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Manga / Kiniro Mosaic

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Gold-hued lazy days
Clockwise from top: Aya, Karen, Alice, Shinobu, and Youko.


Kiniro Mosaic (translates to Golden Mosaic, also called Kin'iro Mosaic or KinMoza!) is a Slice of Life comedy manga drawn and penned by Yui Hara, which was serialized in Manga Time Kirara Max from 2010 to 2020. It received an anime adaptation by Studio Gokumi in the summer of 2013, while a second season, titled Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic, aired during the spring 2015 anime season. The manga is licensed by Yen Press in North America starting in December 2016. In August 2021, a theatrical film titled Kiniro Mosaic: Thank You!! was released, serving as the Grand Finale of the series.

Junior high student Shinobu Oomiya decides to do a week-long homestay in England. Her hosts, the Cartelets, have a daughter called Alice the same age, and despite the language barrier, the two become close friends. When the week ended and the two had to part, Alice swore that she'll one day go to Japan and see Shinobu again. Years later, she does just that... by transferring to Shinobu's high school and coming to stay with her, surprising her in the process. High levels of cuteness ensue.

Compare to Yui Hara's other 4koma comedy Wakaba Girl, about a sheltered Ojou trying to fit in and make friends.

This manga provides examples of:

  • Abbey Road Crossing: Appears in the second season's ending.
  • A-Cup Angst: From Episode 2 it's quite clear that both Alice and Aya have it, especially Aya.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Karen is based on a real person, called Caron.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The backstory part of the anime was expanded from a single strip, and it mainly mentioned when Shinobu spent a week with Alice with Shinobu only knowing "Hello" and Alice only knowing "Arigato."
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The ending credits (of both series) imply that all five girls' journey to England, but this doesn't actually happen during the series. The girls' do reunite in Britain, in a brief scene at the end of the movie: Thank You!! (2021).
  • Beach Episode: Episode 10 of Hello.
  • Big Eater: Genki Girl Yoko is probably one, seeing how she finished up all of her lunch before school. That was on top of her breakfast. She's taller and bustier (Aya'd Know) than most of the cast, but is not fat.
    • Karen also has some shades of this, in fact, it's even stated she can eat a lot of food without gaining weight.
  • Big Fancy House: The anime shows that Karen lives in a large estate complete with an equally massive manor. It's also implied that she's relatively wealthy as well. In fact, in Episode 9, it's revealed that Karen is the landlord of an entire apartment.
  • Blackmail: Karen's primary intent, in the first episode of Hello, was to dig up some dirt on Kuzehashi-sensei to get the teacher off her back. Her plan backfires.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • In the first episode, Burberry's in Heathrow was changed to "Surberry."
    • In Episode 5, it turned out Isami's camera is from CameOn (Canon).
    • In Episode 6, Youko is applying Chant-Aid (Band-Aid) bandages to Aya's sprain on her foot.
    • The English textbook the cast uses is Grown. It is supposed to be Crown, Japan's best-selling English textbook. (The version that the anime uses was unfortunately obsolete, though)
  • Blank White Eyes: Alice often has Blank Blue Eyes.
  • Blue with Shock: Applies to almost everyone, but Alice seems particularly prone.
  • Brutal Honesty: Alice and Karen when eating the food Aya made.
    Both: "It doesn't have much flavor."
    Youko: "Can't you be a bit more sensitive?!"
  • Call-Back: Youko saying "Sea!" and Karen saying "Sky!", when asked about what they want to do for summer in episode 8 of Hello!, to a similar exchange in the first season.
  • Chain of Deals: After reading the fairytale The Straw Millionaire Alice decides to try it for herself. She starts with a set of kokeshi dolls and eventually ends up with a ring worth 10000 yen.
  • Character Development: In the series a Running Gag is Shino's very poor English, and her seemingly hopeless dream of getting a job as an interpreter. It's revealed in the final manga, that after a year of university in England (and under Alice's tutelage) Shino can now speak perfect English, much to everyone's shock.
  • Childhood Friends: Between Shinobu, Youko and Aya, and between Alice and Karen.
  • Color Failure: Done by both Alice and Youko in the final episode of Hello.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • While everyone meets after their first day of the second year, Aya asks if Youko isn't sad that the two are separated. Youko says she at least has Alice, prompting Aya to run away while saying it's not fair. Youko then wonders if Aya wanted to be with Alice that badly.
    • After Youko takes a bite out of Aya's popsicle to make them even, Aya gets really flustered. Youko then wonders if Aya really wanted to eat that piece.
  • Conveniently Seated:
    • In the first year, the cast occupies both spots; Alice and Shinobu (circled red) in the middle of the front row, and Aya and Youko (circled in blue) at the window seats.
    • In the second year, they all sit at the front or near it, all in a line.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Episode 7 of Hello has Karen's mother punishing her daughter for causing trouble for Kuzehashi-sensei by eating a piece of "super yummy cake" in front of her.
  • Couch Gag: Occasionally, a single character sings the first part of Hello's intro. Alice introduces the opening song in episode 2, while Shino does it in episode 5, Karen does it in episode 7, Aya does it in episode 9, and finally Youko does it in episode 11.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: Aya, Youko, and Isami.
  • Cutesy Dwarf: Played for Laughs in the first episode, where Shinobu mentioned Alice looks like a doll. Alice was suitably freaked out. Of course she didn't understand her at the time.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Both the OP and the ED. The ending even features the girls singing at the camera together.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Averted. In the final episode of Hello!, Youko tries to fix her kid sister's teddy bear with duct tape, and fails. Hard. Shino has to fix it for her the old-fashioned way: via sewing.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening to Hello varies slightly from episode to episode. And in episode 5, the ending also starts to show slight edits as well. A shot with everyone holding hands in a circle, with the camera showing each character one at a time, is also added in episode 5.
  • Femininity Failure: Youko's attempt to be more girly in Episode 4.
  • Feud Episode: Subverted. During one morning Youko goes to pat some of Aya's bed hair down, and Aya slaps Youko's hand away. Aya frets over the incident for the rest of the day, but Youko had already forgiven her for it, and was more worried about being avoided throughout the day.
  • Fictional Document: In the anime, Shino is seen openly (and brazenly) reading a magazine called 'Blonde girls club'. The magazine exists only in the anime, the manga does imply Shino has a stack of blonde themed reading material.
  • Footnote Fever: Yen Press' translation of the first volume of manga has 10 pages of translator's notes. Granted, it's of a larger typeface and not as densely set as their usual footnote arrangement, but one can compare it with the lower end of GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class—three pages of Wall of Text.
  • Foreign Farewell: When walking home from school, Karen kisses Shinobu on the cheek as goodbye. Alice and friends freak out and the former chastises Karen.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Alice to both Karen and Karasuma in regarding to Shinobu (since Shinbou admires Karasuma and Karen really admires Shinobu). Regardless, she maintains a good relationship between the said two characters and any negative feelings are often Played for Laughs.
  • Gag Haircut: Aya becomes really distressed when her bangs are cut too short at one point. The others try to help her out, at least.
  • Genki Girl: Karen and Youko to some extent.
  • Gilligan Cut: At the start of the cast's second year, Aya is worried that they'll be split into separate classrooms. Alice replies that they're all under the same sky and not even national borders can separate them. The scene cuts to them looking at the classroom assignments and seeing that Shinobu, Aya, and Karen are in one class, and Alice and Youko are in another.
  • Girlish Pigtails:
    • Alice, an Ingenue with pigtails. Aya also wears long pigtails.
    • Youko had these in middle school. She gets them again briefly when she tries imitating Aya in order to be more "ladylike".
  • Gratuitous English:
    • In-Universe: In the opening Shinobu said the only English she knows is "Hello"... and "Guts Pose!" Her friends quickly lampshaded that as wasei-eigo.
    • Episode 1 has a more glaring mistake; where Mrs Carteret offered dessert, but pronounced as "desert."
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Karen's crash course in her father's mother language worked for the most part, but she has an audible accent - and the way she says "good morning" became an In-Universe Memetic Mutation.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • In Episode 11 Alice had that because of a dream which Shinobu dumped her because she was "too Japanese."
    • Both Alice and Aya had that in the last episode, when class arrangement means Alice goes with Youko and Aya goes with Shinobu and Karen.
  • Imagine Spot: Aya's imagination on what would happen to Shinobu if she got her hands on the computer, in episode 4.
  • Indirect Kiss: When Aya and Youko share a popsicle, Aya splits it unevenly, so Youko takes a bite out of Aya's portion to balance things out. Aya turns bright red from the events, implying this to be the case.
  • It's a Small World, After All: What are the chances that the beach that the girls go to in Episode 10, also is the same one that their teachers Karasuma and Kuzehashi visit, and on the same day at that? However ultimately averted, as neither party runs into each other, and while Shino and her friends eventually go home in the afternoon, Karasuma and Kuzehashi stay overnight and relax in one of the nearby resorts.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Downplayed in Episode 4. Aya thinks that Isami doesn't allow Shinobu to use the former's computer (with a lame excuse) was due to the latter's blonde fetish. Aya's Imagine Spot of what Shinobu would do if she finds pictures of blondes online makes Shinobu's response look similar to a horny guy's response to pornography.
  • Iyashikei: The series has a cast that is largely friendly to each other and there are no massive conflicts, so it's very relaxing.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Alice and Aya put up a delinquent act to appear more mature, complete with longer skirts, Aya putting on a face mask, and Alice pretending to smoke. Karen later emulates another style, complete with sarashi and intent to break the school's windows.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Potentially crossing into Breaking the Fourth Wall when Shinobu comments that if she dyed her hair blonde, she would have to be blurred out. Alice doesn't understand what she is talking about.
    • In episode 3, Karen is worried that she is having a hard time making friends with her classmates because of her Tsurime Eyes.
  • Lethal Chef: In episode 2 of the second season, when the girls ask Isami for help with their baking, she claims her best dish is fried eggs, burnt to a crisp, implying she's spectacularly bad at cooking, and get out of helping them that way.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: Happens in Episode 2 when Shinobu talks about dying her hair blonde when she graduates, in Episode 3 when the promise Karen made to Alice when they were younger was merely to return a borrowed pencil, and in Episode 6 when Youko wishes that Aya was her mom after tasting her improved cooking.
  • Location Theme Naming: All the Japanese characters are named after streets in Kyoto. Shinobu Omiya comes from Ōmiya-dōri, Aya Komichi comes from Aya-no-Kōji-Dōrinote , Youko Inokuma comes from Inokuma-Dōri, Karen Kujou comes from Kujō-Dōri, Sakura Karasuma is named after Karasuma-Dōri, Honoka Matsubara comes from Matsubara-Dōri, and Akari Kuzehashi comes from Kuzehashi-Dōri. Notably, all of the initial characters' names are based on roads that are more than a millennium old, first attested in 794 A.D..
  • Locker Mail: Youko receives what appears to be a love letter in her shoe locker. It turns out to be a practice letter written by Shinobu.
  • Love Bubbles: Shows up when Aya fixes Youko's collar.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Youko receives what appears to be a love letter in her shoe locker. Turns out Shinobu wrote a letter to Alice's parents, hoping Alice would translate it into English.
  • Luminescent Blush: Aya is prone to blushing a lot, especially around Youko. At one point her blush can be seen through a box.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-Universe example: Karen's mispronunciation of "good morning" spread to the entire class 1-A.
  • Musical Episode: Episode 12 ends with a musical story narrated by Shino.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Occurs quite often, but a noticeable instance is in episode 2 when Aya ruins a poignant moment with a logical comment. And again in Episode 6 when she's interrupted by Shinobu floating down the stream.
  • New Transfer Student: Alice and Karen. Aya turns out to have transferred in in the seventh grade, about three years before the present story. The difficulties for people under this trope to make friends is discussed in the third episode.
  • Nice Girl:
    • Karen is a very energetic and friendly half-British, half-Japanese girl and can get along with her fellow classmates to the point that they give her free snacks.
    • Alice is such a kindhearted sweetheart girl. She rarely holds any negative grudges and feelings towards anyone. In episode 7, Alice even helps improve and teach Shinobu some English language skills (which Shinobu will later get a good grade in the following English test) and even help cheers Shinobu up when Alice finds out that Shinobu didn't do that well on her math test.
    • Shinobu herself is a relatively friendly girl despite being the resident ditz (particularly when both Alice and Shinobu first met in episode 1).
    • This trope is lampshaded on Youko in Karen's pie chart as "50% comedic retorts, 50% kind-hearted."
    • Every character in general is ultimately very kind and friendly, and there is little to no real or actual antagonism between characters. This may as well be Nice Girls: The Series.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: Karen wears a parka with the Union Jack above the uniform. The others mention that it may be against the rules. Also Youko doesn't wear a ribbon and Alice wears a pink sweater.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent The anime largely avoids attempting British accents despite two main characters and several secondary characters being from there, in addition to a good chunk of screentime being spent there. The characters speak in a more neutral or American accent instead; their best attempt at giving the characters a British accent is having Alice pronounce "little" as "li'ull" a couple times, dropping the "T" sound.
  • Not What It Looks Like: After Aya and Youko try on each other's clothes, Aya changes back and says she'll clean Youko's outfit before returning it. Youko tries to fight for it back, only for her siblings to walk in while Youko is holding on to Aya in a state of undress.
  • Officially Shortened Title: The Japanese publisher requested the American anime licensees to use the title KinMoza!. Not so much with Yen Press, who are allowed to use the title Kiniro Mosaic for the manga translation.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In Episode 11, Alice, asked Karasuma whether she's going out with her boyfriend on Christmas. Karasuma replied, "For me, Christmas is a day for prayer." Alice responded with awe as she took that to mean Karasuma actually goes to the church on Christmas, unlike most Japanese who took the day for something completely unrelated. Karasuma probably meant she is praying for a boyfriend of her own.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Largely averted. Alice is short even by Japanese standards, and Karen is neither the tallest nor the bustiest of the cast. The remaining stereotypes, blonde hair and blue eyes, though, were played straight—the "kiniro" in the title refers, partly, to blonde hair.
  • Porn Stash: In the manga, Alice finds underneath Shino's bed, a magazine called 'Blonde girls photo collection: 100 blonde beauties'. She slides it back under the bed, vowing to forget she ever saw it.
  • Pose of Supplication:
    • Alice falls to her knees when her Japanese Delinquent plan fails to get the intended reaction.
    • Alice curls up when Karen hangs up without letting her speak to Shinobu once more.
    • Shinobu assumes the stance when she fails at a plate-spinning trick before she even began.
  • Product Placement: Signs for Coco-juku, the English school that is behind the English-language training in the anime, is commonly seen across town.
  • Purple Is the New Black: Aya has blue hair, but the dialogue implies it's supposed to be black.
  • Real-Place Background: During Shino's trip in the first episode, several real locations were featured, including Paddington Station in London and Kemble Station in South West England. The Cartelets' house is based on a country hotel in England.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Youko's red to Aya's blue. Hair is even color-coded for your convienece.
  • Sailor Fuku: Shinobu's big sister wears one.
  • Scooby Stack: Done by the girls in the first episode of Hello, while they followed Kuzehashi-sensei around the school.
  • Schoolgirl Series: The series focuses on a group of girls in high school.
  • Sensei-chan: Karasu-chan
  • Serious Business:
    • So, what should be done for the School Festival, maid cafe or teahouse? Owing to their respective Foreign Culture Fetishes, Alice and Shinobu did argue over that.
    • Blonde hair is this for Shino. If Alice so much as hints at dyeing hers, as in Hello! Episode 4, Shino completely flips out.
  • Shown Their Work: The depictions of England in the first episode are basically accurate; and the Carteret house was basically drawn out of a real English Bed & Breakfast in a small townnote . Also, as mentioned above, they at least tried their best to defy Gratuitous English, despite the Japanese are clearly not the best English speakers in the world.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In season 1 episode 6, Karen shows Shinobu an open Anime Time Kirara magazine with descriptions of Yuyushiki.
    • In season one, episode 8, Karen plays a samurai in a retelling of Snow White. When she uses her sword, she puts it away saying, "Once again, I've cut a worthless object", a clear nod to Goemon Ishikawa of Lupin III fame.
    • In season 1 episode 12, Karen reads a manga whose cover features a boy who suspiciously looks like Kirito from Sword Art Online and a girl who looks suspiciously like Silica from the same series. After reading the manga and clearly being inspired by it, Karen puts on the eyepatch of Rikka Takanashi from Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!. Just to let you know it's a shout out, Aya even calls it "middle school fantasies".
    • Shino's musical story in season 1 episode 12 refers to both the Disney and the original version of The Little Mermaid.
    • In season 2 episode 4, when Honoka sees Karen "giving energy (really shouting "energy in" at the plants)" she wonders if Karen is from a magic school in London, a clear shout-out to Harry Potter.
    • The end of episode 5 of Hello, with Shino sneaking off in the middle of the night, and warning Alice not to peek at what she's doing (doing late-night costume sewing), is a clear reference to the Japanese fairy tale The Crane Wife/The Grateful Crane.
    • In the opening scene of season 2 episode 9, Alice and Karen are playing a game of tennis. Karen is wearing Ojou Ringlets and a red bow, referencing Reika from the tennis series Aim for the Ace!. Youko immediately lampshades this, stating outright that they're acting out a scene from a manga. This scene serves as foreshadowing as Honoka reveals later in the episode that she is in the tennis club. Karen smashes the reference home.
    Karen: "She's trying to Aim for the Ace!!"
    • In episode 10 of Hello, after being smacked by Youko, Karen does her variation of the "Even my father never hit me!" quote from Mobile Suit Gundam.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Shinobu and her sister Isami, as Alice lampshaded.
  • Sleep Cute: At the end of the second-year beach trip, Shinobu, Alice, and Karen all sleep in one seat, and Aya and Youko in another.
  • Sneeze Cut: In the first episode of Hello, Alice says that Isami's eyes are full of love even when she scolds someone. Cut to Isami suddenly sneezing while walking outside elsewhere.
  • Status Quo Is God: Everthing stays constant, though one notable exception is the class arrangements when going to the second year; the former group of Shinobu, Alice, Aya, and Youko are split up such that Alice and Youko are in one class and Shinobu and Aya are with Karen in another class with a different homeroom teacher. This is the source of a few gags.
  • The Stinger:
    • Every episode has an extra scene after the credits, but before the On the Next preview.
    • Episode 12 shows a special end credits sequence before the episode is even halfway over.
  • Straight Man: Youko and Aya, particularly Youko.
  • Take a Third Option: While deciding on an activity for the cultural festival, the choices pare down to a maid cafe or a Japanese-style cafe. Everyone decides to combine the two themes together.
  • Taken for Granite: Alice in the final episode of Hello!, when Isami unknowingly shows Karen's recordings of her "Depressed Alice misses Shino" videos to everyone.
  • Threesome Subtext: As far as Shino is concerned, it would be best if she had both Alice and Karen. She even comments that she could have a blonde on each arm. She also likes to daydream about the two together.
  • Toast of Tardiness: In the Hello! intro, Youko can be seen dashing out of her house with toast in her mouth
  • Token Mini-Moe: Alice, the short, naive girl.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Youko as the Tomboy, Aya as the Girly Girl.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: When telling the group about her and Shinobu's younger days, Youko wore her hair like this in the flashback.
  • Translation Convention: Averted for most of the series, where it's usually made plain whenever someone speaks in English (in Alice or Karen's case). However, come the final episode of Hello!, things suddenly becomes muddled, as there are segments where both Alice and Karen are speaking in English, followed by the two speaking in obvious Japanese... except in the latter segments, we're also shown Alice's mum speaking (and understanding!) Japanese. Complicating matters is how later on, we're shown her speaking in English, and she actually comments how Alice and Karen now use Japanese whenever they talk to each other.
  • Translation Punctuation: In Yen Press' translation of the manga, whenever Alice or Karen speaks in English, it is indicated by using a script typeface and being quoted. However, for other characters, the same typeface is used for Inner Monologue.
  • Tsundere: Aya is the series' resident tsundere, but she's gentle and conflicted rather than nasty or violent.
  • Understatement: When Shinobu asks Aya to help her study, Aya asks how Shinobu did on her last test. Shinobu replies "not very well"... and holds up her test, revealing that she scored a zero. Aya is shocked that Shinobu said as much.
  • Weight Woe:
    • In episode 7:
    Aya: (checking her weight) "Is this scale broken?"
    Youko: "No, I don't think so."
    Aya: "It must be because of my clothes, then. That's it. That must be it." (starts taking off her shirt)
    Youko: "Face reality! And don't take off your clothes!"
  • Who's on First?: When Aya introduces herself to Karen, she says "Aya yo" with emphasis on "ya". Karen misinterprets it as Aya saying "Ayaya" and the two go back and forth on that point. Karen continues to call Aya "Ayaya" from then on.
  • Yonkoma: The manga follows a 4-panel format