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Manga / Whispered Words

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Sumika Murasame is deeply in love with her cheerful classmate and friend Ushio Kazama. Ushio has a thing for girls, too, but... she's into cute girls. Sumika's problem is that she is too cool: top student, class representative, perfect in sports, black belt in karate, the list goes on. Not only girls, even guys are slightly afraid of approaching her. She herself, for all that's holy, doesn't want to endanger her friendship with Ushio, as much as it pains her to hide her feelings.

Whispered Words (Sasameki Koto note ) is a Girls' Love manga by Takashi Ikeda, that ran from May 2007 to September 2011 in Monthly Comic Alive. It mixes Fanservice, romance, comedy and Angst. It ran a total of 53 chapters over 9 volumes.

In addition, the series is groundbreaking in that it not only is one of the few GL manga to take place in a mixed sex school, as opposed to a girls only school, but it also touches on the ostracization and loneliness that young Japanese lesbians experience.

A 13-episode anime adaptation of the first couple volumes was broadcast in late 2009; it is licensed by Crunchyroll and can be viewed for free on their site. The manga is licensed and published in French by Clair de Lune since November 2011, and in English by One Peace Books in 2014.

Compare Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl, the other famous yuri work that ran in Comic Alive.

Whispered Tropes:

  • The Ace: It's a race to see who will be crowned The Ace of the series, karate prodigy Sumika, a Genius Bruiser who can kick your ass without her glasses, versus Tomoe, who her step-mother referred to as "our goddess" for when she took a few years off from high school to save the family business from ruin. Head to head so far, Tomoe is ahead in both romance and swimming.
  • Alliterative Title
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Tomoe in particular, and Sumika to lesser extent.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Sumika finally makes hers in chapter 46. Too bad it took Kazama telling her that she was moving away to provoke it, causing one of the biggest Tearjerkers in the whole series.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Ushio is very easy to distract, if you have the right bait.
  • Beach Episode:
  • The Beard: Tomoe of all people suggests that Sumika get one for the PR while she's campaigning for student council president, and they settle for Akemiya, who happily, unthinkingly shows up to their date crossdressing.
  • Beautiful All Along: Watamura with her hair down is a beautiful fashion model. Watamura with her hair up is... a caricature of a human being. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, she doesn't seem to angst at all about her usual appearance, she doesn't seem to care, or even notice, that she's extremely beautiful, and she even seems to think she looks better with her hair up.
  • Big Brother Bully: Inverted, in Akemiya's case.
  • Big Eater: Most of Kiyori's appearances include her eating something at least once.
    Tomoe: Torioi-kun, are you any good at cooking?
    Kiyori: I'm amazing!
    Miyako: eating, that is.
  • Biting the Handkerchief: Tomoe's older brother does this after she reminds him of her grandfather's promise that she can do whatever she wishes in high school.
    • Ushio does this earlier in a less pronounced manner, angry that her current crush, Lotte, is spending so much time with Sumika.
  • Blackmail: Played with twice, first in the form of An Offer She Can't Refuse by Miyako toward Sumika, then failed horribly when Manaka threatened to spread pictures of her brother in drag around unless Sumika went out with him (though she did go an a date with Akemiya out of pity).
  • Bland-Name Product: Masaki and Sumika visit a "Minna Aller's" (Anna Miller's) cafe on their chapter/episode 7 date.
    • One of the girls in the ski-trip Flashback is eating some "Pockin".
  • Blind Without 'Em: In the flashback, Sumika rescues Ushio from some guys harassing her but has to stop and put on her glasses before she recognizes her.
  • Book Ends: Sumika's little speech about first kisses, which Ushio repeats back to her just before their first without a mask between them.
  • Bumbling Dad: Sumika's father, despite being a master of an "invincible" karate style, often comes off as a goof.
  • Captain Obvious: Ushio claims that "cute girls are cute".
  • Cassandra Truth: Played with in chapter 2, as Sumika initially doesn't believe Akemiya at first.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Of the 7 major characters, 3 are openly homosexual — Tomoe, Miyako, and Ushio — while Sumika is hiding from Ushio in an increasingly-Transparent Closet; Azusa is hung up on in the romantic potential of Girls' Love; and Akemi is a boy attracted to girls, but he's a Wholesome Crossdresser who's attracted to masculine girls. Kiyori is the token straight — although her enthusiasm about finding cute girls for Ushio makes one wonder at times... Mayu ends up realizing she's gay as well when she falls for Sumika, and it's very apparent soon after that Mayu's best friend Koi feels the same way toward Mayu.
  • Childhood Friends: Latecomers Mayu and Koi, who are a year younger than the rest of the cast and have been friends since elementary school.
  • Child Prodigy: Sumika is an heir to her father's dojo and holds a black belt in karate at 15. Yabase also, as Sumika's peer in the karate dojo.
  • Cincinnatus: Tomoe was given absolute control over her family's corporation, made it profitable again, then calmly went back to school (and to Miyako).
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Ushio likes this kind of girl, and Sumika tries to become one for a while before giving up. Miyako is a straight (though not that kind of "straight") example, though she is slightly more manipulative than typical dojikkos.
  • Cut Short: The anime, which ends after volume two. Since it was a Thirteen Episode Anime that adapted single chapters into exactly one episode each, there wasn't too much choice - that was the closest thing the manga had to a suitable finale for at least two volumes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 19, which focuses on Tomoe and Miyako.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sumika, sometimes crossing over into The Stoic zone.
  • Distant Finale: Well, not that distant, but the "Great Useless Additions" in the final volume are at least several months on and catch up with the characters. In order of presentation:
    • Tomoe is still with Miyako (as if there was ever a doubt) and ended up doing for the European Union what she did for her family's company.
    • Aoi is finally attempting to break out of fan works and into her own writing career, while Kiyori is still involved with music.
    • Akemiya has a new modeling career in Europe, and he's able to be open about crossdressing for it.
    • Lotte has had quite the growth spurt, going from Token Mini-Moe to a head taller than Akemiya in a short time (as well as rather... generously endowed).
    • Koi and Mayu now seem to head up the girls' karate club at the high school and Koi seems to be rather successfully confessing to Mayu.
    • Sumika and Ushio are... just go read it. Not that it isn't revealed under other spoiler tags on this page anyway.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Not a particularly dead on version, but Lotte's overwhelming cuteness is almost enough to shake Sumika's loyalty to Ushio.
  • Evolving Credits: The anime's ED sequence changes slightly every episode to include still shots of objects that were important during that episode, such as bento boxes or maid headbands.
  • Fan Dumbinvoked: Referenced in-story by Ushio as the reason why she wants the fact that her older brother is a yuri author to be kept secret from Azusa, who's a fan of his work but thinks he's a female author.
    Ushio: You don't understand the way fans think, Sumi-chan! The pure passion of teenagers can turn into negative energy all too easily.
  • Fangirl: Lotte is designated as one by Sumika.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Played straight with Ushio and Sumika - Sumika's attempts at cooking invariably result in explosions. Inverted with Tomoe and Miyako.
  • Finger-Suck Healing: From one of Sumika's imagine spots.
  • First Kiss: Sumika and Ushio share their first kiss, though Ushio puts on a mask so it "wouldn't count" as one, since she only wants to "practice" it.
  • Gayngst: Averted at first. Sumika is quite prone to angst, but only over Ushio's obliviousness to her feelings, not over her sexuality in and of itself. Ushio, Tomoe, and Miyako are entirely comfortable with their sexuality.
    • As chapter 17 revealed, it was Sumika's silent support that allowed Ushio to be at peace with her sexuality in the first place.
    • And surprisingly the biggest source of gayngst turns out to be Ushio, once she realizes she has fallen in love with Sumika.
    • A brief bout of it with Mayu, who realizes she's fallen in love with Sumika. Koi helps assuage Mayu's fears by immediately accepting and supporting her.
  • G.I.R.L.: Azusa assumes that the author who writes her favorite GL novels is a girl, whereas in reality, the author is Ushio's brother who has a collection of prewar yuri magazines...
    • Norio discusses this by telling someone on the phone his novels sell better BECAUSE people think they're written by a woman.
  • Girly Run:
    • Ironically or not, Akemiya runs this way.
    • Sumika too, sometimes.
  • The Glasses Come Off: When Sumika faces Yabase on the tatami. She wins, of course.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Koi realizes she is in love with Mayu after Mayu tells her she's in love with Sumika. Koi tells Mayu she fully supports her and it's not until she's walking home that she starts crying wondering why Mayu didn't love her. The last chapter extra hints that the two may get together.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Kiyori, who can sleep through 6 alarm clocks because the 7th one was 3 minutes late.
  • Hero Secret Service: Sumika gets one when she becomes targeted by otaku, since her presence in a class is practically an Instant-Win Condition during their Atlethic Festival, which determines which class gets first pick for jobs for their next festival (the otakus' reasoning being that if they are able to incapacitate Sumika, their class will have to accept their proposition for a Maid Cafe). Tomoe too, and apparently they are students. And talk about Sumika as if she were the first line of defense.
  • Hidden Depths: Tomoe. As revealed in Chapter 19, she took two years off from school to manage the family business and save it from bankruptcy. Who would have guessed?
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Sumika (175cm at age 15).
  • Huge Girl, Tiny Guy: Pretty much Sumika and Akemiya, we also get Huge Girl Tiny Girl when Sumika is hanging with Azusa or Lotte.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Sumika's dad lecturing her on her use of their family's karate style kinda loses its impact when two of school's black belts picked a fight with some guys hitting on Ushio and got their ass kicked. She is, however, swift to point the hypocrisy.
  • Idiots Cannot Catch Colds: Miyako mentions casually that we now know Sumika isn't a complete fool, due to this.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: This is Sumika's attitude to her relationship with Ushio for a loooong time. And Ushio to Sumika. Two ships passing in broad daylight...
  • Imagine Spot: Lampshaded in episode/chapter 5. Multiple times, Sumika drops into a momentary fantasy about Ushio, only for Miyako to interrupt with a comment along the lines of, "That's what you're thinking about, right?" Sumika yells at her to stop peeking into other people's fantasies.
  • Intertwined Fingers:
    • Sumika and Ushio at the end of the first chapter. Unusually for this trope, they aren't a couple.
    • Also dramatically subverted in the three pages long "Useless Addition" at the end of chapter 24.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Sumika tries to have this mentality toward Ushio, but fails.
  • Just Friends: Ushio and Sumika, to the latter's deepest dismay. Curiously, it's Ushio who often loudly tells herself that her feelings for Sumika are just that.
  • Kissing Cousins: In Chaper 12, we meet some of Sumika's relatives. It turns out both her young cousin Teru and his older sister Sayaka have one-sided crushes on Sumika. Or at least, Sayaka is visibly disappointed when Sumika says she didn't bring a bathing suit, on top of acting very dere-dere towards Sumika and asking if there is someone she likes. Teru supposedly promised to marry Sumika once he became taller than her.
  • Lap Pillow: Ushio lets Sumika rest like this during the Beach Episode.
  • Lethal Chef: Sumika and Miyako get into a cooking contest. Hilarity Ensues.
    Sumika: ...What kind of food explodes when cooked, and who invented it?
    Miyako: ...You did.
  • Love at First Sight: Akemiya mentions this is how he feels about Sumika.
  • Love Dodecahedron:
    • Unusual for the trope, the Dodecahedron isn't tangled on itself to the point of absurdity and only exists as more of a flow chart for quick reference instead of plot defining importance.
  • Love Epiphany: in the "Early Days" flashback story arc.
  • Love Hurts: Boy howdy, though in a non-physical manner.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: A lot of the comedy is derived from Sumika going through this trope.
  • Loving a Shadow: Implied to be what Azusa's obsession with Orino Masaka really is.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Akemiya and Sumika. Sumika isn't so much masculine as un-feminine, but Akemiya has got to be the planet's girliest owner of a Y chromosome. When he had to fill out his future aspirations form, he inadvertently wrote "bride". It don't get much pinker than that.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Ushio toward Sumika—increasingly so during the course of the series.
  • Meido:
    • The local meido cafe is sometimes visited and the whole gang once dresses up as maids during their stay at Ushio's place.
  • Mind Rape: Ushio does it to herself, forcing herself to believe that she and Sumika are Just Friends.
  • Missing Mom: Sumika's mom passed away when she was young, but she doesn't seem to mind the subject.
  • Moment Killer: Several characters at different times, but Ushio has a special talent for setting up and then painfully murdering intimate moments between her and Sumika. Perhaps intentionally. Ushio praises Sumika in a way that makes the latter sound like the perfect girlfriend for her, and just when Sumika is about to blurt out her feelings, Ushio strangles the moment magnificently with a well-placed "Friends are so important!" or "But you're not my type."
    • "Kan't Read The Mood" Kiyori
  • Ms. Imagination: Sumika
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mild example, as Sumika wonders if she pushed Lotte too much when she comes down with a cold.
  • Neck Lift: Sumika does this to Akemiya when he says that he thinks she's cute.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Not seen, but the caricature of Tomoe's grandpa has a star-shaped scar over one eye with the caption of "Really important, somewhat scary".
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Pretty much every guy other than Akemiya views Sumika this way.
    • Unfortunately for Sumika the girl she likes pretty much feels the same way too.
  • Nose Bleed: Sumika gets one while bathing together with Ushio. We subsequently see her lying in bed with bits of tissue up her nose.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Sumika and Azusa trip while walking down a flight of stairs. Sumika lands on top of Azusa. Ushio walks in. Angst ensues.
  • Obfuscating Shallowness: Ushio comes off initially as a flighty, shallow, and slightly twee young woman, given her obsession with all things cute and apparent ability to bounce back easily from any upset. Starting with chapter 20 and continuing into the extended flashback of 21-24, when the manga picks up her perspective, we're shown quite a lot of what's beneath that mask, and how and why she developed it in the first place.
  • Oblivious to Love:
  • Later, Sumika shows considerable obliviousness toward Ushio's feelings for her. Given the large number of times Ushio has done something that makes it seem like she's interested in Sumika and then explicitly told her she's not her type, you can't really blame Sumika for not trusting her intuition.
  • It's enough that Tomoe and Miyako give a synchronized *headground* on one occasion.
  • Sumika toward Mayu's feelings, even when Mayu outright says, "I like you!" Mayu as well to her best friend Koi, though Koi is much more able to keep things under wraps than any other member of the cast.
  • Omake: The "Useless Addition" page at the end of each chapter. Carried over into the anime as a short post-ED clip in each episode.
  • One Head Taller: Sumika to Ushio. Tomoe tops out almost two heads taller than Miyako.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Charlotte Munchausen. But you can just call her Lotte.
  • Opening Narration: The earlier chapters features Sumika reminding the reader of the main plot of the manga.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kazama's parents both died in a car accident, leaving her alone with her older brother.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Lotte is from Germany and fulfills the Aryan appearance requirements to 120%.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Kiyori's role, always energetic and smiling, as the only one who remains entirely unawares of the love situation between Sumika and Ushio. Tomoe remarks that a character that can't read the mood is essential to any love story.
  • Practice Kiss: Ushio and Sumika do this early in the series, with Ushio wearing a mask so it wouldn't count.
  • Promotion to Parent: Ushio's brother Norio. It turns out their parents passed away in a car accident. Ushio stayed with her grandmother for a while, but moved in with Norio when she transferred schools to flee her former best friend outing her after Ushio confessed, leaving her ostracized and bullied.
  • The Rival: Yabase to Sumika in karate.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Played straight in the anime version, where Ushio gets these when Sumika tries to get out of cooking with their friends.
  • Say It with Hearts: Used in the manga.
    Sumi's housekeeper: Say, "Please take care of me, Ushio-chan?"
    Sumi: No way I'm saying that. And what's with the heart?
  • It's hard to tell if Tomoe's older brother is more upset about Miyako being a girl or being the daughter of a servant.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Chapter 25. Poor, poor Akemiya. He spends the entire chapter coming to terms with his crossdressing double life, but at the end, just as he proudly takes to the stage, someone trips and pulls down his clothes, exposing his true gender before the entire audience. And "Akemi" was never seen again... Well, not quite never. The dresses get dragged out a couple more times, and then there's the Distant Finale...
  • Shout-Out: Ushio's mask is Ultraman, and one of the little margin notes in chapter six specifies that the shout should be thought of in "Norio Wakamoto's" voice.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Sumika shows plenty of signs of being that way for Ushio.
  • Sleep Cute: Sumika and Ushio get a textbook example of this scene.
  • Squee: Akemi does this in chapter 40 when asked to be Sumika's fake boyfriend.
  • Stepford Smiler: Ushio is a Type A example of this, though it's not made apparent until later on in the series.
  • Student Council President: Sumika ends up a candidate for the position and several chapters follow the campaign. The results of the election are thrown out after Mayu gets in a fight with a supporter of the other candidate over said supporter's use of gossip and rumors to try to ruin Sumika's reputation by association with the openly-gay Ushio. Doubt thrown on both candidates over being unable to manage their campaigns (and in Sumika's case, one of her own club members at that), neither are allowed to run again and Ushio ends up stepping forward... and winning by default because nobody else wants to run.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Sumika's cooking and Tomoe's driving.
  • The Tease: In the manga, Ushio more and more behaves this way toward Sumika. Especially once she finds out Sumika loves her, then it's almost like she's trying to bait a confession out.
  • Teen Genius: Tomoe raised her family's corporation from ruins to success within two years when she was sixteen (that is also why she took that time off school). In return, she demanded three years of undisturbed High School life... which also included having a lesbian lover from a "servant" family, a point the very traditional Hachisuka family just can't get themselves over. Not that they can't do anything about it: she is just that brilliant and self-confident.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Manaka, Lotte and Miyako, who has a rather childish disposition to go with her small stature.
  • UST: Ushio and Sumika, almost to the point of Arc Fatigue.
    "Can whispered words 10 more volumes cross the distance between them?" - Dynasty Scans, phrasing it best.
  • Uptown Girl: Tomoe's wealthy family objects not only to the fact she's dating a servant's child but also to the fact Tomoe and her loved one are both girls. However, they cannot do anything about it because of the reward Tomoe's grandfather gave as thanks for saving the family's finances.
  • Wedding Finale: Except not Sumika and Ushio, but Norio and Kineta. However, the main couple get to ring the wedding bell in hopes that one day it will be legal for them to get married.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: A small one at the end that reveals a few things in flashes like Lottie becoming a tall beauty, Akemiya becoming a crossdressing model again, Tomoe continuing to save the financial world, and Koi and Mayu in what seems to be a confession.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Akemiya Masaki a.k.a. Akemi-chan. The situation isn't helped any by the fact that Ushio is strongly attracted to his female persona.
    • Leads to him garnering minor Woobie points when all the girls Kiyori point out as Ushio's type turn him down.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Is perpetual Butt-Monkey Akemiya going to find fame and fortune in chapter 25? Nope. The finale is much kinder to him.
  • You Are Not Alone: Mild example in chapter 21, when Ushio tries to distance herself from Sumika for "causing her trouble", Sumika bluntly reminds her that they were friends now, so it was okay for Ushio to get mad, just like she got mad because her friend was being insulted. Cue blushing.
    • Also, the entire series is like this about the trials of being gay in Japan.
  • You're Not My Type: One half of the main couple says this to the other half. It drives the angst for most of the series.
  • Yuri Fan: Ushio's brother, Norio, who writes yuri novels. Likewise, Azusa, who writes yuri doujinshi and attends yuri conventions, and is also a fan of Norio's novels. Norio's ex-girlfriend Kineta also reads his books, at first just because he wrote them.
  • Yuri Genre: Not very explicit but it's there. Azusa Aoi even discusses it, going into lengths about how Girls' Love should be subtle.

Alternative Title(s): Sasameki Koto