Gender bender and cross dressing comedies are something I tend to avoid. Mostly for two reasons, first they tend to rely on gender stereotypes which are not that funny. Second is due to deep seated personal issues that prevent me from not being a sad sack whilst reading them. This is why you'll never see me talk about Kashimashi despite all five volumes occupying space on my shelf. So in an attempt to brave the very depths of my soul,here's So Cute It Hurts!, a cross dressing comedy.
The story follows the twins Megumi and Mitsuru,who couldn't be more different. I mean them having the same personality would be rather boring and give a lack of tension down the road. So Mitsuru is a wannabe playboy while his sister Megumi is a history otaku with an eye patch obsession. She starts out as the more likable of the two,mostly because she's more relate-able if a bit weird and also the fact that everything that happens so far in the plot is a direct result of her brother being an idiot.
The whole cross dressing aspect is for Mitsuru to get out of taking makeup classes so he can continue his dating schedule. His character arc is pretty clearly defined for now as he learns to actually love someone,Shino, instead of just being a skirt chaser. Shino is deaf ,which has tones of being inspirational for the sake of it,but hints at hidden depths and okay character development. Their little relationship is rather cute and solid pillar of the love “V” the story has set up by volumes end. I could say this will add tension down the road but I genuinely don't feel that So Cute! is the kind of manga to defy the norm. It's plot points are easy to guess and has no real shake ups so I just don't see anything crazy happening.
Don't get me wrong I actually enjoyed this first volume,it's rather funny and relies less on gender stereotypes and more on accidental competence for it's comedy. How the twins act in each others situation reflects heavily on them as character. Misturu's school is a crazy place that makes Hekikuu High look normal so when he goes to Megumi's much tamer school he can easily outwit the girls with their smaller time pranks and tricks. Where as Megumi is used to staying out of the way and being in a school that has a semblance of normal order is thrust into crazy land and reacts by legging it to avoid problem.
Despite getting the lion's share of character development,Mitsuru comes off as the weakest character. His character arc is so clearly defined that it's almost painful and his semi-ace status is rather annoying compared to Megumi's fish out of water character. Megumi also has a very well defined “learning to love “arc being set-up but it's slightly more subtle and her Kitano like antics are funnier than Mitsuru's verbal humiliation of nasty girls. The reminder of the cast is pretty okay with hints of actual character development especially those in the six point love “V”.
I'd like to lodge a few annoyances her that may be fixed in a later volume. First is the fact that Megumi's friends really don't notice they've switched. Which is weird as the appear to be rather close to her and would probably notice something is off. Mitsuru's classmates are a bit forgivable since he tends to stick with girls and is supposed to be the 7th strongest in the school so he may not have many close male friends. Also I know it's common at least in manga and anime for kids to be living on their own but I'd at least like some mention of what there parents are doing,just for context.Again these may come up later and possibly played for drama so for now it just bugs me.
So after that brief soul search,it's about as deep as a kiddy pool, I've learned absolutely nothing other than the fact that I enjoyed this volume. The character development for the leads is rather blatant but has the opportunity to surprise with the decent supporting cast. The crazy love drama may eventually overtake the story but for now it's decent comedic sensibilities and great leading lady make for a fun beginning but I don't put much faith in keeping this momentum going.
Till Next Time: Stay Positive