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Manga / Penguin Revolution

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That one time when they took me to the theater as a child, I saw, of all things, a beautiful pair of wings on the leading actress. ... It seems that nobody else could see the wings. But if I'm not careful, I get drawn in by the wings, entranced to the point where I don't do anything else. Actually, from the first time I saw them, I had this idea that they were... the mark of a star!

Yukari Fujimaru's dream is to have a steady job as a civil servant. At sixteen, she's been though the rags to riches cycle more times than she can count thanks to her father's unreliable business sense, and all she wants for herself is the stability of a regular paycheck. However, Yukari has the ability to recognize a potential star talent by the beautiful, shining wings she can see on their backs.

When she sees a small pair of such wings on her classmate Ryoko Katsuragi, Yukari considers suggesting to her that she might be cut out to be a star. Then, by accident, she discovers that "Ryoko" is actually a boy, Ryo, in disguise. Soon Yukari finds herself caught up in show business and the eccentric Peacock talent agency, acting as Ryo's manager in an effort to make both of their dreams come true.

It's not going to be easy, because not only does Yukari have to juggle schoolwork and finding jobs for Ryo, she has to pretend to be a man. And live with Ryo and his odd but extraordinarily talented roommate. And if her secret gets out, she and Ryo both get fired.

Show business is weird.

Penguin Revolution is a manga by Tsukuba Sakura, who also wrote Yoroshiku Master, Land of the Blindfolded, and several one-shot manga. The manga was serialized in LaLa from 2005 to 2007.

Not to be confused with Mawaru Penguindrum (Revolving Penguindrum).

This show provides examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: Yukari and Ryo, courtesy of a playground slide mishap.
  • Accidental Pervert: Ryo.
  • Always Someone Better: Ayaori serves as Ryo's standard of success, and Ryo's goal to become Peacock's #1 talent means surpassing Ayaori, the current #1. However, they're both very fond of each other and Ryo doesn't bear any resentment toward Ayaori.
  • Are We Getting This?: A variation occurs when a fight breaks out between Ryo and Narazaki on the set of Animal Spirit Heroes: since their characters have a fight scene, the director promptly orders the cameras to start rolling.
  • Attack Hello: Yuzuru Narazaki to Yukari. All. The. Time. Even in the Distant Finale, he's still at it.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Ryo as "Ryoko". By volume seven, so much has been made of what a pretty girl Ryo makes that he frets he will end up making his living as an actress instead of an actor. Also, Yuzuru Narazaki, who makes an unusually tall but attractive traditional Japanese woman when dressed in a kimono.
    • Soundly averted once as well; when Peacock puts on an event promoting their new movie and requires many of the talents and their managers to dress as women, Kaneda just looks like a man in a dress.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Shogo Fukatsu, one of Peacock's major talents, can come off as friendly and personable, but he has no intentions of sharing the spotlight with anyone and is entirely willing to injure fellow actors to ensure they won't challenge him.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Ayaori, which is fortunate for Yukari as he is prone to walking in on her while she's in the bath.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The president of Peacock has a pretty offbeat method of running a talent agency, but it seems to work out well for him. Also Ayaori and Narazaki, who are both extremely successful actors even though Narazaki tends to live like he's in a samurai drama all the time and Ayaori is so dazed and laid-back as to be nearly comatose.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Peacock specializes in these.
  • Clark Kenting: Ayaori conceals his day-to-day identity from the public by means of Wild Hair, Nerd Glasses, and using his unusual given name as the family name of his stage persona ("Makoto Ayaori" instead of Ayaori Mashiba). Justified in that he's a phenomenally talented actor, and thus can easily act like he's a different person when he's out in public, but you'd think someone would at least notice the name.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He doesn't look it at all when he's doing his part as an actor, but Ayaori definitely gives off the air of a space cadet when he's not on the job. That being said though, he's very perceptive.
  • Companion Cube: Yukari's alarm clock.
  • Determinator: Many individuals in the cast. Ryo will do just about anything if it means getting the opportunity to advance his acting career, whether it's sitting in a bathtub full of scalding-hot water, acting despite an injury, or groveling in front of his dad and boss for over two hours.
    • Yukari, as Ryo's manager, is no slouch either, who stubbornly stands behind Ryo through his hardships, and even goes through with them herself alongside him!
    • Arguably though, the biggest determinator of the series is Narazaki, who literally puts himself through training in the mountains fending for himself. When he becomes enamored with Yukari, he makes continual outrageous attempts to get her to become his manager and/or land a hit on her, at one point literally camping out outside her apartment building for several days until she finally persuades him to go home. By the epilogue, he's asking her to marry him on a nearly daily basis, even though she's been shooting him down for over 10 years. The guy just won't give up!
  • Distant Finale: Ten years later.
  • Dueling Movies: An in-universe example occurs when both Peacock and a rival talent agency produce competing movies based on the career of Yoko Oka. Peacock's stars both her son Ryo and Ayaori, who is Peacock's number one talent, Ryo's adopted brother, and the biological son of the man who caused the car accident that put her into a coma; it focuses primarily on the relationship between the character based on Oka and the one based on her real-life husband Hidemitsu. The rival company's movie, meanwhile, banks on having Ayaori's biological cousin in the lead role, and is implied to be a more sensationalist piece focused on the drama that caused the death of Ayaori's father and the end of Oka's career. When both movies are released, Peacock's is the clear winner.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The president of Peacock's name is Hidemitsu Torii, but everyone - even his son and adopted son - calls him "President."
  • Eyes Always Shut: Saburo Watanuki, acknowledged in his mini-profile at the end of volume 3.
  • Fangirl: Keiko Ochiai. Yukari listens in on her discussions about Peacock with classmates as a gauge of Ryo's popularity.
  • Generation Xerox: Slightly tweaked when Peacock produces a movie based on the career of Ryo's mother Yoko Oka and her relationship with President Hidemitsu, taking advantage of Ryo's uncanny resemblance to his mother by casting him in the role based on her. Ayaori doesn't play the part based on his biological father, but he does play the part based on Hidemitsu, who is his adoptive father and was his biological father's best friend. Since Ryo and Ayaori are adoptive siblings, this means they're more or less playing the movie versions of their parents.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Yukari's father, prior to his full-fledged Parental Abandonment. Ryo's father is better, but still pretty hands-off.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Narazaki to "Yutaka," considering that there's a period of about three volumes between his Love Epiphany and his discovery that Yukari is actually a girl. Yukari even deliberately plays the "but I'm a guy!" card to try to deter Narazaki from his crush on her, but no such luck.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The president of Peacock. Also Yuzuru Narazaki, though he's not quite as much a jerk.
  • Keet: Kaname Kohinata.
  • Love Epiphany: The president of Peacock prods Narazaki into his; Ayaori helps nudge Ryo into his. Both regarding Yukari, of course.
  • Love Triangle: Narazaki, Yukari, and Ryo. Also Ryo, Yukari, and Ayaori, to a lesser extent.
  • Missing Mom: Ryo's. She was a famous actress who fell suddenly out of the public eye after a car accident put her in a coma.
  • Nerd Glasses: Ayaori.
  • The Ojou: "Ryoko," the disguise Peacock requires Ryo to wear while attending school.
  • Parental Abandonment: Both of Yukari's parents. Her mother left her and her father when her father's irresponsible behavior and the stress of the family's financial ups and downs became too much; her father leaves her to fend for herself without so much as a roof over her head after his latest ill-advised business venture goes bust, although he occasionally comes crawling back later on.
  • Photographic Memory: Ayaori is implied to have this, considering the astounding speed at which he memorizes his scripts. The fact he's also at the top of his class at school despite how much acting work he has to do gives weight to this.
  • Perpetual Molt
  • Pose of Supplication: Yukari and Ryo spend nearly two hours this way to save their jobs.
  • The Quiet One: Ayaori, who tends to just say the bare minimum of what has to be said. He can be talkative when he's acting, but that only makes sense since he's not supposed to be himself then.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Yukari ath a dinner reception Peacock puts on.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-universe example: Kaneda, Kaname's manager, very much wanted to manage Narazaki, but couldn't keep up with Narazaki's samurai-wannabe lifestyle. He's shown to, at times, resent Kaname for being Peacock's resident Keet instead of a second Narazaki.
  • Samurai: Narazaki plays a lot of these and tends to emulate their style.
  • Secret Identity: Every actor in Peacock's roster, plus Yukari, as per their policies.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Ayaori, regarding Yukari's cross-dressing, at least until volume 6.
  • Sentai: Show Within a Show Animal Spirit Heroes: Animal Alliance.
  • Show Within a Show: Several, given that it's a series about the entertainment business.
  • Spirit Advisor: Appears sometimes in Ryo's subconscious to help his acting, in the form of a little girl. Towards the end she describes herself as a gift from his mother.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Ryo is the spitting image of his mother, Yoko Oka, and looks nearly identical to her when dressed up as a woman. Yukari notes that his "wings" also look similar to Yoko's as well. To Ryo's chagrin, he ends up both playing the character meant to represent Yoko in a movie based on the story of her career, and sharing a major role with her for a play.
  • Student Council President: Ayaori, although "Ryoko," as vice president, does most of the job for him.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Narazaki, full on towards Yukari's male persona "Yutaka". Although unlike most examples, he accepts the fact he's seemingly fallen for another guy with no fuss.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Yukari as "Yutaka". The majority of the Peacock actors also had to crossdress as part of a press event. Even Kaneda.
  • Teen Idol: The whole premise of the story.
    • The idol entertainment industry featured in this manga is somewhat similar to talent agencies in real life Japan, such as Johnny Entertainment.
  • Training from Hell: Narazaki puts himself through it voluntarily... and expects his manager to accompany him. The president of Peacock puts everyone through it in the last volume.
  • Trickster Mentor: The president of Peacock.
  • Waif-Fu: Yukari has a black belt in Aikido, and is skilled enough to take on several grown men and come out unscathed. Incidentally, it was her proficiency at the martial art that attracted Narazaki to her in the first place.
  • Warrior Poet: Yuzuru Narazaki.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Both Yukari and Ryo.
  • Workaholic: Yukari is one. A chapter published in the third book of Yoroshiku Master shows Yukari spending a rare 4 day holiday first doing house chores. After that was done, she realized there was nothing much to do, so she went back to the office to do more work.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: More like "talent" fangirl. Yukari literally drools over people that she can see talent in, regardless of gender and especially when there's more than one in the vicinity, and since Peacock only hires male prospective actors... well.... let's just say that the moment Yukari finds that Ryo and Ayaori have fallen asleep in the same bed she immediately pulls out a camera.