REVIEW: Futaba Kun-Change Vol 1 (1991)

A Manga by Hiroshi Aro

Whenever a popular manga hits its zenith, there are always bound to be a number of comics with similar vibes getting tossed out there to capitalize. It seems that manga writer/artist Hiroshi Aro admitted that he usually borrowed ideas from Rumiko Takahashi (Urusei Yatsura, Inu Yasha) for a number of his popular books during her reign as one of the foremost manga queens of the 80’s and 90’s. For example, his book Yuu & Mi is basically a lift of Maison Ikkoku, and the subject for today being Futaba-Kun Change! being a thematic copycat of Ranma 1/2. While gender-bending anime is nothing rare, Ranma 1/2 had it as an excuse so that practically every character in the story eventually had a crush on the main character. While Takahashi’s masterpiece keeps the trope at arms length, concentrating on being a “fighting manga”, Futaba-Kun Change! leans heavily into the gender-swapping making it the focus of the book. With that change, the book is sometimes less organized than a Takahashi book, but it sets it apart as not being a total ripoff.

“”Futaba-kun Change!” is a comedy comic which features a young man who inherits an unknown gene that enables him to turn into a sexy and cute young lady.
Futaba had just begun noticing about girls, but realizes that he himself can turn into a girl. Futaba finds out that his family inherits a gene enabling them to change their gender…
He is troubled with his older sister who has an erotic character. On the other hand, he faces a dilemma with the girl he loves, not knowing how to “express” himself. The legendary transsexual comedy comic now comes in e-book! “Futaba-kun Change!” consists of eight volumes.”

We don’t get much of the gender-swapping in this volume, but we do get the utter chaos that the book will continuously lean into. Futaba is a star of the school’s wrestling club which is honestly pretty low-tier in terms of clubs on campus. When he finds out that he is randomly changing from male to female, a condition he finds is something all members of his family suffer from, he tries to lean into it and live a double life as two separate people at the same school with exactly the same name. Things are bound to get weird with a premise like that, and boy does it. For the first volume, we see the stir Futaba causes by being seen as a naked girl streaking through the boy’s locker room, making her an obsession of the other wrestling club members. As you can imagine, things get awkward real quick.

This was a fun book that takes a while to really get going, but sets the scene for some interesting situations down the road. It’s borderline lewd in the way that it has a bit of “fan-service”, but never descends into the sort of stuff that makes books like Prison School or Raw Hero seem trashy. The translation for this book is somewhat janky, and I assume it was done a LONG time ago at the peak of Ranma 1/2‘s popularity. You can actually get the first volume of this absolutely free in a digital format on Amazon, which is what I did. There are actually a number of manga titles like this on there, where the first volume is free and they want to hook you to buy more. Each subsequent volume is around $2.00 so you can easily get the entire eight volume series for the cost of a single book physically. While not a “great book” by any means, that price point alone made me a fan.

For a copy of this, click HERE


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