April Aeni challenge: Bagel Girl

Imagine this, you are a 26 overweight loner who collects the Anime girls’ figurines as a hobby, plays games when he comes home after a part-time job, and one morning you wake up transformed during your sleep as a Bagel girl (woman with a baby face and glamorous body)! This is what happens to poor Bong Gi. Embarrassed by the sudden change he asks the internet for help and meets a cute and cheerful girl in an online chatroom that offers to help. He falls for her but quickly finds out there is a complication she is the younger sister of his arch-nemesis.

Bagel Girl is a 2019 aeni series based on a web-hosted cartoon strip by Tank Guy. It premiered on B TV, U+ TV, Olleh TV, LAFTEL, Home Choice on December 2019 or January 3, 2020. Studio ANIMAL is the company that made this animation series.

Week 1 April 04 – 10

Episodes 1 – 4

This week we are watching episodes 1 to 4 of Bagel Girl. In the coming weeks, we will share a lot of recommendations here and since Bagel Girl is about a man that gets turned into a woman we will recommend anime and series from around Asia with that type of theme. Our first recommendation is actually a live-action K-Drama from 2010 called Secret Garden.

Secret Garden is a 20-episode Gender Bender drama starring Ha Ji-Won and Hyun Bin. Hyun Bin stars as the arrogant and eccentric CEO, Kim Joo-won, who is the image of perfection while Ha Ji-Won plays Gil Ra-im, a humble and poor stuntwoman, they meet by accident when Joo-won mistakes Ra-im for an actress named Park Chae Rin. This is the start of a tense relationship filled with bickering, and he starts to fall for Ra-im but tries to conceal it, to further add to their problems, after a strange series of events, their souls switch bodies!!! Secret Garden is at its core, a modern cinderella story with a gender bender twist and it has won a number of awards at both the 2010 SBS Drama Awards and the 47th Paeksang Arts Awards. It was also very popular in Korea at the time.

Week 2 April 11 – 17

Episodes 5 – 8

Our recommendation this week is the anime Himegoto. This anime is about a boy, Hime Arikawa (played by Yūki Kuwahara) with a huge debt that is saved by the girls of his high school council after being chased by scary yakuza debt collectors. They decide to help him for a price – As the student council’s dog, he must spend his high school life in women’s clothing. He has no choice but to ‘man-up and cross-dress’ or else. It may not be a gender bender but an anime about a boy hiding as a girl, classic!

Himegoto was a 13-episode series adapted from the manga written by Norio Tsukudani. It was directed by Takeyuki Yanase and produced by Asahi Production, and aired in Japan between July 7 and September 29, 2014, on BS11. The screenplay was written by Kazuho Hyodō, and Masaaki Sakurai based the character design used in the anime on Norio Tsukudani’s original designs.

Week 3 April 18 – 24

Our recommendation this week is Ouran High School Host Club. The anime is about a girl, Haruhi Fujioka who recently enrolled at the prestigious Ouran Academy. One day, searching for a quiet and peaceful place to study she happens to find what seems to be an unused music room. When she enters she is welcomed by the members of the popular Host Club, a club where attractive boys amuse the girls of the Ouran Academy, She is accidentally startled by club president and founder Tamaki Suou and she ends up breaking a very expensive vase. As she cannot afford to pay for the vase, the club members get creative and as a solution decides that she must pay off her debt for the vase by working as a host in the club! She is frequently mistaken for a cute boy and as such female clients often request her, making this anime perfect for this month’s recommendation.

Ouran High School Host Club ran from April 5, 2006 to September 26, 2006, consisting of 26 episodes,

Week 4 April 25 – May 01

Episodes 10 – 15

Our last recommendation for the month is Log Horizon because it has a slight gender swap theme in the anime as well. Log Horizon is a Game/Isekai anime series, actually part of a sub-genre referred to as ‘Lost in Game’ which is about normal humans transported into a game and trapped there. Other isekai in the subgenre include the Hack-series (.Hack// Sign, .Hack//Roots) and Sword Art Online. In Log Horizon about thirty thousand gamers get trapped inside the very successful MMORPG Elder Tale when their computers run the newest expansion, Novasphere Pioneers, while they are still playing. They find out that they cannot log out and certain functions in-game do not work as they should. In the Hack anime, as with Sword Art Online, to die in the game meant you died in real life. In Log Horizon if you die in battle, you got resurrected at the Cathedral of the town where you were last saved, but there is a twist there as well, but we will not spoil it for you. This is just one of the challenges that Shiroe, a brilliant yet socially awkward gamer and his friends face.

In the anime Log Horizon, Akatsuki is one of the players trapped in the MMORPG Elder Tale. She is a Human Assassin-Tracker who joins Shiroe and Naotsugu, at the beginning of the show. She later becomes one of the founding members of Log Horizon. She was a member of the Watermaple Consulate Raid Party and of the Shibuya Raid Team.

When we meet her first in Log Horizon, she has a dilemma being trapped in her Avatar’s body, which is a tall male assassin. Shiroe helped her out with a rare potion and she returned to her kawaii and short female self. With her petite body, her purple eyes and hair, she is the embodiment of kawaiiness. Her Overskill is Shadow Lurk. Akatsuki means ‘Dawn’ or ‘Daybreak’ in Japanese and her real-world name is Shizuka Hanekura.

She is seen as much younger than everyone, due to her short stature. In the real world this caused her not to socialize well with people of her own age, she has never dated or had a close friend because of this. She is very sensitive about her ‘petite-ness’ and feels offended when people call her a ‘shrimp’ or ‘pipsqueak’.

She has a strong sense of duty, sees herself as Shiroe’s personal ninja and addresses him as her ’Lord’. She is self-conscious about her small build as well as the fact that she looks younger than her age. She shines in battle, her real-life kendo training is reflected in the way she fights her enemies. Since she was briefly a female trapped in a male’s body she is perfect for this month’s Gender Bender theme. We hope you will enjoy our recommendation.