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Manga / Aharen-san wa Hakarenai

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Matsuboshi Raido and Reina Aharen are first years in high school each dealing with their own image issues: Raido's stern face and calm demanour make it hard for people to interact with him, while Aharen's trouble with social distance make everyone uncomfortable around her. Yet perhaps, with these two sitting next to each other, they can create their own bond... if the chaos of high school life doesn't get in the way.

Aharen-san wa Hakarenai ("Aharen is Indecipherable" or "Aharen is Unfathomable") is a shounen comedy manga by Mizu Asato (Denki-gai no Honya-san) which was serialized in Shonen Jump + from 2017 to 2023 and compiled into 16 volumes. It received an anime adaptation by Felix Film for Chinese Streaming site Bilibili in the spring of 2022, licensed for English release at Crunchyroll.

Aharen-san contains examples of the following:

  • Art Shift: Happens fairly often in the manga, such as any time Raido gets a cold he turns into a shojo character, complete with a very expressive face.
  • Asleep in Class: Happens to Aharen after she woke up early to make Raido a bento. She ends up "looking alive" by falling asleep with her eyes wide open.
  • Badass Adorable: Oshiro, when she is not scared.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The penultimate chapter has it seem that Raido has passed away in the Time Skip when Aheren describes him as being among the stars to her grandchild. However, it's then revealed she meant it literally; Raido is currently on an expedition to Mars while working on his newest book and is planned to return by next year.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Nui, Aharen's dog. Big enough for Aharen to ride on and smart enough to bring her any forgotten items, no matter the distance.
  • Big Little Sister: Aharen's sister Eru is a fair bit bigger than her despite being the same age as Raido's sister. It's to the point where Aharen receives hand me up clothing from her little sister.
  • Birthday Buddies: Chapter 82 reveals that Raido and Aharen share the same birthday. They throw a dual surprise party.
    • Chapter 133 later reveals that both Eru and Raido's little sister also share the same birthday.
  • Book Ends: The final chapter is a retelling of the start of the first chapter from Aharen's perspective on what lead to her deciding to reach out to Raido.
  • The Comically Serious: Both Raido and Aharen operate like this, taking every inane or chaotic situation they come across with the utmost seriousness.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The song Aharen sings at karaoke in episode 1(albeit so quietly that the mic can't pick it up) turns out to be "AHAREN HEART", the ending theme exclusive to episode 3.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Aharen's brother, Ren, is about the same height as Aharen herself and wears his hair long the same as she does. As a result, it's very common for others to mistake Ren for his sister or vice-versa. Raido does this the first time he meets Ren, as do some elementary school kids Aharen befriended. It could almost be Half-Identical Twins, except he's 6 years younger.
  • Flashback: Overlapping with Flashback Effects. There is a reason why most of the manga's pages have black borders, as the final chapters reveal that the story is Aharen is reading to her grandchild her old exchange diary, making everything presented thus far a giant flashback.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The manga has black gutters, which usually signify a flashback in manga. Chapter 163 reveals that the entire comic has been a flashback. In 165, Raidou and Aharen's granddaughter finds Aharen's old diary, and Aharen reads it to her.
    • Chapter 164 reveals that Raidou has become a successful writer. The title of his latest, based-on-a-true-story work? It's the same as the manga we've been reading.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Happens to Raido and Aharen in chapter 130 after hitting their heads. They break out of it after smashing their heads into each other once more.
  • Genki Girl: Tamanaha, though her constant thoughts of self doubt sometimes make it difficult for her to be as genki as she'd like to be.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: During the chapter/episode where Raido's fly was down, he's wearing pink underwear with strawberry print.
  • Happily Married: Raido and Aharen as of Chapter 165.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Raido is almost twice as tall as Aharen-san. He can hold her in one arm easily.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Oshiro is noticeably taller than Raido, being around 6 feet tall.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All episode titles are in the form of a question ending with "ja ne."
  • Invisible Parents: The mothers of Aharen, Raido and Oshiro have all had screen time. Their fathers on the other hand have yet to be seen at all. The only father to be seen at all is Futaba's briefly during the festival chapter.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: A lighthearted example. When the class is told seats will be rearranged, Raido informs Aharen that it is good because she will now be able to see the board. He constantly tells himself it's for the best, making it clear he doesn't want to move, but he wants what is best for her. They end up in exactly the same spots.
  • Love Confession: Happens while the main group are on a camping trip, though the details are kept vague for a few chapters. Chapters 64 has them directly confess (and explain the details of the camping trip incident).
  • Mistaken for Dying: Chapter 33 revolves around Raido getting into palm reading. He believes Aharen's reading says she will die that day. He spends the chapter trying to protect her, only to get knocked out and sent home by Aharen. In the end he finds out every prediction he made was incorrect.
  • Mr. Imagination:
    • Raido imagines weird and outrageous scenarios when trying to figure out the situations he gets in before getting an explanation. Aharen flinging her hair around gets him the idea that she's into death metal.
    • Aharen, Tamanaha, Henzan and Raido's sister also seem to have some odd imaginations of their own.
    • Toubaru-sensei has her own unique (and insane) imagination (see Shipper on Deck below).
  • Mundane Made Awesome: When Raido's imagination isn't stressing him out it is basically doing this.
  • Musical Episode: Episode 4 has a segment where Aharen and Raido almost entirely communicate via battle rapping. Ironically, this is the closest to direct communication the two have up to that point.
  • New Transfer Student: Tamanaha.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Aharen is very clingy to people who are nice to her. She feels she may have alienated people as a result.
  • Odd Couple: Male with a permanent stern face and tiny female who speaks so quietly no one can hear her.
  • Official Couple: Raido and Aharen.
  • Older Than They Look: Aharen is a first-year high school student that looks like she should be in middle school.
  • Open-Fly Gag: One chapter has Raido's pants fly down and Aharen desperately trying to cover him after failing to properly tell him due to having a cold.
  • Passing Notes in Class: One of Raido's early attempts to communicate with Aharen. Proceeded to give up on it once he noticed how often Aharen was throwing pieces of paper at him.
  • Perpetual Expression: Both Raido and Aharen always have the same, slightly dull, expression no matter what they are doing.
    • As time goes on, Aharen does end up showing more facial expressions (though her resting face remains the same). Raido on the other hand basically never changes. He does finally crack (as close to) a smile as he can in Chapter 98.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A huge part of the humor and the reason for the situations they get into is the fact that they don't just talk normally.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime rearranges a good portion of chapters, along with adding small pieces of context to connect events from otherwise unrelated chapters. Some notable changes include introducing Toubaru-sensei earlier than in the manga, along with connecting the events of chapter 28 (studying for midterms) and 29.5 (cleaning duty).
  • The Quiet One: Aharen can speak, but her voice is so soft that it's sometimes hard to tell what she's saying.
  • Reunion Vow: Tamanaha gives one to Ren after they spend the day together in chapter 150.
  • School Festival: A rather emotional one.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Toubaru-sensei is a very strange example of this. She nosebleeds/vomits blood and becomes weak when seeing Raido and Aharen doing their normal (albeit strange) activities, which causes her to imagine their interactions in the most classical literature sense possible. This causes students to believe she is sickly (since she seems to pass out due to blood loss fairly often during class).
    • Ishikawa and Satou also fall under this when it comes to Raido and Aharen. Both were hiding in the bushes when they confessed to one another.
    • Ren ships them too, mainly due to Raido being a big brother figure to him. Eru to a lesser extent because Raido makes Rena happy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Raido imagines Oshiro giving Aharen different hairstyles from other anime characters, including Sazae-san, Yugi Moto, Josuke Higashikata, Kenpachi Zaraki, Shinobu Kochō, and Kinnikuman.
    • Later, when describing Aharen as an expert chef, it's a copy of Iron Chef Ken Kenichi.
    • Raidou also imagines Aharen wearing the white dress garb of Saori Kido / Athena from Saint Seiya, including her scepter and belt.
    • Aharen riding off onto the sunset on her dog is a copy of a similar scene with Chiyo-chan and Mr. Tadakichi in Azumanga Daioh.
    • Episode 9 has Raidou seeing Eru for the first time. The very large knife she’s holding has him imagine her in The Bride’s yellow jumpsuit from Kill Bill (but with a plotline reminiscent of Looper, for some reason).
    • Episode 11 has Aharen dressed like Arale from Dr. Slump.
    • The English dub of episode 1 has Raido say to Aharen at one point "Ground control to Aharen."
    • A pretty esoteric one. When Aharen and Raido play a Mons game together, Aharen's strategy is to use a very weak Mon with an item that makes it tank an One-Hit KO, followed by a move that leaves the opponent with the same 1 hit point. In the next turn, she uses a priority attack and kills Raido's much stronger Mon with that attack. In Pokémon competitive plays, that is called a FEAR strategy (standing for 'Focus Sash, Endeavor, Quick Attack, Rattata): a player uses a weak Rattata equipped with Focus Sash, which allows it to survive one-hit kills (which at its low level is any move), uses Endeavor to being the enemy's health down to its, and finally kills the enemy with priority move Quick Attack.
  • Sleep Cute: Aharen and Raido do this on the train home from the theme park in chapter 98. Oshiro gladly lets them rest.
  • Special Edition Title: Episode 3 replaces the normal ending with "AHAREN HEART", complete with the dance Aharen and Raido filmed during the episode. It is as cute as it sounds.
  • Stalker without a Crush: Oshiro claims to be following Aharen (and Raido) around to make sure that Aharen is safe, although her demeanor towards Aharen makes her behavior look like the opposite trope.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Aharen and her two siblings all look very similar (to the point where people often confuse them for each other when they first meet).
  • Super Drowning Skills: Aharen can't swim, so Raido decides to teach her. He then quickly realizes he can't swim either. Oshiro ends up teaching them both.
  • Training Montage: The manga does these basically whenever someone is learning a new skill.
  • Untranslated Title: The anime's title wasn't translated at all when licensed in English by Crunchyroll.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Aharen's brother, Ren, likes putting on dresses and other clothes typically classified as feminine, which is one of the reasons he frequently gets mistaken for his sister.
  • You Are Not Alone: Raido reminds Aharen of this after she fell asleep on the bus and missed her stop.

Alternative Title(s): Aharen San Wa Hakarenai