W Juliet Volume One is a manga by Emura, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2004. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.
Ito Miura is a tall and masculine-looking female high school student who is the female president of the drama club. One day, a new female student named Makoto Amano transfers to the school and joins the drama club. Ito and Makoto become friends, but Ito quickly learns a secret about Makoto.
It turns out Makoto is really a boy named Makoto Narita, the only son of a family that owns a dojo. Makoto is supposed to inherit the dojo, but he wants to be an actor. His father said he could pursue acting, but on one condition: that Makoto has to go through two years of school as a girl. If his secret is discovered, Makoto will have to return home and inherit the dojo.
The story follows Ito and Makoto as they try to keep Makoto’s secret from being discovered. These two characters also find themselves becoming interested in each other. Unfortunately, several romantic rivals are introduced that could potentially destroy their blossoming relationship.
While this is an interesting concept, I wasn’t as impressed with this manga as I thought I would have been. Perhaps this is due in large part to reading the first three volumes of Wandering Son, a manga that deals with realistic situations that are encountered by the two main characters, both of whom are transgendered. Having a girl being mistaken for a guy and a guy who has to pose as a girl in order to follow his dreams just isn’t as compelling of a read when compared to the story of Wandering Son.
The art in W Juliet is on the mediocre side. There are the occasional panels where detail is used for close-up pictures of the characters that look good; however, there are some panels that don’t have a lot of detail and come across as being drawn in a hurry.
The story of W Juliet does show some potential, and it might hold some appeal for teenage girls and manga readers who already read manga in the shojo genre. However, if you’ve read any of the Wandering Son manga series before reading W Juliet, you might find yourself having a harder time enjoying this series.