Ahh, Friday. It was always Minami’s favorite day of the week. After the bell rang, he was looking forward to a whole two and a half days of freedom, actually getting a little rest, and of course spending some extra time with the most beautiful girl in town.
“Minami-kun!” His thoughts were interrupted by Karin’s cheerful voice, “are you excited for the movie today?”
“Wait, is it Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sugar: A Friendship Sweeter than Parfait ?”
“No, no, that’s the recap movie we saw last month. This one is Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sugar: A Bond Thicker than Molasses .”
“Oh, right! I’ve been looking forward to that one.”
A brief moment of silence passed between the two.
“We sure have been spending a lot of time in the Magical Girl Club, haven’t we?”
As if on cue, they reached the clubroom. At the very instant the door closed behind them, Minami pulled his phone out,
“PIRIKARA PIRIRI MAGICAL KARII!”
There was that familiar flash of light, and Minami felt himself relax. The feeling of warmth spread across his whole body, from the top of his head to the tips of his toes.
He was always surprised by how different things felt in that first moment: the tickle of his hair on his shoulders, the weight on his chest, the feeling of inner calm.
“Let’s go to the movies!” Minami shouted.
Maybe “calm” wasn’t exactly the right word, but you get the idea.
“Excitable as ever aren’t you, Minami-kun.”
“I keep saying he’ll be the death of me,” Karin chuckled.
The camera shutter announced Yui’s arrival. She seemed to be in a world of her own, muttering post titles to herself.
Yup, this was the life.
The trip to the mall wasn’t particularly long, so they decided to walk there. Minami had changed into his school uniform for the trip, despite Teruto-senpai’s protests that it would only be appropriate for them to go in their magical girl outfits. Karin put a stop to that idea before it could even get off the ground.
“Ahh! It’s a really nice day to be a girl.” Minami twirled around, making the skirt flutter out around him.
“You know, people are going to think weird things if you just say that out loud, Minami-kun.”
“They’ll think even weirder things with you calling a girl ‘Minami-kun’, won’t they?” Yui asked innocently.
This was his chance.
“They will! Wouldn’t you think so, Karin?”
“ Urk. ”
“You know, there is an easy solution to that.”
“Call you Minami without hon—”
“Call me Minami-chan!”
“Why did I expect anything else?”
Minami put on his best puppy-dog eyes.
“I mean, uh, sure Minami-chan.”
Minami very nearly…no, he literally jumped for joy. Karin smiled.
“That response is so like you, Minami-chan.”
The whole group laughed at Minami’s antics. They strolled along, chatting leisurely about nothing at all.
Yup, Fridays really were Minami’s favorite day of the week.
It had started to cool down a bit by the time they reached the mall, although the sun wouldn’t set for a few more hours. When they went in, Minami instinctively started walking to the clothes store.
“Get back here.”
A tug on his collar pulled him back to the group.
“Shop on your own time, Minami-chan, we have serious club business today.” Teruto-senpai chided.
“Like watching an anime for 8-year-olds?”
“You. Take. That. Back.”
The look on Teruto-senpai’s face made clear that she was not to be trifled with.
“...although it just so happens that I love to watch anime for 8-year-olds!”
“That’s a good Minami-chan.”
Minami did his best to hide how that made him feel weirdly good inside.
“Besides, reviewers are saying that this film addresses more serious themes.”
“Oh? Like what?” Karin chimed in.
“I’m not quite sure. I’m very wary of spoilers so I’ve tried not to find out.”
“Well, good thing we get to find out right now!” Yui cheered.
Teruto-senpai really didn’t like to watch trailers, so somehow she had timed it so that they arrived right on time for the start of the movie. Everyone took their seats, laid back, and watched as the show began…right after Karin switched over to be next to Minami.
“And now, pitiful magical girls, I will drown out your sugar with a power so sour…”
Even Teruto-senpai groaned at that pun.
“...that it takes away your magic in a manner most tragic!”
Dr. Badguy raised his staff, releasing a flash of light that covered the screen. As it slowly dissipated, the camera panned over each of the magical girls. Now they were just their ordinary, powerless selves.
The thought was interrupted by a loud crash. Dr. Badguy’s face contorted into a grimace, and he fell away from the screen, only to reveal Pretty Sugar herself behind him. It was a shocking reveal, and Teruto-senpai had to stop herself from cheering. She lowered herself to the ground before a defeated Dr. Badguy, and the other girls mobbed her with hugs. But…where was Pretty Honey?
The camera slowly pulled back to reveal a boy in the background, bathed in shadow, quietly crying.
“Who are you?” Pretty Sugar asked.
“I’m…Pretty Honey,” the boy choked out his words, as if the tears were smothering him.
“You’re a boy?” Pretty Aspartame questioned in disbelief.
“No! I’m not. I just…look like one for now.”
The others were silent.
“I really wanted to be a girl…so when they invited me to be a magical girl…” A sniffle. A sob. “I was going to tell you once the hormones had more time—”
She was cut off by Pretty Sugar, who pulled her into a tight hug. The rest of the group joined in, and the screen faded out. No wait, was it blurry?
Oh, Minami was crying.
The rest of the movie passed in a blur. Thoughts were swirling around Minami’s head, though he wasn’t quite sure what to make of any of them.
Eventually, the lights rose in the theater, and the four of them made their way out. Teruto-senpai, Karin, and Yui gushed about the movie.
“That was so amazing! I nearly cried when Pretty Stevia and Pretty Molasses reaffirmed their bond of friendship.”
“I know, right? Or when they all reunited in their old uniforms?”
“Yeah! That was awesome.”
The three of them seemed pretty excited, although for some reason Minami was struggling to join in. Maybe a bit of a distraction would help.
“You know, I’m pretty hungry. Wanna get something to eat?”
“Definitely!” Yui seemed positively elated. The other two nodded in agreement, and eventually they found their way to a cake buffet. Minami chuckled to himself as he remembered the time he had visited with Karin. That was his first time going out as a girl, right? It seemed like so long ago. Meanwhile, Yui was so happy she was swaying back and forth.
“I’ve always wanted to go out to eat with girls my age…well, girls and Minami-chan.”
Eugh. Somehow that didn’t feel so good.
“Haha. I mean, I’m a girl now, right?”
“I dunno. I mean, you’re a guy most of the time, aren’t you?”
“And, if you were someone like Pretty Honey, you wouldn’t be happy staying as a guy all this time, right?”
“Oh! I wonder what kind of cake they’ll be serving today?” Karin changed the topic with a forced smile.
“Ohh? I hope they have some strawberry cake, like in the movie.” Teruto-senpai seemed a bit worried too.
That pit in Minami-kun’s stomach was still there. He probably just needed a rest.
“Sorry everyone, I almost forgot, my mom wanted me to help with moving some stuff into the attic. I’ll catch you all later!” He struck one of his classic Cute Girl Poses™ and stepped out.
The walk home was lonely. It had been a long time since Minami had felt this bad, although he couldn’t quite place when it was. Maybe when the app had been disabled? Who knows. He just felt so out of sorts today.
He rounded the last turn to his house, and in a practiced motion ducked into a nearby alley, checked that no one was around, and opened the app.
“Rika rika magical return…” His hand hovered over the button. Unfortunately, he had to do this to go home, so he braced himself again.
“Rika rika magical return.” There was a flash of light, and he was back to the old Minami.
Minami wasn’t able to fall asleep. The reason was obvious, but he didn’t want to let himself admit it.
Yui was wrong back there. Minami was like Pretty Honey. He took to being a girl like a fish to water, and to being a guy like, well, like a fish to the desert. His favorite part of every day was turning into a girl. Heck, he was even trying to sleep as one right now.
It actually wasn’t all that hard to figure out, in the end.
“I’m trans, aren’t I?”
This was a big realization for him, no, her. She expected to be shocked, or upset, or…
“Yay! I get to be a girl!”
“Minami-kun, are you alright?”
“Yeah Mom, I’m fine,” Minami responded with her best boy voice.
Of all things, Minami hasn’t expected to be so happy. But, as her mother’s interjection reminded her, there were still some obstacles in her way, and a feeling of dread threatened to overtake that joy. Fortunately, she knew who to talk to. Minami pulled out her phone and sent off a text.
“Hey Karin. If you’re still up, I really could use some help.”
She didn’t have to wait long for a response.
“ It’s about today, right?”
“ Last time you stayed over, remember what I said. I will always be there for you.”
Minami hesitated to respond.
“ Wanna come over?”
“Oh, Karii. Karin told me you were coming. Please, come in!” Karin’s mom was as kind as ever.
“Thank you so much for having me.”
“Karii-san! I’m so glad you could make it.” Karin motioned for Minami to join her upstairs. The quiet between them was palpable as they made their way to her room.
“So, what’s going on, Minami? I think I have an idea, but it’s probably better if you tell me. I always know to expect the unexpected with you anyway, haha.” Karin and Minami softly laughed together.
They both went silent. Minami was so nervous she wondered if her knees were knocking together. She could lose her closest friend, or worse. She steeled herself, drew a deep breath, and forced the words out.
“I want to be a girl.”
“All the time.”
“Is it bad to say that I’m not surprised?”
“It’s pretty obvious, Minami-chan.”
“...” Minami pouted.
“But, seriously, I’m really excited for you. You seem so much happier nowadays.”
“Haha. Yeah, that’s definitely true.”
“Hey, Minami-chan.” Karin held out her arms. Minami moved closer, and Karin pulled her into a warm embrace.
Normally, coming out to your family was a very sensitive process. It took thought, tact, and sensitivity.
Unfortunately, Minami had none of those traits, so she decided to just wing it. Besides, it would be difficult to be gradual given her unique situation.
Minami’s mom poked her head around the corner.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Oh, uh, funny story about that. I’m Minami!”
Minami’s mom’s mouth hung agape.
“...Kenji? I think you should come over here.”
Her dad sauntered into the room, only to stop dead in his tracks.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Like I just said, I’m Minami!” Why was this so hard to understand?
Minami’s dad stared at her, deep in thought.
“You know, you do look a lot like Minami’s mother.”
“ Huh, I never noticed that before.” Minami kept that thought to herself.
“Okay. Let’s see if you really are Minami.”
“Bring it on.”
“Why did we have to cancel our last trip to Disneyland?”
“B…because I was scared of Mickey Mouse.”
“And how old were you?”
“Hmm…and your favorite show when you were a kid.”
“ Cardcatcher Hana.” Somehow, she was less embarrassed at that one nowadays.
“...Come inside. We should talk.”
“So you’re telling me that you joined the Magical Girl Club at school, spent the last 4 months crossdressing, and now you want to be a girl?” Minami’s dad probed with a raised eyebrow.
“That about sums it up, yes.”
“What do you think, honey?”
“Hmm. You know, if it really makes Minami happy, I’m not sure how I can say no.”
“...” A tense silence hung in the air. Minami was still anxious, and the look on her dad’s face was inscrutable.
“You know, Minami-chan, you’re very pretty.” Minami’s mom added with a slight smile.
“You’re just saying that because she looks like you.” Her dad quipped back.
The whole family laughed together.
Surprisingly, it didn’t take much effort to get school to let her show up as a girl. Apparently the prefectural board of education had a new inclusion policy or something. Minami didn’t really understand it, she was just so happy. Today was her first day, so the homeroom teacher had asked her to wait outside of the classroom. Karin wanted to go with her, but it didn’t seem like it was in the cards.
“And now, we have a final announcement to make from one of your classmates.”
Minami opened the door and stepped into the room, to gasps from a few of the other students. She stepped confidently to the front of the class, turned towards them, and spoke the words she had been wanting to for so long.
“Hi! I’m Maki Minami. I’m going to be coming to school as a girl from now on. Thanks so much.”
She had the brightest smile on her face.
“Can I still call you Karii—”
“Not a chance, Takeda-kun.”