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Bitter Virgin

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Bitter Virgin (ビター バージン) is a seinen manga presented by Kei Kusunoki and serialized in Young Gangan. This story contains drama, romance, and slice of life.

Plot

Suwa Daisuke is a bored high school student living with his widowed mother in a small Japanese community. A player and ladies man, his ambition is to leave the small town he grew up in and move to the city like his older sister, Izumi. During class one day, while discussing with a friend which girls in the class he would date, he says that he would "pass" on only one: Aikawa Hinako, a quiet, fragile-looking but beautiful girl who has an extreme fear of men, even including her male teachers.

Working after school in his mother's restaurant, Daisuke stops in an abandoned church while making a delivery. Having made up a tall tale of a murdered bride's vengeful and murderous ghost who "chases you around with a cake knife", the entire town's population, except him, stays away from it, much to his amusement. Stopping inside to rest, he hears someone coming and conceals himself in the nearby confessional booth. Surprised to see Hinako (who, as a newcomer to the town hasn't heard the stories) entering the church, he remains in the confessional and pretends to be a priest to avoid an awkward moment. He tells her that mass has ended and asks her to leave unless she has come to confess, hoping she will leave. He is startled when, instead of leaving, Hinako asks him if he will hear her confession. Daisuke, believing it will be a mere triviality, agrees. She goes on to tell a story that will bind him to her forever.

While in junior high, Hinako was abused and raped by her stepfather, becoming pregnant. Her mother discovers the pregnancy, and does not believe Hinako's claims that her mother's new partner is the father. Hinako is forced to abort the pregnancy because the baby has already died inside of her. The abuse continued. Hinako fell pregnant again but this time the evidence of abuse is spotted by the doctors and her mother finally believes her terrible situation, throwing the stepfather out. The doctors tell Hinako that if she has another abortion, she might lose the ability to bear children completely. Hinako instead has to give birth to the child and put it up for adoption.

A year before the story starts, she gives birth to a boy. Hinako does not even see her child before he was taken away to be adopted, but now wonders if she should at least celebrate his birthday. She comes to the church to ask God if she should. With an emotional Hinako on the verge of breaking down in tears, a desperate Daisuke tells her, "You have the support of God." Thanking him, she leaves.

The next day, Daisuke cannot initially believe what he has heard, suspecting that Hinako invented the whole affair to make herself out to be some sort of tragic heroine. As he follows her home after school in order to confirm whether her story was true or not, Hinako stops to look at a woman and her baby in a carriage. Suddenly the brakes slip and the carriage starts to roll down the hill. Hinako runs instantly forward to save the child and Daisuke instinctively jumps in front of Hinako to protect her. Both carriage and baby are saved, but not before hitting Daisuke in the forehead and giving him a cut, throwing him to the ground with Hinako. In the process, Hinako's skirt gets hitched up and Daisuke sees a Caesarean scar on her stomach, recognizing it as the same as he saw on his mother's stomach as a child.

Hinako's story proven true, Daisuke is shocked, but when he walks her home from the hospital (after having his cut treated) she cheerfully smiles at him when she recognizes the song he starts singing to himself, making his heart jump. Daisuke resolves to help Hinako in any way he can, but finds himself unable to get her out of his mind.

Characters

Names in Japanese order.

Suwa Daisuke: The main character of the story, Daisuke is quiet, but has an eye for the ladies, but doesn't really like any of them to the point of asking them out. Aikawa Hinako is the only girl he can't stand because of her shyness towards him and all other men, which agitates him. But when he accidentally hears her confess to the priest (him hiding) that she's been raped, pregnant, and a mother, he begins to soften towards her until he comes to love her. They become friends and he continues not to tell her that he knows of her past, which he is constantly haunted by, thinking that she is completely off-limits to him and that as a man, he can never draw her attention. He has caught Kazuki, his "girlfriend," try to harm Hinako a couple times and puts up with the girl and her jealousy to protect Hinako. He is not aware that Hinako has grown to love him back, but he finds himself blessed as the only man she can stand to be around.

Aikawa Hinako: The main female character of the story who has developed extreme trauma towards men caused by her stepfather sexually abusing her when she was younger, making her pregnant twice. As the story begins she is only 16 years old, indicating she was actually much younger than that when the abuse began. A year before the story takes places, Hinako actually gave birth to a boy. Her mother never stopped the violence because Hinako tried to protect her mother's happiness and not say anything about it. When she had her first pregnancy, her mother believed her to be lying to cover up the real father when she said her mother's husband had gotten her pregnant. When she had her second pregnancy (she was already too far along to have an abortion), the doctor told Hinako's mother that Hinako was covered with bruises and he did not believe she'd chosen her partner. Her mother soon threw the man out by threatening him. Hinako then went to a far away school, not telling anyone but her mother, and that's where the story takes place. Hinako does not know that Daisuke is aware of her past. As the story progresses, she comes to realize that she is in love with Daisuke and now believes that he could never be hers because of her past and his clingy "girlfriend" Kazuki.

Ibuse Kazuki: She is Daisuke and Hinako's classmate. She is quite flashy and would love to have Daisuke as a boyfriend and is quite friendly with him. She seems to dress in the ganguro girl style, but lacks the artificial tanned skin to prove it. She latches herself onto Daisuke as his girlfriend and obsesses about him, growing bitter towards Aikawa when her feelings towards Daisuke seem to be largely unrequited. She goes so far as intending to stab Aikawa with scissors, before Daisuke intervenes. She has also, however, shown signs of being a good person. When Suwa's sister pretended to be in pain, she showed signs of concern, and offered to call an ambulance, but she soon forgets the good deed and when Izumi's baby is stillborn, she believes that it served Izumi right for tricking her. Daisuke is presently going out with her to protect Hinako.

Yamamoto Yuzu: She is also one of Daisuke's classmates, Daisuke's next-door-neighbor, and childhood friend, also secretly harbouring feelings for him. She sometimes works with him in his mother's restaurant. She's the traditional girl-next-door and constantly badgers him like a "henpecking wife" to do his school chores or other assorted tasks (of which, of course he will constantly try to escape). She was Daisuke's main source of solace after his father's death. She appears to work out the strength of feeling that Daisuke and Hinako share from an early stage. She knows that Daisuke likes Hinako and may be starting to figure out that she likes him back. She is not aware of Hinako's past, but she does know that Daisuke is not interested in Kazuki, but wants to protect Hinako.

Suwa Izumi: Suwa Daisuke's sister is 37 weeks pregnant as the result of an affair with a work colleague. She is a strong-willed woman who has resolved to take care of the child as a single mother and returns from Tokyo to have the baby at her mother's home. Even with her baby's birth imminent, she constantly teases her younger brother, but sometimes her teasing can be all too accurate. She was able to figure out that Hinako has been pregnant before, but apparently, she was only kidding around with her brother, not knowing that what she said was true and instead believing Hinako to have had a pregnant relative. But when she gives birth, it's a boy and is stillborn, having been strangled by his umbilical cord. Her grief almost overwhelms her but she tries to stay strong. At the end of the third book, she becomes angry at Hinako for saying that she understands the pain of coming to the hospital for tests without a baby and Hinako ends up telling her that she gave birth the year before.

Mrs Suwa: She is a caring mom who struggles to run the family shop. A widow, she constantly badgers Daisuke to impregnate some girl in order to get someone else to help out with the family business.

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