I"s is a manga series by Video Girl Ai creator Masakazu Katsura.Ichitaka Seto is a normal Japanese high school student. His one hang-up is that due to a particularly nasty rejection by a girl when he was younger, he can't properly show his affection to anyone he's interested in. Naturally, he's crushing hard on Iori Yoshizuki, a classmate in the drama club that has found a sudden increase in popularity after posing in a swimsuit for a magazine spread.Despite the seemingly impossible divide, Ichitaka lucks out when he and Iori are appointed to do a skit to welcome incoming students to their school. But his own nature, in addition to his friend Yasumasa Teratani's sometime's ill-advised help, inevitably trip him up. Matters aren't helped any when an old friend of his, Itsuki Akiba, shows up and starts crashing at his place.The series' name has multiple meanings - it refers to the main characters' initials, but also to ai, Japanese for both "love" and "sorrow". Also, the title is supposed to have two apostrophes (to represent the multiple "I" people), but it's usually written with a quote mark (in part for simplicity and in part because it would mess with wikis like this one).Running for fifteen volumes, it has been adapted to anime twice, and has made a surprise appearance in Jump Ultimate Stars.With its vividly rich graphics, adorable characters, and unexpectedly gripping story, I"s easily qualifies as one of the better manga/anime that you probably aren't reading/watching.Is has examples of:
Abhorrent Admirer: Iori has a legion of these. It goes from the ultra-jealous Jerk Ass in her class (later ditched from the true companions), to the rapist type.
All Just a Dream - Subversion - first, it looks pretty convincingly that all the preceding 141 chapters have been this, save for like the first half of the first chapter, until things go wonky and Ichitaka realizes his Christmas Miracle (of getting a chance to redo his romance with Iori from the start) was the real dream
All Love Is Unrequited - Until the finale, nobody seems to be able to keep a healthy and stable relationship (although it's left ambiguous as to whether Jun and Mr. Higemi get together).
All Men Are Perverts: Aside from Jun, all teenage males in I''s who are around for at least three panels probably are going to make some sort of lewd comment about females.
Their relationship also serves as a perfect mirror to Ichitaka and Iori: When I/I are feeling awkward at the beginning, Teratani and Yuka are already getting alone fine. During Christmas, while Ichitaka and Iori finally become a couple, Teratani rejects Yuka. Only at the ending both couples are doing well.
Big Damn Heroes - Ichitaka valiantly tries to save Iori from being assaulted on three occasions. For the second rescue, Ichitaka owns the moment in the manga. In the anime, it is Teratani who saves the day.
Given the intensity of the 2nd rescue scene, don't feel silly if you cheer a little when Teratani shows up with the cavalry.
Break the Cutie - None of the characters are actually broken in I''s, but they do suffer some damage. Here is a tally.
Iori's rehearsal regime is designed to break her on the theory that it will make her a better actor.
Itsuki when she realizes she'll never have Ichitaka's heart.
Aiko when her boyfriend dumps her.
Iori when she is almost raped for the second time. It is amazing she didn't need therapy by the end of the story!.
Can Not Spit It Out - Ichitaka has this problem due to being rejected once in middle school. Iori has the same problem, but in her case, it's due to thinking that Ichitaka was in love with Itsuki.
There are a lot of indications that Koshinae has this for Seto in a bad way. Since Koshinae knows that Seto is very much not gay, would never return his affection and any confession would likely freak Seto out to the point that Koshinae would lose the friendship he does have with Seto, he instead does his best to be The Matchmaker between Seto and Iori.
Casanova Wannabe - Teratani (and it's implied that all his male relatives are as well).
Censor Steam - At the request of the artist, more was added to the earlier volumes to ensure an American release.
Character Development - Loads and loads and loads. By the end of the series, everyone has noticeably grown up from their initial introductions not only physically, but also emotionally. Dramatic enough that when you get to the flashback event at the end of the series you will be absolutely shocked when you realize how far everyone has come and how naturally it progressed that you never noticed.
Christmas Miracle: Referred to several times thereafter, but can't really be explained as well as an excerpt would demonstrate it, so...
Ichitaka: "I didn't even get to confess..."
Iori: "... who were you going to confess to?"
Ichitaka: "To you..."(internally) "I did it!"
(A beat. Iori stares back. The train stops, and she silently walks off.)
Ichitaka (internal): "No... no way... no way... That's reality... it was too quick... the way it ended... now we won't be able to talk to each other... and university... should I keep aiming for the same one? Or just give up the whole idea... whatever I do doesn't matter..." (tearing up) "It won't do any good..."
(Ichitaka looks up. Iori has walked back on the train. They look at each other.)
Iori: "I thought... it was one-sided...
Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends - Somewhat subverted: while Itsuki sends a video from America revealing that she's fallen in love with someone, Izumi and Aiko both are single at the end.
I Never Got Any Letters - Ichitaka agonizes that Iori may have forgotten about him while she is working on her theatre career because he never hears from her. Her agent encouraged/convinced her to write letters instead of calling, and is tossing all her letters into storage instead of mailing them.
In Name Only - The first OVA, From I"s, has almost nothing to do with the source material. The story is anime-original, it almost completely ignores Iori in favor of a childhood friend of Ichitaka and Itsuki's, changes the character designs to the point that they look like they're from a different series, and features supernatural elements that are completely absent in the manga.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy - Ichitaka often takes this stance towards Iori One of his biggest issues is that he's very bad at telling what actually would make her happy.
Also Itsuki, to the point that she is Sent To America to get her out of the way.
There are a lot of indications that Koshinae also has a crush on Seto. Since he knows his affection would never be returned, he does his best to get and keep Seto and Iori together.
Lethal Chef - Itsuki is a slightly more mundane version; among other things, her scrambled eggs come out charcoal-like.
Like Brother and Sister - Deconstructed with Ichitaka and Itsuki's relationship (He feels this way towards her while she nurses romantic feelings for him; when he finally starts to question if he does like her romantically, she realizes that he does feel that way and is just confused, and she gets over him.)
Mood Whiplash - Whenever the Marionette King shows up, this romantic comedy jarringly becomes a suspense thriller with the rather disturbing attempted rape scene(s) of 16 year old Iori.
Then again, with The Marrionette King during the final chapters, when it takes a 5-page divergence from romantic dramedy to channeling the soul of Hajime No Ippo when Ichitaka breaks said King's kneecap and probably jaw in order to save Iori.
Possibly Koshinae for Seto in a very benign version. Seto even Lampshades it a couple times, thinking how Koshinae often suddenly appears "like a ninja" when Seto is upset, depressed and/or wishing he had someone to talk to.
Status Quo Is God - for like 10 freakin manga volumes Ichitaka just can't spit it out that he loves Iori!.