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Yura Kawada and Makoto Onoda are two young adults who met recently at a match-making service. After falling in love at first sight, Makoto proposed to Yura soon afterwards... and she accepted! Now with the ceremony behind them, the two eager newlyweds are looking forward to their wedding night. However, there is just one problem: both are twenty-five year old virgins, and neither one of them have a clue about what to do in the bedroom.
The story follows the inexperienced couple as they fumble their way through the ins and outs of married life. The pair are helped along the way by Makoto's pushy older brother Akira, Yura's "experienced" younger sister Rika, their somewhat over-eager parents, and a collection of decidedly quirky friends and neighbors. In the meanwhile, they make friends, make mistakes, make love, and hit upon just about any sexual problem or avenue you might think of (and probably some you wouldn't).
While Futari Ecchi is an ero-manga, it is not your standard Hentai fare. It is interspersed throughout with information, statistics and advice on nearly every aspect of relationships and sex: dating, physical intimacy, building deeper emotional connections with your spouse, the physical basis of attraction, suggested responses when approached by The Chikan, and just about everything in between. It also provides a fairly accurate — and at times, heartwarming — portrayal of a young Japanese couple taking the harrowing first steps towards their brand new life together. There is a Suspiciously Specific Denial that it's not Hentai, but a marital aid in the first page after the title leaf.
The series is being released in the United States by Tokyo Pop under the name Manga Sutra — Futari H, and has received a four-episode OVA Adaptation titled Step Up Love Story. Oh, and they're making a Live-Action Movie out of it, impossible though that seems.
Futari Ecchi provides examples of:
- Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male: particularly with Makie, Makoto's coworker who only sleeps with married men and has her sights set on him. She has gone so far as to plant a Lipstick Mark on him.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Both male and female. In Yura's case, complete with a survey and pie chart of how women feel afterwards.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Chiharu, Yura and Rika's mother, at 46 years old she looks so young that she could pass of as her daughters' sister to strangers.
- Accidental Pervert: Don't know how "accidental" as Makoto gets throughout the series.
- Adorkable: Makoto. Emphasis on the "dork" bit.
- All Men Are Perverts: Well, the series is about sex, so this is kind of required. That said, Makoto, his brother Akira, his sister-in-law Rika and her boyfriend Yamada appear to have little else on their minds. Ever.
- Taken to extremes with Makoto, whose idea of foreplay is often to grab Yura and say "I'm going in!" and pouts when she turns down one of his constant pleas for sex until she relents. His saving graces are that he's a Nice Guy aside of that and he really loves Yura a lot for reasons outside of sex too.
- All the women are as well. Even Yura has her moments.
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: Rika and Yamada have such moments from time to time, notwithstanding their hypocritical cheating on each other and their quarrelsomeness. Rika does end up marrying someone else, though.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Though nudity abounds in this series, most shots have the male characters' groins either blacked out or blocked from view by a convenient body part, object, or text bubble. On the occasions when this isn't feasible for male anatomy, it's replaced with a banana. See Right Through His Pants. (It should also be noted that Yura practiced her techniques on a banana... Coincidence?)
- Interestingly, at the moment of penetration there is usually an inset box showing the genitals close-up. The catch is, it's a cross-section that looks like a clinical diagram of the organs, and so not designed for titillation.
- Japanese law requires genitals to be censored. Some artists use obnoxious black boxes or "light saber" censorship, others use heavy shadows or creative positioning to avoid having to censor in the first place. And, on very rare occasions, this manga just doesn't show anything at all: hands or lips may be positioned around Makoto's etc, but it has either been erased or was never drawn in the first place.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rika and Yamada, to the point that one can wonder if they have any compatibility beyond sex.
- Big Brother Bully: Played for Laughs with Akira, Makoto's older brother. He genuinely wants to help, but keeps butting incessantly in Makoto and Yura's sex life to give them "advice" that they don't even really want in the first place.
- Buxom Is Better: Yura's endowment, which fills a Japanese E-cup bra (roughly a D in American sizes), is the target of much admiration, from both sexes, throughout the series.
- Casanova: Matsuzaki is definitely a playah, though his antics usually don't work on several women in the story.
- Catch Phrase: A "Here I go!" or something similar from Makoto, whenever he is about to, ahh, engage Yura.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: A variation; Makoto walks in on Yura watching one of his porn videos. In her defence, she didn't know what was on it.
- Though played straight when Yura walks in on Makoto masturbating, though she does convince him to never do it again.
- Christmas Cake: Yura Kawada narrowly averts this, as she meets her soon-to-be husband Makoto when she is twenty-five years old. Makoto's cousin Kyouko, however, is firmly entrenched in this trope (and boy does she know it). That is, until Matsuzaki came along.
- Chick Magnet: Several male characters, not least Makoto.
- Coming of Age Story: Of the "late bloomer" variety.
- Crash Into Hello: Miyuki is the "beneficiary" of one with Makoto.
- Ecchi: While some of the explicit scenes in the Manga series are borderline Hentai, for the most part it falls squarely into the Ecchi category.
- It is in the title.
- Erotic Eating: Chocolate Covered Banana. Played with when Yura just eats the banana at first.
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: To the point that a young mother, having watched her ten-year-old son's classmate burst into tears and call the boy a jerk, immediately assumes that the kid has seduced and then spurned said classmate. She even confronts her son about it in no uncertain terms.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: Miyuki
- First Guy Wins: Jun, after having some adventures mentioned below, finally makes an emotional connection with an e-mail pal. It turns out to be her first love, Inoue.
- Gambit Roulette: The playboy that Jun meets has various tricks for overcoming her initial reluctance and distrust and winning her heart (or at least the part of her that he's more interested in). One of them involves meeting her at the top of a long staircase, at which point Jun trips right before she gets to him, lands in his arms, and is left thinking that her heart is beating fast because of him rather than the stairs. How he could predict that she would trip at the right moment is anybody's guess.
- Hollywood Sex: Deconstructed Trope. Futari Ecchi is about two people who only know Hollywood Sex (if that), and shows, realistically, what happens when they try to apply it.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Jun, Jun, Jun... in her search for true love, she manages to [[spoiler:
a) have a one-night-stand with a man she practically just met (who -- shock! -- turns out to have a girlfriend), right after breaking up with her boyfriend because she feels their relationship has lost the spark,
b) become the (oblivious) fifth sex-friend of an obvious playboy (despite the warnings of her best friend, she is devastated upon seeing him enter a love hotel with another girl) and
c) pursue an affair with a homely middle-aged married man, this time mere hours after first talking to him. One can almost not blame her father for calling for a family conference about her behavior...]]
- How Do I Shot Web?: Basically the whole point of the series.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: Since Yura is inexperienced with sex (and fairly innocent, to boot), her more experienced sister sometimes has to run the euphemism treadmill before she gets the idea.
- Idiot Hero: Makoto. (Actually, a lot of the male characters come across this way.)
- Imagine Spot: Makoto, all the time. Occasionally happens to some other characters as well. This trope is also conveniently used to show Makoto having sex with other women while technically staying faithful to Yura.
- Innocent Innuendo: Though being a sexualy explicit manga series, it has its share of this. Yura thinks Makoto is cheating on her with Rika when they were making noises. Turns out, they were both playing a fighting game.
- It's All About Me: Makoto tends to focus on his own pleasure when in bed with Yura, at least partially because he doesn't actually know what else to do (justifying the existence of the work itself). Yamada, on the other hand, has no excuse for his refusal to use a condom regardless of any pregnancy potential. Rika eventually calls him on it by staging a pregnancy scare.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Taku Yamada is an extreme case, who will basically only be a nice person if he has no other choice.
- Ladykiller in Love: Matsuzaki.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: In the early volumes there was a plot to get Yura pregnant with Makoto's baby, they actively tried to make one, to no avail, so they decided to wait and take their time together to only then make such a big decision in their lives. After this event, there are small hints of them trying to make a baby again, but it falls on false alarm (the author dropping the plot kind); it seems Katsu Aki plans to make their child the series' climax, as after 50 Volumes Makoto and Yura still didn't get their baby.
- Likes Older Women: also Matsuzaki.
- Marital Rape License: Discussed in one chapter. Akira is alarmed to hear that Makoto and Yura haven't had sex recently, saying that Makoto should be able to just jump her whenever, and even cites the law stating that rape does not exist as a crime between married couples. His wife Sanae is quick to point out that this law has recently been changed. It's even more stupid considering that Akira is a lawyer.
- The last part is Truth in Television. Ask a lawyer who works in the criminal area about economy-related legal issues: they'll likely won't be able to reply your question, since it's simply not their speciality. Also, we don't know in which legal area Akira works in.
- Makoto exercises it on occasion as the series progresses, but out of stupidity rather than malice.
- My Girl Is a Slut: Rika sleeps with other men besides her boyfriend. When she suspects her boyfriend to be cheating on her with other women, it is pointed out that she does the same thing.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Kyoko is 30 years old and still maiden. In a Gender Flipped version of A Man Is Not a Virgin, this causes her anxiety.
- Names to Know In Anime: Yuji Ueda as Makoto, Tomoko Kawakami as Yura.
- No Indoor Voice: A Running Gag with Akira.
- No Periods, Period: Very much averted.
- Oblivious to Love: Makoto, as a flipside to his Chick Magnetism.
- Oh Crap: A particularly good one is in the first episode of the OVA when Makoto walks in on Yura accidentally watching one of his videos, but both do get it in both anime and manga versions.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Makoto and Yura meet at a Japanese omiai at the beginning of the series, providing a successful example of this trope. It's however even pointed out by other characters that this is kind of unusual in this time.
- Playboy Bunny: Book 30 of the manga put most of Makoto's female coworkers in this costume. Which gives ideas to Makoto, who brings home a bunny girl outfit for Yura.
- Porn with Plot: The ever-developing relationship between Yura and Makoto makes for a cohesive and entertaining plotline.
- "Previously On...": The second episode of the OVA starts, after the "stay back from the TV" message, with Makoto narrating over a fast-forward of the previous episode.
- Public Service Announcement: Though not government-sponsored, this is the premise of the manga: a love manual that covers everything from the first time, fights and making up, to how love grows and new positions you can try. It comes complete with instructions (with cut-away diagrams!) and with statistics and surveys for reassurance.
- Purple Eyes: Yura. Also Green Eyes. Seems to depend on the cover.
- Really Gets Around: Helloooo, Rika.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Makoto and Yura, in sharp contrast to the often-abrasive relationships around them.
- Spin-Off: Futari Ecchi for Ladies was also written.
- Stalker with a Crush: Matsuzaki has some vibes of this in his efforts to win over Kyoko. The fact that she exploits him as a chauffeur at first just makes their eventual hook-up that much creepier.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Opens with a disclaimer that it's not a hentai, but a sex manual that happens to be a manga as well.
- Thanks for the Mammary: Makoto manages to get himself in this position often.
- Teasing Creator: The Pregnancy plot pops up now and then between a few volumes, with Makoto and Yura deciding now is the time to make one after witnessing an inspirational event, only to stop on their tracks and wait till they're more experienced with their married life. This happened so much in the spam of more than 50 Volumes, it seems Katsu Aki is teasing the readers with Makoto and Yura's possible future kid.
- The Chikan: Briefly referenced when Yura was fondled, though justice was very swift with there being an undercover cop only feet away.
- Their First Time: Since neither Makoto nor Yura know what they are doing, their first time together is extremely awkward. It starts with him not quite figuring out where to "put it", and things go downhill from there.
- Also, Jun's sexual sex-discovery also involves her preparing for this. In one chapter she and her boyfriend go to a Love Hotel... but he fails to perform because he has phimosis and it hurts like Hell. They settle for masturbating each other instead.
- Too Much Information: Inverted; some of the intended readership really did need this much information.
- Invoked; Makoto is squicked when Akira starts telling him how useful fingers are in the bedroom. In fact, frank talk about sex often features he and Yura having this reaction... much as the target audience might.
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: You just can't win 'em all, Makoto. (Actually, he can't win most of 'em, because when he can get it up, more often than not he can't last a full minute. This continues past their first wedding anniversary.)
- This Loser Is You: Makoto, in spades; the "narration" boxes have a particular tendency to make fun of his one-track mind and occasional bouts of Insane Troll Logic. Yura gets the same treatment, but she screws up less.
- Those Two Guys: Makoto's coworkers, Okahama (buckteeth) and Inagaki (sour face). Okohama is absolutely obsessed with Yura and will hit on her, or indicate his desire to do so, whenever he appears.
- There are, of course, aversions as well, such as the chapter 3 claim that every female has a hymen.
- Tsundere: Makoto's cousin Kyouko. She's just as likely to Dope Slap Matsuzaki upside the head as she is to give him (perfectly genuine) passionate doe-eyes.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Makoto is portrayed as being no more than average-looking, while Yura is a hottie on all aspects, and characters constantly wonder What Does She See in Him?. Rika opines in For Ladies that his significant paycheck was a major appeal. (Actual truth: they, you know, love each other and all that.)
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Miyuki
- Virginity Makes You Stupid: Both characters, though Yura at least has "My Girl Is Not a Slut" to justify it. (And even then, the attitudes of the characters around her suggest that, even if only among the eccentrics, it's becoming acceptable in Japan for women to be knowledgeable co-participants in bed.)
- Wall-Bang Her
- We Named the Cat Yamada: Rika names her cat after her boyfriend.