It’s Manga Monday. A weekly post highlighting a different series. I’ll mostly do posts on completed or ongoing series that are regularly updated. While I do not condone scanlations, please support the creator and licensing companies by purchasing the work where available.
This week’s manga is – AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei
AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei is a fictional story based on the real Japanese idol group, AKB48. Uruyama Minoru, your everyday high school boy that happens to look a bit feminine, finds out that his crush, Yoshinaga Hiroko, is a fan of AKB48 and she plans to audition to become a member. After hearing Hiroko’s story of failing her previous first audition due to her nervousness, Minoru decides he wants to help Hiroko’s dream come true by being there to support her. How? He enters the audition, cross-dressing as “Urukawa Minori” to be there for Hiroko and morally support her. After the audition, Hiroko is qualified to become a trainee. However, the big surprise comes when Minoru finds out he qualified as well! The main story follows “Minori” as “she” supports Hiroko with their new lives as female idols.
AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei is technically a “Gender Bender/Cross-dressing” manga. To be honest, that was the #1 reason why I found interest in the series itself. This manga is one of the reasons I became a fan of AKB48. However, unlike other series of the same genre, it does not exploit the sexuality of the characters. Hell, after some time reading, you kind of forget “Minori” is a guy. This is primarily because you become so engrossed in the events themselves rather than the fact Minoru has to hide his identity. The way this manga sheds light on the world of female idol stardom is amazingly well done. From the trials of being an understudy (a backup member) to the hardships of selling thousands of CDs as a new group. If you’re a fan of AKB48, hard work, or even cross-dressing manga in general, I definitely recommend AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei. I wish they made THIS an anime instead of AKB0048.