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Manga / Kunisaki Izumo no Jijou

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Izumo, in both his normal form (left) and kabuki persona (right).

Izumo Kunisaki is a normal fifteen-year-old high school student who just happens to be an innately-talented onnagata (male actor who plays female parts in kabuki), much to his dismay. When he was seven years old, his mother divorced his perverted father and moved away with him to prevent his father from exploiting his girlish charm. Fast forward to the present. Within the first chapter, his mom leaves on a world tour and he is forced back to his father's kabuki troupe and his old career as an onnagata. Hilarity Ensues.

Initially a one-shot featuring Izumo fighting crime by transforming into an incarnation of Izumo no Okuni, the founder of kabuki, this comedy manga by Aya Hirakawa was later reworked and serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday from 2010 to 2014, without the supernatural and crime-fighting elements, although it still revolves around the world of kabuki, a traditional Japanese theatrical genre that is rarely depicted in great detail in manga. It thus serves as a useful beginner's guide to kabuki while still providing a good laugh.

This series contains examples of:

  • Amusing Injuries: Sae is often hurled against walls by Izumo, leaving a distinctive impact crater, whenever he gets too close to him. Amazingly, he always emerges with only minor scratches.
  • Berserk Button: Izumo detests being called a girl.
  • Big Fancy House: Sae, Kuroe, Umeki and Matsuki live in those.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Kumedera, the guidance teacher who likes Izumo a little too much, provides her opinion on kabuki:
    Kumedera-sensei: On that luxurious and gorgeous stage...those fascinating instruments...those heartwarming lines...and most of all, those tasty-looking guys in drag....
    Izumo: Stop...stop it! Stop talking like that!!!
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: People tend to be surprised when they see that Sae takes acting seriously and is pretty good at it.
  • Butt-Monkey: Izumo, in his opinion, since he always found himself stuck in playing female roles in kabuki. A more straight example would be Sae, more and more so after his intro arc.
  • Censor Steam: Whenever we see Izumo bathing. Funnily enough, the steam usually covers his chest as well.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Early in the series, when Sae was showing off the prominence of his and other renowned kabuki families towards Izumo's cousins, images of kabuki actors appeared behind him. Amongst them were Umeki and Matsuki, who would not appear until about twenty chapters later.
  • Childhood Friends: Yuzuha and Sakura in the one-shot. There's no romance between them, but they are very good friends.
  • Cool Old Guy: Anjurou Yukishima, the venerable old kabuki actor who specialises as an onnagata. He has taken an interest on Izumo and has provided helpful advice on acting while shielding him from unwarranted criticisms from the die-hard conservatives of the kabuki world.
  • Covert Pervert: Matsuki exhibits some tendencies of this...towards Izumo. Which surprises Umeki greatly.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Somehow Izumo always has some kind of backup plan to pull off a great performance. Being really good at improv also helps.
  • Debut Queue: The main characters are introduced in this manner.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: For most of Izumo's kabuki "opponents", most notably Sae.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Kuroe acts as such occasionally.
  • Depraved Bisexual: The other characters always comment when Kumedera, the guidance teacher, says things about Izumo's cuteness.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Izumo often find himself into troublesome situations due to this.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Sae may be annoying, but he genuinely loves Izumo, and goes to greath lengths for "her."
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Izumo, when not intentionally crossdressing.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Izumo. Although when he's in costume, Even the Girls Want Her, too.
  • Everyone Can See It: Sae doesn't exactly hide his love for Izumo, but Izumo's budding feelings for Sae don't go unnoticed either - Kagato, Kuroe and Umeki all comment on how obvious Izumo is about it.
  • Gender Reveal: When Anri pops the question to Izumo, he answers honestly. On the other hand, he can't bring himself to break the news to Sae.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Kagato slaps Izumo when the latter claims he's too worried about Sae to go to rehearsal, reminding him to that he owes it to Sae to give a great performance.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Appeared a couple of times on Sae. Interestingly, the angel takes the form of Izumo, while the devil takes the form of Kuroe.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: All of the kabuki actors (especially Izumo) get to wear elaborate period costumes when on stage.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When confronting some thugs who have ganged up on Umeki, Kuroe pulls out...some pixellated tool and proceeds to do...something to the thugs that traumatizes not only them but also Umeki and Sae, who watch helplessly on.
  • Hot-Blooded: Izumo.
  • Hot Springs Episode: or rather, chapter. Involves Sae and Izumo finding themselves in the same pool.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter is titled "Act"note .
  • Imagine Spot: Occurs from time to time, usually in the minds of Izumo's father and Sae. And their target of imagination is invariably Izumo.
    • Izumo often does this, too. In most cases, he imagines himself being forced to act like a girl and service somebody.
  • In-Series Nickname: Izumo received many nicknames through the course of the series. Sae (and the author) likes to call him "Hime"/"Princess", Yuzuha calls him "Ikkun", Matsuki calls him "Maid" and Umeki calls him "Chibi".
  • Insistent Terminology: Yuzuha's father does not like her calling him "papa" and always insists her to address him with the more formal "father".
  • Instant Fan Club: Sae has one.
  • I Want to Be a Real Man: Izumo's slightly ironic goal. He sometimes rationalizes his onnagata skills as "being the best at what he does", which is a manly quality.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Umeki really loves cats, and even claims that they calm him down.
  • Lethal Chef: Yuzuha. The things she cooked often appear to be still alive!
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Sae is implied to have been one. By his own admission, Izumo was the first person to treat him as just another person instead of trying to appease him all the time.
  • Love Confession: While Sae's feelings for Izumo (who he thinks is a girl) are painfully obvious, he eventually does this three times: once after risking his life to save Izumo's, once in chapter 157 when he finally says "I love you" out loud (and then he asks Izumo out in chapter 158), and once after he learns that Izumo is really a guy, and tells him that he loves him, regardless of both of them being male.
  • Love Epiphany: Izumo in chapter 116, when he realizes, to his horror, that he may have developed feelings for Sae.
  • Magical Girl: Izumo in the one-shot turns into a magical girl based on Izumo no Okuni, the founder of kabuki.
  • Meido: Izumo was unwittingly led by Kuroe to work part-time in a maid café, being forced to dress up as a maid as a result. He then met Matsuki, who really thought he was an actual maid. And he still frequents the maid café to patronize Izumo even after Izumo revealed his true identity!
  • Missing Mom: His mom takes off at the beginning of the manga on a world tour with her friend so Izumo is forced to return to his estranged dad and his kabuki troupe.
  • Mistaken for Gay: More like mistaken for a girl, by Sae. But when you look like that, who wouldn't?
  • New Transfer Student: Izumo transferred to Shijougawara High School after moving back to his father's place...where he found himself swamped by teenage celebrities since it contains an entertainment division which allows students enrolled to it the flexibility of working in the entertainment industry without affecting their studies.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Kagato is often seen together with Izumo in suggestive poses with even more suggestive dialogue...when he is only trying to impart onnagata skills to him.
  • The Ojou: Yuzuha is a surprisingly subdued/well-adjusted version of this, being a very nice person but also fantastically rich.
  • Older Than They Look: Kuroe, despite his looks, is actually of the same age as Izumo.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Yuzuka's father.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Despite being a relatively well-respected kabuki house (it has been shown on many occasions that their tickets are always sold out), the Kunisaki troupe somehow always seems to be one failed show away from bankruptcy.
  • Pervert Dad: Yakumo likes putting his son in female garb. Oh, and expect him to bring a camera along to commemorate the crossdressing moments.
  • Puppy Eyes: Izumo often has those, intentionally or not, which naturally causes the guys around him to go crazy for him.
  • Real-Place Background: All of the kabuki plays are staged in actual theatres in Tokyo, such as the National Theatre of Japan, the Kabuki-za and the Shinbashi Enbujou.
  • The Rival: Sae Togashiki for all of 5 chapters, who then turns into a love interest???
    • Anri, in the maid café where Izumo is working part-time in, saw herself as a rival of Izumo, and is not happy that she is always consistently second in terms of popularity in the café.
  • Running Gag: Izumo is almost always mistaken as a girl by people who does not know him, much to his chagrin.
    • The House of Kunisaki winds up on the verge of bankruptcy every time despite good revenue.
  • School Festival: One is shown so far in the series, with Izumo's class performing a School Play. Izumo later was forced to substitute for the female lead due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Security Cling: Izumo does it with Sae a few times.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Matsuki is prone to this, especially when it comes to school work.
  • Ship Tease: There are tons and tons of throwaway panels where Izumo (male OR female dress) is in some awkward pose with some other character and then he suddenly realizes how suggestive it is and freaks out.
    • The tankoubon volumes have extra illustration cards with a message from the author. Depending on which store the volume is being sold, the illustrations Ship Tease Sae x Izumo, Kagato x Izumo and the Sugawara brothers x Izumo.
  • Shown Their Work: Kabuki is traditionally (and still largely is) a male-only theatre form, thus necessitating the need for onnagata. All the plays featured in the series are also actual kabuki plays.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Umeki and Matsuki.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Izumo and his kabuki friends (sometimes with Yuzuha as well) like to hang out in the school roof whenever they are in school.
  • Sleepyhead: Roku Suzutake, a member of the Student Council Room clique, is prone to this due to extreme jet-lag.
  • Split Personality: Kiyora, the leader of the Zankabukinote  troupe, has a case of it.
  • Something about a Rose: Sae always seems to be able to produce roses whenever he makes a dramatic appearance.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Matsuki.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Izumo is extremely prone to induce this, which is something he's not pleased with.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Kumedera-sensei is hot for an unhealthy way...
  • Theme Naming
  • Those Two Guys: Izumo's school friends, Ren and Kei, who don't know his claim to fame. They seem to be in some kind of rock band together.
    • There are another set of Those Two Guys who are part of the Kunisaki troupe, usually playing bit parts in each of the plays.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Sae and Izumo (even though Sae still doesn't know that Izumo is a guy), especially since chapter 114.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Rui, a middle school student who wanted to be Izumo's apprentice after being enchanted by his performance, sometimes speaks with an ultra-masculine voice to intimidate people when dressed up in female garb.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Izumo often winds up dressed in drag, usually against his will. Kagato, on the other hand, seems to treat this like a hobby. Sae occasionally pulls this off to get Izumo out of awkward situations.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Izumo is afraid of ghosts, which distresses him greatly when he learns that he has to perform a female ghost in one of the plays.