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Manga / Bitter Virgin

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The girl who has the BIGGEST problems with men, EVER.

"I hate them! I fear them! I detest them! Because when it comes to men..."

Bitter Virgin is a seinen manga by Kei Kusunoki, which ran in Young Gangan from 2005 to 2008.

When it comes to men, Hinako Aikawa has problems — problems which she confesses to an empty and abandoned church. Unbeknowest to her, her classmate, local The Casanova Daisuke Suwa, was hiding in said church to dodge his henpecking Childhood Friend Yuzu Yamamoto and his wanna-be girlfriend Kazuki Ibuse. At first he tries to shoo Hinako away, but eventually relents. He expects to hear a minor confession, and instead receives the shock of his life in learning of years of abuse Hinako suffered. Sexual abuse from her stepfather that got her pregnant not once, but twice, and resulted in at least one birth to a child one year prior, when Hinako was fifteen.

Despite initial denial, Daisuke is forced to accept his classmate has indeed suffered these horrors. As a result, even though Hinako was the one girl Daisuke had said he would pass on, he finds himself unable to stop thinking about her. He begins to watch out for her, protect her, and inevitably fall in love with her. The main obstacles he faces in pursuit of this newfound love are Kazuki's jealousy and Hinako's own difficulties around men. For her part, Hinako herself has managed to develop feelings towards Daisuke, but is unsure if he would accept her past... Therefore, the story of Bitter Virgin by Kei Kusunoki follows the two protagonists as they work through their issues and gradually come to understand one another.

Kusunoki reveals, in the last volume, that most of the manga was inspired by her own stillbirth; fortunately, she had two healthy kids afterward.

This series features examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Hinako's stepfather. And don't let her mother off the hook for slapping her and calling her a liar (and "never noticing" Nagashima's abuse).
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Hinako's mother is in denial about her abuse for a LONG time. Contrast that with Daisuke's mother, Nana.
    • Though Hinako's mother could never make up for what her daughter went through, eventually she finally accepts the truth and chases the stepfather out of the house with a knife.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Due to the extremely small cast, Daisuke and his unnamed friend are pretty much the only guys who appear who aren't sexual abusers of some flavour.
  • Alpha Bitch: Kazuki, complete with Girl Posse.
  • Attempted Rape: Hinako, mid-way through the series.
  • Attention Whore: Kazuki, at one point using a quote very close to the one on top of the Trope's page.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: In Daisuke's Imagine Spot in volume 3, anyway. The series as a whole completely, utterly averts it.
  • Baby Carriage: In Chapter 2. Daisuke even hangs a lampshade as he runs towards it.
  • Backhanded Apology: Daisuke's "confession" in the church. "These hicks will believe anything, so can you blame me?"
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Kazuki's strategy. It doesn't work.
  • Berserk Button: Daisuke finds a man trying to rape Hinako and very nearly beats him to death for it.
  • Berserker Tears: When Daisuke beats up a thug who attempted to rape Hinako. He's mortified for "looking so uncool" in front of her, but she's clearly touched.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Hinako and Daisuke are together at the end. Kazuki and Yuzu accept this and step aside. But no one, including the couple themselves, expects the relationship to last, both of them feeling the other could do better, although thankfully it's left up in the air and really depends on what you think will happen.
  • Brain Bleach: Unsettling images of what may have happened to Hinako find their way into a disturbed Daisuke's head several times. His reaction is usually a standard "Don't think about that!"
  • Break the Cutie: Hinako, before the start of the series and shown in flashback.
  • Broken Bird: Hinako slightly, though she does not become cynical or cruel to cope.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Every damn where, and frequently with very good reason, given the heroine's past.
  • The Casanova: Daisuke, in the beginning.
  • Cassandra Truth: Hinako’s mother refused to believe her the first time she was impregnated and said who the father was. That only changed after the second time and the doctor suggested that it may not have been consensual.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Daisuke again, though the "pervert" aspect is toned down very quickly, most likely for Hinako's sake on his part. In the first chapter, he freely admits to wanting to "mess around", and seems to look forward to university mostly for the, er, social aspect, but he leaps into White Knight mode after hearing Hinako's story, which disturbs him to no end.
  • Clean, Pretty Childbirth: Lampshading: Daisuke's older sister gives birth over the course of several hours, and while they don't show anything, she scolds him for assuming that just getting her to the hospital was enough, forces him to give her a back rub, etc.
  • Cliffhanger: At the end of each chapter.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kazuki; to her credit she got better.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Subverted. There is nothing convenient about the miscarriages in this series. Hinako's first pregnancy by rape in her early teens miscarried then required an abortion to remove the dead fetus and was extremely painful both physically and emotionally, and Izumi losing her baby during birth was even worse. Understandable as the creator wrote this after she herself lost her baby and was still grieving.
  • Cool Big Sis: Izumi. Also, Yuzu is something of a surrogate Cool Big Sis to Daisuke, at least in their childhood years.
  • Cooldown Hug: Hinako to Daisuke in chapter 13.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Hinako. And possibly Daisuke, but the cover art is a little erratic.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hinako. Also implied (in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it line) for Kazuki.
  • Defiled Forever: Hinako definitely has issues with this.
  • Disappeared Dad: Both Daisuke and Hinako lost their fathers for unspecified reasons at a very young age.
  • Does Not Like Men: Hinako.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Kazuki and Daisuke's relationship isn't the worst example, but her abuse of him (stalking, verbal abuse, harassment, false accusations, manipulation, etc) is treated as nothing more than an annoyance by most of the characters. Izumi seems to be the only character with anywhere near the appropriate attitude to this behaviour. Particularly off-putting when one considers that the story as a whole revolves around Hinako's attempts to recover from abuse. The series also counts as this towards its Spear Counterpart Girls Saurus, which plays Shingo's gynophobia for comedy.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: The cover art on a few chapters depicts Hinako in this way.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Well and truly averted. The road to recovery is long and hard indeed for Hinako, and Daisuke frequently says that he can't expect to ever heal or even completely understand her pain - all he can do is support her in any way he can. Even at the end of the manga, she admits to Daisuke that she's still afraid of him, but she's on her way.
  • Ethical Slut: Izumi, mostly.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: A Panty Shot reveals Hinako's cesarean section scar, dispelling Daisuke's doubts concerning her story.
  • False Rape Accusation: Kazuki threatens Daisuke to state that he raped her if he does not go out with her. He still refuses. However he becomes horrified when Hinako walks in and Kazuki (who damaged her own clothing) claims that he raped her, expecting that she would hate him due to her own abuse of being raped. This becomes subverted in its own way as because of her own experiences of abuse, she knows how a rape victim would feel and her knowledge there is no way Daisuke would ever try to rape or abuse anyone, makes her call out Kazuki on her lying without a second thought.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Most of Chapter 12, which details Hinako's abusive past, as she's slipping into a near catatonic state due to being assaulted.
  • Flower Motif: Quite a lot for a seinen manga. It leads to some genre confusion.
  • Foil: Izumi and Hinako are this to each other. Both suffered the loss of a child, Hinako through her baby being taken from her and Izumi through a miscarriage. However, while Hinako became withdrawn and distant from people to the point of avoiding them, Izumi is able pull herself together and stay brave and open with people, and she counsels Hinako to do the same.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Despite Daisuke's vehement refusal, Nana Suwa can't quite let go of her hope that he'll take over the restaurant. (Prior to Izumi's departure, she got the same spiel.)
  • Girlish Pigtails: Kazuki is never seen without them. Contrast Yuzu, below.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Kazuki and her scissors.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Why Hinako gave up her second baby into adoption.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted. Hinako was made to carry her second pregnancy to term for the sake of her health, as with her condition and how late into the pregnancy it was, an abortion of the second pregnancy apparently would have been harmful for her.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Hinako's C-Section scar.
  • Hates Being Touched: Take a wild guess.
  • Hope Spot: Daisuke's sister is pregnant, his family is fully embracing and preparing for the baby, Daisuke is looking forward to being an uncle, his mother to being a Grandmother... then the baby dies in childbirth.
  • House Husband: Definitely in Daisuke's future. Years of helping out at his mother's restaurant have made him a fantastic cook, and (at least where Hinako is concerned), he won't accept any help with domestics, either!
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Daisuke and Hinako, probably to highlight Hinako's vulnerability.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every chapter title contains the phrase "Ano ko (that child/girl)", written with a combination of hiragana and katakana.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Hinako comes around to the fact that she feels fine, and in fact is in love, if it's Daisuke. Mind you, it does take some time and even brushing across another guy still causes her to freak out. At first she was okay with Daisuke because she heard him loudly declare how he would never be interested in a girl like her. By the time she does start hanging around him, he is already unable to not be interested in her.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Both Daisuke and Hinako, by the end of the manga, believe they're not really the best for one another. It's for this reason both believe their relationship will inevitably come to an eventual end, though they both intend to remain together until the other finds that "someone better".
  • I Want Grandkids: Daisuke's mother Nana, on occasion - and her son hasn't even left school yet! She comes out with such unknowingly inappropriate gems as "Why don't you conceive a grandchild for me with Hinako?"
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Subverted by Yuzu, when she initially makes an attempt to turn Daisuke from Hinako, but eventually played straight that Daisuke truly cares about her.
    • Daisuke, throughout the manga. He gradually comes to develop a crush on Hinako, but resolves himself to secrecy when she flat-out tells him the reason she's relatively comfortable with him is that he doesn't see her "as a woman". He spends most of the manga terrified that she'll fear him if she finds out he's in love with her.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Beyond being chased out of the Aikawa house, Nagashima is never punished for his crimes. As we all know, this is sadly Truth In Manga.
    • Kazuki is a milder example; some of her treatment of Daisuke, especially the false rape accusation, would generally be enough to warrant police attention, let alone that of the school authorities. However, this is sadly also Truth In Manga, because women and girls getting off scott-free for making false rape accusations is far from unheard of.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Kazuki finally admits defeat on learning that Daisuke knew Hinako's past all along and still fell in love in her. Not that it stops her from waiting for them to break up.
  • Lecherous Stepparent: Hinako's abuser was her stepdad.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Hinako and Kazuki, respectively.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Yuzu and Daisuke, at least as far as the latter is concerned, who have shared an extremely close relationship since childhood.
  • Moment of Weakness:
    • When Hinako obliviously drops a Just Friends on Daisuke, he angrily blurts out he knows her dark secret. Lucky for all involved, she wasn't listening to him at that precise moment. He still feels horrible for even doing so afterwards.
    • Same with his childhood friend Yuzu, she accidentally overhears Hinako's dark secret. At first she is willing to keep it to herself but after hearing that Daisuke has already confessed to her, she blurts it out. She feels utterly horrified at herself when she discovers that not only is Hinako right behind her, but that Daisuke already knew.
  • Nature Adores a Virgin: Averted, though Daisuke has to go to some lengths to convince Hinako that he in no way considers her "sullied" due to her experiences.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Daisuke sends one after Hinako's would-have-been assailant in the first part of volume 2. He would have quite literally beaten him to death if Hinako hadn't given him a Cooldown Hug.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: In the final chapter. While Yuzu and Kazuki give up their pursuit of Daisuke, they do so feeling that he and Hinako are bound to break up sooner or later, leaving things open for them to try again. If only because Daisuke's mother will eventually find out about Hinako's history, despise her for it, and try to separate them. Meanwhile, Daisuke and Hinako themselves believe that the other will eventually find a more suitable partner, but hope to make the most of their relationship until then.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Hinako sees right through it, despite Kazuki's attempts to make it seem exactly what it looks like.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Yuzu and the bespectacled boy from the class next door who has a crush on Hinako share the same last name, Yamamoto (admittedly a very common Japanese surname).
  • Parental Obliviousness: It took the doctor's observation of bruising during her daughter's second pregnancy for Hinako's mother to finally accept her daughter was in fact being raped by her stepfather.
  • Pet the Dog: In the final chapter, Kazuki fetches Daisuke when she sees Hinako being harassed by Yamamoto, and shows that she finally accepts that she is not the object of his affections.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Hinako's mother begged Hinako not to move away after she gave birth, desperately apologizing for not believing her about the sexual abuse. The story was set in motion when Hinako ignored her pleas and moved to Daisuke's town. That said, their relationship isn't completely damaged, as her mom seems to call regularly to make sure she's doing okay.
  • Rape as Backstory: Daisuke discovering Hinako's past is the event that kicks off the entire plot.
  • Rape Leads to Insanity: On the border in some ways. While Hinako is far from "insane", she quite understandably suffers from a number of psychological problems, including androphobianote , male-specific haphephobianote , gymnophobianote , and learned helplessnessnote . Though Hinako at one point says that immediately following rape a person would not be completely calm and in control, the manga doesn't really suggest that lacking these problems would make her less of a victim; it simply makes clear that none of these things should be at all surprising in the wake of such prolonged abuse.
  • Rescue Romance: Hinako starts falling in love with Daisuke after he saves her from an Attempted Rape.
  • Sanctuary of Solitude: Hinako's attempt at this is the event which kicks off the plot. Daisuke's sister also seeks Sanctuary towards the end of the story.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Daisuke learns about knows Hinako's darkest secret when he pretends to be the priest at an abandoned church and hears her confessional. Kazuki and Yuzu learn about her past though overhearing it as well. The only person Hinako willingly tells is Izumi, when she reflexively tries to reject Izumi's claims that she has no idea the older woman could be feeling after losing a child.
  • Shrinking Violet: Hinako.
  • Slut-Shaming: Izumi, who returns home heavily pregnant, with no baby-daddy in tow, gets this from several of the townspeople, including Kazuki. Everyone who treats her this way is presented as the Jerkasses they are, of course.
    • Before finally realizing the truth, Hinako's mother was guilty of this. She tells Hinako how they're going to keep secret what a "terrible kid" she is from her stepfather, and just how shameful her daughter getting pregnant again is.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: A horribly abused 15-year-old is allowed to run off and live on her own for a year.
    • Possibly some Values Dissonance at play. In Japan, the high school one gets into matters more than the distance from where they live. It's not unusual for students to live independently from their family if the commute is too long. Also, with how highly stigmatized the topic of mental health is in that country, finding any kind of help for that level of trauma would be incredibly difficult.
  • Stalker with a Crush: A lot of Kazuki's behaviour definitely qualifies.
  • Stepford Smiler: Hinako.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Acting withdrawn and avoiding people, even if you're just traumatized and scared, is going to make a few people annoyed with you, as seen with Daisuke (at the start) and Yamamoto.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Twice for poor Hinako.
  • That Was Not a Dream: What causes Daisuke to confess his feelings to Hinako.
  • Tragic Stillbirth: Much is made out of Daisuke's sister having a baby. Alas, the baby turns out to be a stillborn.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Oh Hinako. First she loses her father at a very young age, then she is continually raped by her stepfather starting from the age of 12 or 13, slapped and called a liar by her mother when she tries to tell her, impregnated, suffers a (painful) abortion, impregnated again by her stepfather, and has to undergo C-section to deliver the baby, whom she never sees before he is given up for adoption (and the thought of whom continues to haunt her). She lives alone for a year after her second pregnancy with no-one to support or care for her, despite her horrible trauma (and likely undiagnosed PTSD), and spends her school days in isolation, which is only broken when Kazuki and her gang begin to bully her after Daisuke begins showing interest in her. Oh yeah, and she was attacked, beaten and nearly raped again by a whole other pervert.
  • Tsundere: Yuzu is something of a Type A.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Yuzu.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Eventually, they get together. Not that anyone expects them to stick together for long.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Daisuke finds a lowfife attempting to rape Hinako again in an alley he goes mental, nearly beating the creep to death with a 2x4. Hinako needs to give him an emergency Cooldown Hug to prevent murder being done. When she points out Daisuke's about to kill him, he even argues that the guy deserves to die.
  • Valley Girl: To a degree, Kazuki.
  • Verbal Tic: Hinako says "Eh?" a lot. And stutters.
  • Villain Has a Point: Maybe he doesn't exactly earn the title of "villain", but when Yamamoto grabs Hinako in the final chapter, setting himself up pretty nicely as one more in a long line of abusive bastards, he makes her realise that, without intending to, understandable though her reaction was, she has truly hurt the feelings of some of the guys in her class.
  • Wacky Cravings: Izumi.
  • Wham Line: Hinako's confession in the church, while expected by the audience (This happened in the first chapter), definitely has this effect on Daisuke. Quite aside from the face he pulls, there is the subsequent alteration in his character.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Daisuke's a Ladykiller in Love and Hinako always assumed she'd never fall in love with a guy for obvious reasons.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When Izumi and Kazuki meet, Izumi gets a labor pain and Kazuki gets concerned; this proves to Izumi that Kazuki isn't overly cruel but just clingy to Daisuke. Later on things get more significant: Kazuki blackmails Daisuke into a date, but sees that he's unhappy and still thinking of Hinako and lets him off, apologizing for what she did. Near the end of the story, she tells Daisuke about another attack on Hinako.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Kazuki accuses Daisuke of rape, with the intention of turning Hinako against him. It doesn't work.
  • Yandere: Kazuki.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Hinako definitely has a lot of the traits associated with this archetype - she's sweet, humble, and outwardly extremely vulnerable, but she shows plenty of unexpected courage in confronting those who harm her or people she cares about (albeit, understandably, usually only if they're female).