Subaru is a seinen manga drawn and written by Soda Masahito, which was serialized in Big Comic Spirits from 1999 to 2002 and compiled into 11 volumes.
The story revolves around the titular character Miyamoto Subaru and her life of ballet dancing. Because her brother is bed-ridden in a hospital due to a brain tumor that will cause his memory to become impaired, Subaru begins to dance and act out everyday things for him, to remind him of what's going on outside of his little room.
One of her friends invites Subaru to join a free practice session of ballet and Subaru realizes that she has talent for it and begins to consider taking it. Years later, when Subaru becomes a teenager, she decides that this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life. She wants to become a professional ballerina.
She takes part in Prix de Lausanne, to gain a scholarship to a world famous ballet school. However, when an art director from a professional ballet troupe offers to hire her immediately instead of "wasting away in a mirror-walled dance school", Subaru decides to take this chance and leaves Japan for America. There, she realizes the hardship that being a professional ballet dancer can bring.
MOON Subaru Solitude Standing is the sequel to this manga and continues the story of Subaru Miyamoto.
Subaru contains examples of:
- Animal Motif: During the first half of the series, a black cat keeps appearing at vital moments, generally leading Subaru somewhere that turns out to be related to ballet. Once she leaves Japan for America, the black cat completely vanishes and no longer appears.
- Ballet: The main type of dance that is present throughout the series. Majority of the main characters dance or teach ballet and a good dozen of ballet pieces are performed.
- Chekhov's Skill: The dancing and turning and mimicking of everyday life that Subaru did for her brother turns out to have been a great beginning of teaching her how to move for dancing, especially ballet.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Subaru, who, at the age of 5 had her twin brother get hospitalized, spends every day for the next two years with him and dances for him to make sure he remembers things in hopes of helping him survive, then loses her brother at the age of 7. And life isn't all rainbows for her later on, either.
- Deal with the Devil: Isuzu sends Subaru to learn ballet from Iwan Goriiki (nicknamed Wanja), not caring that he's using her as a strawman to get his actual student to practice properly and will most likely ruin Subaru by doing so.
- Subaru herself says that, as long as she learns what she needs to to reach her goal as a professional ballerina, she'll follow anyone, even if it's the devil.
- Eagleland: Volume 6 onwards, the series takes place in America. New York, to be exact.
- Gratuitous English: One or two background conversations in New York are written in English, to show that despite the language in the bubbles, we are to expect them to be constantly talking English.
- On one occassion, Windy flat out says "Fuck you" to Subaru in perfect English. Understandable, since she is American.
- Gratuitous French: During the Lausanne arc, some French words sneak in. One girl flat out speaks perfect, polite french to Subaru.
- My God, What Have I Done?: During a heated fight with her mother, Subaru yells that she "wishes Kazuma weren't there anymore" and, upon realizing he was awake when she said this, immediately has this reaction.
- No Ending: The last few pages of the manga tell us that Subaru freely falls into the hands of the Immigration Department and is most likely being deported from America, but leaves out whatever may have happened with her later on. The story is continued in the sequel.
- "Not So Different" Remark: Subaru eventually tells Alexander that the two of them are, overall, not all that different. Their environment is different, yet both have the same style in acting with the people surrounding them. She says that Alex is 'also not really here', mimicking the words he told her initially.
- Say My Name: Subaru yells out "KAZUMAAAAA!!" after the funeral. Couples as a Skyward Scream.
- Surprisingly Good English: In Volume 5, Subaru is revealed to be capable of speaking English, having learned it from the Americans that frequented Palais Ganier. Given how this is only a manga, we can't be sure.
- Takako, who studied at the American Ballet School most likely speaks it, too, and Volume 10 states that Mana speaks fluent English.
- The Mafia: The imprisoned Sparky is part of it.
- Time Skip: After Kazuma's funeral and Subaru meeting Hibino Isuzu for the first time, the manga skips ahead about 9 years.
- Tournament Arc: Volume 4 and 5 are about participating in Prix de Lausanne.
- Tutu Fancy: Averted. All ballet costumes are based on costumes used for the real performances of the pieces and are all sensible.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: In Volume 9, the dates of Priscilla Roberts' performance set the series to take place in 201X.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Several minor characters describe Subaru as this, stumped that a 15 year old acted or was capable of expressing emotions in a way like she has lived for several decades.