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Manga / Kodocha
aka: Kodomo No Omocha

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101 episodes later and you'll easily forget that these two were once arch-enemies.
"♫ I slept in this morning, that's not unusual,
made it to school, which has become so brutal!
All because Akito, the monster, my nemesis,
put him in a lab, his brain needs analysis!
Makes the teacher cry, no work gets done,
The class is a monkey house, and he's the lead one!
He makes me feel crazy, like I'm a trapped mouse.. ♫"
Sana Kurata, singing "Sana's Sweet Mood"

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 private school, Jinbou Elementary School, where she has many friends and admirers. But at school, she comes into conflict with the sullen, laconic Akito Hayama, the so-called "boss monkey" of the boys in their 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 by 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, sardonic boy, as she discovers why he is so angry and starts trying to fix it...

Kodocha, contracted from Kodomo no Omocha (こどものおもちゃ, literally meaning "Child's Toy") is a shoujo manga created by Miho Obana which was published in Shueisha's Ribon magazine from 1994 to 1998, being one of the magazine's most well-known series along with Chibi Maruko-chan and Marmalade Boy (which the series and two main characters are frequently compared to). It was adapted into a 30-minute OVA by J.C. Staff in late 1995 for Ribon's 40th anniversary before being followed by a full television anime series created by Studio Gallop just a few months later in 1996. The television anime was the last in a series of four Ribon anime adaptations produced by Nihon Ad Systems (NAS) and Gallop that succeded Genji Tsuushin Agedama and preceded Cowboy Bebop and Medabots on TV Tokyo's 6PM Friday timeslot, coming after Hime-chan's Ribbon, Akazukin Chacha, and Nurse Angel Ririka SOS. The TV series aired 102 episodes through 1998 and was directed by Akitaro Daichi, a close friend of Obana's who was a storyboard artist and episode director for Akazukin Chacha, later nabbing his first shot as the lead director during Nurse Angel Ririka SOS's run. He is better known nowadays for directing series like the 2001 anime adaptation of Fruits Basket (which hilariously, along with its 2019 remake, shares both of the two main characters' English voices) and Now and Then, Here and There.

Following the manga's conclusion in 1998, the manga series won in the shoujo category at the 22nd Kodansha Manga Award event the same year. Even long after the franchise has ended, it is still regarded as one of Ribon's flagship classics, occasionally popping up every once in a while in Japan. 2010 saw the release of Deep Clear, a small crossover between this series and Obana's then-running Cookie-published series, Honey Bitter, which featured older versions of Sana and Akito as well as appearances of their friends and family. In 2015, the franchise was given a bit more attention as a way of celebrating Ribon's 60th anniversary. The manga was given a one-shot revival by Obana herself titled Days Without Anything, which takes place around the time of Sana's twelfth birthday. In the same year, Akitaro Daichi returned to direct a stage play that ran from August 20 through August 30th of that year and is notable for having Kotono Mitsuishi (known for Usagi Tsukino, Misato Katsuragi, and Genji Tsuushin Agedama's Ibuki Heike) play the role of Misako.

In 2002, the series made its US debut with the full manga series being licensed to Tokyopop and released under the title of Kodocha: Sana's Stage, alongside its Ribon-relative, Marmalade Boy, but unlike with Marmalade Boy, Tokyopop wasn't responsible for the distributing the anime adaptation. In 2005, Funimation dubbed the first half of the anime series in English and began to release licensed DVDs of it in North America simply under its abbreviated title, Kodocha. The first season's opening credits theme, "7 O'Clock News" by TOKIO, was replaced with the second opening, "Ultra Relax" by Tomoe Shinohara (which normally plays from episode 45 and onward), due to legal pressures exerted by Johnny & Associates (currently known as Starto Entertainment), the management behind TOKIO, who also was the management behind SMAP, that band that previously worked on many of the theme tunes for Hime-chan's Ribbon and Akazukin Chacha. Even the cameo of TOKIO's drummer, Masahiro Matsuoka, in the first episode was edited in both the English and Japanese tracks to keep any mention of the group out of the North American release. Though SMAP's most popular band member, Takuya Kimura, had a caricature in the anime's thirtieth episode named Takuya Kimuchi, who was left untouched because of his name mostly being altered even in the original release. While the dub at least ended on a good note, finishing the first full 51-episode season, the second season was never dubbed or even released in the US, presumably due to licensing contracts and low sales of the series, and as of February 2012, Funimation lost the license of the series.

However, in 2020, around the time the series saw a Blu-Ray release in Japan, Discotek Media* announced that they rescued the anime for a US release on SD Blu-ray, and this time all 102 episodes, albeit a subbed second season (nicknamed Kodocha: The Middle School Years), have been acquired and to make things even sweeter, all the music rights have been cleared*. The first season was re-released in late November of 2021, not too far from the anime's 25th anniversary, with the second season released on May 30th, 2023. In 2022, the series also took center stage with its three aforementioned TV Tokyo predecessors and another Ribon series that aired on the station, Full Moon to form the Shibuya-based pop-up eatery known as the Eternal Shojo Cafe.

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.

Pullin' down the ropes, now onto the tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: A sweet and kindhearted yet clumsy girl is voiced by Laura Bailey and becomes friends with a brooding boy voiced by Jerry Jewell who feels unaccepted by his family and falls in love with the girl after she offers him kindness and fixes his family issues, all in an anime series directed by Akitaro Daichi. That certainly sounds familiar.
  • 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.
  • Adaptational Name Change: The anime adds Zenjiro's name to the title of the in-universe show, turning it into "Zenjiro no Kodomo no Omocha", or "Zenjiro's Child's Toy".
  • 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 Gomi, Mami, and even Misako's ex-husband.
  • 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 development, and some of the events get 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.
    • While the OVA tries to stay true to the manga's tone, it only consists of the first arc greatly condensed into a 30-minute video. As such, events such as Akito attempting to drown Mami (despite the character existing in the video) had to be cut.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime had 102 episodes, divided into two seasons (51 episodes each), meaning that some story arcs were ridiculously expanded with filler, existing minor characters were able to gain a bit more focus, and additional characters such as Misako's own mother as well as Takeshi Gojo and Naozumi's biological family were introduced, while also trying to make time between the events they were adapting from the manga.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In elementary school, every single girl treated Akito like he was a bagworm or a hairy caterpillar... Once he gets to middle school, everyone thinks he's "cool" (and "looking cute"), especially when he does things like challenging Mr. Sengoku or fighting Ishida.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Subverted example between Akito and Sana (it takes a while for her to acknowledge, and then return his affections), but Sana had a crush on Rei, while Tsuyoshi and Naozumi also liked Sana, and Fuka and Akito try dating for a while, but it doesn't work out.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Cristina D'Avena and Giorgio Vanni performed the Italian theme song. The show is titled Rossana in Italy.
  • Animal Metaphor: "Natural enemies", as Sana and Akito are initially represented as a mongoose and a cobra, respectively.
  • Anime Theme Song:
    • The anime has two openings, "7 O'Clock News" by TOKIO and "Ultra Relax" by Tomoe Shinohara.
    • "7 O'Clock News" even has a few short instrumental versions that were used throughout the first season (some of which even made it into the Funimation release) and on the next episode previews of the first sixteen episodes (which were all replaced with the aforementioned "Ultra Relax" until episode 21).
  • 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 are prominently featured in it).
  • As Himself: The anime has Japanese stand-up comedian Zenjiro essentially playing a caricature of himself.
  • Ascended Extra: It's a given that the animated adaptation gave some characters, such as Mami, Gomi, Tsuyoshi's father, and even all of the elementary school teachers, much more development or focus than their original manga counterparts. Even the host of the in-universe TV show was transformed into real-life Japanese comedian Zenjiro.
  • Author Avatar: Miho Obana appears several times as a cameo in the manga (even as a waking up-bird, a la Akira Toriyama). She appears more frequently in the anime, only saying "I'm Obana" or "Obana here" in the English dub, though she is actually played by a professional voice actress instead in both cases.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Sana and Akito regularly throw insults and tease each other, which is the only reason why Sana still refers to Akito as her "arch-enemy" even after becoming friends. The minute either of them is in distress, they'll drop all of the malice towards each other, swiftly come to their aid, and comfort one another without a second thought.
  • Back Story:
    • There's a glimpse of how Rei came to work in the Kurata household (from Sana's perspective), as well as a brief mention of how unlucky he was following his break-up with Asako.
    • Akito's bet to kiss a girl in kindergarten is explained when Fuka 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 dearest memory of Akito's childhood with his family, which also explains why his cold personality is hard to break at the moment.
  • Badass Adorable: Sana and Akito in spades. Both of them, especially Akito are pretty tough, physically capable, and will stand up for any of their friends and family.
  • Beta Couple: Aya and Tsuyoshi, from the very first moment they start dating. In the anime, Tsuyoshi even recommends Akito to look at him and Aya, if he wants to succeed in confessing his love to Sana.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn:
    • The three main girls in later episodes:
      • Sana is a popular actress and Dude Magnet (Beauty)
      • Aya is a serious and responsible student (Brains)
      • Fuka is a driven Passionate Sports Girl (Brawn. She's also pretty but less of a Dude Magnet than Sana. She's also smart but is easily the most athletic of the girls)
    • The three main boys in later episodes are also this:
      • Naozumi is a popular actor and Chick Magnet (Beauty)
      • Tsuyoshi is a nerd who gets good grades (Brains)
      • Akito is a physically tough badass (Brawn. He's also handsome but less of a Chick Magnet than Naozumi. He's also smart but he doesn't make a big deal out of it)
  • 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), and Akito is an uncommunicative "bad boy" who has trouble expressing his feelings (Veronica).
    • Akito's love triangle with Sana and Fuka also has two interpretations:
      • Sana is his long-time crush and close friend who understands him the most (Betty) and Fuka is the newcomer (Veronica).
      • Fuka 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 Applesauce: New York City is, of course, the main setting for the anime-exclusive New York arc featuring Sana and Naozumi.
  • Big Ball of Violence: This happens on a few occasions to express chaos. Chances are if Tsuyoshi goes berserk and isn't stopped, this will happen.
  • Big Fancy House: The Kurata's household is expected to be big, partially because of Misako's and Sana's profits as an author and a celebrity. However, this gets expanded in the anime, where it's revealed that Misako's parents are also rich (they are owners of a hot springs resort), which also justifies the size of their house, too.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Played with in the anime, The final scene shows Akito and Sana on the middle school's rooftop, with the leaves blowing in the wind and the lighting making everything, including their hair colors, brighter than normal. Akito tells Sana that his black belt test is the next day, and when he passes, he wants to "tell her something", meaning he's finally going to admit his feelings. Blushing at Sana's warm presence, he loses control of his hormones again, fakes catching something in his eye, and her moving closer towards him allows Akito to give her what is now their third kiss. It ends just as well as you'd expect.. Sana attacks him and calls him a pervert for old times' sake, though it's clear that unlike previously where she was greatly enraged the first time and speechless and confused the second, she actually enjoyed this one. Seconds later she says that she has something she wants to tell him as well after he earns his belt, and proceeds to wish him good luck, sealing the deal that a relationship is bound to start soon.
  • Birds of a Feather: The series has both a successful and an unsuccessful example of the trope:
    • Tsuyoshi and Aya are both meek, mild-mannered (most of the time), nerdy, and overly romantic. They work as a couple and eventually end up as Sickeningly Sweethearts.
    • Sana and Naozumi have similar backgrounds, interests, and social statuses. This makes them develop a close bond in the second half of the series, but they didn't work romantically, and Sana's real love was actually Akito, her complete opposite.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine:
    • While other characters do their own nonsense, Sana frequently falls into the Boke role, while occasionally breaking into the Tsukkomi role (even with her tsukkomi's weapon, a rubber hammer).
    • Fuka, being similar to Sana in some aspects (she is also from Osaka, where manzai comedy routines are more common), also falls into the Boke role... However, she's usually the tsukkomi when Sana is 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 manga as well as 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 on spur of the moment, 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 gets 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.
  • Breather Episode: The anime's first season has a whopping 19 episodes that mostly consist of light hearted and comedy-driven episodes, most of them being filler and world-building episodes starting with episode 20, after going through three major arcs since its start.
  • Brick Joke: When Akito gives Sana her First Kiss, a couple of classmates in the background reveal 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 that he couldn't do it. Halfway through the series, the girl he kissed as a kindergartener (Fuka) returns to Tokyo and slaps him for it.
  • Broke Episode: A broke filler mini-arc, to be precise. In the anime, Sana and her family get evicted and end up living at Takezo Onda's (Misako's editor) old apartment, and not only that but Sana gets blacklisted from doing most of her acting gigs.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • You'd probably be able to count on one hand how many recurring characters aren't frequently abused and hilariously tormented. Not even Sana and Akito (during his humorous moments) are completely safe from being the butt of a joke. Tsuyoshi and Rei along with Gomi and his gang are the usual targets, but taking the cake in the anime is Zenjiro, who's always suffering in some form.
    • Even Naozumi, despite being a serious and respected character, has his moments. When they have to film a movie in the mountains, he has Sana and the rest of the crew laughing at him for being a wuss. Ironically, this is also the story arc where he becomes closer to Sana and admits his crush on her.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster:
    • Early moments in the story including, Akito attempting to drown Mami, the revelation of Akito's home life, and Akito attempting to get Sana to kill him with a knife are all moments that escalate the drama of the story, only to go back to being a light-hearted shojo series as if nothing happened pages later.
    • Just after Sana starts middle school, specifically when she rejects Ishida and fibs to him that she's dating Naozumi, and when she agrees to film The Mansion of Water, things get really serious around her. Akito nearly dies at one point, and Sana attempts to coerce him into having sex with her so they can become adults. If Sana had it bad when the Gene Hunting was going on, it becomes emotionally worse for her and everyone involved, once the plot advances.
    • This is more emphasized in the manga compared to the anime, where the content varies to some degree. The New York arc, specifically, is where the anime really goes through this. It temporarily drops several of the main characters, let alone most of the humorous ones, abandons the slice-of-life theme, fluntuates between the best and worse parts of New York City and introduces Naozumi's flawed, and/or corrupted biological family and their associates, while also introducing a trans woman and a couple of preschool-themed musical numbers.
  • Chatty Hairdresser: Suji, Sana's presumably Camp Gay hairdresser found at the same studio where they shoot Child's Toy.
  • Character Development: For a shoujo comedy series, almost 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 14 years old and Sana's 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 opposite, while it is implied that, yes, Keiko became pregnant by an older man when she was a teenager, Sana's real father, Takeshi, appears long after this event and he appears to be a good man, so it's questionable whether he could have raped Keiko.
  • Childhood Friends: Akito and Tsuyoshi have been friends ever since kindergarten, and they know each other too well.
  • Christmas Episode:
    • Sana and Akito celebrate their mid-birthdays on Christmas Eve, with all their friends at Sana's house. In the climax, Sana not only receives a snowman from Akito, but he also gives her another kiss.
    • In the anime's second season, after both Sana and Akito have their respective breakups with Naozumi and Fuka, Sana decides not to have another mid-birthday party this year, much to Tsuyoshi and Aya's disappointment. After Akito realizes that she was dropped from her latest TV movie indirectly because of him, they both meet up at the local park, tell each other how grateful they are to have one another in their lives, and almost share their first "mutual" kiss. Tsuyoshi and Aya interrupt the moment, now joined by Hisae and Gomi, and they all end the night having fun in a big snowball fight.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Once Fuka is introduced in the manga, all of Sana and Akito's old friends, save for Tsuyoshi and Aya, disappear completely from the story. They still get mentioned on occasion, but they don't make any more physical appearances.
    • In the anime, most of them are just Demoted to Extra. Hisae's appearances become a lot more sparse, and Gomi is only seen hanging out with her, but in only half of the appearances she makes. Mami still vanishes entirely, possibly for looking too similar to Fuka, but reappears for two non-speaking roles in the anime's final two episodes.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Towards the end of the series, Sana and Akito reunite Fuka with her elementary school crush, Takaishi. And beyond the manga's 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 of the love he had for Sana.
  • Clip Show: Episode 51, the last episode of the first season (and thus the last English-dubbed episode), has Zenjiro recruit Tsuyoshi, Aya, Hisae, Naozumi, and Hiroshi Uchiyamada all incognito wearing small masks to figure what exactly is the deal with Sana and Akito's growing friendship, and whether or not it's a growing romance. It showcases some of the more "intimate" moments between Sana and Akito, a small helping of Tsuyoshi's and Aya's moments together, and some of the events of Zenjiro's birthday party. It all takes place in the Kurata's living room, without Sana's consent.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: All of Sana's friends are this for her to an extent, but Akito and Hisae are usually the ones that are a bit sterner with her, with Akito at times usually being a complete asshole about it.
  • Cock Fight: While normally downplayed between Akito and Naozumi, the anime's 37th episode has the two growing more hostile towards each other after Naozumi openly declares that he and Sana will be in love once they kiss for their upcoming commercial and plans to have Akito and Sana's middle-birthday party canceled. The actual fight is played up for laughs and has Akito using his improving karate skills against Naozumi's trumpet of all things.
  • Continuity Cameo: Babbit may be the anime-exclusive mascot character, but it doesn't mean he is enough of an outsider to appear on the final volume's group character portrait cover. Zenjiro on the other hand isn't so lucky.
    • The dancing stick figure version of Sana featured in "Sana's Art Song" in the anime makes a small cameo in the early pages of the penultimate volume.
  • 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".
    • Akitaro Daichi makes a short cameo in a newspaper that Rei reads in the anime's series finale.
  • 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 main cast of Kodocha has an important plot role in the story.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Gomi utterly decimates Akito because Sana had to forbid him to use violence at school, not helped by Akito's laughable defense. Gomi gets cocky and makes the mistake of offending Sana while gloating, which makes Sana give in and allow Akito at least one punch. With that single blow, it doesn't end well for Gomi.
  • 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!
  • 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 mutual respect towards each other.
  • Denser and Wackier: The anime pretty much becomes a Gag Series on par with Genji Tsuushin Agedama and Akazukin Chacha when compared to the original manga. It has a much wackier sense of humor and doesn't touch on as many of the manga's serious moments later on. 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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Akito remorselessly forces his gang to drop and possibly drown their classmate, Mami, into a deep pond after school for calling him a demon/devil/monster.
    • The principal suspends Akito for getting involved in a physical fight that (accidentally) caused Fuka to be hospitalized. This would sound reasonable, except that the fight happened outside of school during the holiday, and in fact, the other guys involved in the fight were older bullies who they came across on the streets, not students.
  • Distant Finale:
    • Mostly prominent in the manga where at least two years after the melodramatic climax happens, it offers a view on what Sana and her friends are doing before enrolling in high school, and when Akito returns to Japan.
    • 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 Japanese voice actress, Tomoko Hikita (credited midway in the anime as "TOMO"). The song is often mentioned and referred to 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 a misunderstanding he had about her affection.
    • 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.
    • Fuka 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 the sake of her friends.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: It was made clear that Funimation wouldn't be able to dub the second season, and thus released its thirteenth and final volume under the title "That's a Wrap!". The end preview sequence for what was supposed to be episode 52 (the first episode of the middle school season) ends with Babbit eagerly anticipating how the next episode's gonna turn out.
  • 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 upcoming 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 an 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.
  • 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 Fuka 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.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: In the anime's first season, the four main girls of the classroom act this way, with many of them, especially Sana, often swapping roles depending on the episode's plot. We have Sana (The hyperactive Genki Girl), Aya (The Quiet One with a boyfriend, even if he is a nerdy one), Hisae (the Only Sane Girl of the group who's usually among the first to fight with the boys), and Mami (who's friendly yet reserved). Once Fuka is introduced, this gets broken as Hisae and Mami fade out of the story.
  • 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 for 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 third quarter of the anime, the staff added a "New York" arc where Sana goes to America with Naozumi for an acting gig in New York. The anime staff adapted the rest of the subsequent events of the reveal that Akito and Fuka 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 made to look for Sana's biological mother once they got famous in their own ways. Misako originally didn't feel any remorse about telling Sana that she was adopted when she turned 5 years old. 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 situation lightly either, especially considering that he became an orphan in his late teens and that he loves Sana as if she was his little sister and/or daughter.
  • Gleeful and Grumpy Pairing: Our two main characters are the exact definitions of this trope, especially in the anime. Sana's cheerful and spazzy nature both conflicts with and compliments Akito's moody and reserved demeanor.
  • Good Parents: There's Misako, and when he finally realizes what his home situation is really like, Akito's dad Fuyuki 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 about 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 original Japanese releases, mostly because she is also a Malaproper, and some words sound similar to others in Japanese.
  • 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.
  • Heel Realization: Happens to some degree with almost anyone who meets Sana.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sana has a couple of moments shown in the entire series that led up to her emotional depressive disorder, the "Mannequin Disease".
    • In middle school, while she is more prone to fall into depression like when she found out Akito was dating Fuka, 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, Akito, along with several other characters, frequently pull out those iconic squeaky piko-piko mallets! They're used so often that they were shoved onto the series' various logos.
  • 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 with two other girls when Zenjiro hosts his own birthday party. 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.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Tomoe Shinohara, the singer of the second opening's Ultra Relax, appears in the first episode of the second season (episode 52, overall) as a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who appears on Sana's first day of middle school for a surprise interview with her. Along with Babbit, she becomes a mascot of sorts of the aforementioned second opening.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Rei and Sana share a friendly brother/sister/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.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Sana becomes absurdly paranoid under the belief that Akito (in episode 5) and Tsuyoshi (in episode 32) might try to kill themselves and does everything she can to prevent them from doing it. Except that they didn't have any intentions to.. Akito wanted to die but refused to do the job himself, and Tsuyoshi was only just depressed about not getting to see his now-imprisoned father.
  • Interquel: In 2015, the manga series was revived with a one-shot special titled Days Without Anything and was published by Miho Obana herself as a part of Ribon's 60th anniversary. The story is narrated by one of Sana's dogs, Gonta, and takes place sometime around Sana's twelfth birthday. Akito tries to send Sana a birthday gift, but Gonta and the other dogs at her house tear it up as they don't trust him. She then catches up with Akito to thank him for remembering her birthday, assures him that she'll be attending Jinbou Middle School with him and their friends, and asks the dogs to trust him a bit more.
  • 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 Sana, only to see her happy with the boy she truly loves.
  • 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.
  • Late for School: The first episode of the anime is a 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 at school. Subverted when she is about to start her first day at middle school, basically doing an opposite (and calmer) 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.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Subverted during the first dozen of episodes of the anime, where the cast's outfits usually changed every two episodes. This becomes averted starting in episode 18, where the cast transitions into their summer clothes and wears them for about 10 episodes before settling into their autumn/fall clothes for most of the series.
  • Love at First Punch: Or more specifically, love at first paint gunshot. Even after Sana and Akito become friends, Sana will throw ranting bouts of anger from just the slightest insult from Akito, and will instantly knock him out at the mere thought of him perving on her.
  • Love Dodecahedron:
    • At the start: Sana "loved" Rei. Tsuyoshi liked Sana. Aya liked Tsuyoshi. Akito loved Sana. But Rei "loves" Sana as a sister or a daughter.
    • Later: Sana likes Akito. Naozumi loves Sana. Akito loves Sana. Fuka loves Akito. Sana and Akito still love each other.
  • 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: Well, the series' title doesn't translate to "Child's Toy" for nothing! While it should be noted that this line of toys didn't exist in the original manga itself, the anime series partnered with Tomy (currently known as Takara Tomy throughout Asia) as part of the production committee. Every single toy that Sana had (the Burutcha and the Nopia, for example) was real. However, finding them on auction sites these days is very difficult. The most valuable of them is probably the Polaroid Camera that was available as a series-related edition.
    • Like most of Ribon's other series, the anime series used several television ads to showcase some of the tie-in products such as playing cards, stickers, and calendars for not just this series, but several other Ribon-published series that were in production at the time.
    • Among the anime's other tie-in products, there were also pocketbooks, wristwatches, and cooking aprons all themed around Sana. And if that weren't enough, there were even mini sausages made based on the anime. It has to be seen to be believed.
    • Even in recent years, following Ribon's 60th anniversary in 2015 and the Ribon Girls Special Exhibition in 2019, the series is always among Ribon's showcased series, with it being given iPhone cases and even more recently, keychain straps. Most recently is the Eternal Shojo Cafe, a pop-up eatery that opened in 2022 that was located in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Kodocha was featured alongside several other Ribon-published series with anime adaptations aired through TV Tokyo (immediate predecessors, Hime-chan's Ribbon, Akazukin Chacha, and Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, as well as the later released Full Moon).
  • The "Mom" Voice: Sana comforts Akito by pretending to be his mom. He reluctantly puts his head on her lap while she caresses his hair. In spite of himself, he takes solace in it. This can be seen as proof that They Really Do Love Each Other.
  • Mood Whiplash: There are moments where you're not gonna know if you are crying tears of joy or sorrow. Or both for that matter. In the anime especially, where many of the character's hardships and tragedies as well as their funny antics and Babbit's frequent remarks to them can really balance the mood.
  • 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 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. Andoh 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), Fuka 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).
    • As for the members of "The Three Teens", Tomomi is friendly though persistent (nice), Mayu is a pure Alpha Bitch (mean), and Sana while sweet-natured and as friendly as she is ditzy, can be a bit loud and bossy if offended (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). If we replace Naozumi with Gomi, Akito shifts to in-between, as Gomi was a regularly rude and mean-spirited bully (mean).
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Some celebrities make some sort of "cameo" in the anime, such as Takuya Kimuchi, based on SMAP member and future Judgment and Lost Judgment star, Takuya Kimura.
    • Funimation's English dub was forced to do this with Masahiro Matsuoka in the English release of the first episode, renaming him "Kashu" due to licensing issues, with the TOKIO band's name changed to "Kyoto".
  • No Fourth Wall: Many of the characters are well aware that they are either fictional or entertaining an audience, and as such, there isn't a single episode where the fourth wall isn't demolished at least once.
  • Once per Episode: Almost every single episode of the anime has a weekly snapshot taken of Sana or another character (Zenjiro or Akito, for example).
  • Opposites Attract: Akito and Sana are complete opposites of each other in regard to their personalities. Akito is more violent, and serious, and perhaps he is more of a realist than other characters, let alone 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 few days in until she was officially adopted. Naozumi cares so much for the institution that he adopted "Kamura" as his last name and he gives them part of his earnings to help take care of his adoptive mother, friends, and "siblings".
  • Parental Abandonment: Sana was abandoned by her birth mother Keiko out of fear and uncertainty, giving birth to her at the age of fourteen. In the manga, Sana's birth may have been the 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, and the closest things she has to lasting father figures are Rei (who's more like an older brother at best) and Zenjiro (The host of Child's Toy who's exclusive to the anime).
    • 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 to 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; this might be the case why he reacts so strongly to people insulting his mother.
    • Rei's parents died in an accident not so long after he broke up with Asako. He thought they were rich... but they also had lots of money debts, resulting in him going homeless for a while.
  • Pilot: There was an OVA, produced by J.C. Staff, released in December of 1995 as part of Ribon's 40th anniversary celebration, just a few months before the premiere of the television series. It's closer to the manga's tone but only adapts its first volume, Akito's fractured family problems and condenses it into a 25-30 minute video. It also has different character designs from both the TV series and the original manga (Sana has slightly blonde-ish hair here), Aya is nowhere to be found here, and it includes a different, but a more well-known voice acting cast, including Chisa Yokoyamanote  as Sana, Megumi Ogatanote  as Akito, and Masami Kikuchinote  as Rei.
  • 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 are also Babbit's songs to learn to count numbers in English and Japanese.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: The younger of the Principal Narunaru brothers is this when compared to his assistant Ms. Andoh. While Ms. Andoh is a strict disciplinarian who tries to keep everyone in check, Principal Narunaru is more laid back and lets all of the school's problems resolve themselves. In fact, his catchphrase is "Everything's gonna be alright!".
  • Poor Communication Kills: Happens all the time, mostly concerning the character's romantic relationships:
    • In a familial example, 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, Fuka was very friendly with a boy named Yuta Takaishi, and everyone, including them, expected them to get together soon. Then Fuka 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 Takaishi avoiding her every time she tried to explain.
    • Akito being too stubborn to fully admit his feelings to the incredibly dense Sana contributed to the whole debacle of rumors and gossip stating that Sana and Naozumi are a couple while they film a movie. Not only does Akito believe the rumors and decides to date Fuka 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.
  • Post-Script Season: The post-credits sequence for the finale parodies this with clips of what could have been additional episodes.
    • Akito fails his karate exam, twice, further holding Sana and Akito back from being a couple.
    • Meanwhile, Rei gets jealous again when Asako appears in a newspaper article with the director of The Mansion of Water, Mikio Ono. The two appear to be posing as newlyweds in London while the anime's own director, Akitaro Daichi makes a brief cameo on the previous page.
    • Fuka is attacked by Shizu, Takaishi's formerly shy ex-girlfriend who's turned into a yankii and wants Takaishi all to herself. She's now sporting pink hair and her personality has done a complete 180 since we last saw her.
    • Naozumi starts working with Sana again, and his current manager Riho has him meet up with his biological family, sans Yuko, who are now impoverished and in pretty bad shape.
    • Finally, a random man comes up to Sana and tells him that she's his fiancée, and she and Akito are attacked by him, his father, and what appears to be their associates in the yakuza. Both of them are then rescued by the entire Kurata clan, including Misako and her mother Shizuka, and their associates in the Kunisada, Kusatsu, and Kaze families all preparing to go to war with the yakuza.
    • The episode ends with a group shot that includes the series' most recurring characters. During the final seconds, a random white dolphin appears, popping up in front of Babbit much to his annoyance, which could suggest that the dolphin would become the co-mascot of the series or that Babbit would be getting the boot.
  • Pretty Boy: Naozumi is a pretty and cute boy for his age, so much so that a younger Sana once mistook him for a girl. As much as Akito ranked on Naozumi for being this, even Akito's own handsomeness becomes noticeable starting in his middle school days and it eventually earns him fangirls (however, his personality is still 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.
  • Puppy Love: It needs to be considered that, from the very start, Akito & Sana or Tsuyoshi & Aya (without forgetting about Naozumi & Sana, and Akito & Fuka) are 11-13-year-old kids.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • All of the elementary school staff in both the manga and anime. Ms. Mitsuya, Mr. Tanaka, Ms. Andoh, and the younger of the Narunaru principals are no longer needed once the kids graduate from elementary school. Mr. Narunaru is replaced by his similar-looking older brother, who happens to be the principal of the middle school, and Ms. Andoh makes two more appearances later on in the anime, one of which has her forcing Zenjiro into a limbo dance.
    • Taken to the extreme in the anime's New York arc, where 85% of the previously established cast, including Akito (who's given an American counterpart in the meantime) and Misako (who pops up towards the arc's end), get dropped in favor of Sana, Naozumi, Rei, and Babbit for fourteen episodes straight, and introduces us to an entirely new cast, including Naozumi's complicated biological family.
  • Recap Episode: Nowhere near as bad as its timeslot predecessors, as this series only has two within the series (not including the Clip Show), despite having the most episodes out of all the previous shows.
    • The first one, episode 20, is disguised as a Game Show hosted by Zenjiro and Babbit. The contestants are Sana, Akito, Zenjiro's manager Sanekichi Higashiyamoto, and Miho Obana herself, and they're all required to answer questions based on the Hayama Saga (Akito's classroom behavior and his family issues) and the Asako arc (the Love Triangle between Sana, Rei, and Asako) despite taking place right after the "My Daughter and I" arc.
    • The next one is episode 81, right after the New York arc, showing Sana and Naozumi heading back to Japan. Sana then reminisces on the events during the middle school troubles that ultimately lead to her traveling to New York with Naozumi in the first place.
  • Recurring Extra:
    • The boys in Akito and Gomi's gang. Out of all seven of them, only four of them are named, Sojuro Itami (The boy with red flat-top who's the easiest to recognize and is probably the most recurring out of all of the other boys), Yukihiro Yasuda (a boy with a brightly colored baseball cap who's nickname is Yunchi) and Shohei Kojima (a boy with hair that's a light shade of black, trimmed, and slightly shorter than Gomi's).
    • There are also several girls in Sana's class, including two named Eri and Rumi.
    • There's also Takezo Onda, Misako's stressed-out editor who's constantly begging her to turn her work in on time.
  • 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 Ultra Relax, the second season's opening in place of the first. Furthermore, TOKIO band member, Masahiro Matsuoka (Mabo-chan)'s cameo in the first episode while the forbidden song plays in the background. The English dub track renames him "Kashu", renames the band "Kyoto" and again swaps in the 2nd opening song. On the Japanese track... silence.
  • The Rival:
    • Double Subverted with Sana and Akito, while the two being at odds with each other pretty much kicked off the plot, Akito is initially too reluctant to fight back just because of how tough she is to handle. However, all it takes is for Sana to dish out one slap in the face for him to start getting rough, and even that's not enough to scare her off. Sana becomes so increasingly desperate to defeat him that she even resorts to foul play (nothing violent of course) just to bring him to his knees, which eventually leads to his downfall.
    • In terms of romance, Akito declares both Rei and Tsuyoshi as his rivals for Sana early in the series, becoming bitter that Sana still saw Rei as her boyfriend and that Tsuyoshi wanted to get somewhere with Sana. Asako conveniently comes back into Rei's life around this time and Akito convinces Tsuyoshi and a lovestruck Aya to start making moves on each other, which eventually leaves Sana all to himself until Naozumi enters the picture and tries to one-up Akito in almost every way possible. However, this starts fading in and out towards the end of the series, as feelings and relationships evolve.
  • Romantic False Lead: Both Naozumi and Fuka are textbook examples towards both Sana and Akito, respectively. They even spend time as their partners (varying to some degrees in both the anime and the manga), but eventually Naozumi and Fuka give up their feelings for them.
  • 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: In the final volume of the manga, Sana proposes to Akito (both thirteen at this point) to have sex before he went overseas because she wants to hurry up and "become an adult", believing that if they're adults she and Akito won't have to be separated. They get in bed and partially undress, but Sana proves to be too ticklish and nothing happens because the mood is ruined and Rei and Misako barge in before anything else can happen. Subverted (or even discredited) because it's clear that Sana's becoming extremely irrational / mentally unstable at this point, and Misako explicitly refutes this trope when they all talk about it afterward.
  • School Grade Hacking: The former delinquent Akito changes his best friend Sana's math grade in the Season 1 finale so they can start middle school together in Season 2. This proves how much he loves her, and how much delinquency he still had left over.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Gekidan Komawari Theatre Group that Sana frequently attends and mentions is based on the real-life Tokyo-based Himawari Theatre Group, also known as Gekidan Himawari.
    • One of the tactics that Sana uses to try to scare Akito included using a Jason Voorhees mask. For obvious reasons, it's called "Psycho" in the dub.
    • Sana mentions Cutey Honey when comparing Aktio's hammer-induced pains to the scorned and prickly hearts of the girls in the classroom.
    • Tony the Tiger appears in an American cornflakes box made by a Kellogg's parody called "Gallop's", with the box itself looking similar to the normal Frosted Flakes box. Not much of a surprise, considering Kellogg's was among the show's sponsors.
    • The Ribon Land amusement park in volume four is of named after the magazine that published the manga series, Ribon. The anime adaptation of the volume keeps this reference and also adds a go-kart area called "Ribon-Cart".
    • Sana's Super Happy Quiz Show is more or less one big tribute to the Japanese game show, Quiz Sekai wa Show by Shōbai.
    • Both Akito and Tsuyoshi are playing what appears to be an original PlayStation in Episode 23.
    • From episodes 21-24, Babbit's normal voice actress in the Japanese version was substituted by Mayumi Akado. Someone apparently saw the humor in this and, in episode 24, featured a scene where Babbit is dressed as Yakko from Akazukin Chacha, a character that Akado had previously portrayed.
    • Instead of going the route that Hime-chan's Ribbon took and featuring the boy band SMAP as guest stars, episode 30 has a parody of them called "SNYAP" playing during an airing of SNYAPxSNAYP, which itself was a parody of the band's long-running variety show, SMAPxSMAP.
    • Episode 34 ends with Sana's goofball antics causing a dud Zenjiro firecracker doll to explode in Mayu Tobita's face after singing their musical number as "The Three Teens" (which includes, Sana, Mayu, and Tomomi Ayano). In the English dub, Sana sheepishly says "Oops!... I did it again..", which is a clear reference to the song by Britney Spears.
    • Bert and Ernie make small cameo appearances in a poster in episode 65.
    • Brad's last name Pott, makes his full name a tribute to American actor Brad Pitt, who coincidentally had just come off of the New York-centered film Sleepers the previous year.
    • Sana's Magical Angel costume, significantly shown in episode 90, is a hybrid of Chacha's Magical Princess transformation in Akazukin Chacha and Ririka Moriya's Nurse Angel outfit in Nurse Angel Ririka SOS. Both are Ribon manga series that previously aired on the same channel and share much of the same production teams as Kodocha, with the latter anime being one of the earliest that Akitaro Daichi directed.
  • 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 are 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, and while not as bad, Mr. Tanaka and Ms. Mitsuya have their moments where they can act just as intimate.
  • Snake Versus Mongoose: "Natural enemies" Sana and Akito are represented as a mongoose and a cobra, respectively.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad:
    • In the second season, the Romantic False Leads Fuka and Naozomi become the two most prominent characters after the main couple Sana and Akito. As a result, several other characters are Demoted to Extra or even Put on a Bus, including Akito himself at some point.
    • An In-Universe example: Mayu was cast as the female lead in a TV drama, while Sana was supposed to play just the dog as a Plucky Comic Relief. However, Sana's silly antics as the dog end up stealing the show to the point of overshadowing lead actress Mayu, much to the latter's dismay.
  • 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 swapping it out and giving her an actual chick. Akito tries to explain why this is a bad idea, but given his general attitude, Sana refuses to listen. Fast forward to episode 26, and the chick, now named Piyoko, has grown into a rooster, and because the Sasaki family now lives in an apartment, the constant crowing at dawn bothers anyone and everyone within earshot because he simply won't shut up. Sana tries to own up to her mistake by taking care of the bird but finds she, Rei, and especially Misako also can't accommodate the noisy rambunctious fowl. In the end, Piyoko is simply given to Jinbou Elementary School as part of their farm.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • In-universe example, when he believed that Sana and Naozumi were together, Akito dated Fuka because, by 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 with green eyes.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The first major arc and much of the series afterward chronicles Akito's Character Development, slowly shifting from a cruel and unlikeable school rebel to a moody but friendlier boy that deeply cares about his friends and family.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • Sana announces that she has to go to the bathroom while stuck at the classroom door in her wooden Akito-proof "force field" because she spent all night building it instead of going beforehand.
    • Later on, Akito asks Misako where Maro takes care of his business. Misako asks Maro to give him a demonstration and explains that he takes pride in cleanliness and won't do that in his home. Shimura comes out to bring some cake to Akito, and while we never see the cake in the anime, the English dub runs with the joke and has Shimura come out to say "Chocolate cake, nice and creamy". The scene in the anime ends with the paper that Maro used landing on Rei's glasses, right after he calls Akito a "turd-face little punk" in the dub.
    • The anime's 14th episode has Sana sheepishly admit that she tried going to the bathroom before the school trip. The other girls encourage her to do so since "concentration cures constipation". Several scenes later she then walks to the bathroom to "show her body who's the boss".
    • On two separate occasions, Sana becomes so anxious around Akito (specifically his growth spurt, him starting to call her Sana out of nowhere, and the fact that he's in a relationship with Fuka) that she's immediately sent running to the bathroom and flushing the toilet after each time. Whether or not her body was calling the shots this time is up for debate.
  • Totally Radical: Both Sana and Babbit frequently fill the English dub with a wide load of mid-2000s hip-hop slang.
  • Town Girls: Of the three main girls in later episodes, Fuka is the Passionate Sports Girl of the group (butch), Aya is a demure and romantic Shrinking Violet (femme), and Sana may be a cute actress/idol but also a shamelessly boisterous Genki Girl and Bully Hunter (neither).
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Zig-zagged a bit. While Sana at least got the hint that he had a crush on her, she didn't realize that Akito genuinely loved her and brushed off almost every hint Akito gave her as just being a great friend or a pervert. By the time she finally did and starts having feelings towards him, he was already with Fuka, and in the anime, Sana eventually proceeds to start dating Naozumi. However, both Fuka 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.
  • True Companions: Despite constantly being at odds and reaching near lows with each other the previous year, the former sixth grade students of Jinbou Elementary's Class 3 all band together alongside Fuka to protect Sana and Akito after rumors begin to spread that Nakao's disappearance was the result of Sana and Akito's karate club and Akito's training methods.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Upon acting like an average family, The Comically Serious Fuyuki tends to come across this way compared to his children. Meanwhile, both Akito and Natsumi are a bit more down-to-earth but usually have to juggle the role of the Only Sane Man between each other.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: During the first half of the series, Sana is often at odds with Akito, who's not a complete loser, but a former trouble who's aloof, angsty, and sometimes lazy. Sana cares for Akito and really wants Akito to push himself to become a better person, but will make no qualms about calling him out or lashing out at him when he's triggered her, often the result of their clashing personalities. As the series progresses, this dynamic begins to disintegrate as Akito actually makes an effort to start to improve himself and Sana slowly starts to reciprocate Aktio's feelings for her.
  • World of Ham: In the anime, especially in the first season, try finding someone not named Akito who isn't an absolute nutjob, openly or otherwise.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: The OVA gives several characters more unnatural-by-Japanese hair colors in contrast to the more natural colors of both the manga and later the anime series. Sana is given very bright strawberry blonde hair, Gomi has grey hair, Ms. Mitsuya has green hair, and Natsumi has teal-colored hair.
  • 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!

Babbit: Phew! Now that's a lot of tropes to read through!


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Alternative Title(s): Kodomo No Omocha


Kodocha - Classroom Quarrel

What happens when two love-struck teachers work in the same school together.

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