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Manga / Teppu

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Natsuo Ishidou is so amazingly awesome it's a burden. She can beat anyone in any sport, effortlessly, but in doing so drives everyone away, and so she is desperately lonely.

Actually she's just a sadistic bitch of a high-school girl. When she finally meets someone, Yuzuko Mawatari, who's much better at her in a sport she can't effortlessly excel at, Mixed Martial Arts, and who is happy and well-balanced, she makes it her mission in life to run Yuzuko into the ground.

A Seinen manga series written by Oota Moare, serialized in a small magazine Good! Afternoon. It ran for 32 chapters from 2008 to 2015. It has a lot in common with Airmaster, which also features a tall schoolgirl who excels at sports as the main character and largely avoids fanservice, although Maki is much less a sadistic bitch and more a Shrinking Violet. Also, Teppu is very realistic, while Airmaster... isn't.


Teppu can be best thought of as an inverted Shounen manga with the Stock Shōnen Rival as its protagonist rather than the Stock Shōnen Hero. Natsuo, instead of being a happy and well-balanced young male, is an easily irritated and arrogant young female. Instead of starting off relatively weak and working her way up, Natsuo is already one of the best; Yuzuko is her first real challenge in ages. Instead of losing her first fight and learning some lesson about hard work, she wins it handily, through a cheap tactic. Really, Natsuo acts as an antagonist to Yuzuko, having all the characteristics The Rival would have in a regular Shounen work. The best part is that this is all lampshaded by various characters, often Natsuo, who sees the whole situation as irritating, though also accepts being a Villain Protagonist rather easily.


Besides Natsuo and Yuzuko, there's also: Sanae Sawamura, Natsuo's old rival; Ringi Cordeiro, Yuzuko's exchange sister from Brazil; Kotani Karin, Natsuo's super-butch MMA instructor; Kirido Haruka, a student at Karin's dojo; Mario Cordeiro, Ringi's father; and Risuke Takenaka, Karin's old mentor, plus a handful of other minor characters.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Brother: The explanation for why Natsuo acts the way she does. May have something to do with how she, the younger sister, saved her brother from bullying in middle school. Might have also turned him into a shut-in. All we know that she's terrified of him.
  • The Ace: Yuzuko and Ringi. Natsuo qualifies for most of the sports she tries but not MMA, to her relief.
  • Action Girl: Most characters. Natsuo, Yuzuko, Sanae, Ringi, Karin, and Haruka all qualify. It's a mostly realistic manga about women in MMA, what do you expect? In fact, there are pretty much only two named male fighters, Mario and Risuke. Both are, story-wise, defined in terms of the female characters, and in Risuke's first appearance he gets beat by Ringi in a staged fight.
  • A Lesson in Defeat: Natuso invokes this on herself. Her second meeting with Yuzuko has her challenging her to a spar knowing full well she's going to lose to try and understand her growing interest in MMA. Haruka also notes in training that Natsuo frequently allows herself to be taken by attacks to learn how to deal with them and she was more excited at the prospect of losing her first tournament than winning.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Mai.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: To an extent, Natsuo, who after realizing she can't just bull through MMA like with everything else, spends the time to carefully examine the holds and locks, often deliberately allowing herself to be caught by the opponent.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Yuzuko's most notable feature, besides her (short) height. To the point where they're referenced in the titles of eight chapters.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Natsuo is defeated by Yuzuko during the final round of the tournament, making all of her hard work for nothing. Still, she considers it something of a moral victory, and she is able to tell Yuzuko that they're nothing alike. Though Yuzuko's MMA career continues to take off thanks to her tournament victory, Natsuo makes it clear that she still intends to one day defeat her and those like her.
    • Earn Your Happy Ending: Seeing her match against Yuzuko makes Natsuo's brother realize she isn't as perfect as he resented her for supposedly being, especially when she breaks down crying when she gets home, devastated that all her hard work was not enough to beat Yuzuko. This makes him actually reach out to her for reconciliation, and for the first time in years he comes out of his room and interacts with both her and their mother.
  • Bland-Name Product: Googlu
  • Blood Knight: Natsuo, full stop. She's only ever happy when challenged in some sport. Too bad she's too good at them all.
    • She softly smiles with a Luminescent Blush... at the thought of fighting in the G-Girl tournament.
    • She gets depressed after her first MMA bout win against someone with years on her in experience... Because, as the underdog, she was hoping she'd get trounced by someone genuinely stronger than her.
  • Captain Ersatz: Shinobu Kannagi is pretty blatantly based off of female judoka and pro wrestler Shinobu Kandori.
  • Cat Fight: Averted. MMA involves a lot of grappling and holds, and the style remains semi-realistic (this sometimes leads to complaints about feeling detached).
  • Cat Girl: Fellow Takenaka Gym member Manami Hiki is about as close to one as you can get in a fairly realistic manga. All she's really missing are ears and a tail.
    • In a Bonus Chapter after Chapter 26, Manami actually does sport some cat ears, as a punishment when she, Natsuo, and Haruka lose a game of dodgeball, but she doesn't seem to mind at all.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Natsuo versus Mai in Chapter 2 cuts quickly from the rest of the karate club realizing Natsuo may have the bite to back up her bark to Mai laying on the ground in pain. The full fight is shown in Chapter 3, but it's not much longer.
    • Natsuo vs. Hisako Sogabe in the first round of the G-Girl tournament. A good chunk of the chapter is spent talking up Hisako's strength, stamina, and the fact that she's a very dangerous opponent. Natsuo knees her in the face and wins the fight within seconds of the match starting.
    • Curbstomp Battles seem to be the name of the game with G-Girl. Sanae and a new character, Park Du Na, win their first fights incredibly easily as well. In-universe the number of quick knock outs is treated as incredibly surprising.
  • Cut Short: The manga ends directly after the G-girl qualifiers, apparently due to illness on the author's part.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Yuzuko and Natsuo are deconstructions of the Stock Shōnen Hero and the Stock Shōnen Rival: Yuzuko's implacable joy and determination is not liked by anybody (in fact, it's seen as creepy) and Natsuo's life doesn't revolves around trying to crush Yuzuko to the degree, say, Vegeta does and in the end she doesn't wants to be friends with Yuzuko and finds her defeat humiliating.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Yuzuko is a deconstruction of the typical sports manga protagonist. Spirited, hard-working, not afraid of anything, incredibly determined, enjoying the sport no matter what happens...and everyone around her finds it to be creepy, to an almost uncanny valley degree. A normal person should be nervous, should be afraid at points, should be excited when they win and sad when they lose, not just have a permanent smile stuck on their face. Most of her opponents interpret her high spirits and love of the sport as her mocking them when she wins. All of that just drives most people away from her. Yuzuko herself just doesn't get what's wrong, and why everyone isn't having fun like she is.
    • In the ending Natsuo is defeated, but unlike in other manga where Defeat Equals Friendship, she doesn't connect with Yuzuko: she rebukes Yuzuko's offer of friendship and tells her they're nothing alike.
    • It's also a deconstruction of the idea of sports as a means to self-improvement and self-realization. In pretty much every other sports manga, the main character not only realizes their talent for the sport, but realizes their capacity to be a better person, as well. Usually, this means they develop strong friendships, a better work ethic, and a more selfless personality. For Natsuo, MMA is simply a way for her to take out her bitterness on the world and nothing more, even to the very end.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One early scene has Natsuo fantasizing about finally beating Yuzuko. Her victory expression (which she makes while straddling a defeated Yuzuko) is...odd, to say the least.
  • Freudian Excuse: As mentioned above, it's heavily implied that Natsuo's cold, violent behavior is at least partially due to abuse from her brother and the bullying she was subjected to as a child.
  • Genki Girl: Yuzuko. It's part of why Natsuo dislikes her so much. Also Ringi.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averting this trope is the foundation of the story: Natsuo has the ability to excel at any of the sports offered by her high school without even trying. MMA is the first sport she's encountered she actually has to work at, and despite having The Gift she's still a small fry with lots of hard work and disappointment ahead of her if she wants to excel at it. And she loves it.
    • Yuzuko averts this as well, being the classical underdog who started out with little talent but working herself to the bone to get good at MMA — and it has worked out for her just fine so far.
  • Hope Spot: In the final chapter, it seems like Natuso may have finally repaired her relationship with her brother as they sit together and watch a movie. It turns out it was All Just a Dream.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Natsuo, at 6'. She secretly longs to be shorter, as shown in a dream sequence in chapter 27.
    • Haruka Kirido as well who's only a few centimeters shorter than Natsuo.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Oh yeah.
  • Invincible Hero: Natsuo has lost twice, both times against Yuzuko, and fully expected to the second time, though she didn't anticipate how badly she was going to get beaten. Her first "real" fight was won easily, and she kicks everyone's ass at anything that isn't MMA. All of this greatly disappoints her. She loses in the finale as well, though she considers it a sort of moral victory in being able to give voice to her loathing. Seeing it averted may or may also not have helped fix things with her brother.
  • Jerkass: Natsuo is very up front about it, too. Oh, and also Karin, Natsuo's teacher, though it manifests somewhat differently.
    • And Mario Cordeiro, though it's uncertain how much of it is putting on a show to promote interest in women's MMA, and how much of it is genuine contempt towards Risuke Takenaka.
      • Given how he brought over a fighter from America solely to act as a sparring partner/punching bag for Yuzuko and Ringi without telling her that's why he brought her over... yeah Mario's kind of a jerk.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Natsuo occasionally references standard manga tropes and how she's avoiding them.
  • Morality Pet: To an extent, Kei for Natsuo, who appears to be Natsuo's only friend.
  • No Periods, Period: Nope: Karin advises Natsuo and the other girls in her gym to rest during their period.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Natsuo's default expression is a frown. Smiles are reserved for insults or anticipation of a challenge.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The cover to Chapter 24 has Natsuo dressed in Meiko Kaji's iconic black raincoat and hat from the Joshuu Sasori movies.
    • Natsuo's brother is apparently a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
  • Slasher Smile: A really good one develops at the end of chapter 3, when Natsuo resolves to beat Yuzuko down with "all of her effort." Not to mention her glee at the end of chapter 10.
  • Training from Hell: Punishing (yet realistic!) levels of physical training are what make Yuzuko and Ringi such good fighters, and Natsuo, while considered by many to be pretty strong, is told point-blank by Karin that she'll need to go through a lot more conditioning if she ever intends to seriously participate in MMA.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Natsuo has a great deal of natural athletic talent, but when facing fighters on a significantly higher level like Yuzuko she comes up short due to her lack of formal training and conditioning.
  • Villain Protagonist: As said before, in a normal Shounen manga, Natsuo would be the antagonist for Yuzuko.