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Manga / Shinigami-sama to 4-nin no Kanojo

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Minaguchi Kaoru is nothing special. Bad at sports, poor grades, not in any clubs, and certainly not popular. He has no friends and isn't even interested in any of the girls he knows. He's also bullied due to the fact that he loves shoujo manga. Unlike the harem daydreams of his peers, he dreams of finding his true love. Unfortunately, a shinigami comes to kill him, simply because he's a failure. But when he gasps out his intention of becoming a success with his final breaths, she takes it back! As long as he follows through on his intentions, he won't be harvested.

To convince the shinigami that his plans are genuine, he declares that he will confess to the girl he likes, the very next day. Expecting failure with confessing to random girls in his school, he sends out love letters to four different girls. To his surprise, they all agree to be his girlfriend. Now, this shoujo-manga-loving guy has ended up in a kind of harem story, quadruple-timing four girls.

Then the shinigami introduces herself as Airi, and sets a time of 3 months, during which she'll watch Kaoru (and his girlfriends) very closely in order to confirm that he can pull this off. If he fails, then his head will be hers.

Shinigami-sama to 4-nin no Kanojonote  is a manga by Suyama Shinya, the author of Gakkou no Sensei and Akuma Jiten, with CHuN (of Maou-sama no Yuusha Toubatsuki fame) in charge of art. The manga was serialized from 2013 to 2015 in Gangan Joker, being Cut Short at 18 chapters and compiled into three volumes.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Downplayed.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: All of the girls fall more and more in love with Kaoru, but in all honesty, he's more worried about saving his ass than on romance.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Kaoru has no friends. The concept is so foreign to him, the idea of a phone being used to contact people besides his family was very shocking for him. He is also bullied by every boy due to his open love of shojo manga. But it is more limited to them calling him fag and such.
  • Battle of Wits: Between Airi (who wants to kill Kaoru and positions the girlfriends in places that would give his cheating away) and Kaoru (who wants to fulfill the conditions set by Airi for his release and strives to keep his cheating in secret).
  • Becoming the Mask: Yui agreed to go out with Kaoru in order to not be killed by Rion, Airi's sister, but ended up genuinely falling for him.
  • Beneath the Mask: All the girls have 2 faces: their public image (always a positive one) and the intimate one (far more sinister).
  • Butt-Monkey: Kaoru goes straight to this but barely avoids it due to his incredible ability to improvise.
  • Cat Smile: Airi pulls one of these in the first chapter.
    • Kaoru does one in chapter 9.
  • Chaste Hero: Kaoru actively avoids becoming too physical with the girls, as he feels their feelings are wasted on him.
    • Turns out to be the reason Risa started dating him. She wanted to mold him to her tastes
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: Kaoru did get 4 girls to like him enough to date him without even personally knowing them.
  • The Corrupter: A far less sinister version. Risa started dating Karou to "corrupt" his purity. So that he would fit her sexual tastes.
  • Covert Pervert: Risa's intimate face. She has no knowledge about relationships, and the first reference manual we see consulting is a porn magazine.
    • Aoi is one too. When she and Kaoru got wet, she offered her uniform. When he rejected, she dejectedly said she thinks he would look good in it.
  • Class Representative: Risa Umikai's public face. She fulfills the place to a T. A perfectly cool, distant student that serves without calling attention to herself and stays at the top of her class.
  • Cut Short: Due to its cancelling, though it does have an ending, the story ends with a lot of plot threads unexplained and zero resolution.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Kaoru has this effect upon Risa and Emiry. Whether this is positive or not is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The punishment for "speaking to and destroying" a relationship is to have your vocal cords crushed. The punishment for destroying four is said to be far worst though Airi manages to get out of it offscreen.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: It is used quite a bit, both for laughs and for drama.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Aoi's outgoing, cheerful and all-around optimistic personality earns her popularity with guys and girls, though this is her public personality.
  • Expressive Hair: In the Imagine Spot, Emiry's idiot hair is spinning when Kaoru is lying about why he was with her in the subway.
    • Aoi is a much more scarier example. When she goes Yandere her hair grows longer and wilder.
  • Expy: Risa resembles Shino quite a bit, as well as having a similar personality, the only real difference is Risa has giant boobs, which would probably kill Shino.
    • Kaoru and Airi are like Keima and Elsea. Keima and Kaoru are otaku outcasts that use their otaku knowledge to successfully keep a harem or their lives are gone. Airi and Elsea call their main character nii-sama and are shinigami that changed their lives.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: At first Kaoru wonders if this happened between him and Airi.
    • This is later confirmed by Airi, who tells Kaoru that they met as children. However, humans lose their memory of meeting a reaper 3 days after the reaper leaves, including Kaoru.
    • Also hinted in chapter 6, that this occurred between Karou and Aoi.
  • From Bad to Worse: Airi's sister turns up to put the screws on Kaoru, by saying she'll reap one of the girls if he doesn't kiss the one she picked.
  • Genre Savvy: Kaoru, due to reading a lot of manga, is really good at making excuses towards the girls that raises their affection towards him. He's also suspicious of why a girl of Risa's status would say yes to someone like him.
    • Airi is as well, she and Kaoru usually converse in tropes.
  • Guile Hero: Kaoru has shown himself to be pretty good at getting out of situations, using lies and his knowledge of Shoujo manga.
  • Harem Seeker: Inverted. Kaoru wants to find true love, unlike his male classmates.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Kaoru does quite a bit, mostly calling himself on his cheating, but also his lack of friends.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Kaoru's knowledge of Shoujo manga makes him oddly good at keeping a harem.
  • Idiot Hair: Emiry has one.
  • Idol Singer: Yui Kobayakawa's public face.
  • Indy Ploy: Almost all of Kaoru's plans are pretty much "try to do damage control with what I can use at the moment". Justified because he has absolutely no experience dating girls.
  • It Amused Me: Airi cannot directly intervene in Kaoru's daily life, so she resorts to indirect manipulation in order to put him at risk of failure with his girlfriends. What she really wants is to reap Kaoru, but her real motivation is to amuse herself seeing how Kaoru gets his ass out of the troubles she sets up.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Anyone who meets a reaper will lose all memory of them 3 days after the reaper leaves.
  • Lazy Bum: Airi was stated by her sister to sit around and read manga and anime.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Airi jokes that Kaoru is like a harem protagonist; which he is.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Kaoru is seen as such due to his deep shyness and cloudy mind (which would prove to be serious weaknesses in the days to come).
  • Love Triangle: Type 3: The 4 girls like Kaoru for their own reasons.
    • Becomes a Type 7 when the 4 girls accept his confession and start dating him (everything in the first chapter, no less!).
  • Luminescent Blush: All the girls have this when Kaoru uses his shoujo knowledge.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Airi fully expects Kaoru to fail and loves to exploit his 4 girlfriends' character traits in order to put him in dangerous situations.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Since getting 4 girlfriends, a good chunk of Kaoru's thoughts are this. It's used to show that he clearly understands what he's become and how it contradicts his own ideals of love and romance.
  • NEET: Kaoru became one for about a chapter, planning to let 3 months pass by without having a chance to meet the girls. He quickly gave up when he realized the girls could come to his house and he would have no way to stop them.
  • New Transfer Student: Subverted, Airi enjoys playing around too much to transfer. Kaoru even asks if she was.
    • Played straight in the last chapter, where she transfers into his class.
  • Nice Guy: Kaoru is actually a nice guy. He originally used dating as a last shot. He was surprised as hell when not only did one girl accept, but all FOUR did. You can tell he feels really sorry for the girls, and makes an effort to at least be a good fake boyfriend to each of the girls.
  • No Romantic Resolution: The series ends without Kaoru actually picking one of the girls that likes him.
  • Not a Morning Person: Airi.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: The girls do this to Kaoru a lot when they show how much they like or trust him.
  • Off on a Technicality: Kaoru avoided certain death by stating he wants to become a success on his dying breath. Airi immediately stops and saves him because were she to reap a successful person (or one with that goal) she'd be punished with a severe pay cut.
    • Same for being a NEET, if Kaoru gives the appearance of being successful, Airi can't kill him.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Aoi does this in chapter 7, it was a pure, raw scare.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens a lot to Kaoru due to Airi. But a great face is this
  • Ojou: Emiry Oogawara's public face.
    • This helps explain her Tsundere tendencies: Seeing that she has easy access to money, people have treated her as a wallet in the past. One of the direct strikes Kaoru unintentionally shoots at her heart is paying for the net café himself in their first date and explaining that a gentleman cannot allow his date to pay.
  • Otaku: Both Kaoru and Airi.
  • Passionate Sportsgirl: Aoi Sawatari's public face.
  • Patient Childhood Love Interest: It is hinted that Aoi is one. It doesn't mix well with Yandere.
  • The Perfectionist: Risa shows signs of this during her date.
  • Sadist: Yui's intimate face. Her first romantic encounter with Kaoru involved her biting Kaoru's ear intentionally and getting off on it. Kaoru admitting she was biting so hard, he was scared she was going to rip it off.
    • And it happens again in the infirmary.
  • School Idol: Yui and Aoi. Yui because she's actually an Idol Singer and Aoi because she's the best of the school's swimming team.
  • Shout-Out: A hilarious one to Death Note in ch. 8.
    • You can't help but laugh when Airi gains Sailor Moon's silhouette as she leaps from the window. Sailor for love and justice my arse.
    • Chapter 9 had Airi going to watch a Madoka movie and somehow Homura is wearing Darth Vader's helmet.
      • This chapter takes some not-so-kind jabs at Madoka Magica. Especially hilarious is the scene of Homura with Madoka's panties on her head.
  • Stunned Silence: Kaoru's reaction to finding out why Risa started dating him.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Risa Umikai's public face, befitting of a Class Representative.
    • Her personality switch is romantic and perverted actions.
  • There Are No Therapists: The cast could certainly use professional help (with the exception of Airi).
  • Tsundere: Emiry's intimate face, and she heavily leans on the "tsun" side, what with her punches to the arm and her detached, offensive demeanor.
  • Unwanted Harem: For Kaoru. One of the few cases where it's actually and completely his fault.
  • Yandere: Aoi's intimate face. Her introduction on ch. 7 instantly reaches Paranoia Fuel heights.
  • You Are What You Hate: A comedic version. Kaoru hates harems and he gets one.