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Urayama Minoru, an Ordinary High School Student, is disillusioned and apathetic towards his current life and future prospects. His crush, Yoshinaga Hiroko, is however secretly aspiring to become an Idol Singer. When Minoru found out that Hiroko is making a final attempt to pass the audition for the famous idol group AKB48, he decided to support her dream at all costs, even if it meant cross-dressing to participate in the same audition and watch over her from the back. A heated outburst in the audition caught the attention of the group's producer and both Hiroko and Minoru - who assumed the name "Urakawa Minori" - unexpectedly passed the audition and became trainee members, or kenkyuusei, of AKB48. Now Minoru must not only protect Hiroko's dream, but also his true identity as well as he plunges unwittingly into the entertainment world.

A shounen manga by Miyajima Reiji and Motoazabu Factory, AKB49~Ren'ai Kinshi Jourei~ is the first manga that features the Real Life idol group AKB48 and actual AKB48 members appear from time to time as supporting characters.

Tropes used in AKB49: Ren'ai Kinshi Jourei include:

  • The Ace: Maeda Atsuko, a member of AKB48 Team A, is often described as one; among the kenkyuusei Okabe Ai can be counted as one, being naturally talented in both singing and dancing.
  • Aloof Ally: Okabe eventually becomes this towards the rest of the kenkyuusei after concluding a truce with Minoru.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Okudaira-sensei, a classic literature teacher in Minoru's school was on the verge of becoming one until he caught a glimpse of a kenkyuusei performance and became touched by their determination, especially that of "Minori" who had persisted in continuing the performance even after being injured on an accident on-stage. His subsequent devotion towards supporting the kenkyuusei's determination makes him rather cool after all.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Maeda's favourite method of provoking Minoru into action in this series.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Hiroko, a fan of AKB48, becomes one after she successfully passed the AKB48 auditions.
  • Attractive Bent Gender: Minoru, when dressed up as "Minori".
  • Berserk Button: Hiroko extremely detests people badmouthing Maeda, who she admires greatly.
  • Bishounen: Kijima Taichi, the manager for Minoru, Hiroko and Okabe later in the series, is one. He even appears with Bishie Sparkle.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Okabe started off as one towards the kenkyuusei, although she turned out to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and even exhibited Tsundere attitudes occasionally.
    • Maya and the &Jewel group seem to be a straight example.
  • Bland-Name Product: Played straight with references to Coogle and Nuco Nuco Douga; averted with YouTube and a straight up Hatsune Miku cosplay.
  • Blinding Bangs: The stage chief Sakura has them, which disappears when she becomes serious.
  • Boring but Practical: Backstage work is essentially this. Sure, the staff do not appear in the actual performance itself, but without their work, the performance will not happen at all.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The pair of charms Hiroko got for both herself and Minoru turn out to be instrumental in snapping Minoru out of his Heroic BSOD in Chapter 34.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Hiroko was constantly pressured by her father to focus on her studies. Her hard work paid off during a quiz show in Chapter 78 when she rescued her team from the brink with her years of accumulated knowledge.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Minoru did this in Chapter 33 when he disregarded his masquerade and poured his heart out to an unconscious Hiroko in the hospital.
  • Cool Big Sis: The default role of the regular members of AKB48 towards the kenkyuusei, who will offer helpful advices on what it means and takes to be an idol whenever they appear.
  • Costume Porn: The costumes for stage performances.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Maeda is portrayed as such in this series.
  • Debt Detester: Okabe claims to be this after she helped Minoru in a performance.
  • Determinator: Most characters in this series have this quality.
  • Dirty Old Man: Kisaki Tadamoto, the mysterious old man that appeared in Chapter 55, likes to grope Minoru and company a bit too much. He even admitted of being this trope himself.
    • As a Running Gag, Team K member Ooshima Yuuko is depicted as having the mind of one.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Minoru, which led him to attempt cross-dressing in the first place.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The introduction of Kijima, where he appeared in a cool pose with Bishie Sparkle and gave a Rousing Speech... until he dropped his pen and ended up chasing after it, cemented his status as a Genius Ditz.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Arakawa Haruto, a composer whose works are internet hits, surprised Minoru and company when they visited him to request his services and found out that he is only a middle school student.
  • Face Fault: Occurred to Minoru when AKB48 producer Akimoto Yasushi commented that he is male in front of all the kenkyuusei during their initial meeting, then dismissing the statement as a joke. Turns out he is really aware of Minoru's true identity after all.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Hiroko's father strongly disapproved of her dreams to become an Idol Singer, which led to a confrontation between he and Hiroko when he found out that she had joined AKB48 and culminated in him estranging her.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: Minoru's Not a Date with Takahashi Minami, the captain of AKB48, in Chapter 38 featured them having a private conversation with each other on board a ferris wheel, complete with Ship Tease.
  • First-Name Basis: Hiroko allowed "Minori" to call her by that in Chapter 15, marking the strong friendship between them
  • A Friend in Need: Okabe bailed out Minoru a couple of times, after Minoru did the same to her earlier in the series, proving that she really has a Hidden Heart of Gold, though she claims that she do not like to owe anyone any favours.
  • "Friend or Idol?" Decision: A rather literal one occurred in Chapter 31 when Hiroko collapsed due to fatigue right before the crucial "Day X" performance, causing Minoru to contemplate on accompanying her to the hospital and abandon his idol career or continue with the performance. He chose the former. Subverted in that the decision is not mutually exclusive after all.
  • Gender Bender Friendship: While Minoru is on good terms with Hiroko, his friendship with her only becomes very strong when he is "Minori".
  • Genius Ditz: Kijima is really The Klutz if not for the fact that he is very sincere about his work and knows what is the best for his clients.
  • Gratuitous English: Played for Laughs in Chapter 1 when Minoru deluded himself into thinking he is not stalking Hiroko when he mis-applied the definition of "stoker" to "stalker".
  • Grew a Spine: Hiroko grew one when she finally opposed her Fantasy-Forbidding Father in Chapter 46 to persist in her dream to be an Idol Singer.
  • Grudging Thank You: Okabe to Minoru after the latter saved her from publicly humiliating herself in Chapter 12. Marks the beginning of her Character Development.
  • Heroic BSOD: Minoru suffered from one in Chapter 31 when Hiroko collapsed due to fatigue.
  • Holding the Floor: Minoru went up to the stage alone performing impromptu gags in one occasion to buy time for the backstage crew to repair the stage, which was damaged in an accident in between performances.
    • The regular members of AKB48 did a collective impromptu performance after Minoru suffered from a Heroic BSOD (see above) and abandoned the "Day X" performance, so as to ensure the crucial performance do not get cancelled because they believe that Minoru will return. He did. Counts as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The reason why Minoru had continued with his cross-dressing is because he had realised the importance of "Minori" as a pillar of support to Hiroko.
  • Idol Singer: The AKB48 is essentially a group of idol singers, complete with Contractual Purity.[1]
  • Important Haircut: Hiroko had cut her hair twice in the series, once in the beginning to signify her all-or-nothing attitude towards the upcoming AKB48 auditions and the other in Chapter 52 which signified her determination to surpass Maeda.
  • Impossible Task: Producer Akimoto is fond of giving the kenkyuusei (especially Minoru) extremely difficult tasks to force them to improve themselves; the most notable being the "Day X" performance, where the kenkyuusei are required to attract a full house (250 people) in the AKB Theatre with a ticket price of 10000 yen per seat within two months, failing which they would be disbanded.[2]
  • Jerkass Facade: Producer Akimoto and AKB Theatre manager Togasaki put up this towards the kenkyuusei.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Hiroko, who is usually The Quiet One, put away her inhibitions and succeeded in bringing her team back from the brink during a live-broadcast quiz show in Chapter 78.
  • Music for Courage: A minor example occured in Chapter 54, when Minoru put up an impromptu performance to inspire the apathetic employees of a record company.
  • Naked First Impression: Minoru first met the members of AKB48 by accidentally barging into their changing room. Fan Service ensues as he desperately attempts to escape. He eventually succeeded, but not after bumping against a few of them.
  • Nice Girl: Hiroko.
  • Not a Date: Minoru was invited to a few one-to-one meetings by various regular AKB48 members, which would appear as dates if not for the fact that they are unaware of Minoru's true identity and simply treat those meetings as between friends or senior and junior. Except for Maeda, who knew about him being male but would still meet up with him as a way to mentor him about the way of an idol singer.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Kisaki is actually the director of Queen Records which manages Minoru, Hiroko and Okabe and, according to producer Akimoto, the "Old Master of the entertainment world", but likes to appear as a perverted janitor.
  • Parental Abandonment: The main reason why Minoru succeeded in maintaining his masquerade is because his family gave him a free rein on his life (his father is not even mentioned at all), which is ramped up later in the series when his family moved house without even informing him, rendering him effectively homeless.
  • Placebo Effect: The "divine drink".
  • Pose of Supplication: Minoru did that once before the audience after he returned to the "Day X" performance to demonstrate his sincerity in apologising for his lateness.
  • Power of Trust: Okabe and the rest of kenkyuusei steadfastly refused to perform without Minoru during the "Day X" performance because they trusted that he will return. He did.
    • Earlier on in the series, Hiroko purposely lied that she had given the wrong meeting time to Minoru such that he would be late for practice after he told her that he is not worthy as an idol and is quitting because she believed that he will return.
  • The Quiet One: Hiroko.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The kenkyuusei are originally this.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Minoru claims that he is working part-time in a male cross-dressing café to throw off AKB48 Team B member Watanabe Mayu's suspicions on his true gender. Thankfully for him, it works.
  • Rousing Speech: Minoru gave a few speeches towards the kenkyuusei throughout the series to inspire them in the face of adversity, incidentally cementing his position as centre of the kenkyuusei.
  • Running Gag: Takahashi getting extremely flustered whenever she interacts with "Minori".
  • Sarcastic Confession: Maeda revealed before that "Minori" is really a guy, expecting no-one to believe it. Nobody did.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: The producer in charge of the &Jewel group believes in this.
  • Secret Identity: Minoru as "Minori".
  • Secret Secret Keeper: Producer Akimoto and Maeda are aware that Minoru is really male, but keep that secret by themselves because they thought the entire premise is interesting.
  • Secret Test of Character: Itano Tomomi, a Team B member, gave a minor one to Minoru and Hiroko in Chapter 11 by tempting them with the knowledge of subverting AKB48's rule against love. Hiroko passed by arguing vehemently that they are too busy to even think of relationships.
  • Shout-Out: Being a manga based off AKB48, it is not surprising that the series makes numerous references about it, ranging from song lyrics sang by AKB48 members to real life events pertaining towards AKB48 members.
    • Kijima quoted Moshidora in a speech he gave to Minoru and company after their initial introduction. When he was called out for that, he declared that he is a fan of Moshidora and is currently learning idol management from it, causing them to break out in laughter, especially Hiroko. Incidentally, the live-action film adaptation of Moshidora starred Maeda.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Implied with Minoru.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: Producer Akimoto is arguably this, with his penchant for giving the kenkyuusei impossible tasks.
  • Team Handstack: Frequently depicted occurring before group performances.
  • Ten-Minute Retirement: Minoru, despite him being the centre of the kenkyuusei, had quitted a couple of times temporarily due to a lack of self-confidence (being an idol was not his original intention anyway). He got stronger each time he recovered though.
  • Title Drop: The subtitle Renai Kinshi Jourei, or "rule against love" is said by Minoru to himself in one occasion as a sign of determination to protect Hiroko's dream at any cost.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Minoru, Hiroko and Okabe developed very high levels of stamina after working part-time in a construction site for three months.
  • Town Girls: Okabe, Hiroko and Minoru eventually formed a stand-alone unit under AKB48 called "Gekoku Jou" with Kijima as their manager.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Producer Akimoto is depicted as liking Calbee's Jagarico snack very much.
  • Twelfth Night Adventure: Minoru's involvement with AKB48 can be seen as this.
  • Twin Tails: Okabe sports a pair of them, with matching Tsundere personality.
  • The Unseen: Urena Inako, an enka singer, is often fondly mentioned by Kijima, who used to be her manager, but has yet to appear in person.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Used in Chapter 3 when Minoru came up with a plan to Out Gambit Okabe. His explanation to the kenkyuusei was not depicted until after his plan had taken place.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: "Minori".
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Minoru's disguise relies simply on a blond wig, a change in dress, and a heightened voice.


  1. This particular clause is well-known, which led it to be adopted as the sub-title.
  2. For comparison, performances of regular members have ticket prices of 3000 yen each.
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