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Manga / Ah... and Mm... Are All She Says

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Tanaka (left) and Toda (center)

Tanaka Katsumi is an editor at a hentai magazine, always looking for new talent. She gets a call from rookie artist Toda Seiko, and sees potential in her. However, Toda is not good at communicating verbally. Tanaka finds she's able to understand what Toda is saying, and offers to let her stay at her apartment. This "temporary" arrangement soon becomes permanent, as Toda grows in her journey as a mangaka.

Ah...and Mm...Are All She Says (あーとかうーしか言えない, Aa toka Uu Shika Ienai) is an ecchi slice of life comedy by Kondou Shouma. The series was serialized on the Ura Sunday website from January 17, 2019 to April 9, 2020.

Compare Bakuman。 for another look at the manga industry.

This manga provides examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: While at school, Toda's communication difficulties made her a social pariah, with her grunts becoming a laughingstock.
  • Always Someone Better: Norush constantly struggles with feeling inadequate compared to the other mangaka, especially the newcomer Toda. This is possibly due to the fact that he isn't really interested in hentai and mainly uses it as a springboard.
  • Ambiguously Lesbian: Neither Tanaka nor Toda ever show any attraction to men, and both are Yuri Fans. They live together for over a year, and on several occasions other people, including Tanaka's coworkers, think they're dating. In the final chapter, Toda gives Tanaka a goodbye kiss on the cheek, eliciting a Luminescent Blush from her.
  • Animal-Eared Headband: Tanaka and Toda wear these in chapter 8.
  • Animal Motifs: Toda is sometimes compared to a dog, and even drawn as one with a Furry Female Mane of her trademark dark hair. Several of the magazine staff agree with Tanaka's comparison.
  • Anime Chinese Girl: Tanaka cosplays as the Magical Girl character Chaoli Fan from the anime Luckysis. She has Odango Hair, wears a qipao, and is described as a "palm reader from Chinatown".
  • Art Evolution: An odd one. Every time Nishi appears, his head gets narrower.
  • Artifact Title: The only time Toda talks only in "Ah"s and "Mm"s is the phone call between her and Tanaka in the first chapter. Once Tanaka knows of the nature of her Speech Impediment, the cast is willing to give her extra time to get her thoughts in order, which means Toda doesn't speak as the title describes since the second chapter. "Ah" and "Mm" are just her go-to responses, especially when she's thinking.
  • Bait-and-Switch Accusation: In chapter 15, Tanaka tells Toda she's discovered a secret she'd been hiding. Toda mentally cycles through eating all the coffee jellies, spilling curry on Tanaka's shirt, buying Aitune purchases on Tanaka's account, and winning a huge plush shark that's due to arrive any day. She may actually convey all this in her "MM...", since Tanaka says it's nothing like that. The secret turns out to be Toda's family.
  • Bait-and-Switch Sentiment: Toda blushes and gets wide-eyed when Tanaka says "I like you," but then says that she feels the same about Yanagi and Norush, two other mangaka at the magazine. Tanaka probably didn't even realize the inadvertent meaning her words had.
  • Bespectacled Cutie: Toda's debut one-shot Ferris Wheel Reversal stars a glasses-wearing high-school girl. And despite the manga itself is quite polarizing among readers, even those who don't like it admit her glasses are quite cute.
    Anonymous Imageboard User: Yeah, the chick had nothing going for her except the glasses.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Tanaka reads the new issue of X+C magazine at "Star Fox Coffee".
    • Norush storyboards his next work at "Benny's".
    • Tanaka makes copies of the doujin at "Shinko's"
    • Oshigiri works in an advertising agency called Manpodo, based on Hakuhodo, Japan's second-largest.note 
    • Inukai gives Toda a Tacom tablet.
  • Clark Kenting: Tanaka name-drops this trope to describe Toda wearing glasses when they visit her hometown of Nagoya in the hope no one will recognize her. It doesn't work.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Tanaka is the only one who can interpret Toda's grunts as coherent speech, and often reminds her to eat or bathe.
  • Cosplay:
    • An unusual version; in chapter 3, Toda dresses up as her own work's heroine on her and Tanaka's "date" to an amusement park, so she can take reference photos. It's not immediately recognizable as cosplay (being normal high school girl clothes), except to Tanaka, who's read Toda's work already.
    • Later on, Oshigiri makes Toda and Tanaka costumes of Luckysis characters to promote their doujinshi at Comiket.
  • Cosplay Otaku Girl: Oshigiri, who creates costumes for Tanaka and Toda to wear at Comiket. She eventually opens a cosplaying circle.
  • Creator Recovery: In-Universe, and unusually, at the beginning of the work. Cityscape, the oneshot Toda pitches to Tanaka at the beginning of the series, is seen by Nishi as expressing Toda's own frustration and distrust of the society. Her subsequent works are more joyous in tone, reflecting the fact that Toda is, in fact, slowly recovering.
  • Death Glare: Toda is prone to this when told she has to make changes she doesn't like.
  • Determinator: Toda, who is determined enough to make eromanga that she dropped out of high school and left her family unannounced to move to Tokyo with little money.
  • Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: Rare In-Universe example. With her rather visible Speech Impediment, it's usually quite difficult for Toda to cosplay properly... it just happens that Luckysis has a character who has exactly the same speech patterns as her, so her cosplay at Comike went on relatively smoothly.
    Tsukinami Maria: [...] When receiving radio signals from space, "Mmgah..." is pretty much all she says, but with enough effort, she can form coherent sentences.
    Luckysis character bios from the second volume omake
  • Elective Mute: Overlapping with The Quiet One. Toda can speak, but is "slow at arranging her thoughts", so she mostly speaks in grunts.
  • Emotionless Girl: Tanaka used to be unable to smile, to the point that one of her friends made a bet with another that he could get her to laugh or cry before middle school graduation. He failed, though she does eventually become a much happier person.
  • Erotic Dream: Toda's one-shot Beautiful Think is mainly about an erotic dream from a girl who has frequent erotic fantasies.
  • Fan Convention: There's an arc focusing on Toda and several other mangaka creating a doujinshi compilation to sell at Comiket. She and Tanaka cosplay the characters to advertise their booth, and Toda also sells some of her own work.
  • Fandom VIP: In-Universe. A certain Mineta Hajime is famous in the eromanga industry for consistently writing fan mail for three decades and thus quite venerated by the editors. Especially, if he bothers to address to an author instead of the magazine, the author in question is very likely to become a legend in hentai—or whatever demographic they choose.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: In chapter 3, Toda and Tanaka go to an Amusement Park to take reference photos of the inside of the Ferris wheel car, where her characters have sex. Toda goes so far as to re-enact the scene with Tanaka, partially stripping and climbing on top of her for a photo.
  • Forgets to Eat: Toda becomes so absorbed in her work that she forgets to eat sometimes.
  • Friendless Background:
    • Toda didn't have many friends in high school, since her classmates all found her weird and unapproachable.
    • Tanaka is more well-adjusted, but flashbacks imply she had this experience too, owing to being self-conscious about growing up in a children's home, and the associated Perpetual Poverty.
  • Genre Mashup: Both Toda and Norush's entries in their showdown combine hentai with other genres, which helps them getting readers from people who don't read hentai.invoked
    • Toda's Ashen Oil is a Yuri Genre one-shot that's explicit enough for X+C, yet like most yuri works, it's full of emotional drama, and in Nishi's words, "[teases] out the subtleties of a relationship as if it were a full-feature film."
    • Norush's Beauty x Creature, sure, is a Naughty Tentacles one-shot featuring a high school girl and a Tentacled Terror. Yet this girl is an Action Girl with Super-Strength, and won the fight. It's fair to say it's, in its core, a Shōnen fighting story.
  • Get a Room!: This runs through the mind of one of the people watching Tanaka playfully run from Toda, who's trying to get her to delete a photo of her smiling.
  • Golden Snitch: In the polling between Norush and Toda's works, online votes only count as one point, while magazine surveys count as 100 (rewarding readers for actually buying the magazine). Despite Toda leading in magazine votes, which are usually in the lower hundreds, Norush beats her by more than 90,000 online points.
  • Gratuitous English: Toda's fifth one-shot on X+C is titled Beautiful Think.
  • The Grunting Orgasm: Tanaka advises Toda to focus more on the female character's face than the male's during a climax scene, since most of the magazine's readers are (presumably heterosexual) males.
  • Hair Antennae: Oshigiri has these. Norush describes her as a "mantis woman".
  • Holding Hands: Tanaka holds Toda's hand when they're on a rollercoaster both are afraid of, breaking Toda out of her flashback.
  • Hyperspace Mallet: When Oshigiri gropes her boobs from behind at Comiket, Toda whacks her on the head with a giant mallet saying "100 T" (presumably tonnes). Tanaka lampshades this, saying this and the resulting Cranial Eruption are a little dated. Shows up again in the final chapter when Oshigiri ogles one of Tanaka's bras and Tanaka hits her with the mallet.
  • Instant Book Deal: Toda gets her manuscript accepted by the magazine, and wins second place in the contest, all within the first day of her arrival in Tokyo (Tanaka got them to give her the prize money early since she was alone in the city with no savings).
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Toda's grunts are written as Aa and Uu in the Japanese title. These are also standard onomatopoeia for orgasmic moans, so the title, in isolation, sounds like it's about a person who moans all the time, something that works better in a hentai series. In fact, in Chapter 19, Rukai Yuuji, an eromanga artist who befriended Toda earlier that chapter, has to scrap plans for a series about a heroine who only says "Ah...", finding it hitting too close to home.
  • Karaoke Box: Toda Atsuko owns the only one in the neighborhood. However, since the clientele is mainly students, it's not particularly profitable. The Toda family also uses part of the structure as their home.
  • Kids Are Cruel: When they visit Nagoya Castle, Toda tells Tanaka about going there on an elementary school trip, where some kids started hitting her with wooden swords and saying she was a ninja who suffered Tongue Trauma. This doubles as Bullying the Disabled, as the kids' belief is based on Toda's Speech Impediment.
  • Kinky Role-Playing: Played with in chapter 3. Rookie hentai Sequential Artist Toda and her editor Tanaka go to an Amusement Park to take reference photos of the inside of the Ferris wheel car, where Toda's characters have sex. Toda goes so far as to re-enact the scene with Tanaka, partially stripping and climbing on top of her for a photo. It causes the workers to wonder if the two actually did have sex.
  • Mistaken for Romance:
    • Tanaka and Toda's trip to the Amusement Park in Chapter 3 is to perform research for Toda's manga. Many passers-by thought they are dating, to the point of wondering "Did They or Didn't They?" or asking them to "Get a Room!".
    • In Chapter 17, Toda mentions when she was in middle school, she often went to a store (implied to be the local branch of Mangadarake) to find works from her favourite authors. Since it happens a classmate of hers were often there as well, there started rumours that the two were dating.
    • When Tanaka and Toda move out and into separate apartments in the final chapter, Tanaka's coworkers assume they're breaking up, and she has to clarify that they were never in a relationship. It seems there was some attraction on Toda's end, since she gives Tanaka a goodbye kiss on the cheek.
  • Naughty Tentacles: Norush's manga "Beauty x Creature" features a high school girl and a Tentacled Terror.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-Universe. In Chapter 16, the publisher's executives discuss the potential fallout of allowing eromanga from the underaged Toda to be published in X+C for a whole year. The owner wants to keep the entire thing from the public eye as much as possible, but their head of sales opposes, suggesting they should capitalize on the publicity and publish Toda's first Tankoubon ASAP, especially when her works can potentially appeal beyond the average hentai reader.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Japanese publishers usually respect their authors' choice of Pen Names, such that they seldom refer to authors in their real names. As a result, as of Chapter 22, Norush was only referred to under his real name Nogami Ryoushi twice—once in the Boss Subtitles when he is first introduced, and the second time, on the envelope in which the publisher sends him a complimentary copy of X+C his work is published.
  • Open-Minded Parent:
    • Seiko's mother. Despite acting a bit Tsundere, she is actually supportive of Seiko's unannounced move to Tokyo to draw eromanga. She is the reason why it takes a whole year for Tanaka to find out Seiko's real age; she deliberately left Tanaka's calls unanswered.
    • In the last chapter, Ishino nervously shows his mom that his eromanga won a contest as a runner-up. She's completely accepting, though she mentions she won't read it when he's around for the sake of avoiding Parental Sexuality Squick.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The Twist Ending of Beautiful Think. After the protagonist wakes up from her Erotic Dream and dismisses it as All Just a Dream, she sees the same boy she had sex with in the same dream, on her way to school...
  • Origins Chapter: Chapters 19 to 21 is basically the story of why Seiko draws eromanga in the first place, especially given her age. Chapter 29 is one for Tanaka, as they visit her old children's home.
  • Overworked Sleep: Toda frequently falls asleep with her head on the desk, her manuscript pages all around her.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tanaka was abandoned by her mother "from the start," and spent her entire childhood in children's home. This background is why she gets into manga publishing, as well as why she takes Porn with Plot more seriously than her fellow editors—she treats the fictional world as a replacement of a family she never had, and because of this, sees character relationships more seriously than her colleagues.
  • Pen Name:
    • Norush's real name is Nogami Ryoushi.
    • Downplayed in Toda's case. She's published with her first name in katakana.
    • Mukai Ryuuji's pen name is Rukai Yuuji.
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: A rare example of female-on-female. Toda hits Oshigiri in the face for groping her breast.
  • Porn Creator Going Mainstream: Norush dreams of drawing Shōnen manga, but an editor friend advised him to start as an eromanga artist first. This gets deconstructed later on—Norush gets a job offer from a shōnen magazine, but that magazine's editor wants to capitalize on Norush's fame in Hentai and asks Norush to plan for an ero-comedynote , a genre that the latter dislikes even more than Hentai. This causes the negotiation to fall through, and Norush needs to rethink what he really wants to draw, so he'd still be drawing Hentai—for a different publication, that is.
  • Porn with Plot: Tanaka prefers publishing this to Porn Without Plot, though she understands the need for "utility" in her line of work. Most of Toda's work is this, as is Norush's after the competition starts.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title of X+C is based on a pun: the plus sign which is read as "tasu" in Japanese; which turns the title to "X tasu C," which sounds like "ecstasy."
  • The Quiet One: Toda overlaps this with Elective Mute; she can speak, but is "slow at arranging her thoughts", so she mostly speaks in grunts. Tanaka is the only one who can understand her.
  • The Reliable One: Yanagi is often this to Tanaka, as he always hands in his manuscripts on time, even in the times of the year (translate: Comike) when many hentai artists would rather cutting corners or write shorter stories owing to having to make doujinshi at the same time.
  • Really 17 Years Old: Toda claims she's 23. When Toda's sister Yuuko visits, Tanaka finds out that she's actually 17 and has been lying about her age the entire time.
  • The Rival: Norush, to the point that he and Toda have a competition to get the highest ratings for their stories.
  • Sexy Packaging: Inverted In-Universe. Nishi advises Norush to design clean covers for his eromanga tankoubon, to avoid the embarrassment when the buyers go to the cash register.
  • Sherlock Scan: When Tanaka only heard grunts coming from the other side of the phone call at the beginning of the series, she initially thought it is a prank call. However, background sounds of peddling souvenir stores make her realize that, it's a case of somebody taking the Bullet Train all the way to Tokyo just to pitch their manuscript, and gives out directions to the company and who to look for. Of course, the rest is history...
  • Shout-Out:
    • After staying up all night checking the manga polls, Tanaka's Exhausted Eye Bags make her look like The Joker. She's even holding a playing card with Toda and Norush on it.
    • In chapter 16, the movie theater Tanaka and Toda visit has a display resembling an Avengers poster, and the movie they see is clearly Joker.
    • On the train to Nagoya in chapter 17, Toda is watching Your Name on her phone.
    • In Chapter 21, Toda's friend Shuu is playing an Ace Attorney game.
    • A How to Train Your Dragon poster appears in Toda's room in Chapter 21.
  • Show Within a Show: Star Divine City Luck and Sister, the Magical Girl anime series that Norush has Toda watch and write a doujin for.
  • Significant Birth Date: Seiko, a hentai with plot author, was born on Valentine's day.
  • Slumber Party Ploy: When she was a kid, Seiko lied that she was going into the city with friends to cover her actually going to try and buy eromanga and track down a mangaka she'd met.
  • Speech Impediment: Toda is an unusual case, as her problem is the speed she processes language. It takes her a long time (at least two panels' of Visible Silence) to make up a sentence from content words, causing her to grunt during her rather lengthy word-finding before (if given the chance, which fortunately is the case in Present Day) she makes out a completely fluent sentence. The title of this word refers to this trait.
  • Squee: Tanaka's reaction to Toda's first yuri manga.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Seiko and her sister Yuuko look so much alike that Tanaka mistook Yuuko for Seiko when they first met.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • During the Comike arc, Norush thought he can finally "transition" from hentai to Shōnen as he originally wanted after securing offers from several shōnen magazines. The thing is, while editors in hentai frequently take a hands-off attitude as long as the product has enough "utility," readers tend to have more demands on shōnen works. This means as a rookie shōnen artist, he's practically under the thumb of his editor, as he realized first-hand in Chapter 11.
    • Producers of pornography are actually the most finicky about compliance, since they're prime targets for the Moral Guardians. This means after Toda is discovered to be a minor, she is immediately put on hiatus until she turns 18 after an extensive investigation (by Japanese standards) confirms her actual date of birth. In addition, top execs in Inukai Publishing scramble to contain potential PR damage from this.
  • Technicolor Eyes: The Toda sisters have black iris and white pupils.
  • Terse Talker: Toda is an Elective Mute that usually speaks in moans rather than complete sentences due to being "slow at arranging her thoughts." Despite this, Tanaka can fully comprehend all of Toda's odd vocalizations and is able to serve as a Translator Buddy for the rest of her colleagues.
  • Title Drop: The title is dropped in a flashback chapter, when one of Toda's schoolmates says, "Yep, 'Ah...' and 'Mm...' are all she ever says."
  • Translator Buddy: Since Tanaka is the only person who can understand what Toda means by her grunts, the former occasionally has to tell others what Toda actually means.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The main couple from Toda's one-shot Ashen Oil starts off like this, comprising the tomboyish Japanese Delinquent Sumiko, and the girly model student Kayu. Of course, since their relationship eventually becomes sexual (or else this won't be Hentai), they have "graduated" into Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple.
  • Too Much Information: Whenever someone tells an eromanga artist that they "used" their work.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • Tanaka refers to hentai's erogenous property as its "utility."
    • In chapter 4, Sasaki buys a copy of X+C...
      And then proceeds with his usual weapon maintenance.
      In other words, he jacks off.
      For further details, please consult your local firearms expert.
  • Visible Silence: Frequently used throughout the series to mark Toda's verbalization process.
  • When She Smiles: At the end of chapter 3, Toda finally smiles, and Tanaka is speechless. She immediately takes a photo for posterity.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The last chapter shows where everyone is — some are working at other magazines, others are still making content, and Toda's friends are in college. Each person is captioned with their name and occupation (except Oshigiri, whose occupation just says "Pervert"—her actual occupation is an artist at an advertising company).
  • Workout Fanservice: Yanagi, another author under Tanaka's supervision, specialized in fitness-themed hentai that's full of this.
  • Write What You Know: Zigzagged by Toda and also Discussed by Tanaka In-Universe. When Tanaka reviews Toda's storyboard in Chapter 12, Tanaka notes there's an important difference between this draft and her three published one-shots so far—all of her previous works contain a protagonist that's clearly Toda's own stand-in, and the storylines are based on how she feels at the moment (for details, see Creator Recovery, above). This draft, however, stars an Office Lady that has nothing in common with Toda, and yet still has a compelling plot.
  • Yuri Fan:
    • Tanaka says it's one of her favorite genres, but quickly clarifies that it doesn't mean she's lesbian or bisexual (she may be, since she never shows any interest in men).
    • Toda appears to prefer yuri (doing it for the contest even though it's a less popular genre), though she'll also draw straight material.
      Toda: I'll win with the power of yuri.