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Manga / Pretty Face

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The devil is what he's supposed to look like.

"Where panty shots are the last thing you want!"
—Closing line on the back cover

Pretty Face is a shonen manga by Yasuhiro Kano, which was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 2002 to 2003 and collected into six volumes.

Masashi Randoh is short, loud, arrogant, captain of the karate club, winner of the national karate championship, and possessor of nearly monster-like strength. On his way back from the Hokkaido Karate Tournament, he is involved in a fiery bus crash, which leaves him in a coma. A year later, he wakes up to find himself still alive, but with a completely reconstructed face, since the crash burnt off most of the original.

Unfortunately for Randoh, the surgeon who did it modeled his new face on the photograph in his pocket - a photograph of Randoh's unrequited crush, Kurimi Rina. While trying to fix matters, he runs into Rina who mistakes him for her twin sister Yuna, who had ran away from home. Not wanting to cause her family more pain, Randoh decides to live with crush's family until he can find the real Yuna and some pictures of his real self so the surgeon can fix his face.

Surely this can't go wrong, right?

This series features:

  • Amusing Injuries: Inflicted by Randoh on Dr. Manabe with regularity.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender:
    • Even though only Randoh's face was changed by the surgery, he is way too cute for a guy...
    • The surgery may have only changed his face, but he also became really skinny and petite from his muscles atrophying while he recovered (granted, muscle atrophy doesn't quite work like that).
      • Perhaps the good doctor had done a bit more than just the face, considering what he was about to do when Rando woke up. God knows what crazy other things he might have invented.
  • Bifauxnen: Though Randoh-as-Yuna wears feminine clothing, all the girls and boys remark on her masculine behavior... and find it extremely cute.
    • Randoh thought Natsuo was a boy when he unknowingly trained her at a young age.
  • Born Lucky: Randoh experiences just too many happy coincidences that allow him to keep his secret against rising odds throughout the manga (only three people, including Manabe, know it in the end, not counting the random perverts).
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:
    • Randoh. The most notable example occurs during one of Rina's flashbacks where he rips a street sign out of the cement ground and uses it to break open a section of concrete slab to rescue a trapped dog... Then he got arrested for destroying public property.
    • Infact he even keeps a lot of strength after the coma, easily beating guys several times his size while having a body that looks like a girls.
  • Cute Bruiser: Randoh wasn't one before his accident, but during his year long coma his body thinned out, giving him the appearance of a petite high school girl. His physical prowess seems negligibly effected.
  • Cut Short: Sadly, the manga was discontinued after just six volumes, with many minor narrative threads (like the fate of Randoh's family) Left Hanging. There was also an earlier problem with Nozomi, since a plot arc involving her was Put on a Bus due to time constraints.
  • Downer Ending:
    • An alternate ending reveals that the entire manga was Randoh's Dying Dream, but thankfully, the real ending is much brighter.
    • In fact, the Downer Ending parodies itself - Manabe gets kicked in the face again while Randoh yells at him for making it too Grimdark.
  • Easy Sex Change: Dr. Manabe constantly tries to pitch full sex-change surgery to Randoh, which he obviously refuses. Heck, Randoh wakes up just as Manabe was about to perform one on him.
  • Facial Horror: What happens to Randoh. Crikey.
  • Fanservice: Notable in that the amount steadily increases as the manga goes on. Early chapters make heavy use of Censor Steam and other dodges, but these decline as it goes on, until by the bonus chapter everything that can be legally displayed in a non-hentai manga is.
  • Gender Bender: Randoh is an odd subversion. Magic Plastic Surgery gave him a girl's face, his body mass slimmed down to insanely girly lengths, and his hair grew quite long, but he is still biologically male.
  • Handsome Lech: Dr. Manabe, who is all over "Yuna" and very eager to finish the sex-change. Randoh is not appreciative.
  • Imagine Spot - Rina kissing Yuna in a dream (which promptly scares the shit out of Randoh), getting caught in the ladies' bathroom (and having Rina and most of the school petition for the death penalty while he's in jail), and Natsuo revealing "Yuna" is really Randoh, which results in Rina rejecting Randoh, getting the death penalty (via firing squad), and then getting sex changed for real.
  • Indirect Kiss: Randoh names this trope specifically when he realizes that some chap stick that Rina let him use may have been used by Rina herself.
    • Rina kisses a photo of Yuna underneath the Graduation Tree (it's school superstition that a kiss will make two people stay together forever).
  • Latex Perfection: Various fake breasts and body suits invented by Dr. Manabe. And the final twist: "I couldn't cut into that adorable face!" So Dr. Manabe puts on a very realistic Randoh mask over Randoh's Yuna face instead.
  • Love Triangle: Randoh, Rina, and then Nozomi. Then Natsuo. Then Nozomi comes back...
  • Love at First Punch: Everyone in the Karate club falls for "Yuna" and makes a cult following for her after Randoh beats them all up in the first chapter.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Randoh. He's arrogant and jumps to violence easily, but he also has a thing for saving people or small animals.
  • Mad Doctor: Dr. Manabe is utterly insane.
    • Randoh is actually quite justified in repeatedly beating the ever loving shit out of Dr. Manabe because Randoh doesn't wish to go Male-to-Female while Dr. Manabe repeatedly tries to force it on him.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Thankfully, the author didn't fail biology and pointed out the dangers of multiple facial surgeries.
  • Meaningful Name: Yuna and Rina. Just think about it for a second...
  • Megaton Punch - Randoh to anyone that pisses him off (i.e.: Manabe)
  • Measuring Day: Randoh goes to great lengths to avoid it... in vain, since Manabe is the doctor performing the checkup.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Played with. Randoh's still physically and mentally male, but having the appearance of a girl and being treated like one causes him to slip up every now and then. At one point, he hits a classmate for calling "Yuna" a macho man, only to catch himself and wonder if he should actually be flattered. And then there's the times he finds himself offended at how his opponents "treat a girl".
  • Mistaken for Related: Masashi Randoh is mistaken by Rina's long-lost twin sister, because of the facial reconstruction he suffered while he was in a coma.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse - Parodied. When the real Yuna finds out Randoh's secret and runs off absolutely furious at him and intending to tell her family, Manabe suggests they resolve it in a peaceful manner... and hands a grinning Randoh an axe, only to get beaten up again for even thinking that.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling - Used to hilarious effect when Randoh enters a tournament, post-surgery. Everyone expects the petite girl to lose gracefully. He throws the guy.
  • Plot Hole: The alternate ending was to have Randoh's actual family revealed as getting surgery from Manabe and winding up as Kurumi's family, but the creator dropped it when he released he'd leave too many plot thread hanging ("Rina" being able to deceive her friends, Randoh's parents knowing about Yuna's run away, etc.).
  • Psycho Lesbian: Nozomi would go to great lengths to get Randoh (as Yuna) into her bed.
  • Put on a Bus - Nozomi, but she's brought back later.
  • Running Gag: Doc Manabe going off about performing a full sex-change operation on Randoh, often as a threat or fantasy, followed by him getting kicked.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Secret Test of Character: The real Yuna gives Randoh a particularly tough one: to prove he loved Rina, he had to agree to be have his face changed back to Yuna's irreversibly to comfort Rina while the real Yuna goes to school (as it turns out, it is reversible as it was never changed back in the first place).
  • She Is All Grown Up: We're shown a flashback of Natsuo as a kid, and apparently Randoh mistook her for a boy. Nobody would make that mistake now.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Dr. Manabe has to avoid Sadako in a later chapter.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: The whole series, but Chapter 7 is the worst, especially when one of the earlier pages of said chapter is a loving shot of a shirtless Randoh with his first set of fake breasts on, which are also much larger than his later ones.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The amount of surgery it takes to change Randoh into an exact replica of Yuna seriously stretched the limit of what his facial muscles and skull could withstand, such that near the end it's a major plot point any further surgery risks ruining his face completely.
    • The real Yuna is understandably pretty pissed off to discover a guy has been impersonating her and living with her family.
  • Tsundere: Randoh as Yuna (much of the hate directed at people getting too close to Rina, and... Manabe, of course), and later, Yukie.
  • Twincest: It is purely platonic, but Rina does develop a bit more than sisterly feelings towards "Yuna", not knowing that "she" is actually her original crush.
    • Ship Tease gets common - she kisses a photo of "her" underneath the Graduation Tree, so they'll stay together forever, she mutters her name in her sleep, and is extremely clingy. In the omake, she accidentally kisses Randoh when she slips while doing the dishes.
  • Twin Switch: Randoh and Rina pull one off in the final chapters. In a less deliberate form, it happens with Randoh and the real Yuna throughout the entire story. When the real Yuna comes back, this unintentionally happens
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: In one chapter, a Dirty Old Man feels up Randoh's leg during a stay at a supposedly haunted onsen, realizes he's a guy, and promptly gets the stuffing beat out of him. It happens in an earlier chapter (though it's because of "Yuna"'s flatness).
    • Dropped on Natsuo after she pulls down "her" skirt and panties, having suspected "Yuna" of being a guy. And then there's Manabe getting rid of Sachiko by pretending he's into pre-op transsexuals, and showing off "Yuna"'s dick to her.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Randoh himself.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Randoh’s first instinct after waking up is to try and go home, only to find out his family had moved away since the accident, having assumed he was dead.