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Manga / Girl Got Game

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Girl Got Game (simply titled Power! in Japanese) is a ten-volume high school romantic-comedy manga series written and illustrated by Shizuru Seino. It was serialized in Bessatsu Friend from 1999 to 2002, and first released in the United States in 2000 by Tokyopop.

Kyo Aizawa is a 16-year-old girl who moves to a new town with her widower father. Though upset at first, she becomes excited to be starting school at Seisyu High, as it is famous for its cute school girl uniforms. After receiving a boy's uniform in the mail, her father comes clean: He used to be a stellar basket ball player in his youth, but an injury permanently derailed his dreams of joining the NBA. As Seisyu is also famous for its top-ranking men's basketball team, he wants Kyo to dress up up as a boy and fulfill his dreams for him. Oh, and she has to live at the boy's dorm too since it helps build camaraderie! Kyo is furious, but he's already forged her paper, so with much reluctance, she goes through with his crazy plan.

What follows is an involuntary Twelfth Night Adventure as Kyo has to keep up with her male teammates, deal with her very unwanted female admirers, and put up with her Jerkass roommate, who she of course falls in love with, all, of course, while keeping her real gender a secret. It doesn't help that later she feels life as a boy is making her lose her femininity...

Despite the sports backdrop, Girl Got Game is a Shoujo manga first, and a rather wacky one at that.

This manga provides examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: Kyo and Yura.
  • Adults Are Useless: Many of the adult characters, including Kyo's father, Ayaha the dorm "house mom," and the coach of the bastketball team make a brief appearance early in the manga, only to almost be completely forgotten. Their absence is further poked fun at in extra at the end of the volumes. Further, Kyo father is made out to be more immature by going to America for the NBA season, apparently not thinking that Kyo's cover could ever be blown.
  • All Cloth Unravels: Happens to Hamaya once. At least it comes out in multiple threads rather than just one long one, although it's inexplicable how his underwear also disappeared ("Why even the shorts...?").
  • Badass Longcoat: Kyou eventually receives one as a gift. With a dragon on it.
  • Banana Peel: Kyo suddenly slips on one in a jungle. The absurdity is Lampshaded (but it leads to Chiharu helping her up...)
  • Bifauxnen: Kyo makes such a convincing male that she quickly becomes the most popular boy on the team with the girls, if not of the enitre school, considering how much chocolate she got on Valentine's Day.
  • Brain Bleach: Chiharu attempts to invoke this so he can deal with Kyo due to the ensuing awkwardness of living with her once he learns her secret by trying to imagine her as a beefy, muscly man to make him nauseous around her. It works for about a minute.
  • Breakout Character: Shinji Hamaya. An end-of-book bonus manga has the characters discussing who is the most popular among them according to reader votes. Hamaya gets third place despite being a minor character, getting promoted to "Sub-character." Since then he has had larger roles in manga (though still a secondary character) and even stars in two bonus shorts.
  • Butt-Monkey: Hamaya again, which is probably why he become popular. Even when he finally gets a girlfriend, she's moving to Germany the very next day.
  • Easily Forgiven: Yura pretty much gets off scot-free for KIDNAPPING KYO AND TRYING TO KILL HER.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: When Imai recognizes Kyo's voice while she's dressed as a girl, Chiharu quickly shouts "He's sick with diarrhea!"
  • Gender Vocabulary Slip: Kyo accidentally uses "atashi" (female "I") once early on, but immediately corrects herself and uses "boku" (male "I") consistently afterward. Yura later tells Kyo that she should be using "atashi", since she's a girl... then claims he was joking.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: When Kyo worries her secret is going to be exposed, her response is to run around groping every girl she can find. It's not the most elegant solution.
  • Indirect Kiss: Kyo's heart gets aflutter when Chiharu offers her a drink from his water bottle... but Hamaya grabs it first.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kensuke Yura helps to bring Kyo and Chiharu together, despite still having feeling for her. This may be because she helped him previously and he felt she cared for Chiharu more or would be better off with him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chiharu Eniwa comes of as a big jerk at first, but as he gets to know Kyo, he becomes much friendlier towards "him." He also, apparently, can't pass up a blood drive without donating.
  • Loveable Sex Maniac: Hamaya. He's asked several girls out and always gets turned down. He also collects porn and even uses it as his cellphone's wallpaper.
  • Love Triangle: Between Kyo, Chiharu, and Yura.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Chiharu, by Hamaya. Hamaya even offers Chiharu a guide to gay sex (which somehow goes unappreciated).
  • Mood Whiplash: Only one major moment involving Yura, but boy is it ever a major moment considering how goofy the series normally is.
  • No Periods, Period: Subverted at first, as an early chapter deals with Kyo having to hide her period and snapping at Chiharu because of her cramps, which gets him quite angry. Afterwards, her period is never brought up again.
  • Nosebleed: Kyo starts getting these around Yura, though the bloodworks will flow when she thinks about the possiblity of getting it on with Chiharu. Perhaps not surprisingly, Hamaya gets these, too.
  • Only One Name: Played with in the volume three bonus manga "meeting". Imai, the captain of the team supposedly did not have a given name prior to the end of volume three because the author is flaky. When he is given a first name, he's not entirely happy that it took so long.
  • Out of Focus: According to bonus extras at the end of the first few volumes, Akari Tojo and Hisashi Imai were suppose to be secondary characters with larger roles, but those plans somehow fell through.
  • Petite Pride: While "pride" might be an overstatement, Kyo does find her small breasts convenient for concealing her gender.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Kyo "crossdresses" as a girl in order to go out on a date with Chiharu. Too worried that someone witll recognize Kyo, he insists on getting Kyo boy clothes to wear.
  • "He" is Not My Boyfriend!: Chiharu flatly denies being in love with Kyo, before and after he finds out she's a girl. It continues even after they confess to each other, for obvious reasons and much to Kyo's dismay.
  • Shipper on Deck: Hamaya seems to ship Kyo/Chiharu pretty hard, even though he doesn't know Kyo's a girl.
  • Shirtless Scene: Pretty sparse for a shoujo romantic comedy, but Chiharu and Yura both manage a couple.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Hamaya finds a large mushroom with white polkadots on its cap. Hamaya notes that it might make Kyo bigger if "he" ate it.
    • Kyo mentions Fear Factor when her friend from her old school Tsuyaka gives her a super-spicy lunch.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Kyo and Chiharu, especially after he finds out she's a girl.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Akari Tojo, the team manager is this towards Kyo, with some Yandere tendencies thrown in for for good measure.
  • Stepford Smiler: Kensuke Yura is sort of a mixture of all three types
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Though he never openly questions his sexuality, Chiharu is bothered by just how pretty Kyo can seem and how his heart occasionally skips a beat around "him."
  • Suicide as Comedy: Hamaya half-heartedly tries to kill himself at least three times becuase of how pathetic his life is. All three are played for laughs, especially since he thinks his biggest problem is that he's still a virgin.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Chiharu trips and his hand lands on Kyo's chest (right after she undid her chest wrappings). Kyo (who's too worried about keeping her cover to be embarrassed) quickly claims that she bruised her chest and it's swollen.
  • Those Two Guys: Or rather three guys, but there's usually two of them in any given scene with Chiharu and/or Hamaya. Their names are Imura Tomoki, Hatakeyama Kazuhiro, and Suzuki Riichi.
  • Twelfth Night Adventure: It still is one, even if Kyo would rather not go through with the charade.
  • UST: Kyo falls for Chiharu, but can't do much about it because she's supposed to be a boy. Sharing a room doesn't help. And it only gets worse after Chiharu finds out she's a girl.
  • Yandere: Akari for Kyo. Attempts to drive her away are met with suicide threats and Wolverine Claws.