Title: Half and Half
Author: NANAMI Mao
KC Dessert Comics, 2008
I ended up purchasing this manga because of the description and picture on the back cover, not the front cover. This is a cross-dressing love story again, but this time, it is a little bit different than other cross-dressing stories I have summarized before. And hey, no idol singers this time! 🙂 This is an interesting story though, and I really like the artwork in it. It is very simple and has a clean look to it. I don’t think I have anything else by this author, but I will have to double check to be sure. This is actually a “josei” title, or a series aimed at slightly older women as opposed to schoolgirls. This is volume 1, and the series appears to still be running in Dessert magazine. I look forward to seeing what happens in volume 2.
Our heroine is girl named Hina-chan. She is in her 20’s. Hina has a handsome boyfriend now, but she will always remember her first love, a boy named Itsuki. When other kids would tease Hina, calling her ugly, Itsuki would defend her, and try to cheer her up and make her feel better. He and some of his family eventually moved away, leaving Hina heartbroken. But the memory of her first love will always make Hina feel nostalgic and happy inside. Itsuki’s grandmother still lives next door to Hina, so she still has a connection to him, somehow.
One day, Hina has a dream of Itsuki, and she is feeling especially nostalgic about him. She is just mentioning her dream to his grandmother, when they are interrupted by the arrival of a stranger. It is a tall, beautiful woman. Wait a minute… it’s Itsuki!
Itsuki has returned to his hometown to stay with his grandmother, but he is not the same Itsuki who left 13 years ago. He is now living as a woman. With a padded bust, long hair, and beautiful clothes, Itsuki makes a very striking woman. In fact, he is prettier than Hina! Itsuki is not joking, either. He claims that he is really a woman on the inside, and now he is dressing that way on the outside.
Hina is stunned, and also somewhat crushed. She cared so much for Itsuki, and now his new appearance has sort of tarnished the memory of her precious first love. Every time she thinks of her beloved childhood Itsuki, he turns into a woman in her mind!
Of course there is some anger awkwardness at first. Hina doesn’t exactly know how to behave around the new Itsuki. But Itsuki is still Itsuki on the inside, and he still cares about Hina, though not in the romantic way that she once imagined. As a woman, Itsuki is sexy, flirty, and tough. “She” still protects Hina, and saves her from some tough situations. It’s just that now she wears a dress while doing it. All the guys drool. But Itsuki does not hide the fact that “she” is really a “he”, so there is also some hatred and prejudice that she faces. Hina slowly begins to adjust to knowing the new Itsuki.
And yes, even though Itsuki now lives as a woman, Hina finds herself falling in love all over again, regardless of how Itsuki dresses. But Itsuki sees herself as a woman, and she only loves men. Will Hina end up heartbroken all over again?