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"An Aries, born on April 18th, blood type A. Popular with girls and a member of the cooking club. I wonder if he has a crush on anyone? This is Minami Hasaki. He's 15 years old... and my younger brother."—Otome Hisaki
Teenaged siblings by marriage Minami and Otome Hasaki spend a lot of time together: they attend the same junior high, are nearly the same age, and even recently have been forced to share a bedroom. Though the pair didn't get along very well when their parents first married five years ago, their relationship has since developed into a strong bond, despite their moments of friendly antagonism. In fact, one could say that they are as close as any brother and sister could hope to be.
However, when Otome begins to date her long-time crush Amane, Minami is forced to realize something that was already quite obvious to some of their friends: that his feelings for his sister run far stronger than familial affection. And as Minami's rivalry with Amane heats up, Otome is soon forced to question whether or not she feels the same. Together, the step-siblings must figure out the true nature of their relationship, all the while dealing with the pressures of a jealous boyfriend, meddling relatives and classmates, and societal taboos.
Cherry Juice is a Shojo manga written and illustrated by Haruka Fukushima (Instant Teen: Just Add Nuts). Originally published in Japan by Kodansha, the series ran from 2004-2006 in the Manga magazine Nakayoshi. It has been licensed for release in English and German by Tokyo Pop.
Tropes in Cherry Juice include:
- Almost Kiss: This happens quite often throughout the series, and the kiss is usually interrupted by the sudden unwanted appearance of a friend, relative, or Minami or Otome's conscience.
- Censor Steam: A mixture of censor steam and Barbie Doll Anatomy is used to cover Minami and Otome in their bath scenes.
- Dirty Old Woman: Otome's grand-mother, who seems to make it her mission to get Minami and Otome together romantically. She also seems to be quite eager to catch her step-grandson in "compromising" situations.
- Mr. Fanservice: Being a shoujo series, the Fan Service is just as likely to center around the male characters as anyone else. In fact, one chapter introduces Minami half naked while eating a popsicle with the line:
"A stylish man... dripping with sweat!"
- Flirty Stepsiblings: As the series progresses, Minami and Otome often switch between sharing flirtatious romantic moments and Belligerent Sexual Tension.
- Gratuitous English: Shows up quite frequently, as often a character's clothing will have what looks like random sections of news articles written on it.
- Jerkass Facade: Minami often uses casual rudeness to mask his true feelings for Otome.
- Luminescent Blush: Otome sports one of these in the opening pages of the manga, after she awakens to find that she's fallen out of bed on top of her half-naked step-brother.
- Sailor Fuku: The author admits in various Omake that one of the main reasons she wanted to write a school romance manga was that she was obsessed with seeing and drawing school uniforms.
- Shirtless Scene: These happen frequently with Minami, including on the very first page of the manga. See Mr. Fanservice above.
- This Is My Side: When grandma's hip injury causes her to move into the household, Minami is forced to sleep on a futon in Otome's room. Their "sides" are differentiated by a thin hanging curtain.
- Unmoving Plaid: Unmoving plaid and polka dot outfits show up quite frequently on the main characters.