Manga: Inside Mari

Inside Mari (Boku wa Mari no Naka) is a Manga by Shuzo Oshimi (author of Aku no Hana) and tells the story of Isao Komori, a recluse shut-in with no social life whatsoever who spends most of his time playing video games. He is also in love with a young schoolgirl he usually sees when he goes to the convenience store to buy food, but since he is too shy to talk to her, Isao prefers to stalk her while she is walking home. Then, one day, he suddenly finds himself in the body of Mari Yoshizaki, the very girl he is so fond of stalking.

The story deconstructs body swap stories by showing that an actual body swap would probably be utterly terrifying to the victims.

Inside Mari can be read on Crunchyroll

Provides Examples Of:

  • Abusive Parents: Mari's parents aren't physically abusive, but her mother may have done her psychological harm by changing her name in a jealous attempt to disassociate her from her deceased grandmother.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:
    • A pretty graphic depiction at that. It ends with Mari apparently calling Isao/Mari.
    • Later again when Isao/Mari gives a hand job to 'normal' Isao. It comes off more as an expression of contempt than anything else
  • All Men Are Perverts: Isao/Mari is subjected to this often.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Played straight with Yori, as her older sister has just about had it with her angsty teenager behavior. Averted with Mari's little brother, who is genuinely worried about her.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It's implied that the real Mari may have some form of disassociative personality disorder. When Isao/Mari tells Mari's mother repeatedly that he is not Mari, she responds with a somewhat strained smile and some pills. Later Mari seems to be gradually recovering some memories that Isao could not have.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Mari, who purchases dirty magazines full of girls, rejects every boy who asks her out, and is implied to have been the one that kissed Yori.
  • Bat Deduction: One of the girls in the school, Yori Kakiguchi, correctly deduces that someone else is inside Mari's body.
  • Body Snatcher: Isao wakes up in Mari's body unable to remember how it happened.
  • Broken Bird: Yori, due to her Friendless Background and unrequited crush on Mari. but not nearly as much as Mari, who proves to be so thoroughly broken she may have adopted the identity of a pathetic ''hikkikomori'' in exchange for her own.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Isao/Mari does this to Mari's parents after they begin viciously arguing over Mari's not going to school and end up verbally attacking one another.
    • Yori does this on Mari's behalf in chapter 66, when Mari's mother reveals that she changed Mari's name because her original name wasn't the one she had wanted for her daughter. Yori accuses her of seeing Mari as a doll for her to dress up rather than as a person.
  • Cassandra Truth: Isao/Mari to both Mari's parents and to himself. Only Yori knows that he is not the true Mari. Played with in reference to the other Isao, who pretends to believe Isao/Mari in order to keep Mari coming to spend time with him.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Isao catches himself doing it. Isao-in-Mari's-body walks in on himself masturbating on the toilet, after being aroused by Mari's body. He then tells himself to continue while he's watching. It's a really weird situation.
  • Covert Pervert: Mari was secretly buying the porn magazines that Isao was selling to a local used bookstore.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Pretty much deconstructs every trope it touches.
  • Decoy Protagonist: First Isao, then Mari... the true protagonist is Yori.
  • Despair Event Horizon: For Isao/Mari it's being kissed by a boy. For Mari herself it's confronting her suppressed memories of her past as Fumiko.
  • Empty Shell: Following the flashback revealing Mari's memories as Fumiko Mari develops a fever and becomes catatonic. She will not speak, move, or even eat unless fed. Yori refers to her in this state as "empty."
  • False Friend: Momoka and her group appear to be false friends to Mari... but it becomes increasingly obvious that Mari may have a persecution complex and her viewpoint is not to be trusted. But there is little doubt that Mari must choose between Yori and the "in crowd" Momoka represents.
  • Foreshadowing: When Isao/Mari gets a call from Mari, the voice he hears crackles strangely over the phone. Later, it's revealed that it wasn't Mari at all; it was the other Isao, recording his voice on his computer and changing the pitch to make himself sound like Mari, so that Isao/Mari would continue visiting him.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Isao initially suspects he's exchanged bodies with Mari, but this trope is quickly subverted when we learn Mari is not occupying Isao's body.
  • Friendless Background: Isao and Yori.
  • Gender Bender: Deconstructed. Isao is frightened by the differences he finds in Mari's body and feels guilty for stealing it. This is especially evident when Isao experiences his first period in Mari's body early in the story. Later chapters suggest the Gender Bender may be subverted by revelations about Mari's past.
  • Grand Theft Me: Another trope that is deconstructed thoroughly throughout the story. For Isao the change is mostly terrifying. He doesn't know how he came to occupy Mari's body, doesn't know how to act when Mari's friends are around, and is afraid that he will ruin her social life. This trope is later subverted when we learn that Isao was never actually in Mari's body.
    • Double Subverted when learn Mari may be so broken that Isao/Mari is actually a Split Personality based on Isao's identity
  • Hide Your Gays: Mari appears to have been hiding her orientation, but Yori proved to be her Closet Key.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: How Yori and Isao initially view Mari. Naturally, the whole story is a Deconstruction.
  • Jerk Ass: Isao is a hikikomori who deliberately lies to his family about his life in order keep their financial support. He tells them that he is attending college while he spends his day playing video games and seldom leaves his apartment.
  • Just Woke Up That Way: Isao/Mari's view of his apparent body snatching
  • Last Name Basis: Mari and Yori only refer to Isao as Komori. Isao's use of Mari's first name is quite presumptuous.
  • Loser Protagonist: Isao and later Mari, who may have looked like an idol to Isao and Yori but turns out to have been concealing unsavory personal issues and possibly mental illness.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Subverted. Isao is not happy to be in Mari's body and can't even bring himself to look at her intimate parts. He eventually gets to look at Mari's breasts, though.
  • Mind Screw: Is Isao really in Mari's body, or is she suffering from a disassociative personality disorder? Isao/Mari is just as confused as the audience after the Wham Episode revelations.
  • One Steve Limit: Yori's elder sister is also named Mari.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The Fumiko scenes are shown in first person view. The only time we see Fumiko herself is when she is looking at something that casts a reflection, such as a mirror.
  • School Idol:
    • Mari, prior to her possession by Isao, was one of these. She was a popular, straight A student who was respected by her classmates. There are hints that this might just be a facade she puts in order to interact with others.
    • Isao wanted to be this during his High School years, and thought that if he became a model student, people would flock to him. His hopes were shattered when, after becoming a very good student, he found himself lonely and with no friends. This led him to quit school altogether and become a shut-in hikikomori.
  • School Girl Lesbian:
    • Yori is in love with Mari. She holds Isao in utter contempt but decides to help him anyway to free Mari from his influence.
    • It's also implied that Mari might be this for Yori, as Isao/Mari kisses her and then later comments that his body felt as if it was moving on its own. The real Mari also purchased dirty magazines targeted at straight men (although all of them formerly belonged to Isao, meaning that her buying them could possibly be due to her Stalker Without A Crush tendencies toward him), and rejected any boy who asked her out.
  • Stepford Smiler: Quite a few characters show this tendency, particularly Mari's mother. Isao/Mari is forced into this role by his circumstances and it's later revealed that Mari herself may have been a Stepford Smiler all along.
  • Shared Universe: With Aku no Hana.
  • Shout-Out: At the very beginning, Isao can be seen playing Dark Souls.
  • Split Personality Takeover: Played with. Assuming Isao/Mari was a disassociative personality, Mari waking up as Isao plays it straight and Mari making him vanish in chapter 61 inverts it.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • Chapter 42 ends with Yori noticing Isao/Mari saying something that only Yori and Mari could possibly have known.
    • Happens later on when Isao/Mari kisses Yori, and states that he felt as if his body was moving on its own.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Isao at the beginning of the story. This is NOT played for laughs.
  • Stalker Without A Crush: As Isao and Yori investigate the real Mari, she is revealed to have been stalking Isao in return and may have learned enough to develop a Split Personality based on him.
  • There Are No Therapists: Played with: Mari supposedly has an therapist off-screen, but he's either indifferent to Mari's condition or in thrall to her mother's viewpoint.
  • Transformation Comic: The story starts out as a Deconstruction of Gender Bender manga before it morphs into something entirely different.
  • Wham Episode: We learn that Mari used to be named Fumiko.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Let's lie down here together again sometime." It refers to what Mari said to Yori when they met one day in the nurse's office. While Yori had mentioned this moment once in passing, she didn't mention that detail and there is no way Isao could have known it.
    • "Let's stop doing this. This "me inside of Mari-san stuff". It's all a lie, isn't it?" Isao says this to Yori when he becomes fed up of her talking about that. He points out how illogical the concept is.
    • Yori's "Who is Fumiko?" prompts a very sour, twisted expression from Mari's mother.

Alternative Title(s):

Boku Wa Mari No Naka