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Manga / Man of Many Faces

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A master thief has his own heart stolen.

A two-volume Manga by CLAMP which ran in Newtype from 1990 to 1991, it follows the nine-year old Akira who steals valuable objects for his two mothers, known to the public as the "Man of 20 faces".

Then he runs into a young girl named Utako in the middle of one of his crimes, and end up striking a friendship that eventually becomes something more.

The eponymous thief is also part of the Clamp School Detectives (for reasons entirely based on Rule of Funny).

This show provides examples of:

  • Adorably Precocious Child: Akira, so much.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In their first encounter, Akira gives Utako some whisky chocolates, which naturally get her drunk dizzy and needing some help to lie in her bed before he exits. It is interestingly left unclear if he did it on purpose, to impede her from calling the mansion's guards, or if he genuinely didn't expect her to hold so badly her liquor. Given how Crazy-Prepared yet ingenue Akira is at the same time, any of the two might be possible.
  • Child Prodigy
  • Christmas Episode: Where Akira's dad shows up dressed as Santa Claus.
  • Cloudcuckoolander Akira's mothers, so very much.
  • Distant Finale: Akira has retired from crime, marries Utako and is starting a legit job as a teacher.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Utako becomes obsessed with becoming a good cook, seamstress, and other things, hoping to win Akira's heart, although it turns out she didn't need to. Good thing she didn't.
  • Genre Savvy: Akira worries when his mothers insist he steal the curtain from the school theatre for them, since the police will realize that 20 Faces must be a student there. He also practices writing in different styles so 20 Faces's calling cards can't be traced to him.
  • Gentleman Thief: Akira steals a statue from Utako (because his mothers wanted that), but gives her a present in return.
  • Happily Married: Akira and Utako by the epilogue.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Akira's mothers force him to steal things for no good reason and are incredibly incompetent at her motherly tasks. It's all played for laughs.
  • Kid Hero: "Hero" is kind of a stretch, but Akira still qualifies for being an heroic thief.
  • Love at First Sight: Akira (as 20 Faces) crashes into Utako's bedroom while fleeing the police. She asks him to be her boyfriend after some talk.
  • May–December Romance: The Distant Finale revealed that Utako's older sister, Makoto, married one of her grade-school treachers.
  • Precocious Crush: Utako had a crush on her teacher, who says it can't work out for obvious reasons. Also, given that Akira is nine and Utako is five, it might count on it for them as well.
  • Phantom Thief: 20 Faces.
  • Pretty in Mink: In the second volume cover art Utako looks a bit older and is wearing a fur-trimmed cape and hat. In the manga at the end of a Christmas chapter, Utako's older sister is wearing a fur-trimmed dress.
  • Puppy Love
  • Second Love: Utako's kindergarten teacher refused her due to the age differences, so Akira is her second love.
  • Sleeping Single: In the Epilogue, two separate beds are clearly seen, even though...
  • Tantrum Throwing: When angry, Utako is typically seen violently beating stuff on her bedroom using a crocodile plushie as a club.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Utako wears a little version of the horse race dress from My Fair Lady for one of her birthdays.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Many children in CLAMP-manga share this trait. Utako is president of the Kindergarten Student Division Council, at the age of five, and has conversations about love that no normal five-year-old would have; Akira is Elementary School Board Treasurer, and seem to do much of the work at home, as his mothers are more childish than him.