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Despite her fame and her career, eccentric 11-year-old child actress Sana Kurata lives an almost normal life with her even-more-eccentric author mother, Misako Kurata, and her manager Rei Sagami. She even attends a public school, where she has many friends. But in school she comes into conflict with sullen, laconic Akito Hayama, de facto leader of the boys in her classroom.Akito holds some secret blackmail on two of the teachers, allowing him to get away with a great deal of misbehavior — something which enrages Sana, especially when it disrupts the class. She vows to defeat Akito, and restore peace to the school. After several failures, she succeeds in beating Akito at his own game, but her victory over him is just the beginning of a surprising evolution of her relationship with the quiet, angry-seeming boy, as she discovers why is he so angry and starts trying to fix it...Kodomo No Omocha ("Child's Toy", and frequently contracted to "Kodocha") is a fun, entertaining shojo series that mixes comedy and drama in equal parts. It was created by Miho Obana and published in Shueisha's Ribon magazine from 1994 to 1998. It got adapted into an anime series in 1996 and run into 102 episodes, directed by Akitaro Daichi, the later-director of series like Fruits Basket and Now and Then, Here and There.Sana's irrepressible energy and rapid-fire dialogue is second only to Excel of Excel Saga for its speed and outrageousness. (In fact, Excel's original North American voice actress, Jessica Calvello, once expressed an interest in voicing Sana in English.) But unlike Excel, Sana is a force to be reckoned with, despite her non sequiturs and baffling leaps of "logic". Possessed of an immense empathy and a willingness to help even someone she characterizes as her worst enemy, she plows through troubles and problems with a bold determination and a choice of skills from the acting school she attends. It has frequently been described as "Marmalade Boyon crack" due to Sana and Akito's superficial resemblance to Miki and Yuu.During 2005, FUNimation started to release licensed DVDs of the anime series in North America under its abbreviated title, "Kodocha". It is interesting to mention, that the dub of the first DVD had been censored heavily, but it stopped by the next releases. Additionally, the original opening credits from the first season were replaced with the second season ones because of legal pressures exerted by Johnny & Associates, the management behind TOKIO, the band who recorded the opening "7 O'Clock News". Even the cameo of one of the members of the band was bowdlerized in both English and Japanese tracks to keep any mention of the group out of the North American release. Due to licensing contracts and low sales of the series, the second season was never released and as of February 2012, Funimation lost the license of the series.
Abusive Parents: Volumes two and three of the manga heavily suggest Tsuyoshi's dad is this. It's never brought up again, since he and his family move away from him. The fact his anger over people insulting his mother seems to be linked to this suggests Domestic Abuse too.
Ascended Extra: Given that nature of the animated adaptation, Mami, Gomi and some other characters (just like the MC of "Kodomo no Omocha" becoming Zenjiro) got more time on screen and more Character Development than their manga counterparts.
Adaptation Distillation: The anime took a different direction from the manga at the very beginning. Thatís clear if you compare the first chapter of the manga and the first episode of the anime. Some of the characters differed in personality, others got more expanded and some of the events got really tamed in comparison. Considering that the manga was a monthly series and it was still published in Japan at the time the anime was airing, the anime staff had little to work with while it was reaching its climax.
Adaptation Expansion: As a result of the above example, the anime had 102 episodes, meaning that some arcs were ridiculously expanded with filler, trying to make time between the events they were adapting from the manga.
Misako Kurata was feeling remorse about telling Sana that she was adopted when she was 5, and after making a promise that after they both get famous in their own ways (by writing and being a child actress, respectively) just to look for Sanaís biological mother. After all those years, she was, in fact, really scared that the aforementioned woman would appear and take her daughter away from her. Worse, that Sana would choose her, even.
Rei doesnít even take the news with a grain of salt, either. Especially considering he became an orphan at his late teens, and that he loves Sana as if she was his daughter and/or little sister.
Sana getting the "Mannequin Disease" is terrifying when it is considered that she does not have any physical symptoms of being sick, since it is a sickness that is completely emotional. While not having a known cure to get her out of it, no wonder why Misako was completely worried about her sanity, even to travel all the way upon where she was filming "The Mansion of Water" when it was a fake alarm.
Animal Metaphor: "Natural enemies" Sana and Akito are represented as a mongoose and cobra, respectively.
Anime Theme Song: The anime has two openings, "7 OíClock News" by Tokio and "Ultra Relax" by Tomoe Shinohara.
"7 OíClock News" is notorious to even have short instrumental versions that were used on the next episode previews of the first sixteen episodes, which obviously was troublesome when Funimation licensed the anime in the US due to some problems with Tokioís management, replacing the opening with "Ultra Relax" for the rest of the first season and leaving the previews on mute.
Art Evolution: Itís mostly expected to happen especially since the series took 4 years to be published, but once you look at how the main characters appear in the future that Deep Clear presented (also released 10 years after the original ending), you start seeing how the art is even more cautiously detailed than it was originally.
Big Fancy House: The Kurataís household is expected to be big partially because of Misakoís profits as an author. However, this gets expanded in the anime, where itís revealed that her parents are rich (they are owners of a hot springs resort) which also justifies the size of their house, too.
Bishōnen: Itís often referred in the series that Naozumi is a pretty good looking boy, and even Akito has fangirls (however, his personality is another whole story). Rei may count as well, especially when Sana initially found him, since she thought that he looked 'cute' even if he was a homeless young man.
Blatant Lies: Miss Andoh manages to save face with the students by claiming her proficiency exam was all a ruse to get everyone to learn a lesson about friendship. And they buy it.
Since the anime got canceled at episode 102, the epilogue is a bunch of non-continuity and AU segments from the series itself, and possibly acting as SequelHooks from some of the filler arcs they did. Examples, like a yakuza member wanting to marry Sana or Naozumi finding out his found-biological family went broke.
Before even selling the DVD Box Sets, Funi released boxes to keep the DVDs safe with some freebies.
The last edition (20th anniversary of Obana's career) of the DVD Box Sets in Japan (from 2010) contains addition material as bonus gifts and cases with new covers drawn by the author.
The final volume of the manga in Japan contains several greetings messages from people such as Akitaro Daichi and even Brilliant Green.
The kanzenban edition of the manga got extras included as the original color illustrations of the chapters' covers, clean illustrations from the Ribon covers and at the end of the final volume, and a last sketch of Sana and Akito if they were High School students.
The Ribon magazines release bonus gifts to their buyers/subscribers; generally all the titles from the magazine receive their own gift treatment, so Kodocha was not an exception when it was being serialized.
Boy Meets Girl: Akito and Sana. Well, Sana knew he was a troublemaker. She starts to know him better. He gets her... She loses him. He gets her again. She was way too close to lose him again.
Brick Joke: When Akito gives Sana her First Kiss, a couple classmates on the background tell us that Akito gave his first kiss when he was a kindergartener, and when he admits it, they also add they had bet 10 yen each he couldn't do it. Halfway in the series, the girl he kissed as a kindergartener (Fuuka) returns to Tokyo and slap him for that.
Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Mami never forgives Akito after he tries to drown her for calling him a demon, and when she learns about it Misako explicitly tells him it's his own fault for his abuse of her.
Cerebus Syndrome: Just after Sana starts middle school and when she agrees to film "The Mansion of Water", things get really serious around her. This is more emphasized in the manga, rather in the anime where the content varies in some degrees. If you thought that Sana got it bad when the Gene Hunting was going on, it becomes emotionally worse for everyone involved, too.
Character Development: For a shoujo comedy series, almost if not all the characters receive a great development regarding their ambitions and how they eventually overcome their pasts.
Naozumi, a young bishonen who looks like a foreigner, who is also kind, is really popular with the girls.
Akito can count as well (he even chased away a fangirl!) if his cold personality wasnít such a turn-off (even in grade school, the girls found him disgusting as a bagworm due to the mess he pulled there). In Deep Clear, his adult self is seen as such because the nurses who work in the clinic with him, think that he has a mysterious air but also a cool personality.
Child by Rape: It's hinted to be the case in the manga with Sana. Keiko gave birth to her when she was 13 or 14 years old and her dad was not only a much older man, but Keiko's uncle. In the anime, itís rather the contrary, since it is implied that, yes, Keiko got pregnant when she was a teenager, but Sanaís real father appears long after this event and he is apparently a good man, so itís doubtful he could have raped Keiko.
Continuity Cameo: Babbit may be an anime-exclusive character, but it doesn't mean he is an outsider of the group character portrait cover of the final volume of the manga.
Cool Big Sis: Natsumi starts acting more as a caring sister to Akito after Sana helps their family to overcome their problems.
Cool Shades: Rei uses a pair of sunglasses almost all the time.
There's an extra crossover chapter drawn by Obana and Mihona Fujii (mangaka most known nowadays for her work, GALS!. Counting as cameo, Erika Sakurai from the latter's work, Passion Girls, also appeared in the series as well.
Deep Clear is a crossover special released for Obanaís 20th anniversary of her carrier, with her ongoing series, Honey Bitter, where the cast of the series has an important plot role.
Dancing Theme: Both openings count, but "Ultra Relax" takes the cake.
Death by Childbirth: Koharu Hayama died right after she gave birth to Akito. Played for the melodrama, this badly traumatized Natsumi, who ends up abusing her brother and blames him for that fact for years.
Defeat Means Friendship: Once Sana has the opportunity to blackmail Akito, she changes her mind and intends to help him to improve his familyís situation. After this got resolved, this led up to both of them earning some respect to each other.
Diary: Sana keeps a diary as her mother encouraged her to write everything she goes through in it, since she was a child.
Mostly prominent in the manga where, some years after the melodramatic climax happens, it offers a view on what Sana and her friends are doing before enrolling to High School, when Akito announces that he also returns to Japan to see her.
Deep Clear also offers a more distant closure after these events, while also being a crossover special with Honey Bitter, giving an insight of a Babies Ever After ending for both Sana and Akito.
Tsuyoshi felt as such to Sana, especially because he didnít know it was just for a misunderstanding he had from her affections.
Naozumi to Sana, as well. He thinks he is more capable to be with Sana initially because he shares the same career and they have a similar origin; however, Sana only looks at him as a friend or as a brother, rather than just boyfriend material.
Fuuka becomes the dogged nice girl to Akito after they start their relationship. She is similar to Sana in some aspects, but she is also different than her. However, once she realizes that there is a deep connection that Akito shares with Sana, she decides to end their relationship for her friends' own sake.
First Kiss: This is the one that is pretty important for Sana and Akitoís relationship, when they are in the middle of a school trip at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office. Although, it wasnít a first for Akito, the kiss is both surprising and terrifying for poor Sana.
And it brought hilarious results in the anime, as her reaction causes a good deal of traffic accidents, when they were at the top of one of the buildingís towers.
Sana and Naozumi met each other when the former was getting adopted. Itís justifiable, given that both of them were babies when this event happened.
Akito and Fuuka happened to know each other before she moved back to Tokyo. That is because they went to kindergarten together. Then, in middle school, she starts remembering he was that "Hayama kid" who kissed her.
Freudian Excuse: Akito's cold and violent personality is a result of the lack of communication that his family had at home. With a Missing Mom and a workaholic father, things werenít easy for him or his sister. Natsumi even often abused Akito and treated him as a "monster" because she resented him and put all the blame of their motherís death on him.
Gang Of Bullies: At the start of the series, there was a group of kids that gave a lot of trouble to their teacher (even using blackmail to treat her!) and some of their other classmates. Akito initially was the "leader" of this group, too.
Gecko Ending: Around the last quarter of the anime, the staff added an "America" Arc where Sana goes to the US with Naozumi for an acting gig and she runs into an American version of Akito. At the end of it, they return to Japan, and while trying to adapt the rest of the subsequent events of the reveal that Akito and Fuuka are dating, they also added lots of one-shot episodes unrelated to the manga but still foreshadowing the arc that leads to the climax of the series.
Gene Hunting: An early major story arc involves Sana and her mother's hunt for her birth mother.
Genki Girl: Sana is the most easy example. Fuuka could be considered but to a lesser extent.
Good Parents: There's Misako, and when he finally realizes what his home situation is really like, Akito's dad becomes one as well. In one episode where Akito is framed for shoplifting, his father gives a long speech about how he expects Akito to come forward with the truth on the situation. All Akito says is he didn't do it, and his father adamantly believes him just because he has that much faith in Akito.
The Idiot from Osaka: Fuuka - though it's subverted, as while she's obnoxiously hyper (though not any less than Sana, whose personality and accent say "generic Tokyo area native anime character") she's quite clever and somewhat more astute than Sana. When Fuuka first appears the rest of the characters briefly discuss the Osaka stereotype.
Idol Singer: Anime-only. When Zenjiroís show is cancelled, Sana has the opportunity to be in an idol unit along two other girls.
Improbable Hairstyle: Misako Kurata purposely wanted to adopt some fun hairstyles because after finding out she couldnít conceive, she thought that if she wasn't a "normal woman" anymore, then she must had to start living as a "strange" one, overjoying and expressing herself.
Intergenerational Friendship: Rei and Sana share a friendly-parental relationship even if he was hired originally just to be a nanny/guard/manager/'boyfriend'; when Sana first met Rei, he was a College dropout, while she was just 9 years old.
In Italy, the series was renamed Rossananote Hence why there is a redirect to this page.
Back in the day, when the manga series was licensed in Mexico, it was renamed as El Diario de Sana instead of "El Juguete de los NiŮos" (literal translation from "Kodomo no Omocha", and also the title it received in Spain), perhaps to avoid confusion with a similar named 80s telenovela called "El Mundo de Juguete".
The Men in Black: Subverted, Rei is a big softy, and the glasses are worn at Sana's behest because she thinks his "beautiful eyes" should remain hidden.
Merchandise-Driven: The anime series counted with Tomy (present-day known as Takara Tomy) as a co-producer. Every single toy that Sana had (the Burucha and the Nopia, for example) was real. There should be noted that this line of toys didn't exist in the original manga itself. However, finding them in auction sites is way too difficult to do due the age the series has right now (more than 15 years old). The most valuable of them is probably the Polaroid Camera that was available as a series-related edition (in two colors, the blue one is harder to get).
Mood Whiplash: There are moments where you are not going to know if you are crying out of joy or because of the sadness. Or both. Sometimes, Sanaís funny antics are going to balance the mood, but still...
Motor Mouth: Sana, Sana, Sana... the subtitles can come in paragraphs.
The Movie: WELL, not exactly the movie, but "Mizu no Yakata", The Mansion of Water, the movie that Sana, Naozumi and Asako were filming in the series was later adapted as a sole separate volume as a side story. It's as obscure as it was intended to be as a film in the manga, too.
My Beloved Smother: Exclusive on the anime. Misako's mother, Shizuka Kurata, is often trying to get her to take on the responsibilities of running the family hot springs. When this fails, Shizuka tries it on Sana. It doesn't work either.
My God, What Have I Done?: Akito's sister has this reaction when she sees the TV movie Sana and Asako were in that pretty blatantly parallels the situation with Akito's family, and she realizes just how horribly she treated Akito all these years. Akito's dad has a more subdued version of this.
Miss Andoh also has this reaction when she remembers that a teacher's job is to help the students understand their work, not enforce arbitrary grading, and realizes her proficiency test is making her look like a heartless monster.
Narrator: Both Babbit and Sana narrate at different points in the anime series.
However, she also subverts it, given how implied from the narration in the manga when she accepts that Rei must go on with his life (he has a longtime girlfriend) that he must have been her first Precocious Crush.
Opposites Attract: Akito and Sana are complete opposites of each other in regard of their personalities. Akito is more violent, serious, and perhaps he is more of a realist kid than the other children that appear in the series. Sana, however, is more energetic and an idealist. Both grew up in different situations, and yet, they both learned secret aspects from themselves...
Out of the Inferno/Unflinching Walk: After the house where "Mizu no Yakata" was being filmed was burning, and Sana was still harmed from her leg... she manages to make her dramatic exit just in time (while the others were worried that Sana would die in there), and this ends up being the perfect scene of the movie.
Overprotective Dad: After Sana stopped seeing Rei as her boyfriend, he starts acting like a dad for her. To the extreme of being a bit overprotective to her. He doesn't like Akito, he tries to calm down the situation of Sana and her mom when her book was published. In the manga, it is more obvious, especially after he took so seriously his role as a manager and wanted to Sana to keep working, and when Akito became seriously harmed after their classmate's attempted homicide-suicide, he really took a more parental role to her, declining an important gig for her, remembering that she was still a girl, because her dearly Akito was in that thin line between life and death.
Overtook the Manga: The manga ended in November 1998. The anime, however, ended earlier in March of that year. With little to work in the intervals (a weekly anime vs a monthly manga series), the anime adapted the original story up until volume 7 (with a distinct difference of details, filler, one-shot episodes and whole arcs, giving it a Gecko Ending) before the last quarter of the anime series.
Sana was abandoned by her birth mother Keiko (who actually gave birth to her at age thirteen, and in the manga Sana's birth may have been product of sexual abuse), and the less said about her birth father the better except in the anime, where he's actually a really nice guy. Her adoptive mother, Misako, is divorced from a parasitic money-leech.
Akito's mother Koharu is dead and his father Fuyuki is so absorbed in his work that he never sees his children (though to his credit, he does try be a good dad once he and Natsumi get over themselves).
Tsuyoshi's father is estranged from the family, and it's implied that he physically abused Tsuyoshi; might be the case why he reacts so strongly to people insulting his mother.
Rei's parents died in an accident not so much long after he broke up with Asako. He thought they were rich... but they also had lots of money debts, resulting him to go homeless for a while.
Pilot: There was an OVA, produced by J.C. Staff, released in 1995. It's a little bit more closer to the manga, actually. But, compared to the actual anime series, it has not only different designs, but also a different voice cast, notably Chisa Yokoyama as Sana and Megumi Ogata as Akito.
Poor Communication Kills: The whole debacle of rumors and gossip stating Sana and Naozumi are a couple while they film a movie. Not only does Akito decide to date Fuuka as sort of a rebound, but Sana gets physically assaulted by rabid Naozumi fans to the extent that they break her leg. When Sana finally returns to school after shooting the movie none of her friends ask her about Naozumi. Including Akito. They all just assume she'll just talk about her relationship with them, but then they all get insulted when she doesn't. Sana only finds out they believed the rumors when she feels left out in the middle of hanging out with two couples (Akito and Fuka, Tsuyoshi and Aya) and then they bring up Naozumi.
Puppy-Dog Eyes: The teacher, Tanaka-sensei, pulls such pathetic Puppy-Dog Eyes that Sana has to tell him to stop because he's gonna make her cry.
Puppy Love: It needs to be considered that, from the very start, Akito & Sana or Tsuyoshi & Aya (without forgetting about Naozumi & Sana, and Akito & Fuuka) are 11-13-year old-kids.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Misako actually hands out a few of these. She raised Sana with an even mix of independence and rules, and often never lets Sana back out of the consequences when she does something wrong. She delivered a subdued and absolutely scathing one to Sana's birth mother Keiko over abandoning Sana when she was a baby, regardless of how young Keiko was at the time, followed by a slap in the face.
Recruited From The Gutter: Rei is literally begging on the streets when Sana finds him and brings him home with her to be her "boy toy" (of course Sana has no idea what being a boy toy actually entails). After that he works he works for Sana's mother as Sana's combination manager/bodyguard/nanny/father figure.
Sadist Teacher: Mr. Sengoku is clearly built on hate toward his students when he gets introduced in the series. Akito becomes his favorite victim (because he reminds him of a guy he knew in High School).
And it turns to worse when Akito reveals an embarrassing secret about him to the whole class, something he provoked him to do beforehand. He goes so far as to take Akito to the Teacherís Room not to talk to him BUT to punch him in the stomach. Then, he got him suspended when he fought back.
In the manga, things got very serious once Kazuyuki Komori disappears, since Sengoku does not trust in Akito and believes he is much of an evil abuser and bad student... and once he loses function of his right hand, Sengokuís actions get straight to abuse, humiliation and her takes advantage of the situation, when in class, he ends up forcing Akito to write his groupís lab work on the chalkboard with his left hand. And when he makes some progress, Sengoku forces him to do it again because he "can't understand it". The rest of the class watch this with so much discomfort (however, after Akito finished, he ends up grading it as rightnote Circle marks or "Marujirushi" mean as "correct answers"). No wonder why, when Sana hears about this, she becomes absolutely pissed off to know why he did it.
Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Sana proposes to Akito to have sex as a way in which both could see each other as adults, before he went overseas. When he agrees to do it, the mood gets ruined at the very moment that Sana proves to be too ticklish. Fortunately, Rei and Misako barge in before anything else can happen and Sana receives an earful from her mother about what a bad idea this was.
Surprise Pregnancy: Sana's biological mother, Keiko, didn't even know she was pregnant until she gave to birth. She assumed she was being ill, and the pregnancy didn't show up either.
Sunglasses at Night: Rei always uses sunglasses everywhere because Sana told him to never remove them in public.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In-universe example, when he believed that Sana and Naozumi were together, Akito dated Fuuka because, for a strange coincidence, she resembled Sana in both looks and character.
Theme Naming: Akito's Missing Mom loved the seasons and everything about them, and named her children after the season they were born in. The "aki" in Akito is "autumn" and the "natsu" in Natsumi is "summer." This theme naming extends to the entire family: Akito's mother's name (Koharu) includes "haru" for "spring," and his father's name (Fuyuki) includes "fuyu" for winter.
Talk Show: Asako, besides being a quite profilic actress, has a talk show since the very beginning in the series. Later, in the manga, after resting a bit of her TV actress career, Sana ends having a Phone-In Talk Show in radio.
Too Long; Didn't Dub: In a rather literal application of the trope, Tomomi Ayanohanamarukoji becomes Tomomi Ayano in the English dub. Additionally, many jokes, puns, and songs were re-written to function better in English.
Undying Loyalty: Rei to Sana in some ways, after she saved his life from being broke and homeless.
Unlucky Childhood Friend: Naozumi, who grew up in the same orphanage Sana was once in and has been carrying a torch for her. Though, as Sana was there for a very brief period of time, they never met in the orphanage. He was just told that she lived there once and it inspired him to become an actor and someday meet her.