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Manga / Aiura

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From left to right: Kanaka Amaya, Saki Iwasaki, and Ayuko Uehara

Aiura is a Japanese yonkoma manga series by Chama, which ran from 2011 to 2014. It was first published on the Niconico Seiga image sharing website in a subsection that hosted user-submitted and officially-serialized manga, and later in the magazine 4-Koma Nano Ace. An anime television series consisting of twelve five-minute episodes premiered on TV Tokyo in April 2013.

It follows the lives of high school students Kanaka Amaya, Saki Iwasawa, and Ayuko Uehara, three "annoying, spirited high school girls with zero motivation," and the lives of those around them. Because of its short length, the show bypasses many of the trappings associated with Slice of Life comedy, and maintains episodic consistency by focusing on only one or two incidents in each episode.

Those living in the US can watch this anime legally at Crunchyroll.

Aiura provides examples of:

  • The Ace:
    • Saki is excellent at all competitive activities, to the point where she has to actively fend off scouts attempting to recruit her for sports teams and clubs. She also has a dedicated fan club.
    • Manaka and Hinako both seem to naturally excel at anything they try, even if it's the first time.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Yamashita, the three main girls' homeroom teacher. She outright states that she has no interest in her students' educational progress and often blows off her curriculum out of boredom (or a desire to stay out of the weather). She is also frequently late to class and has had to face Matsuno more than once when arriving on campus. Possibly a foreshadowing of what will ultimately become of the main girls' laziness.
  • Attention Whore: Kanaka. Whether this is deliberate or mostly a result of her unfocused nature is anybody's guess.
  • Beach Episode: An interesting example in that it is also the final episode.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Repeatedly ringing Saki's doorbell.
    • Misuzu reacts rather strongly when asked how one goes about marrying into money. One gets the impression she tried to do something similar before becoming a teacher.
  • Book Ends: In the final episode, the girls spend the beginning of summer together doing what Ayuko had done alone at the end of summer.
  • Butt-Monkey: Souta, who Kanaka and Ayuko trick into losing a game of "Jango" and buying them snacks.
  • Comic Trio: The three girls. Ayuko is the leader, Kanaka is the fool, and Saki is the only sane woman.
  • Cool Teacher: Matsuno, who challenges tardy students to a game of rock-paper-scissors, but lets them win.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: The three main girls: Saki (blonde hair and gold eyes), Kanaka (brown hair and eyes), and Ayuko (black hair and eyes).
  • Deranged Animation: Both the opening and ending sequence, although more in the ending.
  • The Ditz: Kanaka, to such a degree that even a teacher and her mother have called her an idiot.
  • Faking the Dead: In a bid for attention, Kanaka attempts this on two separate occasions. Saki ignores her, and afterwards muses that had it been Ayuko, she would have been genuinely concerned.
  • Genki Girl: Kanaka is very energetic and is always trying to find something to do.
  • Hikikomori: Saki decides to become one for a brief period in episode 11.
  • Hot Teacher: Students are known to flirt with Misuzu, who dresses as a student, and looks young enough to be one. An interesting example of this trope in that the students don't seem to be aware that Misuzu is a teacher.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The opening is full of them; from the similarities between the title and Apple's "i-" suffix, to "crab apples," to obscure allusions to a species of crab whose name ends in "-ura," to Steve Job's death by cancer.
  • Idol Singer: Kanaka's lifelong dream. Her own mother told her she was too much of an idiot to do anything else.
  • The Load: Kanaka fails spectacularly at pretty much every challenge she takes, usually to the detriment of her friends in team-oriented activities. Made even worse because she instigates most of these events and sets bizarre wagers on the outcomes.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Almost all fanservice is limited to Saki, indisputably the most masculine of the girls.
  • The Nicknamer: Kanaka has a habit of giving weird nicknames to people such as "Ayukong" for Ayuko and "Yanachou" for Yanase.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: Kanaka wears a bowtie instead of a necktie; Ayuko wears a yellow jumper instead of the vest; Saki wears her necktie loose, her vest open, and her shirt untucked.
  • Odd Couple: Kanaka and Saki were this before meeting Ayuko. Saki is The Ace, quiet, snarky, and more often than not the Only Sane Man. Kanaka is The Load, loud, ditzy, and a Genki Girl. Despite this, they are almost never seen apart from each other.
  • Older Than They Look: Misuzu-sensei looks like one of the students and tends to wear a Sailor Fuku, much to Matsuno's dismay.
  • Playing Against Type: In-Universe example with Matsuno. He embodies the typical strict yet hot-blooded sports coach, and is almost always seen wearing a track suit. However, he's actually the maths teacher and he sucks at running.
  • Real-Place Background: The series appears to be set in the Japanese town of Kamakura (the gate of the Museum of Literature can be seen a few times), with other Japanese locations thrown in for no discernible reason.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Amaya plays the red oni to Saki's blue oni.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Saki and Kanaka play a game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets to buy the last melon bread.
  • Running Gag:
    • During the pool chapter, Amaya says or does things that get her knocked out and left floating face down in the water several times (by Saki, naturally). Becomes a Chekhov's Gun later — Amaya spent so much time floating that she worked out the basics of swimming for herself.
    • Matsuno will never manage to get Wakatsuki to quit wearing a school uniform.
    • Almost everyone jokes about Umi's tendency to gain weight quickly.
  • Sailor Fuku: This being a schoolgirl series, there are plenty of these to go around.
  • Scenery Porn: The anime's watercolor-esque backgrounds.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Since it's adapted from a 4koma, you can expect to find this. Lampshaded by the ending's lyrics:
    They were pointless conversations
    but they were fun nonetheless.
  • Sensei-chan: Misuzu-sensei wears a Sailor Fuku, plays the cutesy act, and Kanaka calls her "Misuzu-chan".
  • Shout-Out
    Kanaka: Did an alien kill your fellow apprentice?.
    Saki: You talking about Krillin?
  • Shrinking Violet: How Amaya remembers Saki from in middle school, complete with glasses. Saki denies this, but whether it is true has yet to be seen.