be one dimensional and dull. I wish there was a rating of 0 because this series doesn't even deserve a 1.
... Last updated on August 31st, 2010, 12:51am
One of the few great gender-bender comedies
First off, just because this is a "shoujo" manga doesn't mean that it has to be your typical school romance manga. If you're interested in a funny and smart manga however, then you might want to check this title out. Also, I have no idea why you would pick up a body-swap manga and ask for it to be "realistic". It says right on the back of volume 1, "a girl and a boy swap bodies!"
Keep in mind that Akira has been the only narrator so far. Before he ended up in a girl's body and afterwards, it's HIS thoughts that we're reading so he would probably be considered the main protagonist. That's rare enough for a shoujo manga and probably a good indicator of this manga's uniqueness. Some things in the story like the characters are intentionally exaggerated to make fun of gender roles/stereotypes. It reinforces gender stereotypes to an extreme in order to criticize them or just make you laugh. And I laughed a lot while reading this, more than I thought I would when I first picked up the volumes. This series is a lot smarter than its embarrasing title and girly covers may lead you to believe. I love it, it's like a surprise.
I've only finished the first 5 volumes so far but the Tokypop just released the 6th volume so I'll be reading that soon and possibly editing this comment in the future!
a TRUE gender bender
so it's already 7 volumes now, and i'm still on the edge of my seat.
there are a lot of criticisms going around but i beg to differ. here is my take on things.
romance and gender bender: this is a gender bender manga, so expect some same sex infatuations or whatever you call it. in fact, i praise this manga for being true to the genre, unlike most gender benders that are half-hearted. at least, in this manga, you can see that LOVE TRANSCENDS GENDER. and that it doesn't necessarily have to be a love between the two main characters. (this is the issue for some since they've been pushing for a momoixakira pairing. well i also would accept the idea.) let's be open minded, please. whether it's a girlxboy or boyxboy pairing, let's just accept which pairing prevails.
characters: momoi is a b***h.she gets on everybody's nerve. we all know that by now. but that's her personality. an exaggeration that was intended by the mangaka. akira is pathetic. girly beyond what a girl is. heck she's a disgrace both to men and women. nonetheless, an exaggeration that was intended. the mangaka is trying to poke fun at the stereotypes of how girly girls and arrogant boys behave.
plot: don't take things seriously. it is meant to be insanely ridiculous. if you're looking for realism or logic, this isn't the right manga for you. heck, don't expect to find it in any of ai morinaga's works.
comedy: more than the romance, i've been reading this because of the humor. ai morinaga is really amazing. she never fails to crack me up.
releases: this comes out in japan once in every two months!! no! i can't wait.
all in all, this is something i won't get tired of. XD
I have been clinging to the hope that some sort of plot twist or character development will take place in this manga, but it looks like nothing will change. But I have not given up yet, I have been on and off reading this since everyone in this manga is so disgustingly selfish. You think their has to be a limit to how selfish a person could be, but not in this manga. I don't even know why he likes her, she has displayed absolutely no likable traits.
Another thing is how the story focuses a lot on how people believe boys and girls should act, nothing wrong with that, but how it is being done leaves you wanting to blow off almost every characters head while laughing, "FINALLY THIS MANGA IS OVER AHAHAHAHAHA!" (Drives you insane really -_- )
Truthfully I wish this manga was over so I could stop reading it. But like I said, I am hanging on to a shred of hope that character development will show and a plot twist will end this manga in a way it makes you feel all is right with the world again. A massacre does not need to take place.
... Last updated on May 14th, 2010, 11:03pm
Y'know, I REALLY love Morinaga Ai, due to the fact that she can make me laugh and pee in my pants. But in all honesty, this probably has to be her worst work yet.
As stated below by other commenters, the female protaganist really is a horrible person, to the point where I would've thrown the book at the wall, if I had one that is. The male lead starts out cute at first, but becomes rather pathetic in later scenes.
If you're a shoujo fan, then I would NOT recommend this series at all. But if you're a masochist, then go right ahead.