Manga: Subaru

Subaru is an 11-volume-long manga drawn and written by Soda Masahito and revolves around the titular character Miyamoto Subaru and her life of ballet dancing. Because her brother is bed-ridden in a hospital due to a brain tumor that will cause his memory to become impaired, Subaru begins to dance and act out everyday things for him, to remind him of what's going on outside of his little room.

One of her friends invites Subaru to join a free practice session of ballet and Subaru realizes that she has talent for it and begins to consider taking it. Years later, when Subaru becomes a teenager, she decides that this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life. She wants to become a professional ballerina.

She takes part in Prix de Lausanne, to gain a scholarship to a world famous ballet school. However, when an art director from a professional ballet troupe offers to hire her immediately instead of "wasting away in a mirror-walled dance school", Subaru decides to take this chance and leaves Japan for America. There, she realizes the hardship that being a professional ballet dancer can bring.

Subaru contains examples of:

  • Animal Motif: During the first half of the series, a black cat keeps appearing at vital moments, generally leading Subaru somewhere that turns out to be related to ballet. Once she leaves Japan for America, the black cat completely vanishes and no longer appears.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The dancing and turning and mimicking of everyday life that Subaru did for her brother turns out to have been a great beginning of teaching her how to move for dancing, especially ballet.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Subaru, who, at the age of 5 had her twin brother get hospitalized, spends every day for the next two years with him and dances for him to make sure he remembers things in hopes of helping him survive, then loses her brother at the age of 7. And life isn't all rainbows for her later on, either.
  • Deal with the Devil: Isuzu sends Subaru to learn ballet from Iwan Goriiki (nicknamed Wanja), not caring that he's using her as a strawman to get his actual student to practice properly and will most likely ruin Subaru by doing so.
    • Subaru herself says that, as long as she learns what she needs to to reach her goal as a professional ballerina, she'll follow anyone, even if it's the devil.
  • Determinator: Subaru. She is so focused and determined when it comes to ballet that she still takes part in Lausanne with a really high fever, making it difficult for her to even stand.
  • Eagleland: Volume 6 onwards, the series takes place in America. New York, to be exact.
  • Gratuitous English: One or two background conversations in New York are written in English, to show that despite the language in the bubbles, we are to expect them to be constantly talking English.
    • On one occassion, Windy flat out says "Fuck you" to Subaru in perfect English. Understandable, since she is American.
  • Gratuitous French: During the Lausanne arc, some French words sneak in. One girl flat out speaks perfect, polite french to Subaru.
  • Heroic BSOD: Subaru gets at least two in the series. The first during Kazuma's funeral when she learns that his final thoughts were about her and the second after learning that her teacher Isuzu had just died.
  • Identical Stranger: Kouhei, who looks like a grown up version of Kazuma.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Despite never being shown coughing, it's never really revealed what illness apparently ended up taking Isuzu's life, although at the hospital, "some disease of the internal organs" is mentioned which could mean a lot.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted with Kazuma dying at the age of seven.
  • It's All My Fault: Subaru blames herself, multiple times.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Subaru's twin brother Kazuma, who is suffering from a brain tumor. It doesn't end well.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: During a heated fight with her mother, Subaru yells that she "wishes Kazuma weren't there anymore" and, upon realizing he was awake when she said this, immediately has this reaction.
  • No Ending: The last few pages of the manga tell us that Subaru freely falls into the hands of the Immigration Department and is most likely being deported from America, but leaves out whatever may have happened with her later on.
  • Parental Abandonment: Subaru has a rather tense relationship with her parents, particularly her mother, after Kazuma's death. Mana feels this way towards her mother as a child, who she thinks gave more attention to her ballet students than her own daughter. Seems to have gotten better as she got older, though.
  • Say My Name: Subaru yells out " KAZUMAAAAA!!" after the funeral. Couples as a Skyward Scream.
  • Surprisingly Good English: In Volume 5, Subaru is revealed to be capable of speaking English, having learned it from the Americans that frequented Palais Ganier. Given how this is only a manga, we can't be sure.
    • Takako, who studied at the American Ballet School most likely speaks it, too, and Volume 10 states that Mana speaks fluent English.
  • The Mafia: The imprisoned Sparky is part of it.
  • The Rival: Mana sees herself as Subaru's only real rival, since she knows exactly what constitutes as Subaru's best. Mellows out into a friendship later on.
  • Time Skip: After Kazuma's funeral and Subaru meeting Hibino Isuzu for the first time, the manga skips ahead about 9 years.
  • Tournament Arc: Volume 4 and 5 are about participating in Prix de Lausanne.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: In Volume 9, the dates of Priscilla Roberts' performance set the series to take place in 201X.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Several minor characters describe Subaru as this, stumped that a 15 year old acted or was capable of expressing emotions in a way like she has lived for several decades.