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Manga / Random Walk

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Yuka Kunimoto decides to move out of her father's apartment just as she is starting high school. She's setting out for a new chapter of her life, and her father has one advice for her: to experience good love so that she can be a good person. As she had just broken up with her boyfriend from middle school, Yuka is determined to start a new journey find her One True Love.

Random Walk is a Shōjo manga by Wataru Yoshizumi (who also wrote Marmalade Boy), which chronicles Yuka's high school love life. It was serialized in Ribon from Jun 3, 2000 to Aug 18, 2001 and compiled into three volumes.

Random Walk contains examples of:

  • Aloof Big Brother: Towa, Yuka's (former) step-brother, is serious and uptight, and dismisses all of Yuka's attempts to get along with him. When they reunite when Yuka's parents hire him to tutor her, he wastes no time to make her study and refuses to engage in small talk, to her annoyance.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Subverted with Katsura, who is the only main character to be drawn with dark hair, and described as tall, beautiful athletic and cool. She's more of a Shrinking Violet than a cool beauty, however,
  • Better as Friends: The final volume reveals that Yuka used to date Hiro, her male friend, when they were in the first year of middle school. They were classmates who got along really well, and decided to date each other. However, being a couple only made things awkward between them, and they broke up. They found new love interests, and when they become classmates again in their third year, they manage to patch things up and return to being friends.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Averted. Yuka's family is fairly complicated: After her mother's death, her father married a woman who brought a son from a previous marriage, but the marriage only lasted for a year. Four years later, Yuka's father marries his third wife, and as Yuka is already a high schooler at this point, she decides to move out so that she won't be in the new couple's way. However, Yuka gets along with her father and stepmothers, and Sachie holds no grudges or bitterness against Akimitsu, even though she said that being friends again is probably impossible after what has happened between them.
  • First Guy Wins: Zigzagged. After her failed romances with Nozomu and Kaito, Yuka decides to get back together with her ex-boyfriend from middle school, Hikaru—the one she mentioned to have dumped at the start of the manga. Touko remarks that having a boyfriend for the first time must be a special experience, and concludes that this must be the reason why Yuka is eager to get back to him. However, Yuka reveals that Hikaru is not her first boyfriend—Hiro is. Later, however, Yuka breaks up with Hikaru (again), and by the end of the series she ends up with Towa, her former stepbrother, who moved in when she was 12, and is probably the first guy to have a big impact in her life.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: After being dumped for the third time, Yuka goes on a snacking binge. No actual ice-cream were involved however.
  • Hidden Depths: Katsura is surprised that the stylish and gregarious Touko belongs in the Gardening Club. As it turns out, Touko used to be an Obliviously Beautiful loner who is more interested in taking care of plants than interacting with others. After her first crush ends up going out someone else because of her obliviousness, she decides to open herself to the dating scene, and finds out that she enjoys being pampered by men, and starts to exploit her popularity.
  • Just Friends: Yuka and Hiro. They were already close friends since seventh-grade, and they tried taking it to the next level by going steady. However, things only became awkward between them, and they broke up. At present, they are very close friends, and no one else in their circle knows about their brief romantic history.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: The last few chapters of the manga features Yuka's last-minute break-up before hooking up with someone else just as quickly.
    • After getting back together with Hikaru (her boyfriend from middle school), Yuka is quite happy with the relationship, and is confident that it will last—especially after he declares his sincere love for her and promises to be faithful... then he suddenly breaks up with her—not because he's found another girl he's in love with, but because his ex-girlfriend (a girl he briefly dated after Yuka dumped him) got sick after being dumped; and despite still being in love with Yuka, Hikaru decides to go back to the other girl out of guilt. Naturally, Yuka takes this harder than her previous break-ups.
    • Yuka's heartbreak after being dumped by Hikaru causes her to go on a snacking binge, which inadvertently gets Towa drunk when he joins her. He kisses her while under the influence, and then confesses to her not long afterwards. The series ends with her taking the time to think about it, and finally accepting his confession after a one-year Time Skip.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Yuka wants to follow her father's advice to experience good love. However, all the guys she falls in love with ends up choosing another girl, breaking her heart.
  • Love Martyr: Saori. Her long-term boyfriend is a playboy who constantly cheats on her. She knows about his habits and is hurt by it, but tolerates it because she's given up trying to make him change. When Yuka asks why she doesn't break up with him, she says that she likes him too much to do that.
  • Offscreen Romance: Touko goes from hating Tsukasa for making a fool out of her to being his girlfriend in a span of half a chapter with no on-screen development. Then they breakup... only to get back together at least twice over the course of the three volumes, and the audience only hear of the aftermath from Touko sharing the events to her two friends.
  • Random Events Plot: Yuka's turbulent love life doesn't seem to have any rhyme nor reason, since the series avoid using many Rom-Com tropes, and when they do get used, they aren't exactly played straight. Yuka meets various guys, falls in love with them, and eventually breaks up with them for a number of different reasons. The guy she ultimately ends up with only gets two chapters of romantic development (although he's been around for much longer) before Yuka finally accepts his confession after a one-year Time Skip.
  • Sex Changes Everything: Yuka's first boyfriend was a very good friend of hers. However, the moment the two tried going steady, their relationship became awkward and they can't get along as they used to. They ended up breaking up, and decide that they are Better as Friends.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Katsura falls in love and gets together with Terakado, a trainee teacher who teaches history at Yuka's high school to gain credits for university course.
  • Used to Be More Social: Inverted with Touko. While she is now an outgoing girl who is a bit of The Vamp, she used to be an Oblivious to Love loner whose only interest is gardening.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Discussed in-universe by Yuka about Saori keeping her relationship with Kaito even though she knew he's unfaithful.