Binbougami ga!: Almost a Shojo MangaSeptember 19, 2012
OK. That title is certainly a bit exaggerated. You would have to search for quite a bit to find a shojo manga were the main character’s nick name is Tit-chiko (maybe some odd title in Betsucomi). In the end Binbougami ga! is very firmly a boy’s manga with a distinct appeal to dudes. It is in Jump Square for heaven’s sake. It is hard to get more shonen than that.
But the reason I bring this up in the first place is that unlike a lot of shonen titles with a little tweaking you could actually convert the whole Binbougami ga! premise into a popular girls manga. There is pretty much no way you could remake To Love-Ru as a girl’s manga without some colossal reworking of the manga’s base formula. In fact I might be a little be afraid of any manga magus that could attempt such a feat. On the hand without really changing any of the core principles of the manga (that is not Sakura’s bodacious boom boom body) there is a decent shojo manga premise at the core of Binbougami ga!
Hear me out. It sounds crazy but the base of a good idea is there. First off all Ichiko Sakura is a female protagonist. A female protagonist alone hardly makes a series aimed at girls but it is a good launching off point. The next is the fact that the main the threads of the story are Ichiko learning to be a better person, the growing friendship between the four main female leads, and the development of a romance with Tsuwabuki. With only minor tweaking all of those are great plot elements for a shojo manga.And more importantly the idea of an overly lucky but lonely girl who gets caught in the bureaucracy is a fine premise for a shojo manga
Then we have the fact that Tsuwabuki himself would make a fine romantic interest in pretty much any shojo manga. He is handsome, popular, hardworking, and just a bit goofy. The exact opposite of the standard milquetoast harem lead. I’m fairly certain that Narutaki would read a manga with Tsuwabuki as the romantic lead in a heartbeat.
The pieces are there. With just a few adjustments and a little cut and paste the transformation could be fairly seamless.
Well the first key to making an actual shojo manga would be to remove all the fan service. Ichiko can still be sexy but you need to drop her proportions from porn star to normally sexy. Momiji and Nadeshiko are actually fine. If Rindou worn a darn shirt with her outfit she would fine as well. Also we can cut the number of jokes related to breasts and by chest size envy by at least 90 percent. You can keep the mouse pad joke and then ditch the rest.
Oddly enough there are no panty shots to remove. It always surprises me when Binbougami ga! has the prefect moment to slip in a panty shot and actually goes out of its way to avoid it. Bravo Binbougami ga! Bravo!
The next step is to increase the amount of Tsuwabuki. Not a lot more. But just a itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie bit more. It makes him a bit more of a romantic subplot and lets him deliver a bit for gorgeous guy fan service. In fact you could probably throw in one or two more good look guys to replace Bobby. Maybe a few handsome gods as well. They never hurt. It does not have to be a reverse harem show. You just need to even the sexes out. It also makes more romantic possibilities if you want them.
Then all you have to do is focus a bit more on friendship in a platonic manner. The main musketeers play off each other nicely when they are finally assembled. The way that frenemy relationship between Ichiko and Momiji develops is great but it does get into them realm of yuri-bait at times. It is not YuruYuri or even K-On! but if they could dial that back a bit then it would be perfect.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Binbougami ga! the way it is. If they keep Rindou just in a chest wrap most of the time I will hardly cry myself to sleep at night. I just like to play around with full little thought experiments from time to time. I am curious if anyone feels like other shonen manga could be as easily converted into a shojo manga.