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. Sana's irrepressible energy and rapidfire 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.An extra note of surrealism is added above and beyond that which normally surrounds Sana by the presence of Babbit — an albino bat who acts as a Narrator and Greek Chorus for the show. In addition to his other schtick, Babbit is quite aware that he and the other characters are in an anime, and sometimes upbraids Sana and her friends for doing things they shouldn't on TV.As of August 2005, FUNimation has begun releasing licensed DVDs of Kodomo no Omocha in North America under its abbreviated title, Kodocha. The dub of the first DVD had been censored heavily, but it stopped by the next release. Additionally, the original opening credits from the first season have been replaced with the second season credits because of legal pressures exerted by the recording company behind Tokio, the group who recorded the original theme song, 7 O'clock News. A cameo appearance by a member of Tokio in the first episode has actually been bowdlerized in both English and Japanese to keep any mention of the group out of the North American release. Any audio relating to Tokio in the Japanese track is completely muted, including the 'next episode' previews in the first 16 episodes, which have Tokio's 7 O'clock News playing in the background. The second half of the series has yet to be released.
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.
Adaptation Distillation: The anime took a more diverged comedy direction since the very beginning of the series. That's more clear if you take a look to the first chapter of the manga and the first episode of the anime. Certain characters are a bit more changed in personality, there'a a bit more of exposition of others, the situations are a bit more exagerated, or even some of the events get a more tamed adaptation in the animation. That's also considerating that the manga was still being published in Japan at the moment that the anime was airing (it was also a monthly manga series) so they had little to work with. In the end (because the popularity it had), the series had 102 episodes, it overtook the mangaseveral times as pointed below, and so, it had a lot of filler, and ended with a Gecko Ending.
According to some reports, Funimation proposed re-scoring the music for relevant scenes in order to avoid referencing Tokio or dropping the audio entirely, but the Tokio handlers didn't find that solution acceptable. For some reason Funi was allowed to substitute different music in place of Tokio music for the English track, but not for the Japanese track.
Berserk Button: Akito CANNOT stand being called a demon. Natsumi used to call him that; their mother died giving birth to him. Also, Tsuyoshi if you insult his mother.
Bonus Material: At the end of the anime, it presents several omakes of non-continuity and AU events to the anime itself: Such as a yakuza member wanting to marry Sana or that Naozumi's recently found family going broke.
Before Funi started releasing the DVD box sets, they released boxes to keep the DVDs safe with a freebie Babbit plushie.
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 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 returns to Tokyo and slap him for that.
Cant 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.
Akito is one even in-universe, and has actually been shown chasing away a fangirl. Between Sana and Fuka, it's implied he'd be literally surrounded by fangirls if his personality wasn't such a turn-off (in grade school the girls even found him disgusting as a millipede due the shit he pulled there).
Child by Rape: Hinted to be the case with Sana in the manga. 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, we only know that Keiko was a teenage mom and that's all.
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, after the Hayama family's problems are partially resolved by Sana and they start to emotionally heal.
Cool Shades: Rei uses a pair of sunglasses almost all the time.
Creator Cameo: Miho Obana appears many times in the manga's panels and theorically she could be the M person that appears at the end of it, but it isn't totally confirmed and in the anime she also makes several cameos only saying "I'm Obana". Bonus points for Maro-chan, since it is based on Obana's own pet (even named Maro) from back then.
Death by Childbirth: Akito's mother Koharu died right after she gave birth to him. Of course, milked as melodrama for all it's worth, since the badly traumatised Natsumi psychologically abuses her brother and blames him for that for years.
Diary: Though it is not very relevant, Sana keeps a diary since she was a child as a petition from Misako.
Maybe because of a missundertanding (the diary doesn't play any RELEVANT role it's just something that Sana likes to do), when the manga was licensed in Mexico, it was called El Diario de Sana rather than El Juguete de los Niños (direct translation of Kodomo no Omocha, and maybe not taken because the publisher wanted to avoid confussion with an 80s telenovela called El Mundo de Juguete) or Kodocha.
Head Pet: Maro the squirrel lives in Mama Kurata's hair.
Heroic BSOD: Once when Sana was a child and she got a bad grade, fearing that she'd be sent back to the Orphanage of Love where she grew up, and another time when Akito had to go overseas to get his arm cured.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Not only Funimation left hanging the license for the second part of the series, but at the beginning of February 2012, they also dropped the whole license of it. However, getting a physical SAVE edition of the two complete parts of Season One, is pretty expensive as of 2013 (from 70 dollars to beyond), having the solely option of getting the individual DVD volumes of 4 episodes each.
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: Exclusively in the anime series, since it had Tomy (present day known as Takara Tomy) as a coproducer. Every single product that Sana had (the Burucha and the Nopia, for example) were real toys. There should be noted that these line of toys (at least the majority of them) didn't exist in the original manga itself. However, as of now, finding them in certain 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 (made by Tomy) that was available as a series-related edition.
Motor Mouth: Sana, Sana, Sana... the subtitles came 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 from the main one. It's as obscure as it was intended to be as a film in the manga, too.
Must Make Her Laugh: Gender inverted — Sana always tries to make Akito laugh, or at the very least smile.
My Beloved Smother: Misako's mother, Shizuka Kurata, who 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.
Narrator: Both Babbit and Sana narrate at different points.
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 (recollected in tankoubon until January 1999). And the anime ended in March from the same year. The anime adapted the original story up until volume 7 (with added fillers, the America arc and finally, a Gecko Ending) until around episode 75. Of course, since the manga started to go in a dramatical point since volume 6, and the anime clearly was made for more comedy moments... However, this wasn't the only time that this happened: the anime overtook the manga series at least twice when it was still being aired.
Parental Abandonment: 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 is dead and his father 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.
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 seiyuu 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 Fuka as sort of a rebound, but Sana gets physically assaulted by rabit 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.
Sadist Teacher: Mr. Sengoku. He goes so far as to take Akito aside and punch him in the stomach, then getting him suspended when he fought back. In the Manga, after Akito loses function in his right hand, Sengoku forces Akito to write a sentence on the chalkboard with his left hand. This pisses Sana off so much she goes and yells at Mr. Sengoku after class.
It's actually much worse than that the teacher has Akito write out all the written work for his group's lab work on the board, including drawing the diagram. After Akito makes some progress, the teacher forces him to erase it ALL and start over because he "can't understand it". Akito spends almost the entire lab period writing out their group's work while the class watches in discomfort (and even Aya's on the verge of tear). When Akito finally finishes, Sengoku picks up a red chalk and circles all the work, most likely implying that he thinks it's wrong. He puts Akito through that humiliation, knowing his disability, and marks all that work as WRONG.
Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Sana and Akito wanted to do this before he was sent overseas, but Sana proved to be too ticklish and the mood was ruined. Plus Rei and Misako barge in before anything else can happen. She gets an earful from her mother about what a bad idea this was.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In-universe example: when he believed that Sana and Naozumi were together, Akito dated Fuka 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.
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.