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Manga / Futaba-kun Change!

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The two faces of Futaba Shimeru.

Futaba-kun Change! is a shonen manga series by Hiroshi Aro about Futaba Shimeru, a seemingly normal junior high school student who suddenly discovers that he is anything but normal.

To be more specific, Futaba is one day handed a girlie magazine by a fellow member of the wrestling club. Having snuck into the boys' room to read it, Futaba suddenly clicks on not just how girls are different from boys, but why it matters. And as he thinks of his good female buddy Misaki, his excitement increases — and suddenly Futaba finds himself possessed of female anatomy!

Some scary moments (and the discovery that the effect isn't permanent) later, Futaba gets home, only to find out that everyone in his family changes gender upon becoming aroused, and that the person he's always thought of as a father in fact was the one who gave birth to him!

Hilarity ensues as Futaba tries to start a romantic relationship with Misaki, deals with female anatomy issues, starts a new career as an "idol" and learns more about his/her family's heritage.

The manga was serialized in Monthly Shonen Jump from 1990 to 1997, and compiled into eight volumes. It was originally licensed in English by Studio Ironcat, but their release went out of print after they closed in 2006. As of January 2016, it is available in English on Kindle with a different translation.

Futaba-kun Change! provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Happens to Futaba a lot in the first couple of volumes.
  • The Ahnold: Mr. Lucky Strike, the P.E. teacher, looks quite a lot like Arnold; the guy acts a bit like Dutch from Predator.
  • Apocalypse How: The Shimeru homeworld (actually a giant ringworld made of Ivy) has undergone a Class 4 with only the Ivy and nanomachines still working.
  • Arranged Marriage: Kurin & Futaba; Futana also has a fiancé, but he's Walking the Earth.
  • Ax-Crazy: The eldest of the Koujiro sisters.
  • Bellisario's Maxim: Explicitly invoked to explain the various competitors' appearances in the Futaba-cup arc.
  • Big Eater:
  • Also the sumo wrestler's sisters, though they try to keep it under control to avoid looking like him.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Futana comes perilously close to this trope time and again, but is usually foiled by circumstance.
  • Blade Run: Done by a sumo-wrestler during the competition arc. Yes, one of those really heavy guys.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Aro's crocodile Author Avatar (as in forum avatar, not a full-blown character) interacts with the characters on occasion.
    • Takane Hiroin even reads the manga herself to confirm that she hadn't met Futaba face-to-face yet.
  • The Cameo:
    • Ryoko, Ayeka, and Mihoshi from Tenchi Muyo! appears as classmates of Futaba. There are a number of others if you look closely at random characters in crowds.
    • You can also spot Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street and Rei Ayanami at one point too.
    • During the Tournament Arc, Blanka, Zangief, Guile, and Dhalsim from Street Fighter are each seen once, with Ryu and Chun-Li making multiple appearances (especially Chun-Li). An early visit to Misaki's room reveals a collection of 9 plushies, featuring the 8 World Warriors and Sagat. (Every time we return to her room, different plushies are on display.)
    • Usagi from Sailor Moon can also be spotted front and center in one panel.
  • Character Development and Characterization Marches On: Most noticable for Negiri, whose character changes notably over the course of the manga.
  • The Chikan: Futana, who else. Futaba is mistaken for one at one point shortly afterwards.
  • Clark Kenting: Everyone with a secret identity, but most especially Principal Hiroin as The Justicemaker.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Ms. Hiroin defeating the sumo wrestler by removing his loincloth while he's distracted.
  • Expy: Negiri to Nabiki. At first anyway, but Characterization Marches On, see the main entry on that for more.
  • Floating Island: The Shimeru homeland (except it is really a giant spaceship).
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Misaki drowns her sorrows when she finds out the truth with a beer stein of honey. Not as odd as that might initially sound; the mead of yore was made from fermented honey.
  • Gainax Ending: A rare manga version, due to the series being abruptly canceled. Turns out Futaba's family are aliens that moved away from the aformentioned Floating Island; Futaba, Misaki, and Kurin end up away from the planet for 8 years; Misaki gets gene treatment to fix her partial Gender Bender alien DNA (and thus makes herself a compatible mate to Futaba); Futaba Takes a Third Option and apparently decides to marry both Misaki and Kurin; and the entire world now knows about the aliens due to Negiri's PR efforts. There's a reason most readers just pretend the last volume never happened.
  • Gender-Bender Friendship: Futaba and Misaki, naturally.
  • Genre Shift: Starts as a High School gender-bending comedy and ends with the revelation that the Shimerus are aliens, their homeland is a spaceship and their homeworld is a Ringworld made of ivy that has under gone a Category 4 extinction.
  • The Ghost: Mrs. Shimeru, Futaba's father. Her face is never seen, and only about two strips show even a part of her body.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Sabuyama-sensei. Because of his thinking that girls means trouble to steamy male relationships.
  • Hermaphrodite: Strictly speaking, the Shimeru clan are Sex Shifters rather than hermaphrodites, but the word "shemale" is stated to be derived from the name of the clan.
  • High-School Hustler: Negiri
  • Hot Blood: The school's principal, especially during his introduction.
  • Hot for Student:
    • Sabuyama-sensei has a huge crush on the male Futaba that he keeps trying to act upon.
    • Also Futana when she starts her teacher training course, due to her "anything goes" sexuality.
    • And the eldest Koujiro sister for male Kurin to the point of kidnapping him with a portable wormhole.
  • Human Aliens: The origin of the Shimeru clan.
  • Hypocrite: During the beauty pageant when the contestants hear that Futaba is related to a star actress, they immediately declare it to be practically cheating and reveal that they came prepared to sabotage with tacks and other stuff.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Misaki doesn't consider herself attracted to girls, but starts falling for Futaba even though he turns into a girl whenever he's aroused. But instead of pursuing a partially-homosexual relationship, she ends up Jumping the Gender Barrier to make her potential pairing with Futaba completely heterosexual.
  • Important Haircut: Futaba cuts his hair as apology Misaki; female-Futaba is also similarly hairless and Futaba has to wear a wig for a little while after as it grows back.
  • Incest-ant Admirer: Futana aggressively sexually harasses Futaba, usually while Futana is in male form and Futaba female.
  • Instant Fan Club: Thanks to Negiri, Futaba gains one of these with breathtaking speed.
  • Jerkass: Futana. She is a sexual predator who has the hots for her own brother, harasses people in public transportation, is a Nabiki Tendo-like swindler, and at one point she feels like throwing up and instead of throwing up on the bathroom, or anywhere really, she kisses Fubata on the mouth and throws up in it out of sheer laziness (and kicks).
  • Jumping the Gender Barrier: During their trip to the Shimeru clan homeworld, Misaki gets gene therapy to make her into a full Human Alien like Futaba and Kurin, making her suddenly an available love interest. Futaba decides not to decide.
  • Kick Chick: Anzu
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In chapter 29, Futaba enters (or rather, is forced to enter) a beauty pageant. When the other contestants hear that Futaba is the daughter of Kahoru Iroha, they immediately declare it practically cheating while revealing that they came prepared for sabotage. And each of their attempted cheating either backfires on them, or they get caught up in another person's sabotage attempt.
    • First, Futaba's self-proclaimed rival, Takane Hiroin, spikes the tea Misaki brought for Futaba with laxative which Futaba fortunately manages to avoid drinking due to being called backstage. Later, she sees Futaba with the thermos of tea and assumes she drank it before asking to borrow her hairspray, which was actually replaced with glue, forcing her to cut off her hair and leave.
    • Next, it's the girl who set up the hairspray glue trick, Kara Kataki (whose name means "enemy character"). When she returns from the bathroom, she sees that Futaba is gone and notices Hiroin's hair which she picks up out of curiosity before being startled by a woman calling her to the backstage, accidentally attaching the hair to her crotch, making it look like she has massive pubic hair when she gets on stage. Then she proceeds to rip the hair off (and her bikini bottom in the process), exposing her naked lower half to the crowd.
    • Finally, the remaining contestants who decide to rip up Futaba's swimsuit before drinking up Futaba's tea, calling her self-entitled, only realizing that it's spiked with laxatives too late when they're on stage. She proceeds to make a mess of themselves and the beauty pageant is unable to be aired due to being too disgusting at the end.
  • Laxative Prank:
    • The club tournament is cut short after one underhanded contestant serves a batch of laxative-laced drinks, causing nearly everyone to withdraw.
    • In the aforementioned beauty contest, Futaba's rival, Takane Hiroin, spikes the tea Misaki gave her to humiliate Futaba on stage. The other contestants steal the drink as part of bullying her and, well, the contest finale can't be broadcast.
  • Lethal Chef: Misaki, due to her habit of over-sweetening everything. The three Koujiro sisters are more likely to actually kill someone, though.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: The wrestling team captain basically stakes the team in a series of Mahjong games with Negiri and Futaba has to pay off the debt.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Futana (in both forms, see below).
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: But of course. Best not to think about the implications for Futana's changes. Also, Misaki during her brief period of changing into a boy.
  • Marry Them All: The canon solution to the love triangle, shown in the last few chapters. Futaba marries both Kurin and Misaki (who gets gene therapy on the ship to turn her into a permanent Sex Shifter like the other two).
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: During the Futaba-cup arc, every school club has a fighting style. The Gardening Club even brings out a Man-Eating Plant with Combat Tentacles.
  • Meaningful Name: Far too many to count.
  • Menstrual Menace: When Futaba menstruates, his body is stuck in female form and produces pheromones that makes every male who smells them fall instantly in love. What this means for female-born Shimeru is unspecified.
  • Mister Seahorse: Because the Shimeru clan's transformation is caused by arousal, the ones who give birth are primarily male-bodied. It's explicitly stated Futaba's "father" birthed him.
  • Mouth Full of Smokes: The cigarette-obsessed sales clerk is able to smoke five cigarettes at once and tried for six before the fire alarm startles her into dropping a smouldering butt in the merchandise.
  • Mouth To Mouth Force Feeding: At one point, a drunk Futana kisses Futaba in order to throw up in his mouth because he's closer to the toilet.
  • Must Have Nicotine: A sales clerk who covers her entire stock in tobacco stains (and starts a fire that almost kills half the cast).
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Takane Hiroin, especially as her alter-ego the Queen of Darkness.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Principal Hiroin has a considerably more cartoonish look than all the characters, including a huge round head over a midget body.
  • Nose Bleed: Everyone, at some point. The wrestling team in particular, though — they have nose explosions!
  • Only Sane Man: Futaba gets landed in this role a lot.
  • Paper Fan of Doom:
    • The eldest Koujiro sister has a jet-assisted one of these.
    • Principal Hiroin as "the Tengu of Justice" also uses one.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Made up of pin-ups and Porn Stash: Futana's room. Were you expecting anything else by this point on the page?
  • Powered Armor: An invention of the Koujiro sisters.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Particularly by Futana, Futaba's older sister.
  • Quirky Household: The Shimeru household.
  • Ring Out: A rule of the tournament, and decides Futaba's match against the Man-Eating Plant when the gardener is knocked out of the ring.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Negiri
  • Secret-Keeper: Principal Hiroin, Misaki (eventually)
  • Selective Obliviousness: Somehow Futaba has managed to make it to junior high school without noticing his family's tendency to change genders on a regular basis. Especially remarkable given the Shapeshifter Mode Lock problem.
  • Sex Shifter: Once they reach puberty, sexual arousal causes members of the Shimeru clan become the opposite sex of what they were at birth. They'll change back eventually, though it seems to take minutes or hours depending on the needs of the plot. The same happens to Misaki, when she gets a blood transfusion from Futaba. Though it turns out later that she's distantly descended from the Shimeru clan and the transfusion only woke her genetic potential.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Futaba is stuck in girl form while menstruating. Presumably this also happens during pregnancy.
  • Skinship Grope: Futana, naturally, though she tends to take it a bit further than most characters.
  • Soft Glass: Futaba goes through glass windows several times, including once nearly-naked, without so much as a scratch. The Justicemaker, on the other hand, can get plenty of shards in his huge head along with comical spurts of blood.
  • Straight Gay: Sabuyama-sensei
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Futaba finds himself blushing while thinking of his sister's MALE form.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: Misaki briefly acquires Futaba's gender-bending powers after receiving a blood transfusion from him. This was later justified as the blood activating her latent Shimeru genes.
  • Sweet Tooth: Misaki's got a huge one; so much so that it ties in with Lethal Chef — anything she cooks for herself is unbearably sweet. And it gets better — she's so overly sugared that the swim team can't really swim — because her swimming in the pool has turned the water into a sugary equivalent of the Dead Sea, which is rather hard to sink in. At one point she makes chocolate so overly sweet, it spontanously combusts, turning it into the world's first Chocolate hand grenade!
  • Tempting Fate: Futaba says he has a good feeling about the school field trip; next panel the plane carrying them has ditched in the ocean.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: See the entry for The Chikan above.
  • Time Dilation: It takes eight years for the Shimeru spaceship island to make the journey to its homeworld and back, but for Futaba, Kurin and Misaki it only took a few days or less.
  • Torture First, Ask Questions Later: The wrestler sisters Karin and Anzu tend to get a bit too enthusiastic during "questioning".
  • Tournament Arc: Held to determine which club female Futaba would join.
  • Transformation Comic
  • Unknown Rival: Ms. Hiroin to female Futaba; see link in Breaking the Fourth Wall example.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Misaki, with the complication that she's going to have to share Futaba with Kurin. She earned it, though, what with going through Gene therapy to turn herself into a full Human Alien so she would be compatible.
  • Walking the Earth: Futana's fiancé(e) departs to do this after meeting her for the first time.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Futaba is in the school's wrestling club.