Futaba-kun Change! Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Mike Dungan
Review Date: Sunday, May 23, 2004
Release Date: Wednesday, September 01, 1999



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hiroshi Aro
Translated by:Sachiko Uchida
Adapted by:

What They Say
Just when things started to settle down... Futaba Shimeru was just getting used to his "Unique" heritage. Things at school started to seem normal, and his relationship with Misaki was picking up. Then his sister Futana decided to teach him to be a girl. Little did Futaba know that Futana used her gender-switching ability to becoem a real ladie's man! Who wears the pants?! If that wasn't enough, Fataba's father has a secret of his own, one that bring the female Futaba out of the background and makes her the most popular girl in school! Everyone wants to recruit her for their club, and, just when things get out of hand, the principal proposes a unique solution to everyone's problems. So much for Futaba's "normal" life...


The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Futaba Shimeru was regular high school student on his school's wrestling team until the day he suddenly transformed into a sexy girl. He has little control over the transformations. He turns into a girl whenever he gets excited, and changes back when he calms down. It's a genetic trait he shares with his older sister Futana.
In the first chapter, we learn more about Futana and how she uses her special gift. The story begins with the impressively hung-over (and even more impressively naked) Futana waking up in Futaba's bed. She takes advantage of the situation by giving her brother a big wet french kiss, which is only a pretense for throwing up in his mouth. Such sibling love. We follow Futana as she goes out on the town, cruising for innocent girls to seduce in her male form. But every time she finds a girl, another guy gets to her first. She decides to get some revenge by having him pick her up in her female form, then changing into her male form and playing her own boyfriend. Futana is revealed to be a very scary and dangerous character.

Next, Futaba realizes he needs femine underwear for the times he's in female form, so he's forced to go shopping for lingerie. While in his female form, he runs into Misaki, a classmate, at a department store. Misaki and Futaba like each other, but they're at that age when they're too embarrassed to say anything to each other. Misaki has befriended the female Futaba, but she's unaware of Futaba's condition, believing the female and male Futaba are two different people. They spend a happy afternoon shopping together, helped, or perhaps it's hindered, but a chain-smoking female clerk. The clerk's out-of-control nicotine habit causes a fire. Futaba, who is clad only in underwear in a changing room, is unable to leave because he's in male form and has no male clothes. Misaki, who had run off the the toilet, hit her head as is passed out. Futaba finds Misaki, but the now-empty department store in in flames. Meanwhile, the local firestation had a celebrity chief-for-a-day photo opportunity going on. When the fire call comes in, the celebrity, the beautiful actress/model Kahoru Iroka, takes over and directs the fire fighting and rescue. There's plenty of humor and action on both sides of the fire line, but when the still-underwear clad female emerges from the burning department store holding the unconcious but safe Misaki in her arms, Kahoru Iroka takes the opportunity to announce to the world that Futaba Shimeru is her daughter! This is a complete surprise to Futaba. It turns out Kahoru is her father's female form, something he never knew.

The fact that Futaba is the daughter of such a famous and sexy idol makes Futaba even more popular in school. This doesn't sit will with Takane Hiroin, the vain and beautiful daughter of the school's principal. She doesn't like anyone becoming as popular as her, and she decides to make Futaba her enemy. Like her father, she too has a secret alterego. But unlike her father who becomes a champion of justice, she becomes the evil mistress, Queen X! It's all a bit over the top, but all it really accomplishes is making Futaba even more popular. Soon, all the clubs in school want her to join them. The principal comes up with a plan to settle all the squabbling. There will be a no-holds-barred wrestling match between all the clubs, with the winning club claiming Futaba for thier own. There are some funny sequences as we see the fighting techniques of clubs like the art club, sumo club, manga club, tennis club, etc fight it out. Ironically, the male Futaba has to fight in his male form for the honor of the wrestling club. Misaki, who is a member of the swimming club, steps in when their first choice is injured. Misaki is motivated by the fact that she wants to protect her friend Futaba-chan from the lecherous desires of the other clubs and faces off against the formidible home economics club. The book ends on a cliff-hanger with male Futaba about to enter the ring against the gardening club.

Comments
We get some good stories, such as the first chapter that lets up learn more about Futaba's sister Futana, and the department store arc. The wrestling match is a long story arc that covers the last half of volume 2 and extends well into the third volume. Unfortunately, it simply drags on too long. The art is as much fun as the first volume, with Aro's style smoothing out. There are plenty of fanservice moments, such as female Futaba trying on lots of lingerie at the department store, Futaba imaging the naked Misaki, and female Futana lying naked in Futaba's bed. This may be the only volume of Futaba-kun Change that doesn't show the female Futaba naked.
The first cover of volume 2 came with another original piece of art from Hiroshi Aro just for this volume. It's a rather fetching image of female Futaba sliding her pants down, revealing her panty-clad derriere set against a plain blue background. The back cover is only text on a blue background, with no image at all. As with the previous volume, these chapters are collected from the monthly comics Studio Ironcat published, and as such, retain the flipped art and completely retouched and translated sound effects. The English adaptation improved with this volume, though it can still sound stilted at times. The only extras are some pages from Aro's assistants and editors talking about the book.

Though it's still a fun story with Futaba learning what it's like to be a woman, the wrestling arc is overdone and drags on too long. Look for the story to pick up again in the middle of volume 3.



Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: All
Released By: Studio Ironcat
MSRP: 15.95
Pages: 196
ISBN: 1-929090-01-3
Size: A5
Orientation: Left to Right