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Manga / Kurosagi

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When he was fifteen, Kurosaki's father was swindled out of all his money and, feeling he had no other options, murdered his wife, daughter, and then himself. Six years later, Kurosaki decides to take his revenge on all swindlers by becoming a Kurosagi (a "black swindler"). Under this guise, he cons other swindlers and returns the ill-gotten money to the innocent victims. However, his mission gets steadily more difficult when a young law student moves into his building and a determined police officer sets his sights on him.

Kurosagi is a seinen manga written by Takeshi Natsuhara and illustrated by Kuromaru, which was serialized in Weekly Young Sunday from 2003 to 2008 and compiled into 20 volumes. was made into a live-action drama series of the same name in 2006. The drama was popular enough to solicit a movie follow-up in 2008.

Examples of the following tropes:

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  • Black-and-Gray Morality: At its core, the manga is a story of a conman who operates against the law to swindle money out of people who are much worse than him. There are some heroic characters who are working at the side of the law, like Tsurara and Kashina, but Kashina is a Jerkass who seems to be more concerned about his personal bias against swindlers than really helping out the victims, while Tsurara is mostly impotent in dealing with the frauds she comes across.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Kurosaki is a cynical loner whose sole life purpose is to swindle out swindlers, and he's sworn off any emotional attachment because he considers it a hindrance to his goals. Tsurara, Kurosaki's neighbour and tenant, is an idealistic law student who wishes to become his emotional support, even though her own goals opposes his.
  • Caper Rationalization: Kurosaki is a swindler, and legally a criminal. But since he only swindles other swindlers to take back the money they cheated out from their victims (well, some of them anyway), he's seen in a positive light. When Tsurara tries to argue to her friend (whom Kurosaki helped) that Kurosaki's methods are morally wrong, she dismisses her as being a Hypocrite because Kurosaki's "bad" method did more help than Tsurara's "straight", legal path.
  • Cold Reading: One of Kurosaki's targets is a cult leader who takes money from his victims by reading their fortunes to win their trust. Of course, the fortunes he "reads" are simply vague statements, which only tangentially applies to the victims' circumstances. He supports his "reading" by researching about the victims beforehand, thus strengthening his victims' trust on his abilities.
  • Death by Origin Story: Kurosaki lost his entire family when his father committed Murder-Suicide out of despair due to being scammed. This is what led him to become a black swindler that defrauds other scammers.
  • Dirty Business: Kuro does genuinely hate working for Katsuragi. He only endures it because being there is nowhere else for him to turn.
  • Enemy Mine: Kurosaki works with Katsuragi, despite hating the latter and swearing revenge against him, in order to take down other swindlers whom Katsuragi can do without. He has also once collaborated with Shiraishi, despite the latter being a Shirosagi, to defraud a corrupt housing company they were both targeting.
  • Foil: Both Kurosaki and Shiraishi are "heroic" swindlers who are Driven to Villainy due to a family tragedy, and targets those they consider Asshole Victims. However, while Kurosaki specifically targets other swindlers on any level, Shiraishi focuses on large-scale operations involving hundreds of millions to billions of yen. Their methods of Paying Evil Unto Evil also differs greatly. Kurosaki is quite reckless and presents himself as a "bait" for his mark to defraud, while Shiraishi uses more subtlety to infiltrate the company he's planning to defraud.
  • Interrupted Suicide: In the first chapter/episode, Kurosaki stops a girl from jumping into the train tracks after her company is swindled to near-bankruptcy.
  • Justified Criminal: Both Kurosaki and Shiraishi are professional swindlers who believes that they are justified in their dealings because 1) their victims are scum, and 2) the law is often unable to stop these Asshole Victims from continuing to harm others.
  • Marrying the Mark: Chapters 25-29 involve a marriage swindler who uses her sex appeal to trick them into giving her money to start up a fake business, then disappear after getting the millions of yen for the supposed capital.
  • Meaningful Name: The drama's title and his swindler guise is a mixture of the protagonists' name and the Japanese word for swindler.
  • Mirror Character: Kurosaki & Shiriashi, who are a black swindler and white swindler respectively. They are both professional swindlers who defraud others, not for personal gain, but to utterly destroy their mark, whom they deem as corrupt. But while Kurosaki specifically preys on frauds, Shiraishi preys on large corporations which he views as "rotten", regardless of whether or not they engage in monetary fraud. Both are also Driven to Villainy thanks to a Dark and Troubled Past: Kurosaki lost his family after his father was swindled and committed Pater Familicide; Shiraishi lost his mother to an accident thanks to a faulty apartment building, and his father became the scapegoat to the incident since he worked for the company that built it and had been forced to convince the residents to move into the faulty building when the company wanted to repurpose their old one.
  • Pater Familicide: Kurosagi lost his family after his father murdered his mother and sister before killing himself. Kurosagi was grievously injured during the ordeal, but managed to survive.
  • A World Half Full: Despite knowing the limits of the law, Tsurara is determined to become a prosecutor.

  • And the Adventure Continues: How the series ends. After a time skip occurs and Tsurara has become a prosecutor, Kurosaki returns to Japan after his departure a few years back. He's decided that his path is still his path in the end, but has accepted Tsurara's path as her own and both will pursue justice in their own ways and will be a swindler for the remainder of his life. Tsurara has accepted this, happy Kuro is alive, and will be there for him when he's finally exhausted or whenever he needs her.
  • Downer Ending: The first Kurosagi manga ends with Kuro failing to avenge his family when he confronts Mikimoto. Mikimoto ultimately finds a lawful loophole to protect himself with, which leads to Kashina for once being pissed off with something in the law & disgusted with himself for protecting the guy. After that, Kuro loses it. He goes about destroying all the information files he acquired on Mikimoto while laughing then contemplates killing Katsuragi by getting a gun and shooting him in the head, knowing it would result in himself getting killed too. He ultimately decides against it though. It's all capped off with him returning home, Tsurara asks him how things went, he snaps at her first telling her to just get one of her lectures about why what he does is wrong, she hugs him instead, he then just starts breaking down crying on her shoulder.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mikimoto in Shin Kurosagi due to anger someone higher up and losing Katsuragi's protection.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Kuro forces Tsurara to do this with him to avoid his face being seen.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Kurosaki's favoured disguise method is to don a pair of fake glasses, which only works because his victims are generally strangers. In the live-action adaptation, his disguises are more varied.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Kurosaki is constantly sucking on a lollipop.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Kuro tricks Tsurara into doing this by playing on her legitimate feelings and her not realizing the truth until later on. She is understandably pissed about this.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Mikimoto committing suicide, bringing Kuro's revenge against him to an end.
    • Kurosaki quits working for Katsuragi at the end of Shin Kurosagi, turning him into an adversary. This leads to Kuro moving out of his apartment, going into hiding, and being more covert about his location as he's being hunted down by a hitman.

    Live-Action Drama 
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Yukari. In the manga, Yukari is Tsurara's loyal friend the entire time and is a more minor character. Here, she gets an Adaptation Personality Change into a Clingy Jealous Girl who progressively becomes more and more unhinged as time goes on.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Katsuragi, sort of. In the manga, he's a cold stoic who is at the top of the swindling world. In the live-action drama, while he retains a majority of these qualities, he is softened into a more eccentric & a tad more charismatic old man.
  • Darkest Hour: Not only does Mikimoto escape, but Kurosaki also gets arrested.
  • First Love: Unfortunately for the aspiring prosecutor, her first love is a con artist.
  • Forced to Watch: Kurosaki is unable to stop his father from murdering the rest of his family before coming for him.
  • Gender Flip: Hayase is male in the manga, but female in the drama.
  • Right Through the Wall: Since they're neighbors, Tsurara yells constantly at Kurosaki through the thin walls.