MAL Summary: “Chii and her husband are like any other happily married couple, except for one thing: Chii was assigned male at birth. Chii details her autobiographical account of growing up with gender dysphoria and ultimately deciding to transition in her early adult years. Shortly after Chii starts transitioning, she meets a man who is instantly enamored by her, and although he is surprised when Chii eventually tells him she used to live as a guy, he still wants to go out with her. As Chii continues to transition, her boyfriend supports her through the process, culminating in their marriage once her transition is complete.”
I’ve wanted to write a review of this series for a while, and today felt like the day to do it. You see, I LOVE this single-volume story. In addition to its cute, chibi art style, the story is super heartwarming. My favorite chapter is actually chapter 1, as it made me feel all giggly and warm while reading. I was hooked by Chii-chan’s reaction to being asked out and her now-husband’s moment of "this is fate" when he sees her, while she’s just like "he seems like a cool friend of a friend.“ It’s sweet and cute, and a good read that’s goes by quickly since it’s only one volume that’s a collection of short stories.
The best way I can describe the short story comics and what the great appeal of them is would be to attribute it to the feeling you might get from reading them to the short epilogue pages some manga and comic creators put at the end of their volumes and seasons, in which they discuss their life, the process of writing the manga/comic, and/or give you a glimpse behind the scenes on what’s coming next. For example, on Lezhin I love King’s Maker’s Season 1 epilogue. I love King’s Maker, obviously, but the Season 1 Epilogue is something I remember explicitly and has brought me back to Lezhin more than once to re-read because it was funny and felt real. It connected with me as a reader more than a Twitter post or a written out story of the creators, as it really gave the feeling of being autobiographical compared to similarly published epilogues that felt more like an assignment than something the authors did purposefully to connect with their audience.
That being said, I’d be neglectful if I didn’t mention how Chii and her work, The Bride Was a Boy or Hanayome wa Motodansh, stands out as an autobiographical comic in terms of LGBTQ+ fiction. The book is informative, pointing out some of the complications and problems that trans people face in their lives, as well as depicting a changing society with changing views over time. Chii relates her experience growing up, the confusion over gender identity, relationships she had/has, her family’s reactions, and more through a genuine, optimistic voice that feels different from many other autobiographical accounts of the transexual experience because of its happy end, and that’s a good thing. You get to see from the author’s perspective on how times change and how information that’s available to them gets interpreted. You get to see the anxiety, but also the relief and then joy that comes at different stages. It’s a lot of information, but it doesn’t feel that way because of the bite-size way in which the story presents it because of the cute art and humorous writing.