Sumika Murasame is deeply in love with her cheerful classmate and friend Ushio Kazama. Ushio has a thing for girls, too, but... she's into cute girls. Sumika's problem is that she is toocool: top student, class representative, perfect in sports, black belt in karate, the list goes on. Not only girls, even guys are slightly afraid of approaching her. She herself, for all that's holy, doesn't want to endanger her friendship with Ushio, as much as it pains her to hide her feelings.Sasameki Koto ("Something Whispered," sometimes incorrectly rendered as Sasame Kikoto) is a Girls Love manga by Takashi Ikeda, that ran from May 2007 to September 2011 in Monthly Comic Alive. Contains little blatant Fanservice, and a well-balanced mixture of comedy and Angst. All in all, a very enjoyable GL romantic comedy. It ran a total of 53 chapters over 9 volumes.In addition, the series is groundbreaking in that it not only is one of the few GL manga to take place in a mixed sex school, as opposed to a girls only school, but it also touches on the ostracization and loneliness that young Japanese lesbians experience.A 13-episode anime adaptation of the first couple volumes was broadcast in late 2009; it is licensed by Crunchyroll and can be viewed for free on their site. The manga is licensed and published in French by Clair de Lune since November 2011.
Sasameki Koto includes examples of:
The Ace: It's a race to see who will be crowned The Ace of the series, karate prodigy Sumika, a Genius Bruiser who can kick your ass without her glasses, versus Tomoe, who her step-mother referred to as "our goddess" for when she took a few years off from high school to save the family business from ruin. Head to head so far, Tomoe is ahead in both romance and swimming.
Action Girl: Sumika is an heir to her father's dojo and holds a black belt in karate at 15. Yabase also, as Sumika's peer in the karate dojo.
Anguished Declaration of Love: Sumika finally makes hers in chapter 46. Too bad it took Kazama telling her that she was moving away to provoke it, causing one of the biggest Tearjerkers in the whole series.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Azusa's reaction to Tomoe kissing her is to haul off and slap her a good one.
So is Murasame Tenkai's (Sumika's father) when Sumika accidentally punches her sparing partner in the face, hard, in distraction.
They did go to the beach, but Tomoe's driving sent them home right away.
The Beard: Tomoe of all people suggests that Sumika get one for the PR while she's campaigning for student council president, and they settle for Akemiya, who happily, unthinkingly shows up to their date crossdressing.
Beautiful All Along: Watamura with her hair down is a beautiful fashion model. Watamura with her hair up is... a caricature of a human being. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, she doesn't seem to angst at all about her usual appearance, she doesn't seem to care, or even notice, that she's extremely beautiful, and she even seems to think she looks better with her hair up.
Big Eater: Most of Kiyori's appearances include her eating something at least once.
Tomoe: "Torioi-kun, are you any good at cooking?" Kiyori: "I'm amazing!" Miyako: "...at eating, that is."
Biting the Handkerchief: Tomoe's older brother does this after she reminds him of her grandfather's promise that she can do whatever she wishes in high school.
Ushio does this earlier in a less pronounced manner, angry that her current crush, Lotte, is spending so much time with Sumika.
Blackmail: Played with twice, first in the form of An Offer She Can't Refuse by Miyako toward Sumika, then failed horribly when Manaka threatened to spread pictures of her brother in drag around unless Sumika went out with him (though she did go an a date with Akemiya out of pity).
Bland-Name Product: Masaki and Sumika visit a "Minna Aller's" (Anna Miller's) cafe on their chapter/episode 7 date.
One of the girls in the ski-trip Flashback is eating some "Pockin".
Blind Without 'Em: In the flashback, Sumika rescues Ushio from some guys harassing her but has to stop and put on her glasses before she recognizes her.
Book Ends: Sumika's little speech about first kisses, which Ushio repeats back to her just before their first without a mask between them.
Cassandra Truth: Played with in chapter 2, as Sumika initially doesn't believe Akemiya at first.
Cast Full of Gay: Of the 7 major characters, 3 are openly homosexual — Tomoe, Miyako, and Ushio — while Sumika is hiding from Ushio in an increasingly-Transparent Closet; Azusa is hung up on in the romantic potential of Girls Love; and Akemi is a boy attracted to girls, but he's a Wholesome Crossdresser who's attracted to masculine girls. Kiyori is the token straight — although her enthusiasm about finding cute girls for Ushio makes one wonder at times... Mayu ends up realizing she's gay as well when she falls for Sumika, and it's very apparent soon after that Mayu's best friend Koi feels the same way toward Mayu.
Childhood Friends: Latecomers Mayu and Koi, who are a year younger than the rest of the cast and have been friends since elementary school.
Cincinnatus: Tomoe was given absolute control over her family's corporation, made it profitable again, then calmly went back to school (and to Miyako).
Tomoe is still with Miyako (as if there was ever a doubt) and ended up doing for the European Union what she did for her family's company.
Aoi is finally attempting to break out of fan works and into her own writing career, while Kiyori is still involved with music.
Akemiya has a new modeling career in Europe, and he's able to be open about crossdressing for it.
Lotte has had quite the growth spurt, going from Token Mini-Moe to a head taller than Akemiya in a short time (as well as rather... generously endowed).
Koi and Mayu now seem to head up the girls' karate club at the high school and Koi seems to be rather successfully confessing to Mayu.
Sumika and Ushio are... just go read it. Not that it isn't revealed under other spoiler tags on this page anyway.
Dojikko: Ushio likes this kind of girls, and Sumika tries to become one for a while before giving up. Miyako is a straight (though not that kind of "straight") example, though she is slightly more manipulative than typical dojikkos.
Miyako's klutziness is lampshaded by Tomoe, who notes that she can't tell if one of Miyako's tumbles was on purpose or not.
Evolving Credits: The anime's ED sequence changes slightly every episode to include still shots of objects that were important during that episode, such as bento boxes or maid headbands.
Extreme Doormat: Akemiya, to the point that he gets bullied by his preteen sister.
Fan Dumbinvoked: Referenced in-story by Ushio as the reason why she wants the fact that her older brother is a yuri author to be kept secret from Azusa, who's a fan of his work but thinks he's a female author.
Ushio: You don't understand the way fans think, Sumi-chan! The pure passion of teenagers can turn into negative energy all too easily.
Gayngst: Averted at first. Sumika is quite prone to angst, but only over Ushio's obliviousness to her feelings, not over her sexuality in and of itself. Ushio, Tomoe, and Miyako are entirely comfortable with their sexuality.
As chapter 17 revealed, it was Sumika's silent support that allowed Ushio to be at peace with her sexuality in the first place.
And surprisingly the biggest source of gayngst turns out to be Ushio, once she realizes she has fallen in love with Sumika.
A brief bout of it with Mayu, who realizes she's fallen in love with Sumika. Koi helps assuage Mayu's fears by immediately accepting and supporting her.
Green-Eyed Epiphany: Koi realizes she is in love with Mayu after Mayu tells her she's in love with Sumika. Koi tells Mayu she fully supports her and its not tell she's walking home that she starts crying wondering why Mayu didn't love her. The last chapter extra hints that the two may get together.
Hero Secret Service: Sumika gets one when she becomes targeted by otaku, since her presence in a class is practically an Instant-Win Condition during their Atlethic Festival, which determines which class gets first pick for jobs for their next festival (the otakus' reasoning being that if they are able to incapacitate Sumika, their class will have to accept their proposition for a Maid Cafe). Tomoe too, and apparently they are students. And talk about Sumika as if she were the first line of defense.
Hypocritical Humor: Sumika's dad lecturing her on her use of their family's karate style kinda loses its impact when two of school's black belts picked a fight with some guys hitting on Ushio and got their ass kicked. She is, however, swift to point the hypocrisy.
Imagine Spot: Lampshaded in episode/chapter 5. Multiple times, Sumika drops into a momentary fantasy about Ushio, only for Miyako to interrupt with a comment along the lines of, "That's what you're thinking about, right?" Sumika yells at her to stop peeking into other people's fantasies.
Intertwined Fingers: Sumika and Ushio at the end of the first chapter. Unusually for this trope, they aren't a couple.
Also dramatically subverted in the three pages long "Useless Addition" at the end of chapter 24.
Just Friends: Ushio and Sumika, to the latter's deepest dismay.
Curiously, it's Ushio who often loudly tells herself that her feelings for Sumika are just that.
Kissing Cousins: In Chaper 12, we meet some of Sumika's relatives. It turns out both her young cousin Teru and his older sister Sayaka have one-sided crushes on Sumika. Or at least, Sayaka is visibly disappointed when Sumika says she didn't bring a bathing suit, on top of acting very dere-dere towards Sumika and asking if there is someone she likes. Teru supposedly promised to marry Sumika once he became taller than her.
Loving a Shadow: Implied to be what Azusa's obsession with Orino Masaka really is.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Akemiya and Sumika. Sumika isn't so much masculine as un-feminine, but Akemiya has got to be the planet's girliest owner of a Y chromosome. When he had to fill out his future aspirations form, he inadvertently wrote "bride". It don't get much pinker than that.
Missing Mom: Sumika's mom passed away when she was young, but she doesn't seem to mind the subject.
Moment Killer: Several characters at different times, but Ushio has a special talent for setting up and then painfully murdering intimate moments between her and Sumika. Perhaps intentionally. Ushio praises Sumika in a way that makes the latter sound like the perfect girlfriend for her, and just when Sumika is about to blurt out her feelings, Ushio strangles the moment magnificently with a well-placed "Friends are so important!" or "But you're not my type."
Obfuscating Shallowness: Ushio comes off initially as a flighty, shallow, and slightly twee young woman, given her obsession with all things cute and apparent ability to bounce back easily from any upset. Starting with chapter 20 and continuing into the extended flashback of 21-24, when the manga picks up her perspective, we're shown quite a lot of what's beneath that mask, and how and why she developed it in the first place.
Later, Sumika shows considerable obliviousness toward Ushio's feelings for her. Given the large number of times Ushio has done something that makes it seem like she's interested in Sumika and then explicitly told her she's not her type, you can't really blame Sumika for not trusting her intuition.
It's enough that Tomoe and Miyako give a synchronized *headground* on one occasion.
Sumika toward Mayu's feelings, even when Mayu outright says, "I like you!" Mayu as well to her best friend Koi, though Koi is much more able to keep things under wraps than any other member of the cast.
Omake: The "Useless Addition" page at the end of each chapter. Carried over into the anime as a short post-ED clip in each episode.
Promotion to Parent: Ushio's brother Norio. It turns out their parents passed away in a car accident. Ushio stayed with her grandmother for a while, but moved in with Norio when she transferred schools to flee her former best friend outing her after Ushio confessed, leaving her ostracized and bullied.
Sdrawkcab Alias: Ushio's brother gets the Japanese version of this for his pen name as a YuriLight Novel author, so Norio Kazama becomes Orino Masaka. Masaki Akemiya does something similar for his modeling identity, by switching his given/family name order and moving a syllable over to become Akemi Yamasaki.
It's hard to tell if Tomoe's older brother is more upset about Miyako being a girl or being the daughter of a servant.
Shaggy Dog Story: Chapter 25. Poor, poor Akemiya. He spends the entire chapter coming to terms with his crossdressing double life, but at the end, just as he proudly takes to the stage, someone trips and pulls down his clothes, exposing his true gender before the entire audience. And "Akemi" was never seen again...
Well, not quite never. The dresses get dragged out a couple more times, and then there's the Distant Finale...
Shipper on Deck: Tomoe and Azusa in chapter 20's useless addition, much to Miyako's consternation.
Shout-Out: Ushio's mask is Ultraman, and one of the little margin notes in chapter six specifies that the shout should be thought of in "Norio Wakamoto's" voice.
Sumika has some weak moments around Lotte, though.
Though it doesn't seem to be about her being attracted to Lotte so much as it's about Lotte being mind-bendingly adorable.
Sleep Cute: Sumika and Ushio get a textbook example of this scene.
Squee: Akemi does this in chapter 40 when asked to be Sumika's fake boyfriend.
Stepford Smiler: Ushio is a Type A example of this, though it's not made apparent until later on in the series.
Student Council President: Sumika ends up a candidate for the position and several chapters follow the campaign. The results of the election are thrown out after Mayu gets in a fight with a supporter of the other candidate over said supporter's use of gossip and rumors to try to ruin Sumika's reputation by association with the openly-gay Ushio. Doubt thrown on both candidates over being unable to manage their campaigns (and in Sumika's case, one of her own club members at that), neither are allowed to run again and Ushio ends up stepping forward... and winning by default because nobody else wants to run.
The Tease: In the manga, Ushio more and more behaves this way toward Sumika. Especially once she finds out Sumika loves her, then it's almost like she's trying to bait a confession out.
Teen Genius: Tomoe raised her family's corporation from ruins to success within two years when she was sixteen (that is also why she took that time off school). In return, she demanded three years of undisturbed High School life... which also included having a lesbian lover from a "servant" family, a point the very traditional Hachisuka family just can't get themselves over. Not that they can't do anything about it: she is just that brilliant and self-confident.
"Can whispered words10 more volumes cross the distance between them?" - Dynasty Scans, phrasing it best.
Uptown Girl: Tomoe's wealthy family objects not only to the fact she's dating a servant's child but also to the fact Tomoe and her loved one are both girls. However, they cannot do anything about it because of the reward Tomoe's grandfather gave as thanks for saving the family's finances.
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: A small one at the end that reveals a few things in flashes like Lottie becoming a tall beauty, Akemiya becoming a crossdressing model again, Tomoe continuing to save the financial world, and Koi and Mayu in what seems to be a confession.
Wholesome Crossdresser: Akemiya Masaki a.k.a. Akemi-chan. The situation isn't helped any by the fact that Ushio is strongly attracted to his female persona.
Leads to him garnering minor Woobie points when all the girls Kiyori point out as Ushio's type turn him down
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Sumika gives something like this when Ushio tries to lecture her about letting Lotte run in the rain, even though it was more likely she'd catch a cold.
"What the hell do you even know about Lotte?! She said she wants to be stronger. She said she wants to be just like me. She said she likes me just how I am! She said she loves how big and strong I am! And I... I... can't become any smaller or cuter!"
Done more traditionally when she starts to explain herself and Ushio while chasing Akemi-chan, and continues when she responds to the question of "Am I not good enough?" by asking "If I said yes, would you be able to give up?"
You Are Not Alone: Mild example in chapter 21, when Ushio tries to distance herself from Sumika for "causing her trouble", Sumika bluntly reminds her that they were friends now, so it was okay for Ushio to get mad, just like she got mad because her friend was being insulted. Cue blushing.
Also, the entire series is like this about the trials of being gay in Japan.
Yuri Fan: Ushio's brother, Norio, who writes yurinovels. Likewise, Azusa, who writes yuri doujinshi and attends yuri conventions, and is also a fan of Norio's novels. Norio's ex-girlfriend Kineta also reads his books, at first just because he wrote them.