lapin's reading list

Finished Reading

Just some thoughts on stuff that I've finished reading.

僕になった私 (I Became A Boy)

by shimaki ako
published: 2004-2006

Thoughts: Momoko is your average teenage girl--ready to start the school year and make friends, partake in all things maybe finding love! But of course, the universe is a funny thing, and she gets the exact opposite of what she wanted, and is thrown into an all boy's school because of certain circumstances. Now she has to navigate her school year as a boy. Sound simple? It is! It's a very trope-y premise, simple in story and execution. Is it anything groundbreaking? No. Did I enjoy it the first time I read it as a teenager? YES! And did I enjoy it now, as an adult?

Well...yes and no. Momoko is the kind of heroine that annoys me nowadays in shoujo. She's kind of passive, and portrayed as weak and girly (which of course is FINE, as I am somewhat of a girly-girl myself ), ditzy, etc. The MC and Momoko also suffer from instant-love (after going through a very short Shoujo Slave™ arc), there really isn't much build up to their feelings growing, or their confessions (yeah..Momoko's confession was kinda like HUH? excuse me miss?? she asks to be his sex slave?? kinda cringe as an adult but I'm sure as a teenager, I was scandalized in the best of ways LMAO , so the manga itself is not anything deep or meaningful. But I was able to enjoy it for what it is, a fluffy rom-com with the typical shoujo heroine, and the protective strong male lead.

may contain spoilers

Those wanting a story that examines gender roles and whatnot will NOT find it here. Shimaki Ako kind of dips into these topics a very tiny tiny bit, but nothing comes from it, really. The crossdressing is just a wacky plotline, and the main premise is Momoko and Kunio, and their love story, and the gags that ensue from Momoko being a biological female in a male space. Also speaking of wackiness, a lot of the story events and resolutions require some suspension of disbelief. Boku Ni Natta Watashi is definitely a product of it's time, so a lot of the dialogue or plot points might rub anyone the wrong way that is unused to the antics of sekuhara & okama in manga/anime.

The art is beautiful, simple and faces expressive. The clean bold lines are a real pleasure to look at. A lot of the panels really focus on the character art versus atmosphere or background. The characters themselves are beautiful! I really love how Shimaki Ako put a lot of effort in making the boys look handsome, haha! However, I do find the art style kind of atypical for something in the shoujo genre of it's time, which generally featured thin lines, whimsical look of the characters/atmosphere, just a certain wispiness if you get what I mean. (But ofc that is just a generalization and not meant to say that ALL shoujo of the time looked like that!)

I did enjoy reading Boku Ni Natta Watashi again, purely from a "popcorn flick" standpoint. It is nothing deep, nothing new, nothing Shakespearean or thought-provoking but it was cute, and the fluffly moments between Kunio and Momoko still made me smile.