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Kodomo no Jikan (こどものじかん?, lit. A Child's Time) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by manga author Kaworu Watashiya. The story revolves around a grade school teacher named Daisuke Aoki, whose main problem is that one of his students, Rin Kokonoe, has a crush on him. It was first serialized on May 22, 2005 in the Japanese seinen manga magazine Comic High!, published by Futabasha. At one time, an English language version of the manga was licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment for distribution in North America under the title Nymphet, but the Los Angeles–based company ultimately decided not to publish it due to controversies over its content.[1] An anime adaptation of the series aired on Japanese television between October 12, 2007 and December 28, 2007. While content of the broadcast version was sometimes heavily censored, the DVD releases of the individual episodes remain unedited. A second anime season[2] was released as four original video animation episodes between January and July 2009. A third original anime DVD to be included with the limited edition of the ninth volume was announced on the cover of the manga's eighth volume in May 2010.[3]

Plot

The main story of Kodomo no Jikan is centered around twenty-three-year-old Daisuke Aoki, who has just landed his first teaching job as a grade school instructor at Futatsubashi Elementary School (双ツ橋 小学校 Futatsubashi Shōgakkō?). He is placed in charge of Class 3-1, where one of his students, a mischievously precocious nine-year-old girl by the name of Rin Kokonoe, develops a crush on him and goes so far as to proclaim herself Aoki's girlfriend. She aggressively pursues her efforts to be with her teacher despite the fact that he will lose his job if she gets too close, a situation further complicated by the often complex, intertwining relationships existing between them and their respective friends, families, and peers.

Characters

File:Kodomo no Jikan characters.jpg
Daisuke Aoki (青木 大介 Aoki Daisuke?)
Voiced by: Junji Majima
The protagonist of the story, Daisuke Aoki, is a freshly graduated 23-year-old elementary school instructor who has been placed in charge of the third grade class 3-1. Many of the idealistic notions he holds about his job, however, are quickly put to the test as he finds himself dealing with unexpected, complex situations, not the least of which is having a shamelessly flirtatious nine-year-old doing everything in her power to win his affections. Aoki's complete lack of previous teaching experience sometimes makes it hard for him to control his class or maintain their interest, a situation further complicated by the ease with which he is flustered by Rin's sexual innuendo and Kuro's barbed remarks about his status as a virgin. His relatively normal, uneventful childhood also complicates his efforts to quickly and easily grasp the hardships faced by some of his students, though this has in no way discouraged him from trying or diminished his desire to help them. In fact, his seemingly unshakable enthusiasm, hands-on attitude, and emotional attachment to his students has often caused him to butt heads with the more traditional Sae Shirai. Almost from the beginning, Aoki has shared a special bond with Rin, one which has deepened and become so complex over time that even he, at one point, was uncertain of what exactly his feelings towards her were.[4] Regardless of the nature of his love for Rin, his protectiveness of her has led him to become increasingly suspicious and mistrustful of the motives of her guardian and cousin, Reiji Kokonoe.
Rin Kokonoe (九重 りん Kokonoe Rin?)
Voiced by: Eri Kitamura
Rin is a young girl in third grade who has an intense crush on her teacher Daisuke. She has a mischievous nature and has proclaimed herself to be Daisuke's girlfriend; she will go to great lengths to make him fall in love with her. This has resulted in her crossing moral and legal boundaries many times, including blackmail and taking advantage of Daisuke's inability to respond to her forcible advances by threatening to scream that he is trying to molest her, when in fact it is her that is making those advances. Despite Rin's mischievous nature she has shown herself to care deeply for her friends and family, going to any length to defend them. Also much of her bad behavior is a result of trying to hide the traces of the vulnerable little girl she used to be as a result of a tragedy in her past.
Kuro Kagami (鏡 黒 Kagami Kuro?)
Voiced by: Kei Shindō
A close friend of Rin's, the diminutive Kuro Kagami is also Rin's frequent "partner in crime" due to their comparable levels of sexual knowledge. She is openly contemptuous of Aoki due to his lack of sexual experience, naïveté, inability to consistently enforce discipline in the classroom, and her belief that he is a pervert, lolicon, and rival for Rin's affection, and often verbally — and sometimes even physically — abuses him. The apparent wealth of the Kagami family allows Kuro to indulge her obsession with following the latest, expensive fashion trends, and she often wears clothing in the Gothic Lolita style, sometimes combined with nekomimi ears and tail. Though others may have the impression that she is a show off, bad apple, or spoiled brat, she has managed to befriend both Rin and Mimi and is very dedicated to and protective of them both. Much to the surprise and confusion of just about everyone, Kuro eventually comes to idolize and develop something of a crush on Sae Shirai, possibly due to their similar personalities and temperaments.
Mimi Usa (宇佐 美々 Usa Mimi?)
Voiced by: Mai Kadowaki
A quiet, bespectacled young girl whose knowledge of adult and sexual matters is inversely proportional to her level of physical development and an astonishing degree of whose wide-eyed childhood innocence has managed to survive having Rin and Kuro as best friends. Surprisingly, Mimi Usa's biggest problem is her struggle to establish a sense of self-identity: since most of her defining characteristics emphasize qualities about herself with which she is either uncomfortable or that make her stand out — such as her intelligence, height, lack of aptitude when it comes to sports and related activities, and unusually generous physical endowment for a third grader — she has become incredibly self-conscious, emotionally fragile, and increasingly depressed. This problem is merely compounded by her shyness, lack of assertiveness, and reluctance to stand up for herself, which have made her a popular target for teasing and bullying — most notably by class 3-1's original homeroom teacher, Nakamura — and made it difficult for many adults, including her parents, to take her concerns seriously sometimes, though Rin and Kuro's loyalty and protectiveness and Aoki's continuing emotional support have benefited her greatly. Her greatest source of inspiration thus far, however, has come from her secret crush, Rin's cousin Reiji: recognizing much of who he once was in her, he told her to never lose hope that she would one day find someone who would understand and love her and also encouraged her to not succumb to anger and hatred at the world like he did.
Kyōko Hōin (宝院 京子 Hōin Kyōko?)
Voiced by: Ryōko Tanaka
A young, well-endowed teacher who is Aoki's colleague and friend at work. She tries to care for Aoki as he is still new to the job, and seems to have a crush on him. She has asked him out on several occasions, only to be interrupted every time by some incident, usually involving Rin.
Reiji Kokonoe (九重レイジ Kokonoe Reiji?)
Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita
Rin's first cousin once removed, and guardian. He and Rin share a very close relationship, almost like a father and daughter or a brother and sister. For a short period of time, he was in love with Rin's mother, his own cousin Aki, before she died. After her death he became Rin's official guardian. He is very protective of Rin and does not seem to like Aoki at all because of Rin's affection towards him, which makes Reiji very jealous. It is revealed that Reiji's love for Rin is deeper than just a father and daughter relationship.

Media

Manga

The first chapter of a two-part "pilot" for Kodomo no Jikan appeared in the premiere issue of the Japanese seinen manga magazine Comic High! on March 2, 2004, published by Futabasha.[5] The successful reception of the prototype prompted the creator, Kaworu Watashiya, to rework the title into a full-fledged manga. Serialization began a little over a year later in the May 22, 2005 issue of Comic High! and is still ongoing as of May 2010; the stories have been collected and released in eight bound volumes in Japan thus far. While the aforementioned prototype is not considered part of the ongoing series' canon in spite of the shared name, largely identical main cast, and common central theme, many situations and ideas initially introduced there were revisited in the eventual manga series — and thus incorporated into official continuity — albeit in (slightly) altered or expanded form.

Audio dramas

An Internet radio show called Kojika Radio (こじからじお?), hosted by Lantis Web Radio, Beat Net Radio!, and Kodomo no Jikan's official website, originally had a pre-broadcast on August 31, 2007, but began regular weekly broadcasts every Friday starting on September 7, 2007. It has three hosts — Eri Kitamura, Kei Shindō, and Mai Kadowaki, who played Rin Kokonoe, Kuro Kagami, and Mimi Usa in the anime, respectively — and was produced by Bandai Visual and Lantis. There are three corners on the show, which is used mainly to promote the anime version.[6][7][8] A CD entitled Kojika Radio on CD: Aki Ensoku Hen (こじからじお on CD ~秋の遠足編~?) was released by Lantis on November 21, 2007. It contained an opening and ending talk as well as seven more tracks from the Internet radio show.[9] A drama CD was released on January 9, 2008 by Lantis.[10]

Anime

File:Kodomo no Jikan TV-DVD comparison.jpg

A thirty-minute, uncensored, single-episode original video animation (OVA) was released on September 12, 2007, available both on the anime's official website and in a limited edition version bundled with the fourth volume of the manga. The anime series, directed by Eiji Suganuma and produced by the animation studio Studio Barcelona,[11] was originally scheduled to premiere in Japan on October 11, 2007, but two television stations — TV Saitama and Mie TV — removed it from their broadcast schedules.[12][13] In an official press release, TV Saitama stated that their decision was heavily influenced by the then-recent capture of Takayuki Hosoda, a notorious Japanese child pornographer who was revealed to be an elementary school vice principal.[14][15][16] Plans for Chiba TV and KBS Kyoto to air the series remained unchanged, and the anime premiered on Japanese television on October 12, 2007, running for twelve episodes until December 28, 2007. However, some of its content suffered censorship to varying degrees, from animated panels obscuring parts of the screen and sound effects being used to "bleep" out dialogue in some instances to full suppression of both audio and video in others. The uncensored version of the anime series is available on DVD in six volumes containing two episodes each. The DVD volumes were released between December 21, 2007[17] and May 23, 2008.

A second anime season was announced, and a promotional video of this season was included with a special edition of the fifth manga volume released on July 11, 2008.[2] This season was released in original video animation format over four episodes between January 21 and July 24, 2009. A third anime adaptation was announced on the cover of the manga's eighth volume in May 2010.[3]

Music

Four pieces of theme music are used for the television anime broadcast: one opening theme and three ending ones. The opening theme, used in all episodes except the twelfth, which did not have an opening theme, is "Rettsu! Ohime-sama Dakko" (れっつ!おひめさまだっこ?) by Eri Kitamura, Kei Shindō, and Mai Kadowaki, the voice actresses for Rin Kokonoe, Kuro Kagami, and Mimi Usa, respectively. The first ending theme, used for all but two episodes, is "Hanamaru Sensation" (ハナマル☆センセイション Hanamaru☆Senseishon?) by Little Non; the second ending theme, used only for episode six, is "Yasashii" (やさしい?) by Chata; the third and final ending theme, used only in episode twelve and which was also the opening theme for the OVA, is "Otome Chikku Shoshinsha desu" (オトメチック初心者でーす?), once again sung by the trio of Kitamura, Shindō, and Kadowaki. The maxi single for the opening theme was released on October 24, 2007 by Lantis, and the one for the first ending theme was released on October 12, 2007, also by Lantis.[18][19] The anime's original soundtrack was released on January 23, 2008.[20]

The OVA's opening theme, the previously mentioned "Otome Chikku Shoshinsha desu" (オトメチック初心者でーす?) and was included on the same maxi single as "Rettsu! Ohime-sama Dakko" as a B-side track.[18] The ending theme, "Aijō◎Education" (愛情◎エデュケイション?) by Little Non, appeared on the same maxi single as "Hanamaru Sensation" as a B-side track.[19] Three character song albums were released by Lantis on December 26, 2007 for the characters Rin Kokonoe, Kuro Kagami, and Mimi Usa, featuring singing and voicework by their respective voice actresses.[21][22][23]

The second season's opening theme is "Guilty Future" by Kitamura.[24] The ending theme for all but episode three is "1,2,3 Day" by Little Non.[25] The ending theme for episode three is "Yoridori Princess" (よりどりプリンセス?) by Kitamura, Shindō, and Kadowaki. An album was released by Lantis on January 27, 2010 containing all the music used in the anime.[26]

Controversy

Kodomo no Jikan was originally licensed for distribution in North America in 2006 by the Los Angeles–based company Seven Seas Entertainment, the first volume of the manga having been slated for an early 2007 release. According to Futabasha, the title of Nymphet was selected for the English language version at the suggestion — and later insistence — of the original creator, Kaworu Watashiya.[27] The manga, however, soon became the target of controversy after questions were raised about its appropriateness for North American audiences. In a written statement, the president of Seven Seas Entertainment, Jason DeAngelis, observed that "those who are speaking out against Nymphet seem to be disturbed by the relationship between two characters in the story, namely an elementary school student and her adult teacher" and decided to delay the release of the manga so that he could "have an open dialogue with the large book chains and other vendors."[28] The title was subsequently dropped as a result of these concerns, with DeAngelis saying that it was "not appropriate for Seven Seas to publish Nymphet," and that it would cancel its release of the manga.[1]

In a second statement regarding Nymphet, DeAngelis explained some of the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the series. He stated that, "my primary reason for canceling Nymphet is due to my recent realization that later volumes in the series can not be considered appropriate for the US market by any reasonable standard." He also cited the fact that, "[the vendors] began dropping their orders left and right, so their opinion on this matter became pretty clear cut."[29] Specifically, DeAngelis stated that, during his re-review of later Kodomo no Jikan anthologies, he discovered content that he regarded as highly unsuitable for publication.[27] The pages cited were of a scene of the main characters, Rin Kokonoe and Daisuke Aoki, stuck in a room with freezing temperatures. The two embrace in an effort to stay warm by sharing body heat and, in the process, Rin inadvertently rubs against Aoki's crotch, causing him to get an erection.[27]

On June 7, 2007, Kaworu Watashiya posted a blog entry on the Kodomo no Jikan controversy in the United States.[30] She commented that, "what I heard about 'issues in volume 2 and later' made me realize the differences in the cultures between the countries."[31] The author went on to cite instances in later volumes that showed intimate relationships between cousins and a bath scene with a child and adult, going on to say that, "my honest feeling is, 'It's unfortunate, but what can I do?'"[31]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Seven Seas kills Nymphet". Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Kodomo no Jikan (Nymphet) Second Term Anime Announced". Anime News Network. March 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Kodomo no Jikan Anime's Return Announced". Anime News Network. May 10, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  4. Watashiya, Kaworu. "Period 30". Kodomo no Jikan volume 5. Futabasha. 
  5. "New Shōjo Manga Magazine for Boys". Anime News Network. 2004-02-27. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  6. Script error[dead link]
  7. Script error
  8. Script error
  9. Script error
  10. Script error
  11. "Kodomo no Jikan (TV)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  12. "Japan's Teletama Takes Nymphet, Higurashi off Schedule". Anime News Network. 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  13. "2nd Japanese TV Station Removes Nymphet from Schedule". Anime News Network. 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  14. "TV Saitama, Kodomo no Jikan, and axe girl stuff". 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  15. "Teletama Reply for Pulling Kodomo no Jikan". Alafista.com. 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  16. "Arrested school vice principal says he is a 'superstar' among pedophiles". 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  17. Script error
  18. 18.0 18.1 Script error
  19. 19.0 19.1 Script error
  20. Script error
  21. Script error
  22. Script error
  23. Script error
  24. Script error
  25. Script error
  26. Script error
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 "Jason DeAngelis blog". Seven Seas Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  28. "Seven Seas Entertainment Talks about Nymphet". Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  29. "Seven Seas' Nymphet Letter 2". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  30. Script error
  31. 31.0 31.1 "Nymphet Creator, U.S. Publisher Blog on Cancellation". Anime News Network. June 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 

External links

it:Kodomo no jikan nl:Kodomo no Jikanru:Kodomo no Jikan tl:Kodomo no Jikan zh:萌少女的恋爱时光

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