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Manga / Idol Pretender

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My name is Eita Chinami.
I am a man among men.
...Or at least I was supposed to be.

Eita Chinami is a high-school delinquent who wants to become the most badass guy in school to win the chance to confess his love to school idol Yuika Kitano. He tries to achieve that by beating the crap out of every tough guy in and out of school. However, when he catches a cold and ends up taking the wrong pills, he wakes up the next day... as a girl. And an incredibly cute one, at that.

Now the only cure for his/her little predicament is to take the pills again. The catch — (s)he is 300 million yen short of a jar of it! With his/her metrosexual best friend Keisuke Oguri, Chinami vows to return into the true man (s)he always was... by having to take up an idol job — and to his/her surprise, Yuika is also an aspiring idol.

Idol Pretender is a Seinen manga series written and illustrated by Hiroki Haruse.


Idol Pretender provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ambiguous Ending: Chinami decides he loves Oguri more than Yuika, even if it's just because he's currently female. He gives Oguri a Love Confession and a "Shut Up" Kiss, but we don't see Oguri's response. If Chinami will ever become male again, and how this could affect his love life, is likewise an open question.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: After spending long enough with a female body and feminine persona, Chinami becomes conflicted about if he's even still able to see himself as a guy. A resolute Love Epihany toward Oguri gives Chinami the answer, but we don't hear what exactly it is. Chinami may have decided loving a guy shows that she's a girl now, that he's still a guy but OK with dating a guy, or just decides it's irrelevant.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Yuika believed she was only into guys, but quickly falls for Chinami's female identity. It's unclear if Yuika is generally attracted to girls, or acting on some subconscious awareness that Chinami identifies as male. Regardless, Yuika's anxiety over her attraction quickly fades, and she goes from thinking girls can't love each other to (semi-accurately) believing Chinami is bisexual, and admiring "her" for it. Once Yuika discovers the truth, she's briefly conflicted whether it's a good or bad thing, but she's definitely still in love with Chinami regardless.
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  • Arc Words: "Gender doesn't matter."
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Chinami was transformed by medicine meant to make people more beautiful, and so seems to be almost superhumanly attractive.
  • Berserk Button: His anger isn't expreseed in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge level, but threaten Chinami's honor and Oguri will not hold back any punches.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Oguri pulls one in chapter 4 by saving Chinami and Yuika from a stalker.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Aoi, before he falls in love with Chinami.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: After turning female, Chinami quickly becomes conflicted over his pre-existing feelings for Yuika, and his newly developed feelings for Oguri. Chinami ultimately rejects Yuika's confession and would rather be with Oguri, even accepting how his current body may be affecting his choice. Yuika is still open to a relationship in case Oguri rejects him.
  • Bound and Gagged: Chinami and Yuika both get tied up after they get caught by a stalker.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Yuika tends to get aggressive when drunk. And ANY amount of liquor seems to do the trick.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Chinami shows this (and (s)he couldn't explain why) whenever it is something related to Oguri.
  • Chickification: Early on Chinami establishes himself as a bit of a badass even in female, with some pretty powerful kicks to people/equipment. Then Chinami fails to defend himself from the stalker in chapter 4. As the series progresses, Chinami continuous to become more dependent on Oguri to defend him.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Oguri, through and through. He may be shameless enough to strip in the middle of a crowd and even doesn't mind getting too close with female Chinami for comfort, but he's always ready to defend his/her honor.
  • Cry Cute: As he becomes increasingly feminine, Chinami starts to succumb to an adorably tearful mess a few times, much to his frustration.
  • Cute Bruiser: Even when turned into a pretty girl, Chinami is quite strong.
  • Double Meaning: The medicine that transformed Chinami was called "Godlike Beauty DX". "DX" is short for "deluxe", but also an emoticon that could mean either horror, disgust, sadness or great dismay — the very spectrum of emotions Chinami felt when he woke up as a girl for the first time.
  • Ecchi
  • Everyone Is Bi: Whether those involved are aware of it or not, the Love Dodecahedron is certainly a sexuality-confounding affair.
  • False Reassurance: Oguri brushes off most of Chinami's Gender Bender Angst by saying his concerns will be irrelevant once he's male again, ignoring the high probability that will never happen.
  • First Law of Gender-Bending:
    • The only hypothetical way for Chinami to become male again is to buy more of the same medicine that changed him, which costs more money than most people earn in a lifetime. The manga ends with Chinami not notably closer to doing so, nominally still trying to change back, but considering it unimportant enough to not even bring up in the last chapter.
    • Aoi and Rin play the trope straight as far as crossdressing goes. Aoi is a boy with a career as a female idol, who continues to dress like a girl and keep his identity secret through the series. Rin is a girl who initially has a male idol persona, but ends up going public with her actual gender, completely abandoning her male persona, and dressing like a girl from then on to become more attractive to Oguri.
  • Fountain of Youth: Happens to Chinami at the end of Chapter 12.
  • Gender Bender Angst: Being turned into a girl massively distresses Chinami, as he sought to be the pinnacle of masculinity to impress Yuika. (Ironically, Yuika very quickly falls in love with his female identity.) Equally frustrating to Chinami is that he cannot stop acting in such a stereotypically girly manner.
  • Gender Bender: Godlike Beauty DX was a drug meant to make people more beautiful, but for some reason turned Chinami into a beautiful girl. Oguri theorizes it was an adverse reaction to taking it with a cold, though it's also possible the pills turn anyone into a pretty girl, regardless of their original sex. Chinami and Oguri still assume another dose would somehow change him back.
  • Gender Reveal: So far, this has happened thrice — in Chapter 3, where Aoi revealed to Chinami that she is actually a he, in Chapter 7, when Chinami and Oguri finds out that Rintarou is a she, at at the end of Chapter 13, when Yuika overhears Chinami summarizing his/her problems to him/herself.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Yuika has them in chapter 11 as she questions whether she should look up Chinami's skirt while she's unconscious to confirm his/her gender.
  • Handsome Lech: Oguri, Chinami's best friend. He's also borderline Camp Straight.
  • Homoerotic Dream: Chinami has Erotic Dreams about both Oguri and Yuika, and he's female in both. In the first, the pair are dressed like newlyweds, Oguri picks Chinami up, and they almost kiss before the dream ends. In the latter, both are naked and Yuika buries her face in Chinami's breasts. It's debatable which is more "homoerotic", but the one about Oguri was definitely more distressing to Chinami.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Chapter 5 takes place at a hot springs located somewhere in the Hokkaido prefecture.
  • Hysterical Woman: As time goes on, Chinami becomes more and more prone to becoming weepy over his romantic woes.
  • I Am What I Am: By the manga's end, Chinami may or may being trying to make his body male again. In either case, he is at peace with how it changed his behavior and feelings for Oguri, even hoping to start a relationship with him.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Godlike Beauty DX is treated as making Chinami possibly the World's Most Beautiful Woman; enough to get by as an idol before developing any grace or performing skill. As far as the reader can see, there's no much setting Chinami apart but especially large breasts—and even those aren't consistently larger than Yuika's.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail: Chinami, Yuika, and Aoi tail Oguri in chapter 6 after Chinami suspects that he has a girlfriend. They can be seen looking around a corner several times.
  • I Want to Be a Real Man: Chinami's original plan to win over Yuika. Unfortunately for him, one bad cold and the wrong pills later, he ends up being quite the Girly Girl.
  • Kick Chick: Chinami as a girl, in contrast with preferring to throw punches as a guy. At least early on, anyways.
  • Literal-Minded: Oguri warns Chinami not to punch anybody after he debuts as an idol, so when an armed thug breaks onto the stage and takes Yuika hostage, Chinami takes him out by kicking him.
  • Loss of Identity: Chinami's transformation doesn't just change his body, but have an almost as drastic affect on his personality. Within a few chapters, his desire to be a man is practically his only recognizable trait. The ensuing angst is Played for Laughs, usually by having Chinami do something girly, then rage over how he did it so naturally.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Chinami has a crush on Yuika, who eventually declares her love for his/her female persona. Also, Chinami is Tsundere around Oguri (to the point that (s)he wonders whether (s)he's actually going gay for him), and both of them have crossdressers crushing on them, male Aoi Subaru and female Takizawa Rintarou, respectively.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: One of the first things Chinami does post-gender-flip is to grab his/her breasts and see how it feels... much to his/her dismay, (s)he actually gets aroused.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: It doesn't take long until Chinami is acting feminine even without trying. When he tells Oguri he's afraid he won't be able to go back to being a man, Oguri flat out says his body has changed his behavior, so he'll be fine as soon as he makes himself male again.
  • The Klutz: Rin
  • No Romantic Resolution: After Chinami discovers Oguri reciprocates his feelings (but refuses to act on them out of professionalism), he chooses him over Yuika. However, Rin and Chinami both confess love to Oguri one after the other, and we never learn precisely how Oguri responded to either, leaving the question of the final romantic pairs unexplained.
  • Ore Onna: Chinami used the rough and masculine pronoun ore as a guy, and continues to as a girl, despite otherwise being incredibly feminine. Oguri's suggestion to switch to atashi, at least on-stage, ends up failing so miserably they never try again. Even as he's confessing to Oguri, and possibly accepted being a girl, Chinami still uses ore.
  • Phlebotinum Pills: The magic pills Chinami accidentally takes at the beginning, Godlike Beauty DX.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Chinami basically just goes with whatever zany antics the other characters lead him into at a given moment.
  • Plot Hole: One of the founding elements of the Series Goal is that, for Chinami to become male again, he and Oguri have to earn 300 million yen for another dose of the medicine that changed him in the first place. Considering the medicine is meant to make people beautiful, and apparently designed for use on girls to begin with, there's no reason to expect it to make Chinami male again.
  • Second Law of Gender-Bending: Discussed. After finding out that Yuika is in love with his female form, Chinami starts thinking that it might be better to just stay as a girl... right before he chews himself out for thinking that. Ultimately, Chinami seems content to indefinitely live as a feminine girl who loves a guy, and if he even still wants to change back is unspecified.
  • Seinen: The manga is serialized in Champion RED Ichigo magazine.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Initially, Chinami was a hyper-masculine tough guy, contrast with Oguri, a Camp Straight fellow who's more of a lover than a fighter. Both end up reversed to some degree, as Chinami's transformation made him constantly anxious and Oguri showed a violently protective side as Chinami's manager.
  • Shout-Out: A Mami cosplayer can be clearly seen in chapter 6 at the cosplay event.
  • Skinship Grope: By Rin to Chinami in a bath tub scene.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Despite still thinking of himself as a guy after switching genders, Chinami starts developing feelings for Oguri.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Invoked by Yuika in chapter 11 to confirm Chinami's gender.
  • Third Law of Gender-Bending: Much to Chinami's dismay, he's forced to take up an incredibly feminine, public profession for any chance at making the money to change back to being male. Even beyond advancing his career, Chinami's behavior becomes incredibly girly, even when he's actively trying to maintain his masculinity. Oguri claims that it's natural for a female body to affect his mind, but biology really does not explain most of them:
    • Every piece of clothing Chinami wears, even in complete privacy, is cute, girly, and often quite frilly. Evidently, Oguri's cross-dressing wardrobe couldn't go to waste. His body language is also quite demure, to the point of smiling at himself to admire putting on makeup properly.
    • Emotionally, Chinami goes from being very confident and stoic to a Hysterical Woman who breaks down into tears more than once. He even admits he likes being called cute—albeit in the context of telling a boy it's OK to crossdress.
    • Chinami doesn't only become attracted to Oguri, he handles it like a textbook Smitten Teenage Girl: he swoons over being protected by him, is prone to jealousy, has fantasies where he's sexually submissive toward Oguri, and is constantly flustered and embarrassed by the thought of his own feeling. However, unlike in a lot of these stories, Chinami's attraction to Yuika never dies down.
    • As a man, Chinami was a One-Man Army. Though he often shows he's still very strong as a girl, he still ends up as a Damsel in Distress, quaking in fear and dependent on Oguri to save him.
  • Tracking Device: Aoi apparently has plenty of them on Chinami.
  • Tsundere: Chinami towards Oguri. It comes to the point that he questioned whether he's already becoming gay for him.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: After knocking out the man holding Yuika hostage with a kick, Chinami's string-bikini bottom comes undone while he's still on the audition stage.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: As of present, we have Oguri, Aoi and Rintarou.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Chinami wants to be a "man among men" (again) because Yuika expresses a fondness for strong, courageous men. Thanks to Chinami's female persona saving her life, among other feats of strength, Yuika learns it's not just strong MEN that she's fond of.