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Manga / Mahoraba

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Mahoraba ("Splendid Place") is a shonen manga by Akira Kojima, which was serialized in Monthly Gangan WING from 2000 to 2006 and compiled into 12 volumes. It was adapted to a 26-episode anime that aired in 2005.

First-Year College student Shiratori Ryuushi moves into the boarding house, Narutakisou. Under the tender care of Aoba Kozue, Narutakisou provides a home to people whose personal lives are all painful in one way or another; yet together, somehow, they make up a true family. Not only does Shiratori find a home at Narutakisou, but he also finds himself falling in love with a girl who is far more than she seems.

With An Aesop in every chapter, Mahoraba is one of those "feel good" sort of mangas. The sort you've likely never read before.

Compare with Maison Ikkoku, which has a similar setup of a romance at a boarding house, but is more grounded and aimed at an older audience. Not to be confused with Maburaho, which sits comfortably on the exact opposite end of the romantic comedy spectrum.

The anime adaptation is free to stream on Crunchyroll.


This series provides examples of:

  • All Periods Are PMS: Momono and Shiratori go to the theater and watch a horror film. When Shiratory asks how girl could see such a bloody film and not be bothered Momono replies, "Girls are used to seeing a lot of blood. Er... Was that a little vulgar?".
  • All That Glitters: The episode when the residents embark on a treasure hunt.
  • Alpha Bitch: Michiyo acts like an Alpha Bitch Ojou towards Asami, but it's really because she's too insecure that Asami won't like her.
  • Amusing Injuries: Inflicted upon Michiyo and Ero-Freak Boy on a semi-regular basis.
  • Battle Aura: Tamami and the Occult Club President can see each others' battle auras, but almost nobody else can.
  • Beach Episode
  • Bittersweet Ending: Manga Only: Wherein Ryuushi has fallen in love with ALL of Kozue-chan's personalities but his love for her gradually cures her insanity and causes all her personalities, each lovely human-beings unto themselves, to be absorbed into her primary psyche, never to emerge again. Afterwards we are introduced to Kozue-chan and Ryuushi's four daughters, who each bore an uncanny resemblance to the four personalities whom their mother once transformed into.
  • Advertisement:
  • Blank White Eyes
  • Bokukko: Shiratori retains his male speech patterns even after he was made to crossdress, which allows Chiyuri to look at him before she gets used to men.
  • Brand X: Ahashi beer.
  • Cannot Spit It Out
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Sayoko at one point practices her significant artistic talents by carving most of the trees in the courtyard into sculptures of her daughter Asami. Haibara spends his days fishing in a tiny, obviously fishless pond in the courtyard and only talks through his hand-puppet, Johnny. And those are just a couple of the less bizarre examples.
  • Colourful Theme Naming: An impressive list:
    • Kozue Aoba: Blue.
    • Saki Akasaka: Red.
    • Nanako Kanazawa: Gold.
    • Chiyuri Midorikawa: Green.
    • Natsume Konno: Navy blue.
    • Ryuushi Shiratori: White.
    • Megumi Momono: Peach.
    • Tamami Chanohata: Brown.
    • Asami Kurosaki: Black.
    • Yukio Haibara: Grey.
    • Erica Vermilion: Vermilion.
    • Youli Huang: Yellow.
    • Asahi Chigusa: Light greenish-blue.
    • Michiyo Asagi: Pale blue-green.
    • Tsubasa Yamabuki: Pale yellow.
    • Ryuutarou Shiba: Purple.
    • Mahiru Minazuki: Greenish sky blue.
    • Satsuki Matsuba: Dark green.
    • Risona Aizawa: Indigo.
    • Miyabi Shirogane: Silver.
    • Haruka Tobita: Reddish brown.
    • Mizuho Amane: Pale yellow.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: In the beginning, mostly at Sayoko's expense, and quite a lot from Saki's side once she hooks up with Ryuushi, because she's too embarrassed. She tries her best to avoid it, but fails a lot.
  • Corner of Woe
  • Credits Running Sequence
  • Distant Finale: The last chapter of the manga.
  • Driven to Suicide: Played for laughs of all things with poor Sayo-chan in the very beginning of the manga. Due to "network regulations", this was changed to merely severe depression in the anime.
  • Expressive Hair
  • Eye Catch
  • Facefault
  • Fan of Underdog
  • First Girl Wins
  • First-Name Basis
  • Flung Clothing
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Kozue is sanguine (so is Nanako, because she's a kid version of Kozue), Saki is choleric, Chiyuri is phlegmatic, Natsume is melancholic. It's probably worth mentioning that this "ensemble" consists of Kozue's alternate personalities
  • Funbag Airbag: Asami with Tachibana.
  • Gecko Ending
  • Gender Vocabulary Slip: Shiratori Ryuushi, Dogged Nice Guy and The Chew Toy of Mahoraba, was dressed up (against his will and while asleep) to look like a very cute and beautiful blonde. When confronted with Chiyuri, one of his landlady's five personalities who does not know him, he accidentally uses "boku" (polite masculine pronoun) to refer to himself. Subverted in that Chiyuri finds this contrast quite Moe, and that although unusual for a girl, "boku" is used as a pronoun by the nicer tomboys out there.
  • Generic Cuteness
  • The Glomp
  • Hand Behind Head
  • Hidden Eyes
  • Image Song
  • Improbable Weapon User: Sa-chan and her book attack, Tamami and just about anything (tennis balls, bonsai trees).
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: When the Club-President takes a shining to Asami-chan, she asks Tamami whether she could do this to the little one.
  • Instant Dogend: Haibara does this a lot.
  • Instant Seiza
  • Kewpie Doll Surprise
  • Kissing Cousins: Shiratori and Kozue-chan are actually second-cousins; a fact that is mentioned once in the beginning with a lampshade on how second cousins can get marriednote . As such, this fact is fairly quickly forgotten about for the rest of the series.
  • Lying on a Hillside
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Shiratori's male art school friend.
  • Love You and Everybody: Nanako pulls this the first time we see her.
  • Maximum Fun Chamber: Shirogane-sensei's room.
  • Meido: Sakura and Tachibana.
  • Ninja Maid: Tachibana, who serves the Minazuki family, has a habit of materializing in rooms like one. She even goes through a car chase sequence to rescue Mahiru from the Italian mafia.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh
  • No Name Given: Only in the anime.
    • Shiratori's three art school friends. The plot for one of the drama CDs revolves around their trying to get names. The manga does give them names in the end: Ero Freak's name is Yamabuki Tsubasa, the yaoi fangirl is Aizawa Risona, and the 'normal' girl with the nail bat is Amane Mizuho.
    • The Occult Club President also was never given a name, until the end when it was revealed to be Erika Vermilion.
  • Official Couple: Loaded with them, including two nameless background characters.
  • Ojou
  • One-Word Title
  • Panty Shot: None for the audience, but a few character-only ones happen for Shiratori's "benefit", such as the trope page image.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Momono calls it the "Russian Repair Method": "Wish it to be fixed, and pound it." It doesn't work.
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Puni Plush
  • Retail Riot: Episode 5 has a mob of crazy shoppers make life hard for Asami.
  • School Festival: Episode 20, in Kozue's school.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Sayako and Asami
  • Selective Obliviousness: Kozue's personality switching is a defense mechanism against hard times and problems, justified by her rather horrifying past.
  • Shout-Out: In chapter 58, the books that won the novel contest share the same titles of games made by Treasure such as Radiant Silvergun or Ikaruga.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Before each episode, they warn about sitting too close to the TV. The consequences involve things like a monster from the TV eating you.
  • Suicide as Comedy: Poor Sayo-chan in the manga regularly tries to hang herself, but either the branch or the rope breaks whenever she tries. This is removed altogether in the anime.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Kozue loves pickled plums.
  • Tsundere: Kozue's "Akasaka Saki" personality.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Tachibana.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Tamami.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal:
    • Averted for Shiratori's male friend, who never get to see that the girl he obsesses about really is Shiratori in drag.
    • Chiyuri, on the other hand, finds out, and doesn't react well.
  • Unwanted Harem:
    • Generally averted. Shiratori lives with five cute girls but four of them have no romantic interest in him.
    • Subverted when Momono appears to take Shiratori on a date, it turns out she was just "testing" herself.
    • Played straight if you consider Kozue's five personalities as a harem unto herself... themselves... whatever.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend - Shiratori and Kozue met as children about ten years before the start of the story. Shiratori has forgotten about it, but Kozue still remembers their meeting quite well.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tamami and Momono.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Downplayed, but when the Occult Research Club President is cleansed by visiting a shrine, Tama starts to miss her annoying personality.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko:
    • Kozue-chan's primary personality; she takes care of everyone and also has personal responsibility for the boarding house.
    • Shirogane-sensei is like this, but don't you dare to mess up your homework.