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Manga / Little House with an Orange Roof

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The Brady Bunch... in Japan!

Shoutarou Ninomiya receives an award for fifteen years of being the only employee at his company never to take a vacation or day off. He rushes home excitedly to show the certificate to his wife... who hands him divorce papers and the care of their two sons. Hoping it will make his wife forgive him and come back, he quickly buys the eponymous orange-roofed house.

Cut to the beautiful Natsumi Okajima and her two daughters coming back from a trip to visit her sister. Entering their house, they find a strange woman stepping out of the shower, who promptly runs into the bedroom crying "Your wife and kids are back early!" Now, freshly divorced and wanting to start anew, she splurges the settlement money on a cute house with an orange roof...

Shoutarou and his sons, and Natsumi and her daughters both show up to move in on the same day. Turns out they've both been tricked by a Shady Real Estate Agent and bought the same house. Unable to locate the con or get help from the police and with nowhere else to go, they have no choice but to temporarily move in together.

Little House with an Orange Roof (Orange Yane no Chiisana Ie; subtitled in English as My Little Home) is a seinen manga by Yamahana Noriyuki, the creator of If I See You In My Dreams. The manga was serialized in Business Jump from 2005 to 2007, and compiled into eight volumes. It follows the gradual knitting together of two half-families, and the growing sparks between Natsumi and Shoutarou, along with his attempts to readjust from a workaholic to a family man.

This eight-volume series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: It's hinted on one or two occasions that Shoutarou has accidentally found his way into an occupied bathroom. While hilarity may have ensued, the audience doesn't get to see any of it. Hear, yes. See, no.
  • Almost Kiss: Several occasions (e.g., chapter 23).
  • Author Avatar: More or less confirmed in the author talk pages.
  • Badass Adorable: Ryota, facing off against a train trivia champion and winning.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Subverted with Youta and Rina. They may not be a couple, but they have the dynamics.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Inverted. The gang has a beagle puppy.
  • Blended Family Drama: A single dad and a single mom are tricked into buying the same house. Along with their children, they gradually come together to be a family.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Rina kind of polarizes fans between whether she's cute and funny or annoying.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In chapter 54, when Shoutarou hears that Natsumi has been gypped into working at a hostess bar, he explodes, "What is that 3rd-rate mangaka thinking, doing something so crude?" We see Noriyuki at the corner of the page, looking irked and going "..."
    • Noriyuki puts in another self-cameo appearance as the third contestant in the trivia contest, and not even managing to get a single question right.
  • Character Development: All of the new formed family get some, and some side characters too; but Shoutarou is the most obvious one, notice in the beginning how dorky and not quite dependable man he is; later he becomes the very definition of a man you can rely on, it even shows in his physique as he suddenly got quite bulkier than in the early chapters.
  • Cheerful Child: The two youngest, Ryo and Luna, fit the description posted on that trope's page.
  • Children Raise You: Shoutarou quickly learns how little prepared he is to be a real parent, though he gets better over time.
  • Daddy Didn't Show: We've had two opportunities for Natsumi's ex-husband to show up, one of them being when his own daughter asked him to.
  • Death Glare: An excellent representative example is delivered by Rina and Luna on Natsumi's aunts-in-law in chapter 47.
  • Diving Save: Done on two occasions so far.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Averted, at first because Shoutarou is hung up on trying to win back his ex, then later because he's genuinely respectful of Natsumi's refusal, even after she starts displaying obvious hints she's changed her mind.
  • Extreme Doormat: For a tsundere, Natsumi has serious problems saying "no", especially when challenged to "prove" she's worthy to marry Shoutarou. This has led to her being groped by slimy salarymen in a cabaret, and being utilized for slave labor by her in-laws, among other things.
  • Fanservice: Of the sort that shares the philosophy of Scenery Porn and pictures of bunnies and kittens and puppies... and the sort that likes red-hot naked MILFs.
  • First Girl Wins: Subverted by Shoutarou's ex and played straight by Natsumi.
  • Foot Popping: Natsumi does this at the end of chapter 22 when she hugs Shoutarou for the first time.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Shoutarou looks every inch the nerdy electronics store manager he starts out as, yet Natsumi seems to fall for him quickly. And once he becomes manager of a prestigious department store, most women dig him, even if at first irritated by his dull exterior.
  • Good Parents: Very good ones. Well, Shoutarou's less than perfect at first, but he shapes up quickly.
  • Gossipy Hens: The neighborhood housewives do this, but it's somewhat low-key.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Natsumi's mother-in-law, whose nasty behavior has actually been motivated by loneliness and a sense of disgrace over her son's callous behavior toward Natsumi, springs to her daughter-in-law's defense after her aunts-in-law come close to seriously injuring Natsumi in chapter 44. The process is helped along by Natsumi establishing a bond with her mother-in-law, who is a very fine cook, by learning how to prepare traditional Japanese dishes. The aunts-in-law themselves experience a Heel–Face Turn in chapter 47.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: And the gender-flipped version as well. Apparently Rina and Youta spend a lot of time screaming this at their friends.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Natsumi's ex. The best the audience ever gets is a silhouette. Possibly a Shout-Out to Maison Ikkoku.
  • His and Hers: With family names.
  • Japanese Christian: Natsumi's mother. The author is, as well, though he has a somewhat more relaxed attitude towards premarital sex than traditional Christian doctrine teaches. Some readers also felt he took the forgiveness message past reasonable boundaries (see Karma Houdini below.)
  • Jaw Drop: Played with. Shoutarou's coat falls off of his shoulders on its own on one particularly stunning occasion.
  • Karma Houdini: The manga tends to stress forgiveness and understanding in every situation, including to a man who strikes a little girl in the head hard enough to knock her over, and to in-laws that come close to murdering a single mother.
    • This is directly derived from the author's Christian beliefs (as explained in the main entry); the relevant Biblical injunctions in this case are almost certainly the ones to turn the other cheek and to forgive one's enemies "seven times seven".
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Rina and Youta's constant bickering gives this impression to their classmates.
  • Love Bubbles: Used occasionally (more of late), and at one point aided by an excellent planetarium set.
  • Love Triangle: Kinda. Several women throw themselves at Shoutarou and don't easily take no for an answer. He's firmly devoted to Natsumi, but the potential temptation does cause her some anxiety.
  • Magnetic Girlfriend: Sort of; there aren't very many, and the protagonists have not defined their relationship as such, although it becomes more blatant in Shoutarou's case in later chapters.
  • Mama Bear: Natsumi displays this in chapter 39, when she defends the boys from attacking crows (which have been causing a major nuisance in the neighborhood).
  • Married to the Job: Shoutarou's seemingly single-minded devotion to his job drives his first wife to seek a divorce.
  • Missing Mom: Shoutarou's sons, especially little Ryo, go through a good bit of angst over their mother's abrupt departure. This also made her a Karma Houdini in many readers' eyes — she doesn't give much thought to them when she leaves and never once attempts to visit or check up on them.
  • Moment Killer: At the end of chapter 21. Unusually, the person doing the interrupting immediately realizes what she's done and attempts to remove herself from sight.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal
  • Nice Guy: Shoutarou.
  • No "Police" Option: The two protagonists buy the same house from a Shady Real Estate Agent. When they call the police they're told "We can't help you." This makes no sense (the police aren't depicted as corrupt or anything), but there's a lot of Fridge Logic about how the situation could even arise in the first place.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Natsumi's ex-sisters-in-law take this out of Played for Laughs territory in many fans' eyes.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Natsumi vs Construction Worker. Also, Natsumi vs. Ryota. (Beware Death by Cute.)
  • Only Six Faces: A few more than that, perhaps, but this is no facial menagerie.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: To certain extents, mostly in the case of the kids. Fans have taken to calling Natsumi by her abbreviated name, Natchi, since it gets more traffic.
  • Out of Focus: Poor Youta almost seems a victim of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome until he finally gets a chapter of Character Focus fairly late in the manga.
  • Papa Wolf: Shoutaro is kind, understanding, and patient, and he tolerates no bullshit towards his or Natsumi's children.
  • Parent with New Paramour: In the most backwards way imaginable. Ties in with the Puppy Love below.
  • Puppy Love: Ryo and Luna.
  • Recycled In Space: The Brady Bunch in Japan.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Something of a main plot element.
  • Rousseau Was Right: A recurring theme throughout the manga. People are basically good underneath; they may be lonely or bitter, but love, trust, and understanding will eventually win out, bringing their kinder natures to the fore.
  • Rich Bitch: A recent addition to the cast, this one bearing shades of Sayoko from Ah! My Goddess.
  • Seinen: This manga is technically aimed at an audience of 18-40-year-old males, but sometimes it can feel like a guy-friendly Shojo piece and has its share of female readers.
  • Second Love: The general theme of the manga.
  • Shipper on Deck: The neighbor ladies ship Shoutaro/Natsumi.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The reason so many women go for Shoutaro. He's a good father, a decent man and a talented manager. Above all he's genuinely nice which is shown to be his main appeal.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Guess which end this story is firmly planted in?
  • Solomon Divorce: Averted, as Shoutaro and Natsumi both have full custody and Natsumi's keeping full custody is a plot point.
  • Tsundere: Natsumi is a Type B, thanks to years of silently enduring her previous husband's infidelity. Rina's a concentrated, distilled Type A.
  • Unwanted Harem: Inverted. Natchi has a small horde of admirers, but this doesn't have much effect on the plot. Used more with Shoutarou, who subverts it by gently but very firmly rebuffing the ladies that keep throwing themselves at him.
    • Notably, Shoutarou does not leave feelings unresolved, unlike many harem centers. He's not mean about it, but he makes it very clear where he stands.