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Manga / Three Leaves, Three Colors

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Three Leaves, Three Different Colors.

Three Leaves, Three Colors, otherwise translated as Three-Person Trefoil or Sansya San'you (三者三葉), is a comedy manga written and drawn by Cherry Arai (who would later go on to do Engaged to the Unidentified). It was serialized first in Manga Time Kirara in 2003, before it eventually moved to submagazine Kirara Carat in 2007 and ended in 2019 with a total of 14 volumes. An anime adaptation by Dogakobo premiered during the Spring 2016 Anime season. The anime has been licensed by Funimation including with a Broadcast Dub.

Futaba Odagiri is the new transfer student with a super energetic personality, Teru Hayama is the class president with a surprisingly mean personality contrary to her innocent looks, and Youko Nishikawa is from a formerly rich but now extremely poor family, who still holds on to her princess attitude. These three unlikely students with clashing personalities become good friends and survive the day to day life of teenage life.


Three Leaves, Three Colors presents the following Tropes:

  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: the kanji for "leaf"— Youko Nishikawa, Teru Hayama, and Futaba Odagiri.
  • Always in Class One: Completely averted. Youko is in class two, while Futaba and Teru are in class three.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Yamaji and Sonobe arrive in the latter half of episode 6 very injured, but assure Youko and her friends that they shouldn't worry about the shark at the beach anymore. When the girls try to quiz them about the details, they instead deflect their questions with a suspiciously-convenient freshly-made bento...
  • Animation Bump: Any segment where there's a great deal of movement is animated surprisingly smoothly. Not surprising, as the show shares staff with a previous Dogakobo adaptation of a Cherry Arai series, Engaged to the Unidentified.
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  • Beach Episode: Episode 6, though for most of it Youko and her friends were working at Shino's beach house.
  • Big Eater:
    • Futaba. When Teru comments on how the pile of bread she bought from the cafeteria is just as usual for her, Futaba retorts that she's actually holding back. Later on she lunches on a whole uncut loaf of white bread, finding slicing the bread too much of a trouble.
    • Hajime keeps challenging Futaba on this trope, but he always loses. Nonetheless, this puts him into this trope.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Often surrounds Youko whenever she a) experiences something new that she never tried while she was still rich, or b) whenever she gets something that she would otherwise NOT be able to buy on her own now that she's poor.
  • Bland-Name Product: The Jonafull diner the maintrio went to in the beginning of episode 5 is a reference of Jonathan's.
  • Blue with Shock: Serina and Asako have this reaction in response to Futaba politely and girlishly refusing their offer to have some of their food.
  • Born Lucky: Kou often wins top prizes in draws.
  • Brutal Honesty: Oh, Teru. If she doesn't like something, she'll say so.
  • Butt-Monkey: Yamaji is absolutely working for Youko's sake. However, the rest of the case sees him as a stalker, or worst, a dog.
  • Cassandra Truth: Earlier in episode 4, Futaba says she likes cooking. Both Teru and Youko thought she actually means eating. Downplayed as Futaba eventually shows off her cooking later that episode.
  • Christmas Episode: Episode 10 is mainly about a Christmas party.
  • Class Representative: Teru is this for her class 3.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Kou is a bit... odd. See how she sees nothing wrong in eating a raw bitter melon (skin and all) for lunch.
  • Commonality Connection: Serina and Teru may be at loggerheads with each other at many things, but their mutual love of cute kitty cats is something that they agree upon.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The entire cast somehow managed to converge at the hotel during the second half of episode 6.
  • Cosplay Otaku Girl: Sonobe show shades of this, keeping her Meido uniform for "personal interest" and faking the main trio's high school uniforms to pass as one. Episode 5's basically an excuse for her to dress up most of the cast as meido.
  • Covert Pervert: Shino, who seems to take devilish delight in observing schoolgirls like Youko and her friends go about their daily business.
  • Cram School: When Yu is introduced, he is on the way to one.
  • Cranial Eruption: This is part of episode 5's plot. Youko was so sleepy after long hours at Sonobe's bakery, so when she hangs out with Teru and Futaba in Jonafull's, she fell sleepy and banged on the table. Sonobe declared her bumpy head unsuitable for work, and so had Futaba and Teru take up her job instead.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Teru again, for the white kitty in particular. The next episode reveals that she likes all animals, but cats are a particular favorite since her family keeps a cat at home.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The voice actresses for the main trio sing the (really catchy) OP and ED.
  • Dreadful Musician: Sakura may want to be an Idol Singer, but she absolutely can't sing.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: The story pretty much started by defying this in Youko's case.
  • Embarrassing First Name:
    • For no given reason, Teru founds her given name embarrassing, and prefers to be in Last-Name Basis.
    • Non-character example: The new gelee from Sonobe's cake shop got named "Porcine Origin," of which Sonobe finds it too embarrassing to use, but still use it anyway. Funimation translates it to "Pig Special" for the subtitles, and "Gelee de Porc" for the dub.
  • Expy: From appearance to temperament, Serina is often compared to Hayate the Combat Butler's Hinagiku. Given the proximity of the characters' first appearance in the respective series (2005), a deliberate exportation is probable.
  • Fallen Princess: Character Development seems to bring Youko to this.
  • Fangirl: Both Asako and Serina are fans of the children's novel series "Bishoujo Tantei Tooru." Serina finds this embarrassing, since she should have been out of the Fleeting Demographic already.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Inverted — Youko, the girliest of the three friends, can't cook to save her life, while resident Big Eater Futaba (who's slightly boyish) can.
  • Fish out of Water: Youko may know how to budget, but she's still utterly unused to living as a commoner.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Teru and Kou have this dynamic. Teru is younger, but is smarter, mature, and responsible. Kou is older, but regularly forgets about things, and usually has to go to Teru for advice.
  • Freudian Trio: Futaba is the id, Youko is the ego, and Teru is the superego.
  • Friendless Background: Apparently Youko's initially confrontational behavior caused the rest of her class to shun her. When she's first introduced to both Teru and Futaba, she's eating lunch alone.
  • Guilty Pleasures: In the 7th episode of the Funimation dub, Teru describes Serina's being a fangirl of a Children's novel as this.
  • If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Kou seems to believe in that, and that's why her food is incredibly bad.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Youko's family's fallen on hard times, but she still insists on acting like she's still a pampered ojou, at least in public. When she's first introduced, she's even eating bread crust (traditionally seen as the food for the broke or poor) for lunch.
  • Informed Attribute: We're repeatedly told that Teru's "black-hearted" and "manipulative", but so far the only person she's actually been mean to is Serina, and even then only seems to be doing so because it amuses her.
  • Insistent Terminology: Sonobe insists her bakery to be called "Himitsu no Hanasono" rather than the English form "Secret Garden," despite the sign on the store reads the latter.
  • Instant Expert: Judging by Shino's annoyed comments, Yamaji is this. He was able to quickly pick up the skills needed to help run a cake shop after spending only one morning at Shino's place.
  • Keigo: Still spoken by Youko, down to using "watakushi" instead of plain "watashi". Futaba is amazed to meet someone who actually talks that way too.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Teru, who even takes care of a kitten at home. Episode 2 also reveals that Serina is this.
  • Legacy of Service: Yamaji. His family's been serving Youko's family since his grandfather's time, but by the time his turn came around, Youko's family was bankrupt and couldn't employ him anymore.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Kou, who tends to put allegedly healthy, but unappetizing foods such as natto into anything she makes. Although there's an justification; it's a side effect of Teru being a former Ill Girl.
    • Youko, despite a Minor Living Alone, doesn't seem to be particularly good at cooking, and has a tendency to turn food into charcoal, bread crust and wagyu alike.
  • Likes Older Women: In Episode 5, Teru thinks Yuu is this, after seeing the latter's pretty sweet bonding with Kou.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Shino Sonobe, the former maid of Youko's family, judging by her nicknames for the main trio in the intro to the ED.
  • Love Triangle: You don't often see a heterosexual one in a Kirara series. Sakura wants Yu to marry her, but Yu wants to marry Youko despite the latter is no longer an Ojou. On the other hand, Youko doesn't think Yu is being serious.
  • Mega Meal Challenge: Futaba often wins these, to the point that she's banned from many restaurants with the notable exception of Stuffed Hut. Hajime, however, always seems to have an issue completing these and so sees Futaba his rival.
  • Meido: Shino Sonobe, or at least, she was Youko's personal maid at one point. She still wears her old maid uniform even when running her cake shop, but she says it's her hobby now more than anything else.
  • Minor Living Alone: It's still not clear where Youko's parents are, but she seems to be living on her own in a run-down apartment. At least she seems to be supported financially though. Actually Futaba has the guts to ask Youko the whereabouts of her parents in episode 4.
  • Missing Mom: Youko's mother died while she was very young.
  • Motor Mouth: Futaba is this in her character song. She makes 'One Week' by the Barenaked Ladies look slow in comparison!
  • Mundane Object Amazement: In episode 4, it seems Youko is curious about girls chatting over burger and fries. Before she's too rich for that, now she's too poor for that.
  • New Transfer Student: Futaba.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Youko did do this a lot. She still does it now, occasionally.
  • Not Good with People: Teru is basically a misanthrope who is a Friend to All Living Things.
  • Older Than She Looks: Shino. She is shorter than the main trio, and can pass off as one of their schoolmates after wearing a counterfeit school uniform she made herself. She gets mistaken for being in her teens when she's over thirty, and her appearance hasn't changed even in a flashback to Youko's childhood.
  • Parasol Parachute: Assuming it's not all hyperbole, Shino arrives in town via this, conveniently blown in by a passing typhoon.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Youko, after hit by a pretty bad case of Riches to Rags. To the point of only eating bread crust and mayo for lunch.
  • Pet the Dog: Episode 2 has a lot of cats, serves to humanize the "demonic" Teru and her rival Serina.
  • Precocious Crush: Yuu, who's still in grade school, but plans to marry Youko one day.
  • Princess in Rags: Youko starts the story not unlike this.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: At the end of episode 1. It's such a luxury for Youko, that she wants to pay back Teru's kindness by trying to stay in the hot bath as long as possible.
  • Pun-Based Title: Tied up with Alphabetical Theme Naming. "Three leaves" should be taken as "three girls with the kanji for 'leaf' in their names."
  • Riches to Rags: Youko got hit by that hard, to the point of being in Perpetual Poverty.
  • Satellite Character: Asako is nearly sole seen around Serina.
  • School Festival: Episode 9 is mainly about this, particularly on how Teru and Futaba's class organize their class' exhibit, but also touches on Youko and Sasame's class.
  • Schoolgirl Series: Of course, though it has a few recurring male characters as well.
  • Serious Business: For Teru and Serina, taking cat pictures.
  • Shouldersup Nudity: An example of this during episode 1's Public Bathhouse Scene is currently the page image.
  • Shout-Out: In episode 2, the concept map of Hayama Island looks a lot like Jurassic World.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Teru and Kou. This is often played up, with Kou often portrayed as an angel while Teru portrayed as a devil.
  • Significant Birth Date: Teru is born on Christmas.
  • Spam Attack: Yamaji and Shino engage in this using silverware, when the former finds out that Youko's planning on working at Shino's cake shop. Cue Youko telling the two of them to calm the heck down.
  • Start of Darkness: Played entirely for laughs. Apparently Teru's two-faced personality started back when she was little, when one Christmas she received a cat doll that wasn't exactly what she wanted. She resolved from that point on to put on a nice girl facade, in order to fool Santa to give her what she wanted.
  • The Stoic: Shino's expression hardly changes. Her stronger expressions manifest in her entire body quivering or twitching.
  • A Storm Is Coming: A huge typhoon blows into town, foreshadowing the arrival of Shino back into Youko's life.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Teru and Kou, again. One would think that they're twins actually.
    • Hajime and Sasame looks so similar that the anime's official website has to state they're not twins. Hajime is a year older than his sister.
  • Sudden Video-Game Moment: When Sakura appears in episode 4 and talks about her life plans, the screen suddenly turns to a The Game of Life-like video game. On the other hand, Youko's just fell off a cliff, and her current occupation became "Former Ojou-sama"...
  • Swapped Roles: Years ago Youko's family employed Shino as a maid. In the Present Day, Shino hires Youko to help out part-time at her newly-opened cake shop. Shino is giddy at the prospect of being Youko's boss.
  • Theme Naming: The Hayama siblings Teru (to radiate) and Kou (Alternate Character Reading of a kanji usually read as Hikaru [to shine] or Hikari [light]).
  • Trail of Blood: Parodied in episode 3, where the girls find a suspicious red trail once they arrive at the cake shop. It turns out that the "blood" wasn't blood at all, but spilled jam, which Shino carelessly scattered while she was having lunch.
  • Undying Loyalty: Yamaji. While he technically hasn't been employed by Youko's family for a while, he still makes it a point to watch over Youko. Unfortunately this makes him seem like a stalker, which Futaba actually calls him out on.

Alternative Title(s): Sansya Sanyou, Sansha Sanyou, Three Person Trefoil