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Manga / Ai Kora

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Hachibei Maeda is a guy with very, very particular tastes in women. In fact, he isn't so much into girls as he is into his ideal attributes: big, crystal blue eyes; perky breasts "like bullet trains"; a husky, womanly voice; long, lean, streamlined legs; etc.

The good news is, he's been accepted at a prestigious high school in Tokyo, and he's sure he'll find at least one of his "beloved parts" in the big city.

The bad news is, when he gets there, he finds the boys' dormitory has been burned down, and he can't afford an apartment.

The other good news is, he's offered a place to stay... in the girls' dorm... with four beautiful women, each of whom has one of the attributes he's looking for in a girl (Fiery Redhead Sakurako and her eyes, shy and bespectacled Yukari and her breasts, twenty-something teacher Tsubame and her legs, and sarcastic ninja-girl Kirino and her voice).

The other bad news, he almost immediately gets off on the wrong foot with them, and now they all think he's crazy, a pervert, or both. Okay, so he is, but that's beside the point...

Thus begins Ai Kora: Love & Collage, an endearingly warped and ecchi take on harem comedies and every fetish you can possibly imagine, from Inoue Kazurou. As Maeda quests (with limited success) to win over the girls, he finds himself learning more about them (and himself) as he learns to appreciate them for more than their parts. The manga ran in Shonen Sunday from 2005 to 2008.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: While there's many times Hachibei is an actual pervert, on a few occasions he only seems to be doing something perverted.
  • Almost Kiss: The series has a few close-call kisses, including one between Yukari and Hachibei in chapter 77.
  • Art Shift: During a street race in chapter 54, Tsubame-sensei suddenly shifts her face into the style of Initial D.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Mess with the girls in Maeda's harem at your own risk.
    • Don't insult the Ninja Way around Kirino.
  • Betty and Veronica: Yukari is Betty and Ayame is Veronica. Sakurako is actually in the best position but since she's not vocal about it, most of the bickering over Maeda is between the former two. See Third-Option Love Interest, though Sakurako is actually the first option in just about every other regard.
  • Black Comedy Rape: In chapter 51, Ayame tries to rape Hachibei while making the other girls watch!
  • Book Ends: The guy who tried to burn down the girl's dorm in the first chapter shows up in the last chapter, once again takes Sakurako hostage, and once again gets his butt kicked by Maeda.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Sakurako's mother is an Englishwoman. This is also the explanation behind her cat-like blue eyes : she inherited them from her mom.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Yukari has a sizable chest, which Hachibei considers "ideal breasts", a trait that is revealed to be hereditary because her older sisters all similarly buxom.
  • Chickification: Neatly averted by Kirino. After starting her idol career, Hachibei saves her from a Loony Fan, but she reminds him (with a vivid demonstration) that she doesn't really need his help.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Maeda is more than a little obsessed with "parts love", but will fight to help out those who have his ideal parts.
  • Closet Geek: Yukari secretly loves cosplay, gaming and yaoi manga.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Maeda and Sakurako first meet when he crashes into her on her bicycle. Maeda doesn't notice Sakurako has his ideal eyes because the hat she's wearing obscures her face.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Maeda is a lazy, weak, uninspired idiot, but given the right motivation (such as protecting someone's fetish) he is basically an unstoppable force of nature.
  • Cult: In chapters 104 and 105 Haiji gets involved with the Church of Bluish-Purple, a society of people obsessed with "bloomers" style gym shorts.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: One chapter introduces a mysterious ghostly maiden who happens to have Maeda's ideal back. She ven gets a Toplessness from the Back scene.
  • D-Cup Distress: An early chapter revolves around Yukari growing tired of people pointing out her breasts and trying to wear a "breast-reduction bra" that's really just a regular bra sold by an unscrupulous salesman. Hachibei is more interested in Yukari's breasts for their shape rather than their size, but when he finds out what happened he talks Yukari into accepting her body (and secretly takes the time to inflict some righteous retribution on the salesman who preyed on her insecurities).
  • Didn't Think This Through: It's not a good idea to come right out and say that you like a girl solely for her body parts to her face, especially after she confessed to you. Shrinking Violet Yukari is rightfully insulted, and monumentally furious at Maeda. Other events play out against expected tropes as well.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Maeda's biggest weakness.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Sakurako gets these in a manga chapter where she tries to give up her thrifty ways. Since Maeda's so fixated on her eyes, he's one of the first to notice them.
  • Expy:
    • Two characters are clearly inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion: Sensei Tsubame has purple hair, drinks heavily, and is a car nut/crazy driver — Misato. Sakurako has orange hair with red ribbons, blue eyes, and a fiery temper — Asuka Langley Sohryu.
    • This manga is very similar to Love Hina in terms of characters: Sakurako = Naru, Yukari = Shinobu, Kirino = Motoko, and Tsubame = Mitsune; however Hachibei is less like Keitaro, and more like Ataru Moroboshi.
    • Many of the characters look like the characters from the artist's previous series Midori Days.
  • Fan Disservice: Among other things, naked Aburazaka (from behind, thankfully) and an old man wearing pantyhose.
  • Fanservice: And lots of it! And almost always spoofed.
  • Fetishes: Made into a plot device with Maeda's "parts love"; There's a lot of "fetish of the week" chapters too.
  • First Kiss: During the chapter of the same name.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The girls of the dorm:
    • Happy-go-lucky Tsubame is sanguine
    • Serious and snarky Kirino is choleric
    • Hard-working but moody Sakurako is melancholy
    • Quiet and shy Yukari is phlegmatic
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Yukari delivers one to Maeda, and tells him to fight for Sakurako, after he slips into despair when it looks like he's lost her to her old boyfriend.
  • Girls with Guns: A chapter taking place at the school Christmas party features a paintball match; Ayame pulls out a paintball machine gun at one point.
  • Harem Nanny: Tsubame — from the girls' perspective, that is. They don't know that Hachibei, who's all about parts rather than romance, ranks her equally with the rest of them.
  • Heavy Voice: Lampshaded by Hachibei in chapter 88, when Kirino's voice is distorted by her sudden weight gain.
  • Hidden Depths: We eventually find the girls aren't your typical collection of harem comedy stereotypes.
  • Homage: There's a two-part storyline that serves as a parody of The Kindaichi Case Files, complete with panels introducing the suspects and a mystery involving apparently supernatural causes.
  • Hot-Blooded: Maeda tends to get really fired up when a girl with his "ideal parts" gets involved.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter is numbered as "Parts #".
  • The Idiot from Osaka: Tsubame Ameyagi-sensei, the drunken idiot.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: If a girl doesn't have one of Hachibei's ideal parts, no mater how hard she tries it won't get his interest.
  • Instant Cosplay Surprise:
    • In chapter 15, Sakurako seems surprised to find herself dragged into a maid outfit as part of a contest.
    • In chapter 77, Yukari ends up in a costume that's half School Swimsuit, half Playboy Bunny while trying to disguise her identity as the mysterious ace gamer "Fantasma".
  • Intentional Weight Gain: In chapter 88, Gokou Ooba, a chubby-chasing rich boy who fell for the fattened-up version of Ayame, slips a "bountiful body drug" into the dorm's water supply to fatten up girls in Hachibei's dorm. The chapter ends with each member of Gokou's Maid Corps realizing this and taking a dose of the drug, confessing their collective love for him, and inflicting severe bruises on their beloved master when the plumped-up maids all try to hug him at once. All girls (except Ayame) return back to normal thanks to the antidote.
    Maeda: Liking fat can be a problem...
  • Leg Focus: To Maeda, Tsubame-sensei's ideal feature is her legs.
  • Little Miss Badass: Kirino is the Heir to the Dojo of her Ninja clan and really, really good at it.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Kirino is the shortest girl in the dorm, and also the most sarcastic and cynical.
  • Locked in a Room: Maeda gets stuck in an elevator with Sakurako in one chapter.
  • Loveable Sex Maniac: Maeda's "parts love" frequently gets the best of him, but he's ultimately a good person.
  • Love Freak: Haiji Kikuno, self-proclaimed "Ally of Love".
  • Matchmaker Crush: Ayame falls in love with Haiji after he tries to get her and Maeda together. Not much has changed, since Status Quo is God.
  • Moment Killer: Probably not the best of ideas to confess just before the police storm the building to "rescue" you.
  • Ninja: Kirino is a highly-trained martial artist, and not afraid to unleash her skills on Maeda when he steps out of line.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Shibusawa's senior, Aburazaka, is accurately described as "manga-faced" at one point.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Any attempt by Maeda to deny that he's a pervert will inevitably be followed by him getting distracted by one of his "ideal parts".
  • Not Himself: In one chapter, a love potion gone awry causes Loveable Sex Maniac Hachibei to become shy and prudish.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Though it just as frequently is.
  • Ojou: Ayame is the richest girl at Maeda and the girls' school, and quite used to getting her own way.
  • Porn Stash: In the form of clandestine photos of his favourite parts. NOT used for comedy.
  • Put on a Bus: Kirino leaves the dormitory for a new school when her career picks up. The Bus Came Back not too long after that, though. Or you could say she's Back for the Finale.
  • Reset Button: A number of chapters end with Maeda making progress in his relationships with the girls, only to undo it all, or at best most of it, by saying or doing something stupid and/or perverted.
  • Running Gag: A number of these, including Ayame distracting Maeda with a belly dance, and Maeda's ability to judge whether a girl has one of his favorite parts in half a second.
  • Sadist Teacher: Sajima, the guy who came to stop Hachibei and his parts fetish.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Tsubame seems to have figured out Hachibei's attraction to her legs, and uses it to get free massages. Ayame also starts to frequently exploit Hachibei's fetish for her waist.
  • Sensei-chan: Tsubame-sensei. Though partially subverted because she doesn't mind being single and doesn't want to get married.
  • Serious Business: Much of the series comes from Maeda (and other characters) taking their fetishes and "parts love" way too seriously.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Maeda's thing for perfectly straight legs apparently came from watching an anime called Sunny the Witch as a kid.
    • Hachibei's own Ideon gauge lights up after hearing a Double Entendre from Kirino in chapter 13.
    • An omake strip gives us a parody of a certain space pirate.
    • Chapter 27 has a picture of Yukari and her doujinshi circle dressed up as Millia, Bridget, May and Baiken from Guilty Gear.
    • In chapter 48, Maeda tails Shibusawa in Nakano Broadway... er, Sideway.
    • In Chapter 53, we see one girl dressed as Flonne.
    • An obvious reference to Initial D occurs during Tsubame's racing scene in chapter 54, when she suddenly displays a hilariously out-of-place realistic face.
    • One chapter has the boys of the school declaring their non-romantic "love" for various things and hobbies, which may remind one of a famous Discovery Channel ad campaign.
    • During the ghost girl's second appearance in chapter 91, Shibusawa is shown trying to exorcise her using what looks like Wolfwood's cross-gun.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Hachibei is only interested in girls (and the occasional guy) who have what he considers "ideal parts".
  • Snap Back: Whatever chaos Maeda and friends end up in at the end of the chapter, things are mostly back to normal by the start of the next chapter.
  • Status Quo Is God: The girls eventually warm up to Maeda, but given that he never seems to learn his lesson, it's a very slow "two steps forward, one step back" process.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Haiji, a bisexual Love Freak who, as luck would have it, has what Hachibei considers an ideal butt.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Happens to Ayame chapter 59 when stress from a scandal at her father's company causes her to over-eat, and to Hachibei when he tries to intercept her food in an effort to prevent her getting any fatter. It later happens to Yukari, Sakurako, and Kirino in chapter 88 thanks to a meddling Chubby Chaser doctoring the dorm's water supply.
  • Third-Option Love Interest: While Yukari and Ayame spend most of their time pursuing Hachibei, he ends up falling for Sakurako.
  • Through His Stomach: A chapter taking place on Valetine's Day sees the girls in Hachibei's harem plying him with chocolates.
  • Tsundere: Sakurako and Kirino. Spoofed/lampshaded with Asagiri from the maid cafe in chapter 15.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Maeda gains superhuman abilities if 'his' parts are threatened (or if he's promised a feel). He once defeated a gang of Japanese Delinquents because they damaged the breasts on a statue.
  • Unwanted Harem: Inverted: Maeda definitely wants these girls, if only because each has one of the parts he's looking for, it's the girls who don't want him. Until recently. And only in some cases. And then there's Ayame, who's just nuts, but lately seems to have developed feelings for Haiji.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Sakurako has big, beautiful eyes that Maeda considers idea.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Maeda apparently has never been in love before he starts developing feelings for Sakurako; he even says these exact lines. He does seem to have huge sexual lust for the girls though, which, according to him, is completely different from romantic love.