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A nurse named Michiko Nohara deliberately switched two baby girls at birth, Miki and Nozomi, out of personal grudges. As such, Nozomi should've been raised by the rich Kouda clan but was brought up by the poor Mine family, and her counterpart Miki the opposite. Not knowing this, the girls find one another in highschool: Miki has become a proud Alpha Bitch (in no small part, thanks to her Rich Bitch mother) and Nozomi is a kind Girl Next Door. But both young women have the same dream: to become the most popular singers in the Japanese pop music scene...
Sasurai no Taiyou is said to have been the Trope Maker for Idol Singer, having been among the first to depict the Japanese music industry. Shows as different as Creamy Mami, Perfect Blue, The Idol Master, Full Moon o Sagashite and others owe some of their tropes and influence to this one. Additionally, Nozomi's VA Junko Fujiyama was a prospect singer in her own right and managed to use the series to kickstar her own career. And last but not least, this was the first anime where both Yoshiyuki Tomino and Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (of Gundam fame) worked together.
Not to be mistaken with Wandering Son (Horou Musuko in Japanese), a much more recent seinen manga with a very different theme.
Some of the tropes that show up in Sasurai ni Taiyou are...
- Alpha Bitch: Wow, Miki.
- Break the Haughty: Happens to Miki and Mrs. Kouda towards the end, when not only Michiko publicly reveals the baby switch but also confirms it beyond doubts via admitting that she was the one who did it.
- Broken Bird: Michiko Nohara is implied to be this under her evil and ruthless persona. Confirmed later
- Cool Big Sis: Nozomi is this for the younger Mine kids, the Cheerful Children Taro and Yuki.
- Daddy's Girl: Nozomi is the apple of her father Shinsuke's eye, and it's thanks to his cheerful drunken singing that she realized how much she loved music and how she wanted to become a singer.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Michiko was a little girl during World War II, her and Jun's father was sent to the front, their mother was a poor soap seller and she had to raise Jun to help her. She then grew into an idealistic and kind teenage nurse who even got to date one of her patients, a man from a rich family... but he had to dump her because he'd go through an Arranged Marriage to his boss' daughter. While still reeling over all of this, she was assigned to be the nurse on duty in the newborns' rooms when Nozomi and Miki were born, so upon learning that the girls came from very different backgrounds she switched them as a way to mock the Gods that screwed her over all of her life.
- Dub Name Change: For the Italian and French versions.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Michiko the nurse is a rather creepy-looking lady with super pale skin and dark hair.
- Expy: Nozomi was inspired by the enka singer Keiko Fuji, the mother of Hikaru Utada.
- Family Business: The Mine family's humble noodles shop, which Nozomi helps the patriarch to handle.
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: The sweet and kind Nozomi has Tareme Eyes, whereas the not-completely-evil-but-very-snooty Miki has Tsurime Eyes instead.
- Handsome Lech: Michiko's younger brother Jun, a famous and flirty songwriter. One of his first apparitions has him hitting on Nozomi, and she's understandably VERY uncomfortable.
- Heroic BSOD: Towards the end there's Miki, who has one when it's officially confirmed that she isn't the biological child of the Koudas; as it sinks in that her life has basically been a lie from almost birth, and then she learns about the death of Shinsuke alias her biological dad, the girl near loses her mind out of fear that the people she has known as her parents would love Nozomi more than her.. Near at the same time, Mrs. Kouda also has a meltdown as she realizes that the girl who she tried to screw over to favor Miki is her biological child.. And as if this isn't enough, Nozomi is so depressed over Shinsuke's death, over and not being able to be at his side when he died AND feeling that her music cannot truly reach her audience, she near stops singing.
- Honorary Uncle: Kumagoro aka Kuma-san (Mr. Kuma), the best friend of Nozomi's parents plus Nozomi's biggest fanboy.
- Idol Singer: The Trope Maker. Both Nozomi and Miki want to be top performers, and the story is all about their struggles.
- Ill Boy: Nozomi's father Shinsuke becomes an older version, and a good part of Nozomi's motivation to become a singer is to help pay for his treatment. And he dies almost at the end.
- Libation for the Dead: Fanni also is unable to be by Shinsuke's side as he was dying, so when he does come home he pays respects via drinking beer (Shinsuke's favorite drink) in front of the family altar, even offering a "cheers" for him.
- Like Father, Like Son: More exactly: Like Mother, Like Daughter. Miki's Rich Bitch mother Sumiyo does NOT help regarding her bad attitude, whereas Nozomi's kind mother Shizuko influences Nozomi quite a bit.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Nobody but Michiko knows about the baby switch. Until the end.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Miki may have lots of money and her parents' support, but it looks like she has next to no actual friends.
- Malicious Slander: Subverted: Michiko is detained because it's believed that she mentioned the baby switch in an attempt to slander Miki and her family. But she then reveals that she is the one who switched the girls and explains her reasons to do so.
- Manipulative Bastard: Michiko, HOLY SHIT. One of her first actions in the series proper is to call Miki on the phone and tell her "the real you will attend your school"... right before Nozomi shows up, therefore making her believe it's Nozomi who called her and triggering Miki's insecurities, pitting her against an oblivious Nozomi... And then it turns out she arranged Nozomi's transfer to said school...
- Melodrama: You don't say?!
- Music for Courage: Kumagoro describes Nozomi's songs as this.
- New Transfer Student: The plot gets properly kickstarted when Nozomi transfers from her poor public highschool to the richer one that Miki happens to already attend.
- Nice Hat : Nozomi often wears one.
- Off-Model: This Italian mini-site lists several animation mistakes.
- The Ojou: Miki, of the Spoiled Brat and Ice Queen kind.
- Parents as People: The Koudas do love Miki, but Mr. Kouda is too busy with his enterprise to fully be with her when she needs it and Mrs. Kouda, as the local Rich Bitch, mistakenly thinks that throwing money at her and people around her will ensure her happiness.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr. Kouda, when he's at home.
- Revenge: Michiko's motivation. It even gets lampshaded when her brother Jun openly questions her in the end, saying that her extremely spartan and lonely lifestyle can only come from a woman who's dedicated to have vengeance.
- Sailor Fuku: Miki and Nozomi's high school has a blue one.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Used several times by Miki and Sumiyo Kouda.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Jun and Michiko, with him as a flamboyant Self-Made Man and her as a somber Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette. Their relationship mixes quite a bit of love and hate, according to him.
- Switched At Birth: How the story begins.
- Tears of Remorse: As Michiko explains to the police her reasons to switch Nozomi and Miki as babies, she realizes how strong Nozomi has been through the harsh life she was "given" thanks to Michiko's meddling. She then falls to her knees, sobbing and begging for "Nozomi-chan"'s forgiveness.
- Technician Versus Performer: Miki is a Technician who uses her family's money to afford singing classes and is mostly inspired by the more modern music tendences, whereas the Performer Nozomi relays on her beautiful voice, her charisma and how she sings more classical songs.
- Thicker Than Water: Averted: Nozomi wonders about this trope when she finds out about the baby switch, but decides that she is Nozomi Mine anyway and that being raised by Shinsuke and Shizuko is more important to her. Even when she does establish contact with the Kouda parents at the very end, the Mines are still her family.
- Played straight by Jun and Michiko: even when they've been apart for fifteen years, when she tells him to not visit her any longer after he confronts her on the baby switch and her motifs, he tells her that they're still siblings no matter what.
- Almost at the same time, Miki absolutely collapses when the truth about her parentage sinks in, terrified that the Koudas would reject her to favor Nozomi.
- Trope Maker: This is where the famous Idol Singer trope started rearing its head.