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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 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 ends up becoming permanent. There's no quick fix or easy solution, 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. Thus, it can be considered something of a Deconstruction of the Gender Bender genre in that there are no wacky hijinks associated with the swap, and the change does take its 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?

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The manga was based off of the four part web manga Change, also made by the author, which was released throughout 2012 and 2013.


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 Kazama's talk with "Yui" the audience isn't sure if "Yuuta" died in an accident or if Yui ended up being Driven to Suicide.
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    • While happier, the end of Bitter Change 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 "Yuuta" teases "Yui" and calls her a dishonest boyfriend, implying the switch Yui wished for happened in Chapter 63.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Celibate Hero: Yuuta displays no romantic or sexual interest in anyone or anything, though that could just be a prolonged case of immaturity. Not anymore as of recent chapters. Yuuta is showing increasingly jealous reactions towards Yui hanging out with other boys, although he does not understand exactly why yet.
  • 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.
  • 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: Not the manga, but 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 Law of Gender-Bending: No signs that they are going to be able to change back anytime soon, even after 6 years.
    • Averted at the last moment in Chapter 62. See the Wham Episode entry. And then double subverted in Chapter 64, as Yui herself prays to God to switch them back.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: without the flip back usually found in such plots.
  • Friendless Background: Yuuta tends to gravitate towards these types of people and entering their lives, from Yui to Koizumi.
  • 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 premise of the comic. Notable in that 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Second Law of Gender Bending: Averted hard. Much of the series consists of either Yuuta or Yui grousing about the inconveniences of life as the other gender (mostly Yuuta). While they do learn to adjust out of necessity, they never really seem to enjoy it.
  • Secret Keeper:
  • 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. It does not help that Yuuta appears to be doing a better job handling her troubled family life than she did.
  • 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.
  • Transgender: 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 judgemental 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.

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