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We are Mint (ミントな僕ら Mint na Bokura?) is a Japanese manga series by Wataru Yoshizumi. We are Mint centers around the life of a pair of 14-year old twins. It was initially published in July 1997 issue of Ribon Comics and ended in February 2000. It is completed in 6 volumes, while in the Spanish version; the manga is compiled into 16 volumes.

Plot

We are Mint, is a light-hearted romance manga about identical twins Minamino Noeru/Noel and Maria and the various love situations that occur around them. These two siblings are very close, so when Maria falls for an older guy from a different school and transfers to that school to be closer to him, Noeru - who seems to love his sister a *bit* too much - is struck by extreme jealousy. To make things worse, the school that Maria has transferred to is a boarding school, so he will no longer be able to hang out with her. Of course, Noeru won't stand for it. He decides to enter Maria's new school as well and persuade her to come back, but there is one major problem: the only open admission left is in the girl's dormitory! Supposedly, that fact alone is enough to deter any normal, proud guy, but Noeru seems to be anything but that - especially when it concerns his beloved sister. Armed with a wig (hair extension), headband, a pair of suppatsu and padded bra, Noeru resolutely masquerades as a girl and begins his new life in Morinomiya Boarding School.

Characters

Main characters

Minamino Noeru/Noel
The main character, Noeru is a gregarious teen who seems to suffer from extreme sister complex. Learning of his beloved twin's sudden transfer to a different school, he determinedly follows her and plans to have her break up with her new "love" so that they can be together again. However, he finds out that the school no longer has any open spot for a male transferee, so he has to be female to be admitted. Refusing to be discouraged by such minor inconveniences, Noeru does just that.
Aggressive and temperamental, Noeru can also be very forward and playful. He is awfully possessive and protective of his sister, and gives deadly glares to anyone who makes a move on her. Even as a girl, he nonchalantly retains his boyish mannerisms, such as referring to himself as "ore" instead of the typical girly "atashi". His disguise consists of a half-wig that resembles Maria's long hair, a headband or bandanna, a pair of suppatsu worn underneath his school skirt, and a padded bra he 'borrowed' from Maria.


Minamino Maria
Maria is your typical 14-year old school girl. She falls in love with an older guy from a different school and transfers to that school to be closer to him, which obviously devastates her twin brother Noeru to the point he swallows his manly pride and wears a skirt and a half-wig in order to be with her. Of course, she is quite indignant to this, knowing fully well that Noeru will only disrupt her chances of getting together with her new love. She seems to be suffocated with her twin's affection and over protectiveness towards her, but she still loves him, annoying and frustrating as he may be at most times.
Feminine and perky in nature, she can be a bit gullible at times and tends to be quick to judge. She is also quite superficial, repeatedly developing shallow crushes on different boys (a character trait that made her unpopular in fan polls, a fact noted by Noeru at one point), but she is a very sweet girl who generally understands the sensitivity of other people's hearts. It is revealed that Maria is a popular figure in her new (and old) school and many guys are crushing on her, much to her twin's displeasure. She is a valued member of Morinomiya's girls' basketball team.


Sasa Ryuuji
Sasa is the ace player of Morinomiya's boys' basketball team and is also one of the school's campus crushes. He is a cool and easygoing guy who acts indifferent toward his admirers, saying he doesn't have any interest in girls. This 'phobia' of his actually has a history of its own, which will be revealed in the later parts of the manga. A natural sportsman, he is a complete fishing maniac.
The first time he meets Noeru-girl, Sasa is instantly befuddled by his assertiveness, casually calling him by his name here and there and even mindlessly asking him a favor of making him the team's manager - just so he can look after his sister more. He realizes that Noeru is very different from the stereotypical girls in school and soon falls in love with him, much to Noeru's distress and Maria's amusement. However, when Noeru reveals to him his secret, he is very mortified, but after a moment of shock, he decides to continue being friends with him. To help Noeru conceal his true identity, they pose as a couple.


Makimura Miyu
Quiet, serious and secretive, Miyu is Noeru's roommate. She's a bit of a loner and sometimes stays out until very late at night. At first, she appears unfriendly to Noeru, but eventually becomes good friends with him when he helps her with her 'bug problems', which - unbeknownst to her - is actually a prank Noeru thoughtlessly pulled on her. Miyu, despite what people think of her, is actually a very nice and pleasant girl.
There are many rumors about her circulating in school, like her involvement with a much older man. While she seems apathetic to the issue, Noeru becomes worried and even goes as far as to spy on her during one of her gimmicks, bringing a disgruntled Sasa with him. When things are eventually settled, Noeru - with the help of Maria - realizes that he may actually like Miyu as more than a friend, and surely, Miyu becomes the girl who is able to distract the main character from his unhealthy obsession with his sister. However, Miyu, due to a past experience, holds a deep resentment toward liars, which poses as a huge problem to cross-dresser Noeru and his growing feelings toward her. It is also discovered that she and Sasa share something else than a school later on in the story.


Secondary characters

Hirobe Kazuaki
Although a secondary character, Hirobe is undoubtedly the key person in the story for being the one who initiated this whole fiasco. He is Maria's love interest, the main reason of her sudden school transfer. The coach of Morinomiya's basketball team, he is described as good-looking, mature, kind and compassionate. Noeru seems to dislike him for taking his beloved twin away from him, and is always finding a way to ruin Maria's attempts to get closer to him. When Maria is finally able to confess to him, she is disappointed to find out that he already has a girlfriend. Noeru subsequently rejoices with this, but Maria is still determined to win Hirobe's heart, which instantly turns his plans of bringing Maria back home into a puff of smoke. Hirobe is an alumnus of Morinomiya and is currently attending Keiou University as a 2nd year college student.


Hirobe Yoshiaki
Hirobe's younger brother, Yoshiaki is the captain of Hino's basketball team, Morinomiya's rival school, and is a year older than Noeru and the others. Upon meeting Maria for the first time, he immediately asks her out, which obviously sparks extreme fury and jealousy from Noeru. Maria is unimpressed at first, but after hearing from Hirobe that Yoshiaki has liked her since the first time he saw her picture, she decides to date him. Yoshiaki has the looks and personality that every girl dreams of in a guy, and Maria is really happy to have a boyfriend like him. On the other hand, Noeru's hatred toward him seems to grow every time he sees him all lovey-dovey with his sister. However, when he finally realizes how much Maria likes Yoshiaki, he begrudgingly steps back, but only after he makes Yoshiaki promise *never* to hurt Maria. All is well after that, but seeing as Yoshiaki is a delightful young man, there will surely be a rival that will pop up and try to ruin his seemingly perfect relationship with Maria.


Nakayama Akira
A senior high school student, Akira is 2 years older than Noeru and the rest. While her looks are noteworthy, her personality is deadly and calculating, and she makes her appearance in the manga as a threatening person to Maria. She is someone who knows fully well what she wants and will go to great lengths to obtain it with no care for whoever she hurts or steps on in the process. At this time, she has her eyes set on Yoshiaki. Initially, Maria is determined to not back down from her, but her resolve crumbles when she learns that Akira holds a history with Yoshiaki; they are childhood friends, and Yoshiaki actually loved Akira! Thus, Akira is able to bring back what is 'rightfully' hers, and Maria is left to experience her first major heartbreak. She is a bit interested with Sasa as well, although Sasa clearly dislikes her for bullying "Noeru's twin".


Asou Kanako
Kanako is a chipper lass who is always on the lookout for the coolest guys in school. She is originally Maria's roommate, but became Miyu's when Miyu discovers Noeru's true identity. In a fit of anger, she tells Maria to exchange rooms with her, to which Maria wordlessly agrees, already knowing what probably happened. Like any student unfamiliar with Miyu, Kanako is initially wary of her, but soon befriends her after realizing that she's actually a nice and kind girl. Sympathetic and easy to talk to, it is evident that she and Maria are very good friends, seeing as she's always with Maria whenever the girl is depressed with something, listening to her problems and giving her advices. Kanako seems to have a crush on Sasa, and later on, with Tooru - who is actually Noeru posing as the twins' boy cousin. She is also a member of Morinomiya's girls' basketball team.


Sakurai Daisuke
Daisuke is a student from Noeru and Maria's old school, Higashiyama Jr. High. When he learns that Noeru has acquired a new best friend in the form of Sasa, he becomes quite jealous and instantly forms some sort of a rivalry with him. Nevertheless, Daisuke is a good guy. He's in love with Maria, and is totally distressed when he finds out that she already has Yoshiaki for a boyfriend. However, he gets his chance to date her after the two breaks up, and he becomes Maria's 2nd boyfriend in the manga. Then again, their relationship isn't any romantic at all; despite Daisuke's total devotion, Maria doesn't seem to return his feelings in the same degree and neglects - albeit unintentionally - her job as a girlfriend, like celebrating his birthday with him. Eventually, he breaks up with her, seeing no possible chances of ever making Maria love him the way he wants her to. Daisuke is also a good basketball player.


Tachihara Karin
Like Daisuke, Karin attends Noeru and Maria's former school. Rather stubborn and strong-willed, Karin has a crush on Noeru and will do anything to win him over. She is saddened upon finding out that Noeru already has a girl he likes in his new school, then gets pissed off when he tells her that the girl doesn't regard him the same. Despite her tendency to act impulsively, Karin is actually very sharp; it didn't take long for her to realize that Noeru is hiding something from her. Having no other choice, Noeru then tells her the truth and she threatens him that unless he wants his secret to be exposed, he has to go out with her. Of course, she doesn't really mean it. After making Noeru dress up in his girl version in front of her (as some sort of punishment for him rejecting her), she finally lets go of Noeru and even wishes him good luck - although in a teasing manner.


Jirou Kurisu/Chris
Kurisu is the lead vocalist of "Embrasse Moi", a famous band in Morinomiya. Flamboyant, expressive and narcissistic, he enjoys the constant attention given to him by his groupies and often acts overly confident because of this. Accustomed to girls adoring and pursuing him, he has an unusual penchant for girls who act mean and uninterested toward him, so when he meets Noeru-girl, he immediately becomes infatuated. He is very persistent with his "Honey", and goes to great lengths just to make Noeru fall for him. Of course, Noeru always ignores his advances, which only intensifies Kurisu's fondness for him. He dislikes Sasa for the fact that he's Noeru's 'boyfriend', and later, this hatred grows to immense heights when Sasa steals the title of "Most Popular Student" from him. After ultimately getting rejected by Noeru, Kurisu falls in love with Miyu, much to Noeru's horror. Later on, he discovers Noeru's secret and - with the help of an oblivious Kanako - proceeds to fool the boy into doing all sorts of things that will expose his true identity, albeit his schemes seem to thwart him for the worse in every turn. In the end, he falls for Kanako after she expresses her disappointment with him for trying to destroy Noeru and being a huge jerk.


Iwasaki Ririko
Ririko is a friendly and outgoing girl who takes an immediate liking to Sasa upon meeting him and Noeru in Harakuju. Due to her circle of friends consisting of mostly guys, she has come to be direct and very open to her feelings. She asks Sasa to be her boyfriend approximately an hour after they initially met, and while Sasa seems to be a bit apprehensive about it, he still decides to consider it. A huge sports and fishing fanatic, Noeru regards Ririko as someone who can be Sasa's ideal girl, so it's no surprise to him that Sasa eventually resolves to take Ririko's offer. However, their relationship is short-lived; Sasa meekly admits that even though she possesses the qualities he looks for in a girl, he can never make himself date her because he already has his heart set on someone else. Ririko is undeniably upset, but decides to become a good sport and remains his friend despite that.


Conclusive Pairings

Minamino Noeru/Noel & Makimura Miyu

Noeru and Miyu's relationship can only be described as pure cuteness and innocence. As a girl, Noeru is assigned to be Miyu's roommate. He's initially a bit intimidated by Miyu's unfriendly attitude, but eventually, they become comfortable with each other's company as time passes. When Noeru learns about the rumors concerning Miyu, he gets worried and decides to follow her on one of her gimmicks, forcing Sasa to join him. A major discovery about Miyu and Sasa is then made, and seeing them become on much better terms from that incident, a confused Noeru suddenly feels an unsettling and unexplainable emotion within him. Noeru - whose only obsession at the moment is his sister - is slow when it comes to himself, so it is only after he has a talk with Maria that he is finally able to realize that he has actually fallen in love with Miyu.

Subsequently, Noeru finds himself struggling with his newfound feelings and retaining his disguise without confessing to his roommate. He decides to woo her as "Kurihara Tooru" in his boy version, and just as when things are going for the better between them, he learns that Miyu holds a deep hatred towards liars due to a past experience. This puts Noeru in an extreme guilt trip, which instantly hinders any of his attempts to tell Miyu his true identity. And when Miyu actually finds out the truth, Noeru is sure that he has lost the girl he loves. Nevertheless, with sheer determination and perseverance, he is able to earn Miyu's trust once again after a while. At the end of the manga, they are supposed to share their very first kiss when an angry Maria suddenly pops out from nowhere and intervenes their sweet time together.

Sasa Ryuuji & Minamino Maria

This pairing has come off as a complete surprise since there have been no hints between them until the concluding parts of the manga and Maria's relationship with Yoshiaki has been established quite firmly since the beginning arc. Nevertheless, their story is one of the most moving elements of the manga and contains much more depth and emotion than the Noeru-Miyu couple.

At the start, Sasa and Maria never regard each other as anyone other than "Noeru's boyfriend/best friend" and "Noeru's twin sister" respectively. Maria openly admits that Sasa isn't her type, which goes the same for Sasa - who believes her to be one of those stereotypical girls who do nothing but worry over their looks too much and drool over every pretty boy they spot. Hence, they are only able to hang out because of their close connection to Noeru.

Volumes

Japanese

  1. ISBN 4-08-856058-2 published on January 19, 1998
  2. ISBN 4-08-856099-X published on September 19, 1998
  3. ISBN 4-08-856125-2 published on February 20, 1999
  4. ISBN 4-08-856152-X published on July 20, 1999
  5. ISBN 4-08-856179-1 published on December 12, 1999
  6. ISBN 4-08-856199-6 published on April 19, 2000

External links

it:Cuore di mentapl:Mint na Bokura zh:薄荷關係

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