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File:Is pureposter.jpg

I"s is a manga series by Video Girl Ai creator Masakazu Katsura.

Ichitaka Seto is a normal Japanese high school student. His one hang-up is that due to a particularly nasty rejection by a girl when he was younger, he can't properly show his affection to anyone he's interested in. Naturally, he's crushing hard on Iori Yoshizuki, a classmate in the drama club that has found a sudden increase in popularity after posing in a swimsuit for a magazine spread.

Despite the seemingly impossible divide, Ichitaka lucks out when he and Iori are appointed to do a skit to welcome incoming students to their school. But his own nature, in addition to his friend Yasumasa Teratani's sometime's ill-advised help, inevitably trip him up. Matters aren't helped any when an old friend of his, Itsuki Akiba, shows up and starts crashing at his place.

The series' name has multiple meanings - it refers to the main characters' initials, but also to ai, Japanese for both "love" and "sorrow". Also, the title is supposed to have two apostrophes (to represent the multiple "I" people), but it's usually written with a quote mark (in part for simplicity and in part because it would mess with wikis like this one).

Running for fifteen volumes, it has been adapted to anime twice, and has made a surprise appearance in Jump Ultimate Stars.

With its vividly rich graphics, adorable characters, and unexpectedly gripping story, I"s easily qualifies as one of the better manga/animes that you probably aren't reading.


Is has examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Iori has a legion of these. It goes from the ultra-jealous Jerkass in her class (later ditched from the Nakama), to the rapist type.
  • Aborted Declaration of Love - Too many instances to count.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder - Ichitaka
  • Accidental Pervert - Ichitaka, though it's not always an accident (although getting caught isn't his plan).
  • Airplane of Love - in the 2 part OVA.
  • All Just a Dream - Subversion - first, it looks pretty convincingly that all the preceding 141 chapters have been this, save for like the first half of the first chapter, until things go wonky and Ichitaka realizes his Christmas Miracle was the real dream
  • All Love Is Unrequited - Until the finale, nobody seems to be able to keep a healthy and stable relationship (although it's left ambiguous as to whether Jun and Mr. Higemi get together).
  • All Men Are Perverts: Aside from Jun, all teenage males in Is who are around for at least three panels probably are going to make some sort of lewd comment about females.
  • Angst Coma
  • Art Evolution: Overlaps with the Character Development. The appearance of the protagonists in later chapters is quite different from the beginning.
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Ichitaka's imagination runs wild at many, many points in the story.
  • Attractiveness Isolation - the only possible explanation for why Iori is not once seen to date anyone during high school.
    • Well that plus she's had a crush on Seto for as long as he's had one on her.
  • Author Appeal - Katsura is a big Batman fan, and the series is littered with references to it.
  • Author Avatar - There are hints that the author is speaking through Itsuki in the final scene.
  • Badass Longcoat - Would you believe that it's the openly gay Shrinking Violet Jun?
  • Beach Episode - 2 in the manga.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The Ichitaka/Itsuki pairing might have worked if they weren't so busy being complete jerks to each other.
  • Beta Couple - Teratani and Yuka.
    • Their relationship also serves as a perfect mirror to Ichitaka and Iori: When I/I are feeling awkward at the beginning, Teratani and Yuka are already getting alone fine. During Christmas, while Ichitaka and Iori finally become a couple, Teratani rejects Yuka. Only at the ending both couples are doing well.
  • Betty and Veronica - Iori is the Betty, and the other I girls take turns being Veronica.
  • Beware the Nice Ones - Openly gay-or-bi, Shrinking Violet Koshinae. Do not seriously endanger his friends. If you do, cue Curb Stomp Battle.
  • Big Damn Heroes - Ichitaka valiantly tries to save Iori from being assaulted on three occasions. For the second rescue, Ichitaka owns the moment in the manga. In the anime, it is Teratani who saves the day.
    • Given the intensity of the 2nd rescue scene, don't feel silly if you cheer a little when Teratani shows up with the cavalry.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil - The Marionette King. Also Izumi's ex-boyfriend, to a much lesser extent.
  • Bottle Fairy - Nami is clearly a Bottle Fairy-in-training.
  • Boy Meets Girl
  • Break the Cutie - None of the characters are actually broken in Is, but they do suffer some damage. Here is a tally.
    • Iori's rehearsal regime is designed to break her on the theory that it will make her a better actor.
    • Itsuki when she realizes she'll never have Ichitaka's heart.
    • Aiko when her boyfriend dumps her.
    • Iori when she is almost raped for the second time. It is amazing she didn't need therapy by the end of the story!.
  • Cannot Spit It Out - Ichitaka has this problem due to being rejected once in middle school. Iori has the same problem, but in her case, it's due to thinking that Ichitaka was in love with Itsuki.
    • There are a lot of indications that Koshinae has this for Seto in a bad way. Since Koshinae knows that Seto is very much not gay, would never return his affection and any confession would likely freak Seto out to the point that Koshinae would lose the friendship he does have with Seto, he instead does his best to be The Matchmaker between Seto and Iori.
  • Casanova Wannabe - Teratani (and it's implied that all his male relatives are as well).
  • Censor Steam - At the request of the artist, more was added to the earlier volumes to ensure an American release.
  • Character Development - Loads and loads and loads. By the end of the series, everyone has noticeably grown up from their initial introductions not only physically, but also emotionally. Dramatic enough that when you get to the flashback event at the end of the series you will be absolutely shocked when you realize how far everyone has come and how naturally it progressed that you never noticed.
  • Cherry Blossoms - very beautifully used.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise - Ichitaka and Itsuki.
  • Christmas Miracle: Referred to several times thereafter, but can't really be explained as well as an excerpt would demonstrate it, so...

 Ichitaka: "I didn't even get to confess..."

Iori: "... who were you going to confess to?"

(A beat.)

Ichitaka: "To you..." (internally) "I did it!"

(A beat. Iori stares back. The train stops, and she silently walks off.)

Ichitaka (internal): "No... no way... no way... That's reality... it was too quick... the way it ended... now we won't be able to talk to each other... and university... should I keep aiming for the same one? Or just give up the whole idea... whatever I do doesn't matter..." (tearing up) "It won't do any good..."

(Ichitaka looks up. Iori has walked back on the train. They look at each other.)

Both: ...

Both: ...

Both: ...

Iori: "I thought... it was one-sided...

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