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 TV series.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:
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.
Do Wrong, Right - Sumire decides to use the hot springs with the other girls , despite the problems that would raise. Akebi is angry with the Old Man...not because he's a man in a hot spring with naked high school girls, but because he's wearing clothes at a hot spring.
Expy - The wrestling team's Ando the Giant. The girls wonder if he really is a high schooler.
Nearly everyone in 16-sai has an expy in 17-sai. Justified since the Old Man repeatedly goes to high school with a different generation each time.
"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.
Karma Houdini - Ageha doesn't really change her ways (despite being saved by Sumire twice in situations where her vamp-like tendencies land her in serious trouble) and yet, got a reasonably happy ending.
Laser-Guided Karma - Takao chides Sakura for going out of his way to get himself involved in other people's business, such as molestation and bullying, and thinks he's better than Sakura because he doesn't bother himself with that. Afterwards he gets beaten up by a thug, with tons of people passing by and watching, but nobody doing anything. It's especially driven home when he looks out to crowd to help only for him to see other Takaos walking around.
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.
Some of Akebi's lines are chock full of disturbing implications that nobody (except Mizuki) seems to realize.
Stupid Sexy Sumire - Throughout both series, Sumire has her fair share of admirers. More than one of them are fully aware that she's a puppet controlled by an old man. One of them likes her because she's a puppet controlled by an old man.
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!!. Hilariously, Renge and Akebi go from balking at the obvious Fridge Horror that the Old Man has been doing this for six years, to eagerly anticipating the third flashback.