Manga-ka: Ai Morinaga
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: July 2008
Synopsis: “When Akira Uehara, overlooked because he doesn’t open his mouth, and Nanako Momo, looked over until she opens her mouth, switch bodies, they find their new selves surprisingly comfortable. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones. Akira and Nanako’s pre-swap best friends are no drawn to them post-op. And they want to spend the night! Akira and Nanako will have to do more than just tango in this of Your & My Secret!”
Akira continues to struggle with his new life as a girl in Nanako’s body and yet as each day passes, he becomes more and more accustomed to it (maybe even more than being guy originally). His pre-change best friend, Senbongi, continues to hit on him relentlessly but Akira can’t help but find himself attracted to his ‘new’ best friend, Nanako’s friend, Shiina. Throw these jumbled feelings into an overnight beach trip and Valentine’s Day and you’ve got yourself the second volume of Your & My Secret.
It’s been years since I’ve read volume one of these series, having thoroughly enjoyed the first volume when it was initially published by ADV. It didn’t take any effort to jump right back into the story, however, and I was reminded about all the reasons I liked it so much in the first place!
There’s lots of humour in this gender-bender shoujo and between Nanako’s crass behaviour in Akira’s body, and Akira’s energetic struggles to maintain hopes for a switch-back (not to mention their chastity), there’s plenty of entertainment.
Amidst all the laughs, there’re still some good shoujo-manga dramatics here, all sprinkled with a healthy level of hormones that keeps everyone on their toes. I really like some of the confusion that Akira and Nanako are facing. While Nanako seems very attracted to girls now that she’s in a boy’s body, and is dating Shiina, in this second volume she chases Senbongi desperately for another look at what he hides under his clothes. Meanwhile, Akira can’t help but be attracted to the adorable, Shiina, but those kinds of thoughts and actions aren’t exactly suitable for his current situation. I can’t help but wonder what, if any, couples will really come out of all of this and it’s fun to ponder the possibilities with people’s feelings seemingly swaying in several different directions. Almost hard to believe that in the beginning Akira had such a huge crush on Nanako!
As for the book’s artwork, it’s hard not to love Ai Morinaga’s undeniably charming style! From the shape of the eyes to the beautifully rendered hair and expressions, there’s definitely no shortage of eye-candy. Everything is detailed but tidy and all very consistent. There’s a good balance of shoujo sparkles and physical comedy, and it all works with the writing to make this a series brimming with energy. I love how expressive the characters are, be it when they’re whimsically staring off into space or freaking out in glorious, deformedly spastic motions.
Since I already owned the first volume done by ADV, I haven’t yet gotten around to purchasing the rerelease by Tokyopop, so volume two is my first encounter with their work on it. No complaints from me though! It’s another clean and simple release, with smooth interior writing and really nice work on the art clean up. I keep staring at the redesigned logo on the cover and haven’t decided if I think it’s neat or too quirky for its own good yet.
Manga looking for some comedic drama with a perfect helping of shoujo sensibilities, need look no further than Your & My Secret. This second volume remains as strong as the first and I can’t wait to see what kind of situations we’ll find these characters in next. A fun, recommended read!