Natsuo Ishidou is so amazingly awesome it's a burden. She can beat anyone in any sport, effortlessly, but in doing so drives everyone away, and so she is desperately lonely.
Actually she's just a sadistic bitch
of a high-school girl. When she finally meets someone, Yuzuko Mawatari, who's much better at her in a sport she can't effortlessly excel at, Mixed Martial Arts
who is happy and well-balanced, she makes it her mission in life to run Yuzuko into the ground.
A Seinen manga
series written by Oota Moare, serialized in a small magazine Good! Afternoon.
Although it's been running since 2008, at the time of writing, late 2011, there have been only 14 ~40 page chapters (and it's a regular feature in the magazine), due being a trimonthly publication
. It has a lot in common with Airmaster
, which also features a tall schoolgirl who excels at sports as the main character and largely avoids fanservice, although Maki
is much less a sadistic bitch and more a Shrinking Violet
. Also, Teppu
is very realistic, while Airmaster
Teppu can be best thought of as an inverted Shounen
manga. Natsuo, instead of being a happy and well-balanced young male, is an easily irritated and arrogant young female. Instead of starting off relatively weak and working her way up, Natsuo is already one of the best; Yuzuko is her first real challenge in ages. Instead of losing her first fight and learning some lesson about hard work, she wins it handily, through a cheap tactic. Really, Natsuo acts as an antagonist
to Yuzuko, having all the characteristics The Rival
would have in a regular Shounen work. The best part is that this is all lampshaded by various characters, often Natsuo, who sees the whole situation as irritating, though also accepts being a Villain Protagonist
Besides Natsuo and Yuzuko, there's also: Sanae Sawamura, Natsuo's old rival; Ringi Cordeiro, Yuzuko's exchange sister from Brazil; Kotani Karin, Natsuo's super-butch MMA instructor; Kirido Haruka, a student at Karin's dojo; Mario Cordeiro, Ringi's father; and Risuke Takenaka, Karin's old mentor, plus a handful of other minor characters.
This series provides examples of:
- Abusive Brother: The explanation for why Natsuo acts the way she does. May have something to do with how she, the younger sister, saved her brother from bullying in middle school. Might have also turned him into a shut-in. All we know that she's terrified of him.
- The Ace: Yuzuko and Ringi. Natsuo qualifies for most of the sports she tries but not MMA, to her relief.
- Action Girl: Most characters. Natsuo, Yuzuko, Sanae, Ringi, Karin, and Haruka all qualify. It's a mostly realistic manga about women in MMA, what do you expect? In fact, there are pretty much only two named male fighters, Mario and Risuke. Both are, story-wise, defined in terms of the female characters, and in Risuke's first appearance he gets beat by Ringi in a staged fight.
- A Lesson In Defeat: Natuso invokes this on herself. Her second meeting with Yuzuko has her challenging her to a spar knowing full well she's going to lose to try and understand her growing interest in MMA. Haruka also notes in training that Natsuo frequently allows herself to be taken by attacks to learn how to deal with them and she was more excited at the prospect of losing her first tournament than winning.
- Ambiguously Gay: Mai.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: To an extent, Natsuo, who after realizing she can't just bull through MMA like with everything else, spends the time to carefully examine the holds and locks, often deliberately allowing herself to be caught by the opponent.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Yuzuko's most notable feature, besides her (short) height.
- Bland-Name Product: Googlu
- Blood Knight: Natsuo, full stop. She's only ever happy when challenged in some sport. Too bad she's too good at them all.
- She softly smiles with a luminescent blush... at the thought of fighting in the G-Girl tournament.
- She gets depressed after her first MMA bout win against someone with years on her in experience... Because, as the underdog, she was hoping she'd get trounced by someone genuinely stronger than her.
- Invincible Hero: Natsuo has lost twice, both times against Yuzuko, and fully expected to the second time, though she didn't anticipate how badly she was going to get beaten. Her first "real" fight was won easily, and she kicks everyone's ass at anything that isn't MMA. All of this greatly disappoints her.
- Captain Ersatz: Shinobu Kannagi is pretty blatantly based off of female judoka and pro wrestler Shinobu Kandori.
- Cat Fight: Averted. MMA involves a lot of grappling and holds, and the style remains semi-realistic (this sometimes leads to complaints about feeling detached).
- Cat Girl: Fellow Takenaka Gym member Manami Hiki is about as close to one as you can get in a fairly realistic manga. All she's really missing are ears and a tail.
- In a Bonus Chapter after Chapter 26, Manami actually does sport some cat ears, as a punishment when she, Natsuo, and Haruka lose a game of dodgeball, but she doesn't seem to mind at all.
- Curbstomp Battle: Natsuo vs. Hisako Sogabe in the first round of the G-Girl tournament. A good chunk of the chapter is spent talking up Hisako's strength, stamina, and the fact that she's a very dangerous opponent. Natsuo knees her in the face and wins the fight within seconds of the match starting.
- Curbstomp Battles seem to be the name of the game with G-Girl. Sanae and a new character, Park Doona, win their first fights incredibly easily as well. In-universe the number of quick knock outs is treated as incredibly surprising.
- Freudian Excuse: As mentioned above, it's heavily implied that Natsuo's cold, violent behavior is at least partially due to abuse from her brother and the bullying she was subjected to as a child.
- Genki Girl: Yuzuko. It's part of why Natsuo dislikes her so much. Also Ringi.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Averting this trope is the foundation of the story: Natsuo has the ability to excel at any of the sports offered by her high school without even trying. MMA is the first sport she's encountered she actually has to work at, and despite having The Gift she's still a small fry with lots of hard work and disappointment ahead of her if she wants to excel at it. And she loves it.
- Yuzuko averts this as well, being the classical underdog who started out with little talent but working herself to the bone to get good at MMA — and it has worked out for her just fine so far.
- Huge Schoolgirl: Natsuo, at 6'. She secretly longs to be shorter, as shown in a dream sequence in chapter 27.
- Haruka Kirido as well who's only a few centimeters shorter than Natsuo.
- Jerk Ass: Natsuo is very up front about it, too. Oh, and also Karin, Natsuo's teacher, though it manifests somewhat differently.
- And Mario Cordeiro, though it's uncertain how much of it is putting on a show to promote interest in women's MMA, and how much of it is genuine contempt towards Risuke Takenaka.
- Given how he brought over a fighter from America solely to act as a sparring partner/punching bag for Yuzuko and Ringi without telling her that's why he brought her over... yeah Mario's kind of a jerk.
- Lampshade Hanging: Natsuo occasionally references standard manga tropes and how she's avoiding them.
- Martial Arts Do Not Work That Way: Averted big-time. In terms of the niche, one of the most realistic ones around.
- Morality Pet: To an extent, Kei for Natsuo, who appears to be Natsuo's only friend.
- No Periods, Period: Nope: Karin advises Natsuo and the other girls in her gym to rest during their period.
- Perpetual Frowner: Natsuo's default expression is a frown. Smiles are reserved for insults or anticipation of a challenge.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: It's heavily implied that Sanae's friend Mai is in love with her. At one point Mr. Kanno flat out says this is the case, causing Mai to blush and claim that it's not what it looks like.
- Slasher Smile: A really good one develops at the end of chapter 3, when Natsuo resolves to beat Yuzuko down with "all of her effort." Not to mention her glee at the end of chapter 10.
- Training from Hell: Punishing (yet realistic!) levels of physical training are what make Yuzuko and Ringi such good fighters, and Natsuo, while considered by many to be pretty strong, is told point-blank by Karin that she'll need to go through a lot more conditioning if she ever intends to seriously participate in MMA.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Natsuo has a great deal of natural athletic talent, but when facing fighters on a significantly higher level like Yuzuko she comes up short due to her lack of formal training and conditioning.
- Villain Protagonist: As said before, in a normal Shounen manga, Natsuo would be the antagonist for Yuzuko.