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REVIEW: Love Me for Who I Am Volume 1


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Suxinn



Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 165
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:27 pm Reply with quote
I remember when I first read this series being really bothered by how hard the mangaka leans into the moe aesthetic, making this feel more like said mangaka was simply trying to write an exotic/titillating story rather than actually writing about lived experiences, which is... not great, but wouldn't be so bad if there weren't actual glimmers in the text of the mangaka actually trying to tackle serious issues (and failing). I think the review nails the issues with this series better than I could ever articulate. (Though I do also cut the manga a bit more slack, since I read it before all the Seven Seas marketing about how it's a ~great manga about the nonbinary experience~ and simply read it as a moe manga which at least attempts to tackle serious issues.)

...But honestly after reading Kanojo ni Naritai Kimi to Boku, every other attempt at writing a fictional teen queer story just pales in comparison. (Yes, I am sneaking in a rec here.)
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Seagloom



Joined: 04 Nov 2017
Posts: 239
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:22 pm Reply with quote
Suxinn wrote:
...But honestly after reading Kanojo ni Naritai Kimi to Boku, every other attempt at writing a fictional teen queer story just pales in comparison. (Yes, I am sneaking in a rec here.)


Thanks for sneaking it in. This series totally flew under my radar. From what I could gather it seems atypically thoughtful in handling trans subject matter in particular. Definitely going to pick up the two available volumes.
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 13029
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:08 pm Reply with quote
A lot of the things this review takes issue with are explored in later volumes.

As a cis gender male I guess I shouldn't say much, but I appreciate how the book never shames anyone for not immediately understanding. The character identities clash, but in the end they talk things through, learn about each other, and find the best solution for everyone.
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xxmsxx



Joined: 06 Sep 2017
Posts: 269
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:54 pm Reply with quote
As someone who is on the fence of picking up this manga, I want to thank the reviewer for providing a valuable critique from a transgender perspective as I am not.

Edit: A conversation about my comments has been started elsewhere.


Last edited by xxmsxx on Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Blood-
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Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 21337
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:15 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
(a book authored by a cis person who only discovered the existence of nonbinary people, through a random, haphazard Google search, shortly before endeavoring to write it—this is admitted in the author's note)


Ugh, ugh, ugh. This strikes me as appropriation at its absolute worst. So not only is the creator not writing from a scintilla of personal experience, it's sounds like they don't even KNOW any relevant people to talk to for research. Ugh, ugh, ugh.
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MCAL



Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 132
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:20 pm Reply with quote
I'm not sure where the reviewer got the idea Konoyama is cisgender, because as far as I know, they've kept their gender a secret.
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Suxinn



Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 165
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:41 pm Reply with quote
Seagloom wrote:
Suxinn wrote:
...But honestly after reading Kanojo ni Naritai Kimi to Boku, every other attempt at writing a fictional teen queer story just pales in comparison. (Yes, I am sneaking in a rec here.)


Thanks for sneaking it in. This series totally flew under my radar. From what I could gather it seems atypically thoughtful in handling trans subject matter in particular. Definitely going to pick up the two available volumes.

Yay, my sneak rec worked! It's also actually available in English under the title of I Wanna Be Your Girl on the mangamo app. Hopefully it gets enough attention there to warrant some English print volumes because I really want to own it.
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FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 2029
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:56 pm Reply with quote
I personally like this manga myself, though reading this person's review, now I can see where they're coming from in regards to how it presents issues of gender. Though then again, I've read up to the most recently scanlated chapter. The review was very good and informative, and I learned a lot from this. A lot of the questions and issues they bring up are important, and I'm gonna see if I can keep all of this in mind should I decide to try and tackle some of this stuff in my own writing.

Quote:
Why are they nonbinary? What about who they are and the way they relate to the world makes it so that being nonbinary is the truest, most authentic expression of their self?


From what I've read, volume 4 does go into this a bit, but I don't know how accurate it is to typical trans/non-binary experiences. Plus, Mogumo is given a rather stupidly melodramatic and overly angsty sad backstory.

Oh, for anyone who's interested, I have been reading this one webcomic called Rain, which you can find on DeviantArt here: https://www.deviantart.com/jocelynsamara/gallery/27273884/rain-comic. It tells the story of a transgender girl and her life at her new Catholic school, detailing her experiences and the adventures she has with her friends and family. I found it a very good and informative read, and while it can get preachy at times, overusing walls of text on occasion, I feel it has wonderfully dynamic characters, well written story arcs, and a relatively nuanced exploration of the LGBT spectrum and all that it entails. But I should warn you: The very early chapters are rather rough and cringy. But after chapter 7, the quality of the writing and characterization goes up immensely, though it may not look it at first.
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gilnokoibito



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 103
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:06 pm Reply with quote
As a very femme transman who once identified as agender (or at least was very confused about my gender in general) I really liked this manga. It's not meant to be super serious and is a love and coming to accept yourself story at heart and I rly identified with what happened in a lot of it. It makes more sense if you read it from the characters perspective. Finding out about yourself rarely makes sense and is very confusing. I feel like the author pointed that out well by having the characters act and react the way they did. Its not meant to be perfect or lay things out correctly but just to dive into many people's personal perspectives on their gender and how they feel. After all, everyone experiences such things differently so there is no right or wrong way to show it. I personally really loved the book and understood where several of the characters were coming from (but they did need to perhaps Google some stuff for themselves. But not having done that and just flailing through it, their reactions make sense.) I was very excited to see a manga tackle such things as well as it did. (As an added tidbit, I really liked the main guy's gay crisis and self-acceptance added to a story that mainly focused on gender.)
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ThatGuyWhoLikesThings



Joined: 04 Jul 2013
Posts: 891
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
(a book authored by a cis person who only discovered the existence of nonbinary people, through a random, haphazard Google search, shortly before endeavoring to write it—this is admitted in the author's note)


That's...how a lot of people find out about this kind of stuff. Including those that aren't cis. How else do you think they do???

(Also the author's gender is unknown)

There's a lot of broad assumptions being made about the entire series with one volume of manga in this review, because a lot of this is either misleading or outright wrong, even within the context of just this first volume.


Last edited by ThatGuyWhoLikesThings on Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:24 pm; edited 2 times in total
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ANN_Lynzee
ANN Executive Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:04 pm Reply with quote
Hey everyone, things are getting a little heated in here. First, I don't think the review defined the author's gender as either male or female only that they are cis-gender based on the context given by the author's note; it would be a little strange for someone who identifies as trans* or nonbinary to be uneducated about those terms and then decide to write about them based on an internet search.

Issues relating to and depictions of gender identity and sexual orientation are going to feel personal for a lot of individuals as it did for the reviewer. The review published here is Faye's honest feelings about how those topics were depicted and like any review, they may not be the same as yours. Faye's review is strongly worded but as her editor, I didn't find it unfair and I believe she backed up all her arguments with context that is within the book itself.

The issues Faye stated were uncomfortable for her, such as fetishism, may not have been the manga artist's intent but it doesn't negate stereotypes or past mishandlings of nonbinary and trans folks in manga as possible influences, given that the author mentions their inexperience with these issues in the first place.

Regardless, readers are more than allowed to come to their own conclusions and feelings regarding the manga but note that the review only covers content and context given the first volume. Any actual attacks on Faye for expressing her conclusions in this review won't be tolerated.
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musouka



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 638
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:08 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
But something to note is that the mangaka, Kata Konayama, is cisgender.


Isn't that the case for everyone...until they're well, not?

I'm not trying to say that trans people and NB people are invalid or don't exist from birth, I'm saying that because the world assumes cis by default, it can take some time and searching to discover these things about yourself. Sometimes it comes from representation in media, or friends/family, or even google searches about an idea you heard in passing?

I didn't like "Love Me For Who I Am" at all--which sort of sucks for me, because I bought what was available in Japanese when I saw it getting glowing recommendations--but I don't think this is a fair review of even the first volume. I know that it's frustrating when a work should speak to you and it doesn't, but I don't think it's right to assume that you didn't connect to it because of implied malice on behalf of the mangaka.
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Ashley Hakker



Joined: 31 Aug 2016
Posts: 115
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:43 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
(like a scene where the other maids host a dress-up party and force them to try on outfits despite their trepidation)


I'm sorry but did the author of this review even read the manga? This set of panels, right here. Mo-chan REQUESTS it, no one ever suggests it for them, no one ever pushes them into it, they are thinking about their identity, social friction, and such, and request it themselves. And the end lesson of the whole thing is that Mogumo learns that their best version of them self is their true self.

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ThatGuyWhoLikesThings



Joined: 04 Jul 2013
Posts: 891
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:16 pm Reply with quote
I wouldn't word it quite so strongly as the person whose post just got deleted (can't remember their name, sorry!), at least not on a public forum, but I do think the mindset of "this work of fiction doesn't directly relate to my own specific and personal experiences, so I should assume malicious intent from a cis fetishist" is only damaging to the lgbt community

Works that are only ever implicitly queer receive heaps of praise for being progressive (praise that's often undue) but when we have a work that is explicitly about queer characters and Japanese queer culture, by an author that went out of their way to write about such a topic regardless of their experience with the subject because they showed real interest in it, and that gets trashed on? I would think that sends a bad message but to each their own
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Ashley Hakker



Joined: 31 Aug 2016
Posts: 115
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:25 pm Reply with quote
ThatGuyWhoLikesThings wrote:
I wouldn't word it quite so strongly as the person whose post just got deleted (can't remember their name, sorry!), at least not on a public forum, but I do think the mindset of "this work of fiction doesn't directly relate to my own specific and personal experiences, so I should assume malicious intent from a cis fetishist" is only damaging to the lgbt community

Works that are only ever implicitly queer receive heaps of praise for being progressive (praise that's often undue) but when we have a work that is explicitly about queer characters and Japanese queer culture, by an author that went out of their way to write about such a topic regardless of their experience with the subject because they showed real interest in it, and that gets trashed on? I would think that sends a bad message but to each their own


It's also worth noting that this mangaka has gone so far as having attended Tokyo Rainbow Pride themself:

https://konayama.fanbox.cc/posts/722249
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