Mariko "Mari" Kumakura is a Shrinking Violet who doesn't have any real friends. One day Akko, a pretty Genki Girl in class, decides to spontaneously befriend her. Mari is unsure about being friends with her but ends up going along with it. Inevitably, Akko helps Mari come out of her shell while Mari helps Akko with her studies and the two quickly become best friends. With Akko's help, Mari makes many new friends and Mari finds herself happier than she's ever been in her life.But wait... Mari starts wondering why she's feeling so jealous of the thought of Akko gaining a boyfriend and castigates herself for feeling so possessive. She's starting to blush a lot in Akko's presence and Akko's touch is making her heart race. Could Mari be falling in love with her best friend?Girl Friends is a finished Yuri Genre manga by the female MangakaMorinaga Milk, and it is considered a modern classic by a large portion of fans of the genre. New readers should expect lots of Gayngst and Will They or Won't They?. It has been licensed in the US by Seven Seas Entertainment in the form of two Omnibus Collections, with both volumes debuting in the New York Times Manga Best Sellers list on the week of their release.
The Beard: Mari tries to use Harada to become normal, it fails.
Beautiful All Along: Mari's cute, but never really put any effort into her appearance until Akko came along with her fashion magazines, haircuts, and make-up.
Lampshaded in chapter 16 when Tamamin tells Akko that Mari "was able to become cute and fashionable because of your help." Akko responds by agreeing at first, and then reconsidering and stating that Mari had always been cute.
Between Akko and Mari in a non-canon gag at the beginning of chapter 19.
Tamamin drew a rape manga featuring their teacher and a couple classmates.
Book Dumb: Akko. Considers it a major accomplishment the one time she doesn't have to write any make-up exams.
Cannot Spit It Out: Mari, who tries to cover up any slip of her feelings as just being friends. And then Akko as well, after Mari's confession.
The Casanova: Sugi seems to be a female version. She always has at least five boyfriends at her beck and call, and her one stab at monogamy only lasted for a couple of pages.
Censor Suds: Subverted. When Mari and Akko are taking baths at the same time, they send each other photos with their cellphones. Akko starts it with a (somewhat) modest photo. Mari decided to reply after deliberately applying this. Akko finds it extremely cute... and drops a couple (possibly seductive) full-body shots on her.
The Chikan: The focus of Sugi's day in the limelight. It isn't the molesters that are her problem, though—it's the salarymen that inevitably come to her rescue, ask her for her contact information, and try to be her protector from then on. And the molester of this chapter is her first love, her old elementary school teacher—awkward...
Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: At one point, Kuno catches Mari staring at Akko, to which Mari absentmindedly admits it's because Akko is so cute.
Digging Yourself Deeper: Subverted. In an attempt to cover up her Did I Just Say That Out Loud? moment, Mari winds up stammering about how soft Akko's skin looks, thinking that just made her crush more obvious, but it deters the other girls onto a skin care topic.
Disappeared Dad: Akko's dad is mentioned once as a throwaway comment, then never mentioned again.
Lonely Rich Kid: Akko is shown to be fairly well-off with her mother just giving her money for whatever she wants. Her home life is also shown to be very lonely before she and Mari hook up, in contrast to her social life.
Even in her social life, she doesn't seem to have any long-lasting friendships, as she notes that none of her classmates from junior high have called her since.
Love at First Sight: Played with as it's implied that Akko became obsessed with Mari after first noticing her, but didn't fall in love, or at least realize she was in love, with her until long after the two became friends
Parental Abandonment: Averted with Mari. Possibly played straight with Akko, whose father is a DisappearedDad and whose mom never has time for her. Case in point: Akko's childhood is depicted as watching TV by herself, and taking shopping trips by herself as well. The kicker comes in the Graduation chapter, when Akko's mom showed up and Akko is honestly surprised.
Ship Sinking: In the final chapter, it's revealed Tamamin is going out with Harada, sinking the Sugi x Tamamin ship.
Shipper on Deck: Sugi is a subdued version of the trope. While at first shocked that two of her friends are going out with each other, she enjoys watching the two together and sometimes helps them get some alone time. That said she mostly enjoys teasing them since they don't know she knows.
Single-Target Sexuality: when telling Akko about her feelings Mari says she doesn't think she's gay but then say's she doesn't know.
Their First Time: Subverted twice, for both Akko and Mari. With Akko, the guy she was with experienced The Loins Sleep Tonight because he'd had too much to drink, and she was too embarrassed to admit to anyone that she couldn't turn a guy on. In the latter's case, she let Akko believe that she had slept with Harada, for a number of different reasons. The truth does come out, eventually. Moments before the two of them play this trope straight.
Two-Teacher School: Naru-Chan is the only regular teacher shown though many others are mentioned.