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Manga / Kaguya Hime

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English name: Princess Kaguya.

Akira Okada is your typical schoolgirl... who looks like a boy, is crushed on by all her female classmates, and was adopted. Oh, and by the way, her attention-starved adopted sister is very attached to her, and her artist of an adopted mother makes her model for her in the nude. Among other things.

This all changes when two boys appear out of the blue to take her to a mysterious survival camp on deserted Kabuchi Island, where they claim was the orphanage they all grew up in, together with a bunch of other kids... as human sacrifices for the unearthly and cruel Princess Kaguya.

And from there, it all goes downhill, mixing myth, sci-fi, murder mystery and complicated romance going every which way no matter the gender. Expect lots of Les Yay, No Yay, Squick, Mind Screw, and very twisted moral issues.

A manga by Reiko Shimizu, very loosely based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. It ran in LaLa from 1994 to 2005.

Kaguya Hime provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Akira was her adoptive mother's lover. But she claims she liked it. Vol 10 shows her biological mother, who meant to have her killed.
  • Action Girl: Yu-Ling, Akira, Chun-Lan and the other servants.
  • Angst: And how.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Apparently a favorite.
    • Miller: quiet, delicate, frail and girly-looking, blind... and loves to beat up on people. Do not provoke him, and especially not by calling him girly.
    • Satoshi: looks like your stereotypical top-grades student, complete with glasses and a calm and polite personality. Participates in the U.G. Camp because he's injured or killed at least one person.
    • Nobuo: scary-looking but adorable, sweet, childish... and The Mole.
    • Midori: if anything, being a physical wimp makes him willing to be an absolute Jerkass to Yui from time to time... possibly for Yui's own good sometimes, but when he gets seriously pissed with Yui, he simply won't change his mind and won't care that it makes Yui absolutely miserable. He's still The Woobie though.
    • Mayu: the sweet-looking, brainless, helpless young blonde who let her mother die in front of her eyes for what she did to Akira, and threatens to kill anyone Akira gets involved with.
    • From vol 10 on, Akira starts getting murderous urges... and acting on them.
  • Bifauxnen: Akira and Yu-Ling, of course.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Miller is the worst perpetrator, but Akira and Yu-Ling sometimes get them as well.
  • Bishounen: Many, if not most of the male cast; in particular, Yui and movie star Brett Miller. Nobuo is a very notable aversion.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Gao Li-Shi on Yu-Ling then Akira. Also, kind of, Yui on Midori, insofar as Yui self-appointed himself as Midori's protector.
  • Call-Back: In vol 6, one of Mayu's Love Bubbles-filled fantasies involves her as the Sleeping Beauty when Akira shakes her awake. Later in the same volume, Julian dreamily compares an unconscious Miller to the same princess - in a much more serious atmosphere.
  • Cloning Blues: We learn in vol 6 that the sacrificed children are clones of important people all around the world, to be used as organ donors in case something happens to the originals. Of course, something quickly happens to every single one of them.
  • Distressed Dude: Everyone is very aware that Midori is this. Miller subverts this by saving himself every time.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Miller, of course, to his endless dismay.
  • Engagement Challenge: Akira steals a page from Princess Kaguya's book, but they aren't Impossible Tasks this once.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Akira, even when they don't mistake her for a guy.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Miller, even when they don't mistake him for a girl.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Mostly but not only because of Miller and Akira. Except for Maggey and Mayu, who both definitely think men are dicks.
  • Fanservice (Oh, Miller.)
  • Fate Worse than Death: What happened to Katsura, as seen in vol 13.
  • Faux Action Girl: Maggey is an army instructor. You really couldn't tell.
  • Gentle Giant: Nobuo. Gao Li-Shi as well, to a lesser extent as he is a very competent bodyguard.
  • Grand Theft Me: Many variants happen because of the mess with the clones and their original bodies they're supposed to give organs to. Some are terrifying.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In vol 7, as thanks for Miller's existence having saved his life as a child and because his own body is now rotting away, Julian makes sure to get killed and to have his eyes transplanted to Miller, giving him his sight back... and a brand new life, when the donors were supposed to be hunted all over the world. Doubles as Redemption Equals Death, with the death being planned and necessary for the redemption.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Yui and Midori are not, in fact, doing it. Despite what everyone thinks.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Akira starts taking revenge and playing with the lives of those who played with hers and the other children's by volume 10.
  • Improbable Age: All the sacrifice children are under 16, for obvious reasons. Some really, really don't look or act like it, and many already work or are in the army. Miller has already played in many films and at least one sex scene.
  • Jerkass: Sogyon Kim, Katsura and Kaede's "original". Any sympathy he gains from being a weak child with heart problems is swept away when after getting Kaede's heart transplanted, saving his life, he is completely careless with his own body because, if something else were to happen to him, there's still another clone to get other organs from.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sutton, as demonstrated when he nurses a bird back to health.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Done very seriously in vol 3 when the cast is stranded on the island with a food crisis and some of the cast try to bully Midori into killing himself because he's a useless mouth to feed. Also part of the reason Miller hides his blindness.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: Usually averted, but the angles in one scene in vol 6 deliberately make it impossible to know whether Julian really kissed Miller or just nuzzled his face very tenderly. Given the atmosphere, staring, and "Sleeping Beauty" reference, though... it was most likely the former.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Midori is Yui's, and he hates it. Other pairs can probably be interpreted to have this dynamic (Akira as Mayu's, Miller as Nobuo's, Katsura and Kaede as each other's, Yu-Ling then Akira as Gao Li-shi's...)
  • Love Bubbles: Any time Mayu is with Akira.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Would be a simple cyclic Love Triangle, except everybody wants Akira. Except Yui, whose feeling towards Akira are ambiguous while he seems to only live for Midori. Midori, like everybody, wants Akira. Akira, of course, wants Yui - and Mayu, but won't let herself touch Mayu. Mayu loves Akira but thinks sex is a horrible, dirty thing, and threatens/blackmails her into promising not to ever sleep with anyone. Oh, and everybody wants Akira. And then there's everybody else.
  • Men Don't Cry: Averted. Notably, badass Yui cries much more than Akira and girly Midori.
  • Morality Pet: Akira initially thought Midori was this to Yui, but... not really. In vol 13, one of mafia boss Mamoru's henchmen cheerfully remarks that Kaede has become this for him, goes on to make a joke about how it looks from the outside... and promptly apologizes, worrying for his life, when Mamoru glares at him, saying absolutely nothing.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Mayu can't stand the thought of Akira being "dirtied" and having sex.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Yui can.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Although a bondage-wearer perv, Maggey is nice enough to be mostly harmless (beyond groping of strangers), and Chun-Lan is funny more than anything... but Mayu can get seriously scary.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Mayu doesn't start off as a stalker, having the advantage of being Akira's adopted sister, but when they're separated, she will do anything to find Akira. Julian is this to Miller to some degree (but an ultimately ''really nice'' one.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Nobuo's backstory. The girl he wasn't supposed to love also loved someone else she wasn't supposed to, either.
  • Technical Virgin: The Princess Kaguya was forbidden from sleeping with men, but women (errr, female celestial beings?) were a-okay.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Suspicious accident strands the U.G. Camp participants on the island, one more guy dies, food starts to disappear... Someone doesn't want them to leave the island. Becomes a mole once found out.
  • Token Minority Couple: Averted: the two resident lesbians on the island can't stand each other and Akira keeps making everything complicated.
  • Unlucky/Victorious Childhood Friend: The Midori/Akira/Yui triangle of ambiguous and less ambiguous feelings and sexualities makes it... complicated to know who is which.
  • Wife Husbandry: It's unclear just how planned this was, but Shoko adopted Akira just to spite her ex-husband and forbade her from calling her "mother" from the start, with the words "I don't intend to ever be your mother".
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The sacrifice children are to die beheaded on their 16th birthday. Previous cases have been "accidents", but Midori has cancer and his estimated time left to live coincides with his birthday. (Doesn't explain what's supposed to happen to his head...)