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Manga / Softenni

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Asuna Harukaze, a second year middle school student, is a member of her school's soft tennis club. She's also a delusional dreamer. Along with her friend and foil Kotone Sawanatsu, the strange Kurusu Fuyukawa and the club's friendly big sister, Chitose Akiyama, they train every day to improve their tennis skills. Which they're going to need, because their skills have a lot of room to improve.

Softenni is a manga by Ryo Azuchi, which was serialized in Monthly Comic Blade from 2008 to 2011 and compiled into eight volumes. It was adapted into an anime in April 2011.

Tropes in Softenni include:

  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Elizabeth joins the team several chapters into the manga, but in the anime she's there from the start.
  • Animal Reaction Shot: Done with some cows reacting to Kotone's serve hitting a nearby fence.
  • Anime Accent Absence: Averted. Elizabeth has a slight accent to her Gratuitous English, sort of like Kate. In addition, her Japanese is noticeably accented.
  • Antenna Hair: Chitose and Asuna both have this cut, Asuna even having three.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Asuna is never explicitly stated to be a lesbian, but has a lot of erotic fantasies about the other girls. However, these fantasies never involve her, just the other girls in sexy situations. She also dreams of being a sexy cougar when she grows up, but again, these fantasies never show her with anyone.
  • Beach Episode: The first half of episode 11 have the girls playing on a beach to relax before the big tournament.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears three times the size of a human. Kurusu tames it.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Nobody understands how Kurusu works, and she does things that don't seem physically possible. But she's the best player on the Shiratama team.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Kotone and Sumino. Kotone tries to assign the rest of the team attack names, too.
  • Cat Smile: Asuna has this expression constantly.
  • Dungeon Bypass: In the mountain Death Course, rather than run across the hurdle treadmill, Kurusu throws some food up into the air, and Chitose plows through them all.
  • Easy Amnesia: Asuna, after getting whacked in the head with a tennis racquet. Kurusu recovers her memory just as quickly with a chair that's also a massage chair and a coffeemaker.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Leads to a hot springs bath beneath the school, and in the process confirms everything students believe about secret, lavish faculty facilities.
  • Erotic Eating: Chitose and the banana in episode eight.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Chitose will even eat tennis balls just because they look like daifuku.
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: Invoked, then averted. Asuna expects Elizabeth to outsize her, but finds that she's bigger (by a bit).
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Played with for Miyoshi-sensei. Whenever she gets screen time, she's in the middle of drinking some kind of alcoholic beverage, with no partying whatsoever.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode three, after a bad storm blows through. The Softenni Shorts also take place in one.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The manga is strictly soft ecchi, but the anime adds occasional nudity. And then the Softenni Shorts come along and you can forget about the "occasional" part.
  • Imagine Spot: Asuna, frequently. They're also perverted.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Only Hiroshi and Leo are the important male characters.
  • Indirect Kiss: Parodied. Leo thought Asuna used her lipstick to decorate his already Wholesome Crossdresser status, but a shift to the backseat shows that the lipstick belongs to Kurusu.
  • Interspecies Romance: Chitose and her... boyfriend, a giant salamander.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Happens to Asuna in the penultimate episode.
  • Mask Power: Kurusu shows up in many different costume heads or a full costume for one reason or another. Although they have no actual effect, she's still implied to be the most talented member on the team in Episode 5, according to Chitose.
    • She has a bunch of them in her house.
  • Modesty Towel: At the mountain hot springs. Except for Kurusu.
  • Multiboobage: One of the extra episodes features a pair of synthetic breasts modeled after Chitose's. They wind up attached to her at one point, but since she's already so busty, they sit on top of her breasts, making it look like she has four giant boobs.
  • No Ending: Both the manga and anime end rather abruptly after the resolution of the Asuna's amnesia plot. We never do get to see the upcoming tournament; even in the Softenni Shorts it still hasn't happened yet.
  • Ojou: Elizabeth shows shades of it.
  • The One Guy: Hiroshi Mishimagi and Leo.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Just moments after the first episode kicks off, Asuna's mom goes, "Asuna! How many times have I told you not to treat the pitch fork like a tennis racket?!"
  • Once an Episode: The Harukaze family cow, Hanako, tries to make an escape.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Both Akadama and Kurotama Middle School.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Elizabeth, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed English girl. She lacks the usual big boobs though.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Kurusu is tiny, but still a very strong player.
  • Powers via Possession: Yayoi Hiragishi is, for the most part, a Shrinking Violet. Then she channels the spirit of Uzuki, her dead older sister, and turns into a tennis pro with some berserker tendencies.
  • Rei Ayanami Expy: Kurusu is close enough; her height and complexion are different but her hair and personality match. The show acknowledges this whenever they do an Evangelion Shout-Out.
  • Running Gag: Hanako, Asuna's cow, is always running away at the end of each episode.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Kotone decides to dress in a very fashionable feminine casual for an outing with Hiroshi. Too bad, though: Elizabeth copied it.
  • Shipper on Deck: Kotone gets support from Chitose and Asuna (especially Asuna) on her fashion makeover.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Leo's lineage as a master masseuse is described, Toki and Jagi, another two masters of Pressure Point techniques from Fist of the North Star turn up in the background.
    • Episode 3 features an absurdly long escalator descent in the underground base, which gives Kurusu and Kotone the chance to replicate the "Rei slaps Shinji" scene.
    • One episode has a Behelit in the background for no particular reason.
    • When Asuna pictures the rest of the club dying tragically, Chitose dies shielding her with the same pose as Piccolo saving Gohan.
  • Something We Forgot: As the Tennis Club drives home from the beach, they realize they forgot Yayoi, who's still up on that cliff.
  • Temporal Theme Naming: The main four girls have a seasonal kanji in their surname, in addition to another meaningful component.
    • Asuna Harukaze: Spring (+ "wind")
    • Kotone Sawanatsu: ("refreshing" +) Summer
    • Chitose Akiyama: Autumn (+ "mountain")
    • Kurusu Fuyukawa: Winter (+ "river")
  • Tomboy: Despite her girly hairstyle Kotone really enjoys physical activity and has a rather rash personality.
  • Tsundere: Kotone acts very rash and strctly towards her fellow club members but always for their own good.