A recent manga by Nagayoshi Takeru that takes quite a different spin on the usual high school comedy manga. Originally published as Sumire 17 sai!!
, an 18 chapter series running in Weekly Shonen Magazine
in 2006, it gathered enough popularity to be expanded into a 52 chapter comic in Magazine Special
under the new name Sumire 16 sai!!
. The new series ran between 2006 and 2008, and was adapted into a 12-episode live-action J Drama
Ordinary schoolgirl Renge Ohyama is on her way to the first day of high school when her bike breaks down. A mysterious schoolgirl named Sumire Yotsuya offers to help her... but is she really just a schoolgirl? Who is the weird old man using ventriloquism and controlling the puppet? Wait, Sumire is a life-size puppet!?Sumire 16 sai!!
follows the the Sumire-led four man band through three years of high school, including culture festivals, exams, holidays, typhoons, elections, delinquents, yakuza and even more insane meetings and events.
The main characters are as follows:
Don't let the creepy old man scare you away from this buried treasure!
This series provides examples of:
- All of the Other Reindeer - Renge was bullied in middle school.
- Alpha Bitch - Ageha Kuroki.
- Attempted Rape - Happens to both Renge and Ageha. Luckily, Sumire and Sakura, respectively, intervene.
- Beach Episode
- Blithe Spirit - Sumire (especially in the Sumire 17 chapters). The fact that the cheerful schoolgirl who inspires everyone to become better people is not even a real person is part of the Mind Screw.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome - Subaru Tamiya just disappeared after chapter 13 and was never heard from again. He comes back during the epilogue, where it is revealed that he's been working as an theater actor.
- Combat Pragmatist - Raised by the Yakuza, Akebi has no qualms with striking beneath the belt, or putting brass knuckles in her boxing gloves.
- Delinquent - Ryuuji Sakura, a tough-acting puppet manned by an extremely meek girl.
- Demon Head - Akebi brings out her "Yakuza face" sometimes.
- Distant Finale/Fast Forward To Reunion: The entirety of the final chapter of 16-sai is devoted to the actual reunion of Renge's class, with her catching up on what Akebi and Mizuki (and everyone else) had been doing since then:
- Renge is working as a designer at a toy company. She designed the same talking phone strap that Mizuki and Akebi coincidentally also use.
- Mizuki apparently is working for a law firm, and is on the way to becoming a lawyer herself, with a focus on divorce cases, particularly those where there's a child involved.
- Akebi manages a chic clothes boutique in the city. Oh, and she's apparently engaged to Hiiragi Kazuma, who survived his operation and has returned to Japan.
- We finally get an answer to what happened to Subaru Tamiya: apparently he's been working as a stage actor since he suddenly disappeared.
- Suzuki became a member for Japan's Olympic swim team (!!), though he only got as far as the preliminaries during the actual Olympics.
- Lex returned to England, and became the apprentice of a famous ventriloquist.
- And while Ageha herself couldn't make it to the reunion, we see a big billboard for the movie she's starring in as the three friends barhop across the city.
- And as for Sumire? The old man and Sumire are seen walking to school with the three girls introduced in Sumire 17-sai.
- Dojikko - Renge gets classified as one by the Otakus at the Maid Cafe.
- Expy - The wrestling team's Ando the Giant. The girls wonder if he really is a high schooler.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip - Sumire and Sakura accidently switch puppet masters during a thunderstorm. The Old Man takes the opportunity to run with this trope. The Mysterious Woman controlling Sakura is not amused.
- Funny Foreigner - Lex Begonia, the English teacher, whose knowledge of Japan could not match reality any less.
- Genki Girl - Sumire, Akebi as well.
- Hilarity Ensues
- Hollywood Pudgy - Renge worries about being too fat sometimes. Nothing the readers will notice.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation - Mizuki Tsukamoto, before Sumire and the others befriend her.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Ryuuji Sakura.
- Les Yay - Ageha's adoration of the woman controlling Sakura.
- Love Dodecahedron
- Mad Mathematician - The math teacher, Reiko Yamabuki, is a mild version.
- Mafia Princess - Akebi Kiryuu
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl - Played with in Sumire. She acts like one, and would probably qualify if she wasn't a doll!
- Manipulative Bitch - Ageha Kuroki
- Manly Tears: Shed obviously by the Old Man, when Renge, Mizuki, and Akebi finally meet him again, after six years.
- Misaimed Fandom - In-universe example. The otaku-crowd that started frequenting the Maid Cafe after they saw maid-Sumire and her puppet-master.
- Mind Screw - What is that old man anyway? How many "iterations" has Sumire gone through?
- Moe - The Otakus mistake Renge's and Mizuki's behavior at the Maid Cafe for some advanced knowledge about moe types.
- No Name Given - Everybody just calls the old man "Sumire", likewise for Sakura's puppet master.
- Oblivious to Love - Mizuki and Shirakaba: "Why is it that when I'm around him I feel so at ease?". This despite vehemently denouncing having any relationships when asked by Sumire a few pages before.
- Ojou - Ringo "Are you trying to oppose me!?" Hime.
- Prequel: Guess which series is to which? If you guessed that 16-sai is the prequel to 17-sai, then you guessed right.
- The Rival - Ryuuji Sakura.
- Selective Obliviousness - Teachers and adults in general (save for the occassional odd one) seem to purposely ignore the fact that Sumire is not a real girl. We do not learn the reason for this until the very last chapter.
- Shrinking Violet - Renge Ohyama
- Stealth Sequel: Despite being published first, Sumire 17-sai is revealed to be set six years after Sumire 16-sai in the epilogue to the latter.
- Stoic Spectacles - Mizuki Tsukamoto.
- Teacher/Student Romance - Part of the Love Dodecahedron, from Sakura, a doll, to the math-teacher.
- Tsundere - Mizuki gets classified as one by the Otakus at the Maid Cafe.
- Unusual Euphemism - Akebi mentioning Renge's two greatest "talents".
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight - Averted for most of the cast, except those the principal has spoken to... who somehow are forced to accept Sumire as a normal high school girl.
- The Vamp - Ageha Kuroki, kind of. She just wants to control all the guys because it's what she does.
- Verbal Tic - Sumire tends to add "Super" to sentences even when it's not appropriate.
- Whole Episode Flashback - Taken to a whole new level: Three of the chapters are dedicated to Sumire's musing about her earlier childhood. These chapters are named, quite aptly, Sumire 10 Sai!!.
- The Woobie - Renge. She has always been alone, was bullied throughout middle school and probably would have been through high school too if not for Sumire. She has serious self-confidence problems and used to play board games by herself. Don't you just want to hug her?