Change!, by HASHIBA Mao and TERADA Toshio

Change! by HASHIBA Mao and TERADA Toshio Title:Change!
Author:HASHIBA Mao and TERADA Toshio
ISBN# 4-08-847016-8
Margaret Comics, 1999

I first came in contact with the story of ‘Change!’ in the form of a live action Japanese TV drama by the same name that aired in late 1998. I just watched it recently, and loved it 🙂 The drama is 11 or 12 episodes long (each episode is one hour). At the end of the last episode, the 2 main actresses in it did an ad plugging the manga that goes with the TV series. I immediately ran to the store and was happy to find the manga in stock. Lucky! 🙂 I was a little bit disappointed by the art style in the manga, it seemed rather plain to me, but I think this is because I saw this first as a live action series, so I have my mental image of what everyone should look like based on that. As far as I can tell, the manga and the TV series were released at the same time. There are some differences between the two (the TV series actually draws the story out longer than the manga) but in general they cover most of the same main points.

If you have seen that Disney movie with Jodie Foster in it, ‘Freaky Friday’ (or even the recent version with Lindsey Lohan) then you can probably follow the plot of this manga easily because it is based on the same premise- a mother and daughter (who do NOT get along well) argue and fall down the stairs at their house together, and when they wake up at the bottom of the staircase they discover that their minds have switched bodies! Now 14 year old school girl Saori is in the body of her mother, 35 year old actress Mizuho, and Mizuho is now in the body of her schoolgirl daughter. OH NO! What to do!? There is the struggle of adjusting to the strange situation, followed by the decision to try to keep the news of their switch from Saori’s papa (Mizoho’s husband), and then the attempt by each of them to live the life that goes with their body.

Schoolgirl Saori has had a big crush on a guy in her class named Kenji. The day of the switch she had just found out he likes her too and wants to start going out with her! But before she could answer him, they were interrupted, and Saori had to wait. Now Mizuho is in Saori’s body. Can she help Saori keep Kenji as a possible boyfriend, or will a jealous classmate steal him away when he becomes confused over ‘Saori’s’ suddenly strange behavior? Saori was also on the school swim team. Can her mother possibly compete in races using Saori’s body? Then there is Saori trying to live Mizuho’s life. Saori has never acted before, but she has agents and managers pulling at her from all sides to work on projects, including scenes where she has to wear very little clothing! Imagine how devastated Saori is when she realizes her FIRST kiss won’t be with Kenji like she dreamed, but with some strange actor guy she has never met before! Mizuho’s and Saori’s experiences bring them closer, but how long will it be until they are switched back, if ever? Can they keep their situation a secret?