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Manga / Haikara-san ga Tooru

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Haikara-san ga Tōru, also known as Smart-san, is a Japanese shōjo manga series by Waki Yamato. It was serialized by Kodansha in the magazine Shōjo Friend from 1975 to 1977, and released in eight volumes. The title can be literally translated into English as Here Comes Miss Modern or Here Comes Miss High-Collar ("haikara" being the Japanese romanization of "high collar"), or Fashionable Girl Passing By. In 1977, it was awarded the 1st Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo. It also has been adapted into an anime series from the late seventies, and then into a film (and eventually a remake film) and some doramas.

The female lead is Benio Hanamura, a young woman living in the Taisho Era. Benio has been raised by a single father, a high-ranked military man, since her mom died when she was a little girl. As a result, much to the despair of Hanamura Sr., Benio is a huge Tomboy: she doesn't want to get married, scoffs at boys, smokes, drinks, likes reading and riding her bike, and her only resemblances in regards to the Yamato Nadeshiko archetype are her looks and her penchant for wearing kimono and hakama. Her best friends are Tamaki Kitaouji, a more girlish but also openminded young woman, and Ranmaru Fujieda, a very girly-looking guy coming from a kabuki background.

At age 17, Benio receives the shock of her life. Her father tells her that she's to be engaged to a man! Benio is horrified, naturally, and even more so when she meets her husband-to-be: Shinobu Iijyuin. He happens to be a guy with whom she had several encounters that day, all tinted with Slap-Slap-Kiss. So Benio is caught in quite the predicament: not only does she dislikes the idea of being in an Arranged Marriage, but she noticed that Tamaki likes Shinobu and she doesn't want to hurt her friend's feelings. Hm, what to do.

Eventually, Benio accepts the engagement — to try scheming against it via telling and showing Shinobu that she's a horrible excuse for a House Wife, so he and his family will hate her and call everything off. Yet not only does Shinobu turn out to be a Nice Guy who has come to like Benio as a person and has a saint-like patience to her blunders, but she finds herself falling for him.

Tropes from Haikara-san ga tooru:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • In the manga, for some reason Benio is blonde. She is made brunette in virtually all adaptation.
    • Tamaki originally was brunette and is made strawberry-blonde in the 2017 anime.
    • Also, Larissa has white hair, making it look like Disease Bleach, which is fitting for someone dying of tuberculosis.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Italian and French dubs of the 1978 anime both have different theme songs. The Italian song is sung by a children's chorus.
  • Arranged Marriage: Shinobu and Benio. In a subversion, it's because of a family tragedy (see Star-Crossed Lovers) rather than mere social and economic interests. When they get to know each other better, they realize it is a Perfectly Arranged Marriage.
  • Babies Ever After: During the credits sequence of the 2018 film, Benio and Shinobu are shown to have a child.
  • Beta Couple: Tamaki and Shinobu's friend Shingo Onijima. Also, Benio's father and Kichiji.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The manga. On one hand, Benio and Shinobu overcome their difficulties, find each other again and finally get married; not to mention, Tamaki and Shingo get together too, and so do Benio's dad and Kichiji. On the other, this happens right after the 1923 Kanto earthquake and when Benio is about to marry her Second Love Tousei. Larissa is fatally injured via taking a Falling Chandelier of Doom for Shinobu; since he has recovered his memories, her last wish is to have him go search for Benio and make her happy. Benio herself is thought to be MIA after the Catholic church in which she was about to marry Tousei collapses; she has actually survived, so she and Shinobu find each other, but both are injured and are THIS close to be Together in Death, if not for Tousei's efforts and then acceptance of their mutual feelings. Then there's a bit of Fridge Horror since the now-together Tamaki and Shingo are leaving to Manchuria (it already wasn't an easy place to live in, but what happened in the 20-something years after this made it even worse).
    • In the anime, which was cut short due to bad ratings, it's rather... different. In the final episode, Benio is told that the mysterious Russian count is not Shinobu; Larissa has a photograph of their wedding day to prove it. However, an epilogue narration reveals that Larissa found Shinobu in Siberia; he was severely hurt, and was the spitting image of her late husband (and his long lost half-brother). The final episode concludes with Benio finally being reunited with the not-amnesiac-anymore Shinobu. Waki Yamato was not happy with the way the anime ended and reportedly declined future offers to have any more of her works animated, a resolution which stood until the film version was made nearly four decades later.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Larissa, due to having lost her husband whom she loved very much and being both a borderline Fallen Princess and an ill girl.
    • Kichiji also had her share of broken-ness in her past, though she takes it kinda in stride.
  • Buffy Speak: Benio calls Western sliverware in the English dub a "little sword", a "claw-thing", and a "scoopy-looking thing".
  • But Not Too Foreign: Shinobu, half-Japanese and half-German.
  • Disco: The '70s anime has a funky, discofied opening theme song. Not surprisingly, it was replaced when the series was exported to Europe some years later.
  • Driven to Suicide:
  • Dub Name Change: In both the European dubs of the 1978 anime. In Italy, where the series is known as Mademoiselle Anne, Benio was renamed Anne, but the other character names were unchanged. In France, where the series aired belatedly in the early '90s, Benio and Shinobu became Marie and Marc.
  • Eye Scream: Shingo Onijima was subjected to this in the past, and as a result he lost his left eye. He explains to Tamaki that this happened when he was a child, when trying to protect the girl who was his first love.
  • Fallen Princess: Larissa. She comes to Japan after escaping from the 1917 Russian Revolution, in which she lost pretty much everything.
  • Geisha: Kichiji. Benio tries to become this to support herself and Shinobu's family, but fails. She then settles for becoming a reporter.
  • He Man Womanhater: Tousei. Uncommonly for the trope, he has a Freudian Excuse: his Brainless Beauty of a mother all but abandoned him, thus he has serious issues towards women. Doesn't stop him from falling for Benio, though, since she's the only woman he truly trusts.
  • Iconic Outfit: Benio's is a combination of a purple-and-white kimono with arrow fletch motif, a maroon hakama, a big ribbon tying up her half-up hair, and a pair of boots. Despite popular depiction, in the manga she doesn't wear that way all the time, and ditches the costume along with the hairstyle by the end of volume 2.
  • Important Haircut: Benio, after deciding to work with her own hands and support the Iijyuin family.
  • Large Ham: Ranmaru can get pretty dramatic sometimes. Justified Trope: he's a kabuki performer, so he has acting training.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Shinobu and Larissa's dead husband, Sasha, were half-brothers: Sasha was born from the marriage between Shinobu's Missing Mom and a Russian count. Too bad he was a high-ranked officer of the Russian Army, and was killed trying to protect the Royal Family; this totally broke Larissa, and then she found Shinobu without knowing he was her older brother-in-law...
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Benio and Shinobu to a degree. Benio and Ranmaru play it straighter, though.
  • Meaningful Name: "Shinobu" means "patience" in Japanese. And he has it in spades when dealing with Benio's early antics in trying to sabotage the engagement.
  • Meet Cute: First Shinobu sees Benio crash her bike and finds it funny, so Benio slaps him. Later, Shinobu finds Benio up a tree, then catches her in a Bridal Carry when she falls off.
  • Missing Mom: Shinobu, Benio and Ranmaru lost their mothers early in life.
  • Please Dump Me: Attempted by Benio at first. Doesn't work.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Benio doesn't look halfway bad when in a Western dress. Specially in her gorgeous wedding dress... right before the earthquake hits.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: It's Shinobu's kindness that drives girls like Benio, Tamaki, Larissa and Kichiji to him.
  • Slut-Shaming: Kichiji gets this at Shinobu's funeral (when he was MIA in Manchuria) for being a geisha, and wasn't even let in before Benio stepped in. Even then, the guests openly call her trash.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Benio and Shinobu, after he goes MIA in Manchuria and loses his memories.
    • Also, there are more cases in the backstory. First, Shinobu's grandma wasn't allowed to marry Benio's grandpa for political differences: the Hanamuras supported the Shogunate, while the Iijyuins were pro Meiji Restoration. (The most they got was the promise of an Arranged Marriage between their descendants).. Later, Shinobu's German mother couldn't stay with Shinobu's father for being a foreigner, and had to leave baby!Shinobu in the care of the Iijyuins.
  • Teen Genius: Ranmaru is just 13/14 yeas old and he's not just an accomplished kabuki actor, but he trains people in acting.