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Manga / Love Is in the Bag

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Love is in the Bag is a whimsical Slice of Life comedy Manga about a girl named Kate Menella, who has a crush on local hottie Calvin Jacobs. It would be somewhat typical if it weren't for the fact that she turns into a bag everytime she gets excited. With the help of her best friend, Kara Francesco, Kate gets over her shyness and is able to get together with Calvin. Except for all the things standing in her way, such as basketball tournaments and a girl claiming to be Calvin's previous girlfriend.

Lots and lots of awkward situations ensue due to the antics of Kara and her friends, Chloe and Lorelei, in trying to get Kate and Calvin together.

Written by Ace Vitangcol with art by Jed Siroy and Andrew Agoncillo, and with writers Ryan Cordova and Glenn Que, produced by Studio Studio and Alturia Hill Publishing, it is a Filipino comic drawn in a manga style that is safe for young readers.

Love is in the Bag was concluded after five volumes, but Word of God has delivered spin-offs, including a Clueless Mystery light novel The Great Donut Caper!, and the Slice of Life graphic novel Bag Together which is set 3 years after the events of the final volume. A standalone book, The Lorelei Wang Case Files: The Mystery of Valehollow is a Chosen Path story with Multiple Endings.

The manga has also expanded to interactive books that feature characters doing fun activities (i.e., Mara going to the beach, Calvin and Kara playing sports, Chloe throwing a party, etc.)

The comic's Facebook page can be found here.

Alturia Hill Publishing and Studio Studio's website can be found here.

Another series by the same authors is Angel Crush, which is set in the same universe.The third series by the same authors is My Celestial Family, which does not share the same universe as the previous two.

Tropes employed in this series:

  • Arc Number: The number 13 shows up often, as it is the writer's favorite number.
  • Accidental Pervert: Calvin. Although some members of the cast have their moments.
  • The Ace: Calvin Jacobs is hailed as one of the most talented basketball players of the country, although his status as number one is debatable, as his rival Mark Spencer seems to surpass him in many aspects of the game, as well as being a better physical specimen.
  • Alertness Blink: Common in works produced by Studio Studio.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of Kate's father, and possibly Kate.
    • Also Lorelei's fate in one of the bad endings to The Lorelei Wang Case Files: The Mystery of Valehollow.
  • Annoying Laugh: Lorelei often laughs boisterously (BWAHAHAHA) to the chagrin of everyone in the vicinity, while Lulu's laughter (OHOHOHO) only annoys Kate.
  • Anticlimax: The revelation of Louis's last name in Chapter 4.
  • Berserk Button: DO NOT insult Calvin or Mark in front of Chloe EVER.
  • Big "NO!": Chloe does this twice in Book 4 when the official couples are finally established. Doubles as a Funny Moment.
    • The boys also do this in Book 1 when Kara tells Lorelei instead of the H-Girl to ride with the boys in the Beach Episode Arc.
    Kara: Guys, she's with me.
    Louis: NOOOOOOO!!!!
    Lorelei: *Waves at Kara nervously*
    Kara: Guess there's no choice. Lorelei, you ride with the guys.
    Lorelei: Consider yourselves lucky to be in my presence!
    Calvin, Mark and Louis: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
    Kara: Shut it you meanies!
  • Blue with Shock: Most of the cast do this, but Mark Spencer is especially prone.
  • Boss Subtitles: Each character's first appearance is marked with a caption box detailing their full name, club affiliations, height, weight, etc.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Lulu asks Calvin to do this to Kate at the start of Volume 4.
  • Breakout Character: Mark Spencer was initially intended to be a one-dimensional rival to Calvin, who only appeared during basketball games. However, as the writers continued working on Volume 1, they decided to give him a slightly bigger role. He would not disappoint, as Mark Spencer is one of the most—if not the most—popular character in the series. His role in the series continued to grow from Volume 2 onwards.
    • Similarly, Chloe Karan was originally intended as background filler for Kara's Gang. Thanks to her zany antics, her popularity soared and she is now the face of Studio Studio.
  • Brick Joke: The unicorn at the end of Volume 2 returns at the beginning of Volume 3, and it's with Chloe.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Chloe and Lorelei.
  • Butt-Monkey: Both Louis and the Mysterious Mystery Gang.
  • Cat Girl: Not literally, but Kara is often compared to one. She even pulls out cat ears from hammerspace!
  • Cat Smile: Kara does this often.
  • Cerebus Syndrome/Drama Bomb: The last few chapters of Volume 3 start this, with the revelation of the nature of Kate's "condition". Played with, since there are still a couple of hilarious moments in the fourth volume.
  • City with No Name: While the various schools are often mentioned, the main setting for the series goes unnamed.
    • Many locales do bear superficial resemblance to some real-life places, such as a few buildings on Saint Xander campus looking similar to buildings in Ateneo de Manila University. Later on in the story, State University has similar landmarks to the University of the Philippines.
    • As the setting is a mishmash of various real-life locations mixed with plenty of fictional places, it almost, but does not, qualify as No Communities Were Harmed.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Chloe is able to magically manifest a Unicorn simply because she believes they exist.
    • Conversely, the Unicorn disappears in a cloud of smoke when Fourth Wall Guy tells her they don't exist.
  • Cliffhanger: Volume 4 ends with Kate turned into a bag, which, for the entire volume, was hinted at to be permanent.
  • Club President: Kate (Book Club), Kara (Swimming Team), Calvin (St. Xander Basketball Team) and Mark (Kripbam Basketball Team).
  • Character Tics: plenty of characters have signature gestures or tics.
    • Kate blushes whenever she discusses Calvin.
    • Kara blushes, sweats, and turns her head sideways when she speaks with or about Mark Spencer.
    • Mark mutters "tsk" whenever he encounters tough defense in basketball.
    • Calvin smiles and tilts his head whenever he's lying about his health.
    • Calvin laughs and scratches the back of his head whenever he has to explain himself.
    • Louis' nose bleeds when he discusses the pink-haired girl in volume 1.
    • Lorelei's snaggletooth is visible whenever she cheerfully explains her plans.
    • Genevieve is often shown crossing her arms just above her waist.
  • Character Overlap: Several characters from Love Is in the Bag and Angel Crush appear in each other's series.
  • Charge-into-Combat Cut: Used often in scenes involving Basketball.
  • Chaste Hero: Calvin Jacobs. He doesn't even get the meaning of "date."
  • The Chew Toy: Louis V, due to Lorelei and Chloe's shenanigans.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Chloe. Between her Genki Girl status and her tendency for Imagine Spots, this is really the way to describe her.
  • Continuity Nod: When Sir Joey gets hit with the taser in Bag Together, a metal plate is seen on his skull, which is a reference to Volume 4 when he was hit with a baseball bat and his skull cracks.
  • Cooking Duel: In Volume 3, as a way of determining who gets Calvin's affection.
  • Covert Pervert: Mark Spencer. His eyes turn into "Mark Scope 2.0" when he checks out the cup sizes of girls...
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: In The Lorelei Wang Case Files: The Mystery of Valehollow.
  • Date Peepers: Kara usually does this, although many of the characters (including Kate herself!) have had their moments as Date Peepers.
  • Death Glare: Chloe Karan does this, sometimes at random.
  • Doorstopper: the entire story spans 5 volumes and two sequels, bringing the total page count to over 1,400.
  • Dramatis Personae: Each book has one or two pages at the start that gives details and updates about all the characters.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Kara Francesco and her Porsche can reduce even the manliest of men into a puddle of tears if they were to ever ride with her.
  • Empathic Environment: Some of the most dramatic moments of the series uses this trope.
    • When Mark is waiting for Kara in the park, but she fails to show up even after several hours, the skies turn dark and it begins to rain.
    • After Calvin seemingly crosses the Despair Event Horizon and begins to think that Kate won't ever return, he goes up to the school's roof deck to reflect. The skies are dark and cloudy, until Kate's miraculous return, when the sunlight finally shines through, and the storm dissipates.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Lulu Menella
  • Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name!: As the Cooking Duel in Volume 3 is an Affectionate Parody of Iron Chef, the chapter is named in a similar, over-the-top way — "Love Love Stadium! Fastfood Cook-Off!"
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Mark Spencer has many admirers...including a very sizable male fan group named the S.M.A.C.K. (The Special Mark Appreciation Club of Kripbam)
    • Given how Kara treats him most of the time, and that he goes to an all-boys school, he often feels that he Only Has Same-Sex Admirers.
    • Louis V. suffers the same curse after the Time Skip in Volume 5 as he is pursued by the L.A.M.E. (The Louis-Appreciating Mark Enthusiasts.)
  • Fate Worse than Death: One of the endings of the illustrated Chosen Path novel, The Lorelei Wang Case Files: The Mystery of Valehollow has Lorelei trapped in a horrific, never-ending loop where she is always arriving at Valehollow, only to fail each time.
  • Flat "What": Spoken several times, but most notably by Lorelei and Chloe.
    Pink-Haired Girl: Oh, that's because I used my formal name for college applications!
    Chloe: WHAT.
  • Food Porn: The authors took pictures of actual dishes made out of instant noodles and used it in the comic. Needless to say, it looks delicious.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: When Lulu scolds her daughter Kate in Volume 1, she calls her by her full name.
  • Funny Background Event: Common throughout the series.
  • Genki Girl: Chloe.
  • Given Name Reveal: Played for laughs with Chloe and Lorelei obsessing over Louis V.'s surname. In Volume 4, they finally manage to convince him to reveal it. Theme Naming is subverted when Louis reveals his surname is actually Vee.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Mysterious Mystery Gang.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Shiela Errani discovers the body of Sir Joey in The Mystery of Valehollow, we only see a close up of her screaming face.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Studio Studio and Alturia Hill Publishing books are safe for young readers, hence there is no strong language.
    • This is the main reason the term "idiot" is used often.
  • He's Back!: After Calvin's emo, self hate Heroic BSoD phase after Kate's condition worsens, Mark manages to convince Calvin to return and help. He remains optimistic and hopeful after that.
  • Held Gaze: Often with the two main pairs (KaVin and KarMa), complete with Longing Looks.
  • Hit Stop: Common throughout the story, but most significantly seen whenever Kara hits Calvin or Mark for appearing to do something perverted or stupid.
    Also done by Kate on Mark after Volume 5's Time Skip.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Chloe is a master of this, often contradicting herself just moments later.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Once Calvin and Kate are inside the L-Field Machine, Calvin must find a way to convince Kate's consciousness to return with him to the real world.
  • I Think You Broke Him: Chloe does this to her various love interests (and those that she mistakes for them) frequently.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Used mercilessly in chapter titles.
  • Informed Ability: Lorelei being a genius. Lampshaded multiple times.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Genevieve lost to Kate, she immediately puts on this front.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Lots, used along with Fun with Subtitles.
  • The Lancer: Mark is stoic and at times the quiet one to Calvin's denseness and general lack of Genre Savvy.
  • Large Ham: The Mysterious Mystery Gang.
  • Lethal Chef: It is revealed in Bag Together that Calvin Jacobs isn't a very good cook.
    Contrast Kate and Genevieve, who are shown to be Supreme Chefs.
    • In Volume 3, Kate also mentions that Kara nearly burnt down her apartment while trying to boil water.
  • Lightning Glare: Lorelei and Mara share one of these in Volume 1.
  • Literal-Minded: Calvin Jacobs sometimes doesn't quite grasp figurative speech.
    • In Volume 5, he thinks that "hanky panky" refers to handkerchiefs.
    • Turned upside down in Volume 4, when he remarks that he is saddened by Mark "coming out of the closet" (which other characters misconstrue as something gender-preference-related). In this instance, Mark literally does burst out of a closet.
  • The Lost Lenore: Lulu's husband (and Kate's father) is often spoken of as being deceased in the early volumes. It is later revealed that he has actually transformed into a picture, which plays a larger role in the major conflict and resolution of the last two volumes of the story.
  • Magic Realism: Nobody bothers to wonder how or why a girl can transform into a bag.
    Some background characters ask other background characters if Kate is the girl who transforms, and ask no further questions when they are told that she is.
  • Meaningful Echo: In the second ending of Volume 5, Kate is fascinated at how [[spoiler:things change, but strangely stay the same and enumerates the similarities of her high school life, and her life after the Time Skip.
  • Medium Awareness: The series delves into this occasionally, but Fourth Wall Guy takes the cake for this.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Subverted, as both Calvin and Mark are shown to be Neat Freaks and always cleaning up their homes, particularly during the Time Skip.
    • Ironically, Kara is a bit of a slob, and is totally shocked upon discovering that Mark's room is ridiculously clean.
  • Meta Guy: There's a random guy that appears every now and then, and he's quite Genre Savvy and aware of the situation at all times.
  • Moment Killer: The the pink-haired girl is interrupted every time she gets close to revealing her name.
    "Oh, my real name is actually J—BUS ARRIVES WITH A JKKKKKSSSSS sound effect.
  • Mood Whiplash: After all the angst in Volume Three and the start of Volume Four, the mood shifts from comedic to heartwarming to angsty all too easily.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Mark, by Louis, because he thought that Mark was peeping at Calvin. Even more so by Volume 4, where Louis misunderstood what Calvin said about Mark coming out of the closet.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Calvin, Mark, and to some extent even Louis, especially after the Time Skip.
    • The other basketball players also fit this trope.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Japanese transfer student. Lampshaded multiple times by her classmates and friends.
  • Multiple Endings: The Lorelei Wang Case Files: The Mystery of Valehollow is a Chosen Path book with 13 different endings.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Played with briefly (no pun intended) in Volume 5, when Mark doesn't notice that there is somebody else in the room.
    ...which a moment later is used as Hand-or-Object Underwear.
  • The Napoleon: Lorelei is sometimes teased by Mark, Mara, Calvin and Louis for her stature, to which she takes offense.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Genevieve often laughs like this.
  • No Name Given: The Japanese transfer student. The only thing we know about her name is that it starts with an H. Eventually subverted by Louis Vee.
  • The Power of Friendship: One of the main themes of the series is how anything can be solved with the right set of friends.
  • Oblivious to Love: Calvin is especially dense, and does not realize Kate has a crush on him.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: While the original series follows a Numbered Sequels format, the stories set after the ending are named Love is in the Bag: The Great Donut Caper followed by Bag Together: A Love is in the Bag Sequel.
  • On the Next: A staple of books by Studio Studio. Each volume ends with a teaser of the next book's contents.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Calvin often triggers these, mostly with discussions between Mark and Louis... about Mark and/or Louis.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted for comic relief when Lorelei thinks she's spotted Mara in a flimsy disguise, but it is actually a real person and the real Mara was standing next to that person in a much better disguise. This happens in Volume 2 and again as a Running Gag in Volume 4.
  • The Power of Love: One of the main themes of the series is how Love conquers all.
  • Power Trio: Calvin, Mark, and Louis after the Time Skip. In this case, Calvin has now become the mediator between the other two, instead of Mark's foil.
  • Puff of Logic: Fourth Wall Guy tells Chloe that unicorns don't exist, prompting the unicorn she caught to vanish.
  • The Precarious Ledge: Mark hangs on one as he attempts to evade Lorelei and Chloe.
  • Previously onů: A staple of books by Studio Studio. Each volume shows a brief recap of the last event in the previous book.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Mysterious Mystery Gang, who apparently want Kate so that they can find out the secret to her transforming.
  • Mark Spencer is the best high school basketball player and possibly the best basketball player in the country. However, because he spends so much time studying basketball and working out in the gym, he has No Social Skills, Cannot Talk to Women, and tends to twiddle his fingers when trying to ask a personal question.
  • Calvin Jacobs is probably the second best player in the country and is an academic achiever with consistently high grades. He's also the president of the astronomy club. The trade-off is that he is a dense idiot when it comes to love, often overlooking grand gestures of affection from his adoring fans.
  • Later, Louis V. gains a tremendously effective crossover and hook-shot, but he has also begun to be blind to the girls around him.
  • Schmuck Bait: Plenty of interactions with Chloe (often with Lorelei) turn out to be this. Sometimes Lorelei even sees it coming, but responds anyway.
    • Played with and averted in The Lorelei Wang Case Files: The Mystery of Valehollow as listening to Chloe often leads Lorelei closer to solving the case. However, this isn't always true, as listening to Chloe in one instance actually leads to a the worst ending in the book. It's so bad that Lorelei can't help but scream, but eventually is unable to.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: The story sometimes shifts from light and funny to serious and exciting (basketball) and even dramatic and moody. (The fourth volume is notorious among fans for this.)
  • Serious Business: Basketball.
  • Shed the Family Name: Louis V. doesn't like revealing his surname in order to look more mysterious.
  • Shout-Out: Channel |B| or CH|B|, as a shout out to 4chan.
    • A poster in Calvin's room says Suramu Danku!
    • The box that Kara carries says Pani Poni.
    • Ruthlessly done in Volume 3, where Chloe does a chain of shout outs to Batman while trying to squeeze Louis's secret out of him. Even lampshaded by Fourth Wall Guy.
    Fourth Wall Guy: We're thiiiis close to getting sued.
  • Shrinking Violet: Kate, but she more or less gets over it after Calvin finally notices her.
  • Sneeze Cut: In the sequel Bag Together, after Kate's [[spoilers:parents and aunt]] talk about her.
  • So Once Again, the Day Is Saved: The MMG sign off this way (complete with a parody pose of The Powerpuff Girls) in Volume 5, and are never seen again in the series.
  • Spit Take: Lulu when she hears Kate scream that she's late for a date, and Kate, when Lulu asks her about Calvin.
  • The Stinger: Each book includes a bonus scene at the end to complete a Brick Joke or tease the next volume.
  • Student Council President: Lorelei Wang, after the Time Skip.
  • Suggestive Collision
  • Supreme Chef: In the Iron Chef parody chapter in Volume 3, Kate and Genevieve and Mark Spencer are shown to be very good chefs.
    Contrast Calvin Jacobs, who in the sequel Bag Together is revealed to be a Lethal Chef.
    Compare Kate's mom Lulu Mennella, who is considered a legendary Supreme Chef.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Done by Kara when it comes to her relationship with Mark.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: When Calvin thinks to himself during basketball games, time seems to slow down for him.
  • Team Shot: The starting lineups for both Saint Xander and Kripbam teams are shown in a two-page spread in Volume 2, just before tip-off.
  • Teen Genius: NOT Lorelei, instead, the title goes to Mara Spencer, who actually teaches Mechanical Engineering at the local university. And she's only thirteen!
  • Terrible Trio: The Mysterious Mystery Gang. Played for laughs, and never really taken seriously because of their silly intro poses. Ultimately they just serve as a distraction to Calvin.
  • Theme Naming: The characters' names are taken from the names of clothing and fashion companies, such as Kate Mennella, Calvin Jacobs, Mark Spencer, Genevieve Van Heusen, . Subverted by Louis Vee, which was supposed to be Louis Vuitton.
  • Time Skip: The second ending of Love is in the Bag Volume 5 The Finale takes place in college.
    • In the sequel Bag Together, there is a second Time Skip of one year, as the story follows the gang as Kate is in the first semester of her junior year in college.
  • Tsundere: Kara, especially when it comes to Mark.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The relationship between Kate and Kara.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Louis Vee after the Time Skip.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Donuts for Chloe.
  • Unsound Effect: The MMG, or Mysterious Mystery Gang, are known to use these.
    Sound effect when pressing a button on their Mysterious Mystery Gun: DETERMINED PRESS!
  • Versus Character Splash: Volume 1's Beach Volleyball scene.
  • Wall of Text: Lampshaded in Volume Two.
    Warning: Basketball content.
  • Weirdness Censor: Played with; everyone except the transfer students from London knows about Kate's condition, and it takes Calvin until near the end of Volume 1 (despite it happening in front of him) and Mara, Mark and Genevieve until Volume 3 to finally notice.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of Volume 4, when Calvin sees that Kate has turned into a bag. Given the Foreshadowing that has been happening since the end of the third book, the implication is that Kate may never come back.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The first ending in Love is in the Bag Volume 5 The Finale details what happened to the gang after Kate's graduation.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Calvin is afraid of doctors, which is why he refused to have his injury checked.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Mara Spencer.
  • Wrench Wench: Mark's sister, Mara.
    She is often seen riding, maintaining, and repairing Cool Bikes.
  • Yandere: There is a possibility that Chloe is one, but she's too ditzy to follow up on her tendencies.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Chloe, who fantasizes about Mark and Calvin. A lot.
  • Yonkoma: At the end of Volume 4.