Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi

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Our lead couple, Ritsu Onodera and Masamune Takano.

Ah, love. There is truth in what people say that first love is one of the most important relationships in a person's life. For better or for worse.

For Ritsu Onodera, it turned his somewhat sheltered, naive 15-year-old self into an ornery 25-year-old man when his relationship with his first love went sour. After hearing his co-workers badmouthing him because he so happened to pick up a star writer at his family's publishing company (though he had no intent on using his family connections for such a reason), he quits his job to prove he can make a star out of anyone he works with. However, a hitch appears in his plan as he ends up working as an editor at in the shoujo manga department of his new company, Marukawa Shoten. Determined to just go two weeks and quit, he goes into his new job with apathy, only to find that his new boss, Masamune Takano, is a blunt perfectionist who tells him to leave if he's not going to take things seriously. Goaded by this, Onodera decides he wants to stick around just to prove the guy wrong...all the while not realizing his new boss is actually his first love back in high school.

Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi is a Boys Love manga created by Junjou Romantica's Shungiku Nakamura (the novel part is done by Miyako Fujisaki). It has also received an OVA and a series adaptation from Studio DEEN and premiered as part of the Spring 2011 lineup.

Like the author's other series, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi also focuses on several couples. The Case of Ritsu Onodera covers the main couple, Ritsu Onodera and Masamune Takano. The Case of Shouta Kisa covers Shouta Kisa, a co-worker of Onodera who also work under Takano, and Kou Yukina, a sales associate at a bookstore. And lastly, The Case of Chiaki Yoshino features Chiaki Yoshino, one of the Mangaka who works for the Emerald magazine, and Yoshiyuki Hatori, another co-worker of Onodera. Unlike the first two, which are manga and compiled under The Case of Ritsu Onodera tankobon, The Case of Chiaki Yoshino is a light novel spinoff. In October 2011, yet another novel spinoff, The Case of Takafumi Yokozawa, was released.

Tropes used in Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi include:
  • All Men Are Perverts/I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: the main thing Kisa and Yukina do when they are together is have sex. Kisa reasons that it's because they're both men. A similar thing happens with Takano and Onodera. When Onodera is unsure what will happen if he goes into Takano's apartment, he replies bluntly that he's a man, what does he expect?
  • Apologizes a Lot: Onodera ends almost every sentence he speaks to Takano with an apology in the OVA. Could arguably count as his Catch Phrase in his high school years.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Onodera freaked out after waking up in Takano's bed, having fallen asleep on the train the night before.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • Onodera and Takano. Nuff said, really. It basically boils down to the fact that Ritsu is in recursive denial, despite the fact that he is so attracted to and in love with Takano that just holding his hand is enough to send him into meltdown.
    • Similar situation goes for Kirishima and Yokozawa. They fight almost as much as Takano and Onodera
  • Better as Friends: Takano and Yokozawa. Well, Takano thinks so, anyway.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: hurt or hit on Kisa when Yukina's within earshot, you need to run. Really, really fast!
  • Bishie Sparkle:
    • Discussed by Onodera. Also featured on screen when the Maiden Club are properly introduced.
    • Yukina. His sparkling aura is so bright it hurts Kisa's eyes.
  • Bookworm: Both Onodera and Takano.
  • The Cameo: The guy that Ritsu worked with previously was Usami. In one chapter, Misaki is sleeping next to Onodera in the train and has also popped up in an early panel of chapter 12 when it's mentioned how part-timers tally the results of the magazine surveys.
  • Character Overlap:
    • Isaka from Junjou Romantica (and of Junjou Mistake couple) is a reoccurring minor character in this series as a Senior Managing Director of the company Takano and Onodera work at.
    • Usagi appears very briefly in the first episode as one of the authors Onodera worked with while he was still working with Onodera Publishing.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Onodera watched Takano for more than three years in junior high school and high school until he randomly confessed to him.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Ramp up the romantic atmosphere when Onodera first introduced himself to Takano in high school. Also illustrate Onodera's narration about how "pure" he was before he became the (self-proclaimed) jaded person of the present. And inexplicably show up indoors in ep 12.
  • Christmas Episode: One episode is on Christmas Eve, which is Takano's birthday.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Isaka likes to call Onodera 'Nanahikari', which means being a kid who profits from nepotism, which irritates Onodera to no end (although he doesn't let Isaka know that). However, Isaka has a good reason for that because he knows Onodera doesn't know that he only got his job at Emerald because nepotism too.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title can be translated as "The best first love in the world", and "first love" is the underlying theme for all three storylines. How it is played out is another matter.
  • Fish Out of Water: The premise of the series is a literature editor getting a new job in shoujo manga department and weirded out by his in-company infamous new colleagues. He copes with it quite quickly though.
  • Five-Man Band: The Emerald Editors
    • The Hero- Ritsu (Can be switched with Kisa during Kisa's case)
    • The Lancer- Takano
    • The Big Guy- Hatori
    • The Smart Guy- Mino (After seeing in a mini comic on how he convinces his editors to finish their manuscripts)
    • The Chick- Kisa (Can be switched with Ritsu during Kisa's case)
    • The Sixth Ranger- Yokozawa (Despite not being in the Emerald team, he does fit this trope)
  • Funny Background Event: This scene. Watch everyone else in the background panic as Ritsu is trying to talk on the phone.
  • Forceful Kiss: Subverted. Takano forced a kiss on Onodera on his first day of work just to provide a real-life example for a mangaka. Then played straight later on.
  • Headbutt of Love: Onodera and Takano in the opening sequence of the anime.
  • Head Desk: Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi has one memorable instance.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: A running gag in the series is that mangaka cannot finish their work on time.
  • If You Ever Do Anything To Hurt Him: Happens twice. Once when Takano tells Yokozawa in no uncertain terms that he is undeniably in love with Ritsu and that if he ever hurt him or harassed him that they were through, and afterwards when Yokozawa tells this to Ritsu about Takano.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Onodera explicitly states he's jaded as a result of his first failed relationship with Takano.
  • Just Friends: Takano and Yokozawa, where (Huge Spoiler) Yokozawa has unrequited feelings of love towards Takano, but Takano firmly rejects him, stating clearly that he is completely in love with Ritsu and that he regards Yokozawa simply as a good friend and co-worker but nothing more. This is a very prominent Ship Sinking moment, unsurprisingly.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Befitting a story about Shoujo manga editors. Onodera comments on Shoujo tropes such as use of Dramatic Wind and Bishie Sparkle, while Takano lectures him about "maiden's heart throb page".
  • Longing Look: Onodera looked for more than three years. He came to know a lot about Takano in that time.
  • Love At First Sight:
    • Onodera falls for Takano the moment he sees him in the library. He berates himself a little for falling in love so easily.
    • Kisa falls in love with any handsome guy. He did this with Yukina like his other exes but he actually falls for him seriously.
    • Yuu falls in love with Chiaki at first sight when they were in middle school (becomes Hopeless Suitor. Poor Guy)
  • Love Epiphany: The show is full of them, but Kisa's really stands out. In complete denial that he could be in love with Yukina outside of Yukina's very handsome face because he never fallen before (although he has been feeling a little strange around Yukina for a while). However Yukina points out that Kisa has been avoiding looking straight at his face ever since the kiss incident in the cafe. Then it finally hits Kisa like a sledgehammer.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Onodera pretty much views love like this after his falling out with Takano and why he's basically fighting tooth and nail to avoid falling for Takano again.
  • Love Martyr: As a teenager, Onodera was this for Takano. Case in point: Takano completely exploded and rail-roaded Onodera with an unjustified "The Reason You Suck" Speech, and afterwards Onodera still come back in the rain to give him an umbrella he'd brought from home just in case he didn't have one.
  • Luminescent Blush: So incredibly common with the ukes.
  • Mankiller In Love: Kisa admits that he'll get in any guy's bed as long they have a handsome face and completely cut ties when he eventually gets bored of them, regardless of the other guy's feelings. Then came Yukina.
  • The Messiah: arguably Onodera as a 15-year-old, who you could easily stamp with the trope The Ingenue as well.
  • Mistaken Age: Kisa Shouta is 30 years old, but he certainly doesn't look it.
  • Moustache De Plume: An inverted fictional version. Yoshino writes his shoujo titles under the penname 'Chiharu Yoshikawa'. Note while Chiaki and Chiharu are technically gender-neutral names depending on the kanji, Chiharu is considered to be a more feminine name than Chiaki, which is usually a little on the masculine side. Plus only the editors at Emerald know that he's really a guy. Also a Truth in Television that male mangaka who work in shoujo or BL usually adopt feminine names for their works.
  • Names to Know in Anime:
  • Nepotism:
    • What Onodera is accused of, and the reason for his low self-confidence. It is also the reason he leaves Onodera Publishing; he wishes to prove himself as a competent editor on his own.
    • Isaka has this problem as well but doesn't let it get to him as much.
  • New Old Flame: Subverted with Onodera and Takano. They did not even recognize each other at first.
  • No Export for You: Because Tokyopop's Boy's Love label, BLU, is closing down along with Tokyopop, the manga series will not be released in English. The novels covering Yoshino-Hatori relationship are also unlikely to be available in languages other than Japanese and Chinese.
  • Not a Morning Person: The entire Maiden Club. It does not help that they have to work at night to meet deadlines.
  • Older Than They Look: Most prominent example with Kisa. Yukina thought that Kisa was a young genius editor who was around his age until Kisa tells him that he's actually 30 years old. In an extra, it's revealed that he is also the envy of the female co-workers in their company because Kisa still maintains his youthful looks even during the hectic end of the 20-day cycle (albeit he still looks kinda worn out).
  • The One That Got Away: Guess.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Being that the main story is set in the shoujo manga department of a publishing company, Nakamura constantly makes small notes in the margins of the manga pointing out things "a mangaka should do", indicating she is prone to doing a lot of bad things herself.
  • Rape Is Love: Used with Onodera/Takano and Hatori/Yoshino, but averted with Kisa/Yukina.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Onodera gets a couple thrown his way, most prominently 1) Yokozawa when he berates Onodera for being a lazy, manipulative idiot who rides on his parents' coat-tails and that he has no right to even fall in love with Takano, and 2) teenage Takano who takes out the frustration of his broken home on 15-year-old Onodera, telling him that he sucks for loving him like he does, and furthermore that he's incredibly annoying and 'seriously gross'. Remember those self-esteem problems that Ritsu had and his issues believing that Takano really loved him in the first place? Not helping.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator:
    • The source of misery for the editors.
    • Yoshino is pretty infamous among the Emerald crew since he seems to have a lot of trouble getting his manuscripts on time because of this. Poor Hatori constantly has to make him get it to the printing department on the nick of time because he can predict Yoshino's patterns due knowing Yoshino since they were kids.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Takano accused Onodera of this when the latter could not remember the details of their break up.
  • Sempai-Kohai: Takano and Onodera's relationship in highschool. And in the present, Takano is Onodera's sempai at work.
  • Sequential Artist: Considering it focuses on the manga publishing industry, a lot of these show up in the cast and the non-romance plot revolves around managing them.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: This is used so often that it would be difficult to name every instance of it.
  • Sleep Cute: Onodera fell asleep on the train and used Takano as a pillow (though not intentionally). Takano didn't mind.
  • Snow Means Love: In the ending sequence. And in the manga, Onodera and Takano went on a date for Takano's birthday and it snowed
  • Stylistic Suck: Averted. The manga manuscripts in the anime look like actual manga.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Onodera's "This is definitely not love" over several episodes.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The whole series consists of four independent stories with some overlap with each other, most noticeably that all characters are affiliated with Marukawa Publishing one way or another.
  • Unequal Pairing
  • Vending Machine Of Overheard Insults: Onodera overheard his co-workers badmouthing him and accusing him of using his family connections to become Akihiko Usami's editor, which is why he quit.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Yokozawa and Takano are good friends. Their first scene in the anime together, however, is an insult match.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: In the manga, and now the anime, Ritsu gets drunk and ends up partially-confessing and sleeping with Masamune (his current boss and former boyfriend). He does not remember any of it the following morning, despite waking up in his bed and feeling very, er, sore, afterwards. He suspects but is in complete denial, much to the great annoyance of Masamune, who has been trying to get him to admit that he likes him for months.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Onodera and Takano from episode 2 of the anime onwards.
  • Work Com
  • Write What You Know: There are explanations about how manga is created and published. The name "Emerald" is a play on "Ruby", a magazine of Kadokawa (the publisher of this series).
  • Younger Than They Look- Yokozawa who gets teased for looking like he's in his early thirties despite being only 28.