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I lost my job about a year ago. After that, I couldn't find another job. My savings were getting too low for my own comfort, so I decided to return to my family home. (...) There was a little foreign girl I hadn't seen before standing there...
—Chapter 1, "A Girl Filled With Hopes and Dreams"
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Silver Nina (Shirogane no Nina) is a Slice of Life / Iyashikei manga series by Itokatsu.

28 year-old Shimazaki Shutaro recently lost his job in Tokyo and sees himself forced to return to his family home in the countryside village of Tsumagoi, Kita-Karuizawa, Gunma Prefecture. When he enters his parents' house, he is surprised to find out that a young silver-haired girl has been living there too. The girl happens to be his Fenno-Japanese niece Nina, whom he hasn't seen since she was a baby, sent by his older sister Yuko (who lives abroad) to live in Japan. Now, Shutaro tries to find a new purpose in life while bonding and taking care of his niece.

Other characters include:

  • Shutaro's parents, a coffee shop owner and his wife, who works in a plantation. They are the hosts of Nina and Shutaro;
  • Tomoe, Shutaro's childhood friend and Love Interest who works part-time at his father's shop and at her father's plantation;
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  • Arisa, a Tomboy schoolmate and friend of Nina;
  • Makoto: a strait-laced schoolmate and friend of Nina who is constantly at odds with Arisa;
  • Yuko, Nina's single mom and Shutaro's sister who lives abroad, who sent Nina to Japan due to her work;
  • Sana, an otaku teenager from Chiba who during the Summer vacation befriends Nina;
  • Takashi, a lazy, bratty and rowdy boy classmate of Nina, Arisa and Tomoe.

The series is serialized in the seinen magazine Manga Action published by Futabasha, beginning serialization in April 2012. The manga was licensed by Crunchyroll in 2014 and can be read here. After seven years of publication and 133 chapters, Silver Nina reached its end in August 2019, with two extra chapters subsequently published in September that year.


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Silver Nina contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Most people that meet Nina want to be her friends, and she's shown to be an item for her male classmates, and a prospective friend for the girls.
  • Affectionate Nickname: In the second post-end chapter it's implied that Arisa started getting referred to as "Ari" past high school.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Nina and Arisa tend to get easily distracted when studying, and procrastinate as long as they can get away with it. As a matter of fact, it's Makoto who keeps them in check.
  • Babies Ever After: The first post-end extra chapter shows Tomoe expecting her first child with Shutaro, 8 months into her pregnancy.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Invoked and subverted. Albeit there's much ado about Nina's beauty, she is as justifiably rowdy as a 10-11 year old should be, which means, scraped knees and nosebleeds.
  • Best Friend: Nina and Shutaro are this, in spite of the difference in their ages.
  • Big Eater: Nina has a fuel tank that would make a 747 envious. Girl can chomp.
  • Bland-Name Product:
  • Book Dumb:
    • Played with in the case of Nina, but this is due to the presence of a Language Barrier. She does get better due to Makoto.
    • Arisa, but not because she's not smart. She's just lazy, though Makoto starts setting her straight.
    • It's also the case for Takashi, who doesn't have Makoto to keep him straight like Arisa and Nina do.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Nina is half-Japanese, half-Finnish. This is poignant due to the fact that the Finnish are not people who are particularly effusive; goes to show that Nina was raised by her mom, an effusive and adventurous Japanese woman.
  • Childhood Friends: Tomoe and Shutaro are this, having grown up together in the same small town. Much of the tension between them stems from Shutaro's failed attempt to make it big in The Big City and having to come back home.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Nina invokes this trope on Tomoe and Shutaro, fully expecting the two to get married because of this. They vigorously deny it, but something does seem to be developing between the two...
  • Cheerful Child: Nina is this. She smiles frequently, is energetic, and has a very positive outlook on life in general.
  • Children Are Innocent: As she is a young girl who was raised under different customs, Nina is nowhere as prudish as the people around her and has little on the way of a filter. A Running Gag involves Nina expressing out loud what the people around are thinking, but don't express themselves for fear of sounding rude or meddling. She's also unaware that her affectionate gestures towards Shutaro are not particularly commonplace or customary of Japanese people.
  • Christmas Cake: There's much ado about Tomoe entering her mid-late twenties and not having a boyfriend or a prospect to marry. This is one of the reasons her parents and Shutaro's try to pair them together, but they don't due to unresolved personal issues.
  • Commitment Issues: Shutaro doesn't pursue Tomoe in spite of having the approval of her parents because he hasn't abandoned the hope of pursuing his goals in Tokyo. He tells Tomoe that if it weren't for that, he'd be more than happy to be with her.
  • Cool Big Sis: Tomoe and Sana are this for Nina.
  • Country Mouse: Played for laughs. Albeit born and raised in Helsinki, Nina has spent most of her time in Japan at rural Tsumagoi, so by the time she meets Sana, Nina is a few hairs short from being a true local hick.
  • Cuddle Bug: Nina is tremendously affectionate and unassuming of the somewhat prudish nature of Japanese people, having little inconvenience hugging and kissing Shutaro on the cheek. This happens to be a special case, as people from Finland are not like that either, Nina being a product of her outgoing mom.
  • The Cutie: Nina is both beautiful and stands out like a beacon; she's is like a cutie squared.
  • Daddy's Girl: Nina is one for Shutaro, even though she's not actually his daughter. Shutaro denies her nothing, and Nina very much craves his company, as he's the main father figure she has.
  • Disappeared Dad: Nina's father left Yuko when Nina was very young and made himself completely absent from her life.
  • Disappointed in You: Tomoe is shown to be disappointed in Shutaro for talking big in high school about his future life, making promises to her, only to come back ten years later after crashing and burning out. Still, she's happy to have him back regardless.
  • Dude Magnet: Nina and Tomoe. Nina is the subject of much admiration from her male classmates; Tomoe is a coveted item for her and Shutaro's former classmates, but she's rejected them all.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Due to her mother's influence, Nina is picked by a modeling agency in Tokyo, thus starting to pursue her dream of becoming either an Akiba idol, or a voice actress. In middle school, she's an established magazine model, and in high school, she auditions for her first VA part.
  • Family of Choice: Shutaro is more of a father figure to Nina than Nina's absent father ever was, which is notable because technically, in Japan, they wouldn't be considered "immediate" family.
  • First-Name Basis: Nina is usually in this with everyone she interacts with; later, Makoto and Arisa start doing it to each other unconsciously, signifying how close they've become in spite of their initial mutual hostility.
  • Food Porn: A high number of chapters are focused primarily on Nina getting to try some new type of food.
  • Foreign Queasine: Nina enjoys a great deal of Japanese food but cannot tolerate eating raw eggs, which are safe to eat in Japan. Western countries do not customarily eat raw eggs due to the high risk of salmonella.
  • Free-Range Children: As they live in a small rural town, Nina and her friends are free to roam around without worry.
  • Gamer Girl: Arisa is an avid gamer and she routinely tries to rope Nina and Makoto to play with her, as she has no one else to play with.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Nina is a platinum-blonde Nordic girl, red cheeks and blue eyes complemented with a profoundly loving heart.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Albeit she's tightly-wound, Makoto is a very sweet girl and a doting friend towards Nina and Arisa.
    • Tomoe's dad is also a very doting man and employer, in spite of his stone-face.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: In the second post-end chapter, Nina (now a high schooler) has surpassed her friend Sana (a university student) in height. This is due to the fact that as a half-Suomi, Nina is bound to be taller than the average Japanese person.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In Chapter 132, Yuko criticizes Shutaro for dropping his affairs at Tokyo at a turn of the hat and Nina immediately calls her out on this, as Yuko did exactly the same with her job at Helsinki.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: In his high School days, Shutaro wanted to be rich and have his own business. Ten years later, he is jobless and penniless. He gets better, though.
  • I Want My Mommy!: After pondering for a considerable time as to what to give Nina for her birthday, Shutaro surmises that there's something that she wants more than anything. He pays for a ticket for her mom to visit her, a gift that brings Nina to Tender Tears.
  • I Will Wait for You: Tomoe always held the hope of Shutaro coming back into her life, and ever since he did, she has been biding her time and enticing him into confessing. Upon receiving an attractive job offer in Tokyo, Shutaro tells her that he intends to move back to Tokyo to at least even try, but that otherwise, he would not hesitate in becoming an item with her. Tomoe chooses to encourage him on his endeavors and prove himself, as she'll wait for him.
  • Idol Singer: Nina's dream is to be one of them someday, choosing later to accomplish it by first becoming a voice actress. She holds her first VA audition at age 16, after spending years as a magazine model.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Tomoe is apparently an item for Shutaro's friends and is not short in pretenders.
  • Intergenerational Friendship:
    • Apart from being her Parental Substitute, Shutaro and Nina become best friends, being her uncle who's 17 years her senior.
    • Before Shutaro came into her life, Nina befriended Tomoe, who is slightly younger than Shutaro.
    • Nina also befriends Sanae, a vacationer from Chiba who is 5-7 years her senior.
  • Ironic Echo: Shutaro first returns to Tsumagoi having lost his job and plain broke, anxious to return to Tokyo at the first opportunity he gets; the second time he returns, he willfully abandons his job and apartment in Tokyo, the latter which is lucrative but has become completely unfulfilling to him.
  • Iyashikei: Most of the story takes place in the idyllic countryside where Shutaro's parents live, serving as a reminder for him to consider his life there as valuable as what he tried to accomplish at Tokyo.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Arisa is shown to be hurt by the notion that her classmates don't see her as a girl, and see her just as a brute. This is due to her clasmate Takashi, who teases her and calls her Gorisawa due to her tomboyish nature. It's not until after the manga ends that, now that they're both in middle school, he finally realizes that he likes her.
  • Knew It All Along: Shutaro's coworkers in Tokyo were well aware that he would eventually return to Tsumagoi because he was both physically and emotionally at his best when he was there, while he gradually started to get mopier and more absentminded in Tokyo.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Nina mistakes Arisa for a boy in their first encounter, on account of the latter's short hair, tan skin and boyish clothes.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: This is the relationship Shutaro ends up developing with Nina, whose parents are largely absent.
  • Lonely Together: Shutaro came home having utterly failed at his goals in Tokyo, while Nina found herself without her mom due to work obligation, or any significant parental figure available. They found each other and healed together.
  • Love Confession: Shutaro confesses to Tomoe in Chapter 132.
  • Love Epiphany: In Chapter 131, a Tokyo night where Shutaro is feeling particularly lonely, he remembers Tomoe's dream and realizes that she meant with HIM:
    Tomoe: But I was just thinking how nice it'd be if I harvest cabbage with my child while having my husband that I love so much next to me. We'd be a family filled with smiles and live happily ever after. That's my current dream.
  • Manchild: Played with. One of the reasons Nina befriends Shutaro so readily is due to the fact that he is a very playful man who is young at heart; however, Shutaro is more mature and collected than what the trope suggests.
  • Morality Pet: Nina is this for most of the people that know her, who strive to be better people altogether due to her example.
  • Mukokuseki: Much is made in-story of Nina's exotic looks. However, her facial appearance is no different from that of the fully Japanese characters, and one of the girls in her class has the same shade of hair as her.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: As a Suomi child, Nina has incredible tolerance to extreme temperature changes and severe heat and cold. She used to revel in the Scandinavian custom of boiling in a sauna and then plunging in icy waters immediately. She's also a remarkable skater for her age, having plenty of practice from back in Helsinki.
  • NEET:
    • Shutaro starts the story as this. He gets a temporary job at a farm later on.
    • Sana tells Nina that she herself is one.
  • Native Guide: Ironically Nina for Sana, as in appearance, she's by far the least "native-looking" person in the whole village. Nina ends up showing Sana around at various locales and hidden places at Tsumagoi that she learnt from Shutaro, Arisa and Makoto.
  • Nice Girl: Nina is a sweetheart, and she tends to bring the best out of the people she meets.
  • Not So Different: Albeit they both talked tall about their dreams, both Yuko and Shutaro abandon their dream jobs to be with their loved ones, Yuko with her daughter, and Shutaro with Tomoe.
  • Oblivious to Love: Subverted. Shutaro and Tomoe know that they like each other, but neither is willing to take the crucial step. Shutaro deems that settling with Tomoe would mean giving up his dreams in Tokyo, and Tomoe does not want to tie him down in spite of their love for each other. It gets to the point where Everyone Can See It and actively trying to encourage them to be together. Shutaro lets Tomoe know that he is indeed more than willing, but has to give Tokyo another try if he wants to be a man with self-respect.
  • Obliviously Beautiful: Nina is shown to be unaware of how cute she is and how much her male classmates pine over her. This also makes her unaware that she is a Magnetic Hero.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Arisa and Makoto become friends due to Nina, but they could not be more different. They greatly disliked each other before Nina came into the fold.
    • Nina tends to talk about Shutaro as a friend, and not as much as her uncle.
    • Nina becomes friends with Sana, a vacationing highschooler from Chiba who is bored out of her skull with Tsumagoi until Nina shows her the virtues of the place.
  • Older and Wiser: Shutaro came back to his hometown after ten years of toiling in Tokyo and having left reneging on the lameness of country life. He comes back humbled, and slowly learns to recognize the virtues of the place, falling in love with Tsumagoi thanks to Nina and Tomoe.
  • Parental Abandonment: Nina's dad might as well not exist.
  • Parental Substitute: Shutaro is effectively this for his niece Nina, on account of her mother being overseas. He is Nina's "dad" in all but deed.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Tomoe's dad has a glare to melt concrete, though Tomoe argues that he's a happier person than it appears.
  • Pet the Dog: Nina relents the main part of the local festival's parade to Arisa because their classmates keep saying that Arisa is not girly, and actually wants to try girly things for a change.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Nina and Shutaro very quickly become inseparable. It helps that he's effectively taken on a fatherly role in her life on account of her parents being divorced and her mother working overseas.
  • Positive Friend Influence:
    • Makoto and Arisa become inseparable friends due to Nina, who wouldn't have it any other way.
    • Makoto is one for both Arisa and Nina, as she shapes their academic discipline with her presence.
  • The Reliable One:
    • Makoto makes sure that both Nina and Arisa don't fall behind in their studies and keeps them disciplined.
    • Even with all the bitching and moaning, Tomoe is always there for Nina and Shutaro.
  • The Rival:
    • Arisa and Makoto start as this, trying to one-up each other for Nina's friendship. Nina makes them shed that notion, as she doesn't want to give up either, nor for them to fight each other.
    • Makoto is initially set up as this for Nina, as she starts to have resentful and prejudiced thoughts about Nina when they first meet. However, Nina quickly defuses her aggressiveness by engaging her in class and asking for her help.
    • Arisa is a rival to their classmate Takashi in athletics.
  • Running Gag:
    • Shutaro asking Tomoe to drive him and Nina around, since he's flat broke. She complies due to two very important aspects: she loves hanging around Nina, and she loves Shutaro.
    • A group of characters think of something to say, but don't say it out of prudence; cue Nina, who blurts it out loud.
  • Salaryman: Shutaro becomes this upon returning to Tokyo, but 5 chapters into his office drone life he becomes so overwhelmingly lonely that his coworkers start commenting on how depressed he is.
  • Scenery Porn: The manga, which is mostly set in Tsumagoi, a small, rural town in Gunma Prefecture with lots of greenery, is full of this.
  • Schoolmarm: Nina's homeroom teacher at school, on account of the low amount of students at school (because of Tsumagoi being a rural town with a small population, in addition to Japan's low birthrate); Nina's class only has about 11 students, so her teacher carries over to the second year as well.
  • School Idol: Played with. Nina is most certainly the prettiest girl in her grade, but other grades at her school are never shown.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • In Chapter 129, Yuko immediately quits her job in Finland because she realizes that she cannot afford to spend anymore time away from Nina; while she wanted to run her contract out and quit, they wanted her to stay and renew the contract for another 10 years, forcing her to be apart from her dear daughter. She then decides to move back to Tsumagoi and live with Nina in Shutaro's absence.
    • In Chapter 131, Shutaro gets fed up with his loneliness in Tokyo and gets up from his futon, heads out in pajamas and slippers, and grabs a taxi to Tsumagoi. Dude doesn't even pack.
  • Shed the Family Name: Nina goes by her mom's family name, Shimazaki, because her mother divorced her Finnish husband and raised Nina on her own. This is one of the reasons people tend to think that Shutaro is her father.
  • Shipper on Deck: Pretty much everyone is shipping Tomoe and Shutaro.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Tomoe has rejected the proposal of every man that is not Shutaro, implying that she's been waiting for him, and him only.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Leans heavily on the idealism side of the scale, thanks to Nina's positive influence on those around her.
  • Stylistic Suck: In spite of the gorgeous Scenery Porn and Arcadia aspects of the manga's artwork, a characteristic flaw in Itokatsu's manga works consists of characters looking stiff and seldom turning their heads, Silver Nina included.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Nina did not know how to swim when she came to Japan, and it was up to Shutaro to teach her. Their first session ends up with Nina in tears, as she thinks she's gonna drown. It takes her a whole summer to learn from Shutaro.
  • Tender Tears:
    • Shutaro is driven to tears while reminiscing about Tomoe, overwhelmed by the loneliness of his Tokyo life.
    • Tomoe immediately breaks in tears when Shutaro finally confesses to her.
  • Time Skip:
    • The first post-end extra chapter takes place ~3-4 years after the end chapter, with Nina as a middle schooler, and Shutaro and Tomoe expecting their first child.
    • The second post-end extra chapter takes place about 3 years after the previous one, with Nina as a high school student, auditioning in Tokyo for her first VA part, as it's been her lifelong dream.
  • They Do: In Chapter 132 Shutaro arrives to Tsumagoi, climbs out of the taxi in his pajamas and meets Tomoe as she's working in her father's field, finally confessing to her. Bewildered by his appearance and in tears, Tomoe immediately accepts.
  • Third-Person Person: Nina doesn't use pronouns when referring to herself. This is a Verbal Tic due to two aspects of her upbringing: first, Japanese is not her first language (she used to speak Finnish in Finland), and second, she's a young girl who has just moved to Japan, and has had relatively few interactions with Japanese people in general to have learned the correct pronouns. All things considered, her Japanese is excellent when one remembers she's lived her whole life in Finland until shortly before the beginning of the manga, having only spoken Japanese with her mother until then. The first post-end chapter shows that she retains this tic through middle school, but the second shows that she outgrew it through high school.
  • Tomboy: Arisa is this, combined with Country Mouse. She has the best athletic capacity in class, where she has built a reputation, as she's cruelly nicknamed "Gorisawa".
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Arisa is the tomboy, while Makoto is the Girly Girl. Nina falls right in the middle.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak:
    • Invoked. Arisa is as rowdy as a girl can get, but it's shown that she wants to be girlier and to be called pretty.
    • Nina is also this, though she is girlier than Arisa.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Nina absolutely loves Ramen, but she starts feeling partial towards other foods the more she tries other dishes.
  • Tsundere: Makoto and Arisa are very given to bicker among themselves, though it's shown that they deeply care worry about each other, and they're just bad at showing mutual affection.
  • Vitriolic Best Friends: Arisa and Makoto were largely hostile before Nina made them see the best of each other. Albeit they're still prone to bickering, they're inseparable now.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Tomoe gets offended with Shutaro for stating that working at her father's farm would be a fall-back plan in case his Tokyo ventures don't work, especially considering that Tomoe offered the job for it to be his main focus.
    • Nina admonishes Shutaro for not making in Tokyo for more than a year after talking high and mighty about his future plans, also reprimanding him for confessing to Tomoe in the middle of a field of cabbages with her in fieldwork garb, him in his pajamas, and having abandoned his life in Tokyo.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: Both Shutaro and Tomoe are given to deny their attraction to each other and their blooming relationship to others.

Alternative Title(s): Shirogane No Nina

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