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Manga / The Unpopular Mangaka and the Helpful Onryo-san

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The Unpopular Mangaka and the Helpful Onryo-sannote  is a Slice of Life/Horror Comedy manga by Mito, also known for Manly Appetites: Minegishi Loves Otsu.

Senai Yaro (pen name Kirara Kiraboshi) is a struggling Shoujo manga artist, who happens to live with a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.

Compare The Helpful Fox Senko-san.

Contains examples of:

  • Bad Influencer: In Chapter 28, Senai almost signs a contract with a sleazy social media influencer, but Onryo-san saves him at the last minute.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: In her first few appearances, Hakuu is almost always seen drinking after being dumped by one boyfriend or another.
  • Chain Letter: In Chapter 36, Onryo-san promotes Kirara's manga on Twitter by saying if people read it and don't show it to 10 people in 3 days, an onryo will visit their house. Judging by the number of retweets, it works.
  • Cherry Blossoms: In Chapter 46, Senai and Onryo-san go to see the cherry blossoms. The legend about them growing on top of buried corpses turns out to be true, as they find out when a ghost steals their food.
  • Corner of Woe: Senai hides under the covers in the corner after he gets a negative online review.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen:
    • In the first chapter, when he's Compliment Fishing to the ghost about his manga, the words "IT'S THE GREATEST" appear on the wall in blood next to a handprint. 17 chapters later, the writing is still there.
    • When she helps with the beta for his manga, she uses a pen, but black blood from her eyes instead of ink.
  • Dear Negative Reader: In-Universe. Senai gets a negative review of his work online. Onryo-san rushes to the computer, and he's worried she'll send a cursed email, but it turns out to be a normal, calm response.
  • Demonic Possession: Onryo-san possesses a man on a scooter to catch up to Senai and give him his apron that he forgot when leaving for work.
  • Disposing of a Body: When they think they've accidentally killed Senai, Hakuu and Onryo-san panic and decide to bury the evidence. Fortunately, he wakes up before he can be Buried Alive.
  • Fan Convention: Senai and Onryo-san go to Comiket, where they sell out to various ghosts (not a single human buys his book).
  • Festival Episode: Chapter 19 is the Christmas Episode, and in Chapter 20, the two of them celebrate the new year.
  • Gag Censor: In Chapter 12, Senai's penis is covered by an emoji of his editor's head, complete with Funny Afro.
  • Gag Haircut: In Chapter 49, Onryo-san offers to cut Senai's hair, but she's scared by a mouse (which is cutting another mouse's fur) and ends up giving him a terrible look.
  • Ghosts Abhor a Vacuum: In Chapter 46, Onryo-san gets partially sucked into a cotton candy machine. Since she's Invisible to Normals, Senai looks like he's just shocked by the cotton candy.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: Onryo-san orders some fragrances and healing music online to help out Senai, but it turns out they all have an exorcism effect, and he has to grab onto her paper-thin soul before it floats away. When he sees the bill, his soul is the one that floats away.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Onryo-san hits Senai over the head with a bottle to get him to take a break from drawing manga.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Onryo-san herself is scared by a horror movie called The Haunted Washing Machine. Another time, a possible Sleep Paralysis Creature affected both of them.
  • I See Dead People: Only Senai can see the ghost, though his editor Kimura can feel her, especially when she starts bothering him for criticizing Kirara's work. A neighbor also sees a rug apparently beating itself. Later on, it's implied kids can see her just fine. Though those kids might have been ghosts too. His neighbor Hakuu Ranko can see her too, but doesn't realize she's a ghost at first because she's drunk.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Onryo-san only ever wears the same white dress, and never wears shoes. For a second, Senai thinks she might wear panties, but it turns out to be the triangular head-cloth worn by some ghosts in folklore (and she pulled them out of Hammerspace). In Chapter 37, she wears a tracksuit matching Senai's exercise clothes.
  • Magical Girlfriend: He doesn't seem to have romantic feelings for her, but otherwise she fits, helping him get back on his feet and enjoy life.
  • Mistaken for Flirting: When Onryo-san makes him a bento with heart-shaped food, Senai wonders if this will change anything about their relationship. The last panel reveals she made one for Hakuu as well, and it didn't mean anything.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Since Onryo-san is Invisible to Normals, when she posed as an art model for Senai and he got vocally excited, his neighbor thought he was watching a lewd video.
  • Moustache de Plume: Since he's a Shoujo mangaka, Kirara pretends to be a woman on Twitter, but he has no idea how to act. Onryo-san takes over the account for him. His real name is Senai Yarou (shown on the bill in Chapter 15).
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Inverted. After she starts helping him as an assistant, Senai asks Onryo-san to draw something. She draws a childish picture of the two of them in a sunny field of flowers.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Hakuu and Onryo-san try to use their sex appeal to get Senai to take a break from drawing, but he doesn't even look.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Senai's neighbor assumes he has a girlfriend from hearing him talking through the wall, but then sees him talk to empty space, and assumes his "girlfriend" is imaginary. Nope, just a ghost!
  • Perma-Stubble: Senai's face has a perpetual day-old beard.
  • Race-Name Basis: "Onryo-san" is just a type of ghost. Her true name is unknown.
  • Sick Episode: In Chapter 25, Senai catches a cold. Despite being a ghost, Onryo-san wears a mask over her nose and mouth.
  • The Speechless: It's unknown if Onryo-san can talk at all, but she hasn't so far.
  • Still Believes in Santa: Onryo-san believes in Santa and writes a letter asking for an autograph from Kiraboshi-sensei. She catches him putting it in her stocking, and to not hurt her feelings, pretends to be Santa's secret identity.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Her hair is usually pretty normal, but she otherwise fits the description of an onryo. The horror movie they watch has a more conventional one.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Onryo-san has blue skin.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Senai isn't very successful as a mangaka and has to work a part-time job to make ends meet. He doesn't seem to have many friends either.
  • Unprovoked Pervert Payback: In Chapter 23, Onryo-san wakes up to find Senai next to her (in his bed), and punches him.
  • Voodoo Doll: Onryo-san gives Hakuu a straw doll for Christmas, which she promises to "make good use of", presumably on her ex-boyfriend.
  • You Must Be Cold: Even though he knows she's a ghost, Senai still gives Onryo-san a coat when they go out to celebrate New Year's.