Hot Gimmick is a 12-volume Shōjo manga by Miki Aihara, serialized in the Shogakugan magazine Betsucomi from 2000 to 2005. The English release is currently published by Viz Media under its Shoujo Beat label.
The story revolves around Hatsumi Narita, a passive sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a company housing complex that is ruled by the tyrannical Mrs. Tachibana, the wife of the company's vice president. How a family behaves in the housing complex can affect an employee's status in the company. When her promiscuous younger sister Akane thinks she might be pregnant, Hatsumi gets talked into buying her a pregnancy test. Unfortunately, things don't go exactly as planned and Hatsumi is blackmailed by Ryoki Tachibana, the arrogant teenage son of the powerful Tachibana family who bullied her as a kid, into being his slave. This situation troubles Hatsumi even more when Azusa, her childhood love, comes back and expresses romantic interest in her...
The series received a live action adaptation movie in 2019, with Miona Hori and Hiroya Shimizu in the leading roles, which saw international release on Netflix. A sequel novel written by Megumi Nishizaki, Hot Gimmick S, was released after the end of the manga and further explores Hatsumi's love life. The novel is also translated and published by Viz.
This series has examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: Mrs. Tachibana is the neighborhood libby, and Ruri is the rich libby that Ryoki's mother keeps trying to set him up with.
- Apologizes a Lot: Hatsumi. She even apologizes to Azusa when he's about to have her gang-raped.
- Attempted Rape:
- Azusa tries to get Hatsumi raped by some of his friends as revenge, but is foiled by Ryoki (naturally, Hatsumi starts developing feelings for Ryoki after that).
- Ryoki himself also tries to assault Hatsumi several times, but is always thwarted by a third person walking in on them.
- Beta Couple: Akane and Subaru provide some bits of normal romance in between all the melodrama.
- Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Having Shinogu decide to go off and become a monk after Hatsumi decides to stay with Ryoki. A different outcome is presented in the Hot Gimmick S novel.
- Crash-Into Hello: How Hatsumi met Ryoki at the start of the series. It's also what caused her to drop the pregnancy test kit, leading to a bunch of drama.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Ryoki towards Hatsumi, though given the genre it's intended to be a Fetish.
- Darkerand Edgier: The story has blackmail, bullying, and gangrape unlike your typical shoujo manga.
- Dude, She's Like in a Coma: On one occasion, Hatsumi passes out drunk next to Ryoki. He takes this as an invitation to start groping and stripping her.
- Extreme Doormat: Hatsumi definitely qualifies. She is so spineless she nearly defines this trope.
- Fetishized Abuser: Ryoki is good-looking, totally nasty to Hatsumi, interspersed with trying to drag her off to bed against her will, and she falls for him like a ton of rocks regardless.
- Forgotten Childhood Friend: Sort of. Hatsumi doesn't really forget Ryoki as she just only remembers him trying to kill her (or so it seemed to her—in truth, it was all an accident). Ryoki, on the other hand, remembers some of the happier moments they had before she befriended Azusa, which was what caused his jealousy and angry outburst.
- I Can Change My Beloved: Hatsumi believes that she can get Ryoki to be nicer to her if she agrees to marry him. So she does.
- If I Can't Have You…: At one point Hatsumi tells Ryoki that she can't be with him anymore when he orders her to make the impossible decision of choosing between him or her family. When she leaves him, he's shown thinking to himself "That stupid woman... If she can't be mine she should just die."
- It's All About Me: Ryoki, Ryoki, Ryoki. As an example, when Hatsumi is crying because she nearly got gang-raped by her boyfriend, whom she now realizes never loved her, Ryoki's response is “You’re supposed to be my slave, so quit saying other guys’ names.”
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: It seems like Ryoki's not so bad when he saves Hatsumi from being raped but this trope is reinforced when he immediately forces a kiss on her afterwards and habitually sexually assaults her.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Hatsumi and Akane. Akane wears pretty clothes, cares for her appearance, we see her using make-up and she acts very girly. Meanwhile Hatsumi is pathologically shy, submissive and restrained. Akane also seems more interested in dating than Hatsumi, or than in her future career. She's just assertive in her relationships, while Hatsumi acts like an extreme doormat.
- Made a Slave: Hatsumi due to Ryoki's blackmail, bordering on Sex Slave, except it never progressed that far beyond forced kisses and awkward groping.
- Manipulative Bastard: Azusa and Ryoki are both pretty good at manipulating Hatsumi.
- "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Ryoki seems to believe this, although it was sexual assault rather than rape.Ryoki: But last night when I was touching you, by the look on your face it didn’t seem that bad.
Hatsumi: Th-That’s not true! I wasn’t enjoying it!
Ryoki: You were, I could tell by your voice and stuff.
- Ojou Ringlets: Ruri, complete with the attitude.
- Otaku: Subaru is known for being a typical nerdy otaku, collecting anime figurines.
- Rescue Romance: Hatsumi's feelings for Ryoki really start developing when he rescues her from getting raped by Azusa's henchmen.
- Reunion Revenge: Azusa does this to Hatsumi, attempting to have her raped, although it was due to the actions of her father's in his family's destruction. Except that it actually wasn't her father but Ryoki's father that caused it all.
- Sacred First Kiss: Hatsumi's first kiss is with Ryoki, although she tries to convince herself that it doesn't count, and that her first kiss is with Azusa.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Can we all just assume that both Shinogu and Ryoki are Hatsumisexuals?
- The Sociopath: Azusa. Some have said that Ryoki qualifies as one, but he seems to be more of a Borderline, or perhaps Narcissistic Personality. Hatsumi, meanwhile, seems to have some traits of Dependent Personality Disorder. Actually, most of the characters are probably diagnosable with some sort of mental illness or personality disorder.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Azusa, although he ruined that relationship himself. Also, Shinogu sort of fits, considering that he and Hatsumi are not related by blood. But then again, he gets the last laugh in the Hot Gimmick novel which is an Alternate Universe, and becomes the Victorious Childhood Friend.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Technically, she ends up with Ryoki in the manga but in the Hot Gimmick S novel (which provides an AU version of the manga ending), Hatsumi actually ends up with her adopted brother Shinogu.