W Juliet by Emura
Series: W Juliet #1
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Makoto Amano wants to become an actor, but his stern father has decreed that the only way Makoto can pursue his dream is to spend the last two years of high school as a girl! He quickly makes friends with popular tomboy Ito Miura, another drama enthusiast at this new high school and the only student to find out his secret--but are they more than pals?
If you’ve been paying attention to my summer reading posts you may have guessed I’ve been a bit stressed/in a mental overload. Since my new found love for manga (thank you Fruits Basket) I find when I need an easy read/mental break manga is the place to go. Since Fruits Baskets and After School Charisma are the only series I have read I have a lot to choose from. My anime teens have thrown a lot of suggestions at me, but I have to confess I’ve been picking what manga to read by what is in. I literally scan the shelves to see which series have book one in. Seriously…but amazingly it’s worked quite well so far.
My latest selection was W Juliet by Emura. While this is an older series, it was one I had never heard of and am so glad I gave it a go. W Juliet is about two teens, Ito and Makoto, who are not as they appear. Ito may look and act like a boy, but underneath is all she is a woman. And Makoto, well, he may look like a girl, but he is all man. Ito may not have a excuse beyond being a tomboy, but Makoto disguise is the key to his future. As the only son he is expected to take over the family dojo, but the only thing Makoto wants to be is an actor. Makoto’s father disapproves, but eventually makes a deal with him; if he can live and graduate high school (2 years) as a woman without anyone finding out he may go after his dream. Makoto knows it is the only way out of his father’s control and accepts the deal.
Ito, of course, finds out about Makoto’s secret right away (by accident) and vows to help him make it though. After all, it’s a pretty big feat to accomplish on ones own, especially with all the obstacles that get thrown in his way. But the question still remains…will it be enough? Can Makoto live as a woman for two years without anyone finding out the truth, especially when Iko and Makoto start to fall in love?
I whipped through this series (14 volumes) in about a week. I will admit that the story lines are kind of predictable and repetitive, but something about them drew me in. Perhaps it the romantic heart of mine that enjoyed seeing Ito and Makoto fall for each other. Or my need to have a happy ending that kept me going to make sure it would all turn out okay. While undoubtedly those both played a role, it was more than that. There was a lot of humor that kept it light, but there was some more serious issue thrown in as well. Yes, some of the characters annoyed the crap out of me, but there was never a time where I didn’t want to see what happened next. I also loved the hidden identity aspect of it as well. The whole “double” Juliet plot just really intrigued me for some reason.
Sadly, this one does not have an anime attached to it. It would have been fun to do a Anime vs. Manga comparison, but it was not meant to be. I do believe that fans of Fruits Basket/shojo will eat this series up. While it is certainly not flawless, it has enough charm to make it an easy recommendation to all manga lovers.