Manga-ka: Ai Morinaga
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: November 2008
Synopsis: “With no intention of ever switching back, Momoi begins dating her pre-swap best friend, Shiina. Meanwhile, Akira’s pre-swap best friend, Senbongi, continues to purse him, making Akira even more devoted to regaining his own body. But when Senbongi overhears a conversation between Momoi and Akira and uncovers their secret, what will happen to them now that someone knows the truth?”
Volume three of Your & My Secret returns with much of the same but doesn’t for a moment take it easy with the jokes, jeers and charm. Akira and Momoi’s body switching secret is discovered by Senbongi but he remains undeterred in his affection for Akira. Meanwhile, Momoi in Akira’s body continues to date her pre-switch best friend, Shiina though realizes that her girlfriend is getting a little worried about their defensive nature of “Momoi”’s chastity.
Each volume that goes by and I still get such a kick out of this series! It takes no time at all for me to become pulled into the story because Ai Morinaga has such a knack for pacing that every moment of the book feels substantial and entertainingly rewarding.
My favourite part is that I still have no idea how things are going to end up. Akira remains the most confused, pursued by his best-friend which becomes even more alarming when he realizes that Senbongi doesn’t care that he’s actually Akira! Momoi, in Akira’s body, keeps going out of her way to stop Senbongi from touching her body which obviously makes Shiina jealous because she believes her boyfriend (actually Mamoi) has eyes more for Mamoi (actually Akira). It doesn’t help that Mamoi still seems much more comfortable as a man and has no real intention to go back to normal.
Some fun notables about this volume include a deal between Akira and Mamoi’s Grandfather that has him working feverishly to get the body-switch machine working; a Romeo and Juliet school production starring “Mamoi” and Senbongi; and then some touchy male on male interactions between Senbongi and “Akira” that will leave no boys’ love quirk unpoked and neither of them free from rumours ‘til the end of their school days.
The artwork remains another reason to pick this one up. Ai Morinaga’s work has always had a certain special something to it but I think that Your & My Secret is her most polished work released in English to date. The characters are all gorgeous in their way, from the adorable Shiina and pretty-boy Senbongi, to the severely embarrassed and befuddled, Akira in Mamoi’s now-bashful body. Vibrant expressions and exaggerated body language adds wonderfully entertaining physical humour to every page. All in all, lots of eye candy, and Tokyopop’s nice treatment of the series allows readers to enjoy it problem-free.
Three volumes in and Your & My Secret remains my favourite romance-shoujo on the English market today, hands down. The art is fantastic and there’s never a shortage of humour. While I enjoyed volume one when I first read it all the years ago, I’ve found the ones following it even more fun. Ai Morinaga’s gender bender tale is a definite recommendation for lots of laughs and good times with this undeniably charming cast of characters. I can’t wait for volume four!