What do you get when you swap the traditional roles of a Magical Girlfriend series? A Magical Boyfriend series, of course! Absolute Boyfriend, or Zettai Kareshi, is a piece-of-fluff series by Yuu Watase (of Fushigi Yuugi fame) in which the lead girl — Riiko Izawa — gets her very own handsome dream guy... whom she orders over the Internet!
Riiko is a fairly average girl, a sort of female Unlucky Everydude (Everydame?). She has had all of her professions of love rejected, and is completely oblivious to the fact that she is loved by the boy next door, who always teases her. One day, after lamenting yet another rejection, she finds a cellphone which she returns to its owner, who is a salesman and offers to sell her all sorts of things. When he asks her what she really wants, she tells him all she wants is a boyfriend.
So the salesman gives Riiko a Web address for site from which she can order a free trial of a "figure" which she assumes to be some sort of sex doll. She goes ahead and orders one, but when it shows up, it is freakishly realistic and good looking... and naked. When she kisses it, it awakens and is clearly besotted with her. She's freaked out about this at first (it, or he, thinks she wants to have sex with him... but fully respects it when she says "no"), but soon realizes he is the perfect guy. She names him Night, because he's part of the Nightly Series of figures.
He's only a free trial though, and she was supposed to give him back after three days; however, time runs out, and she is told she owes Night's creators $1,000,000! Luckily for her, she is able to persuade the salesman she met in the first place to let her repay them by teaching Night "everything about girls" instead (he's a prototype) and by forking over what money she does have. Thus, Night joins Riiko's class as Night Tenjou, and Absolute Boyfriend begins!
Yes it isn't exactly deep, but as Yuu Watase said, it was never meant to be.
Though there is no anime for the series, it has been adapted into an 11-episode Japanese tv drama and 1 special movie, as well as a Taiwanese drama. Rumor has it a Korean adaptation is in the works.
This show provides examples of:
- A-Cup Angst: Riiko complains much about her flat chest in the beginning, which is, she's convinced, why boys aren't interested. Of course, she's oblivious to how Soushi feels, and it's later revealed that Mika was sabotaging all of Riiko's previous confessions from behind the scenes.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the Japanese TV adaptation, Mika eventually has a Heel Realization and mends her friendship with Riiko. It helps that Riiko never realizes the full extent of what Mika did to her and thus is merely confused, rather than upset, after her true colors are revealed.
- Adaptation Personality Change: Soushi and his brother's personalities are reversed in the Japanese TV series, with Soushi as the careless and playful one, and his brother as the serious and responsible one. To help highlight their change, Soushi is now light-haired, while his brother is black-haired (and bespectacled).
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the Japanese TV adaptation, Riiko and Soushi are not childhood friends, instead being coworkers who meet at an important excursion. This conveniently removes the original manga's Willing Suspension of Disbelief of Riiko being totally oblivious to Soushi's advances until his confession, since in the adaptation, both of them fall in love at roughly the same time.
- Age Lift: In both live-action TV adaptations, the setting was changed from high school to office, and the cast was upgraded from being teenagers to young adults. In the case of Miyabe, her counterpart went further and became a middle-aged woman.
- Anatomically Impossible Sex: Parodied. When Gaku Namikiri says Night can "fire off" thirty rounds in one night, an arrow points to the speech bubble and says "death to mortals."
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Soushi, after learning the truth about Night, gives one to Riiko.
- Bishounen: Night. Lampshaded when he cross dresses to get work at a bar and the manager gushes about how convincing he looks.
- Betty and Veronica: An unusual example in that although Soushi is Riiko's childhood friend, he is undoubtedly more standoffish and a Tsundere than Night, who is the sweet and reliable love interest. Plus, Night has blond hair, while Soushi has black hair. In the end, although Riiko chooses Night, the latter's death implies that Soushi is going to be the winner at the end.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mika.
- Bittersweet Ending: Night dies, but not before he and Riiko finally consummate their love. A few months later, Soushi also returns and it is implied that he is going to end up with Riiko after all.
- Boy In A Box: Night.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: One chapter in the manga begins with Soushi cooking dinner, then completely sidelines him to focus on Night and Riiko's developing relationship. At the end of the chapter Soushi angrily looks up demands "Am I going to do anything in this chapter besides COOK?!"
- Cat Girl: Riiko has to dress as one for a job.
- Celebrity Paradox: Played for Laughs. In one of the earlier episodes of the Taiwanese series, Xiaofei dreams of becoming as gorgeous as Korean actress Ku Hye-sun. Said Ku Hye-sun is the actress playing Xiaofei.
- Childhood Friend Romance: The boy next door, Soushi.
- Clark Kenting: For whatever reason, Riiko does not recognize Soushi when he isn't wearing glasses and has to be pointed out. Yes, the same Soushi with whom she is best friends since childhood.
- Death by Sex: After Riiko and Night have sex, Night starts to get tired fast and constantly sleeps. Gaku mentions once to Riiko that she was making him do more than he was programmed to do, so sex on top of his experience as a boyfriend before that moment probably made him wear out faster than usual.
- Death of the Hypotenuse: Night dies and Riiko is implied to end up together with Soushi.
- Distant Finale: The last half of the final chapter is set several months after Night's death. The TV special of the Japanese adaptation, which serves as the true finale, is set a few years after Riiko and Soushi's transfer to France to begin internship as pastry chefs.
- False Friend: Mika.
- First Guy Wins: Soushi is the first guy introduced with feelings for Riiko. It ends up being a subversion when Riiko chooses Night, but then when Night 'dies', Soushi comes back into the picture and will most likely end up with Riiko after all.
- Foreign Remake: In Taiwan!
- Freudian Excuse: In the original manga and the Japanese adaptation, Mika sabotaging Riiko's chance to have a boyfriend is mostly driven by petty jealousy. The Taiwanese adaptation gives a stronger reason: in the past, Xiaofei once inadvertently humiliated Meijia in the workplace, which costed her a promotion.
- Gender Flip: Get used to it.
- Genki Girl: Riiko: she has a lot of energy, and often uses it up on big reactions. Soushi even says that one of her most endearing traits is her cheerfulness.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: When Riiko meets Soushi without his glasses she doesn't recognize him, but proceeds to think "Who's the hunk?" He only wears contacts when working however.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Gaku, and also Night when his speech functions malfunction.
- Hadaka Apron: Night once.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Night enters school and is introduced as Night Tenjou, Riiko thinks what an imaginative name the Kronos Heaven company came up with (Ten being written with the kanji for heaven). This coming from Riiko who called him Night because he's part of the nightly series.
- The Idiot from Osaka: Osaka-ben speaking Gaku Namikiri, who achieves a hat trick of Osaka associations: business (he's a salesman), comic relief (many, many times) and octopus (he's heir to his family's takoyaki stand). However, it's worth noting that Yuu Watase herself is from Osaka, so it also works as an Affectionate Parody of the stereotypes.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: At one point, Riiko agrees with Soushi that maybe she never really wanted a boyfriend, just someone to be there for her when she felt lonely since her parents are barely ever at home.
- Improbable Age: It appears that the younger the Kronos Heaven employee is, the higher up in the hierarchy he is, cultimating in the company head being an infant.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Or rather guy, read the description for Naked People Are Funny...
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In the 2009 special movie, the reactivated Night and the Jun Nanase robot both pull this. The Nanase robot lets his own main chip burn out over his creator's (who built him to replace her dead boyfriend) protests, because he realizes that an unchanging robot could never truly make her happy. When Night sees this, he realizes that the other robot is right and asks Namikiri to scrap him.
- Just a Machine: At the end of the movie, Night invokes this to help Riiko let him go. When she asks him if he's only saying "I love you" because it's his programming, he says yes.
- Kansai Regional Accent: Spunky salesman Gaku Namikiri.
- Magical Girlfriend: Inverted, with Night as the Magical Boyfriend.
- Mood Whiplash: For what started out as a romantic comedy, it sure has a Downer Ending.
- Naked on Arrival: Night is delivered au naturel. Also a Naked First Impression.
- Naked People Are Funny: Night, being a robot, is oblivious to societal taboos about nudity. Hilarity Ensues.
- Never Given a Name: Night initially didn't have a name, because he's a synthetic "human". So Riiko called him Night, by shortening the "Nightly series" printed on his box.
- Oblivious to Love: Riiko to Soushi's.
- Overprotective Dad: Riiko's father.
- Parental Abandonment: Riiko's parents are gone most of the time, leaving her alone and in Soushi's care.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The Japanese adaptation considerably tones down the more unrealistic aspects of the original, although it no doubt still has its own wackiness. Notably, it shows what would happen if someone/thing like Night exists in real life: a total annoyance who hinders Riiko's life more than he helps her. At times, Riiko actually feels relieved whenever Night is away. In fact, a plot point is that Riiko realizes how important Night is to her only near the end, just when he is about to shut down, and overall isn't very affected by his death. Compare the manga, where Riiko nearly becomes an Empty Shell after Night shuts down.
- Redubbing: All of Xiaofei's lines in the Taiwanese series were redubbed by a Chinese voice actress. This is because Ku Hye-sun mimed all her lines, as she doesn't speak Mandarin.
- Replacement Goldfish: In the special movie, the scientist responsible for finding a way to repair Night's main chip built a robot in the likeness of her dead boyfriend Nanase. Near the end, the robot tells her that he could never replace Nanase because, as a robot, he cannot raise a family, grow old, or change alongside her. He allows his own main chip to burn out because he knows he could never give her true happiness.
- Sacred First Kiss: Riiko laments that this will be her first kiss, and that the man in question isn't even human.
- Shipper on Deck: Riiko's father and Soushi's little brother want Riiko to be with Soushi.
- Ship Tease: A significant basis for the plot; at various points, both Riiko/Night and Riiko/Soushi seem equally plausible. Watase herself had trouble deciding which one Riiko would end up with.
- Single-Stroke Battle: Parodied with Night facing off against Kronos Heaven's strongest fighters... and defeating them all without breaking a sweat.
- The Snark Knight: Miyabe.
- Title Drop: Part of the Bittersweet Ending mentioned above.
- Transgender: Gaku pretends to be one in order to get into a host club Night is working at along with Riiko.
- True Love's Kiss: Surprisingly, and painfully, averted with Night's death. Riiko attempts to reactivate him with kisses several times before realizing that he's not going to wake up.
- Unlucky Everydude: Gender-flipped with Riiko.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Riiko eventually grows to see Night as a human, or at least equilavent. But Kronos Heaven Company does not.