Manga / Haikara-san ga Tooru

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Haikara-san ga Tōru, also known as Smart-san, is a Japanese shōjo manga series by Waki Yamato. It was serialized by Kodansha in the magazine Shōjo Friend from 1975 to 1977, and released in eight volumes. The title can be literally translated into English as Here Comes Miss Modern or Here Comes Miss High-Collar ("haikara" being the Japanese romanization of "high collar"), or Fashionable Girl Passing By. In 1977, it was awarded the 1st Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo. It also has been adapted into an anime series from the late seventies, and then into a film (and eventually a remake film) and some doramas.

The female lead is Benio Hanamura, a young woman living in the Taisho Era. Benio has been raised by a single father, a high-ranked military man, since her mom died when she was a little girl. As a result, much to the despair of Hanamura Sr., Benio is a huge Tomboy: she doesn't want to get married, scoffs at boys, smokes, drinks, likes reading and riding her bike, and her only resemblances in regards to the Yamato Nadeshiko archetype are her looks and her penchant for wearing kimono and hakama. Her best friends are Tamaki Kitaouji, a more girlish but also openminded young woman, and Ranmaru Fujieda, a very girly-looking guy coming from a kabuki background.

At age 17, Benio receives the shock of her life. Her father tells her that she's to be engaged to a man! Benio is horrified, naturally, and even more so when she meets her husband-to-be: Shinobu Iijyuin. He happens to be a guy with whom she had several encounters that day, all tinted with Slap-Slap-Kiss. So Benio is caught in quite the predicament: not only does she dislikes the idea of being in an Arranged Marriage, but she noticed that Tamaki likes Shinobu and she doesn't want to hurt her friend's feelings. Hm, what to do.

Eventually, Benio accepts the engagement — to try scheming against it via telling and showing Shinobu that she's an horrible excuse for a House Wife, so he and his family will hate her and call everything off. Yet not only does Shinobu turn out to be a Nice Guy who has come to like Benio as a person and has a saint-like patience to her blunders, but she finds herself falling for him...

Tropes from Haikara-san ga tooru:

  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: It's Shinobu's kindness that drives girls like Benio, Tamaki, Larissa and Kichiji to him.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Tamaki can be a little child-like sometimes, but she has a heart of gold.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Benio and Shinobu, after he goes MIA in Manchuria and loses his memories.
    • Also, there are more cases in the backstory. First, Shinobu's grandma wasn't allowed to marry Benio's grandpa for political differences: the Hanamuras supported the Shogunate, while the Iijyuins were pro Meiji Restoration. (The most they got was the promise of an Arranged Marriage between their descendants).. Later, Shinobu's German mother couldn't stay with Shinobu's father for being a foreigner, and had to leave baby!Shinobu in the care of the Iijyuins.
  • Teen Genius: Ranmaru is just 13/14 yeas old and he's not just an accomplished kabuki actor, but he trains people in acting.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Shinobu.
  • Tomboy: Benio. Comes with a Tomboyish Ponytail.
  • Tsundere: Benio, too
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Ranmaru
  • The Uriah Gambit: Shinobu was sent to Manchuria by a high-ranked military man with a grudge against him.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Ranmaru pulls this more than once. Specially as Benio's "maid" when she moves into the Iijyuin home.
  • X Marks the Hero: Shingo, The Lancer to Shinobu's Hero.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko:
    • Despite having the looks Benio has the opposite personality, except for the strong will.
    • Kichiji, being a Geisha, fits in more.
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