"'Love'... what kind of feeling is it? It makes your chest tighten, it tears at your heart, it makes you want to cry for no reason, and your chest hurts like something's been stabbed into it... but it's not a bad feeling at all."
is a shoujo manga by Io Sakisaka and ran in the magazine Bessatsu Margaret
from 2007 to 2010. Credited for boosting Sakisaka's fame
, it was compiled in ten volumes. Throughout its run, it was met with widespread success, spawning a voice-over comic, two drama CDs, and four Light Novel
adaptations. In 2014, a Live-Action Adaptation
was announced (probably to cash in on Sakisaka's fame with her successor, Ao Haru Ride
) and is set to release in March 2015.
Ninako Kinoshita is a naive high school student
who doesn't really know what love is
. Her friends convince her that she must be in love with her childhood friend Daiki Korenaga, who has always held feelings for her. But Ninako gradually realizes what love is through her growing feelings for Ren Ichinose, the school's enigmatic heartthrob. More conflict arises when Ninako learns that Ren... has a girlfriend,
Mayuka Korenaga - a famous model and Daiki's estranged older sister. Not only that, but Takumi Andou, Ren's middle school friend, develops feelings for Ninako too. For a girl who once didn't know what love was, what is Ninako to do?
Has a Character Sheet
- A Day in the Limelight: Mayuka, Andou, Yuu, and Manabu each receive their own side stories in the printed volumes of the manga.
- Accidental Hand Hold: When Ren takes away a glass that Ninako is holding, their hands bump and they nearly drop the glass. Ren and Ninako hold on it together to keep it from falling.
- Accidental Kiss: Ren gives one to Ninako on the forehead after rescuing her from an oncoming ball flying in their direction.
- Betty and Veronica: Daiki is the Betty and Ren is the Veronica to Ninako's Archie. Come the middle of the series, the roles switch to Ren being the Betty and Andou being the Veronica.
- Big Man on Campus: Ren is the most popular boy in school.
- Bookends: The quote about what love is appears in the beginning chapters. It ends with a similar quote.
- Chick Magnet: Ren is the object of many a girl's affections.
- Cool Big Sis: Mayuka tries to act like one, but Daiki turns out to be more mature than she is.
- Defrosting Ice King: Ren comes off as stand-offish, but he's really shy, and he begins to smile more around Ninako.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Daiki and Andou for Ninako, who is a gender-flipped version for Ren.
- Five-Man Band: Ninako and her friends are banded in a group of five, which consists of...
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Mayuka breaks up with Ren because she knows that she is holding Ren back from accepting his feelings for Ninako. Next, Yuu gets Sayuri to make up with Daiki since he realizes that she's already moved on from him and he has no chance with her again. After, Mao tries to get Andou and Ninako together despite that she likes him. Finally, the cincher: Andou encourages Ninako to go after Ren.
- Lame Pun Reaction: In vol. 7, Ninako makes an Incredibly Lame Pun to a harmless-looking chihuahua. Making bad puns happens to be the chihuahua's Berserk Button, and poor Ninako ends up getting chased by him.
- Love Triangle: The series starts off with Daiki liking Ninako, and Ninako liking Ren while simultaneously maintaining the Ninako-Ren-Mayuka triangle. After volume 2, Andou takes Daiki's spot, and by volume 5, the Ninako-Ren-Mayuka triangle is broken when Ren and Mayuka break up. The remainder of the series focuses on the Andou-Ninako-Ren triangle.
- Love Dodecahedron: Sayuri and Mao are in love with Daiki and Andou respectively, who are in love with Ninako, who is in love with Ren, who is dating Mayuka but is slowly developing feelings for Ninako that he is initially in denial of.
- Maybe Ever After: It's really ambiguous as to whether Andou and Mao get together in the end, especially since it's not mentioned in the epilogue. The same thing applies to Manabu and Ritsuko.
- One Degree of Separation: Ninako and Daiki were friends since childhood (although Ninako has never met Mayuka before, as his parents had been divorced by then). Ren and Andou were classmates and friends in middle school. Tsukasa and Manabu were classmates in middle school. Yuu went to the same supplementary courses as Sayuri and also dated her in middle school.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: There's never an instance where Noriko is not called "Non-chan." Similarly, everyone never refers to Yuu by his full name, Yuutarou, but as simply "Yuu" or "Tera." To a lesser extent, Manabu is also known by the nickname "Ga-chan" (since "Gaku" is an alternate pronunciation to "Manabu") but his family, Ren, and Yuu still refer to him by his real name. The English version by Viz Media does away with the nicknames and Last Name Basis, so this trope is nearly nonexistent in tne English translation.
- Pair the Spares: Daiki, following Ninako's rejection, eventually starts dating and falls in love with Ninako's friend, Sayuri, becoming the Beta Couple in the series.
- Sacred First Kiss: Ninako runs into problems with this in the post-finale chapter, as Andou had stolen her first kiss.
- Second Love: Sayuri for Daiki, and Ninako for both Ren and Andou.
- Shout-Out: Andou sings "Chocolate Disco" in one chapter.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Daiki and Mayuka.
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Ninako is in love with Ren, the most popular boy in school.
- Slice of Life
- Solomon Divorce: Daiki lives with his dad and Mayuka with her mom after their parents divorced.
- Those Two Guys: It's easy to recognize Manabu and Yuu as two guys Ren is always seen with. Fortunately, their Character Development circa volume 3 makes them more prominent and distinguishable.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Ren, Andou, and Ninako.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Daiki for Ninako.
- Unwanted Harem: Ren rejects all of the love confessions he recieves from the girls at school because he has a girlfriend.
- We Used to Be Friends: Ren and Andou usually don't consider each other as friends unless they're in a good mood.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Ninako, never having experienced love before, is confused when her friends convince her that she is in love with her childhood friend Daiki. She agrees only because she thinks she developed feelings for Daiki. She gradually learns of what love really is through her growing feelings for Ren.
- When He Smiles: Ren rarely smiles to the point that when he actually does, everyone stops dead in their tracks.