Sumire 16 sai!! (スミレ16歳!!?) is a Japanese manga written by Takeru Nagayoshi. It was serialized in Magazine Special, published by Kodansha. A live action adaptation was also aired as a drama series starting April 13, 2008 starring Nako Mizusawa and Takuma Otoo.
The series chronicles the days of Sumire, a lively 16 year old girl. However, Sumire is not a common girl: she is a life-sized ventriloquist's dummy, controlled by an old man in black clothes. Sumire's character acts unaware of her puppet nature, or of the old man controlling her movements, although the rest of the cast are very aware that she is a puppet, but they become more or less accustomed to her weird nature.
Sumire Yotsuya (四谷スミレ Yotsuya Sumire?)
- A full-sized puppet, resembling a mannequin, designed to look like a 16 year old girl, with enough points of articulation to assume almost any pose. The puppet has a hole in her back where the puppeteer places his hand to control facial features. Beyond being a puppet, the character that is played through Sumire is that of a supposedly normal schoolgirl. Her character refuses to acknowledge the puppeteer, even when directly asked. She has trouble making friends due to her situation, but her strong will wins over many people. At times, her appearance becomes softer and fewer indications that she is a puppet are visible. In the manga, this is evidenced by fewer joints being drawn; while in the TV drama, her mannequin form is replaced with her actress.
Old Man (おやじ Oyaji?)
- Sumires puppeteer. An unnamed middle-aged man wearing black clothes, similar to those worn by puppeteers who perform against black screens to remain hidden from the audience. The puppeteer is often attacked by those unfamiliar with Sumire, however the effects of these attacks are ignored by Sumires character, who dismisses them as close calls. Everyone acknowledges the existence of the old man except for Sumire and, seemingly, the school principal. Teachers at the school have learned to ignore him or risk being fired by the principal for badmouthing a student. In the manga the old man does not speak for himself, exclusively using ventriloquism to make Sumire speak. The TV drama shows the old man speaking in unison with Sumire on occasion.
- Nako Mizusawa as Sumire Yotsuya
- Takuma Otoo as Old Man (Oyaji)
- Kaoru Hirata as Renge Ooyama
- Haru as Akebi Kiryu
- Ami Tokito as Mitsuki Tsukamoto
- Porshe Okite as Johnny
- Saki Matsuda as Reiko Yamabuki
- Vincent Giry
- Bebe Hozumi
- Takenori Murano
- Takuya Uehara
- Takahiko Yanagisawa
- ↑ Script error
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