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Manga / Beach Stars

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Our heroine, Nanase Iruka.

Beach Stars is a sports manga written and drawn by Morio Masahiro, focusing around a high school girl named Nanase Iruka. She is hopeful for the new school year, with the knowledge that she will be able to play volleyball with all of her friends. Unfortunately, due to lack of membership, the volleyball club is closing down, and all of her other friends go off to do other things. However, when things look bleakest, she is taken down to the beach by her friends, where she meets the up-and-coming beach volleyball star Hayakawa Sanae, and her life changes forever...

The manga began serialization in Weekly Young Sunday in 2007, briefly going on hiatus in July 2008 due to the magazine ceasing publication. It later moved to YS Special, where it ran from 2008 to 2009. A sequel manga, The!! Beach Stars, ran in Monthly Shonen Sunday magazine from June 2009 to December of 2010.

Beach Stars has examples of the following tropes:

  • The Ace: Hayakawa Sanae is probably the epitome of this trope.
    • Ishihara Kotomi, former Ace of Onsoku Middle School... until her Game-Breaking Injury.
    • Iruka herself is one by the end of the manga. Whatever she doesn't have in height, she more than makes up with impressive jumps, thoughtful calculation and a lot of spirit.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Kurachi when she gets into a swimsuit. Very fit, very muscular, tall and overall just well developed. Too bad her personality is simply not as good as her toned looks... well, until the Pet the Dog moment mentioned below.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Iruka, of all people.
  • Badass Boast: Taki gets one several for herself in her first match of the Madonna Cup.
    • Immediately subverted, since Taki doesn't have the control to actually land her super-powerful attacks in the court; it's all just bluster. Or is it?
  • Badass Teacher: Honda-san. Much like another infamous delinquent-turned-teacher, he is sometimes forced to put his ill-gained skills to good use.
  • Beach Episode: About half of the manga takes place on the beach, what do you expect?
  • Berserk Button: Iruka is a bit short, especially for her chosen sport. Be sure not to remind her of that.
  • Bifauxnen: Kurachi can easily be mistaken for a guy. She's tall, muscular, has a sharp jawline, and the first time you see her you can't really tell if she has breasts or not. The eyes don't help much either.
    • Of course she gets into a bathing suit, and it becomes a bit more obvious that she's female.
    • She also looks way more feminine in the flashbacks.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Thanks to their irises apparently taking up the majority of their eyeballs, the Sannomiya Twins (especially the incompetent sister, Hatsune) appear to have this. Although it's less evil and more stupid.
  • Blood Knight: Aside from the fact that she fights through volleyball and not direct violence Hayakawa Sanae fits into this trope rather well - she doesn't care for fame, nor for any particular achievement and even victory isn't all that important to her, what she craves for is a strong opponent that can challenge her on equal terms and the only time we see her genuinely smile is after she was beaten by Iruka.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Hiro Kagurazaka (boke) and Sadako Izumi (tsukkomi).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In The!! Beach Stars:
    Iruka: "I thought if the editing was done right, it would look like we warped or something..."
    Michiru: "And these are all the words I've gotten to say for this entire chapter!"
  • Broken Ace: Kurachi-senpai.
    • Which is why she was quite happy when the same thing happened to Kotomi.
  • Calling Your Attacks
  • Cool Teacher: Ryoko plays this role to the girls of the beach volleyball club since their actual adviser, Honda-sensei, doesn't actually know anything about beach volleyball.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Several characters dip in and out, including Iruka and Taki. However, the best example in the manga is probably Hirahara from Unmei Commercial High School, who bases her volleyball strategy on Feng Shui.
  • Comic-Book Time: The first third of the original manga takes place over several months. The second third takes up about half a day. The final third is consumed entirely by the final match.
    • To be fair, the final match is three sets rather than just one, so the final match is about as long as the rest of the tournament combined, in terms of play time.
  • Crash-Into Hello: How Iruka meets Reika. Of course, with her... endowments, this also resulted in Marshmallow Hell for Iruka.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Reika, who manages to block both Sanae's and Reika's serves simultaneously.
  • Cry into Chest: At the beginning of the manga, Iruka does this to a then-unwilling Honda, when the volleyball club gets shut down.
  • Demoted to Extra: Rin is the odd man out in the five-person beach volleyball team, and so barely gets any screen time through the entire preliminaries... which is about two-thirds of the manga.
    • But she come back in full force at the end of the first series, threatening to leave the team for good.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: After winning the quarter-finals, Iruka decides to get some food... specifically, a giant hot dog. However, it manages to avoid the normal connotations, since she immediately bumps into Hiro.
    • Who is also eating an enormous hot dog.
  • Ecchi: Given that beach volleyball requires swimsuits as the default outfit, oddly justified. Of course, there's plenty of fanservice showing off shapely female bodies... and then there's Taki who may or may not provide enough Fan Disservice to sour some. She decides to slim down in the epilogue though, and it's quite possible she graduated into being a Ms. Fanservice too.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Iruka, who manages to figure out the secret behind Kurachi's Cross Spike during the Madonna Cup Preliminary Finals.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: The girls on the beach volleyball team refer to Honda as "Ponda-san" (usually translated as "Humvee" or something to that effect, as it's a pun on the fact that he has the same name as a car company). He really doesn't like it.
    • So, of course, the girls refuse to call him anything else.
    • After they lose the volleyball match with Iruka, Reika and Akira, the three thugs are referred to as Nobu-pyon, Ta-kun, and Suguru-chi, as per Iruka's wishes.
      • As part of the same agreement, they must now refer to Iruka as the Emperor/Your Highness/the Queen.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Kotomi starts out wearing Girlish Pigtails, but switches to Tomboyish Ponytail when it's time to play seriously. Turns out she used to wear her hair this way when she was The Ace of her volleyball team.
  • Expy: Honda is basically what would happen if Onizuka weren't the center of his own universe.
  • Fanservice: It's an ecchi manga about beach volleyball. The rest should be self-evident.
  • Fantasy Forbidding Parents: Michiru's father, who is not happy with her joining the beach volleyball club. Justified since when she was in the basketball club in elementary school, she was horribly abused by the other kids, and he doesn't want that to happen to her again.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: An extra scene shows a young Honda crying over just being rejected, and a little girl implied to be Iruka giving him a little kiss on the cheek for comfort. Neither of them seems to be aware of this.
  • Formerly Fat: Taki in the final chapter has lost quite a bit of her extra weight. The others even find her unrecognizable.
  • Fun Bag Airbag: See Crash-Into Hello above.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: How Kotomi went from being a star volleyball player to being too frightened to spike the ball.
    • Subverted in that the injury itself isn't what broke her, it was the psychological trauma that she never got over.
  • Genki Girl: Iruka, to an alarming extent.
  • Gonk: Taki. Dear lord, Taki.
    • To be fair, a lot of it has to do with her makeup; otherwise, she'd just be sort of short and overweight. In the final chapter she's shown to have lost some weight and her face looks more attractive.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Kurachi-senpai definitely goes into the evil eyes territory.
  • Hidden Depths: Several characters.
    • Kyosuke Honda, known to the girls as Ponda-san, who founded Yamagami High's Death Metal Club, still has enough of a reputation to scare the crap out of most of the delinquents just by mentioning his name.
    • Ono Reika, who is secretly Hayakawa Sanae's partner and one of the most talented volleyball players in the country, if not the world.
  • Hot-Blooded: Terashima Akira.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Iruka did her first beach volleyball game in her high school uniform, and didn't realize she was flashing the audience every time she jumped up to receive or spike the ball.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's Taki, not Takiko!
  • It's All About Me: Taki, so much. People tend to ignore her when she does this, though.
    • And the Sannomiya Sisters manage to compete pretty well with her when they compete in the Madonna Cup.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Taki, who is there when the volleyball team needs her.
  • Joshikousei
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Kotomi, after getting over her Freudian Excuse, does this whenever she's on the offensive.
  • Like Brother and Sister: How Honda views his relationship with Iruka by the end of the manga. Iruka doesn't agree with this assessment.
  • The Load: Taki starts as this, but she starts to get better.
  • Male Gaze: Most of the girls in this manga are well gifted, and the men definitely notice. It's beach volleyball after all.
  • Motive Decay: Lampshaded; you might have forgotten, by the time you get to the Madonna Cup Preliminaries, that Iruka's original goal was to beat Hayakawa Sanae. Don't worry though, Iruka takes time to remind us, just in case.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Too many to count. After all the series is an Ecchi manga about (mostly) good-looking girls playing volleyball.
  • The Napoleon: Iruka is the second shortest girl in the cast, and she's a bit sensitive about the subject.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Most of Ono Reika expressions and comments make her look like an airhead but underneath the surface she is not only one of the best and most competent players in the manga but is also capable of reading other people quite well and on occasion delivering a subtle, yet accurate remark that digs right where it hurts.
  • Ojou: The Sannomiya Twins, from Saint-Karelina High School, who manage to out-bluster even Taki.
  • One Head Taller: More about two heads, since Iruka is pretty short for her age and Honda is rather tall. Becomes notable whenever they hug each other.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Iruka's favorite thing in the world is volleyball. Heck, she was crying for days when she found out that the school volleyball club got disbanded because of a lack of players. It's this nature of hers that allowed her to become an ace beach volleyball player by the end of the manga.
  • Pet the Dog: Kurachi, after getting encouragement from the fans from her school. It's the first time we see her not looking absolutely bonkers.
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: During the Boys vs Girls match, when Akira asks to be handed over the ball, Suguru takes the chance to lift her top and flash her boobs for all to see. Naturally she gets pissed and kicks him in the face, and proceeds to turn around the score from that point on.
  • The Power of Friendship: Every beach volleyball player relies on their partner to help them win the match. This is emphasized repeatedly over the course of the manga.
    • Also, the reason the girls were eventually able to get their own beach volleyball court.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Kurachi's plan to defeat Kotomi is to purposefully target Iruka, because she knows Kotomi won't have the courage to stand up and protect her. It works at first, but Kotomi finally breaks through her trauma and starts fighting back.
  • The Rival: Iruka to Sanae.
  • Room Full of Crazy: A comedic version of the trope, and not actually in a room: Michiru accidentally gets a glimpse of Sadako's notebook, which is full of manic, hateful screeds about her partner, Hiro.
  • Rousing Speech: By Mr. Fuji, of all people.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Fuji is definitely this, or so we are meant to think. In reality, he's more of an over-exuberant Stern Teacher who didn't realize his intense training and disciplinary method were chasing people off.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Taki, who was so effective that she ended up being on the second team in the preliminaries with Hinami instead of Rin.
    • Poor Rin, who suddenly comes back at the end of the first series, pissed off that she was relegated to the sidelines for the entire manga and ready to quit.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Sanae, definitely.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Teased between Honda and Iruka.
  • Those Two Guys: Those Three Girls: Yuina, Nagisa and Kanae of the Newspaper Club. Don't show up that often, but they're rather distinctive when they do.
  • Tournament Arc: The Madonna Cup, though the original run of the manga only actually follows them through the preliminaries. The manga got cancelled with the magazine it ran in, and it was close enough to completion to get Uncancelled to cover the Madonna Cup Finals - which was always meant to be the ending.
  • Training from Hell: Mr. Fuji's preferred method and one of the main reasons the volleyball club closed down in the first place.
  • Two-Teacher School: Honda-san and Fuji-san are pretty much the only ones who show up.
  • Unknown Rival: Terashima Akira, to Hayakawa Sanae.
  • Victory Is Boring: Sanae feels this way, since she hasn't found an opponent that can make her play with her full strength, regardless of the result. She finally finds it in Iruka.
  • Wham Episode: Literally, in this case: Iruka takes a ball to the face pretty hard and ends up with a concussion, barely able to stand up, much less play.