When he moves back to the city he had left four years ago, Sakura Kousuke isn't expecting much, having developed quite a resigned and pessimistic outlook on life during middle-school. As he's Late for School on his first day, though, he stumbles across Sakuranomiya "Nomiya" Sakura, who makes him race with her to make it on time. And when he's introduced to his new class, it turns out he's one of six students with a "sakura" in their names which reawakens his childhood memories of the time spent with some of them, including Nomiya herself. After the teacher decides to put the six of them together for a group activity, they will all have to (re)discover their fellow "Sakuras" and learn a bit more about themselves.
Published between 2011 and 2012, Sakura Discord is Masuda Eiji's second series after How to Make an Invisible Man, and spans five volumes during which the focus is successively put on each of the main characters, who face their past and mistakes to finally look forward. While the comedy is more prominent than in Masuda's previous short series, the tone is more or less shared in half between light-hearted Slice of Life and melancholic drama. The series also sets a few of the recurring graphic and writing traits that would get more prominent in My Monster Secret.
Tropes featured in Sakura Discord
- Always Identical Twins: Averted for once. Shuuichi and Haruka are heterozygous twins, and barely look alike.
- An Aesop: It is pointless to dwell on your past mistakes or stay fixated on the "good ol' days", while forgetting to move on. More generally, it's a story about the characters forgiving themselves and regaining their self-esteem by talking things out with each other.
- Arc Words: "One more step", or the will to move forward one step at a time to reach your goal.
- Color-Coded Characters: See the volume 5 cover. Kousuke is blue, Nomiya is pink, Shima is green, Sumiyoshi is yellow, Mebuki is purple, and Oka is brown.
- Curtains Match the Window: For every character, again visible on the volume 5 cover.
- Hollywood Kiss: Averted with both kisses between Kousuke and Nomiya. They hit their teeth because they do it too suddenly.
- Late for School: Both Nomiya and Kousuke at the beginning. The latter gives up early, the former doesn't, quickly establishing their relationship and the difference in their their state of mind.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When her team name "THE Sakura" is rejected, Nomiya gets serious and proposes (orally) a more attractive name: "THE☆Sakura". Kousuke irritatedly points out that she hasn't changed anything.
- Minimalist Cast: To some extent. The only recurring characters are the six "Sakura", plus Shuuichi and Haruka later on. The rest is a few minor characters that only appear in a couple of chapters, like the teacher, Mebuki's family or the old baseball club members.
- Official Couple: Mebuki and Oka become one halfway through the story, at the conclusion of their character arc.
- Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The first 3 volumes are quite serious, focusing on the characters' relationship problems (Sumiyoshi and Nomiya in vol. 1, Shima and Kousuke in vol. 2, Mebuki's family and Oka in volume 3), with occasional comical chapters between the arcs. The last two volumes, while still keeping a bittersweet nostalgic mood at times, are generally lighter, with the "Sakura" team fully formed, goofy hijinx more prominent and negative drama mostly gone (save for a couple of chapters).
- Running Gag: Water buckets have a weird tendency to appear with convenient timings just so they can be splashed on someone's head, in this series.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Kousuke the no-nonsense Perpetual Frowner meets Nomiya the Genki Girl. It makes sparkles.
- Theme Naming: To the extreme − ALL the recurring characters have a "Sakura" in their names (and as Nomiya points out, they would all remain "Sakuras" even if they married), the only exception being Mebuki's brother. And that's the whole premise actually.
- Title Drop: Played with. Oka proposes the name "Sakura Discord" for their baseball team, comparing it to a cacophony that creates an odd kind of melody in the end. Alas, he's the only one willing to use it, much to his dismay. Nomiya calls the group "THE Sakura", and keeps using that name even after everyone rejects it.
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
- Kousuke says right off the bat that he and Nomiya "can't agree on anything", yet it's obvious they can't live without each other.
- Shima being in love with Nomiya, and Sumiyoshi with Kousuke, they often take shots at each other, notably about Shima's hair or Sumiyoshi's chest. Though Shima is by far the bigger Butt-Monkey of the two.