Tomo-chan Is a Girl! (2015) – Tomboy Needs Love

You don’t hit or miss Tomo. But, you just want to hug her. She is the kind of girl you don’t want to deal with. She acts like a man in general but you never know how her real feeling. “Tomo-chan Is a Girl!” is a short and sweet comedy romance manga by Fumita Yanagida. Each chapter may not be too long and not have many pages. But, it’s a massive count of chapters with an overall eight volumes. You can climb fast, reach this manga quickly in one sitting. But, for some reason, why haven’t we gotten the anime adaptation? This case is also similar to “Komi Can’t Communicate” while the manga is still on-going.

Although the title itself seems not promising enough, this manga is about a romance between normal people. This manga takes a very simple concept. But, the author blends it in a unique way you might even think this might be like romance in general. It’s a fact and it’s one of the sweetest manga I have ever read. It gives the tomboy tropes not just one perspective from its characterization and design. It’s just simple yet there is a touch of the manga it pulls you inside.

Simply put, it’s about a childhood friendship about a boy and a girl. But, there is a twist. After being friends for a long time, Tomo finally realized she fell in love with her best friend, Junichirou. Finally, she began to confess her feelings. She wasn’t the strongest bro as Junichirou thought. Tomo is a girl and Junichirou never noticed. After a misunderstanding that Junichirou was also “in love” with Tomo as his best friend, the rom-com story began.

While the story is simple, the characters have much to do, to begin with. Tomo is an ignorant tomboy who has to deal with a lot of misunderstandings. After expressing her feelings to her best friend, she wants to change. She wants to change to be more feminine so Junichirou sees her more like a woman in general. Indeed Junichirou saw Tomo as a woman in general. Only he didn’t know how to express the feeling of ambiguity in him. Tomo’s soft and feminine side makes her the most likable character with a gradual development. The way we follow her through the chapters is easy to understand.

Junichirou is just a typical strong guy who seems to have a lot of backstory between Tomo and himself. But, the way he develops is just not too special regardless this is all about Tomo, not Junichirou. He has an embarrassment when he kind of notice Tomo as a girl. He sometimes teases Tomo and flirts her even though he doesn’t realize he didn’t do it. The relationship between them is a not-too-complicated thing. However, the more the story went, the more we see them both if they have a crush on each other.

The relationship between Tomo and Junichirou isn’t like a couple in general. Their behavior and reaction like a couple of bromance who seems to know more deeply. They work as a team, especially when it comes to sports or physical matters. They seem to like enjoying their friendship. But, when one of them is alone, they are empty inside. It all works in the sense of chemistry, charm, and tone. Same with “Komi Can’t Communicate”.

The story has so many cliches, especially this is a manga about romance comedy in school. It takes a decent plot yet it feels like an original work. Interaction between characters is there and they often rely on punchline and humor. Yet, it just follows the same joke over and over again. Characters, besides both the main characters, are there even though only a matter of fingers. Interaction between other characters and their relationship is casual yet at the same time colorful. Not only the protagonist is likable but all the supporting characters have things to do with the story.

The artwork supports the story in a minimalist way. While the story is simple, the same as with the artwork. Both of them are just very simple. Their simplistic makes this manga worthy to see in any aspect. The well-executed panels by panels; it’s smooth and fully roots the presentation and the story. In short, the author delivers it in a balanced tone and never gets out of the character.

“Tomo-chan Is a Girl!” is an enjoyable rom-com manga with such a quality, simple story, simple artwork, yet a worth-to-read manga. Although the ending is a reduction in value, the process to the ending doesn’t give us enough pay-off. If only there were so many things to do with the ending, I would have liked this manga better; likewise, it’s just there and anti-climax. On the other hand, everything in the aspect is great both with character development and pace. This is an entertaining read, a fresh, smooth, yet a pass for a lot of people.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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