W Juliet

W JulietW Juliet by Emura
Genres: Manga
Published by Viz Media on 1997

 

We had this manga in the T13+ list originally, but found that it needed more explanation than we could fit in under those conditions.  This is a series that we really like and come back to regularly. So why does it need more explanation?  Well, the first time you see the male lead he is dressed as a girl, and though the series does have two homosexuals and a young man that dresses like a girl because he thinks by the way his house is run that it would be better if he were a girl, Makoto is not one of them.  He is fulfilling the wishes of his father in order to be released from his duty as the only son to take over his family’s business.  He wants to be an actor so his father issues a challenge that if he can finish his last two years of high school with no one figuring out that he is male then he will have proven his skills in acting, and his father will allow him to pursue the career of his choice.  This is not something that we understand here in America were parents have had little say (from both choice as well as culture) in what their children do in adulthood for many generations now (even among the wealthy, at least as far as we know.)  That is the biggest aspect of the manga that may prove objectionable to many, but we have to say that we like that despite the cross dressing the lines between male and female roles are not blurred; they are very defined.

When the series starts, Ito is an extreme tomboy to the point that people constantly assume that she is a guy.

When the series starts, Ito is an extreme tomboy to the point that people constantly assume that she is a guy; but as the series goes on she desires to be more feminine because of her love for Makoto.  Makoto too wants to be manly when he is with Ito as his girlfriend and will even takes chances with his future.  We also like that despite the fact that Ito is a very strong, confident, outgoing and a highly trained fighter, her family of brothers and her father are protective of her and the other women in their lives (sometimes bordering on overprotective, but since you can’t be too protective of those that you love we won’t go that far.)  Family ties are a strong theme in this series, and Ito works very hard to mend anyone who has broken family relationship so they will be able to experience the joy of a strong, close family like the one she is blessed with.

Makoto and Ito take their relationship as seriously as they do their individual dreams for their future; they never loose faith in each other and lend each other strength when times are tough.

Makoto and Ito take their relationship as seriously as they do their individual dreams for their future; they never loose faith in each other and lend each other strength when times are tough.  Even though they never look twice at anyone else, we like that both characters are treated as worthy of being pursued by other people because some mangas will make attractiveness so one sided.  Makoto at one point comes down hard on one of the young men that wants to date Ito while dating another girl at the same time and thinks that this is love because he was honest.  He lets him know under no uncertain terms that this is not love: “Pure love means loving only one woman.  She’s the only one you hold most precious.  She’s so dear to you that no other woman would even enter your field of vision.  It’s the way I feel.  So I suggest you give up on her.  You can’t compete with me.”

We also really liked how formal everyone is in regards to relationships.

We also really liked how formal everyone is in regards to relationships.  (He wanted to come to her father for permission to date her in the right way as a man should.  These are his words, but we agree with him wholeheartedly.)  Their relationship is not the only one to get its time in the sun.  There were many great couples such as Yuto Miura and Akane Narita, Yoshiro Ozaki and Misaki Ichikawa, and Ryuya Miura and Christina to just name a few.  As a little side note – Christina, or Chris, was an awesome comedic relief as the American stereotype of someone absolutely in love with Japan but knew nothing about the culture before going there.

You’ll have to judge for yourself if it is right for you, but we loved it so much that we wanted to share it with you.

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