By Chii. Released in Japan as “Hanayome wa Motodanshi” by Asuka Shinsha. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Beni Axia Conrad. Adapted by Shanti Whitesides.
I will admit that when I first saw that this was licensed, my feeling was that it would be something more along the line of My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, i.e. very stark and autobiographical. While it is autobiographical, I could not have been more wrong about it otherwise, as this title might best be described as “fluffy”. (The cover was likely a clue I just wasn’t picking up.) The title also makes it sound as if this is meant to be BL, which it isn’t. The emphasis should be on the ‘Was’ in the title, whereas I suspect most readers would see it as “Good Grief, the Bride Was a Boy!”, Kermit-style. But our author, Chii, is a woman who was assigned male at birth, and this manga is her story of exploring that, then transitioning, and finally getting married.
Chii’s art is cute and adorable, as is Chii, and the story flows along fairly well. Each chapter is followed by a brief ‘guide’ regarding transgender touchpoints, such as Gender Identity Disorder, LGBT, gender transition, etc. The story itself starts off with Chii meeting her future husband, though he was more “love at first sight” than she was. The husband is something of an amusing dork, but he’s very understanding, even when she explains to him that she’s a cisgender woman who was born as a man. We then flash back to various points in Chii’s life; growing up and realizing that she didn’t feel the same as the other guys around her; doing research and dating both men and women; and then starting the steps of transitioning and explaining things to her family and friends. The manga then ends with the wedding in question, which goes very well, even if Chii ends up crying when she said she wouldn’t.
If this all sounds somewhat undramatic, I won’t argue with that; it’s hard to take issue at the story since it’s autobiographical, but things honestly went very smoothly for Chii throughout this process, with her immediate family and her boyfriend/husband loving and supporting her no matter what. That said, it is nice to see this sort of story portrayed as happy and sweet, rather than like a YA novel with heavy drama. If you’re a reader who is not up to date on the various aspects of transgernderism, this is also a very good read, getting into greater detail on Sex Reassignment Surgery (which Chii does have, though it’s a tough decision – she ends up flying to Thailand to have it due to the high cost in Japan) and all the legal hoops that have to be jumped through in order to make things official in Japan.
This really ended up being a fun, educational read, and I’m definitely glad I picked it up. Chii’s art style is cute (her husband’s less so – we get a sample), and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to read about a transgender protagonist or even just a “meet cute and get married” story.