5.8/101 Votes Alchetron
Published by Ichijinsha
Directed by Yūji Yanase
Network Nippon BS Broadcasting
Written by Norio Tsukudani
Studio Asahi Production
Number of episodes 13
Genres Comedy, Slice of life
Original run November 25, 2011 – February 25, 2014 (Waai!) April 25, 2012 – December 25, 2013 (Waai! Mahalo) October 27, 2013 – June 27, 2015 (Comic Rex) June 20, 2014 – June 17, 2015 (Febri)
Similar Magimoji Rurumo, Glasslip, My Wife is the Student Council P, Maria Holic, Ai Mai Mi
Himegoto (ひめゴト, lit. Secret), also known as Secret Princess, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Norio Tsukudani. It was originally serialized in Ichijinsha's Waai! magazine, but was later featured in three additional magazines published by Ichijinsha: Waai! Mahalo, Comic Rex and Febri. Collectively, Himegoto was serialized across the four magazines from November 2011 to June 2015 and was collected into six tankōbon volumes.
The story focuses on Hime Arikawa, a high school boy whose sizable debt is paid off by the girls of his school's student council. In exchange, he agrees to join the student council and spend the rest of his high school life dressed as a girl. A 13-episode anime adaptation, directed by Yūji Yanase and produced by Asahi Production, aired in Japan between July and September 2014. Critics pointed out a general focus on humiliation and shame, and panned it for its characters and reliance on a single joke throughout the series.
Himegoto follows Hime Arikawa, a second-year student at Shimoshina High School (霜科高校, Shimoshina Kōkō). Forced to assume a large amount of debt from his now-absent parents, Hime is saved by the three girls of his school's student council after he is chased down by debt collectors. In return for paying off his debt, Hime agrees to their conditions of becoming the student council's "dog" and spending his high school life dressed as a girl.
Norio Tsukudani based Himegoto on an earlier four-panel manga she drew for fun during her time as a student. At that time, the main characters that make up the student council were instead members of the drama club. However, Tsukudani decided to change this when developing Himegoto to be serialized in Ichijinsha's Waai! magazine, and she decided it would be easier to manage a cross-dressing character if he was in the student council. Before creating Himegoto, Tsukudani read various works of fiction that featured cross-dressing boys, but many of them featured the boys being paired with other boys. When she proposed the idea of Himegoto, she wanted to pair a cross-dressing boy with girls, which Tsukudani herself wanted to read. In this way, she thought that a variety of different people would enjoy it.
When drawing the manga, Tsukudani aimed to write scenes that were easy to read, something she felt she was unable to do well when the manga's serialization began. What she felt was most important was depicting the characters as cute as possible. When developing the characters, she based the female members of the student council and Tadokoro on friends she had in the drama club when she was a student. However, Hime was created from scratch using Tsukudani's ideals for a cross-dressing boy as a basis for the character including his pink hair, side pigtails, and him being forced to cross-dress. When developing the members of the public morals committee, Tsukudani had already decided on having a pair of cross-dressing brothers, which lead to Kaguya's development. Tsukudani's editor suggested making Kaguya the protagonist of the spin-off manga Himegoto+, and she wanted to give Kaguya a partner, so she created No. 1 and thought she might as well make her into a cross-dressing girl. For Mitsunaga and Hiro, she wanted them to cross-dress due to some preconceived issue. Tsukudani was careful to design the characters to maintain a balance between them, including what hair color they would have.
Although Tsukudani kept a notebook with story ideas, she admitted that on many occasions the theme of a chapter was born out of her own daydreams. Once she decided on a theme, she had the characters move around in her head and then worked out the plot and storyboard. Since she had a solid grasp on who the characters were, she noted that they moved around for her on their own. Conversely, if the characters were stiff with a given theme, Tsukudani could not develop an interesting story and moved on to another idea. The theme developed for the manga serialized in Febri had to do with bonus aspects to the story that she was unable to draw in the main serialization, as well as events that occurred between chapters in the main story.
Himegoto is written and illustrated by Norio Tsukudani. It began serialization in volume seven of Ichijinsha's Waai! magazine on November 25, 2011 as a four-panel comic strip manga, and continued until February 25, 2014 when Waai! suspended publication. A spin-off series titled Himegoto+ was serialized in Waai!'s sister magazine Waai! Mahalo between April 25, 2012 and December 25, 2013. Another version of Himegoto was serialized between the December 2013 issue of Ichijinsha's Comic Rex magazine sold on October 27, 2013 and the August 2015 issue sold on June 27, 2015. Tsukudani serialized another version of Himegoto in Ichijinsha's Febri magazine between volume 23 sold on June 20, 2014 and volume 29 sold on June 17, 2015. Ichijinsha published six tankōbon volumes between February 19, 2013 and July 27, 2015. A special edition of volume four was bundled with a drama CD. Ichijinsha published an anthology titled Himegoto Comic Anthology (ひめゴト コミックアンソロジー) on September 3, 2014.
A 13-episode anime television series adaptation, directed by Yūji Yanase and produced by Asahi Production, aired in Japan between July 7 and September 29, 2014 on BS11. Each episode is about five minutes long. The screenplay is written by Kazuho Hyodō, and Masaaki Sakurai based the character design used in the anime on Norio Tsukudani's original designs. The opening theme is "Troublemaker" (とらぶるめーかー, Toraburumēkā) and the ending theme is "Makeup!" (めーきゃっぷ!, Mēkyappu!); both are sung by I My Me Mine, a group composed of Yūki Kuwahara, Yuka Matenrō, Saki Ono and Hisako Tōjō. The single containing the theme songs was released on March 5, 2014. The series was released on Blu-ray in Japan on November 26, 2014.
An Internet radio show hosted by the members of I My Me Mine to promote the anime called Shimoshina Seitokai no Himegoto Radio (霜科生徒会のひめゴトラジオ, Shimoshina Student Council's Himegoto Radio) broadcast 24 episodes between April 16 and September 24, 2014. The show was streamed online every Wednesday and was produced by the Japanese Internet radio station Onsen. Six CD compilation volumes were released between July 1 and October 18, 2014.
Reviewer Chris Beveridge described the anime's short episode format as offering "more direct comedy, quicker hits and more playfulness and abuse when it comes to the gender issues." He initially called the premise "familiar yet fun" with "enough off kilter material" to amuse the audience. By the end of the series, Beveridge noted that its approach focused on humiliation and shame, and went on to say that it "works one gag and does its best to run it into the ground as much as possible." Tim Jones at THEM Anime Reviews heavily panned the series, calling the treatment of the student council girls towards Hime as "sinister and tasteless". Jones pointed out his frustration with every episode, going on to heavily pan the characters and use of a "terrible one-joke premise".