Mizuki is a girl who looks like a boy. She's in a band at her all-girl school, where the students call her their prince. When Mizuki's best friend has to move and leave the band, she doesn't think anyone can replace her. Akira is a boy who looks like a girl. He goes to an all boy school, where the guys call him their princess. He's in love with Mizuki, and sees the opening for her band's lead singer as the perfect opportunity to get close to her. However, Mizuki is naive about love. She thinks her physical reactions to attraction are a sign of bad health and wants nothing to do with men because of this. Akira is persistent, though, determined to make Mizuki fall in love with him...
This manga was confusing at first, but in a good way. Mizuki does look like a pretty boy, and Akira looks like a cute girl... or an uke. But he is most definitely the seme-type. His true nature is manly and forceful. Mizuki comes off as cool and reserved, but she's actually emotional, insecure, and girly on the inside. She's a tsundere, falling for Akira but pushing him away in her confusion. The relationship is interesting at first. I had to keep in mind that Mizuki was a girl for a while. But I didn't really like how the romance developed. Akira is forceful with Mizuki in a way that made me uncomfortable. He keeps telling her that he'll back off if she says no, but... usually she doesn't say yes or no. She's obviously confused by Akira's advances, not ready for that kind of relationship, but he keeps pushing her. Mizuki's too passive with all this, too, but she seems like she really doesn't know what she's doing. In addition to that... I really had a problem with what happened at the end. I don't like to include spoilers in my reviews, but here, I think it's important, so... SPOILER: Mizuki is nearly raped by another girl on a resort trip. To get revenge, Akira gets a friend from his school to rape that girl. It's unclear at this point whether he'll go through with it. I think he only intends to scare her, or that something will interrupt them at the last moment. But no matter what happens, or what the girl did in the first place, it's never ok for a guy to use that kind of force on a girl. It made Akira seem dark, and not in a good way. SPOILER 2: Also, before this, he gets into the hot spring with Mizuki to see her naked, without her permission, not to mention how this invades the privacy of the other girls (who all think he's a girl, too).
I feel a bit hypocritical here, because I still like Hot Gimmick, another manga with a questionable relationship. But the romantic interest there wasn't a schemer like Akira, more like a frustrated, spoiled child. Still made me uncomfortable, and I didn't like that he was still pushing the protagonist around by the end, but... Whereas this guy was a jerk because he was immature and didn't know how else to act, Akira seems cool and in control. Like he should know better but just doesn't care.
But besides all that, I just didn't find the manga all that interesting once I got past the novelty of the characters' appearances. Akira and Mizuki are actually kind of stereotypical. The story mostly consists of scenes with Akira trying to put the moves on Mizuki and Mizuki being reluctant. There were some truly funny moments, like when some guys try to pick up Akira outside a bookstore (thinking he's a girl), but it wasn't enough to liven it up. The band stuff kind of fades into the background. This is a shame, because I would've liked to see more of it. Also, the other characters don't much much of an impression because they, too, fade into the background. I wanted to know more about Mizuki's bandmates, especially Ai, who seemed like a funny, interesting person. Finally, maybe this is just me, but I kind of had trouble believing that the guys at Akira's school would be so worshipful of him. Guys are usually more... resistant to homosexual attraction than girls, and it just seemed weird to me. Yeah, the go to a school full of guys, but... they still seem more interested in Akira, even when there are girls around. And they seem to carry it farther than the girls do with Mizuki.
The art here is good, but not anything really special. It's a bit dated, but all the characters are pretty and skillfully drawn. They could stand to be more emotive, though. Also, I thought that some of the girls in Mizuki's band looked a bit too much like guys to really believe that they are girls, but... it didn't bother me too much.
I don't want to be a stick-in-the-mud. I'm willing to overlook some things when I read manga, and I've enjoyed a few that I felt kind of bad about liking. However, I thought Akira crossed the line. The truth is, if I had found him a more likable character, if I had cared about the romance, this probably would've been one of those manga. But I didn't much like how he treated Mizuki, so the romance didn't get to me. I promise the sexism here isn't what brought my rating down. It didn't help, but overall, I just didn't think the manga was anything remarkable. I read a lot of shojo manga. I mean, I'm at least passingly familiar with just about every shojo title on the market today (well, if you don't count yaoi, which I'm fine with but don't seek out). Give me a plot synopsis, and I can give you the title. So I know what's good and what's just ok. And as far as plot and characterization go, this is just ok. It has its moments, but it didn't really rise above.