Title: Danshi Kinshi!!
Author: SHIGANO Iori
ChuChu Comics, 2007
It’s interesting. When I think about my favorite shoujo manga authors, SHIGANO Iori’s name never really springs to mind, yet when I look at my manga collection, I actually own an amazing number of books by her. I am not entirely sure why I keep purchasing them, as they can be hit or miss, but I guess I like reading them to find out 🙂 This is a funny little one-shot volume that features that tried and true shoujo plot device — cross-dressing! Oh come on, like I can go very long without talking about another cross-dressing series! SHIGANO-sensei did some smuttier comedy series in Sho-Comi and Cheese magazines for a while, but lately I have also found her doing series for magazines aimed at a slightly younger crowd. Such is the case with this series, which ran in ChuChu magazine. Fun romance, but nothing exceptionally smutty. Yet it’s amusing comedy and a nice read. The book contains 5 chapters, and they all deal with the same main couple. I kind of wish there were more volumes to this series.
The story focuses on our heroine, a school girl named SHIMOMURA Mao. Mao is cute and energetic, and up until the time our story takes place, she has practiced martial arts at her family’s dojo. However, in spite of her previous unladylike sports hobbies, Mao actually craves to be more feminine. She really admires girls who are tall and elegant and aristocratic. She wants to be just like that. In fact, there are some girls just like that at her school. They are the members of the student council. When Mao is selected to serve on the student council too, it’s like a dream come true. She can be friends with such beautiful and elegant girls, and perhaps grow to be like them someday, too!
Mao’s school is an all-girls private Catholic institution. Most of the girls there are feminine and graceful, but the student council is the best of the bunch. Mao will be joining the following members: President KIRYUU Chisato, Vice President SAKISAKA Shinobu, and Treasurer MYOJIN Hikaru. They are idols of the school, and Mao looks forward to spending days with them, sipping tea and doing other elegant stuff. With this kind of setup, you know that poor Mao is soon going to face some severe disappointment. And sure enough, right on her first day on the council, she discovers that her lovely student council idols are not what they appear to be.
Nope, they are not remotely like the genteel, refined ladies that they appear to be on the surface. In fact, all three of them are… guys! Wait, what?! This is an all-girls school! What are they doing there! There’s no doubt about it, Mao walked in on the boys while there were in the middle of getting dressed. They are guys, all right. Shinobu and Hikaru have ridiculous, but sort of understandable reasons for why they are masquerading as girls. For Shinobu, it has to do with inheriting his family business, and for Hikaru, it is for research in his career as a shoujo novelist. (what, another novelist!?). But what about Chisato? The perfect young lady that Mao admired the most?
Ahhhh, he is the worst! He gives no specific reason for dressing as a girl, but he acts very serious about convincing Mao to keep their ruse a secret. He uses her admiration for his female persona to fluster poor Mao and intimidate her. What a beast! How could she have ever admired him?! Poor Mao, she had hoped to be surrounded by a peaceful feminine atmosphere, and instead she is stuck babysitting a bunch of obnoxious boys! Why is Chisato really at the school? And why is he so against Mao telling their secret, even to a trusted teacher?
This is a romantic comedy, with a lot of silly situations and some exaggerated artwork. SHIGANO-sensei’s art is not exactly my favorite — there is something about the wide faces and big eyes that bothers me a little sometimes, but it can be cute. She likes to change style to chibi/SD a lot for comedic emphasis, and give her characters little animal ears. Chisato can seem like a jerk at first, but the cool facade doesn’t last long, and he is an adorable character. This isn’t exactly a deep or meaningful manga, but it can be sweet and cute. If you like cross-dressing fun, check it out 🙂