PremiseEditTona-Gura! is a 2000's manga series that also inspired an anime that lasted thirteen episodes and provides what has now turned out to be an alternate ending to the series. It has elements of fanservice, slapstick and harem series, but in general is more character-oriented, and none of these are at or near the relative extremes (To-Love-Ru, Love Hina and Tenchi Muyo) of their types. Almost no mystic or SF/F elements are involved in the plots.
It tells the story of Arisaka Kazuki and the imminent return of her dear childhood friend and crush Kagura Yuuji. When they were children, the pair lived next door to each other and their families were inseparable, before the Kaguras had to move away. Kazuki remembers Yuuji as a little gentleman and his younger sister Marie as something of a cry-baby. To her shock, Yuuji is now a grabby and crude pervert, while Marie is a trigger-happy lunatic who is apt to stop her brother's grabbiness by way of stun grenades and paint balls--this at the direction of their absent father. To make her life more complicated, Arisaka Hatsune, Kazuki's older (and much more developed) sister still wants to play matchmaker to the pair, while Kazuki's best friend Suzuhara Chihaya actually encourages Yuuji! There are signs that the old Yuuji is still somewhere inside the sex fiend he has seemingly become, but will it require a new Kazuki to put up with him?
Arisaka Kazuki - The female lead and main character of the series, whose decidedly mixed feelings on the return of the changed Yuuji make up the bulk of the plots. The harder part for her comes when she finds that Yuuji is not an absolute jerk, and still has good qualities, including a loyalty to Kazuki that runs as deep as his attraction to her--which in his case unfortunately involves many embarrassing moments for them both. Almost more than his grabbiness, Kazuki loathes the matchmaking interference of her sister Hatsune, and Marie's changed nature often scares the wits out of her as well. Kazuki is an excellent student, as well as a swimmer on the school swim team. She was known to have a crush on one of her teachers, Kogorou, a crush that Hatsune teases and Yuuji suspects she still has. Another point of contention between Kazuki and her sister is the legion of admirers - including clubs-- Hatsune has.
Kagura Yuuji - The male lead of the series. As the series goes on, he seems to be less of a pervert and more of a nice guy who just doesn't get that his behavior can be obnoxious rather than endearing. While he is bright and can be open to advice on how to better win Kazuki's affections, his mania in doing so is often his undoing, leading to the same mistakes in different forms. In addition, any slippage of his behavior into pervert territory is met with instant and full-on punishment by his younger sister Marie. Yuuji shows a talent for photography, which inevitably leads him to make suggestions that get him punished yet again. Oddly, while Yuuji shows an insatiable interest in girls close to his own age, even attractive ones too much older or younger will cause him to behave more acceptably. Despite their bustiness, he treats Hatsune and Nina as older and younger sisters, respectively.
Arisaka Hatsune - Though she hates being called this, Hatsune is, by virtue of the absent parents of both families, the mother-figure of the two houses, though performing all the attendant duties of said position is one of her great joys in life. Another is pushing her uptight sister and the hyperactive Yuuji together, though at times she is so enthusiastic about this, even Yuuji is thrown off. Hatsune is not above tying the hair-trigger Marie up in order to keep her from interrupting potential tender moments between Kazuki and Yuuji. A bright, bubbly attractive young woman, it seems like her crush on former tutor Kogorou is returned, though since she is still in high school, his directly expressing this is awkward. Even when wrathful, Hatsune is nice and sweet, though someone who crosses her will still know not to anger her after the fact.
Kagura Marie - Once the baby of the group and a crybaby at that, the still pre-teen Marie has been given instructions by their father to punish Yuuji when his behavior goes too far - her interpretation of this order can be quite broad, not to mention painful for Yuuji--and scary for those around her. Her favorite paint-ball machine gun is hidden inside her teddy bear, which she still carries. Seen as emotionless by some, her feelings are a bit more complicated than that. She wants back the brother she had before he hit puberty, when she was his only playmate, due to how often they moved around.
Suzuhara Chihaya - Kazuki's best friend, who was among the first to notice that Kazuki's interest in Yuuji went up whenever she flirted with him, even playfully flashing her underwear and doing other things that encouraged him. In truth, she likes Yuuji and feels that, if he matures, he and Kazuki can be good together; but her personal opinion marks him as nice-guy-idiot.
Isokawa Nina - An underaged rich girl with manic energy and a chest that for her body size is astounding. She holds a crush on Yuuji and seeks to be friends with her polar opposite Marie. Nina is in fact very lonely due to her own frequently absent parents, and so treasures her relationship with the Arisakas and Kaguras.
Tojo Haya - In later manga chapters, the photographer, a student of his father's, whom Yuuji interns for - mostly as a gopher. While well meaning and perhaps a great photographer, Haya can be socially and physically inept, becoming both help and obstacle to Kazuki and Yuuji's budding relationship.
The Anime Ending (Spoilers!)Edit
As the anime series drew to a conclusion, Yuuji is encouraged by Kogorou to pull back on some of his more extreme behavior, but this chiefly leaves Kazuki a bit confused and Marie depressed. Hatsune then shows her younger sister Kazuki's own childhood diary, which reveals to her shock that, as a child, she was more playful and that Yuuji was still as he is now, even back then. His behavior at that age was fun; the same behavior in the present is a bit much. With a resolve to work towards a happy medium as well as information that their parents vacation will be extended, the two families and the would-be young couple decide to keep living their lives and enjoy one another's company.
Later In The MangaEdit
Yuuji does begin to pull back on his behavior due to simple reasoning, and Kazuki notices this. After many a false start, they decide to start pursuing a relationship. Marie finds her life without meaning and even tries to hurt Kazuki, but begins to warm to the friendship of Nina. Hatsune remains in her role as matchmaker, but also her role as mother-figure, as evidenced when she forcibly reminds Tojo Haya, Yuuji's photography boss, to let him call home when on a trip. As of Chapter 50, Yuuji is a photography intern under one of his father's former students, and Kazuki has shown an interest in perhaps teaching swimming at school as her career. The manga is ongoing.