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The first Arata we meet lives with his grandmother Makari and Like Brother and Sister Kotoha in magical world where gods inhibit swords named Hayagami and let their chosen wielders, named Shou, use their special powers. Arata is the next in line to become the princess, the world's ruler. Too bad he was born a man, so he has to crossdress and hope nobody finds out, in which case he will be executed. However, during the crowning ceremony he is not only exposed, but the current princess Kikuri is assassinated and Arata gets the blame. As he tries to escape into a mystical forest, he is swallowed by trees.
The other Arata, last name Hinohara, lives in modern day Japan with his parents and younger sister Nao. We meet him on his first day of highschool, where he quickly becomes popular after catching a groper. Not long afterwards, a dedicated bully named Kadowaki, who traumatized him in middle school, transfers in and completely ruins his reputation. When Kadowaki gets even his last friend to betray him, Hinohara wishes he would just disappear, and he somehow gets swallowed by an alley.
The two Aratas then end up where the other left off, and have to solve each other's problems. By the power of the forest, nobody is able to tell the two are different people; in their eyes, they see the Arata that is native to their world.
Arata Kangatari has been licensed by Viz Media and is currently being serialised on their Shonen Sunday site as Arata: The Legend. To date, nine paper volumes of the manga have been released in English, while the Japanese version is up to 14 volumes and still going.
Note: To stifle confusion for editors and readers alike, the Arata from Amawakuni is referred to as Arata, while the Japanese Arata is referred to by surname.
Arata Kangatari provides examples of:
- Accidental Pervert: In the first chapter, Arata falls off a cliff and into a hot spring where several women, including Kotoha, were bathing.
- The Alcatraz: Gatoya.
- Art Initiates Life: Nagu can use his Hayagami to bring anything he draws to life. Including his Dead Little Sister.
- Author Appeal: An in-universe example, where Hinohara dresses Kotoha in clothing imagined-to-life with Sarae. It borders into cosplay fetishism, but played for laughs and oddly enough, a heartwarming moment.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Arata wishes that he would go to a faraway world in the manga's opening chapter. Likewise, Hinohara wishes that he would disappear in his introductory chapter. The moment that latter makes his wish, both of them are fulfilled by their switch.
- Big Brother Instinct: Eto to Kugura.
- Bifauxnen: Mikusa
- Bishounen: Even if it's aimed at boys, it wouldn't be a Watase manga without a few of these. In particular, Yorunami's bishiness gets lampshaded by Hinohara.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kadowaki. The facade doesn't last very long.
- Bodyguard Crush: While more of personal medics than bodyguards, all the significant Unemezoku in the story (Kotoha, Rami, and Miyabi) seem to be devoted to their masters (Arata, Mikusa, and Kadowaki, respectively) more than the call of duty requires.
- Call Back: In chapter 45. Kadowaki steps into Amawakuni in the exact same way as Hinohara, with the same tilted-angle shot of the capitol.
- The Chosen One: At first, Arata is made out to be this, but it's actually Hinohara who is destined for greatness in Amawakuni.
- Costume Porn: The clothes in Amawakuni are all beautifully designed and detailed in the Oriental fashion.
- Cowardly Lion: Hinohara.
- Dead Little Sister: Nagu's little sister Naru is dead. The Naru we meet is a copy created by Nagu's hayagami.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Rami of the Unemezoku has pink hair.
- Decoy Protagonist: This series's debut cover page on the magazine it's printed on would have you believe that Amawakuni Arata is the main character, but he isn't - it's Hinohara Arata, who's not even on the said cover.
- Dojikko: Miyabi.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Kadowaki to Hinohara in their backstory.
- Elemental Powers: Some of the Shinshou, including...
- Empathic Weapon: The Hayagami, which contain gods.
- Evil Albino: Harunawa.
- Evolving Weapon: Hinohara's Hayagami, Tsukuyo - it gets grander-looking as Hinohara makes more Shou submit (symbolizing his progress).
- Eye Scream: In chapter 108, Kadowaki has an eye torn out of its socket with the tip of Akachi's sword. It is almost immediately replaced with Akachi's own eye.
- Eyepatch of Power: Akachi after losing his eye.
- Facial Markings: Many of the Shinshou have these.
- Five-Man Band:
- Foe Yay: Hinohara and Kadowaki. The more overt hints don't come until after The Reveal that the two used to be friends. Sort of lampshaded when Miyabi suspects that Kadowaki actually likes Hinohara, then immediately adds that she doesn't mean it in a "weird" way.
- The Glomp: The first thing that happens to Hinohara in the other world is receiving one of these from Kotoha.
- Happily Adopted: Mikusa by the Village Chief of the Himezoku.
- Healing Hands / The Medic: Kotoha, Rami, and Miyabi are members of the Unemezoku, who can heal others' wounds but not themselves.
- Heel Face Turn: Surprisingly, Kannagi, the one who assassinates the princess and frames Arata, ends up pulling one after he loses his Hayagami.
- The other Shinshou who have submitted to Hinohara (Kugura, Yorunami), as well as their Zokushou, also count.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: The wielder of the Tsukuyo (whether it be this or that Arata) is a wanted criminal due to having been framed for the attempted murder of Kikuri-hime.
- Identical Stranger: Oribe and Kotoha, though they have yet to meet.
- Idiot Hero: Arata.
- Instant Costume Change: The power of Sarae, the Hayagami of one of Yorunami's Zokushou, has the power to instantly change its targets clothes to whatever its wielder is imagining.
- Intimate Healing: Two instances in Volume 12. One with Kotaha, and one with Mikusa in the chapter afterward.
- Jerk Jock: Kadowaki is an amazingly cruel example. Has a Freudian Excuse though.
- Like Brother and Sister: Arata sees Kotoha as this. She doesn't. Neither does Hinohara.
- Meaningful Name: Hinohara practically spells this out when he first introduces himself to Suguru - His name, Arata, uses the kanji for "revolution." Guess what he's destined to do with his Hayagami later on into the story.
- Mega Manning: If you can get another Shou to submit to you, you can use their Hayagami's abilities.
- Mismatched Eyes: Kadowaki, after having his right eye replaced with Akachi's.
- Not Growing Up Sucks: Kugura, upon accepting his Hayagami. He's permanently stuck in a childlike form, though he can use his Hayagami to transform into a more adult form for a short period of time.
- Oblivious to Love: Augh...Arata, people are expected to at least have the comprehension ability to read between the lines when someone asks them "what do you think of me" directly, you blasted idiot.
- Older Than They Look: Princess Kikuri looks surprisingly youthful for a 60+ year-old woman. Justified, as her powers suppress the form of her true age.
- Ordinary High School Student: Hinohara and Kadowaki, at first.
- One Steve Limit: Averted...unless you want to get technical. Amawakuni Arata's name is written in kana. The name of the Japanese Arata is written with kanji. This typically serves as an indicator of characters who know the secret revolving around the two of them.
- Portmanteau Series Nickname: Arakan, as stated by Yuu Watase herself at the end of the third Viz volume.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Kotoha.
- Recursive Crossdressing: Mikusa, when the group has to disguise themselves as females to get into Kugura's harem.
- School Uniforms Are the New Black:
- Arata plays this straight most of the time, not bothering to wear something more practical for traveling clothes. Occasionally he may wear cloak or a raincoat out of necessity, but he still wears his school clothes underneath.
- Kadowaki continues to wear his school uniform as well. He outright refuses to wear the garments provided by Harunawa's servants, calling it "cosplay." However, he eventually subverts this trope after thinking back to his life on Earth and concluding that he no longer has a place at his home or at school. He demands that all his things, including his clothes, be disposed of as he severs his attachment to his previous life. His next appearances see him in a new outfit.
- Trapped in Another World: The main premise. Arata of the Himezoku is stuck in Japan, while Hinohara Arata is trapped and caught in the problems the former left behind in Amawakuni.
- Troubled but Cute: Hinohara.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Kotoha to Amawakuni's Arata.
- Walking the Earth: What Hinohara and gang needs to do to make the 12 Shinshou submit, as they all live within their assigned fiefdoms in Amawakuni.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Yorunami has this toward his mother, in a rare mother-son example.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: Kikuri-hime, with her long white Rapunzel Hair. Subverted, as Kikuri-hime only looks like a young girl.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Arata in the first chapter. Mikusa of the Himezoku is also this.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Kotoha.