I have read this manga the last week, and I must say, I would have never thought it would end like this - nor the story, nor my feelings towards it.
First of all, it was labeled gender-bender. I am not a big fan of the genre. Girls who look cute in boys' outfits? Not for me.
Then came the biological twist. Mashiro's upper half is male and the lower is female? That was so ridiculous in my eyes. He's just a boyish chich with no boobs. :D
The first chapter was very confusing, but at the same time, it captured my interest. I wandered what all the crazy stuff was about.
There was one more point that I really disliked - the incest. But I got over it, and I'm glad I did, because without that part, this story truly wouldn't be good.
What I really admired in the whole manga was the characterisation. Every last person in this work is like real people - they have good and bad sides and habits. Some have scarier sceletons in their closets than others, but all of them represent real people.
And the story is all about overcoming your fears, your insecurities, and realizing that you only have one purpose in life: to never give up and always be true to the person you are.
I loved the three main characters. At first, Mashiro annoyed me because he was a girlboy who claimed to be a boy but acted like a total girl. It was so facepalm! But real, too, considering his/her insecurities.
Sou was a mystery present, unwrapped slowly as the story progressed, and turning out just as, or even more, human than everybody else. His character captured me in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end.
Kureha I also liked from the start - she is cute, beautiful even, but inside, she is more insecure than most girls. However, she tries, she constantly tries to overcome her fears, she stops lying down to her phobias and in the end, she rises as the strongest character of them all.
The people were deep, they evolved, and became humans true to themselves. The character development was fascinating. And as a characterization junkie, whenever a story has real characters readers can relate to, I always say: WIN!
And this story had good characters, a good plot, and a good general story. The idea was brilliant, and the ending, when we found out about the reason behind the whole school, was so ingenious I almost teared up.
I can only recommend it to anyone. Even if you don't like shojo, gender bending, incest or fantasy, you have to read this. However, if you're a fan of cliché plots and characters and like easy romance stories with a strong male and weak female lead, or you hate good fight scenes, this is not for you!