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Handsome Girl and Sheltered GirlJP: イケメン女〈ガール〉と箱入り娘 (Ikemen Onna to Hakoiri Musume)
Author: Mochi Au Lait
Artist: majoccoidTags: College, Gender, Comedy, Romance
What is it about?
Ooguma Satomi develops a crush for a handsome girl in her class, but it turns out she's mistaken her for a boy. After her crush, Kanda Mizuki, realizes the mixup she goes along with it as a joke before the situation complicates further and the two develop feelings for each other.
I get nervous when stories choose this particular topic, the boy-who-is-secretely-a-girl or vise-versa; it is very easy to find yourself toe-ing the line between being insensitive to various different lgbt groups or not depending on how it is handled. In my personal opinion, Handsome Girl and Sheltered Girl seems to be the exception as it sensitively approaches the topic of Kanda-kun being GNC and also still identifying as female. The themes of the story are also particularly pro-pansexuality: "you can and SHOULD get down and dirty with someone you like regardless of sex" being the specific takeaway. One scene that I had trepidation over was when Kanda-kun reveals herself, Satomi insists that she needs to see her genitals to be convinced. This could be construed poorly not just to trans people, but also is disparaging to all women who don't want their womanhood to be defined by their genitals. I do not believe that was the intention in this scene, and the context of the story helps clear up the air here;
- Mizuki has been lying about being a man the entire time, Satomi disbelieves her confession because she thinks Mizuki is trying to get out of having their first kiss, which is a far more believable story than your boyfriend lying about their gender for three months.
- Mizuki suggests she get naked not merely to prove she is a woman, but specifically because her typical AFAB genital configuration would corroborate her story.
- Satomi isn't suggesting that she will only see Mizuki as a woman if she has a particular set of genitals, she is actually coyly expressing that she wants to look at her bits. It is fairly clear that Satomi has accepted Mizuki as a woman before this scene, and even becomes more openly flirtatious after the confession.
Aside from treading these dangerous waters, the story has a lot of positive messages about love and gender expression.
The art is lovely and very polished, aside from one or two strange looking hands. There are quite a few funky little photorealistic critters included throughout, as little treats.
Awesome. Simple. Fun. Handsome Girl and Sheltered Girl is a story that knows exactly what it wants to be and doesn't miss a beat.