Change 123

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
From left to right, the female protagonist's main personalities: Mikiri, Hibiki, Fujiko, and Motoko.

Change 123 (pronounced "change hi-fu-mi," after the central character(s)) is a Shounen (yes, really) fighting manga that manages to do something different with the whole "girl has different personalities" thing.

Teruharu Kousukegawa, a young Otaku, is walking home when he spots a girl from his class, Motoko Gettou, being harassed by a greasy older guy. He goes to challenge him but wimps out, turns away, and then starts dialing the police. Meanwhile, the man has her backed into an alley and is getting way too close for comfort, and even further, announces his intent to make a real woman out of her... and then her character suddenly changes and she high-kicks the bugger right out of the alley into his Ferrari. Kosukegawa, running back to save her, is amazed at this show of skill, but she seems to have no memory of it, even though she instantly catches on to what happened and begs him not to tell anyone.

Furthermore, when he goes round to her house the next day, someone who looks like her answers the door. But the Shrinking Violet he talked to would never answer the door nearly completely naked.

She later explains that she developed multiple personalities due to each of her three fathers' Trainings From Hell. Yes, plural. When she is threatened, any one of the three alter-egos that split off due to the trauma of those experiences emerge and cause carnage. Because her fathers are an expert karateka, a skilled soldier/swordsman, and a world-famous Jujitsu master, they're really, really good at it.

Now Kosukegawa knows her secret and, hopeless nerd that he is, promises to protect her. Good luck with that.

It's notable for trying to place itself on the realistic side of the scale with regard to the fight scenes, moves, Motoko's condition, et cetera -- the entire manga is one big Justified Trope. The fact that the heroine is a busty schoolgirl who gets stripped and shows her boobs a lot could be the reason for that. Still a good story, though.

The series ran for twelve volumes, published between June 2005 and June 2010.

Compare with Mahoraba, a romantic comedy with a similarly multi-personae heroine, but without the action.

Tropes used in Change 123 include:

Tatusya: That's worse than killing him... His life is split in half.

Hibiki is talked into apologizing to the man in his hospital bed, but is met with threats and she flashes him and lets his natural reaction do further damage.
  • Heel Face Turn: At least half of the antagonists end up redeemed by the end of the arc.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Hello Kisaragi Sumire
  • Hot-Blooded:
    • Hibiki, who gets really pumped up about fighting.
    • Kousukegawa, any time he draws inspiration from Kamen Raider.
  • Hour of Power: One of the Punch Clock Villains pitted against Motoko in the Zero arc can use acupuncture to give himself Super Strength for about an hour. Interestingly, the inflated muscles rip his clothes a la The Incredible Hulk. He later lets Kousukegawa make use of it in a bid to stop Zero, warning him he has has only one shot at it.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: When Kosukegawa was floating down the river unconscious. He was saved from falling by Ralph.
  • Imagine Spot: Kosukegawa tends to drift into these, especially when he thinks about Kamen Raider or girls.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl:
    • Mikiri really doesn't seem to understand things like common decency, and her childish persona seems to contribute to this.
    • Hino, thanks to being Raised by Natives, doesn't get why everyone gets so worked up when her shirt gets ripped.
    • Kosukegawa knows so many of these that when he meets a girl who actually does get embarrassed when her breasts are exposed, he is moved to tears by her modesty.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Hino remarks about how much she likes "chinosuke", a type of Okinawan food. However, the word "chinosuke" sounds pretty close to the Japanese word for male genitalia. The guys in the room react as you'd expect.
  • Justified Trope:
    • It's a straight-up Panty Fighter using hugely-skilled 14-17 year-old schoolgirls, but their backgrounds are more than plausible.
    • There's copious nudity, blood and violence, but the actions are rooted in reality -- no injuries healing in the space of a couple of days, for example.
    • The female main character has a Split Personality, but the author tries to keep within the realms of 'true' dissociative personality disorder; e.g. all her different personalities have roughly the same body shape, with some minor differences handwaved as due to "tightening some muscles and relaxing others".
  • Karma Houdini: Mokoto's mother's organization of spies and assassins. Their calling Motoko's mother in for an assignment led to her death, and they wanted to drug Kosukegawa so that at best he'd lose his memories of them (at worst, complete amnesia). While they are beaten down by Kosukegawa's allies, they all get to live and continue with their jobs with no real punishments.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: This trope comes here in various forms:
    • The plot has some features of a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot.
    • A trivial example: A biker gang Hibiki and Fujiko once defeated in chapter 2 appears again in chapter 26. After recognizing Hibiki, they all refuse to fight with her, using the Wouldn't Hit a Girl policy as an excuse.
    • This Foreshadowing flashback, which later gets somewhat explained in chapter 49.
    • Kosukegawa gets noticeably taller over the course of the series, but no-one ever makes mention of this.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall

Motoko: Why is it that women who fight in sci-fi and fantasy stories are always half-clothed?

  • Long Lost Sibling: Well, more like Long Lost Second Cousin, but it's still the reason why Ginga is now staying with Kousukegawa.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: A fair part of the series is devoted to the answer. Granted, all 3 men are her fathers (by upbringing), but in the end, it's shown that Tatsuya is Motoko's biological father, but her family line has also crossed with Jin and Takezou's as well.
  • Magic Pants: Averted. When Mikiri comes out, she usually snaps Motoko's bra.
  • Manly Tears
  • The Matchmaker: Hibiki and Mikiri for Motoko/Kosukegawa. Yes, she's playing matchmaker for herself. Also counts as a Matchmaker Crush, since her alternate personalities also like Kosukegawa, but without many of the problems that the trope normally entails.
  • Media Watchdog: The subculture club got a lot of complaints about the Fan Service in their first movie. Their solution? Put the female leads (Motoko and Hino) in skin-tight bodysuits. Aizawa too.
  • Meganekko: Motoko, complete with Dojikko tendencies.
  • Mighty Whitey: Not actually white in this case, but Hino plays the trope rather straight after going to the Gigi village and besting their greatest warriors, earning the title of Gadam. Manages to avoid most of the Unfortunate Implications the trope normally carries, however.
  • Mind Control Eyes: The number one sign that Zero is in control, and probably the last warning you get before being murdered.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Motoko, though which personality is in control tends to determine how much she's okay with that.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Bullies, gangs, and even drug-doped mooks (and sometimes even armed soldiers) are usually just cannon fodder to HiFuMi and company and most definitely to Zero.
  • Non-Action Guy: Kousukegawa. Note that this doesn't stop him from trying to help or protect his Action Girl friends against opponents who give them problems, and he has absolutely no chance against.
  • Panty Shot: Those not played purely for Ecchi value are justified due to realistic skirt physics.
  • Parental Abandonment
  • Peaceful in Death: Or not. "Um, I'm not dead."
  • Pure Awesomeness: Tatsuya Rukawa
  • Put on a Bus: Lampshaded by the narrator on two minor antagonists after they are hilariously defeated by Hibiki in Chapter 16.

Next Scheduled Appearance: Never

  • Red Herring: Immediately after we see Ginga discovering that the Gadam has returned to Japan, we're introduced to Botan Tsukishima, the tall, Ambiguously Brown transfer student who clearly has fighting experience. Several chapters later, we discover that she's not the Gadam -- that's Izuru Hino, the smaller, paler, more ladylike other transfer student who we didn't meet until a few chapters after the Gadam scene.
  • Right Behind Me:
    • Kosukegawa is praying at the shrine for the courage to ask Motoko out. Guess who was behind him? What she says next is just wonderful:
  • Resignations Not Accepted: The organization Mokoto's mother worked for. The only way a person leaves is by dying. Not even Mokoto's mother living outside the compound spared her from missions. It was actually being called in for a job which led to the accident that caused her death.
  • The Rival: Ginga is in pursuit of the Gadam who is also her best friend, Hino, hoping to defeat the Gadam and claim the title for herself.
    • Or at least that's the excuse. She really just didn't want to say goodbye to her best friend.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Kamen Rider and Getter Robo, the first Transforming Mecha series which featured a robot that could switch between three forms in battle.
    • The title itself is a reference to the command the pilots shout when switching forms: "Change Getter (1,2,3)!" Also, Motoko's three fathers are expies of Getter Robo's three main characters - Nagare Ryoma, Jin Hayato and Kurama Benkei.
      • Also note the colors of the stances: Red, Blue, and Yellow, happen to match the colors of Getters 1, 2, and 3, who specialize in each respective type.
      • It gets referenced again, this time literally.
    • No one knows where she's from but, everyone knows her body.
    • Fusion?
    • Ginga looks the same as the protagonist in the film An Indian in the city.
  • Shown Their Work: How much? The manga-ka dedicated an entire page to profuse apologies for one minor inconsequential detail. (Getting single-action and double-action revolvers mixed up.)
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Kamen Raider
    • The Cosplay movies made by the members of Kosukegawa's school sci-fi club. (Some scenes of the first one can be seen in the manga.)
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Well... more like four single women in one single woman's body seek a good man, but still.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Every once in a while, Kosukegawa thinks about Motoko and a single hair on his head stands straight up. Yeah, it means pretty much what you think it does.
  • Split Personality Merge: What the characters are ostensibly aiming for, so Motoko can live a more normal life.
  • Split Personality Takeover: After Motoko recovers her memories of her mother's death, she disappears, leaving only HiFuMi. The rest of the series is devoted to bringing her back.
  • Stance System (Color-coded for the viewer's convenience, based on the "RYB" system): Red is Offense, Blue is Speed, and Yellow is Defense; each fighter is basically either specialized in one of those, or mixes two of them together (e.g. Blue + Yellow = Green = quick w/ strong defense; partial mixing - i.e. light Yellow, meaning less defensive ability than "full Yellow" - is also possible). Black, the mix of ALL THREE, is stated to be theoretically nigh-impossible, due to the delicate muscular balance that is necessary to achieve each separate color.
  • The Stoic: Fujiko, compared to the other three personalities.
  • Stripperiffic: Not so much in the story itself as in the Cosplay movies made by the members of Kosukegawa's sci-fi club. When asked by Motoko why they use this trope, they provide a pretty lame excuse telling her that sci-fi and fantasy worlds are too hot for normal clothes.
  • Super-Deformed/Rubber Hose Limbs
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Ginga. An unusual case, since it has more to do with her wiry build and tribal mode of dress which leads to some confusion.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Red-Yellow-Blue Stance System works like this. In one scene Fujiko even explicitly uses the "rock-paper-scissor" as a metaphor, while commenting the battle between Ginga and Gadam, saying that there is no chance for Hibiki (who is almost pure "red") to win in a battle against Gadam (who is predominantly "yellow").
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo:
    • Fujiko, despite not having the long hair, fits into this trope quite well.
    • Botan Tsukishima.
  • Theme Naming: Each chapter is named for a mathematical idea or theory.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Mikiri finds that her grappling techniques are far less effective on one of her assailants thanks to his unusual reaction to pain.
  • Tranquil Fury: Motoko doesn't usually get mad. When she means Zero's about to come out and play. She rarely talks, or shows any emotion, but it's quite clear that she's pissed.
  • True Love's Kiss: Subverted. It's Motoko that kisses Kousukegawa when she finally comes back. "For the sleeping beauty to give the kiss is against the rules."
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Inverted. Kousukegawa's dad is basically an aged up, Bishounen version of himself. His mom is drawn as short, squat, and plain.
  • Vapor Wear:
    • Motoko, if she isn't paying attention, will sometimes do this. More often than not, however, it's because Mikiri got them dressed that day.
    • Hibiki, if she's trying to get Kousukegawa's attention.
    • Mikiri never wears a bra because all of Motoko's bras are too small for her.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Ginga at first, as part of the standard Gigi outfit. She eventually gets some proper clothes once she starts getting breasts.
  • Watch Where You're Going: Hibiki and Ginga, while trying to catch a thief, run right into each other.
  • Wham! Episode: Starting in Chapter 48, when Zero takes over, nearly kills Sora and almost chokes Kosukegawa because he tries to stop her. Then, in Chapter 49, we finally get to see how her mother died... and Motoko's personality disappears, leaving behind only Hifumi and Zero.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Averted hard. Most of the guys in the manga are smarter than to think a girl can't be dangerous, especially considering there's someone like Hifumi wandering around.
  • Xanatos Gambit: In the name of therapy, no less.
    • To clarify, our resident Teen Genius decides that the best way to verify whether or not a fourth, rage-filled personality exists within Motoko is to basically beat all other personalities up to kingdom come...without informing the male protagonist, incidentally a close "friend", or the two "fathers" (of Motoko, that is) that are not involved in executing the plot. How he managed to ultimately convince the third into cooperating is unknown, though it's probably because the third was the most pragmatic one among them.
  • Yubitsume: A Yakuza member accidentally cuts off his own finger with a switchblade when fighting Tatsuya, Hibiki's father. Tatsuya comments that Yakuza are used to losing fingers. Later on, Kenji offers Yubitsume in return for getting to leave the family, but is ordered to kill Tatsuya instead.