Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Kenka Bancho Otome is a gender swap shojo manga based upon the 2016 Playstation Vita game published by Spike Chunsoft. It was soon after accompanied by a 12 episode anime series that aired in 2017. Kenka Bancho Otome follows an orphan named Hinako, who finds out on her first day of high school that she has a twin brother! They agree to swap uniforms and attend each other’s respective schools. Little does Hinako know, her brother is a member of the Yakuza and enrolled in a delinquent high school where all decisions are determined with bare knuckle brawls.
Heading to her first day of high school at Kotobuki Girls’ High School, Hinako is hopeful that she can start fresh and make friends. Along the way she runs into someone who has the same face. As it turns out, she knocks down Hikaru Onigashima, the son of a Yakuza boss and her twin brother. He deceives her into swapping school uniforms so he can attend her all girls’ school and she can go to his delinquent school for boys. As it would turn out, Hinako is a perfect fit for the delinquent school. Armed with the skills she was taught by a “big brother” figure at her orphanage, she packs a major punch that propels her to the top of the ranks of the student body. Hikaru blends in equally well at the all girls’ school where he can explore his feminine side, make friends, and engage in normal high school activities.
Hinako’s life as Hikaru is tough – boys keep challenging her hoping that they can beat her(him?) and take “his” top spot among the first years. After several unexpected twists, Hinako finds herself challenging seniors from the upper grades, including the very boy who taught her how to fight..
Hinako Nakayama is a first year with mixed martial arts capabilities. On her first day of school she encounters her twin brother, who convinces her to attend his school instead. Without much else to do about her situation, Hinako goes along with her brother’s plan, falling into his trap. Although she knows it’s a bad idea, she wants to do something to remain connected to her brother, the only family she has(but they just met!!)
Hikaru Onigashima is the son of a Yakuza boss and isn’t excited about his destiny in a mob family. Realizing he has a twin sister, he decides he can live four years as a normal high school student by swapping with her. As the story progresses, it actually seems like Hikaru likes being a girl. He wants to stay far from his Yakuza ties, even if it means tricking a girl into attending a violent all boys’ high school.
Totomaru Minowa is a first year in Hinako’s class at the all boys’ school. He knows Karate and isn’t afraid to use it. He’s goofy and tough but he proves himself to be a reliable friend.
Takayuki Konparu is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner in the first year class. He’s a pretty boy who’s tough and reliable. He is a straight counterpart to Totomaru and takes on a big brother role in the story.
Rintaro Kira is a lost older friend at the orphanage who used to look out for Hinako. Before he left, he gave Hinako a bracelet that she continues to wear. Fate would have it that he is a student at the delinquent boys’ school. When he spots the bracelet on Hikaru’s wrist, he immediately realizes it’s Hinako in boys’ clothes. Is suspect Rintaro will be a love interest for Hinako. We’ll need to see if the story indeed follows that path.
Gender swap shojo manga are nothing new and we’re seeing them publish with more frequency. At first glance, despite the relationship to any video games (I will confess I have never played the game or watched the anime), I thought this was going to be another clone. Twins swapping places sounded all to familiar to me but then it became obvious that this was a different kind of gender swap manga, where the girl is clearly stronger than her emasculated, feminine brother. Given than Hinako is gullible and easily tricked into living four years as a boy in high school, her strengths obviously lie with her athleticism and martial arts skills, not her reasoning. Her brother, who is supposed to be an up-and-coming Yakuza instead likes nail art and styling his hair. It makes me wonder if Hinako will eventually get a shot at joining the Yakuza family in place of her weakling brother. We’ll just have to sit tight and find out…
You can also check out other The Outerhaven reviews on your favorite social media networks:
**This item was provided for review.