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Amuro (Umisho)

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Swimming nude is her least eccentric habit...

Ninagawa Amuro is the female lead character in the manga and anime series, Umisho.

Raised in a literal house-boat (a steerable shack on a raft made by her less-than-engaged overaged beach bum father), Amuro is more at home at sea than on land, and her view of the world is a mellow one, almost to the point of not living in it. Upon arriving in Umineko, where she has enrolled in the local high school, she causes several sensations, not the least of which is when she presents her new classmates with a shark she caught, but didn't kill, and which promptly bites the clothes off of swim team member Orizuka Momoko. Amuro takes an immediate interest in Okiura Kaname, the swim team manager, and both feel like they might have met somewhere before.

At her trials for the school swim team, Amuro is revealed to be an amazing, almost superhuman swimmer whom Momoko moves to recruit quickly, albeit with some suspicion. Amuro proves at one meet to be too good a swimmer, when her ability to hold her breath without effort keeps her from breaking the surface in violation of competition regulations. Trying to learn her secrets takes Momoko and Kaname to spy on her seaside home. Momoko tries to do everything Amuro does, including swimming naked (even stripping down in front of Kaname, despite normally having modesty concerns), which nearly gets non-swimmer Kaname drowned. Amuro's secrets turn out to be part and parcel of her attitude and upbringing, something neither diet nor nudity can explain. For the record, she only swims nude in front of those she feels comfortable around, though again her threshold for such comfort is low. Amuro's free spirit and cuteness rapidly make her a celebrity at the high school.

While Amuro's abilities impress many, sadly her contributions do little to raise the hapless team's standings, especially against local competitors who are often much more disciplined. Add to that, her ignorance of the way land-based life works keeps things from ever getting dull for her teammates, especially Kaname. For his part, Kaname is caught between figuring her out and dealing with his growing feelings for her. Amuro's abilities and free-spirit are also admired by Ikuta Maki, a rather frantic member of the team and a girl who appears underaged despite being in High School. Despite the fact that the school can never seem to pull out a win, they develop a firm rivalry with a high school attended by wealthier young people, the leader of which tries and fails to taunt the easy-going Amuro. Another rival emerges when Kaname's childhood friend (although he disputed this somewhat) Nanako Maaya returns, deeply resenting Amuro and rejecting her fervent attempts to make friends.

It is eventually revealed that Amuro badly misses her grandmother, who vanished while taking a swim. The hair ribbons she wears in the form of an X were gifts from her grandmother, and Amuro believes she cannot possibly win without them. The tournaments her team attends and competes in continue to be a mixed bag. A combination of nerves, foolish stunts, lack of understanding and occasionally Amuro's innocent antics keep the hapless team from scoring any big wins.

During one such tournament, the team stays with Amuro's mother and many siblings, including the cross-dressing Riru, who teases Kaname before he is made to realize the secret. Amuro, who grows to like Kaname as well, keeps pushing him to learn to swim and overcome his deep-seeded fear of the ocean and pools.

In the anime finale, Kaname leads the team in singing a version of the show's theme song in order to steady Amuro's style and lead her to victory in a major tournament. Both the anime and manga finales also feature a major revelation : Amuro and Kaname met as children, and it was an overexcited Amuro dragging Kaname along underwater that gave him his fear of water, something Kaname remembers as a mermaid trying to drown him. They kiss in the anime finale.

The final chapters of the anime have the other girls also seeking Kaname's attention, and even another girl seeking Amuro's. But the last few pages of the series, set a few years later, show that the two are now a couple with a small son, sailing the sea in a houseboat like the one Amuro arrived in.

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