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Manga / Shishunki Bitter Change

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Yuuta and Yui, two elementary school students, suddenly have their bodies swapped after Yuuta falls out of a tree! What will happen to them as they grow up?

Shishunki Bitter Change is a Gender Bender manga by Masayoshi that starts off with a fairly typical premise: boy falls out of tree onto girl, they switch bodies. What differentiates it from other, similar manga, is that the situation is much more long-term. They go years without switching back, and Yuuta and Yui have to settle in to their new lives in each other's homes.

The ramifications of spending many years as someone else are shown, as the series follows Yuuta and Yui all the way through high school. It's a prime example of Gender Bender Angst where there are no wacky hijinks associated with the swap, and the change takes an emotional toll. Still, over time, the two settle into their new roles, but they wonder if they will ever return to their old lives, and after so much time, are their lives even their own anymore?


The manga was based off of the four part web manga Change, also made by Masayoshi, which was released throughout 2012-2013. It was later uploaded onto Masayoshi's Pixiv account as a 21-part series. A What If? manga following Yui and Yuuta if they hadn't switched, Change, Shitenai, was sold as two independent manga volumes from 2013 to 2015 before both volumes were compiled online.

Shishunki Bitter Change provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Yui's parents aren't intentionally abusive, but they fight constantly which takes a severe psychological toll on the poor girl. Yui's overachieving ways were a cry for parental attention.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Yuuta certainly gives this impression when he (as Yui) is tasked with reining in Tachibana, the class delinquent.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Yuuta is a subversion as he really misses his little brother.
  • Ambiguous Ending:
    • The final installment of Change tries to keep things more ambiguous concerning what happened to Yuuta's body. We know for sure that Yuuta's body is dead and the remaining cast members feel awful about it, but due to the vagueness of Kazuma's talk with "Yui" the audience isn't sure if "Yuuta" died in an accident or if Yui ended up being Driven to Suicide.
    • While happier, the end of Bitter Change initially leaves it up in the air whether or not Yui and Yuuta actually switched back. "Yui" refers to Yuuta's body as "Yuuta", implying that they're in their proper bodies, but "Yui" is uncharacteristically protective of "Yuuta", Kazuma laughs off the idea of liking "Yui", and "Yuuta" teases "Yui" by calling her a dishonest boyfriend, implying the switch Yui wished for happened in Chapter 63. The final volume's extra comic gives a more concrete answer; "Yuuta", while looking at a sleeping "Yui", comments that people never get to look at their own face in full, showing that they indeed switched for good and they now refer to themselves as each other's names. Further released Twitter extras remove all ambiguity that they did in fact remain switched as they had the past couple years: in one, Kazuma refers to Ex-Yui-Now-Yuuta as "Yui" while talking to Ex-Yuuta-Now-Yui, suggesting privately they still (at least occassionally) use their birth names. In another, Ex-Yuuta-Now-Yui verbatim thinks "Yui would be furious if she found out." due to having gained a little weight.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Yuuta, despite his denials. While he definitely has a crush on Yui, his relationship with Tachibana is a bit suspicious even between guys. It could be a holdover from the webcomic where he actually did have a crush on Tachibana.
  • Babies Ever After: Both Change and Bitter Change end with Yui('s physical body) having children. We don't know who the father is in the web version, but in the manga's epilogue it's very obvious they're hers and Yuuta's.
  • Batman Gambit: Yuuta slacks off all summer and "forgets" to do his homework since he knows Yui wouldn't let him fail in her body.
  • Becoming the Mask: After switching bodies as children, Yuuta and Yui are forced to pretend to be the other for 8 years, with neither liking these circumstances. However, after finally realizing their feelings towards one another, switching back after Yuuta's body gets into an accident, and Yui praying for them to switch back to save Yuuta's life, the two fully accept being in the other's body. They even take on the other's name to signify that they fully accepted their new life and identity.
  • Belated Love Epiphany: Yui only realizes that she's fallen for Yuuta when he's in critical condition following their road accident. The only way she can think of to save him is to wish them back into each other's bodies, so that he may live healthily while she dies in his stead. Subverted since he doesn't die, and they hook up sometime later.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Tachibana kisses Yuuta and confesses his feelings for the latter. However it's subverted, given that Yuuta ultimately doesn't return Tachibana's feelings and he ends up with Yui instead.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The manga ends this way, averting the Downer Ending below for a happier conclusion. Yuuta and Yui finally switch back to their original bodies after 8 years, but with Yuuta in critical condition as a result. This causes Yui to finally acknowledge the good times they had together and admit her love for Yuuta, praying for them to swap bodies again if it means he can be saved, which gets answered sometime off-panel. Yuuta and Yui start dating and fully accept their circumstances, as signified by them calling themselves by the other's name, even in private (Though Yui still calls Yuuta her boyfriend). The epilogue shows they have gotten married and have two children, and they go out of their way to prevent them from going through what they experienced.
  • Celibate Hero: Yuuta displays no romantic or sexual interest in anyone or anything, though that could just be a prolonged case of immaturity. This is eventually subverted once Yuuta falls in love with Yui via Green-Eyed Epiphany.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Yuuta just can't help but insult bullies, help out fellow students, and befriend lonely or isolated classmates. This actually makes "Yui" fairly popular among the girl students, further hurting Yui's self-esteem.
  • The Confidant: Kazuma is the only consistent Secret-Keeper and largely acts as the emotional support for Yuuta and Yui's troubles. Deconstructed when it turns out he has an unhealthy habit of carrying too much responsibility. The pressure of caring for his friends and his sick mother starts to weigh on him heavily.
    • Koizumi becomes this for Yuuta as well, giving him someone to talk to on the girl's side of the social world.
  • Deus ex Machina: In the final arc, Yuuta and Yui are hit by a truck. Yui, back in her own body and mostly recovered, discovers that Yuuta is in critical condition from taking the brunt of the hit. She's so distraught with the idea of losing Yuuta forever that she prays to maintain their mindswap, if only it meant he'd come out of his coma alive. Somehow this was all that was needed, and by the last chapter they've swapped permanently but Yuuta's body still maintains damage.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Koizumi is almost a girl version of Kazuma: a seemingly Emotionless Girl who is nonetheless a reliable confidant to the heroes, who has her own anxieties hidden under the surface and an occasional Creepy Good moment. Notably, Yuuta, a lifelong friend of Kazuma, almost immediately reaches out to Koizumi after meeting her.
  • Downer Ending: The original webcomic ended on an incredibly bleak note. Yuuta, in Yui's body, was distracted by the realization he had a crush on Tachibana and failed to notice Yui (in Yuuta's body)'s deteriorating mental state. There's a time skip and a scene which implies Yui killed herself and Yuuta ultimately continues living in her body, even getting married and having a child, while lamenting to Kazuma that he felt like he could have done more if he'd only been mature enough to understand Yui at the time.
  • Everyone Can See It: Anyone who sees Yui and Yuuta together for a while realizes they have a special relationship. Most people just assume they're dating.
  • First Friend: Yuuta tends to gravitate towards friendless types of people and enter their lives, from Yui to Koizumi.
  • First Law of Gender-Bending: The main characters undergo a mixed-sex body swap (thus a straight and inverted example) and go years without any sign of reversing it. Near the end of the series, they do switch back, but Yuuta starts dying seemingly as a result, causing Yui to wish they would change back again. Yuuta's body recovers, and is implied though not clearly shown that each went back to the other's body and accepted them as their own from then on.
  • First Period Panic: Yuuta recieves one of these when he experiences his first one in Yui's body.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Without the flip back usually found in such plots.
  • Genki Girl: Yuuta, in Yui's body, is still just as energetic as ever, but is forced to tone it down for the sake of Yui's reputation.
  • Gender Bender: The comic centers on a mixed-sex "Freaky Friday" Flip. The situation has no easy fix, and Yuuta and Yui are stuck as each other for the long term.
  • Gender Bender Angst: Yuuta and Yui experienced a "Freaky Friday" Flip during elementary school, and never managed to switch back. Not surprisingly, they got desperate to switch back to their original bodies. They got over it somewhat after the Time Skip to their teenage years, but still expressed desire to return. In the finale, they switch back after another freak accident, but Yui decides that she'd rather be switched forever if it meant Yuuta would be with her alive and well.
  • Girls Have Cooties: Yuuta is so uninterested in girls he still knows very little about them despite years living as one. At least until he falls for Yui.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Yuuta's real feelings for Yui only spill out when he's afraid someone will take her away from him. It's when he's afraid Kazuma and Yui might end up as a couple that he finally realizes he's in love.
  • Hot-Blooded: Yuuta, which causes all sorts of problems pretending to be the much more reserved and studious Yui, especially since Yui is always harping on him to not screw up her life before they find a way to switch back. Yuuta's hot blooded ways causes the first real break in Yuuta and Yui's relationship when she belatedly learns that he couldn't help "fixing" Yui's relationship with her parents.
  • Hypocrite: Yuuta points out all the ways Yui was one in judging him for getting close to Tachibana. When Yui gets upset he's using her body to get suspiciously close to Tachibana, Yuuta shoots back she's doing the same thing to get close to Kazuma. When Yui acts indignant that Yuuta let Tachibana steal her Sacred First Kiss, Yuuta points out that Yui got his stolen by Kinoshita years ago.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On:
    • Yui wanted to become a supportive friend to Kinoshita, but "his" kindness came across as far more princely and dashing than she meant.
    • Yuuta's lax physical boundaries towards Tachibana might be fine for two straight guys, but causes Tachibana to start falling hard for him.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Yui, in Yuuta's body, is crushed when she learns Kazuma has a girlfriend. Yuuta, on the other hand, appears to have no interest in girls.
  • Look Both Ways: The final arc kicks off after Yui walks in the path of an oncoming truck, and both she and Yuuta get hit when he attempts to get her out of the way.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Yuuta and Yui for obvious reasons.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Yuuta is one to Tachibana, always supporting him and convincing him to open up.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Discussed. Koizumi wonders if Yuuta has started to fall for boys (or specifically Tachibana) while he's been in Yui's body. Yuuta furiously denies this.
  • No Periods, Period: Subverted. Yuuta panics because he never paid attention in health class since he always assumed they'd switch back first.
  • Oblivious to Love: Yuuta in Yui's body hasn't realised that Tachibana, the delinquent classmate she helped, has a crush on him.
    • Selective Obliviousness: ...Or so he claims. After Tachibana makes his feelings obvious Yuuta admits he knew how Tachibana felt from the get-go and just didn't want to mess up their friendship.
  • Ore Onna: Yuuta slips into it when he's feeling especially anxious.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The Awful Truth about the swap: either Yuuta or Yui died during the fall from the tree and only survived by switching bodies.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • Kazuma, Yuuta's best friend and Yui's crush figures out early on what happened, and helps the two keep their secret.
    • Briefly, Yuuta's younger brother figures out that his brother now is not his original brother but vows to keep it a secret. As he grows older however, Yuuta's brother starts to believe Yui's personality is how his brother has always been and forgets about the swap entirely. Yuuta's brother though does the remember the promise he made regarding his bet with "Yuuta" as shown when his brother ended up in critical condition, even he if doesn't remember the circumstances leading to such a bet.
    • Eventually, a high school girl named Koizumi enters the fold after overhearing Yuuta and Yui talk about the situation. She's initially warned to stay away by Kazuma, only for Yuuta to welcome her as a friend after learning about Koizumi's backstory.
  • Shipper on Deck: Kazuma is heavily implied to think Yuuta and Yui would make a good couple. Eventually, he even asks Yui on an unspoken date in the hopes of making Yuuta jealous enough to make a move. Backfires given that he's in love with Yui as well.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • Yui was one even before the "Freaky Friday" Flip, though it lessens considerably as the story progresses and she starts opening up to Kazuma.
    • Yuuta himself starts becoming this after he realizes his feelings for Yui. What makes it worse is that, despite Yui not telling him, he knows that she has fallen for Kazuma, and could never fall for him. It also doesn't help that Kazuma keeps siding with Yui, leaving Yuuta to deal with his problems all alone. The only ones who notice him when he is down are Koizumi and, probably, Tachibana. This conversation with Tachibana in chapter 45 pretty much cements him as one:
    Tachibana: Aren't you going out with him? (referring to Yui, who is in Yuuta's body)
    Yuuta: ... Of course not. Sure, we've been together since elementary school. But we don't get along at all, we always fight, and there's no way...... (with a sad smile on his face) There's no way he (Yui) would ever like me.
  • Third Law of Gender-Bending: Yuuta and Yui are forced to pretend to be each other, and Yui in particular is determined that Yuuta not mess up her life and reputation before they change back.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Yui was the girly girl originally, but got a reputation as a tomboy when Yuuta took her body.
  • Trans Tribulations: Yui and Yuuta end up being the opposite sex, physically, but both of them still identify with their original gender. This leads to a lot of discomfort and dysphoria for the pair.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 62. Yuuta's body is hit by a truck, and now Yui is back in her own body.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Yuuta calls Yui out on her judgmental attitude when she assumes Tachibana will try to take advantage of him just due to looking like a delinquent.
  • Where It All Began: The final chapter of Change and the final extras of Bitter Change feature a now grown up Yui and others gathering around the tree that set this plot in motion.