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Manga / Prunus Girl

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My name is Aikawa Kizuna, and despite how I look, I'm male!

While looking at the results of his high school entrance exam, Maki has a fated encounter with a cute girl. To his horror, the "girl"—Aikawa Kizuna—happily announces that he's a guy during their class introductions. Aikawa mercilessly teases Maki thereafter about his ambiguous gender—which aside from Aikawa's own claims isn't definitively proven—and an awkward relationship is formed.

Prunus Girl is a shounen manga series by Tomoki Matsumoto which ran in Gangan Joker from 2009 to 2013. An example of Otokonoko Genre.

Prunus Girl provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The school's Director gives the Student Council free rein to do largely as it pleases provided it doesn't interfere with classes, because she believes the students are the school. Notable in that the Director apparently set it up that way personally with Kandaka-sensei and Substitute Director Ranbashi when they were students.
  • The Ace: Maki's a real winner at everything: sports, grades, girls... you name it! As long as it's not Aikawa Mind Screwing him with his visually ambiguous gender, of course.
  • Always in Class One: Class A seems to be composed of a bunch of nuts for whom Maki gets to play Straight Man. Not that the rest of the school is much better.
  • Ambiguous Gender:
    • Used mercilessly against Maki; Aikawa repeatedly admits to being male and makes for a very convincing girl, but it's not clear whether or not his claims of being male are true.
      Aikawa: Am I a guy? Or a girl? Which do you think is true?
      Maki: W-which? Well, a guy... No, you totally look like a girl, so...
      Aikawa: I'm fine with whichever you end up thinking.
    • When he does accidentally find out... it's still left ambiguous, as it's covered up by Maki's Spit Take. Then he says "I finally understand..." but in a loss for words, he eventually drops the matter. The ambiguity rises to a meta-level on this point because another translation strongly implies what Maki "finally understands" is whether Aikawa wears boys' or girls' underwear, not anything conclusive about Aikawa's sex, so whether this particular Unreveal even happened is up for debate.
    • Aikawa does eventually show up at Maki's dorm room in a boy's uniform and removes the shirt, showing off a tank top and absolutely no curves. Of course, this proves nothing, but...
    • By the end, the question is ultimately dropped and everyone considers Aikawa male. Fair enough, considering the only way to "definitively" answer it for readers would be to draw Aikawa stripped naked, and that's not going to happen outside of doujinshi.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Maki wakes up one morning... only to find Aikawa lying right next to him.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Finally happens between Aikawa and Maki in chapter 42.
  • Boy Meets Girl/Meet Cute: Parodied in Chapter 27 with a crossdressing Maki and Kadoyama.
  • Book Ends: The final chapter revisits several events of the earliest chapters, including Maki and Aikawa meeting under the sakura blossoms at the beginning of spring; Maki atop Aikawa on the ground; Aikawa draping his skirt over a dozing Maki's eyes; and the infamous magic candies.
  • Brick Joke: In the first chapter Aikawa teases Maki about passing him a candy through a kiss then presents him with peach and cola flavored "magic candies". When Maki just gives him both, Aikawa points out there was no peach-cola candy. In the last chapter Maki kisses Aikawa with a peach-cola candy.
  • Bridal Carry: Maki ends up carrying Aikawa in this fashion in chs. 7 and 29. The imagery is taken even further in the latter due to them being dressed like a bride and groom thanks to Chris' shenanigans.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Maki is somewhat, but the real exemplar here must be Kadoyama, of all people - he gets the absolute best test scores in their class yet still copies Maki's homework.
  • Broken Base: In-universe. Aikawa has a rabid fan club at school which is sharply divided over the question of whether he truly is a guy, or a girl pretending to be a cross-dressing guy. They're very nearly at open war with each other.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Kei appears to have a brother complex towards her younger twin brother, Ken. It seems to be one-sided on her part, though. At least until chapter 31, where he openly checks out her breasts when she asks him about his breast size preference.
  • Beach Chapter: Chapter 2. Kadoyama, in particular, is eager to see what Aikawa wears, but it ends up being a hoodie.
  • Capture the Flag: Chapters 12 and 13. With Water Guns and Balloons. And it was awesome.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Let's see... Three lesbians (two a couple) and another lesbian couple in the school faculty, everyone is gay for Aikawa, one Ambiguously Bi class representative, Aikawa only shows interest in Maki, and Maki struggles desperately to maintain any claim to heterosexuality. About the only ones who can get away with claiming to be unambiguously straight are the Yaoi Fangirl, Hopeless Suitor Asakura Asami, and Sasakino Kei, who is interested only in her twin brother Ken. Who may return that interest. Oh, and possibly the old chemistry teacher, who we've heard nothing about at all.
  • Cherry Blossoms: The series opens and closes with sakura petals falling at the beginning of spring, framing important meetings between Maki and Aikawa. After Maki confesses to Aikawa, a late-coming discretion shot (because they'd already kissed a few times on-page) focuses on two sakura petals falling together and touching. See also Motifs, below.
  • Class Representative: Yaotome.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Aikawa, already clingy, acts a bit jealous whenever any hint comes up that Maki might have a love life outside of him.
  • Closet Key:
    • Aikawa, for most of the guys.
    • Shion for Non.
  • Covert Pervert: Yaotome, right out the gate. She's so deadpan about it that even after being familiar with her perversions, it's oddly a surprise when they crop up again.
  • Cuteness Proximity:
    • Lampshaded. If shown a picture of a cute kitty-cat, Maki will instantly take a chance to stroke its fur after school.
    • Cat ears, however, are an abomination.
  • Cosplay Otaku Girl: Aikawa loves to dress up at any available opportunity, such as during club recruitment and the summer festival. We're still wondering about the "girl" part of this trope.
  • Distant Finale: A short epilogue set at the beginning of Maki and Aikawa's senior year of high school. Maki and Aikawa are now rooming together, and Aikawa seems to be gearing up for a sustained campaign of getting Maki to finally have sex with him now that they're living together.
  • Don't Call Me Knight!: Apparently, it doesn't match with his appearance.
  • Double Standard: Not discussed openly but strongly invoked in the final chapter when Maki is thinking hard about whether he should actually go for Aikawa, and then notices Shion and Kana. Nothing is said or narrated, but it's clear he just realized that "if it's okay for two girls to be together, why isn't it okay for two guys?" - a realization that helps him leap the final hurdle keeping him back from Aikawa.
  • Emotionless Girl: For Yaotome, somewhere between this and a Deadpan Snarker who never drops the deadpan.
  • Everyone Can See It: About the only people who don't assume Maki and Aikawa are somehow involved with each other are those who think they look perfect together anyway. Especially the Yaoi Fangirl.
  • Fridge Logic: Invoked in the following conversation.
    *Aikawa washes his hands in the boys' room as Maki watches*
    Maki: You know, just looking at you walk out the cubicle gives me the heebie-jibbies.
    Aikawa: So, what? You're saying I should use the girls' room? That's sick.
    Maki: Like being in the boys' room dressed like a girl isn't.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: For two pages in the fourteenth chapter, Maki discovers that Aikawa's tingly spot is somewhere at the back and with compelling curiosity, he proceeds with the full course. And since we're talking about Aikawa here, the results are pretty obvious.
  • Glasses Are Sexy: At least in Yaotome's opinion.
  • Gunslinger: Just Aikawa, actually, in the Capture the Flag chapter. With two water pistols, to be exact.
  • Hidden Depths: You'd be forgiven for not knowing that Kadoyama is the highest-scoring student in the main class and among the best in school.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Any third party who vies for Maki or Aikawa's affections, but especially Asami, whom circumstances conspire to taunt about her crush on Maki very nearly every time she appears, from the start of the series. Even when the Student Council promises a date for anyone who can catch Maki or Aikawa during the culture festival, all she can even imagine asking is for Maki to accompany her shopping.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Maki is one of the tallest guys in his grade, and Aikawa is tiny.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Yaotome and the rest of the student council to Naitou.
  • Idiot Ball: So the Student Council promises a date with Maki or Aikawa to anyone who can catch one of them at the culture festival. Non and Kei help Asami corner Maki, who agrees to spend time with Asami even without the competition, partly because he couldn't just let Aikawa run alone while he got an easy out. Nobody even thinks of having Non or Kei also claim the "date" with Aikawa and end the hunt early, even though the three girls really did catch both of them.
  • If It's You, It's Okay:
    • Maki is the only guy Shion considers remotely worth going straight for, and has admitted she loves him — only not romantically, she only likes girls for that. Aikawa, meanwhile, seems to inspire this in every otherwise-straight adolescent male he comes across.
    • Non believes this is the nature of her attraction to Shion for a long time, that it's a one-off interest in Shion herself. And then Non starts finding Kana terribly attractive as well, and realizes she's just gay.
    • Eventually, even Maki realizes this is how he feels towards Aikawa.
  • Incompatible Orientation: So far, Maki's only real objection to being with Aikawa. Increasingly flimsy, however and eventually done away with entirely.
  • Indirect Kiss: Maki and Aikawa share drinks frequently and far more casually than "just friends" normally would, especially two guys. The first time Maki nearly thinks about it until distracted by Aikawa, after which it passes between them repeatedly without comment.
  • In Vino Veritas: Early on Maki and Kadoyama speculate what Aikawa might be like drunk, but their conclusions are largely, "Like himself, but more so." Much later, Kadoyama brings a bottle of champagne that he thought was non-alcoholic to the Christmas party. Kana is much more affectionate and bold with Shion, Kei and Ken start sending blatant signals to each other, Non and Asami commiserate sadly over their status as Hopeless Suitors, and Aikawa manages to somehow be both more direct and more subtle with Maki at the same time.
  • Large Ham: Student council president Chris Naitou Knight loves big introductions and is very melodramatic.
  • Last-Name Basis: Maki never refers to anyone by their given name unless pushed to, and then goes right back to using surnames afterward. Understandable with most of the cast given he only just met them at the start of the school year, but more noticeable with Shion and Kana, who were classmates and friends of his in middle school. Meanwhile, even the other guys (who mostly stick to surnames as well) call Maki by his given name.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Maki and Aikawa in chapter 42, to absolutely no one's surprise.
  • Male Gaze: Has a habit of lingering on Aikawa. It is, more specifically, Maki's gaze, which occasionally leads him to mutter, "He's a guy, he's a guy, he's a guy..."
  • Mask Power: Maki dons a fox mask and becomes the legendary hero... "Fox Mask"... to drive off some guys bothering Aikawa.
  • Motifs: Aikawa has one for peaches, cherries, and plums. Which are of the genus Prunus.
  • Necktie Leash: In ch. 8, Shion tugs on Maki's necktie while teasing him about their past.
  • Not a Date: Aikawa encountered a suitor, and in a panic said he had a boyfriend. So he goes on a date with Maki to throw the guy off. Maki comments that their "date" is basically what they do normally, but from the suitor's perspective, they act like the perfect loving couple. And after he finally leaves, Maki and Aikawa continue their "date".
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • In one chapter, Aikawa went to Maki's dorm to learn how to cook, but stayed way past curfew and had to sleep in. Kadoyama saw Aikawa there one day and leave with Maki the next morning and thinks that they had sex.
    • The two face a Round Two in Chapter 18 when student council chairperson Yaotome barges in what looks like a makeout session between the two of them (it's one-sided, as usual) on the rooftop which is supposedly out-of-bounds.
    • And again in a bonus chapter after chapter 32 when, dressed up as a vampire for Halloween, Aikawa "bites" Maki's neck and leaves a hickey which lasts through the next day, and everyone notices. Kadoyama in particular leaps once more to conclusions about them having sex.
  • Only One Name: Maki's surname has still never been revealed. Everyone just calls him by his given name, even just after first meeting him, though he only ever uses people's surnames. Even his doorplate has only been shown with his given name on it, despite other doorplates having surnames.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Forced on Maki and Aikawa when they're recruited to help the Student Council during the culture festival, which means some permanent members may have them too.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Not as bad as some Toradora! yankee, but still, Maki is quite skilled at chores.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Appearances aside, Naitou Chris is a Ridiculously Average Guy in everything else.
  • Recursive Crossdressing:
    • Aikawa teases Maki with this theory. Could Aikawa have been lying about his gender all this time?
    • And if one were to assume Aikawa is a guy, in Chapter 17, he goes to school in a boy's uniform, it weirds people out, especially Maki (whose uniform Aikawa was wearing, coincidentally) and he went back to wearing the girl's uniform like normal at the end of the chapter.
  • Rescue Romance: Aikawa gets accosted by two thugs but gets rescued by Maki in a fox mask, who easily scares the thugs away with crazy kung-fu skills and sweeps Aikawa off his feet (and onto some steps to repair Aikawa's broken sandal). Subverted though as apparently, the whole production was to prevent Aikawa from kicking their asses and getting in trouble. He gets an unwanted kiss on the cheek for his efforts. Cue the festival fireworks.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Chris fits the bill, especially when he constantly adjusts his glasses by the bridge. Before we know what a goofball he is, anyway. A shadowy ensemble of the Student Council with their glasses all highlighted also plays to the trope for the Council at large.
  • Serious Business: Aikawa has a large unofficial fan club which apparently encompasses about half the male student body. One riven by deep internal divisions over Aikawa's Ambiguous Gender, including a faction that maintains it doesn't matter at all.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Maki and Aikawa as seen by everyone around them, despite not actually having a romantic relationship. Almost entirely thanks to Aikawa, though Maki has the rare moment that is shockingly romantic coming from someone as reticent as him. Also, Shion and Kana so very much, in almost every appearance, once they get back together.
  • Single-Target Sexuality:
    • Aikawa is the only person who ever gets a reaction out of Maki, who is otherwise completely uninterested in "girls" and dating. He "deals with" one love letter off-page "thinking that ever since starting high school those letters failed to get him worked up" and obliviously brushes aside the attempts of another girl to get his attention.
    • And in reverse point of view, Maki is the only boy Aikawa's interested in.
  • The Slacker: Maki wants to approach high school life with this attitude, hating the idea of joining clubs, dating, or otherwise doing more than strictly necessary; but he also approaches any task he has to do (like tests and chores) with the attitude that doing it right the first time is best, to get it out of the way. Aikawa's interference keeps him from getting to laze about in his free time with comics and cooking magazines like he wants, though. Aikawa is more of a true slacker, gleefully grabbing hold of whatever excuse crops up to avoid schoolwork.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Pretty firmly towards the Idealistic side, promoting love as love regardless of gender, that gay people are still people with troubles and joys just the same as anyone else, and that friends will be there to support you no matter who and how you love.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Silly and lighthearted most of the time, though Kana's appearance provoked a few fairly serious chapters about the fact and fear that, no, not everyone finds homosexuality acceptable. Went right back into gleeful silliness afterward, though.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Kandaka-sensei, who was paired with her friend Ranbashi as one of "the" honors students. However, Ran was probably the more gifted of the two since she never had to study, and also never wore glasses. Kandaka had to study hard to keep her grades up.
  • Spaghetti Kiss: Aikawa tried this on poor Maki with Pocky. Luckily for him, she let him off the hook.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The high school's name has had a variety of romanizations by translators, including Midorigaoka, Midorinooka, and Midorinohka. The last seems to have been settled on for the moment, although it's technically incorrect as the name can be split as "midori-no-oka" (it's two separate "o"s, not a long "o").
  • Student Council President: The school has a bombastic one who possesses the longer hair, white gloves and uniform commonly associated with the role... which are against regulations. Yaotome also says that he's incredibly average and is solely reliant on his popularity to run the student council, indeed he was elected only because everyone found him to be entertaining.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Aikawa's convincingly girlish appearance can have readers question their sexuality at an instant. And has done so for every male student he comes across.
  • Take a Third Option: Aikawa gives Maki two "magic candies", to turn him into a true boy or girl, and tells Maki to choose one to feed him. Put on the spot regarding what he thinks about Aikawa, Maki feeds him both.
  • Teach Her Seduction: Aikawa teaches fellow girl classmates how to make advances towards guys. Later, one of said girls 'seduces' Aikawa. And it's a Chekhov's Skill.
  • The Tease: Aikawa loves being coy around Maki.
  • Those Two Girls: Asami and Kei play this role towards Non, while with Non they're "Those Three Girls" for Aikawa and Maki.
  • Threesome Subtext: Shion and Kana both end up blatantly flirting with Non in ch. 31. The title of the section is even "A Flower in Both Hands?" Reinforced in chapter 38 when Kana physically flirts with Non as Shion walks in and doesn't seem to mind.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Shion and Kana, respectively.
  • Transparent Closet: Literally no one is surprised when Maki announces he's going out with Aikawa.
  • The Unreveal:
    • Aikawa's "pretty unusual for a guy" issue regarding unwanted body hair.
      Maki: I didn't need to hear that!
      (That night, Maki had a nightmare.)
    • A later chapter does reveal this, in passing; "Is that why there's no hair down there?"
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal:
    • Logically, Maki "knows" that Aikawa is a guy, but he still can't help but be frequently embarrassed by Aikawa's antics (and occasionally be tempted to take up offers to personally verify gender). Meanwhile, his friend Kadoyama is hopeless over Aikawa, declaring "who cares as long as (s)he's cute!" and getting really worked up. A nameless herd of classmates seems to agree.
    • Also done to New Transfer Student and Maki's old friend, Hanasaka Shion, who is a lesbian. Doesn't stop her from trying to steal Aikawa from Maki even after the Bridget is dropped.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Aikawa.
  • Wingding Eyes: Aikawa gets heart eyes after eating a "love candy".
  • Yaoi Fangirl: The tragic fate of Haruko Satou, the girl whose plan to get Maki's attention was interrupted by Aikawa in the first chapter, as revealed in an omake (with a side-by-side comparison of her initial appearance). Rabid shipper of Aikawa and Maki.