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Manga / Popcorn Avatar

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Lisa and Kurando.

Popcorn Avatar is a manga by Koichiro Hoshino, which was serialized in Club Sunday from 2009 to 2011 and compiled into six volumes.

Wada Kurando is not a happy guy. He sees little point to the world, and barring his beloved sister Mafuyu, couldn't care less if it just ended one day.

This personal perspective is challenged however when, one rainy day, he is pushed off a bridge by a busty blonde. Instead of falling to his death, as one would normally expect, he is given the ability to fly, and avoid the very messy fall into the river below.

As he soon finds out from Lisa Vayu, the one who caused his fall to begin with, the power he has been given has a catch: he is now Lisa's avatar, her chosen representative in a battle where the fate of the whole world is in balance.

Kurando isn't thrilled at the idea to say the least — the world could rot for all he cares. However, if saving the world means that his sister can still have a place to actually live in, then maybe it isn't such a bad idea after all...

Popcorn Avatar provides examples of the following:

  • Accidental Pervert: Kurando. The other guys in his class all think that he's in a master-slave relationship with Lisa (which is sorta true, but not the way they think) and the girls were all traumatized by his antics when he mentally regressed.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Played by Kurando's male classmates to the hilt, to the point where they interpret Kurando's injuries after a battle as the result of him and Lisa "playing rough".
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: When Kurando was little, he was much more energetic and prone to perverted pranks. When he temporarily regresses to that mental age, he makes such an impression on the girls in his class that they continue to be terrified of him after he reverts back to normal.
  • Badass Normal: Ryou. Manages to beat up an Asura avatar uncontracted, bare-handed, before ripping out its tongue. What happens when he then finds out that he's been poisoned by it? He picks up his scooter, slams it on the poor sod, and after making sure the avatar is doused in its fuel, lights it on fire.
    • His next fight one-ups the previous one where, still uncontracted, he beats up one of Ravanna's giant snake avatars, again unarmed. Even Ravanna wonders if he's really just a normal human or not.
  • Berserk Button: Any mention of harming his sister Mafuyu is guaranteed to set Kurando off. Later on, this extends to Lisa as well.
  • Big Brother Instinct/Declaration of Protection: Kurando is very protective of his twin sister Mafuyu, to the point where people accuse him of being a massive siscon. Indeed, he initially couldn't care less about Lisa's motivations for saving the world, but is willing to play along because saving the world means saving the place where his sister lives in.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Indra and her avatar's first appearance can be only described as this, complete with dramatic lightning bolt.
  • Birds of a Feather: According to Ren/Agni, this is the real reason why Lisa/Vayu and Amano/Indra tolerate each other, because they're both violent and have rotten personalities to begin with.
  • Blood Knight: Kajiwara Ryou. He's only joined the Avatar fight because "it was fun", and loves a good scrap.
  • Body Horror: Many of the Asura avatars have this as their schtick when they transform into their "strengthened" form.
  • Bridal Carry: Lisa and Amano/Indra experience these with their respective avatars. Not coincidentally, this happens for both during a personal turning point in their relationships.
  • Call to Adventure: Kurando gets this in the most unexpected way possible — seriously, who gets the call after falling off a bridge?
  • Casual Kink: Due to a misunderstanding, the males in the class assume that Kurando and Lisa are in "that" kind of relationship, with Lisa as the "master".
  • Combat Referee: Jagannath plays this role for the dispute between the Devas and Asuras. Though technically he's only in evidence when someone breaks the agreed-upon rules between the two parties, or when a special-case exemption has to be made.
  • Combat by Champion: How the conflict between the Asuras and the Devas is being resolved, the champion in this case the chosen avatar.
  • Contrived Coincidence: All of the Devas and Asuras introduced so far have all been Japanese, and conveniently found in or close to the city Kurando and Lisa live in. This fact is even lampshaded in a later chapter.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: The police commissioner has been working with the Asura faction by supplying them a constant stream of convicted criminals to be used as their avatars.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Lisa finds Mafuyu adorable. Since Mafuyu is Kurando's twin, one wonders if she feels the same for the latter...
  • Curbstomp Battle: Dispensed on Kurando care of Kyouko/Vritra's avatar Ryuudou Taiga.
  • Deader than Dead: Any Asura or Deva who goes against the rules of the avatar battles, and decides to take matters into their own hands by manifesting in their true forms, is forever barred from Samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth, and erased from existence.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The only way Kurando can get back at Lisa is to pour on the snark.
  • Disappears into Light: Or rather, disintegrates into burning embers. While only Asuras have been shown going out in this way so far, this is the assumed fate of the Devas as well if their avatars are defeated.
  • Double Entendre: Lisa is fond of saying things that can easily be misunderstood by other people. Whether she's doing this on purpose begs to be revealed.
    Lisa (while running after Kurando): Give me back my first time!
  • Drunk with Power: According to Lisa, this was Indra's fate prior to incarnating as Amano.
  • Easy Amnesia: Kurando reverts to having the memories of a 3rd-grader after Lisa throws him to the floor a little too hard.
  • Elemental Powers: The Devas each represent a specific element, and this is reflected in the abilities of their chosen avatars.
    • Lisa, as incarnation of the Deva of Wind Vayu, gives Kurando access to the following powers: Blow You Away, Flight.
    • Shakuei Amano, as the incarnation of the Deva of Lightning Indra, gives her avatar Kai Shock and Awe powers.
    • Kotohara Ren, while not actually having an avatar of her own yet, is still the incarnation of Agni, the Deva of Fire, and will likely provide the ability to play with fire.
    • Morino Mizuki, the incarnation of the Water Deva Varna, gives her avatar and close friend Sanae the ability to make a splash.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The fate of the world should the Devas lose, as the Asura's stated purpose was to literally wipe the slate clean so that creation can begin anew.
  • Enemy Mine: Kurando offers the Ryuudo siblings a temporary alliance against Ravanna, as her actions threaten both their goals.
  • For the Evulz: Kurando calls Ravanna out as this type, in contrast to Vritra who has a goal and strategy to work toward.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Kurando has met Lisa before, way back when he was still in 3rd grade, when she was crying in the park after being bullied for her beautiful blonde hair. He remembers this again after a short bout of memory regression however.
  • God in Human Form: The current state for the Devas and Asuras. There's a point to this however, as Lisa explains that it's meaningless to try to even compete for the world if neither side knows of the importance of the world to begin with, and this needs a human perspective.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Seems to be the Devas as the "good", Vritra's faction as the "bad", and Ravanna as the "evil".
  • Half-Identical Twins: Kurando and Mafuyu are this, to the point when the latter comes to visit Kurando's classmates mistake her for him crossdressing.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ryou, who decides to try being one of the good guys after Kurando beats him and he hooks up with Mafuyu.
  • Held Back in School: As a result of her accident, and the rehab she had to do as a result, Kurando's sister Mafuyu is still in second year middle school, despite being the same age as he is.
  • Hidden Depths: For all her Manipulative Bitch tendencies, Amano/Indra is actually nice with kids, and in fact regularly watches over and plays with Kai's younger siblings when he's busy or out.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
    • Lisa's parents Daniel and Helen Vayu, though Helen isn't exactly tiny, standing about Lisa's height (noted in the entry below). Given Daniel's imposing height however, this is the impression one gets of the couple.
    • Another straight example is Indra's incarnation Amano and her avatar Kai, with Amano barely reaching Kai's chest.
    • Inverted in the case of Lisa and Kurando, where the former stands over the latter by at least half a head.
    • Ryou and Mafuyu.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: At 172 cm, Lisa is this for her age group (16 years). Somewhat justified in her case, as she's not only a foreigner (though raised in Japan), but has genetics on her side, as a later chapter reveals that her father Daniel is huge.
  • Immortality/From a Single Cell: The reason why the Devas are wary of the Asura Vritra, and why confronting her in their current state is a bad idea.
  • Improbable Driving Skills: Ryou somehow manages to drive his scooter up a five-story building in less than thirty seconds.
  • I Owe You My Life: Kai's primary reason for becoming Amano's avatar.
  • Irony: Amano/Indra nearly gets kidnapped by a thug using an electric stun rod. She's the incarnation of the Deva of Lightning.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: The reason why Ren/Agni's first boyfriend makes an exit very quickly.
  • It's Personal: The reason why Sanae and Mizuki/Varna are hell-bent on hunting down Ravanna is because the Asura used one of their friends as her avatar, and forced them to fight said friend, before abandoning the avatar like a used rag.
  • Japanese Delinquents: While showing none of the physical traits associated to the role, the fact that Kurando has been skipping class for months has given him this reputation with his schoolmates.
  • Jerkass: Many of the Asura avatars shown so far are like this, if they're not Axe-Crazy or a Blood Knight.
  • Killed Off for Real: The reason why Asuras and Devas don't duke it out themselves is because their avatars become mortal if they materialize on the physical plane, which would permanently crush their souls to dust. We get to see this happen twice, and they really are gigantic Indian titans. This means that almost all those gods visually depicted in mythology are dead.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: An avatar that loses their contracted Asura or Deva loses all memory of their time with them. It's yet another reason why Kurando, or any of the Deva-aligned avatars, cannot afford to lose.
  • Loophole Abuse: Ravanna's avatars haven't been able to defeat the avatars of the Devas, but because she abandons them before they lose, it technically doesn't count against her according to the rules of the conflict.
    • In the end, Kurando does this to keep Kyouko and Taiga from being separated by telling Jagganath that his fight with Taiga was just a dispute between friends, and shouldn't count as part of the battle between Devas and Asuras.
  • Made of Iron: Ryou again. The guy gets swatted around by a giant snake avatar, then is immediately hit by a speeding truck after his fight with it. The next time we see him he's heavily bandaged and hospitalized, but otherwise perfectly fine.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Indra-as-Amano. It's one of the prime reasons why Lisa can't get along with her.
  • Memento Macguffin: Lisa's big black ribbon. It's a reminder of the one time she and Kurando met as children, where he cheered her up when she was crying after being bullied.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Why yes, Lisa also fills this role.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The first Asura avatar that Kurando and Lisa fight has this a primary power/attribute.
  • My Greatest Failure: Kurando is constantly haunted by his part in his sister's accident.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Happens to Kurando when he falls off the bridge in the first chapter.
  • No Social Skills: Kurando. Justified as he's been avoiding any and all contact with people aside from his grandmother after his sister's accident. He gets slightly better about it as the series goes on, though he still has his moments.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kurando's mother, a full-time nurse, is completely absent from his present life. Justified in a way, as the emotional stress brought upon by Mafuyu's accident pretty much caused her to cut all ties with her son. However this doesn't necessarily mean that she doesn't care, as hinted when Kurando is hospitalized later on in the hospital she is working in.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Mafuyu. Even channeling a fraction of her power as Shiva allowed Ryou to destroy a good third of the building they were on, as well as the opposing Asura and her avatar in just one go.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Lisa is tall, blonde, and very busty. Justified, as she's the daughter of an expat British couple.
  • Physical God: Averted. All the incarnated Devas and Asuras are no more powerful than a normal adult or teenaged girl. It's why they need an avatar to begin with to fight for them. See God in Human Form entry.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: While showing none of the associated negative traits, Lisa pretty much becomes Kurando's literal cheerleader, and even dresses for the part. This is justified in a way, as there's very little Lisa can do but cheer for Kurando, as she can't intervene directly in avatar battles.
  • Power Incontinence: Mafuyu, when she first manifests the power of the Deva Shiva.
  • Power Limiter: Of sorts. Avatars can only use their powers within the "ashram" that their Deva or Asura is standing in, which is a space about 37.5 meters across (but with no ceiling). Outside of that space, they're pretty much normal humans.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: While many of the Asura couldn't care less for being human, and actually welcome being returned to the reincarnation cycle, Kuramochi Kanae actually likes staying human, and was pretty much just following orders. Not surprisingly, she is the only Asura so far that has escaped her compariots' fates (because of a technicality, but she's still luckier in that regard).
  • Putting the Band Back Together: As she has yet to find an avatar of her own, Ren/Agni is given the unenviable job of gathering the Lokapala to fight the Asuras.
  • Raised by Grandparents: A rare case where it is voluntarily invoked. Because of the guilt he feels for his sister's accident, Kurando moves in with his grandmother.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Given how he much he handles Indra's vajra on a regular basis, obviously Kai would need a high tolerance for electricity.
  • Scars Are Forever: Ryou gains a nasty-looking facial scar when he fights Kurando and Lisa in chapter 5. The scar is still there once he comes back more than ten chapters later.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Ryou pretty much walks away from his agreement with the Asura he was with, leaving his fight with Kurando unfinished after he receives his scar. The Asura obviously does NOT take this well.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Shiva. Unlike the other incarnates, Mafuyu is not even aware of her Deva persona, which is probably a good thing, given Mafuyu's unstable mental state, and the sheer destructive potential Shiva possesses.
  • Sensei-chan: Yayoi/Ravanna pretends to be one in order to gather intel on Kurando and Lisa.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Lisa's first appearance has her soaking wet in the rain, which makes it so her bra is plain to see under her school blouse.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Kurando with Lisa obviously. None of his male classmates believe him one bit.
  • Shower of Awkward: Yes, this happens, and no one is more surprised to find Lisa in his shower than Kurando himself.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Ren and her boyfriend initially are like this. It doesn't last past the first Deva and Asura battle they watch.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Hilariously Ren/Agni is more interested in finding a new boyfriend instead of her own avatar. However if said new boyfriend is also avatar-material then all the the better.
  • Snakes Are Evil: Ravanna's avatars.
  • The Sociopath: Ryou shows shades of this, if he isn't already one to begin with.
    • After his fight with Kurando, Ryou transitions into something closer to a Sociopathic Hero.
  • Sphere of Destruction: The initial manifestation of Mafuyu's powers.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Done by accident by Kurando to Lisa (he was half-asleep at the time) while in class. Needless to say it causes all sorts of misunderstandings with their classmates.
    • Sort of happens again when Yayoi Mizuki/Ravanna wakes up a sleeping Kurando while leaning over him.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Ryou's reaction to winding up in the road in front of an oncoming truck is a quiet "Aw hell."
  • Twin Telepathy: Kurando shares a minor mental link with his sister Mafuyu, where he can vaguely sense if she's in trouble or not.
  • Unknown Rival: Class Rep Tabe-chan to Lisa, as far as Kurando's affections are concerned.
  • Villainous Breakdown: We get to see two Devas lose their minds from frustration and summon their city-crushing avatars to the physical plane. This is an incredibly moronic move, as it means they become mortal and will perma-die when their (un-banishable) avatar is killed.
  • Villainous Friendship: Kyouko/Vritra and Taiga Ryuudo seem to genuinely care for each other as brother and sister.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Lisa and Amano have this relationship, a carry-over from their previous lives as the devas Vayu and Indra.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: As a consequence of his usage of Indra's vajra, Kai's shirts often get destroyed. As a result he's usually shirtless afterward, something he's constantly embarrassed about.
  • Water Is Womanly: Morino Mizuki is a woman and the incarnation of the Water Deva Varna, bestowing upon Sanae water-based powers.
  • We Have Reserves: Ravanna's attitude toward her avatars, making use of any schmuck willing to wreak some havoc with the power she gives them, then abandoning them the instant it's clear they're going to lose. This way, even though her avatars haven't won a fight yet, she doesn't get sent back into the cycle of reincarnation.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Ryuudou siblings. Maybe. They want to destroy the current world, so that Creation can be restarted and a more ideal world created in its place.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The punishment doled out by Jagganath to Kurando after he interfered in Kai's fight is pretty much this, where he has to fight clones of the Asura avatars he had previously defeated at the same time.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Lisa sure knows a lot of wrestling moves. Kurando is usually the target of their use.
  • Xanatos Gambit: As befitting Amano/Indra's scheming nature, she is perfectly capable of planning these. An perfect example occurs in Chapter 9, where she sets things up so that if Kai is in danger, Kurando and Lisa will be forced to intervene, which would force them to break the rules and summon Jagannath, after which she could step in and defuse the situation by offering to make Lisa and Kurando her minions. This doesn't quite work out as she hoped however, but she still won out in the end, because Kai's resolve to fight and protect her had only grown stronger.