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Manga / The Gods Lie

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The Gods Lie (Kamisama ga Uso o Tsuku) by Kaori Ozaki is a short 5-chapter manga about a boy's friendship with one of his female classmates. Its chapters were serialized from March to July 2013 in the seinen magazine Afternoon, and compiled into a single volume.

11-year old Natsuru Nanao is a sporty elementary school aged boy. Though he is enthusiastic about playing soccer with his friends, he is less enthusiastic about having to interact with his soccer camp's new coach, a man who makes insensitive comments about his skills and his mother's single status. One day he finds an abandoned kitten in a box and decides to take it home. He can't keep it due to his mother's allergies, but luckily he bumps into a classmate while outside: the tall and secretive Rio Suzumura, who is walking to the grocery store with her little brother Yuta.

Natsuru asks Suzumura to take care of the kitten, and Suzumura agrees in exchange for an exact fee. Natsuru and Suzumura have never interacted much before, but Natsuru goes as far as to skip summer soccer camp in favor of staying at her rundown house, both to help take care of the kitten and to avoid the new coach. The two gradually develop a strong bond over their lack of parental figures (Natsuru's mother is a widow, while Rio and her brother are waiting by themselves for their single dad to get back from a fishing trip), but their happiness together gets upended when the Suzumuras turn out to be hiding a disturbing secret....

The Gods Lie provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: Natsuru finds a kitten in a box and takes it home. He can't keep it so he gives it to Suzumura.
  • Cheerful Child: Yuta, Rio's younger brother, has a very cheery demeanor. It's deconstructed, however, as the only reason he's able to be so cheerful is because Rio does so much to keep him shielded from the unpleasant things happening to them.
  • Coming of Age Story: It's about two kids maturing right before they begin middle school.
  • Cool Old Guy: Coach Okada, the older coach of Natsuru's soccer team who had to drop out while getting treated for cancer. Both the kids' description about him as well as Natsuru's conversation with him at the hospital indicate that he is a kind man who always likes to encourage his team. The boys are not happy that he has to be replaced with Maruo Sakai, a younger but less kind coach.
  • Dark Secret: A sub-theme involves uncovering and coming to terms with dark truths that others try to hide.
    • Rio and Yuta were originally put in their grandfather's care after their father left, but the grandfather shortly collapsed and died. Fearing separation from her brother, Rio buried her grandfather in the backyard and kept it a secret for some time until she befriended Natsuru. When Natsuru discovers the grandfather's corpse, he is understandably horrified.
    • For all they know, Rio and Yuta's father went to Alaska to work as a fisherman. He actually lied to them and used it as an excuse to abandon them. Rio discovering this while out grocery-shopping leaves her absolutely devastated.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Natsuru's dad died of cancer before the start of the story.
    • Suzumura's father said he was going to Alaska to work, but just abandoned his kids with their grandfather.
  • Distant Finale: The series ends a while after the previous events. It's only a short timeskip but it's enough for Natsuru and Suzumura to both develop.
  • Edible Theme Naming: The Suzumura siblings' white kitten is named "Tofu".
  • Emotionless Girl: This is how Rio initially comes across to Natsuru and their classmates. As the two of them bond, Rio starts showing more emotion with Natsuru...and he eventually finds out just why she was so emotionally reserved.
  • Festival Episode: In one chapter, Natsuru and the siblings go to a summer festival.
  • First Kiss: Natsuru and Rio share a tender one in the closet in a seaside Japanese inn, right before the police find them.
  • First-Name Basis: Natsuru refers to his mother by her first name, Ritsuko.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Most of Suzumura's classmates only reach her shoulders. As a result of height, she gets teased.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: A major theme of the story. Natsuru was able to have a blissful time with Rio before finding out about her grandfather being buried in the backyard, and Rio was able to stoically wait things out with Yuta before finding out that her father was not on a fishing trip and had simply abandoned them. This is the basis of the Title Drop at the end: sometimes the gods lie in order to keep humans happy.
  • I Will Wait for You: After Rio and Yuta are taken away, Natsuru vows to wait for Rio to return. She does, sooner than he expected.
  • Last-Name Basis: As expected with someone he barely knows at first, Natsuru refers to Rio as Suzumura. It leads to some confusion when he moves in with them, as at one point he says "Suzumura" when calling to her but Yuta thinks he is the one being talked to due to him having the same last name.
  • New Transfer Student: Natsuru transferred schools at the start of the year.
  • Promoted to Parent: After their father left to work as a fisherman in Alaska and their grandfather died, Rio had been raising Yuta by herself, buying food with what little expenses they had and doing housework in addition to her schooling.
  • Silent Treatment: After Natsuru rejected Himegawa's chocolate, her trio stop talking to him.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Suzumura and her little brother Yuta look a lot alike, though they have different hair colour shades. They both resemble their father.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The kids keep a beetle in a little cage with little idea how to properly feed it. It dies within a few days.
    • Natsuru, Rio, and Yuta try to run away together but, being eleven, they only make it so far before being found. Furthermore, the resulting missing person investigation directly leads to the police discovering the grandfather's body at the now totally abandoned house.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: In the very beginning of the chapter, Natsuru comforts himself by hugging his mother with his hands on her breasts, stating it reminds him of when he was a toddler. Her response is an annoyed comment that he’s too old to do that.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Natsuru gets in trouble for hitting a girl who was bullying Suzumura.

Alternative Title(s): Kamisama Ga Uso O Tsuku