Lovely Complex

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Otani & Koizumi

At 172 cm (about 5'7"), high school student Risa Koizumi is way taller than most other girls. This makes her very self-aware, which she tries to cover up by acting strong-willed and sarcastic, rarely showing her more sensitive side in public. That her name means "Little Spring" doesn't help much either.

Then she meets Atsushi Otani ("Big Valley"), captain of the basketball club, although he is short for a guy at 156 cm (5'1"). Otani's personality is a bit rough around the edges, so he and Koizumi don't hit it off well at first. Most of the time they try to one-up each other with snide remarks, giving them the reputation of being the high school's "All Hanshin-Kyojin" (referring to a comedy duo with one tall and one short member).

Despite all this they become good friends, since they share the same musical obsessions and zany sense of humor and promise to help each other out with their crushes. It is only a matter of time then before Koizumi discovers she might feel more for Otani than just friendship. But does he feel the same for her too, since she is way taller than he is?

Started as a shojo manga by Aya Nakahara, and adapted as an anime and live-action movie. The anime preserves much of the snark and energy of the original. The rollercoaster-ride of Koizumi's and Otani's relationship gains a lot of depth by way of a cast of lovable characters, which makes the series a pleasurable watch till the very end.

Discotek has announced a sub-only release of the anime series in North America.


Tropes used in Lovely Complex include:
  • Accidental Kiss: Otani passes out from his fever and falls on Risa's lips while trying to get a piece of rice out of her hair.
  • A-Cup Angst: After meeting Hitaomi, a rather buxom woman who flirts with Atsushi, Risa comments that she has no breasts with a rather dejected look on her face.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Otani surely isn't Mr. Sweet most of the time
  • Almost Kiss: Koizumi and Kohori
    • Happens twice in the manga with Risa and Otani. The first time, they're interrupted by Mimi in Otani's room and the second time they are interrupted by Nobu and Nakao while the two are on the bridge after Otani found out he passed his exam.
  • Angrish: Koizumi slips into this occasionally.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Otani and Koizumi can instantly drop angst, romance, or anything they were doing at the moment they see swimming pools, rickshaws, or Umibouzu.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: Otani/Koizumi
  • Bald of Awesome: Umibozu.
  • Beta Couple: The matchmaker friends.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Suzuki fails to get into the same college as (sweet, meek, quiet) Chiharu, and seriously considers breaking up with her because he feels insufficient as a boyfriend. When she finds out, she picks up a desk and throws it, just barely missing him. She remains angry enough for a while to involuntarily tear magazines in half whenever she remembers it, too.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Otani/Koizumi obviously employ this trope, but it also comes up in casual conversation almost constantly, with Koizumi usually acting as the Tsukkomi. See also Kansai Regional Accent, below.
  • Book Dumb: Both Koizumi and Otani
  • Bishonen: Suzuki, Otani, Haruka, Kohori, but especially Maitake and Seiko.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Maitake's "magic".
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mimi. She gets better.
  • Butt Monkey: poor Kohori
  • Caught on the Jumbotron: Two characters get caught having a heart-to-heart discussion about their relationship.
  • Class Trip: with a very central role to the plot
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mimi towards Otani at first, though she gets better. Otani and Risa towards eachother, and Haruka towards Risa, though he later gets better too.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Happens far too often with Otani. (See Oblivious to Love)
  • Compressed Adaptation: The anime series compressed all the manga in 24 episodes, leaving out or changing some events that happened in the manga (fortunately affecting just a little bit to the main story).
  • Corner of Woe: Haruka is a frequent occupant.
  • The Dandy: Haruka
  • Dawson Casting: In the live-action movie, all the main cast except the actress playing Koizumi is clearly much older than their supposed age. Averted with her, as she just as clearly is playing almost her own age.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: Koizumi
  • Dynamic Entry: Nobu-chan frequently does this to Koizumi, usually involving a knee to the kidneys. Ouch.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Koizumi has to do this over, AND over, AND over, AND over again until things go right.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: Carrying a guy who struggles to escape to a changing room? Not a problem for Koizumi.
  • Face of a Thug: Umibouzu. His wife even says that, despite his angry appearance, he's actually a very kind person.
  • "Falling in Love" Montage: Koizumi imagines this would've happened, had she and Otani been of 'normal' height.
  • Foe Yay: Haruka and Seiko
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Koizumi's famous "Ahou Punch".
  • Genki Girl: Seiko
  • Gonk: Risa is normally pretty good-looking, but she can make some rather...strange faces if she's in a bad mood or is trying to be more "traditionally" cute.
  • Gratuitous English: Otani: "I'm breaking up with Koizumi...FOLEVER! "
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany:
    • Koizumi's not actually going out with someone else but Maity-sensei takes it upon himself to make Otani jealous, getting him to finally realize he likes Risa. It's the Operation: Jealousy variation.
    • Similarly, after Seiko starts flirting with Otani, Risa starts getting jealous as well, which leads her to start admitting she likes Otani.
  • Hot Teacher: Maitake, in spades.
  • Huge Schoolgirl
  • Imagine Spot: Used to great effect in the anime.
  • Insult of Endearment: Koizumi and Otani refer to each other as "midget" and "amazon" or "totem pole" respectively. Later, after the Relationship Upgrade, they still occasionally call each other this, though in a considerably softer manner than before.
  • Instant Fanclub: Koizumi starts one for Maitake.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Abe is in love with Kohori who is in love with Koizumi. Rather than being happy that her rival is preoccupied with Otani, Abe tries to convince Koizumi to date Kohori by trying to start a fight so that she'll break up with Otani and be free.
  • Jerkass: Koizumi's grandfather, "Jii-chan," who gives Otani nothing but hell from the second the two meet, to the point of arranging for a vicious gold-digger to seduce Otani away from Koizumi and break them up. She hits the wrong target, but the fact that he tried is bad enough. Possibly upgrades to Jerk with a Heart of Gold when he reveals that his late wife was even taller than him, and the height disparity caused their relationship a lot of trouble, so he doesn't want to see the same thing happen to Koizumi. Possibly.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Otani.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Most of the cast. Most noticeable when Otani and Koizumi are bantering, as the staple Fangirl Japanese word "Baka" is replaced with "ahou".
    • The series is interesting for both playing the dialect completely straight (as an aspect of the region rather than the characters in general), but also playing the character trope completely to the hilt. Aside from the "manzai duo" of the main couple, they go to freaking Maido Academy. Maido... really.
  • Karaoke Box
  • Kimodameshi
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Generally, the narration boxes in the manga belong solely to Koizumi's thoughts. Once in a while, some pop up that seem to belong to Otani... except the "camera" then pulls back to reveal that one of their friends is holding up a sign and a marker.

Otani: What are you doing?
Nakao: (holding up a marker and a sign next to Otani's head that says "I'm sorry for being mean to you.") Your true feelings.

  • Love Dodecahedron
  • Lucky Charms Title: Lovely?Complex or Love?Com.
  • Matchmaker Crush: The 'matchmaker' part takes place in the first episode when both of them try to fix each other up with two of their friends (said friends end up together at the end of the episode). The crush part comes later.
  • The Matchmaker: Everyone for Koizumi and Otani, but especially Nobuko.
  • Meaningful Name: Inverted with Koizumi and Otani.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Koizumi, during several events involving her coworker Kohori. Later thought of Otani when he spends the night with a gold digger
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon:
  • Noodle People: Even Otani looks noodly sometimes.
  • Nosebleed: A Running Gag with Suzuki in the movie.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Otani and Koizumi's first 'kiss' was a result of him passing out and falling on her face.
  • Oblivious to Love: It's truly frightening how hard Otani has to be clubbed across the head with Koizumi's interest. She confesses to him, and he thinks it's a joke. A friend says that, yes, she meant him. He says, "Don't lie." When he asks what the guy she loves is like, she describes him perfectly, and he guesses she means another member of the basketball club. It takes her repeating that description and saying, "He's in here," when they're in a room alone together, and he still doesn't get it until he's had a good long think about what she's said. What an Idiot!.
    • Though Otani's obliviousness is rather selective. He correctly guesses every characteristic of the person Koizumi's interested in, except that it's him.
  • One Head Taller: Koizumi and Otani, though in this case it's the girl who's taller.
  • Patient Childhood Love Interest: Mimi
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Koizumi deals those to both Otani and Mimi.
  • The Rival: Mimi
  • School Festival
  • Second Year Protagonist
  • Sexy Man, Instant Harem: Maitake.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Both Otani and Koizumi say this, even after the former has kissed her of his own accord.
    • There's more! After they get the Relationship Upgrade, when Koizumi is asked if Otani is her boyfriend, she says he isn't, because he didn't say they were a couple!! This tropes found it a CMOF
  • Ship Sinking: Done quite literally in the first episode with Risa's and Otani's crushes.
  • Shojo: Though it tends to make fun of itself more often than most
  • Sick Episode: Otani gets sick, Risa helps him out.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Nakao and Ishihara.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Otani and Koizumi, of course, but Maity's fiancee Jody and her father take the cake for this one. They beat each other senseless right before her wedding, as he didn't approve of the man she chose, but treat it as a perfectly normal occurrence and take it more as an expression of their deep love.
  • Sleep Cute: The night before Otani's college entrance exams, everyone in his house comes down with the flu. To avoid catching it himself, Otani spends the night at Koizumi's house. He falls asleep studying, and when Koizumi goes in her room to check on him, she falls asleep next to him.
  • Staring Kid: Otani attracts a crowd of them after making a scene during the Beach Episode.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Koizumi plays one in the haunted house during the culture fest episode, and is so incredibly good at it (due to channeling her resentment at Otani) that nobody wants to come unless she's there.
  • There Is Only One Bed: At Maity's wedding, Otani and Koizumi are given a room with a double bed to share. This causes Koizumi a significant amount of angst, though Otani eventually decides to sleep down the hall.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Much to both Koizumi and Otani's irritation.
  • Transsexualism: Seiko is an EPIC version of this trope.
  • Tsundere: Koizumi comes pretty close at times
    • Otani is much more so. A rare male example.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: In the manga, at least, everyone seems to have a new outfit each day. Even in school, where you'd be expecting the usual Japanese high school uniform. Koizumi also has quite a few unique hairstyles.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Played with, as Otani starts realizing he has feelings for Risa just when she's deciding to give up on him for the last time.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Seiko
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Koizumi and Otani, so much, before either even begins thinking of the other as potentially date-worthy. They actually fit every single aspect of this trope, up to Otani freaking out because Koizumi thanked him for a drink instead of snarking back at him.
    • Haruka and Seiko probably also qualify.
  • Vocal Dissonance: When crossdresser Seiko's voice changes at the end of his second year, he becomes despondent and refuses to wear girls' clothes because his new deep voice doesn't match with a cute appearance. Lucky for him, it was just a cold and his voice went back to its usual higher tone.
  • When She Smiles: In this case, when 'he' smiles. When Chiharu promises Suzuki that she'll wait for him (to enter the same university as her), the latter smiles. Everyone (except Chiharu) remarks how they've never seen him smile before, especially in such an adorable manner.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Seiko again.
  • Will They or Won't They?: One of the best examples in recent anime history. After about the halfway point in the manga, it becomes more a case of "Will They Or Won't They Stay Together?"
  • Yandere: Mimi, though she gets better.