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Manga / Kodocha

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"What's wrong with being cute and bossy?"

Despite her fame and her career, eccentric 11-year-old child actress Sana Kurata lives an almost normal life with her even-more-eccentric author mother, Misako Kurata, and her manager Rei Sagami. She even attends a public school, where she has many friends. But in school she comes into conflict with sullen, laconic Akito Hayama, de facto leader of the boys in her classroom.

Akito holds some secret blackmail on two of the teachers, allowing him to get away with a great deal of misbehavior — something which enrages Sana, especially when it disrupts the class. She vows to defeat Akito, and restore peace to the school. After several failures, she succeeds in beating Akito at his own game, but her victory over him is just the beginning of a surprising evolution of her relationship with the quiet, angry-seeming boy, as she discovers why he is so angry and starts trying to fix it...


Kodomo no Omocha ("Child's Toy", and frequently contracted to "Kodocha") is a fun, entertaining Shōjo series that mixes comedy and drama in equal parts. It was created by Miho Obana and published in Shueisha's Ribon magazine from 1994 to 1998. It got adapted into an anime series in 1996 and run into 102 episodes, directed by Akitaro Daichi, who is better known nowadays for directing series like the 2001 adaptation of Fruits Basket (which funnily enough, along with its 2019 remake, shares both of the two main character's English voices) and Now and Then, Here and There.

Sana's irrepressible energy and rapid-fire dialogue is second only to Excel of Excel Saga for her speed and outrageousness. (In fact, Excel's original North American voice actress, Jessica Calvello, once expressed an interest in voicing Sana in English.) But unlike Excel, Sana is a force to be reckoned with, despite her non sequiturs and baffling leaps of "logic". Possessed of an immense empathy and a willingness to help even someone she characterizes as her worst enemy, she plows through troubles and problems with a bold determination and a choice of skills from the acting school she attends.


During 2005, Funimation started to release licensed DVDs of the first half of the anime series in North America under its abbreviated title, "Kodocha". The original opening credits from the first season were replaced with the second season ones because of legal pressures exerted by Johnny & Associates, the management behind TOKIO, the band who recorded the opening "7 O'Clock News". Even the cameo of one of the members of the band was bowdlerized in both English and Japanese tracks to keep any mention of the group out of the North American release. Due to licensing contracts and low sales of the series, the second season was never dubbed or even released, and as of February 2012, Funimation lost the license of the series.

However in 2020, Discotek Media note  announced that they rescued the anime for release on SD Blu-ray in 2021, and this time all 102 episodes, albeit a subbed second season, will be released and to make things even sweeter, all the music rights have been cleared note .

Has nothing to do with the character of Omochao, nor is there any relation to Kodomo no Kodomo, Kodomo no Jikan, or Lotte no Omocha.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Ms. Ando falls madly in love with Zenjiro after the Hula competition in episode 14.
  • Adaptational Karma: The anime (episode 59, to be specific) downplays Naozumi's rabid fangirls' Karma Houdini status by giving them a slight Humiliation Conga (they run themselves ragged trying to stalk Sana again and eventually crash into a tree), along with the implication that the police will be involved for their actions.
  • A Day in the Limelight: A few anime exclusive episodes give focus to some minor characters that wouldn't have too much development in the manga, such as Tsuyoshi, Gomi, Mami and even Misako's ex-husband.
  • Abusive Parents: Volumes two and three heavily suggest that Tsuyoshi's dad is this. It's never brought up again, though, since his parents get divorced, and he moves away with his mom and his sister. Tsuyoshi's anger over people insulting his mother, could possibly be related to Domestic Abuse, as well.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime took a different direction from the manga at the very start of it. Some of the characters differ in personality, others get much more developed and some of the events got changed. Considering that the manga was a monthly series and that it was still being published in Japan at the time the anime was airing, the anime staff had little to work with while it was reaching its climax.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime had 102 episodes, divided into two seasons (51 episodes each), meaning that some story arcs were ridiculously expanded with filler, while also trying to make time between the events they were adapting from the manga.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Misako Kurata originally didn't feel any remorse about telling Sana that she was adopted when she was 5 years old, and that they made a promise to look for her biological mother, once they got famous in their own ways. However, after all those years, Misako got scared that the aforementioned woman would suddenly appear to take Sana away from her... or worse, that Sana would choose to be with her biological mother. Rei doesn't take the reveal lightly, either. Especially considering that he became an orphan at his late teens, and that he loves Sana as if she was his daughter and/or little sister.
    • Sana getting the "Mannequin Disease" is terrifying considering that there are no physical but emotional symptoms related to it. And since there is no known cure, no one has to wonder why Misako went to the "The Mansion of Water" filming location when Sana suddenly fell into depression after Hayama told her he was dating Fuuka.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In elementary school, every single one of the girls looked at Akito as if he was a bag worm or a hairy caterpillar... once he enters Middle School, everyone thinks he is acts cool (and "looked cute") when challenging professor Sengoku or went into a fight with Ishida.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Downplayed example between Akito and Sana (it takes a while for her to acknowledge, and then return, his affections), but Sana has a crush on Rei, while Tsuyoshi and Naozumi like Sana, and Fuuka and Akito try dating for a while but it doesn't work out.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Akito tries to confess that he likes Sana on Christmas Eve, in the middle of their mid-birthday party. He ends up kissing her again, but this time she is completely oblivious as to what the kiss meant.
  • Animal Metaphor: "Natural enemies" Sana and Akito are represented as a mongoose and cobra, respectively.
  • Animal Motifs: Whenever Akito is feeling mischievous (which is often), he gains a pair of ears and the tail of a cheetah. Sana's also referred to him as a "Lone Wolf" and "Monkey King", with appropriate Imagine Spots for both, and has also imagined him as a baby chick.
  • Anime Theme Song: The anime has two openings, "7 O’Clock News" by Tokio and "Ultra Relax" by Tomoe Shinohara.
    • "7 O’Clock News" is noticeable to even have short instrumental versions that were used on the next episode previews of the first sixteen episodes.
  • Art Evolution: The manga series took four years to be published, so it's expected to see this with Miho Obana's art, when the characters start to "grow up" as well. The Ribon's 60th anniversary (2015) extra chapter also gives more warm and detailed art changes within the series, since the manga's ending in 1998 (counting the Deep Clear crossover from 2010, as well, where the main characters get involved into it).
  • Ascended Extra: It's a given that the animated adaptation gave some characters as Mami or Gomi much more development or focus than their original counterparts. Even the MC from the "Kodomo no Omocha" TV Show was transformed into real-life comedian Zenjiro.
  • Author Avatar: Miho Obana appears several times as cameo in the manga (even as a waking up-bird, a la Akira Toriyama) and often more frequently in the anime, only saying "I'm Obana" (she is actually played by a professional voice actress, instead).
  • Back Story:
    • There's a glimpse about how Rei ended working in the Kurata's household (from Sana's perspective), and the quick mention about how unlucky he was after his break-up with Asako.
    • Akito's bet to kiss a girl in kindergarten is explained when Fuuka reveals that it was her whom he kissed, after they reencounter each other for the first time in years.
    • There is a special chapter that details the most dear memory of Akito's childhood with his family, which also explains why his cold personality is hard to break at the moment.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Akito can not stand be called "demon". Especially since it was how Natsumi started calling him after she blamed him for their mother's death.
    • Tsuyoshi is a kind kid who often has an innocent and kind personality, but he is not going to have second thoughts if someone insults his mother in front of him. Or even if someone insults or harms Aya.
  • Beta Couple: Aya and Tsuyoshi, at the very first moment they start dating. In the anime, Tsuyoshi even reccomends Akito to look at him and Aya, if he wants to succeed in confessing his love to Sana.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Sana ends up in a love triangle with Akito and Naozumi, which can be interpreted in two ways:
      • Akito is Sana's classmate who has a close (if complicated) friendship with her (Betty), while Naozumi is a super-popular celebrity who rarely hangs out with Sana (Veronica).
      • Naozumi is a Nice Guy who has a lot in common with Sana (Betty), Akito is an uncommunicative "bad boy" who has trouble expressing his feelings (Veronica).
    • Akito's love triangle with Sana and Fuuka also has two interpretations:
      • Sana is his long-time crush and close friend who understands him the most (Betty) and Fuuka is the newcomer (Veronica).
      • Fuuka is a normal student who is open about her feelings (Betty), Sana is a popular celebrity who is often away for work, and is Oblivious to Love (Veronica).
  • Big Ball of Violence: Happens on a few occasions to express chaos.
  • Big Fancy House: The Kurata’s household is expected to be big partially because of Misako's profits as an author. However, this gets expanded in the anime, where it's revealed that her parents are rich (they are owners of a hot springs resort) which also justifies the size of their house, too.
  • Bishōnen: It’s often mentioned in the series that Naozumi is a pretty and cute boy, and even Akito has fangirls (however, his personality is another whole story). Rei may count as well, especially when Sana first interacted with him, since she thought that he looked "cute" even if he was a homeless young man.
  • Blatant Lies: Miss Andoh manages to save face with the students by claiming her proficiency exam was all a ruse to get everyone to learn a lesson about friendship. And they buy it.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine:
    • Sana often falls into the Straight Man role (even with her tsukkomi's weapon, a rubber hammer) with everyone when they do their own nonsenses.
    • Fuuka, being similar in Sana in some aspects (she is also from Osaka, where manzai comedy routines are more common), also falls into the Straight Man role... especially when Sana or Akito are around.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • In the anime, the identity of Sana's biological father was changed to a man called Takeshi Gojo, who her mother Keiko had a relationship with despite how much older he was than her. Still controversial, but in the original manga Sana's father was Keiko's uncle.
    • In the Japanese release of the 3rd episode, it's blatantly suggested that both Mr. Tanaka and Ms. Mitsuya were actually having sex in the nurses' office, which is why Akito blackmailing them was such a huge deal. However, in the English dub, it's glossed over as the two simply kissing.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Sana's personality crashed with Akito's personality at school, at first. She starts to know him better. He gets her... and she is confused about it. She loses him. He gets her again, She was too close to lose him again.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Babbit, being the Greek Chorus of the anime, often does this, when he is interacting not only with the viewer, but the characters themselves on screen.
    • The manga has its moments, but they are less prominent than the anime's.
  • Brick Joke: When Akito gives Sana her First Kiss, a couple classmates on the background tell the audience that Akito gave his first kiss when he was a kindergartener, and when he admits it, they also add they had bet 10 yen each he couldn't do it. Halfway in the series, the girl he kissed as a kindergartener (Fuuka) returns to Tokyo and slap him for that.
  • Broke Episode: More accurately, a broke filler mini-arc. Sana and her family get evicted and end up living at Misako's editor old appartment, and not only that, but Sana gets blacklisted from doing most of her acting gigs.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Just after Sana starts middle school and when she agrees to film "The Mansion of Water", things get really serious around her. This is more emphasized in the manga compared to the anime, where the content varies in some degrees. If Sana got it bad when the Gene Hunting was going on, it becomes emotionally worse for her and everyone involved, once the plot advances.
  • Character Development: For a shoujo comedy series, almost if not all the characters receive great development regarding their ambitions and how they eventually overcome their pasts.
  • Child by Rape: It's hinted to be the case in the manga with Sana. Keiko gave birth to her when she was 13 or 14 years old and her dad was not only a much older man, but also Keiko's uncle (although she claimed she loved him, this is sadly something child sexual assault victims sometimes convince themselves of to help them deal with the abuse, although it's ambiguous whether this was Obana's intention). In the anime, it's rather the contrary, since it is implied that, yes, Keiko got pregnant when she was a teenager, but Sana's real father appears long after this event and he is apparently a good man, so it's questionable he could have raped Keiko.
  • Childhood Friends: Akito and Tsuyoshi have been friends since kindergarten, and they know each other too well, ever since.
  • Christmas Episode: Sana and Akito celebrate their mid-birthdays during Christmas Eve, with all their friends in Sana's house.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: At the end of the manga, Sana and Akito reunite Fuuka with her elementary school crush, Takaishi. And beyond the finale, during Deep Clear's timeline, Naozumi is dating a guy because according to him, if he was dating another girl, he would be constantly being reminded by the love he had for Sana.
  • Continuity Cameo: Babbit may be an anime-exclusive character, but it doesn't mean he is an outsider of the final volume's group character portrait cover.
  • Cool Shades: As a way to commit himself to Sana, Rei sports a pair of sunglasses when he is working as her manager. Originally, it was also because Sana didn't want anyone to ever look at his "beautiful eyes".
  • Creator Cameo: Miho Obana often appears in the manga and anime as a passerby or an extra, sometimes even mumbling "I'm Obana" or "Obana here".
  • Crossover:
    • There's an out-of-continuity crossover chapter drawn by Obana and Mihona Fujii (mangaka most known nowadays for GALS!). Counting as cameo, Erika Sakurai from Fujii's work, Passion Girls, also appeared in the series as well.
    • Deep Clear is a crossover special released for Obana’s 20th anniversary of her career, with her ongoing series, Honey Bitter, where the cast of Kodocha has an important plot role in the story.
  • Dancing Theme: Both openings offer a rhythmic choreography, but it's "Ultra Relax" the one that takes the cake. There's even a Neon Genesis Evangelion MAD parody!
  • Death by Childbirth: Koharu Hayama died right after she gave birth to Akito. Played for the melodrama, this badly traumatized the whole Hayama family, distancing themselves from each other, for years - Fuyuki often ignored his children, Natsumi ends up abusing her brother and blames him for that fact ever since, and Akito has a Freudian Excuse over it. This also influences Akito in Deep Clear fearing that Sana, who is pregnant, would have a very difficult childbirth, and they fight over this. Shuri eventually reconciled them together, and this fear is later subverted, when Sana is safe and healthy after she gives to birth.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Once Sana has the opportunity to blackmail Akito, she changes her mind and intends to help him to improve his family's situation. After this got resolved, this led up to both of them earning some respect to each other.
  • Denser and Wackier: The anime compared to the manga; the anime has a much wackier sense of humor and doesn't touch on as many of the manga's serious moments. While Sana is still a Genki Girl in the manga, the anime cranks her energetic nature Up to Eleven. The addition of Babbit also brings in more instances of Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Diary: Sana keeps a diary as her mother encouraged her to write everything she goes through in it, since she was a child.
  • Distant Finale:
    • Mostly prominent in the manga where, some years after the melodramatic climax happens, it offers a view on what Sana and her friends are doing before enrolling in high school, when Akito announces that he also returns to Japan to see her.
    • Deep Clear also offers a more distant closure after these events, while also being a crossover special with Honey Bitter, giving an insight of a Babies Ever After ending for both Sana and Akito.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The 2nd ED theme, "DAIJOU-BU", is sung by Babbit's voice actress, Tomoko Hikita (credited midway in the anime as "TOMO"). The song is often mentioned and referred in the anime for the already Fourth Wall breaker Babbit, too.
  • Dogged Nice Guy:
    • Tsuyoshi felt he was that to Sana, especially because he didn't know it was just for a misunderstanding he had from her affections.
    • Naozumi to Sana. He thinks he is more capable to be with Sana initially because he shares the same career and they have a similar past; however, Sana only looks at him as a friend or as a brother, rather than just boyfriend material.
    • Fuuka becomes the dogged nice girl to Akito after they start their relationship. She is similar to Sana in some aspects, but she is also different than her. However, once she realizes that there is a deep connection that Akito shares with Sana, she decides to end their relationship for her friends' own sake.
  • Easily Forgiven: Pointedly averted; Mami doesn't initially forgive Akito after he tried to drown her for calling him a demon, and when she learns about it Misako explicitly tells Sana it's his own fault for his abuse of her.
  • Family of Choice: None of the members of the Kurata household have any blood relations, but all consider each other family as the time together during their family portrait shows. Sana was abandoned at birth and legally adopted by Misako, Shimura is the family's quiet maid who cares just as much about the family and was revealed in the manga to be a long lost friend of Misako's, Rei was brought into the family by Sana after his parents died and was left homeless, and there's also Misako's pet chipmunk Maro.
  • Feud Episode: Episode 33 has Mr. Tanaka and Ms. Mitsuya bickering with each other after the two disagree on what Ms. Mitsuya will wear during their wedding and their overall married life in general. The two teachers then side with the boys and girls respectively on who should handle the cleaning responsibilities in the classroom. Of course, Sana intervenes and not only divides the classroom, but along with the two teachers, starts into all-out war between the boys and the girls, creating a Romeo and Juliet-esque subplot between Tsuyoshi and Aya and Akito just flat out not giving a crap about the ordeal.
  • First Kiss: This is the one that is very important for Sana and Akito's relationship, when they are in the middle of a school trip at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office. Although it wasn't a first for Akito, the kiss is both surprising and terrifying for poor Sana. And it brought hilarious results in the anime, as her reaction causes a good deal of traffic accidents, when they were at the top of one of the building's towers.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: Tokyopop released the manga as "Kodocha: Sana's Stage".
  • Forgotten First Meeting:
    • Sana and Naozumi actually met when they both were babies in the Kamura Institution, just before Sana got adopted.
    • Akito and Fuuka happened to know each other before she moved back to Tokyo. That is because they went to kindergarten together. Then, in middle school, she starts remembering he was that Akki-chan who kissed her.
  • Freudian Excuse: Akito's cold and violent personality is a result of the lack of communication that his family had at home. With a Missing Mom and a workaholic father, things weren't easy either for him or his sister. Natsumi even often abused Akito and treated him as a "monster" because she resented him and put all the blame of their mother's death on him.
  • Gang of Bullies: At the start of the series, there was a group of kids that gave a lot of trouble to their teacher (even using blackmail to treat her!) and some of their other classmates. Akito initially was the leader of this group, too.
  • Gecko Ending: Around the last quarter of the anime, the staff added an "America" Arc where Sana goes to the US with Naozumi for an acting gig. The anime staff adapted the rest of the subsequent events of the reveal that Akito and Fuuka are dating and their eventual break-up, but they also added episodes unrelated to the manga that, instead, offered some closure to some unresolved plots in the anime's story.
  • Gene Hunting: An early major story arc involves a promise that both Misako and Sana got into once they got famous in their own ways, to look for Sana's birth mother.
  • Good Parents: There's Misako, and when he finally realizes what his home situation is really like, Akito's dad becomes one as well. In one episode where Akito is framed for shoplifting, his father gives a long speech about how he expects Akito to come forward with the truth on the situation. All Akito says is he didn't do it, and his father adamantly believes him just because he has too much faith in Akito.
  • Gratuitous English: Sana uses it quite a lot in the in the original Japanese releases, mostly because she is also a Malaproper, and some words sound similar to others in Japanese.
  • Greek Chorus: In the anime, there's Babbit, who often breaks the fourth wall with the viewer and the characters themselves to comment on their actions.
  • Happily Adopted: Sana was found by Misako when she was only a baby, and she officially adopted her some time after that. Even though they both promised to do a Gene Hunting for Sana's biological mother (and they successfully found her), Sana just couldn't go to her arms, because Misako was her one and only mama.
  • Head Pet: Maro-chan, who was based on Obana's own pet, lives on Misako's extravagant hairdos.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sana has a couple of moments shown in the entire series that led up to her emotional depressive disorder, the "Mannequin Disease".
    • When she was a child, not so long after Misako told her she was adopted. She returned from school with a bad grade, fearing that her mom wouldn't love her and that she would send her back to the Orphanage of Love where she spent some time in.
    • In middle school, while she is more prone to fall in depression like when she found out Akito was dating Fuuka, it hit bottom when he told her that he was going overseas to get his arm cured, and since she wasn't used to be far away from one of her loved ones...
  • Hyperspace Mallet: Sana, along with other characters, frequently pull out those iconic squeaky piko-piko mallets!
  • Identical Stranger: In the anime's New York arc, Sana and Naozumi run into an American lookalike of Akito named Brad, and his mom, who is an American lookalike of Mrs. Shimura, the Kurata's maid. Although Brad is too similar to Akito in appearance, he is more talkative, direct and meaner than him (even if he acts like this just to protect Cecil Hamilton, since he likes her).
  • Idol Singer: Anime-only. Sana has the opportunity to be in an idol unit along two other girls, when one of Zenjiro's shows is cancelled. There's another episode where a fake Sana is also offering a singing event to her fans, and some characters (Akito included) think the real one actually planned it.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Misako Kurata purposely wanted to adopt some fun hairstyles because not long after she found out she couldn't conceive, she thought that if she couldn't be a "normal woman" anymore, then she must had to start living as a "strange" one instead, overjoying her life and expressing herself through them.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Rei and Sana share a friendly-parental relationship even if he was hired originally just to be a nanny/guard/manager/"boyfriend". When Sana first met Rei, he was a College dropout, while she was just 9 years old.
  • Instant Bandages: Too many to count, applied to people, cars, you name it.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Sana is the one who encouraged Rei to reunite with his old girlfriend, Asako.
    • Naozumi eventually gives up his love pursuing for Sana, only to see her happy with the boy she truly loves.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: After everything that Akito went through with his family's problems, he shows greater respect to Sana and starts treating his friends a bit better than before, even if he hasn't changed that much on the outside.
  • Karma Houdini: In the manga, the girls who attack Sana at the movie shoot don't get any punishment for breaking her leg and beating her up with sticks and seem to feel little remorse for their actions.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Sana has a habit of forgetting unpleasant memories (and the people it involves) when she suffers from Heroic BSODs.
  • Late for School: The first episode of the anime is an straight example of this, when Sana wakes up late, she does her routine, and for her bad luck, Rei drives SO SLOW (until she freaks him out) before arriving to school. Subverted when she is about to start her first day at middle school, basically doing an opposite (and more calmed) routine... but it was All Just a Dream, and she gets late to school, anyways.
  • Like Brother and Sister: How Sana sees her relationship with Naozumi in the first place, even after his love confession.
  • Love at First Punch: Sana very harshly calls Akito out after she finds out Ms. Mitsuya is blackmailed, and after seeing how he treated Mami. Akito falls in love with her, predictably. Also a subversion, since the first girl who called him out was Sana's friend Mami... who committed the mistake of calling him "demon", not knowing it was his Berserk Button. That ended very badly.
  • Love Dodecahedron:
    • At the start: Sana "loved" Rei. Tsuyoshi liked Sana. Akito loved Sana. But Rei "loves" Sana as a sister or a daughter.
    • Later: Sana likes Akito. Naozumi loves Sana. Akito loves Sana. Fuuka loves Akito. Sana loves Akito.
  • Malaproper: Sana has a tendency to massacre proverbs, and so does Tsuyoshi when he's trying to impress her.
  • Meaningful Name: Sana is named after her birthday, March (San) 7 (Na).
  • Merchandise-Driven: The anime series counted with Tomy (present-day known as Takara Tomy) as part of the production committee. Every single toy that Sana had (the Burucha and the Nopia, for example) was real. It should be noted that this line of toys didn't exist in the original manga itself. However, finding them in auction sites is very difficult, nowadays. The most valuable of them is probably the Polaroid Camera that was available as a series-related edition.
  • Mood Whiplash: There are moments where you are not going to know if you are crying out of joy or because of the sadness. Or both. Sometimes, Sana's funny antics can balance the mood, though.
  • Must Make Her Laugh: Gender reversed. Sana always tries to make Akito laugh, or at the very least smile. It actually works once in a while!
  • My Beloved Smother: Exclusive on the anime. Misako's mother, Shizuka Kurata, is often trying to get her to take on the responsibilities of running the family hot springs. When this fails, Shizuka tries it on Sana. It doesn't work either.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Akito's sister Natsumi has this reaction when she sees the TV movie Sana and Asako were in that blatantly parallels the situation with Akito's family, and she realizes just how horribly she treated Akito all these years. Akito's dad has a more subdued version of this.
    • Ms. Ando also has this reaction when she remembers that a teacher's job is to help the students understand their work, not enforce arbitrary grading, and realizes her proficiency test is making her look like a heartless monster.
  • Narrator: Both Babbit and Sana narrate at different points in the anime series.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between:
    • The girls: Aya is very calm and sweet (nice), Fuuka is a bit bossy and selfish (mean), and Sana is also a bit bossy and Hot-Blooded, but still a compassionate All-Loving Hero (in-between).
    • The boys: Tsuyoshi is usually innocent and friendly (nice), Akito is a brutally honest Perpetual Frowner (mean), and Naozumi is a Dogged Nice Guy but can be rude at times (in-between).
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Some celebrities make some sort of "cameo" in the anime, such as Takuya Kimuchi, based on SMAP's member, Takuya Kimura. This is also applied in the first episode of the Funimation dub, due to some licensing issues, with the Tokio band's name changed to "Kyoto".
  • The Nose Bleed: Sana's Stalker with a Crush, Ishida has chronic nosebleeds. Other characters too, though much less often.
  • Opposites Attract: Akito and Sana are complete opposites of each other in regard of their personalities. Akito is more violent, serious, and perhaps he is more of a realist kid than the other children that appear in the series. Sana, however, is more energetic and an idealist. Both grew up in different situations, and yet, they both learned secret aspects from themselves...
  • Orphanage of Love: The Kamura Institution, where Naozumi was raised, and Sana spent a time until she was officially adopted. Naozumi cares very much for the institution, that he adopted "Kamura" as his last name, and he gives them part of his money's gainings, to maintain his adoptive mother, friends and "siblings".
  • Out of the Inferno: After the house where "The Mansion of Water" was being filmed was burning, and Sana was still harmed from her leg... she manages to make her dramatic exit just in time (while the others were worried that Sana would die in there), and this ends up being the perfect scene of the movie.
  • Parental Abandonment: Obana likes to play a lot of this in the series —
    • Sana was abandoned by her birth mother Keiko (who actually gave birth to her at age thirteen, and in the manga Sana's birth may have been product of sexual abuse), and the less said about her birth father the better except in the anime, where he's actually a really nice guy. Her adoptive mother, Misako, is divorced from a parasitic money-leech.
    • Akito's mother Koharu is dead and his father Fuyuki is so absorbed in his work that he never sees his children (though to his credit, he does try be a good dad once he and Natsumi get over themselves).
    • Tsuyoshi's father is estranged from the family, and it's implied that he physically abused Tsuyoshi; might be the case why he reacts so strongly to people insulting his mother.
    • Rei's parents died in an accident not so much long after he broke up with Asako. He thought they were rich... but they also had lots of money debts, resulting him to go homeless for a while.
  • Pilot: There was an OVA, produced by J.C. Staff, released in 1995 as part of Ribon's 40th anniversary celebration. It's more closer to the manga's tone, and only adapts the first important arc (Akito's fractured family problems and Rei's Old Flame resolve). It also has different character designs and an entire different voice acting cast, led by Chisa Yokoyama as Sana and Megumi Ogata as Akito.
  • Playground Song: Some of the eyecatches used in more than half of the series, like the "Drawing Sana" and "Drawing Babbit" song, are directed to children. In the "Middle School" season, there's also Babbit's songs to learn to count numbers in English and Japanese.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Happens all the time, mostly in the romantic relationships:
    • Akito and his father used to have a good relationship when he was three... Then his sister, who resented him for their mother dying giving birth to him, told him why she targeted him and that their father too hated him, ruining their relationship. Justified because Akito was three.
      • Having guessed something was off, Akito's father tried to repair the relationship, and was actually succeeding... Then he made a joke about two spheric gasometers being actually dinosaur eggs (Akito loves dinosaurs) and Akito didn't hear him admitting it was a joke, ruining everything when he found out what they actually were because he thought his father had willingly lied to him.
    • Before the series, Rei and Asako had broken up because he thought she was leaving him to become an actress, and disappeared before she could clear everything out.
    • When in Osaka, Fuuka was very friendly with a boy named Nagaishi, and everyone, including them, expected them to get together soon. Then Fuuka remembered she had her first kiss from Akito in kindergarten and, surprised, shouted about it... And the boys of her school decided she had a boyfriend, with Nagaishi avoiding her every time she tried to explain.
    • The whole debacle of rumors and gossip stating that Sana and Naozumi are a couple while they film a movie. Not only does Akito decide to date Fuuka as sort of a rebound, but Sana gets physically assaulted by rabid Naozumi fans to the extent that they literally break her leg. When Sana finally returns to school after shooting the movie none of her friends ask her about Naozumi, including Akito. They all just assume she'll just talk about her relationship with them, but then they all get insulted when she doesn't. Sana only finds out they believed the rumors when she feels left out when hanging out with two couples (Akito and Fuka, Tsuyoshi and Aya) until they bring up Naozumi on topic.
  • Punctuality Is for Peasants: This happens when Sana meets other two famous young actresses to work on a drama together. One of them, Mayu Tobita, is a competitive Alpha Bitch who intentionally shows up late for this reason. She's disappointed when Sana shows up even later, except that, in Sana's case, it was accidental.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: The teacher, Mr. Tanaka, pulls such pathetic Puppy-Dog Eyes that Sana has to tell him to stop because he's gonna make her cry.
  • Puppy Love: It needs to be considered that, from the very start, Akito & Sana or Tsuyoshi & Aya (without forgetting about Naozumi & Sana, and Akito & Fuuka) are 11-13-year-old kids.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Misako actually hands out a few of these. She raised Sana with an even mix of independence and rules, and often never lets Sana back out of the consequences when she does something wrong. She delivered a subdued and absolutely scathing one to Sana's birth mother Keiko over abandoning Sana when she was a baby, regardless of how young Keiko was at the time, followed by a slap in the face.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Rei is literally begging on the streets when Sana finds him and brings him home with her to be her "boy toy" (of course, Sana has no idea what being a boy toy actually entails). After that, he starts working for Sana's mother as Sana's combination manager/bodyguard/nanny/father figure.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: Tokio's contract prohibited their music to be used overseas so Funimation used the second season's opening in place of the first. Furthermore, a member of Tokio cameos in the first episode while the forbidden song plays in the background. The English dub track simply renames the band "Kyoto" and again swaps in the 2nd opening song. On the Japanese track... silence.
  • Romantic False Lead: Both Naozumi and Fuuka are textbook examples to both Sana and Akito, respectively. They even spend a time as their partners (varying to some degrees in both the anime and the manga), but eventually Naozumi and Fuuka give up their feelings for them.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Sengoku is clearly built on hate towards his students when he gets introduced in the series. Akito becomes his favorite victim (because he reminds him of a guy he knew in high school).
    • And it turns to worse when Akito reveals an embarrassing secret about him to the whole class, something he provoked him to do beforehand. He goes so far as to take Akito to the Teacher’s Room not to talk to him BUT to punch him in the stomach. Then, he got him suspended when he fought back.
    • In the manga, things got very serious once Kazuyuki Komori disappears, since Sengoku does not trust in Akito and believes he is much of an evil abuser and bad student. Once he loses function of his right hand, Sengoku's actions get straight to abuse and humiliation. Sengoku takes advantage of the situation, when in class, he ends up forcing Akito to write his group's lab work on the chalkboard with his left hand. And when he makes some progress, Sengoku forces him to do it again because he "can't understand it". The rest of the class watch this with so much discomfort (however, after Akito finished, he ends up grading it as rightnote ). No wonder why, when Sana hears about this, she becomes absolutely pissed off to know why he did it.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Sana is a Genki Girl and this works with both her main love interests, The Stoic Akito and the calm and reasonable Naozumi.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Sana proposes to Akito to have sex as a way in which both could see each other as adults, before he went overseas. When he agrees to do it, the mood gets ruined at the very moment that Sana proves to be too ticklish. Fortunately, Rei and Misako barge in before anything else can happen and Sana receives an earful from her mother about what a bad idea this was.
  • Shout-Out: Tony the Tiger appears in an American corn flakes box made by a Kellogg's parody called "Gallop's", with the box itself looking similar to the normal Frosted Flakes box.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Also called "Kodomo no Omocha" or "Child's Toy", this show is actually based on a real Japanese TV show that sits 30 kids in a simulated schoolroom with a standup comedian as the "teacher"/emcee.
    • There's also the two movies that Sana is shown to star in (a family prime-time drama and a ghost story film), a stage production of what looks like Tosca, and a mind-boggling number of television, print, and billboard ads.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Tsuyoshi and Aya regularly act as a newlywed couple after they started dating.
  • Snake Versus Mongoose: "Natural enemies" Sana and Akito are represented as a mongoose and cobra, respectively.
  • Stern Teacher: Parodied and subverted with Ms. Ando, who in contrast to the fun and jolly Principal Narunaru, willingly acts like a demon just for the sake of the children. Her original goal for becoming a teacher was to make children happy, but she started becoming absurdly strict towards the students and other teachers alike, worrying more about arbitrary grading and enforcing the rules. Episode 24 has her fluctuate between a super hero and a demonic entity just to get a "making out" photo of Ms. Mitsuya and Mr. Tanaka, complete with an evil laugh!
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Sana's biological mother, Keiko, didn't even know she was pregnant until she gave to birth. She assumed she was being ill, and the pregnancy didn't show up either.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In the anime’s 10th episode Sana tries to cheer up Tsuyoshi’s sister Aono who thinks her store bought egg with hatch into a chicken by giving her an actual chick and swapping it out. Akito tries to explain why this is a bad idea but Sana won’t hear it. By episode 26, the chick Pikoyo has grown into a rooster and because the Sasaki’s now live in an apartment, The constant crowing bothers anyone and everyone within earshot because it simply won’t shut up. Sana tries to own up to her mistake by taking care of the bird, but finds she also can’t accommodate a noisy rambunctious fowl. In the end Pikoyo is simply given to Jinbo Middle School as part of their farm.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In-universe example, when he believed that Sana and Naozumi were together, Akito dated Fuuka because, for a strange coincidence, she resembled Sana in both looks and character.
    • Brad, in terms of his physical appearance, is practically an American version of Akito.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Sana's birth mother Keiko was merely fourteen years old when she gave birth to her.
  • Theme Naming: Akito's Missing Mom loved the seasons and everything about them, and named her children after the season they were born in. The "aki" in Akito is "autumn" and the "natsu" in Natsumi is "summer." This theme naming extends to the entire family: Akito's mother's name (Koharu) includes "haru" for "spring," and his father's name (Fuyuki) includes "fuyu" for winter.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: In a rather literal application of the trope, Tomomi Ayanohanamarukoji becomes Tomomi Ayano in the English dub.
  • Unflinching Walk: At the climax of the shooting of "The Mansion of Water", Sana walks out of the burning building literally seconds before it collapses behind her, without batting an eyelid or breaking character at all.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Zig Zagged a bit, as Sana didn't realize that Akito genuinely liked her and brushed off almost every hint Akito gave her as just being a great friend or a pervert. By the time that she finally did and starting having feelings towards him, he was already with Fuuka, and Sana proceeds to start a relationship with Naozumi. However, both Fuuka and Naozumi realize that Sana and Akito still love each other deep down, break up with them, and leave the door open for them to finally start a relationship.
  • Yoko Oh No: Sana is attacked by Naozumi's fangirls due to them acting "very friendly" while filming "The Mansion of Water" (the rumors around the two during the shoot didn't help at all). It was so bad, that they even break her leg!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Kodomo No Omocha


Kodocha - Hey Sana, Watch Out!

After standing up to Akito, Sana notices that he's become a loner and begins to worry about him. Perhaps a bit too much..

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / WatchOutForThatTree

Media sources:

Main / WatchOutForThatTree