Flowers can't bloom in such a dirty city.
Deep Love (Ayu no Monogatari - The Story of Ayu) is a tragedy story that started the genre known as "Text Novels". It was written in 2002-2003 by "Yoshi".
It tells the story of Ayu, who works as a prostitute, believing that money is the most important thing in the world and that all men want is to have sex. She lives with her drug addict "boyfriend", Kenji, and occasionally goes to school, where only one person looks forward to seeing her: Reina, who also sells herself for extra money (named Reika in the live adaption... for a bit). Things slowly change when she meets an old lady that changes her outlook and one adorable dog that follows her around.
The book was a big success and spawned a two-book manga series, a 13-episode live action drama (2004) and one movie (2000). Spin-off mangas for Reina (Reina no Unmei) and Pao (Pao no Monogatari) were also written. There is also the manga sequel Deep Love: REAL which is a continuation of the story and about Yoshiyuki's life as a host; this got turned into the twelve episode show Deep Love Host.
- Abusive Parent: In the live action adaptation, Ayu's stepfather abused her and raped her.
- Yoshiyuki's father, shouting at and usually neglecting Yoshiyuki, abandoning him at Granny's until he got married to a woman who would look after him instead, and not bothering to help with his operation fees. His stepmother is emotionally abusive to him as well.
- Adaptation Expansion: The television show adds more to the story, little conversations and things - like fleshing out Kenji's story - but it does change the order of some things. It also created numerous characters and added much more to Ayu's backstory.
- The Alcoholic: Yoshiyuki's father is always found at the same pub every day.
- All Men Are Perverts: Yoshiyuki is the only exception to the rule in this work.
- Alpha Bitch: Keiko, the head bully who torments Reina in the television adaption.
- Attempted Rape: In the live action version, three of the men at her work attempt to rape her before getting saved by Oka.
- The Atoner: After Ayu steals Granny's money that was saved for her child's operation, Granny dies. Ayu decides to save up the money herself to pay for it even if she can't donate her own heart, without selling her body. In the end, she couldn't do it without selling herself.
- Badass Gay: Oka.
Oka: "Don't underestimate fags or else you'll pay for it!"
- Blackmail: Reina is blackmailed into remaining quiet about her rape or else the girls who set her up would pass around the photographs of her.
- Big Brother Bully: Ayu's stepbrother tries to make her life a living hell, trying to get everybody she likes to hate her as much as he does. Then we learn it's because he wants her to stay with him forever, so he is getting rid of all her friends so she has nowhere else to go.
- Bittersweet Ending: Ayu is dead, Yoshiyuki gets his surgery and Reina is happy as a young mother.
- Break the Cutie: Reina, after she's raped, blackmailed and stabbed, is very different from her previous self. She gets better.
- The Bully: There's one at the restaurant Ayu works at later in the series.
- Camp Gay: Oka.
- Cannot Spit It Out: The taxi driver can't admit to Ayu that he's her father.
- Catholic School Girls Rule: Not Catholic, but in the live action version, one of the johns was very adamant that Reina and Ayu wear their school uniforms.
- The Chikan: Ayu gets molested on a train, but she allows it and charges her regular amount afterward. The man doesn't give her enough and she throws the money away.
- The live action version opens with this scene, but instead he gives her the right amount and she keeps it.
- Child by Rape: After Reina is raped, she gets pregnant and has a daughter.
- Christmas Cake: Kenji's clients are these, along with the older prostitute Ayu sees around.
- Dead Guy, Junior: At the end, it's shown that Reina named her daughter Ayu.
- Death by Falling Over: In the show only, Kenji.
- Defiled Forever: Ayu believes this about herself because she's had sex for money, telling Yoshiyuki not to touch her.
- Definitely Just a Cold: An unusual example, as -Ayu- didn't know it wasn't a fever. It's AIDS.
- Dirty Business: Ayu feels guilty saving Kenji by stealing Granny's money. It doesn't help later when she learns that it was for her ill child. Ayu later confesses and swears to make it right.
- Disappeared Dad: Ayu's biological father and Reina's. In the television adaption, the nameless prostitute's father left when she was in elementary school.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In the live action version, Keiko is given a reason to torture Reina: she spent the day with her boyfriend. She didn't know it was her boyfriend...
- Door Step Baby: Ayu does this with Pao in the second episode, but Granny opens the door before she can walk away.
- Driven to Suicide: One of Reina's johns kills himself (changed to Ayu's in the television drama), and several pages later Kenji, who was back on his drug addiction (which is changed to an accident in the series).
- At the very end, it's said all in one sentence: "Yoshiyuki's father committed suicide the following spring." It is kept vague in the live adaptation how this character dies.
- In the live action version only, Ayu's mother.
- Drugs Are Bad: Kenji's drug addiction, losing his job and debts. At the start he's a walking piece of "cool", but he quickly falls from grace.
- Emotionless Girl: Ayu, eventually drifting into stoic and showing more emotions as the story goes.
- The Film of the Book
- Food Slap: Hot coffee is thrown over Keiko, the girl who organized Reina's rape.
- Foreshadowing: In the second episode, Kenji tells one of his clients that he's trying to raise money to help his friend get an operation. Yoshiyuki hasn't even been introduced yet... and he needs an operation when he does.
- In episode 4, "If you don't stop that you're gonna die." and "I think I'll be joining you soon."
- Friends with Benefits: Ayu and Kenji, not so much friends as people who argue.
- Gang of Bullies: The group of girls who bully Reina in the live action version, throwing her desk out of the window, etc.
- Genki Girl: Reina.
- Green-Eyed Monster: The fuel for The Bully who torments Ayu at her job at the restaurant.
- In the last episode, Yoshiyuki's dad admitted he did everything because he was jealous of "his pure love".
- Go Out with a Smile: Ayu at the very end.
- In the live adaptation, the nameless prostitute when she's killed by one of her customers.
- Happily Adopted: Granny's adoptive son, Yoshiyuki, who later went back to his natural father.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Reina and Ayu later in the story. In the live action version, the nameless older prostitute as well who helps Reina out in episode three and four.
- Hope Spot: Ayu and Yoshiyuki's holiday together. Ayu confesses that she's a prostitute and he accepts her and tells her she isn't dirty because of it. Then she gets arrested (though she's let go) and he's not allowed out of the hospital because he's sicker than before. And then it gets even worse.
- Ill Child: Yoshiyuki as a child.
- Hot Mom: Reina and Ayu's mother.
- Incurable Cough of Death
- Jerkass: Both of Yoshiyuki's parents.
- Karma Houdini: The men who rape Reina don't get into any trouble.
- Ayu's stepfather doesn't get in trouble either.
- Like Parent, Like Spouse: In the television series, the nameless prostitute explains that she always picks up men who remind her of her father.
- Loan Shark: Kenji borrows money from some for his drug addiction in the live action version, but then he got fired from his job.
- Look Both Ways: In the television show, Granny dies this way while chasing after who she thought was Ayu.
- Long Lost Sibling: In the live action only, Ayu's stepbrother.
- Love Hotels: Plenty of these turn up.
- Malicious Slander: Ayu's brother spreads a lot of rumors about Ayu around (posting them directly to Granny as well), while some of them are true others are made up to make her life difficult.
- Mark of Shame: This is what the girls planned with Reina, and scarred "whore" on her leg.
- Morning Sickness
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Ayu has severe shades of this as the series progresses.
- No Name Given: Granny, Yoshiyuki's parents, most of the workers at Ayu's bar job, the helpful prostitute, Ayu's parents, Reina's mother...
- Not Blood Siblings: In the live action version, it's revealed that Ayu slept with her stepbrother. Of course, he still paid.
- The Other Darrin: In the sequel television show Deep Love Host, Yoshiyuki is played by a different actor.
- None of the actors from the film replay their roles in the television drama.
- Out with a Bang: In the television version, the nameless prostitute is strangled by a customer she picked up but said she would spend time with for free; she seemed happy about this.
- Parental Incest: In the live action version, Ayu was raped by her stepfather and later sleeps with him.
- Parental Substitute: Granny becomes this to Ayu, being the only responsible adult around. She even calls Ayu her daughter and teaches her how to cook.
- Pen Name
- Perma-Stubble: Yoshiyoki's father.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Kenji says this to Ayu when she moves out of his flat and starts sleeping at Granny's house. He's in desperate need of money and begs her to stay and help him. She leaves, but does eventually return to help him.
- Please Wake Up: Ayu says this when Granny dies.
- Pretty Boy: Kenji. As a male prostitute, he can use this to his advantage.
- Rape and Revenge: Ayu goes after the girls who set Reina up. She says next time -she- would kill them after pouring hot coffee over them and stabbing one of them in the leg.
- Rape as Drama: Reina after the bullies set her up.
- In the live action version, Ayu was raped by her stepfather.
- Really Dead Montage: For Granny.
- Reincarnation: In the live action version, Reina says she believes her daughter is Ayu reincarnated.
- The Runaway: Ayu before the story started and Yoshiyuki ranaway temporarily to Okinawa.
- Scarpia Ultimatum: Yoshiyuki's father forces Ayu to sleep with him or else he won't help Yoshiyuki with his surgery. This also starts her back as a prostitute.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In the television show, Ayu leaves Granny because she feels guilty over stealing her money. Granny goes to look for her, worried, and sees Ayu getting into a car with an older gentleman. While she runs across the road to stop them, she gets hit by a car. It wasn't Ayu anyway...
- Sleep Cute: Ayu and Yoshiyuki together in episode 10, holding hands.
- Slipping a Mickey: The men at Ayu's work do this (along with the help of The Bully) in an attempt to rape her.
- Snow Means Death: A cruel example when Ayu dies and Yoshiyuki is looking up at the sky, wondering if she's watching it as well.
- Speech Impediment: Reina has a kind of lisp in the television show.
- Stalker with a Crush: Ayu gains one in the live action version: her stepbrother.
- STD Immunity: Averted. Ayu dies from AIDS, and this is probably why Yoshiyuki's father kills himself (he made her sleep with him so he would help raise the money for Yoshiyuki's surgery).
- The Stoic: Ayu.
- Suicide Attack: Granny's husband was part of the Kamekaze pilots in WW 2.
- Teen Pregnancy
- There Are No Therapists: Had Ayu seen somebody when she was dealing with her traumatic life, she might not have ended up the Emotionless Girl she is now.
- Thirteen Episode Anime
- Timmy in a Well: Pao shows two main examples of this. Granny tells him to fetch Ayu (confused after attacking Keiko) since she cannot (due to her weak legs), and at the end, Ayu asks him to deliver a Christmas present to Yoshiyuki and he delivers a present back.
- Undying Loyalty: At the end, Pao sleeps in the dead arms of Ayu.
- Granny also. Being very old, lame and living on a hill, she still runs around looking after young people. Once a month she takes the long walk to her husband's grave and prays to him for a whole hour, through wind and rain.
- Wartime Wedding: Granny and her husband. It lasted one night before he went away to fight and died as a kamikaze pilot.
- When She Smiles: Reina starts crying when Ayu smiles at her in the manga. In the television series, she comments on it.
- Wham! Episode: Episode six.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: Granny says this about her husband.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: A very short one shows Yoshiyuki alive and Reina with her child, Ayu.
- Wicked Stepfather: Ayu's abusive stepfather.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Multiple times, but the most horrid one is done at the very end when yu thinks she's got a fever over Christmas and Yoshiyuki sends her a minidisc with a recorded message talking about their next trip to Okinawa. She dies while it's finishing.
- This isn't even mentioning that the entire story is a big chain yank. When Ayu wanted to die she had no reason to, and the moment she had a reason to live, her life went downhill.
- Your Cheating Heart: Yoshiyuki's father (not to mention his stepmother). In the television show, they give the justification that Keiko, the head bully, picks on Reina so much because her boyfriend took her out once.
Tropes appearing in the various sequels/spin-offs:
Pao No Monogatari
This is a two volume manga, a prequel showing what Pao's life was like before Ayu found him in the park. The second volume follows his life through his time with Ayu and the others - being unsubtly added to all of the important scenes he wasn't in earlier.
It's equally as miserable as every other story in the series.
- Break the Cutie
- Dead Person Conversation: Pao talks to his mother and siblings once he's at Granny's house.
- Definitely Just a Cold: Take does not have a cold.
- Driven to Suicide: The original family, due to debts and the father's cancer. They drive their car into the ocean with their children in the backseats.
- Foregone Conclusion: Pao will end up alone, abused and in a park.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Straight when Pao gets his tongue cut, but subverted when his sister dies.
"Would you call that a mercy killing?"
- The Hero Dies: Pao dies in Ayu's dead arms.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Pao's mother didn't eat any of the food so her pups could have more.
- Incurable Cough of Death
- Kick the Dog: Pao literally gets kicked at least once every ten pages.
- Kids Are Cruel: After their mother dies, the pups are found by some children who shoot at them because their barking was loud.
- The kids who trap Pao in the school to throw rocks at him.
- Loan Shark
- Long-Lost Relative: Pao gets separated from his brother and sister early on. He finds his sister at the dog pound and finds out his brother is already dead.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The family says they don't want to put any of their dogs through what Nello suffered. They locked them up in a shed with a load of food, hoping somebody would find them. The girl says this when she returns to find them.
- No Party Like a Donner Party: Pao and his siblings eat their mother's dead body to survive.
- Obi-Wan Moment: Pao's mother spends her last moments telling her children how to be better dogs. And then to eat her carcass.
- Parental Substitute: Pao becomes one to Mew, the kitten he rescues.
- Undying Loyalty: Pao is fond of this. He stays by Take and Ume when they die and stays outside the original family's house until the policemen "tell" him the family won't be coming back.
Reina No Unmei
Reina's Fate is a spin-off sequel following Reina's life after the original story. There are unmarked spoilers for the original.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Reina was sixteen when she gave birth to Ayu.
- Angst Coma: Reina is a catatonic-like state after Akira's death. They get better.
- Big Damn Heroes: Yoshiyuki and co. rescuing Reina from the Boss.
- Bondage Is Bad: The Boss likes bondage...but her underwear was left on.
- Despair Event Horizon: Akira's death.
- Damsel in Distress: After Akira dies, Reina is kept as a sex prisoner of the Boss.
- Hope Spot: Akira and Reina get together and decide to raise Ayu together, he's just got to go and rescue Airi, and the Boss has a gun.
- Ill Girl: Ayu after she falls down the stairs and goes blind in the operation.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Reina feels guilty for telling Ayu to play by herself (so she can think about her unemployment issue) because Ayu falls down the stairs and ends up blind.
- Raised by Grandparents: Ayu after Reina leaves to work at the second sex club, gets held prisoner by the Boss and gets rescued by Yoshiyuki.
- Rescue Romance: Akira rescued Reina from somebody hassling her.
- Single Mom Stripper: Reina gets a job at a sex club when nowhere else will hire her (she dropped out of school). She gets fired after Akira makes a scene.
- She takes a similar job afterward.
- Title Drop: "There's nothing that can't be solved with deep, deep love."