Say hello to our newest member Llian, she comes to you with our newest feature. Is this manga a keeper or a stinker? Find out with Meringued Mangas.
Change 123 is a well written manga that was published in Akita Shoten’s Champion Red since 2005. It is written by Iku Sakaguchi, and illustrated by Shiuri Iwasaw. The story follows Motoko Gettou a female high-school student trained in martial arts by three different masters, all proclaiming to be her father. Because of the harsh training she undertook, she developed three split personalities referring to themselves as HiFuMi. Before we get into the meaning of HiFuMi, let’s just take a look at their relationship with Motoko. HiFuMi immediately comes to Motoko’s aid when she experiences danger, faints, or when either of the three wants to come forth. This goes for HiFuMi as well. When one is defeated in battle another takes over, but this only lasts as long as two personalities are conscious. Despite being alter egos of Motoko, she can not communicate with them directly, and vice versa. But they can communicate amongst themselves. Motoko has given them different hair styles to tell them apart. They can also differentiated by their subtle, yet distinguishin features.
The story first starts off with Kosukegawa Tereharu, a classmate of Motoko. After purchasing some small, cheap action figures he witnesses Motoko being harassed by some thug. He overlooks the situation after the thug threatens him and loathes himself for being too weak to help her. Nevertheless, he returns with renewed (though weak) determination only when recalls the words of the great Kamen Raider! (No doubt about it….this is a parody for Kamen Rider! >_>;) After remembering those words, he decides to return and help, only to find the that this thug has already been dealt with by Motoko herself. But as fate would have it she never wanted anyone to witness such a thing in the first place and the now hysterical Motoko pleads with Kosukegawa to keep it a secret and he agrees. Even though they met in a awkward way, Kosukegawa is fortunate to have met Motoko and after some thought asks her to go to the beach with him at a later date. Everything was going fine until Mr.Thug decides he’s going to interrupt and exact some revenge. Of course, he’s not allowed to follow through with it, and suffers to defeat by the hands of HiFuMi. Great justice was served by their hands. And trust me, it felt good.
Let’s take an in depth look at HiFuMi. HiFuMi is a combination of the first two letters of each of her alter ego’s names, Hibiki, Fujiko, and Mikiri. Hibiki’s personality is that of an aggressive tomboy, and her skills represent the color Red (attack) in the color attributes pertaining to martial arts users. She is also skilled in karate and trained to approach enemies head on. Though each ego is powerful in their own aspect Hibiki is usually relied upon for being the brawns of the group. Fujiko, on the other hand, is a calm individual who uses her brains and rationalism to analyze any situation, coming up with a plan that produces the best chance of success. She is also a sharp marksman, representing the attribute of Blue (speed) therefore, the quickest out of the group. Last is Mikiri with a child-like bubbly personality, having a large appetite she loves to eat, and enjoys sleeping as well. She is an expert in defense, represented by the color Yellow, and is skilled in Judo, as seen by her submission and grappling moves. They also come out during normal, everyday situations, so it’s not like they only surface when there’s a battle. So you really get to see their distinct personalities shine.
Originally I wasn’t really into this manga, and I didn’t look into it before hand. I just found it at random, and decided I’d continue reading. I think it was a good choice on my part because it is exceptional well written. The artwork is amazing, despite the ecchi aspect (which isn’t so bad every once in a while). The character designs are on par, but what really got me was the movements of the characters. Basically, I mean their techniques. The fights are never dull, and they never (or rarely) use the same move twice. Somehow I feel that something new is always being brought to the table. It makes you feel like you’ve seen something incredibly amazing (which half of the time is the case); and that’s saying something if you think about it. A lot of mangas/animes nowadays are pretty repetitive, it’s like they’re bound to use some attack that is guaranteed victory, and spam it…
I’ve found that this manga is quite popular and not because it has an ecchi factor, or because it’s of a shonen genre. I think what draws everyone to it in the first place is its sense of realism. Everything that’s done in this manga stays within the realm of possibilities, despite it’s far fetched ideas every now and then. You’ll fall in love with the characters, I find that they’re so lovable, it’s hard to hate someone you’re not meant to. In a sense, I guess Change 123 is one of those mangas that tug on your emotions so hard that when you’re caught up in the moment you feel yourself feeling the same angry, regret, sadness, and happiness as the character. That’s one of the things I admire, its story. If a story is so intriguing that I’m caught up in the moment when I’m supposed to be, crying, angry, or sad, I think that’s one of the best parts about it.
Well, the genres Change 123 belongs to are pretty diverse; but I think anyone who is willing to read it should follow suite and join the rest of us who are. You won’t be disappointed. Then again what’s not to like about kickass girl’s fighting, right? That’s always a pleasure. There are only forty four (44) chapters out at the moment. So if you’re seriously considering picking this up, now would be a good time, before you get discouraged by an overwhelming number of chapters; I know I do.