Okashi Nako is a poor orphan in the literal sense, living through life from one meal to the next since she isn't always guaranteed a meal the next time. Worse yet, the store she was working for had gone under thanks to the recession, so now she's lost her only source of income.
Thankfully, she finds a job in the want ads asking for a woman her age to work a cushy job as a sales clerk at $20 an hour. She's initially worried at first, wondering if the high pay is due to workers being expected to do questionable stuff by the boss, but relief settles in when she learns that the boss is a woman named Otsuka Ren.
Until Ren reveals that she's a lesbian.
Of course, despite her sexuality and position, she won't take advantage of her workers. However, there's a chance that while spending a lot of time together, feelings may develop, people may fall in love, and... oh look, all the applicants are leaving now.
Well, all the applicants save for Nako, who doesn't really care about that and is still wondering what the job will entail. After a few more talks, Ren decides that she likes Nako's personality and hires her. Oh, and Nako has no need to worry about Ren's sexuality, since Nako really isn't her type.
As an aside, the $20 per hour thing? Turns out that Ren is just bad at estimating the going rate for her sales people.
And so begins Poor Poor Lips, a Girls Love Yon Koma Gag Series by Hayako Goto about the life of a rich lesbian and her poor employee that manages to have a surprising amount of depth beneath all the puns and jokes. The manga was serialized in Manga Life from 2006 to 2012.
Poor Poor Lips contains examples of:
- All Gays are Promiscuous: Defied Trope. Ren makes it clear that just because she's a lesbian doesn't mean she's interested in every woman.
- Arranged Marriage: Ren's mother keeps insisting this on her daughter. Yabe-san reveals that Ren's mother was also arranged for marriage, but she rejected it.
- Bathtub Bonding: Ren completely loses her mind when she joins Nako in the public bath.
- The Beard:
- Nako becomes Ren's pretend girlfriend to help Ren deal with her mother.
- Ren's mother eventually comes to accept that Ren's a lesbian, but still insists that Ren get (heterosexually) married anyway.
- Big Eater: Ren, though she does it more out of habit. Nako too, but that's because she doesn't get enough to eat most of the time, so she eats like a starving wolf when she gets a chance.
- Brain Bleach: Watase reaction to Nako commenting on how Yabe-san is not wearing a maid outfit.Watase: Please don't put terrifying images like that in my head!
- Broke Episode: Volumes 2 and 3 for Ren, when her mother cuts her off.
- Buxom Is Better: Two of the things Nako admires about Ren are her large breasts.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Both Ren and Nako. They clearly love each other, but neither is aware of the other's feelings and are afraid of losing their friendship. Ren even says that Nako's "not her type" on multiple occasions, usually right before Not a Date.
- Cerebus Syndrome: While still lighthearted and fluffy, the story becomes noticeably more serious starting with the trip to Nagoya, with multi-chapter storylines, and the appearance of Ren's mother in the story.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Subverted with Furui, the supposed third leg of the Love Triangle with Nako and Ren, who doesn't actually have a crush on his old friend Nako despite plenty of indications otherwise. He's got one on Ren.
- Christmas Cake: Nako worries that she'll become one, because she doesn't think she'll be able to attract a husband while she's still got that debt hanging over her, and by the time she's paid it off, she'll be too old to marry.
- The Con: How Nako got her debt. Her parents died in a car crash when she was just a kid. Her uncle said that it was her fathers fault and thus she is required to pay for the damages. He agrees to "loan" the money for her and that she can pay back later. In reality, Nako didn't have to pay anything and it was the uncle who had debts, debts he has been paying off with Nakos money. Ren is understandably outraged to hear this.
- Cure Your Gays: Talked about. Ren's mother Nei sees her homosexuality as a phase or illness that must be removed. It turns out that she was just trying to protect Ren from falling in love so she won't have her heart broken again. In the end Nei accepts Ren's sexuality - and that's where the problems start.
- The Cutie: Ren and Nako are both very cute and sweet looking.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sue, who finds whole situation with Ren being engaged to Kemochi, yet in love with Nako very amusing. Never outright gloating, but always ready to offer commentary.
- Divorce Assets Conflict: Ren's mother assumes this is the case when Ren comes for her to ask for a lawyer. She is actually asking so that she can free Nako from her debt
- Dude, She's Like in a Coma: When Ren is lying sick in bed, Nako gropes her breasts, causing her to wake up. This proves to be a major turning point in their relationship.
- Everyone Can See It: Everybody else figures out that Ren and Nako love each other except for Nako and Ren, who are in denial for a long time.
- Fantasy Forbidding Mother: Nei is very insistent that her daughter is going to get married and go into the family corporation, and does not take well to hearing that Ren wants to shack up with her girlfriend and run a jewelry shop. When her patience reaches its limits, she cuts Ren off from her funds.
- Furo Scene: Nako doesn't have her own bathtub, so she goes to the public baths instead. In one volume, she invites Ren along. Skinship ensues.
- Gag Series: Before Cerebus Syndrome kicks in, though it never loses all of its humor.
- Gold Digger: One of Ren's ex-girlfriends was only after her for her money. The part that Ren minded, though, was when she found out that the girl was spending the money Ren gave her on boys.
- Hands-On Approach: How Ren teaches Nako to use computers.
- The Internet Is for Porn: Ren teaches Nako how to use computers. Make three guesses on what she first encounters when trying to use the internet.
- Iron Lady: Ren's mother Nei, corporate executive and overbearing parent who's certain that she knows what's best for Ren, and is both a serious obstacle and an occasional ally to Ren and Nako.
- Knight of Cerebus: While she's not a villain per se, Ren's mother Nei is an obstacle to Ren and Nako's relationship, and she's played seriously and For Drama. Usually, anyways.
- Meido: Nako from Volume 3 onwards.
- The Mistress: After Ren's mother accepts that yes, her daughter really is a lesbian and not just Class S, she decides that Nako can be this, but Ren still needs to get married for formality's sake. Ren will have none of it.
- Never Be Hurt Again: Ren was taken in by one girlfriend before, who turned out to be a Gold Digger who spent Ren's money on boys for herself.
- Noble Bigot: Ren's mother is honest and generally respectable, she's honestly trying to protect her daughter from hurting herself again, and she isn't happier than anyone else about Nako's uncle. But she doesn't care about her daughter's orientation: she believes that women marry men, and that's that. Eventually, she's convinced to give up and accept her daughter's life choices.
- Nosebleed: During the Furo Scene, Ren gets one after Nako starts washing her back.
- Oblivious to Love: Nako. Up until she realizes she is in love and confesses to Ren.
- The Ojou: Ren
- Older Than She Looks: Despite being 21, Nako looks young enough to be eligible for a children's train ticket.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: When Nako is asked to demonstrate her English speaking skills with Sue, she has no idea what so say and thus merely copies what Ren said to a customer. Which does not match what Sue is saying. Lampshaded by two characters observing the situation.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Nako is struggling in poverty partly thanks to her parents dying when she was young.
- Perpetual Poverty: Nako used to live like this, even with the huge salary she got from Ren, thanks to her debt. Ren helps her fix the situation in Vol. 3.
- Punny Name: Okashi Nako is a pun on "strange girl".
- Really Gets Around: According to her mother, Ren used to bounce multiple girlfriends at once. She's gotten over it by the time of the manga, however.
- Rich Bitch: Played with. Furui assumes Ren is this, but changes his opinion later.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Ren. She gets better over time.
- Sex for Services: Teased and subverted. Ren takes Nako out clothes shopping, and Nako says that she can't accept a gift as expensive as the clothes Ren is getting her. Ren asks her to pay with her body, and playfully pounces her...but she's actually just asking for a backrub. (And no, not a Happy-Ending Massage.)
- Sexy Discretion Shot: When Nako and Ren consummate their relationship late in the manga, the "camera" pans upward, then the scene cuts to Nako reminiscing happily about "such wonderful things" the next morning.
- Shipper on Deck: Watase ships Ren/Nako, to point where she goes and tells Nako about opening as a maid in Ren's household. She isn't however outright The Matchmaker, preferring to let two to deal with their relationship on their own. Yabe joins her soon after Nako Nako becomes a servant.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The first image we get of Ren's mother has her telling her daughter that home-cooked meals don't taste any better just because they're made with love. She softens a bit on the next page and explains that she shows her love by working hard and bringing home food, and leaves housework duties to the professionals.
- Sleep Cute: Ren and Nako, completely platonically, sleep together on multiple occasions and look very cute when doing so.
- Sleeping with the Boss:
- One of the sources of drama. Ren is too chivalrous to take advantage of her employee, which leads her to try to keep things friendly.
- Later, when Ren is back home and Nako is working as a maid, a drunken Ren pulls Nako into bed with her (chastely) for the night. She apologizes for using her position to make Nako go to bed with her, calling it sexual harassment. She's the only one who thinks so, however - Nako was quite happy to oblige, while Yae thinks that Ren is perfectly within her rights to order a servant to sleep with her. note
- Supreme Chef: Nako is extremely talented at cooking, and she's particularly good at turning low-quality ingredients (like bread crusts, radish tips and waste vegetables) into first-class meals.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: Kenmochi is pre-op transgender, and even when presenting as a man, Ren is still a bit attracted to him.
- There Is Only One Bed:
- Ren "accidentally" books a hotel room with a double bed when they take a trip to Nagoya.
- When Ren is cut off and moves in with Nako, there's only one set of bedding in Nako's apartment. Then they get a new set of bedding...and Nako still decides to join Ren in her cot.
- Too Much Information: The very first thing Ren says to the ladies interviewing for sales clerk is that she is a lesbian and may fall in love with them. They all flee except for Nako, leaving her with the job despite wearing clothes that are falling apart to interview for a jewelry store.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Nako really loves bread crusts.
- Upper-Class Twit: Ren is trying to avert this by running a jewelry store, but still fits the trope; she has absolutely no idea how to run a business, leading her to (among other mistakes) overpay her salesperson so severely that said salesperson suspects something skeevy.
- Will They or Won't They?: Nako and Ren. They do.
- Yuri Genre