Direction: Right to Left
by: Satoru Akahori (Story) & Yukimaru Katsura (Art)
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Being a girl is harder than it looks…
For Hazumu, this couldn’t be truer, because just the other day, she…was a he.
Shunned by the girl of his dreams, Hazumu loses himself in the mountains and is promptly squashed by an oncoming space ship. The alien inside, feeling guilty, rebuilds Hazumu’s body…but as the wrong gender!
Now Hazumu must learn how to be the girl his parents always wanted while dealing with the trials and tribulations of being caught in a love triangle between two girls–his childhood friend, Tomari, and Yasuna, the girl who rejected him but is now strangely attracted to him/her!
I’m only going to go into the main three character this time, I’ll cover the other characters in the next post.
Hazumu is an effeminate guy in the beginning. Or rather he’s a girl in a guys body, thought even his body looks more like a girls. His personality reflects this, he’s soft, scares easily, indecisive, and yet caring, dedicated and loving. This is shown by the way he treats the flowers in the school, talking to them, rather having conversations with them. His struggling to decide whether to ask the girl he likes out, and the way he reacts afterwards.
Even after he gets turned into a girl there’s very little difference personality wise. In the manga he adapts to his life as a girl with only a few hic-ups (such as buying the wrong size bra, offering to show Asuta her boobs and stuff), but these are overcome rapidly. Pretty much everything else about him remains the same.
Yasuna is most definitely one of the most interesting characters of the volume. She’s beautiful, but has a stand offish, aloof and cold personality. Throughout the volume she practically ignores all the male characters, though not Hazumu.
After Hazumu changes things take an unexpected twist as Yasuna changes subtly. She becomes more forceful and determined to catch Hazumu’s heart. Over the course of the volume more and more of her personality is revealed, and I found I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She feels she has to be alone because of the way she is, however when Hazumu changes she learns what true loneliness is and longs for change.
Tomari is the tom-boy of the series, rather she’s the boy that Hazumu was supposed to be. She’s decisive, athletic and determined. She frequently does stuff that frankly I would balk at (like jumping down flights of stairs), and she also pushes Hazumu into confessing to Yasuna.
After Hazumu’s change Tomari Is the one who has the hardest time coming to terms with it. This gives her an excellent chance to go through some subtle personality changes. These changes soften the tom-boy feel and give her a more feminine touch. I wasn’t sure it would work at first, but after the first volume I think it worked out well, with Tomari having a good feel to her personality now.
I liked this series for several reasons, but mainly because it mixed my two favourite genre, gender bending and yuri.
Initially I was disposed to dislike it, mainly because I felt that Hazumu was to girly, and he irritated me a bit. Thankfully he changed over the course of volume, and while he kept the soft feminine aspects, he lost the irritating girly aspect.
What I really like in this series is the relationships between the characters. While they all start off as friends they slowly change, and getting to watch the change is pretty much what the series is about.
It’s easy to forget the specifics of the story, Hazumu once being a boy, alien intervention and stuff, and just get entranced by the relationships. This is especially true for our trio of girls. Their relationship is amusing, and yet a bit bitter sweet. Watching them struggling to gain Hazumu’s affections, and Hazumu’s own indecisiveness over which she loves and even if she can love either of them now; makes for an excellent story in it’s own right.
The supporting characters are where a lot of the comedy comes from, and while on the surface they don’t seem to be necessary, I wonder if the series would be as good without them. They make for a reprieve in the relationship building, which I think would get stale after a while.
The way the supporting characters interact with the main characters is just as funny, for example Sora the alien, who is researching love and relationships for his dying race (who sort of remind me of the Asgard from SG-1), who frequently puts 1 + 1 together and gets 10 hehe. His events, such usually add to the comic relief, but also build on the secondary story of him trying to save his race.
I was a bit disappointed that this was never really expanded upon, we get a few hints and bits, an explanation as to why he’s there, but nothing really expands on it. I found this a bit of shame, since I thought it would have made a good addition to the series. But I suppose I can understand why it wasn’t made more of, in case it detracted from the main trio’s love story.
The only element I really hated was Hazumu’s attempt to get into a bath with her. It was supposed, I think, to be a comic element. Especially with the way Hazumu’s mother always intervenes and beats him up. However I felt it went a bit to far, and I found him a bit annoying. Frankly the series could have worked just as well without him.
I had some trouble deciding on how to classify this series, since the magazine it was in doesn’t fit it. The original magazine that ran the series is shonen, called Dengeki Daioh. As a result it’s officially classified as a shonen, which I don’t agree with. To me this is clearly fits into either the Yuri or Shojo-ai demographic. Unfortunately official demographics are set by the magazine a title is in, rather than it’s content. After thinking it over and chatting with a few colleagues I’ve decided to move it from the shonen demographic to the shojo-ai one, it fits in more there than in shonen.
As an omnibus you expect some loss of quality, and sadly that’s the case here. While getting any OOP title as an omnibus release is great news, I was disappointed by the lack of colour panels, probably removed to reduce costs. This is fine and understandable, but still a bit disappointing.
The paper quality is a bit of a down grade as well, I have volumes one and five of the original release and they seem to have a better paper grade than the omnibus. Again probably to reduce costs, but once again disappointing.
Also when you think of an omnibus you usually think two or three volumes put together into a single volume. This isn’t the case here, rather Seven Seas literally split the series in half and put half the chapters in volume one, and the rest into volume 2. The cover is a decent quality, much like the original ones were. Sadly unlike other omnibus’ that add the covers as an extra at the end, we don’t get them in this one.
Also missing from this release is a glossary, which I found really annoying. this volume has a number of japanese terms and play on words, which frankly needed explanations. Without the glossary I was a bit lost as to the connections, and having to look up a term in a online dictionary took away my reading time.
What we did get, and frankly I found to be a waste of space, were descriptions of the flowers; pointless having those rather than a proper glossary. If the glossary had been there I would of praised them for adding an interesting extra, as it is I wonder why they even bothered.
Over all I think it’s a great series and one I enjoyed reading, even with the few niggles.