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Manga / Teasing Master Takagi-san
aka: Karakai Jouzu No Takagi San

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Takagi: Your expression is priceless.
Nishikata: ...
Takagi: Moreover, you acted exactly how you thought you would. That's why I won't stop teasing you, Nishikata.
Nishikata: Just wait! Someday I'm gonna get you for sure...!!
Takagi: I'll be looking forward to it!
Chapter 1
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Teasing Master Takagi-san (Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san) is a manga by Souichirou Yamamoto.

Poor, harassed middle-schooler Nishikata has but one goal in life: to gain vengeance upon his classmate Takagi for all the times she's teased him and made him blush. Unfortunately, she has an almost supernatural talent for turning his attempted pranks back upon him... or tripping him up by just being nice to him, or almost-but-not-quite confessing her love.

Will he ever get a reaction out of her at least once? And will these two ever stop being adorable together?

An anime adaption airing from January 7th 2018 to March 26th, with an OVA released in July 2018 along with Volume 9 of the manga. A second season was announced in 2019.

For other related works, see Teasing Master (Née) Takagi-san (Karakai Jouzu no Moto Takagi-san), authored by Yamamoto and drawn by Mifumi Inaba, which is set ~10 years in the future and depicts Takagi's life with her daughter Chi; and Ashita wa Doyoubi, which focuses on the misadventures of those three girls Mina, Sanae, and Yukari.

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Beware of unmarked spoilers, including for the spin-offs.


Let's have a contest for who can gather the most tropes:

  • A-Cup Angst: Averted as Takagi does not seem fazed by her flat chest, but the possibility of it is occasionally brought up. Nishikata wonders if this is the reason Takagi doesn't want to go in the pool at first (but doesn't dare say it out loud), and in another chapter Takagi teasingly accuses him of making fun of her chest when he tells her she hasn't grown at all (he was just saying it in response to Takagi saying he's gotten taller). According to the Chapter 31 Time Skip, she doesn't develop a noticeable bust and keeps the slender physique.
  • Actor Allusion: If you're watching the Japanese version, it's pretty much impossible to view the "Typhoon" segment without hearing Rie Takahashi channelling Megumin.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The anime adapts chapters of Ashita Wa Doyoubi to help fill out episodes.
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    • Several chapters are expanded in the anime. For example, in Episode 7 there is a scene added to Chapter 28 ("Room") where Nishikata and Takagi study in his room and accidentally touch hands.
    • Chapter 21 ("Seating Arrangement") is modified in Episode 12. Originally, Nishikata tries to give Takagi a toy snake to get back at her. In the anime he gives her back her signed handkerchief she borrowed him. In the end she finds a note from him inside where he thanks her.
  • All According to Plan: How many of Takagi and Nishikata's interactions end, with her gleefully informing Nishikata that he acted exactly how she thought he would. This frustrates Nishikata to no end. Even in chapters where she doesn't say this, it's pretty clear she got what she wanted. For example, in Chapter 34, she teases Nishikata about taking pictures, and by the end of the chapter, the pair have photos of each other on their phones. Takagi leaves Nishikata in an extremely good mood, and Nishikata decides to keep the photo (as a potential weapon against Takagi).
  • Anachronic Order: There's little in the way of chronology in general, with chapters jumping across different times of the year at the drop of a hat and references between them being very sporadic. The duo's first chronological meeting is in Chapter 48 (the first day of middle school), and the second is, most likely, in Chapter 81 (Takagi dropping the -kun honorific when referring to Nishikata). Everything else is mostly up to debate.
  • Art Evolution: The series manga art has progressed noticeably over the years since the early chapters: characters designs have become generally rounder and eyes proportionally enlarged. Nishikata's irises on the other hand have shrunk considerably, making him appear more standoffish or mischievous. The character designs also shifted towards making look Nishikata and Takagi as overall younger.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In Chapter 31 Series Fauxnale, we are shown Takagi 10+ years into the future. Takagi is shown to be an adult with a daughter, reminiscing in a melancholy fashion about her youth with Nishikata, with many hints leading the audience to believe that Nishikata isn't present in her life anymore and not even revealing if he is her daughter's father or not. By the end of the chapter her husband returns home and their front door has the name plate "Nishikata" on it, confirming the two are married and together after all.
    • In Chapter 49, Takagi proposes that she and Nishikata have a contest to carry ice to the school gate. If it drops, or if the ice piece is smaller than the other, then the loser has to keep the winner's hands warm. When Nishikata (inevitably) loses, the reader is led to believe that he's going to have to hold Takagi's hand, and there's a lot of emphasis on her extending her hand to him... but he actually has a hand warmer and gives it to her when he loses.
  • Batman Gambit: Takagi's skill at predicting Nishikata's actions and precise thoughts can stretch believability at times. Nishikata tries to do this too, but he's no match for Takagi.
  • Beach Episode: Chapters 57-59 focuses on Takagi and Nishita going to the pool with Mano and Nakai, with the first duo trying to get the other couple to hang out together.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Takagi's interest in Nishikata came about when he was late on the first day of school, and she learned it was because he'd found her handkerchief and was turning it in at the lost and found.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: An extremely cute example, as while Nishikata is constantly annoyed by Takagi's teasing, he also tries to give as good as he gets. Pity he's so outgunned. Emphasised when the class gets rearranged and he and Takagi no longer sit together, and he gets jittery and tries to switch seats to be with her again. He chalks up how unnerved he is to how he had a brilliant plan, and desperately wanted to carry it out.
  • Beta Couple: Their classmates Mano and Nakai, who are shown dating early in the series. While not given too much screentime, their appearance usually provide the topic of the chapter.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Episode 12 has a letter written in English in a textbook that's also a Freeze-Frame Bonus, and it's quite the doozy:
    Dear Kaho,
    How are you doing? I' m fine.
    I arrived in New York City five days ago.
    I' m staying with my real mom.
    I called fake mother in Japan. She' s
    looking for me.
    Be careful. She is dangerous woman.
    Please forget about me. Good bye.
  • Book-Ends: Episode 12 of the anime ends referencing Nishikata and Takagi's first chronological meeting where he returns Takagi's handkerchief to her, this time showing how the two have grown closer since then.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Nishikata and Takagi's relationship is an excellent example of this, as Takagi drives Nishikata up the wall.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Not in the manga or anime, but Yuki Kaji manages to get the better of Rie Takahashi during the third and final Karakai Jouzu Nama no Takagi-san webcast, she grumbles, "Darn you, Nishikata!"
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the first episode of the anime, Nishikata got excited that he found a coin on the road on the way to school for day duty. He got disappointed when it turned out to just be a token. During The Stinger, Mina finds that same coin on the road going home, initially thinking it a 100 yen piece.
    • The first short of episode 10 focuses on Takagi seeing if she or Nishikata is taller. At the end of the episode, she makes it seem like she's going in for a kiss, but she ends up saying that he definitely is taller than her.
    • Takagi mentions to Nishikata that for the 21 counting game there's a way to always win if you go second. Much later in Chapter 73, her daughter Chi tries to use the strategy, but her opponent sees through it.
  • Brutal Honesty: On multiple occasions, Takagi will bluntly state that whatever Nishikata is doing isn't working. For example, in Chapter 39 (Coffee), she tells Nishikata that simply drinking coffee won't make her think he is mature. In Chapter 65 (Kendama), she tells him that she wasn't fooled by his atrocious acting for a moment.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nishikata, Mina and Chi usually don't get their way with their companions no matter how hard they try.
  • Call-Back: Stories and art covers of Moto Takagi-san often reference the original series.
    • The first volume cover is a direct reference to Takagi-san's first volume cover, only with her daughter under the umbrella instead of Nishikata.
    • Chapter 49 Chi walks in on Nishikata hovering over Takagi with his hands on her shoulders and her eyes closed as if he's going for a kiss (he was just massaging her), much like how Yukari walks in on them in the exact same positions in the original series (but Nishikata was trying to apply eye-drops). Unlike Yukari, Chi flat out asks if her parents are going to kiss, much to Nishikata's embarrassment.
    • Chapter 52 has Takagi fighting down a blush until she's out of sight after she catches Nishikata complimenting how Chi is cute "just like [her] mother", playing out similarly to when Nishikata accidentally induced the same reaction when he told her wanted to walk home with her in Chapter 36.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Nishikata refuses to acknowledge the possibility that he likes Takagi due to embarrassment. Takagi always stops just short, seemingly intent on waiting for Nishikata to confess first.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nishikata refuses to accept that Takagi romantically loves him, even when she says it aloud or his friends point she's always at his side.
    • In Chapter 9 (Bookstore) she outright tells Nishikata she likes him, but as that was part of one of her schemes it doesn't take. A pity, because he genuinely seemed ready to accept her confession at face value.
    • In Chapter 66 (Lottery) they talk about what they'd do if they won the lottery, and Takagi mentions wanting to go on a trip with the guy she likes. She then pointedly asks Nishikata if there's anywhere he'd like to go, but despite this massive hint he still refuses to accept the possibility she's serious.
    • In Chapter 67 (Bicycle) Nishikata tries to guess why she isn't riding her bike that day, and she tells him she wanted to hold hands with him. After Nishikata gives a wrong answer, Takagi whispers to herself that she'd already given him the answer.
  • Comically Lopsided Rivalry: Takagi comes out victorious in nearly every competition between her and Nishikata; usually via various kinds of trickery and Loophole Abuse rather than sheer ability.
  • Cursed with Awesome: He angsts over having the cutest girl in the class laughing at him. Everyone else rolls their eyes over the cutest girl in the class paying so much attention to him.
  • Date Peepers: In Chapter 26, Yukari, Sanae and Mina follow Takagi and Nishikata around for a bit, wanting to confirm one way or the other whether or not the two are dating.
  • Defeat Catchphrase: Nishikata frequently mutters "Darn you, Takagi-san!" (in Japanese, "Takagi-san-me!") whenever he loses yet another contest to the aforementioned girl.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Sometimes Nishikata will come up with some brilliant plan, only for Takagi to point out the huge gaping flaw (or for Nishikata seeing the flaw himself, much too late to do anything about it).
    • He once challenges her to doing a flip on the monkey bars, only for her to point out she's wearing a skirt. She suggests that he turn around while she takes her turn, and he agrees. However, while she's grunting, Nishikata realises that he's basically trusting Takagi to not lie.
    • In Chapter 8, Nishikata is inspired by a romance anime to fluster Takagi by retorting, "You're cute," to any teasing she might do. Unfortunately, Takagi intends to take it easy on him because he has a cold and so he (not realising this) slowly drives himself nuts with anticipation. When she glances at him, he almost blurts out the line, only to realise that it would be much, much more embarrassing for him to call Takagi cute than it would be for her. He spends the next few panels asking himself how he could possibly have thought calling Takagi, an extremely cute girl, cute would've embarrassed her.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Chapter 76 is unusual in that there are two stories, one produced by Nishikata's voice actor Yuki Kaji and the other by Takagi's actress Rie Takahashi.
  • The Ditz: Mina. She doesn't seem dumb or anything, but she tends to overact to things, and once walked into the toilet, saw Takagi and asked if she and Nishikata were dating (Takagi said no), left the toilet, ran into Nishikata and his friends and mentioned her conversation with Takagi, and then remembers she went to the toilet because she needed to pee.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The bonus chapter after 17 is a one-shot "pilot" from before the series proper. The art's a little off, Takagi looks genuinely mean when she teases Nishikata, and he's Blind Without 'Em.
  • Exact Words: One of Takagi's most potent weapons is to be misleading in the things she says.
    • For example, when she meets Nishikata after he bought a shoujo manga, she forces him to admit he lied to her out of embarrassment. She then promises not to tell anyone, and offers to tell Nishikata a secret about herself. She tells him she likes him, and follows that up by informing him that since he lied to her, she lied to him. The lie was that her affection isn't really a secret to anybody.
    • On another occasion, she convinces Nishikata to invite her into his house by promising to let him copy whatever homework she had on her. Once in his room, she reveals that she only has her kanji worksheets, causing him to protest.
  • Evolving Credits: The end credits of the anime never uses the same song more than twice. Also, there are two slightly different versions: one where Takagi is biking home alone, and one where she is walking her bike home with Nishikata.
  • Everyone Can See It: Nishikata's friends from another class think he and Takagi are dating, and several of their classmates are rooting for them to get together. In fact, when the two spot Nishikata and Takagi eating together at a store, they don't even ask questions, much to Nishikata's shock.
  • Failed a Spot Check: There have been times when Nishikata actually has gotten to Takagi. However, he normally does this completely by accident and is so embarrassed himself he fails to notice. An example is in the chapter where he off-handedly tells her, "I wanted to walk home with you." He freaks out and excuses himself, only for Takagi to reveal after he leaves that she was fighting down a blush and struggles to keep herself from smiling stupidly as she bikes home.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Takagi can read Nishikata like a book. Although half the time his failures are simply from him over-thinking everything.
  • Forehead of Doom: The art style gives everyone rather pronounced foreheads as Art Evolution settles in, especially noticeable because of Yamamoto's love of characters with the trope.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: During the Series Fauxnale mentioned below, Takagi tearfully reminisces about middle school, with dialogue implying that Nishikata disappeared from her life, not even confirming if he's her daughter's father or not. At the end when he comes home, (with the entrance conveniently showing a plaque stating that the Nishikata family lives there) she gives the reader a smirk while a sidebar proclaims "How did it feel being teased?"
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: Nishikata is ticklish, and Takagi is quite willing to use this against him if he's putting on too good a show of being stoic. Poking his sides is one of her favourite movies. Takagi also mentions that she's fine with Nishikata returning the favour, but since she's only ticklish around her armpits there's no way Nishikata would dare.
  • The Gadfly:
    • Takagi specializes in saying exactly the right thing to provoke a reaction from Nishikata. He tries to return the favor but it just never works. The Series Fauxnale shows that she is like this with her daughter.
    • Sanae is a bit of a gadfly as well and casually teases her friends.
  • Gender Flip:
    • Nishikata's situation wouldn't be too out of place in other romantic manga... if the genders were reversed. Best seen when he's caught watching 100% Unrequited Love, where the heroine is pursued by the male lead and is wrapped around his finger despite circumstances.
    • Chapter 73 gives us a peek into Takagi and Nishikata's daughter's middle school days... and while her more emotionally reserved Love Interest acts as a Kuudere, she's the one getting teased despite her efforts. Like father, like daughter.
  • Generation Xerox: Chi and a boy implied to be Sanae's son repeat the teasing routine several years later in middle school. Unfortunately for Chi, she makes justice to her family name...
  • Good Parents: In the sequel series, Takagi and Nishikita are very attentive, doting parents.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: As we see in the Time Skip, Nishikata and Takagi's hair barely changed at all. Nishikata looks more or less the same with a squarer face, while Takagi has the same length and part in her hair, only turned into a low ponytail.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Nishikata sometimes spends a lot of time planning traps for Takagi, but she easily sees through them or twists them to her advantage.
  • Hero of Another Story: Side characters Yukari, Sanae, and Mina are the main characters of Ashita Wa Doyoubi, another work by the same author.
  • His Own Worst Enemy:
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sometimes Nishikata gets done in by his own plan, often because he gets overconfident.
  • Hope Spot: Nishikata generally has a moment of hope in each chapter, making it seem as though this time, this time he'll finally be able to on-up Takagi. Then she springs her trap or he notices the huge gaping flaw in his plan...
  • Hypno Fool: In one chapter, Nishikata tries to hypnotize Takagi into acting silly.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the sequel manga, Sanae, Yukari and Mina are tailing Takagi and Chi. Mina states that looking at Takagi makes her think that everyone has grown up; cue Sanae eating Mina's ice cream, just as she used to do when they were in middle school.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: A favorite strategy of Takagi's for teasing Nishikata. She will often pretend to be weak at a game initially, allowing Nishikata to become overconfident, and then surprise him by being much better.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: On the few occasions Nishikata begins to wonder if maybe, just maybe, Takagi seriously likes him, he invokes this trope. He instead chalks up her interest in him as wanting to tease him, and Takagi herself does almost nothing to prove him wrong.
  • Inner Monologue: Much of the narrative is told through Nishikata’s thoughts, particularly when he plans to get one over on Takagi and when he reacts to her actions.
  • Ironic Echo: Takagi is not above throwing Nishikata's words back in his face, particularly when she feels he's being a bit too confident. An example is in Chapter 49, where Nishikata asks her if she'd like him to take it easy on her. Once the tables have turned, she grins at him smugly and asks him if he'd like her to take it easy on him. Nishikata can do nothing but weep internally.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: Moto Takagi-san taking place ten years after the main series, the middle school-aged characters are now young adults with a daughter.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: A quibbling duo who are otherwise close to each other is how the rest of their class sees Nishikata and Takagi. Played literally when they do marry in the future and the dynamic of their relationship doesn't change.
  • Living Lie Detector: Takagi can easily tell when Nishikata is lying to her, partially due to his tendency to stutter or look away when he's trying to lie, and partially because she has such a good grasp on his personality.
  • Love Confession: Takagi actually downright states her crush on Nishikata several times, but she does them in clever ways. For example, when she comes over to study with Nishikata in the summer, she notes that the room is very much "him", and states how much she likes it while staring directly at him.
  • Love Epiphany: Nishikata comes close to realizing his crush on Takagi on several occasions, but can't quite bring himself to believe it.
  • Luminescent Blush:
    • With Takagi around, Nishikata blushes madly at least one per chapter.
    • Takagi, despite usually being the teaser, has shown a few rare blushes thanks to Nishikata unknowingly embarrassing her. The first time when Nishikata tells her he rejected hanging out with his friends to walk home with her she gives a small blush after he leaves, and the second time in Chapter 76 we finally have a good look at Takagi blushing madly after she has a text conversation with Nishikata.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Takagi knows Nishikata so well she often knows exactly what he's thinking before he even says anything. Nishikata almost suspects she's a telepath.
  • Metaphorically True: In Chapter 9, Takagi tells Nishikata that she's never lied to him. However, she does often twist words and the like, such as Chapter 20, where they stand back-to-back to measure their heights (Nishikata claimed he was now taller than Takagi). When he realises they were still the same height, he outright asks if she was standing on tiptoe, but she simply asks if he doesn't trust her (as opposed to denying it). When she then stands right in front of him almost nose-to-nose, he finds he's now quite a bit taller than she is. He expresses confusion, which is when Takagi says that's because she was standing on her tiptoes.
  • Minimalist Cast: The only major characters are Nishikata and Takagi. All the others, named or unnamed, range from Those Two Guys to Recurring Extra. This was played up during the Karakai Jouzu No Takagi-san stage event during Anime Japan 2018, when Yuki Kaji (Nishikata) and Rie Takahashi (Takagi-san) were the only two cast members on stage, and they both poked fun at how empty the stage was compared to some of the other stage events.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Nishikata will sometimes (appear to) successfully set up a prank or embarrassment for Takagi, then have second thoughts and wonder if he's being cruel. Although it inevitably turns out he had no such leverage.
  • Nerves of Steel: Takagi has an extremely powerful poker face that allows her to hide embarrassment behind a veneer of girlish laughter. It's yet another reason that Nishikata has never been able to trip her up. For example, when he unthinkingly tells her he wanted to walk home with her instead of play video games with his guy friends, Takagi freezes and stares at him. Nishikata, realising what he'd just said, quickly explains that his horoscope suggested he'd finally beat her and he hadn't meant it romantically. Unluckily for Nishikata, after he flees Takagi's poker face finally breaks down and she reveals she'd been fighting down a major Luminescent Blush.
  • No Name Given: Takagi and Nishikata are only really known by their last names, with their given names unrevealed for the majority of the series. Even in the spinoff manga when we see their yearbook, their given names are blocked off and the two always call each other Dear/Mom/Dad instead of their first names.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Takagi sometimes gets up real close to Nishikata, which is usually when he notices that a) she's a girl and b) she's actually really, really cute. In Chapter 26, she snuggles up against him while they're hiding from some of their classmates. Takagi is fine with it, but Nishikata is totally self-conscious about how close she is.
  • Not a Date: With the amount of time they spend with each other, some of their hangouts naturally give a feel of a date, much to Nishikata's chagrin.
    • In Chapter 18, when Takagi and Nishikata meet up he realises that it's the first time they've actually agreed to meet up (they normally run into each other by coincidence). He then wonders if it counts as a date, but then shakes those thoughts out of his head by reminding himself they only met up because she's helping him learn to ride a bike with a passenger. The pair then wind up walking through a supposedly-haunted tunnel, and upon emerging on the other side a passing little girl points them out to her brother with the line, "Oh, another couple is dating in the tunnel!" Nishikata freaks out.
    • In Chapter 53, the two of them are having ramen together and Takagi points out it's the first time the two of them have sat down to eat together. Nishikata insists it isn't a date, and Takagi wonders aloud what their classmates would say about that... just before two of Nishikata's guy friends walk into the shop.
  • Not So Stoic: In chapter 36, Nishikata unthinkingly tells Takagi he wanted to walk home with her before realising what he said. She maintains her grinning demeanor until he runs off, then suddenly breaths out and reveals she was rattled. The cover of the same chapter even shows her trying, and failing, to fight back a smile on her way home. Rie Takahashi (Takagi's voice actress) admits one of the things she loves the most about Takagi is how she looks cool and aloof, but then makes all sorts of cute expressions.
    Takagi: Turning points are scary.
  • Not What It Looks Like: The people around them often get the wrong impression when seeing them in suspicious-lookinh situations.
    • In chapter 53, Nishikata's friends see his upset expression and assume it's because he was having a date with Takagi and they interrupted it. In reality, Nishikata's upset because he thought they'd think he's on a date with Takagi, and he's not. But he can't explain that to them without looking paranoid.
    • In the chapter "Eyedrops", Nishikata and Takagi are playing a game where they try to drip eyedrops into the other's eye. Alas, Yukari walks in as Nishikata looms over a sitting Takagi, reaching for her face. She takes one look, comes to the logical conclusion he was about to kiss her, and then hurriedly leaves again.
    • In the chapter "Hide and Seek", the pair end up hidden behind some barrels when a couple of their classmates come along. Takagi suggests that if they came out the others would get the wrong idea. Her solution is to do something to make that idea right. Nishikata doesn't go for it.
  • Oblivious to Love: How oblivious Nishikata is to Takagi's feelings tends to depend on the particular chapter. In some chapters, he dares to hope Takagi seriously likes him. In others, despite Takagi strongly hinting things he just doesn't seem to notice.
    • Lampshaded during the stage event during Anime Japan 2018 when Nishikata's voice actor Kaji Yuki is forced to read the line "I like you" in-character as Nishikata. He protests that Nishikata would never say that line because Nishikata himself is completely unaware he's fallen in love with Takagi.
  • Oh, Crap!: During a Halloween special comic, Takagi greets Nishikata by asking him if he knows what day it is. Nishikata responds by handing her a piece of candy, smirking to himself that he's stopped her from playing any tricks on him. Takagi then says "Trick or treat", and when Nishikata protests that he already gave her candy she points out he's supposed to give the candy after someone says it. Cue Nishikata freaking out and desperately asking if the candy he gave her counts. Takagi's response?
    Takagi: Trick or treat.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In one chapter, Nishikata becomes worried because Takagi hasn't played any pranks or teased him that day. It turns out she had a fight with her mother that morning, and was feeling pretty down about it.
  • Origins Episode: Chapter 48, which shows how Nishikata and Takagi first met, and how Takagi gained her crush on Nishikata. On the first day of school, Nishikata ended up being late to opening ceremonies because he'd found Takagi's handkerchief and brought it to the lost and found. Takagi was charmed by his kind heart and his absentmindedness.
  • Paranoia Gambit: Yet another of Takagi's most potent weapons. She'll hint at something, and Nishikata will drive himself nuts trying to figure out what her plan is. In the very first chapter, she asks Nishikata to lend her his eraser, then casually mentions a rumour going around that writing someone's name on an eraser and then using said eraser up will get the person to like you back. Nishikata claims that he doesn't believe in such nonsense, only for Takagi to make a big show of uncovering his eraser and studying it carefully with a smirk on her face, leading him to wonder if he'd written someone's name and just completely forgot about it. He hadn't.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Nishikata and Takagi's homeroom teacher Tanabe-sensei is also their P.E. teacher and has the Face of a Thug. During a Valentine's Day comic, he confiscates a bunch of chocolate Mina brought to school because it's against regulations. However, when he stumbles upon Mano-chan desperately trying to give chocolate to her boyfriend, he chooses to believe the lie that the colourfully wrapped package is just a book Mano-chan is returning.
  • The Rival: Nishikata sees Takagi as his rival, hence their never-ending contests. She kind of plays along, but clearly doesn't take it as seriously.
  • Rules Lawyer: Takagi often takes advantage of the wording of their little games to get one over on Nishikata. For example, during a rock-kicking contest, Nishikata says the challenge is to get their rock to the finish line in the least number of kicks. However, he failed to mention that it had to be the same rock they start out with. As a result, when Takagi accidentally kicks her rock into a drain, she simply pulls out another one.
  • Running Gag: A few recurring gags exploited by Takagi at Nishikata's expense:
    • Nishikata's guilty pleasure, "100% Unrequited Love," a romance manga series popular with girls.
    • Nishikata having ticklish sides and Takagi poking them.
    • Nishikata being too embarrassed to drink from the same can of juice Takagi already has.
    • Nishikata's self-inflicted punishment of doing push-ups after being teased getting progressively more egregious.
  • Series Fauxnale: Chapter 31 (aka the last irregular chapter before the comic started a regular publishing schedule) flashes forward to ten years in the future when (née) Takagi has a young daughter. She's still her old teasing self with her, and it ends with her giving an Aside Glance to the audience when her husband, Nishikata, comes back home with the shopping.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: In Chapter 18, Takagi and Nishikata meet up. Takagi is wearing an adorable sundress and hat, and the sight temporarily stuns Nishikata.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Nishikata vehemently denies they're a couple, and on the few occasions someone outright asks Takagi whether she and Nishikata are dating she denies it as well. Everyone Can See It, though.
  • Ship Tease:
    • The numerous hints of potential romance between Nishikata and Takagi is the focus of the series, though it's mostly on Nishikata's side. Mainly because Takagi actually does like Nishikata. As of Chapter 34, Nishikata now has a picture of a smiling Takagi on his phone. He's worried about what might happen if people saw the picture, but as he prepares to delete it he falters and decides to keep it. As a potential tool against Takagi, of course.
    • Sanae and Mina has the occasional romance tease, as they have a similar relationship to Nishikata and Takagi's.
  • Shipper on Deck: Yukari and Mano are pretty happy about thoughts of Nishikata and Takagi dating and are clearly rooting for them.
  • Single-Target Sexuality:
    • Takagi spends her free time and days in school hanging around Nishikata, almost to the exclusion of everything else. Her knowledge of his habits and way of thinking is nearly flawless. Her teasing is exclusive to Nishikata, which has other boys jealous of the attention she lavishes on him.
    • Likewise, most of the other characters automatically assume that Nishikata has no interest in any other girls because he already has Takagi. For example, in Chapter 39 one of his friends asks if he's interested in the same girl as one of their other friends, and said friend quickly points out that's unlikely since Nishikata already has Takagi.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Nishikata and Takagi's rivalry consist of them trying to one-up each other (the trying is more on Nishikata's side) in very mundane contests, from games to things like guessing each other's test scores. Nishikata gets hilarious petty and worked up over them, and Takagi happily pushes his buttons in return. Possibly the cutest example of such a rivalry ever.
  • Spinoff:
    • Karakai Jouzu No Moto Takagi San (Teasing Master (Née) Takagi-san) is a spinoff manga about Takagi's married life with Nishikata and teasing her kid.
    • Koi no Koi ni Suru Yukari-chan is another one, which takes Ashita's Yukari and has her follow Nishikata and Takagi around due to her love of romance stories.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: When Sanae, Mina and Yukari spy on Takagi and Nishikata walking home, the first two try to dub their conversation about a challenge of who can run to the shrine first. Yukari refuses to believe they would say something so unromantic, but it was remarkably close to the actual conversation.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One of the ways Nishikata often leaves himself open to Takagi's teasing is by denying things that are most definitely true.
    • In Chapter 32.5, he pretends to not like cats while Takagi is petting one. Takagi is well aware he's holding back out of fear of looking unmanly, and takes full advantage to tease him about it.
    • In Chapter 34, he decides to keep a photo of Takagi smiling and flashing the V-sign by justifying it as a bargaining chip for the future. Despite the blush on his face as he realizes he now has a picture of the cutest girl in the class smiling directly at him.
  • Swapped Roles: In Chapter 19, Nishikata attempts to make himself unteasable by acting like the Clint Eastwood-like character Dandy of the movie Dandy of the West. He and Takagi wind up playing a game based on a scene from the movie where Dandy and a traitor question each other. While Nishikata starts as Dandy, his inability to answer Takagi's questions has him take the traitor's role while Takagi takes over as Dandy (who then "shoots" the traitor by poking the ticklish Nishikata in the side). The entire sequence is made funnier by the Imagine Spots they have, which starts with Nishikata as Dandy but as Takagi asks her first question, Dandy 'morphs' into the traitor!
    • There are several chapters where Nishikata initiates one of their little contests, usually because he's confident he's found a path to victory.
    • Amusingly enough, in the 3rd Karakai Jouzu No Takagi-san webcast, Yuki Kaji successfully teases Rie Takahashi repeatedly. He even teasingly refers to her as a "Real life Nishikata" much to her protests.
  • A Taste of Defeat: Nishikata certainly would like to finally defeat Takagi already. There have been a few times when she arguably ”lost”, but she never seems to be bothered by it, depriving him of the satisfaction of ”winning”.
  • The Tease: Takagi is not above fooling Nishikata into supposedly-risque situations that are completely innocent.
    • When she and Nishikata were going to do homework in his room, she suggests "using his bed to study" while looking as seductive as she can. Nishikata almost has a heart attack until she points out that by folding his blanket just so, they can use his bed as a table. She then innocently asks if something is wrong, even as he tries to fight down a Luminescent Blush.
    • When Takagi runs into Nishikata while shopping, she forces him to help her choose a swimsuit. Cue an increasingly embarrassed Nishikata handing her swimsuit after swimsuit while fully aware that the only thing between him and a naked Takagi is a single curtain. At one point, she even "accidentally" drops the curtain, resulting in a madly panicking and blushing Nishikata... only for him to realise she's fully dressed.
  • Time Skip: Chapter 31 jumps to the future where Takagi's married and has daughter. After a false lead up, it's eventually revealed she married Nishikata.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • Mina, Sanae, and Yukari, who often appear together, but don't have much significance. They have their own manga, however.
    • Nishikata's friends, which include the fat Kimura, a buck-toothed boy with glasses named Takao, a droopy-eyed boy, and some others. They don't get much role other than being Nishikata's friends, and confirm people think he and Takagi are dating.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: In Chapter 7, a sudden rainstorm hits and Nishikata learns that Takagi didn't bring either an umbrella or a raincoat. He tries to tease her about it, but she quickly convinces him to walk her home using his umbrella. Nishikata quickly becomes self-conscious about how close the two of them are, and Takagi being Takagi takes full advantage to tease him.
  • Unreveal Angle: We never get to see Takagi's infamously funny face she can make.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Two stories revolve around Valentine's Day. The first is an extra comic while the second is a regular chapter. Both of them follow the same premise, though— Nishikata is antsy and a bit upset about not receiving chocolate, Takagi tricks Nishikata into thinking she didn't give him romantic chocolate, gives him a small obligation chocolate instead, and teases him about the chocolate in his locker (which came from her).
  • Verbal Backspace: Nishikata is prone to rewording what he originally said when he realises he's given himself away or accidentally said something embarrassing.
  • Will They or Won't They?: While Takagi is pretty obvious in her interest in Nishikata, Nishikata is either unable to accept she's genuinely interested in him or brushes it off as her teasing him. Chapter 31 and the Moto Takagi-san spin-off suggests they do get together. Now the only question is when?
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Several of Takagi's schemes involve the overall physical fitness of Nishikata, such as strength and agility. Because the fitness system for boys uses higher standards than girls, he has to strive for a higher percentile rank to beat her scorecard. This ultimately makes him one of the fittest boys in her class: he averages at least 7 to 8 points on a national 10 point scale for his age range (and claims he can score the maximum 10 on grip strength). In the Moto Takagi-san spin-off manga, Nishikata has apparently taken up a job as a PE teacher and has a muscular physique.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: A variation in Moto Takagi-san. Nishikata accidentally refers to Takagi by her maiden name when she brings him his lunch, a result of the two of them being back at their old high school.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The few times the Butt-Monkey Nishikata actually has the upper hand or comes close to it, he fails to capitalise on it or gets outsmarted by Takagi. One notable example comes in Chapter 36, when Nishikata brushes off a group of his male friends to walk home with Takagi (because his horoscope said that it would be his lucky day and he interpreted it as him finally beating Takagi). Takagi asks if it was okay that he didn't join the other boys, and Nishikata off-handedly replies he wanted to walk home with her. He quickly realises what he'd just said and performs a Verbal Backspace. Unfortunately for him, he failed to notice Takagi had been stunned into silence, and after he leaves she reveals she was fighting down a major blush.

Well, then it's my win, I guess, right?
Takagi, Chapter 2

Alternative Title(s): Karakai Jouzu No Takagi San

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