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Manga / Kyō, Koi o Hajimemasu

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Tsubaki Hibino has a hobby: she likes styling her sister's hair. However, she doesn't think that style suits her and keeps her own hair in braids. At the start of her high school life, she's ready to find love, promising herself to become more fashionable and cute.

... Except she can't bring herself to it. On the first day in her new school, she finds herself bullied for her old-fashioned "Showa" taste in clothes. Even worse, she has to sit next to Kyota Tsubaki, resident casanova and the only one who managed to earn a higher score than her in the entrance exams. Angry at him, she cuts his long hair. This makes Kyota decide: she would be his next target. From there on, he would have her become his "woman" it's as rapey as it sounds.

Kyō, Koi o Hajimemasu, (Today, Our Love Begins, or the unofficial title proposed by Minami herself, Today, I Begin Love with Tsubaki), deals with the developing relationship between "good girl" Tsubaki Hibino and "bad boy" Kyota Tsubaki. The two start off despising each other, but quickly grow close as the series progresses. The manga is written and illustrated by Kanan Minami and was serialized in Shōjo Comic from 2008 to 2014, compiled in 15 volumes.

The series has been adapted in a 2-episode Original Video Animation animated by J.C. Staff in 2010, a Light Novel presenting the story from Kyota's perspective and a live action series taking place a year before the events of the manga. A Live-Action Adaptation film starring Emi Takei, Tori Matsuzaka and Kento Yamazaki was also released in 2012.

This manga provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Kyota's dad may be a respected teacher, but he's also extremely violent and constantly beats Kyota.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Despite acting like a delinquent and switching girls like he switches shirts, Kyota is the most popular guy at school.
  • Alpha Bitch: Arisa and her Girl Posse react very badly when they find out Kyota has a girlfriend, physically assaulting and bullying her. She gets shaken when her actions almost cause Tsubaki to be raped.
  • Always Second Best: Tsubaki can never beat Kyota in terms of academics because he scores higher than her every single time.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Tsubaki gives several to Kyota, even after they get together. Nako also gives one to Kyota when she sees that Kyota is persistent in returning to Tsubaki.
  • Art Shift: The art style turns into comical chibis during comedic scenes.
  • Attempted Rape: Arisa employs two thugs to scare Tsubaki during the marathon. To her horror, they try to go further than that and almost rape her. The timely appearance of Miho saves Tsubaki.
  • Babies Ever After: A post-epilogue side story shows that Tsubaki is expecting her first child, a daughter.
  • Beautiful All Along: Tsubaki's unattractiveness is emphasized through her conservative clothing choices and her Braids of Action. The film adaptation tries to make her look more homely by turning her into a Meganekko and giving a subsequent The Glasses Gotta Go transformation. The class is amazed by The Makeover a quarter into the series and comments on her looking cute, when all she needed to do was let her hair down and wear her skirt shorter.
  • Berserk Button: Trying to dig into Kyota's past or hurting Tsubaki can make him unleash his Unstoppable Rage at you.
  • Beta Couple: Sakura and Nishiki, of course.
  • Big Man on Campus: Kyota is the president of the student body for scoring the highest on entrance exams, and he's also the most popular boy in school.
  • Bilingual Backfire: When Tsubaki first meets Halstead, she gives him directions in (broken) English, assuming he was a foreigner. It turns out that Halstead knows Japanese. He tries to tell her such, but she doesn't hear him and he goes along with it.
  • Birds of a Feather: Tsubaki feels threatened by Kyota's relationship with Nako because both of them are interested in space engineering, and it gets worse when Nako develops a crush on Kyota because of such. The same goes for Kyota when Tsubaki begins working as Hiro's understudy, and Hiro begins feeling attracted to Tsubaki because of their common career goals.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Poor Rika seems so nice, timid, fragile and innocent...until we find out she uses her apparent weaknesses to sleep around, manipulate people and set herself as the victim, all the while laughing at the others' expense.
  • Bland-Name Product: Chapter 37 has Tsubaki sitting in front of "Bear Bucks Coffee", which couldn't possibly have anything to do with Starbucks coffee or Tsubaki's love for bears.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Kyota is the Brooding Boy to Tsubaki's Gentle Girl.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Halstead's father is American while his mother is Japanese. This also lands him into the Japanese stereotype of foreigners being more physically intimate, which Rika attempts to exploit.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Kyota isn't very good at talking about his feelings, but he becomes more open to Tsubaki. Tsubaki, on the other hand, tends to keep her mouth shut when it comes to speaking her mind because she doesn't want to disappoint anybody.
  • Career Versus Man: A big issue that comes up with the final third of the series is what Tsubaki wants to do in the future, and whether she should prioritize her dreams instead of Kyota.
  • The Casanova: Kyota flirts and sleeps around with many different girls, but has never had a girlfriend.
  • Chick Magnet: Kyota is the most popular boy in school and has girls constantly following him even after he begins dating Tsubaki. Hiro Hananoi is also popular with the girls for being a famous hairstylist. A common complaint from Kyota's Unwanted Harem is how a plain old-fashioned girl like Tsubaki can attract so many good-looking guys.
  • Corner of Woe: Tsubaki ends up hiding in a corner during the Christmas chapter because Sakura reminds her she has to stay and study.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Subverted by Tsubaki when Kyouta asks about some scratches:
    Tsubaki: After Arisa-san, Kana-san, and two other students beat me up in the rain, I bumped into something.
  • Delinquent Hair: Tsubaki describes that her whole school looks like it's composed of delinquents. Kyota himself has long, unkempt bleached hair. It looks neater when Tsubaki cuts it, but it's still pretty delinquent-y. It actually contrasts his excellent grades.
  • Does Not Like Men: Spear Counterpart: Kyota doesn't mind messing around with girls, but he can't really trust them.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Halstead is really devoted to Rika, and assures her that even if Kyota sexually assaulted her, he would still take her back.
  • Embarrassing First Name: In chapter 33, Tsubaki tells Kyota that she hated her first name and was jealous of Sakura's name, but began to like it more upon dating Kyota.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Tsubaki begins wearing her hair in different styles outside of her old-fashioned Braids of Action when Miho encourages her to dress more stylishly. In addition, Hiro used to look like a nerd, but after The Makeover from getting an Important Haircut, he began to act more outgoing.
  • Extreme Doormat: Tsubaki often puts people's needs above her own, and is afraid of saying things that will bother or disappoint others.
  • Flower Motifs: "Tsubaki" means "camellia" in Japanese, so there's a lot of artwork using camellias some way or another.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Sakura is flighty, fickle, and somewhat rebellious, while Tsubaki is diligent, earnest, and obedient. Their mother trusts Tsubaki more because of this.
  • Forceful Kiss: Kyota steals Tsubaki's first kiss this way. He repeatedly does this at the start of the series.
  • Freudian Excuse: Kyota's distrust in women stems from his mother for leaving his family. Oh, and also that nurse he befriended who basically traumatized him unintentionally with a Primal Scene.
  • Friends with Benefits: Kyota doesn't have a girlfriend, but he gets together with his senpai, Yuki, for sex.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Right after Kyota throws a punch at Halstead for hurting Tsubaki, the scene cuts to one of of Halstead's cats, who turns out to be licking Halstead's blood from its fur.
  • Grand Staircase Entrance: In the Live-Action Adaptation, when Tsubaki first gets a makeover during her date with Kyota, she descends down the stairs in a manner not unlike She's All That.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Tsubaki becomes jealous when Nako, a girl from her cram school who not only has better grades but also has a lot in common with Kyota in terms of career prospects, gets close to Kyota. On the flipside, the same thing happens to Kyota when Tsubaki becomes an understudy to Hiro, a famous hairstylist.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Tsubaki studied very hard in middle school, but she not only failed the entrance exam to her dream school, Nariyoshi High, but was also beat out by Kyota in terms of exam scores.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tsubaki gets several over the course of the series. The first notable one she gets is after her Near-Rape Experience with Halstead, where she discovers what Kyota could have done to Rika, making her wary of his true nature. The second is when she realizes she may have created a setback for Kyota to accomplish his dream of becoming an astronaut due to her insecurity and selfishness.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: On Tsubaki's first date with Kyota, he takes her shopping for a new dress and heels to replace her ridiculous bear t-shirt and jeans.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Miho had a crush on Kyota, but continuously acts as a Shipper on Deck for Tsubaki and Kyota. Initially it was just an act, but when she came to realize that the two really did like each other, she backs off.
  • Important Haircut: Several, actually, which isn't a surprise since hairstyling is a big part of Tsubaki and, subsequently, the series. Let's count them off, shall we?
    • Kyota was originally a Long-Haired Pretty Boy until Tsubaki whacks off a good length with her scissors out of frustration. This has caused her to become a target of his fixation ever since.
    • Miho gets one when she decides to get over Kyota and asks Tsubaki to be the one to cut her hair.
    • Halstead gets one when he decides to get over Rika.
    • Kyota gets one when he and Tsubaki temporarily separate.
  • In Name Only: Prior to KyoKoi receiving a live-action film adaptation, French Kiss released a short live-action drama in 2011 with their second single "If", the theme song for the Original Video Animation. Note that the drama has a completely different setting because it takes place a year before Kyota and Tsubaki enter high school and focuses on three new characters (who happen to be fictionalized versions of the members of French Kiss) and their own love problems. If it weren't for the fact that the title related to the main series, it could have been passed off as a completely different drama series.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Halstead is always seen with cats crawling around him, though whether he is kindhearted is questionable at first. He seems to be a full-blown Friend to All Living Things since he attempts to bring a goat back with him on the school trip to Hateruma Island.
  • Last-Name Basis: Tsubaki insists on calling Kyota by his last name because it's the same as her first name.
  • Love at First Punch: Sort of. On the first day of school, Tsubaki retaliates against Kyota's bullying by cutting his hair. He becomes drawn to her when she finishes his haircut, but in later accounts, he tells Tsubaki he hated her when they first met.
  • Love at First Sight: Nishiki falls in love with Sakura at first sight.
  • Love Confession: Tsubaki sort of confesses she likes Kyota when they're alone looking at the stars. It backfires, as Kyota isn't interested in women who confess to him due to a traumatic experience he had in the past.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Kyota has tons of girls after him, including his senior Yuki, Nako, and Miho, but he and Tsubaki are in love with each other. Hiro later develops a crush on Tsubaki.
  • Love Redeems: Kyota insists that he's changed from his past playboy ways because of Tsubaki. In fact, he tells Nako straight up that even if he had met her before he met Tsubaki, he would have dated her only as a part of The Bet because of his personality back then.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Tsubaki is the Madonna, a pure, Naïve Everygirl when it comes to love who wants to have sex after marriage. She is depicted as extremely conservative and naive. Meanwhile, every other girl who Really Gets Around is either a shallow Alpha Bitch or a fickle, frivolous girl with no sense of responsibility.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Since Kyota's doesn't outright state his feelings, sometimes Tsubaki feels as though he's leading her on.
  • Missing Mom: Kyota's mom left the family when he was young and allegedly cheated on his father, which is one of the reasons why Kyota can't trust women. It turns out that she left because of Kyota's father's abusiveness and planned to take Kyota with her, but it just so happened that a detective Kyota's father hired took a photo of her boss giving her a Cooldown Hug, and that caused her to lose all custody rights to Kyota. Even though Kyota's mom had a good reason for leaving the family, Kyota is pretty much disconnected with her and refuses to even see her.
  • Morality Pet: Tsubaki becomes one for Kyota, as she is often the one who tries to bring him back to his senses.
  • My Beloved Smother: Tsubaki's mother is overbearing and controlling towards her life mostly because Tsubaki is the oldest child in the family and shoulders the most expectations. Tsubaki's Extreme Doormat and people-pleaser attitude only makes it worse.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Tsubaki's very naive when it comes to socializing.
  • Near-Rape Experience: Kyota attempts to rape Tsubaki in chapter 5. He stops when she calls him out on manipulating a girl's feelings like that, but in an unsettling developement, she starts feeling attracted to him after that.
    • Halstead thinks to rape Tsubaki when they're alone in the classroom as payback for what Kyota did to Rika, but he ends up crying and lamenting on how he couldn't do such a terrible thing to a crying girl.
  • Nosebleed: Tsubaki gets one out of embarassment when Sakura hands her smutty Shōjo magazines.
  • Not So Above It All: Tsubaki notes that even though Kyota acted like he didn't care about spending their first Christmas date together, he was in fact more excited about it than she was since he bought a candle and a gift for her early on.
  • Not So Stoic: Kyota generally looks aloof and uncaring, but he loses his cool when it comes to Tsubaki, be it her awkward responses or making himself look like an idiot in order to help her.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kyota hates his father and regularly avoids him, while his mother left the family when he was young.
  • Poor Communication Kills: This happens a lot throughout the series because this is both their first serious relationship. Every five chapters something will come up that makes Tsubaki avoid Kyota (or vice versa) for a chapter.
  • Really Gets Around: Kyota, of course, who often dates and has sex with his many Friends with Benefits. Rika turns out to be this too, as she has a poor reputation at school for stealing people's boyfriends.
  • Repetitive Name: Tsubaki hates that her first name is the same as Kyota's last name, but later grows to feel that the coincidence is special and even fancies the idea of having the name "Tsubaki Tsubaki." She gets her wish when they get married at the end of the series.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Kyota attempts to steal all of Tsubaki's "first experiences", starting with her first kiss. She ends up washing her mouth disgusted.
  • Scenery Porn: Some of the cover artwork has very detailed scenery.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Tsubaki is sore about Kyota snatching the first place position, but becomes better about it later on.
  • Sexy Santa Dress: When Tsubaki takes over Nishiki's shift at the karaoke bar, the boss asks her to wear a Santa costume to advertise outside to the Christmas crowd. Instead of picking the typical Santa costume as Kyota thought she would pick, she wore the sexy dress.
  • Shrinking Violet: Tsubaki is very shy and quiet.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Sakura is outgoing, fashionable, and shallow while Tsubaki is a Shrinking Violet, conservative, and responsible.
  • Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: Tsubaki gets bullied through isolation when she is the first to speak out against Kyota. When she begins dating him, she even gets beaten up by the Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse and receives tons of hate mail in her inbox with the subject, "Break up with him."
  • Third-Person Person: Sakura often speaks in third person.
  • Unwanted Harem: Kyota is mostly indifferent to the flock of girls constantly following him, but uses them to his advantage whenever it benefits him. Sometimes he gets annoyed with them when they block him from seeing Tsubaki.
  • Theme Naming: Tsubaki and Sakura are both named after flowers. "Tsubaki" means "camellia" in Japanese while "Sakura" means "cherry blossom." In a post-epilogue side story, Kyouta proposes naming his daughter "Camellia" to continue the flower-themed naming.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Or divorced mom in this case. Kyota's mother makes her appearance halfway into the series to convince him to live with her.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Kyota and Halstead outright admit to each other that they can't be best friends like they used to when they were little, until the situation with Rika gets cleared up.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tsubaki is the oldest daughter in her family and therefore has the most expectations. During middle school, when she said that she wanted to be a hair stylist during a parent-teacher conference, her mother completely flipped out, and she was also unable to pass the entrance exam to her dream high school. Since then, Tsubaki is fiercely afraid of disappointing her mother, and attempts to study hard to enter a prestigious college just she would be proud of her.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Rika likes pulling these, especially near Hal. When Kyota refused to sleep with her and said he dislikes women like her, she set it up so it seemed he had harassed and raped her, giving her an excuse to break up with Hal and ruining their friendship.
  • Yoko Oh No: Tsubaki was a victim of this when it came to being close to Kyota, even more so when it got out that they'd started dating.
  • You Just Told Me: Tsubaki tries to lie to Kyota about being beaten up by Arisa and the other girls in the class... but accidentally reveals she was beaten up by them anyway.

Alternative Title(s): Today Love Starts