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Tanaka Yutaka is a mangaka responsible for a number of titles, the most well-known being the short story collection Virgin Night, My Lovely Ghost Kana, Ai-Ren, and Mimia Hime. His work is generally considered and categorized as Hentai on indexes, which may restrict his potential audience, but truthfully what he writes is Slice of Life Porn with Plot with heavy emphasis on plot. His stories focus on relationships, love, sex and how honesty and openness causes them to flourish. He likes to avert most of the usual tropes, with strong women who are not afraid to take the lead in a relationship, honesty between partners and an aversion to Can't Spit It Out-itis and other Poor Communication Kills. Despite some dark back-stories and bittersweet moments (and more than occasional severe Mood Whiplash) his work is inevitably optimistic and can leave you with warm fuzzies if you are willing to go for the ride. If you haven't heard of him before, (and you probably haven't) the above titles are excellent starting points [1] and can often be found as scanlations on various manga sites and are most certainly worth reading.


Tanaka-san is known for:

  • Angst? What Angst?: Ai-Ren and My Lovely Ghost Kana feature characters who would have every reason in the world to give up, but who barely even acknowledge their problems, much less let them run their lives.
    • In the rare case that they do acknowledge their problems, they often find a way to emerge from their burdens as stronger people and the bond between them reinforced.
  • Better Than It Sounds: As mentioned, his stories are often categorized as Hentai but, thanks to his amazing characters, storytelling and frank and unapologetic emotional portrayals of the most intimate aspects of love, bear little resemblance to most hentai fare, aside from great sex.
  • Bittersweet Ending: He is very likely to set you up and then pull the rug out from under you in either direction. See under Mood Whiplash.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Or Boy has already Met Girl.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: His stories are packed with heartwarming. As the entry under Virgin Night says, this is erotica that wears its heart on its sleeve.
    • For Tanaka-san himself, the afterword he wrote for My Lovely Ghost Kana. The story had incubated in his head for a long time, but didn't feel he could do it justice at the time he originally thought of it. He describes how long he worked as a mangaka before he felt he had developed the skill to bring the work to fruition the way he felt it deserved. It's humbling, heartwarming and inspiring, just like his manga.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Nobody gets a free ride, and they get what they work for. Honesty and trust pay off in the end.
  • Ecchi: Certainly, even in his tamer work.
  • Genre Busting: Ai-Ren and My Lovely Ghost Kana are really hard to categorize, other than Slice of Life in only the most superficial sense.
  • Good People Have Good Sex and grow closer for it.
  • Hentai: Virgin Night is on the explicit side of the scale; Ai-Ren is barely R-Rated; My Lovely Ghost Kana is somewhere in between. So far, Mimia Hime is distinctly G-Rated.
  • Lighter and Softer: It's refreshing to see sex portrayed in manga as nothing more than a natural, happy part of a solid relationship and not involve rape, demons and/or tentacles.

  Daikichi: "The deeper we fall in love, the more we make love... with more and more sex... comes lots of happiness."

  • Minimalism: His regular dialogue and narration is often broken up by short, striking, almost haiku-like paragraphs that come across just as poetically in translations.

 You shivered when we kissed. You had sparkles in your eyes. I was so excited too. Because I ... I fell in love with you.

Ai: I'll be here dreaming... with lots of stars ♥ ... Smiling while dreaming... waiting for you, whom I love.

Kana, in her summer clothes, shone in the golden light of sunset. / And Kana and I / waited patiently under the red sky / for the first twinkling of stars.

    • If you read some of the post-chapter notes by the translators, the minimalist parts were actually the hardest parts to translate. It's a minor Crowning Moment of Awesome in translation for managing to keep the spirit of the text intact across the language barrier.
  • Mood Whiplash Mood Compound Neck Fracture: He is really, really good at hitting you with a sudden punch of Nightmare Fuel, Tear Jerker or Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when you are least expecting it, even when you think you are expecting it. Worthy of being the patron saint of the trope. (See the entry under My Lovely Ghost Kana for an example.)
  • No Export for You: If you don't read Japanese, you will have to find scanlations. Adult-only official translations probably won't be seen any time soon.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Avoided hard. Only invoked to show how poor communication is bad for relationships, and how his characters avoid or overcome said problems and grow closer by learning to be honest and open with each other.
    • And not coincidentally, how honesty and trust averts poor communication from the get-go.
  • Porn with Plot: With heavy emphasis on plot and characters, but he does not shy away from showing all aspects of a relationship.
  • Power of Love: The central idea of most of his stories is that, if you have love, you can overcome anything.
  • Scenery Porn: You can expect at least one amazing two-page spread in most of his stories along with plenty of gorgeous background panels.
  • Signature Style: See the minimalism entry.
  • Slice of Life: Take two people, put them together, show us how and how much they love each other.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: To paraphrase another troper, "By the end of one of his stories, you are likely to want to run off and find someone to hug."
  • Tear Jerker: If you are going to read Ai-Ren or My Lovely Ghost Kana, keep a box of tissues handy. There will be plenty of opportunity for both the sad and the happy kinds of tears.
  • The Power of Love: His characters find happiness and/or peace with each other, sometimes even in the face of the absolute worst things the world wants to throw at them.

Notes

  1. check the Hentai entry for a scale of explicitness for your preference
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