I want to be a cute anime girl tells the story of a kid who likes dressing up as a girl and learns more about themselves along the way.
I want to be a cute anime girl byis a slice-of-life comedy. It centers around a kid who wants to “be a cute anime girl,” her journey of self-discovery, her family, and friends.
As a warning, this review discusses some spoilers for I want to be a cute anime girl.
One day, Charon’s big sister, Chelsie, gives a makeover, and she likes it so much that she decides she wants to be a cute anime girl. Her friends and sister, Chloe, are accepting even while finding it unexpected and surprising at first. Before her mom and dad accept her, Charon chooses the name “Cheryl,” and her dad accepts her for who she is. The story then goes on from there.
I liked that Cheryl’s dad realizes the signs that Cheryl wants to be a girl more directly that Cheryl’s mom. It pushes away the “bad dad / good mom” trope, which is sometimes used in comics with LGBTQ themes. Obviously, the comic is about gender transition and being transgender, as Cheryl puts on makeup and clothing as part of becoming her real self, later using she/her pronouns. Later, Cheryl has a crisis of identity, wondering if people, especially those at her middle school, will accept her as Cheryl. She even has to deal with someone having a crush on her when she and her sister go to the mall.
A central theme of this all-ages comic is self-acceptance. You should accept yourself for who you are, even if that journey to self-discovery has bumps along the way. In this way, the comic is like Acception or even Cursed Princess Club, which have similar themes. This interconnected with the comic’s emphasis on family togetherness, since Cheryl has a supportive family.
Not only does I want to be a cute anime girl have short and easy to read issues, but it is a refreshing take on transgender people. This includes the anxiety, such as Cheryl worrying over which bathroom to chose. For those are are comfortable with their gender, it’s no big issue to choose between a men’s bathroom and a women’s bathroom. But if you are struggling with your gender identity, it can cause anxiety, as those bathrooms are divided along the male-female binary.
This anxiety happens alongside moments of self-empowerment, like preparing to introduce themselves as Cheryl to school. There is casual homophobia by one of Cheryl’s classmates. Cheryl sets a date to meet a cute guy in her class, tries to become better friends with her classmate, Delilah, and is surprised when her friend Adrian says he has thought he wants to be an anime girl.
I liked how I want to be a cute anime girl shows Cheryl slowly coming out to her classmates, starting with her friend Zack. This isn’t something like Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, where an alien announces to everyone that you are trans, and to respect your changed name and sex (after that alien changed your sex by accident).
I want to be a cute anime girl can be sweet, like the moments between Cheryl and Chelsie. They work on makeup together, talk about cosplaying, identity, being yourself, and Chelsie helps Cheryl with her quest for a more girly voice. There are nice moments between Cheryl, Chelsie, and Chloe as well. We learn more about Chelsie and Chloe, including Chelsie’s ex-boyfriend, during a discussion about romance.
I want to be a cute anime girl also highlights the fact that trans allies will mess stuff up. An example is when Zack accidentally tells Stella, his lesbian friend, that Cheryl is trans without permission. Later on, Cheryl is a bit annoyed for Zack for doing that, but she also wants to hear what Stella had to say about her. This is not a new discussion. Some have pointed out that you will screw up as an ally, will be hurt, will learn from your mistakes, and may be confused about the difference between sex and gender.
I want to be a cute anime girl is much more authentic since the author, Azul Crescent, is trans, herself, as noted in a Q&A. Authentic representation by those in the community is some of the best representation.
For instance, trans people voicing trans characters in High Guardian Spice, to give an example, felt more real than if someone who wasn’t trans had voiced them instead, as happens too often. Cisgender actors playing trans characters in film has been described by some as something that seems to happen “in a way to make fun of the trans character or invalidate their identity.”
The comic has received a positive reception, with fan art and cosplays retweeted by Azul Crescent, including fan art from Jocelyn Samara DiDomenick, who makes the soon-to-be-ending webcomic, Rain, which also has a trans girl protagonist (Liriel Rain Flaherty).
Currently, the comic also has a French version, in an effort to reach more people. Crescent is also known for the dormant webcomic “Daily Life of Dia.” In 2021, the comic was nominated for a Webtoon award for slice of life webcomics. Others have even done comic dubs, which have been posted on YouTube, and has been shared on trans-friendly subs on Reddit, and likely across Tumblr.
I highly recommend I want to be a cute anime girl for those who are trans, those who are allies, and anyone else who wants to learn more. (If you’re interested, there are a variety of other comics centered on trans characters such as Hyperfocus, Serious Trans Vibes, The Prettiest Platypus, and Transincidental, all of which are on Webtoon.)
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives!
Author: Burkely Hermann
Burkely is an indexer of declassified documents by day and a fan fic writer by night. He recently earned a MLIS with a concentration in Digital Curation from the University of Maryland. He currently voraciously watches animated series and reads too many webcomics to count on Webtoon. He loves swimming, hiking, and searching his family roots in his spare time.
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