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Manga / Family Complex

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"I'm sure no one else has problems like this at their own house. They don't wonder, 'Why am I here?' or 'Maybe there's somewhere else I should belong',"
Akira Sakamoto

The Sakamoto family is widely known among their neighbours as the "perfect family", because every member of the household is blessed with stunning beauty... except for the second son, Akira, that is. Insecure about his lack of good looks, poor Akira feels very out of place among his family, and is very embarrassed to be seen in public with them. Despite his discomfort, Akira keeps his feelings to himself because he's afraid to hurt his family; but when they finally found out the truth, how can they settle their differences?

Family Complex is a short series of manga one-shots revolving around the lives of the various members of the aforementioned Sakamoto family, and is written by Mikiyo Tsuda of Princess Princess fame, which is a sort-of sequel to this manga.


This manga provides example of:

  • A-Cup Angst: During her high school years, Nanami would often complain about her childish figure, and envies her busty friend, despite being considered very beautiful by many boys.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Akira notes that his family is very nice to him despite his comparatively plain face. However, he still feels isolated from them because his neighbours and friends keeps on mocking/pitying him for his "different" appearance behind his back.
  • All There in the Manual: A bonus material cited that Akira is a late bloomer who will outgrow his older brother. In the Omake, he laments about how this development is not shown in the actual storyline.
  • Attractiveness Isolation: Harumi is practically worshipped by his entire school for his good looks, but because everyone else treats him in reverence, he never had any friends he could hang out with.
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  • The Beard: In the second chapter, Natsuru pretended to be Harumi's boyfriend to smoke out his "bodyguards", who were not-very-subtly stalking him.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Sakamoto family is known to their neighbours as the "perfect family" because (almost) every one of them looks like supermodels and they command the public attention whenever they show up.
  • Berserk Button: Both of Akira's older siblings got personally offended when some of Harumi's classmates insulted him, and angrily demanded the guys to apologize to Akira despite the latter's insistence that he's fine with it.
  • Bifauxnen:
    • Natsuru can easily be mistaken for a handsome guy, and she has many girls crushing on her since her childhood.
    • After learning to be more outspoken, Fuyuki cuts her hair short and wears boyish clothing that her former love rival starts to fall for her charms instead.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Every member of the Sakamoto family except Akira projects sparkles whenever they show up in public, drawing the awestruck attention from everyone around them.
  • Character Overlap: Akira returns as an important cast member in the manga's sort-of Sequel Series, Princess Princess, which takes place in his older brother's old school. His entire family later gets featured in one of the series' bonus chapters.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: During his high school days, Hidetoshi was forced by a friend entered a female fashion contest while in drag and won.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Even though he's very popular among girls, the most aggressive of Harumi's suitors are men — as a result, his female fans can't approach him.
  • Generic Cuteness: Akira's problems stems from the fact that he's the only one with a normal face in a family of beauties, but aside from his Tareme Eyes, he does not look noticeably uglier than the rest of his family.
  • Manchild: Although they never endorse in any particularly childish behaviour, neither Hidetoshi nor Nanami can be relied on to deal with their children's problems, leaving the older siblings to take care and look out for each other all the time. Hidetoshi would often bemoan about how he failed to do anything fatherly, and how either Harumi or Natsuru continually steals the role from him whenever this happens.
  • My Beloved Smother: The whole family towards Fuyuki. They constantly dote on and pamper her, providing her every need before she even asks for it. This makes her very quiet and passive, and she couldn't really communicate with people outside her family.
  • One-Gender School: Harumi attends an all-boys school, while Natsuru attends an all-girls one. Akira would later attend Harumi's alma mater, as can be seen in Princess Princess.
  • One of the Guys: During her elementary school years, Natsuru would frequently play with the boys, and due to her boyish appearance and her good skills in sports, they often forget that she's a girl.
  • The Quiet One: Fuyuki doesn't speak very much and has difficulties relating with her classmates because of it. However, when Akira advises her to feel free to express her thoughts, she becomes a chatterbox.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Natsuru enjoys flirting with her good friend, Shoko. Even though Shoko doesn't always appreciate Natsuru's affections, they apparently remain friends.
  • Rotating Protagonist: The viewpoint character changes every chapter, focusing on the different members of the family. It starts with Akira, followed by Harumi, then Natsuru, Fuyuki and finally their parents, Hidetoshi and Nanami.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Harumi and Natsuru frequently bicker with each other, mostly to fight over Akira.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: After Akira expresses his worries to his family, they assure him that having a beautiful face is not always so good because they get stalked, ignored, become targets of jealousy, and so on... But as Akira starts to feel sorry for their troubles, they immediately point out the perks of being good looking. The chapter ends with Akira questioning whether having a beautiful face is actually a good or bad thing.
  • Stalking Is Love: Harumi's self-proclaimed servants demonstrates their adoration for "Sakamoto-sama" by following him around, and generally stalking him. Played for Laughs, though.
  • Temporal Theme Naming: Harumi (spring), Natsuru (summer), Akira (autumn) and Fuyuki (winter).
  • The Unfavorite: Subverted. Although Akira feels unworthy of his family due to his looks, his siblings reveal that they like him better than the rest of the family.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Akira's parents are listed as 41 in the manga's present timeline, but in the flashback chapter featuring their first meeting 20 years prior, they were still in high school — even though 21 years old is not a reasonable age for high schoolers.