Itoshi no Karin (愛しの花凛), translated as My Beloved Karin, is a Slice of Life romance manga Penned and drawn by Inko Horiizumi. It was serialized in Manga Time Kirara Forward from 2013 to 2014, with three volumes compiled.
Yutaka Hanagasaki is a twenty-year old gardener, and works at the famous theme park Fuegaoka. While he does enjoy his work, there are times that the job feels like a constant grind more than anything else.
Despite this, he persists, as working at the theme park allows him to be close to the park's mascot, the pretty and well-known Meln-chan. You see, Yutaka secretly likes Meln-chan (or at least, the role's most current holder), but he never could quite get the courage to talk to her. And so, he just contents himself with admiring her from afar...
Until, that is, he finally gets a chance to do so.
Itoshi no Karin gives examples of the following:
- Aspect Montage: A technique used frequently in the manga.
- Bare Your Midriff: The Meln-costume exposes quite a bit of Karin's tummy.
- Berserk Button: Shigematsu, the chief janitor, normally blows his top whenever Karin (as Meln-chan) scatters confetti during her daytime performances.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Yutaka, and it's a trait that he shares with his younger sister Nodoka.
- Childhood Friend: Karin's friend Momoyo Aichi, who is also The Ojou.
- Contrived Coincidence: Boy, is there ever.
- Yutaka just happens to be the exact height needed to fill in the Bear Mascot while its regular wearer is stuck due to problems with the railway. The problem with this? Karin mistakes him for the usual wearer (who is a girl), and starts changing in his presence. Hilarity ensues.
- The town that Karin goes to on her vacation with her friend Momoyo just happens to be Yutaka's hometown. Of course they'd run into each other. Later on, she unknowingly gets to spend an afternoon with Yutaka's younger sister.
- Curious as a Monkey: A constant source of woe for the mascots at the park are the kids that act like this. Unlike some young visitors to a certain other theme park, none of them seem to be actively malicious about it.
- Decompressed Comic: In spades. Depending on the chapter, the manga can go on for pages without anyone actually engaging in dialogue. See chapter 8 as a particularly visible example.
- Fangirl: Nodoka, Yutaka's little sister, is a huge Meln-chan fan. Naturally she's thrilled when she runs into Karin during the latter's trip to Niigata.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The Meln-chan outfit has stockings where one is longer than the other.
- First-Name Basis: Done by Karin to Yutaka by the second chapter. Averted in that there wasn't anything remotely romantic about this: it's just that Karin found Yutaka's last name too long to say.
- Flower Motifs: The Cornelia, for Karin.
- Girlish Pigtails: Worn by Nodoka, but then again, she IS a grade-schooler.
- Legacy Character: Meln-chan, the mascot of the theme park. Karin is the 20th girl to step into that role and, after she "graduates" at the end of the manga, passes it on to one of her co-workers.
- Love Confession: In chapter 8. And in the final chapter as well.
- Luminescent Blush: It's Yutaka who's prone to doing this in this series.
- Maybe Ever After: The manga ends with Yutaka returning to his hometown. However Karin promises him that, once she graduates and gets her nursing license, she's going to be able to choose where she would start her practice, so...
- Minor Living Alone: Karin is a high-schooler living on her own, but she hasn't always been so. When her mother was hospitalized recently though, she's been forced to look after herself for a while.
- Not Good with People: Yutaka is a Type 1 — a shy soul who's much more comfortable tending to the park's flowering plants.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: What Karin and Nodoka's conversation turned into. They were both describing the same person: Yutaka.
- Recurring Extra: The girl with short hair and glasses wearing a beret, who much like the two older fans, is always present to take pictures of Karin in her Meln-chan costume.
- Stunned Silence:
- When Karin finds out that it's not her friend Ran in the bear mascot suit, but Yutaka instead.
- And again in chapter 8, when Karin out of nowhere, says that she loves Yutaka.
- Those Two Guys: The two adult Meln-chan fans, who usually appear to comment on what Karin is doing while "in-character" as Meln-chan.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Curry, for Karin, due to her working in a curry place in the theme park before she became elected for the Meln-chan role. On that note however, she doesn't always eat curry at home. However whenever she and Yutaka are together, it's the first food that's usually mentioned.
- Umbrella of Togetherness: What eventually gives Yutaka the chance to get to know Karin: she was about to brave a strong downpour without an umbrella. Before she does, Yutaka gives her his umbrella.
- Wham Episode:
- Chapter 8: Karin confesses to Yutaka.
- Chapter 11: Yutaka turns Karin down.
- Chapter 16: Yutaka tells Karin that he's thinking of quitting his job at the park.