Otoboku, originally known as Otome ha oneesama(boku) ni koishiteru, is the story of a boy, Mizuho, who ends up attending a girls private school at the behest of his grandfather’s will. Although the will does not stipulate it, Mizuho will cross-dress and attempt to pass as a girl. Of course, not only does he pass, he becomes the idol of the school for his exceptional beauty and athleticism.
Media Blasters licensed it as a Yuri anime. There is a case for it being Yuri in the same way I My Me Strawberry Egg is Yuri. The girls who fall for Mizuho believe he is a girl (except where they know he is not.)
While it may be considered a Yuri anime in that sense, I have never reviewed it here for many reasons. Media Blasters asked me to watch and review it now, so I am. Only because I love you, Chet.
Fans who enjoy harem series, male cross-dressing, Newhalf and/or gender-bending and bishoujo games will enjoy this series very much. It is based on a bishoujo game, and has all the qualities that appeal to those audiences.
If you have watched Otoboku and enjoyed it, or are interested in any of the above kinds of anime, you’ll be pleased to know that Media Blasters did a nice job on the technical side.
And, if you have watched and enjoyed this series, or plan on watching and enjoying it, I strongly recommend you do not read the rest of this review…
…because the rest of this review will be a discussion of some of the things I hated about Otoboku.
The Uniforms. The uniforms are demure (except when they are not) tight-waisted, puffy-sleeved pale bluish white for summer, dark blue for winter, with a bib of a different white to set off the chest that somehow miraculously clings to the contour of even the smallest girl’s chest, without providing any actual support, so there’s plenty of jiggling going on. Since the uniforms are designed to draw the eye inexorably to this area…there had better be *something* to keep your attention.
The Premise. Mizuho’s grandfather’s will stipulated that he had to attend the school – nowhere did it say that he had to pass – or even dress – as a girl. Why they didn’t just give him a room somewhere and explain the situation? Because then we wouldn’t have had the “funny” situation of a guy cross-dressing in a girls’ dorm!
The Guy in a Dress (is a better woman than thou.) Otoboku is not a trans story. It has the same relationship to transgender issues as it does to lesbianism…which is to say, not much, unless you’re really desperate for a reflection of something sort of similar in anime. It is a harem story. Mizuho is not a crossdresser, nor is he, like Kashimashi‘s Hazumu, a woman in a man’s body – Mizuho is a man who, through the use of a thin plot driver, is “forced” to wear girl’s clothes. This is, at best, Newhalf fantasy, where he is a perfect (i.e., straight/normal) man *and* a perfect woman, at the same time. There is an actual belief among many men that the perfect woman really is a man. RuPaul was so perfect a woman, he became a women’s makeup spokesperson. And likewise, Mizuho, after the application of makeup is suddenly transformed, not into a pancake covered guy, but into a magnificent specimen of femininity. He’s more beautiful than the real women…and by simply being male, he is of course a better athlete than anyone in the school. (God, how I wished the star forward of the school’s basketball team would have stepped up and stuffed Mizuho into that basket…) Don’t get me started on the antiquated, rigid and utterly absurd issue of gender roles. Girls don’t run, girl’s don’t drop their bags as they rush to the toilet… Gah.
Fake Breasts. Mizuho’s breasts are fake. Not real. And yet, somehow not only are they warm, and feel just like the real thing, they magically have *nerves* so when he’s being groped by dormmates, he is all squirmy and turned on. No. Nonononono. No. NO.
Girls Dorms. Girls dorms are not full of negligees and pillow fights. They just aren’t.
This isn’t everything I hated about the anime, just the main things. I was watching it on my iPod on the train and about 2/3 of the way through the first episode, I started to cry. I was half laughing, but mostly sobbing as I said out loud – “I can’t do it. I can’t watch any more of this.”
But I did watch more. I watched this whole volume. The one thing I enjoyed was the eyecatch where Mizuho needs a shave. Other than that, it was scrunchy-face-making torture.
Chet, man, I love you. But I will not watch more of this anime. Ever.
Art – 7
Story – 3
Characters – 4
Yuri – 1
Service – 7
Overall – 3
My sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the translator for this volume. It must have been like stabbing yourself in the eyes with a fork, Midori. I owe you a hug for your pain when I see you at MangaNEXT.