Body swaps are a common plot-point in shojo. Whether it’s for humor, romance, or both, I’ve often shied away from stories based on these because of the tropes that come into play – often with misogynistic or a focus on ecchi storytelling. But, with Star-Crossed (stylized Star⇄Crossed!!) I’ve found a body-swapping shojo that captures my love of idols, the humor of crushes, and does so without the problematic gender-swapping elements. Created by Junko, the mangaka behind Kiss Him, Not Me! and localized in English by Kodansha Comics, Star-Crossed Volume 1. Unfortunately, translation and lettering credits were not available with the digital review copy provided.
In Star-Crossed Volume 1, God makes a mistake that impacts an idol and his biggest fan. Azusa is a Prince 4 U (P4U) superfan and her bias? Well, it’s Chika-kun of course. He is the cutest and most popular star in the idol group, and she’s thrilled to get front-row seats to his latest show. So when a stage light falls, Azusa leaps onstage and attempts to save his life. But instead, they both die. With the two of them off to heaven, God gives them a second chance, thanks to his mistake. But the mixups aren’t over and the two are put in the wrong bodies.
Now, the body swap isn’t as simple as it first appears. Instead of the story revolving around one-body swap, the two wind up getting into a situation where the swapping is nearly continuous – triggered by things unknown, the duo isn’t in control of when or how they swap. And in messy shojo glory, neither is God.
In truth, there is a lot going on in Star-Crossed Volume 1. A one-sided childhood romance that Azusa is oblivious to, a body swap, the horror of an idol walking into a bedroom plastered from floor to ceiling with his face, and a resourceful Azusa who puts her fangirl knowledge to use performing while in Chika’s body. Oh, and the obvious romantic tension between the leads. While the fast pacing works to the volume’s advantage in some moments, other times, it fails with characters popping out of nowhere.
That said, as an idol fan myself, Azusa’s dedication to Chika, while definitely obsessive, is recognizable. She knows his dances, his lines, his current hair length. It’s that dedication that helps her make it through pretending to be him. While Chika’s apathy makes it hard to pass as Azusa – especially when her childhood friend is involved.
As a parody of idol fans, Star-Crossed Volume 1 is hilarious. This is because of Chika’s reactions to Azusa and of course her fervor. But it’s God’s lax attitude towards the screw-ups that makes this series really shine and succeed on the comedy front. Additionally, Junko’s art makes this story sing—pun intended. It’s light, dreamy, and lovely. The light-hearted nature of the manga makes it a good salve for anyone looking to escape harder topics and the smiles it aims to bring are wholesome.
Overall, Star-Crossed Volume 1 is a great start to a new series from Junko and well worth picking up. It’s funny, light, and bound to make idol fans go “oh no it’s me” more than a few times.
Star⇄Crossed!! Volume 1 is available now, wherever books are sold.
Star-Crossed!! Volume 1
Overall, Star-Crossed!! Volume 1 is a great start to a new series from Junko and well worth picking up. It’s funny, light, and bound to make idol fans go “oh no it’s me” more than a few times.