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Manga / Adekan

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Adekan, by Tsukiji Nao, is a historical Shoujo manga set in the Meiji Era, featuring Yoshiwara Shiro, a sexy teen umbrella maker with a distinct hatred of underwear, and Yamada Kojiro, an uptight but kind-hearted police officer.

Kojiro makes it his life's goal to teach Shiro the concept of basic decency, and they become unlikely friends along the way. Nevertheless, hurdles arrive in the form of gruesome murders, abductions and other strange occurrences, and Kojiro and Shiro must solve each mystery and resolve their conundrums together.

Adekan is especially notable for its impossibly detailed art, as well as the sheer quantity of fetish-tastic Fanservice and innuendo. It's so blatant that the series could almost be considered BL, but it never really crosses the line and both main characters are canonically heterosexual.

The manga began serialization in Wings in 2007, and is still ongoing. A stage play series produced by CLIE has been active since 2016, with four installments as of 2019.

Adekan provides examples of:

  • Ambition Is Evil: Haruzumi's major goal is to usurp leadership from the Northern Troupe's current figurehead, and he'll let nothing stand in his way for that goal. Even letting his longtime friend and his whole family line be executed to cover for him.
  • Anachronism Stew: Even if the story's set in the Meiji era, a lot of contemporary Japanese items made their way into this time period. Sailor school uniforms, bunny outfits, references to manga from the far future, and especially certain 2000s clothing styles exist when they should have been made years later.
  • Anything That Moves: Anri, and he makes no secret of it. An extra chapter has him trying to seduce a panda.
  • Apparently Powerless Puppetmaster: Anri was a Type 2 before he was discovered as an inventor and moved up to middle class. The people that bought his services let a whole lot of their secrets slip around him, thinking him to be a harmless prostitute. They were in for a rude awakening when he graduated to Manipulative Bastard and started blackmailing them.
  • Author Appeal: you think Tsukiji Nao loves elaborate costumes, lean and feminine young men, Homoerotic Subtext, scenery porn, uniforms, men in lingerie and sexy costumes, and heaps of rococo-level detail?
  • Awesome, but Impractical: All of Shiro's creations; "umbrellas" plus accessories which are so flowery and wonderfully intricate... But no one in their right mind would be caught dead using them. Explains why business is so terrible most of the time.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Having been in the business for more than two decades, Saotome is scarily efficient at his job, though he comes off as a buffoon. During the Tree People arc, he was able to work out the culprit by running the statistics mentally and then setting up a simple trap to get the culprit to slip up.
  • Badass Abnormal: Anri and Shiro are these, especially Shiro.
  • Badass Normal: In contrast, Kojiro is this to all appearances.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Many of the nobles the heroes encounter over the course of their journey are stunningly beautiful, and two of the underlings of the Northern Troupe are among the rich as well.
  • Berserk Button:
    • God help you if you hurt Shiro's loved ones. He shows no mercy to the unlucky villains who do so.
    • Likewise, if Shiro's in danger under Anri's watch, don't expect to live very long or come out unscathed.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Shiro is, more often than not, a decent guy who's willing to help the helpless despite his awkwardness, but if you do anything to piss him off...
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • Anri is a shameless flirt and loves to tease his blood brother Shiro whenever he gets the chance to see him. He's also the leader of a notorious gang, manipulative, and downright scary in a fight.
    • Saotome may be an essentric old man, but his analytical skills are top notch, and his methods for exacting justice are thought out brilliantly and scarily.
  • Bishounen: Anri and Shiro, beautiful and effeminate.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Any number of the Killers of the Week; often it's the sweetest and friendliest person who's the murderer. Later in the manga, Sakura fits the male version of this trope to a T.
  • Blood Brothers: This series loves this trope. Kojiro has this with Saburouta, and Shiro has this with Anri.
  • Body Horror: The Nehates and their children the Halflings have to go through this. The Nehates get the worst of it, as they grow painful bulbous mounds all over their body, while the Halflings suffer from an ever growing amount of nerve-like protrusions covering their body, with only an opiate to stop it for a while. Shiro's case was so bad that he was bandaged from head to toe as a child.
  • Body Sushi: Was served to Shiro on a muscular drag queen's body, resulting in much foaming at the mouth.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Kojiro's naive friend Ippei, formerly a one-shot character, is slowly being turned into emotional mincemeat after being taken into the Organization's headquarters...
    • The "neko-onna" girl in the first volume comes do Shiro and Anri both.
    • Subverted with Kusuko. Despite being incredibly sheltered all her life and then subjected to horrifying, creepy experiences, once away from her slaver father and out in the real world, with Kojiro and Shiro's encouragement and the help of some kind nuns, she seems to be surprisingly okay.
  • Chick Magnet: Shiro and Anri, and sometimes Kojiro to an extent. The girls all swarm after them in droves. Even men are not immune.
  • Clark Kenting: Whenever he goes out and has to do something in general society, Anri dyes his hair black. His foreign blond hair sticks out too much to let him do otherwise.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: This applies to practically anyone who manages to live beyond childhood in 'The Group'. Especially the women though, who die from giving birth and are conditioned to see death by childbirth as something honourable.
    • Anri also shows signs of this, and never even implies that what happened to him during his childhood was wrong or traumatizing.
  • Crapsack World: Japan is a cesspool in this work. Despite some parts being beautiful and ornate, many of its citizens in the lower class are suffering in dirt-poor conditions, while the middle and upper classes have constant infighting and are willing to betray and kill each other over the slightest inconveniences or insecurities. The Organization is no better; many of its members are suffering major Body Horror because of their status as Halflings, resort to taking drugs to prolong their eventual deaths, and the leaders are ruthless and heartless.
  • Cute and Psycho: It's hard to predict what Anri will do when he appears, but the odds are usually good that there'll either be brutal, creative bloodshed, or Anri cozying up to Shiro and toying with the oblivious Kojiro for fun and profit.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Shiro and Anri have a long shared history, and not much of it was happy, judging by the flashbacks.
    • Even Kojiro doesn't seem to be exempt from this, for his memories have been wiped, and it seems that he's been involved with Anri and Shiro as children.
  • Death of a Child: All of the babies that the culprit had taken to care for were killed and buried by her with the exception of one.
  • Declaration of Protection: While not exactly declared out loud (he does think along those lines several times), Koujirou wishes for nothing more than to protect Shiro. Shiro, in his turn, is also quite protective of Koujirou, though he's less obvious about it until much later in the series.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Shiro is often mistaken for a woman, especially when decked out in full costume. Hell, even when he's mostly naked in a public swimming area he gets confused guys checking him out.
    • When they were little, both Shiro and Anri looked extraordinarily like beautiful girls. Made worse by their combat outfits.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Shiro and Anri are Dude Magnets to an almost incredible degree — even now as adults but especially when they were younger. Anri deliberately plays it up while Shiro is disgusted by it, though not above using it to his advantage if the situation dictates.
    • In one story, a man blatantly hits on Shiro, touching his face and comparing his eyes to ”dewdrops”. To be fair, Shiro was turning up the sex appeal in order to manipulate him. Turns out that the man intended to capture Shiro for his beauty, planning to sell his services in prostitution.
    • Saburouta's friend and co-worker Wakabayashi has admitted to "fucking Shiro at least fifty times" in his mind.
    • Anri is not shy about expressing his affection for Shiro, his "beloved sworn brother."
    • Even Kojiro is not exempt from this treatment. While he catches the eye of many girls for his manly physique, many of the men in the crossdressing district adore him for it.
  • Fanservice:
    • The Ho Yay is rampant, and there are plenty of half-naked men prancing about in suggestive positions. And that's nothing to the incredibly suggestive, elaborate, and fanservice-y Costume Porn and Cosplay that's rampant in every episode.
    • In-universe, Kojiro's muscles are this for a rather enormous number of people, including a one-shot character from the first volume who reappears specifically to ogle Kojiro while awkwardly trying to work out how to confess to him.
    • Anri deliberately makes himself into a Mr. Fanservice. From what we've seen, his reasons for doing this were less than family-friendly. Shiro falls under this umbrella as well, getting the majority of provocative scenes and positions in the manga.
  • Fetish: In "The Living Flower", Morizono turns out to have a fetish for caretaking, finding fulfillment and sexual satisfaction being the physical and emotional crutch for his lovers and devoting himself to them. Shiro's intervention makes Tsutae, Morizono's wife, realize this and intentionally falls off a cliff in order to hurt herself, all so she can make him happy in taking care of her.
  • Fountain of Youth: The Ha clan has a technique that allows the user to regress to a younger form for a small amount of time, at the cost of some physical exhaustion. Anri knows the technique, having been in the Organization for a while, and uses it to comfort Shiro while he's in surgery. It takes him a week to regenerate.
  • Game Face: Bishounen Shiro has one. Pray you never, ever see it.
  • Godiva Hair: When Kusuko beckons to her father and asks him to "learn with her", stark naked.
    • Anri's hair grows to this length after he de-ages himself. It doesn't last long since he deems it to be 'in the way' and chops it all off again.
  • Good is Not Nice: Saotome may be a senior police officer, but that doesn't mean he won't use any means necessary in order to exact justice, even if he almost commits treason for it.
  • Harmful to Minors: The Land of the Flesh is harmful to EVERYONE, but the children definitely get the short end of the stick.
  • Heir Club for Men: Gender Inverted for the Flower Mist Clan. Only the eldest daughter of the ruling family can inherit power, and it's for this reason that Makiyo was forced to crossdress as a girl for his entire childhood. When his younger sister was born, the charade had gone along for long enough that they'd suspect foul play if he was suddenly revealed as male, so Makiyo was forced to crossdress from then on and was effectively cut off from most activities, leading him to his hatred of women and violent retribution on innocent Tree Women.
  • Heroic BSoD: After burying Sae. Shiro doesn't fly into a rage, but his half-insane expression is far scarier.
  • Helicopter Parents: Kusuko's father would do anything for her. He would even lock her inside a box for the entirety of her life, just to shield her from outside influences. This backfires on him horrifically and he snaps.
  • Hidden Weapons: Shiro, Anri, and the other members of their gang have a collection of assorted weaponry strapped on their person.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: In "Tales from Other People", this is how Shiro sums up a previous encounter with that chapter's victim:
    Interviewer: Why can't you wait until they say "yes", huh? Why?
    Shiro: Well, duh. Because I'm horny.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: When Saotome requests that Makiyo turn herself in, he brings out a handful of ribbons that he claimed were found in her room. Makiyo explains that those ribbons couldn't have been in there since the names embroidered on the ends were wrong— something that Saotome never even mentioned, and was planning on her to point out.
  • I Just Want to Be You: All three women of the Mermaid arc were extremely jealous of one another for various reasons, but all three hid their true feelings. It's revealed later that they each planned on murdering their rival on the very same day.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: 20 years prior to the main story, Saotome was a beauty of a man compared to the wrinkled geezer he is now. He used to be so beautiful that he could convincingly crossdress for undercover missions.
  • Lovable Coward: Saburouta, although he does have his moments, especially when it's Kojiro in danger.
  • Mad Artist: One singer is a perfectly normal, if essentric, person until she gets the itch to compose. Then she's stumbling all over the place, disheveled, frothing at the mouth, and filled with brilliant ideas.
  • Madness Mantra: "Onna-neko... help me... onna-neko..."
  • Mistaken for Gay: One common gag is for someone to misinterpret the relationship between Kojiro and Shiro as romantic. Saburouta reluctantly congratulates Kojiro on "coming out" when he first stumbles onto them, and Saotome asks if Kojiro has become a man's "commuting wife" because he takes care of Shiro. In "Tales from Other People", a woman mistook him as a patron to Shiro, who was Mistaken for Prostitute.
  • Mystery of the Week: Or Villain/Problem Of The Chapter, as each chapter is a mini self-enclosed arc, with the main issue usually resolved before the chapter closes. Also means that there are quite a few One Shot Characters.
  • Nice Guy: Kojiro is the real deal. He's uniformly kind to and likes women (he tells an aging actress how beautiful she is, and comments on seeing a group of ladies of...varying looks that he finds all of them attractive in different ways), is a good and supportive brother to his dorky siblings, takes his job as a cop incredibly seriously, can't stand to see injustice done, and works hard to befriend Shiro and teach him the "proper" way to live. No wonder Shiro cares for him so much.
  • Nosebleed: Kojiro gets this in Chapter 31 while watching Shiro being suckered into feminine, sexy cosplays. He's mostly irritated that Shiro was naive enough to believe in Wakabayashi's scheme of getting him in them, but at the same time, it elicits a perverted reaction out of him.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In the very first chapter. Kojiro walks into Shiro's house to see a woman bending over him whilst he is stark naked. Turns out that she was just covering him up.
  • One-Man Army: Both Anri and Shiro fall under this since both are capable of defeating, or in Anri's case murdering, entire groups of people with little to no effort.
  • Only Sane Man: Anri's subordinate Shinzo, who is deeply faithful to him but immune to his over the top antics and come-ons. Kojiro can also be this for the good guys...unless cats are involved.
  • Pixellation: ”Accidents” happen, but we are spared a view of Shiro's crotch by a slapped-on "18+" and pile of pixels.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Kojiro to Shiro, though less and less as the manga progresses.
  • Running Gag:
    • Kojiro trying to wrestle Shiro into some damn underwear (and, half the time, trying to feed him at well).
    • Kojiro loves cats. Cats don't love Kojiro.
    • The coppersmith's young daughter makes a few reappearances in omake and later chapters. Each time, she wants to confess to Kojiro but winds up compromised by his muscles.
  • Scenery Porn: Tsukiji Nao, like Shiro, loves to add a ridiculous amount of detail to her work.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Shiro's method of umbrella-making, his unsuccessful attempts to sell his over-the-top creations, and how easily flattered he gets when Wakabayashi notes that he's put a tremendous amount of work into minute details that very few people will notice. Now look at the amount of elaborate work Tsukiji Nao puts into her art, backgrounds, and tiny details that very few people will notice...
    • At one point later in the manga, a famous novelist dismisses the work of a friend of his who wrote a story about a Hidden Elf Village Ancient Conspiracy, calling it ridiculous and unreadable. That ridiculous unreadable story is about the Ha Organization, the shadowy group that's been chasing Shiro and pulling the strings behind the scenes throughout the whole manga. Ouch.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Super-Deformed: Many chibis in the funny scenes.
  • Super Strength: The Southern Troupe leader seems to have this, as he took off the head of one of his blood brothers with just one hand without batting an eye.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Kojiro is very tall and slightly more rugged than many of the other handsome guys.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Happens all too often as the antagonists of each arc dramatically break down and confess their motives.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: Ippei was somewhat popular with the women in his village for his naivety and his gentle heart.
  • Would Hurt a Child: One woman would murder babies for money and love.
  • Yandere: Anri flip-flops between this and Cute and Psycho. Sakura, on the other hand, turns out to be a cut-glass example to his "big brother".
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Wakabayashi's older sister, who appears in a few of the side stories, is a full-blown Fujoshi. She once disguises herself as a fortune teller and recommends lotion sumo as a solution to the main characters' personal problems.
  • Younger Than They Look: The characters are drawn with very mature appearances and already have full-time jobs, making readers assume they're in their twenties. But most are still in their teens: Shiro is only 16, Kojiro is 17, Anri and Saburouta are 18.