Risa Koizumi (小泉 リサ, lit. meaning "little spring") is the main female protagonist of the romantic comedy shōjo manga and anime series Lovely★Complex created by Aya Nakahara. Risa is from the Osaka Prefecture on Honshu Island in Japan. Risa has always been tall for her age, being taller than the tallest boy in grade school and notably standing 167cm (5’5”) by the time she was in her first year of junior high. Her height often prompts her teachers and classmates to refer to her as “All Kyojin”.
Risa and Ōtani Meet Edit
Risa first met Ōtani at an Umibōzu concert that fell on Ōtani’s birthday during their final year of junior high (equivalent to 9th grade). Risa’s mother promised she could go to the Umibōzu concert only if she made it into Maido Academy high school, which she successfully did with Chiharu’s assistance. Though Risa was supposed to go to the concert with her younger brother, she ended up going alone due to the fact that there was only one ticket left upon their arrival.
Having never gone to a concert before and being alone, Risa felt unsure of her surroundings until she found a boy who appeared to be alone as well. As Risa was walking up to the boy, she noticed he was crying. She asked if he was alright and he responded with a simple, “Yeah,” before answering a phone call. During the phone call, Risa finds out it is the boys birthday, and he ends the call crying again.
The concert begins before their conversation can continue. Risa rushes forward getting caught in the crowd, being punched, shoved, and crushed several times before the boy notices and manages pulls her out. She yells her thank you’s to him over the noise of the concert. Suddenly the crowd and music falls silent as she yells for him to “cheer up”, which Umibōzu reciprocates telling the boy to cheer up as well. Risa then yells “today’s his birthday”, the crowd and Umibōzu then wish him a happy birthday as well. Risa later notices her shoe had fallen off while she was sucked up into the crowd. The boy later finds her destroyed shoe in the trash and returns it to her. After realizing Risa would have to walk home barefoot, the boy then offers her his shoes and she gives him a piece of strawberry milk candy in return again wishing him a happy birthday.
The flashback ends with Risa and Ōtani meeting up for an Umibōzu concert during the summer break of their final year of high school. They run into an old junior high classmate named Yoshii who was also attending the Umibōzu concert with Risa’s old friend, Ake. Risa and Ōtani reminisce on Yoshii introducing them to Umibōzu and of their first concert. It’s then that they realize the “weird girl” and “elementary school boy” that they both met that day was, in fact, each other.
In the anime, Risa has light red hair and brown eyes. In the manga, Risa’s hair often changes between light red, light brunette, and orange, while her eyes can be seen as both brown and reddish-brown. She is 172cm (5’7”) and is very slender. Risa wears a school uniform consisting of a white dress shirt, brown skirt, blue knee-high socks with white stripes, and reddish-pink shoes. During warmer weather she wears a peach sweater vest with a red stripe and star, and a peach blazer with red stripes on the arm, buttons, and a star during colder weather. She wears the same uniform to school in the manga as she does in the anime, but only during school ceremonies and other important school events. Otherwise she can be found wearing an array of stylish clothing. Risa usually wears her hair tied up in various buns and ponytails, but is can also be seen with her hair down, braided, and in twin-tails.
As stated by Mimi's director and producer, Risa has a good body, a nice style, and the height to be a model, much to her dismay. She agrees to replace an amateur model for the day, though stated it was impossible for her to ever look cute. She appears wearing a layered pink dress, having her hair, makeup, and nails done. Her makeover puts Ōtani in a flustered mess, stating, much to his embarrassment, that Risa looked cute.
Throughout the series, Risa is seen as a loud, strong, and impulsive person who is easily embarrassed by “adult” subjects such as dating, kissing, and sex. Though she is extremely confident on the outside, she internally struggles with her height and a general lack of a girly personality. This is first brought to her attention when Suzuki states that he does not see her as a girl, but instead more like a boy, simply because of her height.
Risa is not a cute or girly person though she isn’t a tomboy either. She takes a high interest in fashion, often helping her friend, Nobu, with her outfits and even pierces Nobu’s ears later in the series. Because of her love to help others look nice, she goes to vocational college to become a fashion stylist. Besides fashion, Risa has a fond interest in Umibōzu and virtual dating video games. At one point she even becomes obsessed with her teacher, Maity-sensei, as he looks much like her favorite video game character, Cain-sama, much to Nobu's disdain.
Risa boasts an overly cheerful and happy front when somebody does something to hurt her. Notably when Ōtani rejected her during their class trip to Hokkaido where she smacks him on the back of the head and laughs before running off. She then finds Nobu and Nakao where she breaks down. Risa feels an intense sense of obligation to helping her friends, best seen when she feels guilty for not being able to console Nobu with any advice when she most needed it.
Risa is not a particularly intelligent person and usually does bad in school, being the only one of her friends to not have a future plan until the end of the series. She is extremely clueless when it comes to love and boys, often commenting on how she had never really thought about love or relationships. Though she does fall quite fast for Ōtani. She thinks highly of Ōtani’s ex-girlfriend, Kanzaki, and feels very inadequate compared to her petite and girly stature. Risa bonds very closely to her love-rival, Mimi, as she knows exactly how Mimi feels about Ōtani and his idiocy.
Love Interests Edit
Ōtani is Risa’s friend and classmate, and later Risa’s boyfriend. Risa and Ōtani started the series as enemies not wanting anything to do with each other as they were always being grouped together as “All Hanshin-Kyojin.” Shortly after the series beginning, Ōtani develops a crush on Risa’s friend, Chiharu, and Risa develops a crush on Ōtani’s friend, Suzuki. Together they create a pact to set each other up with their respective crushes. It doesn’t take long for Ōtani and Risa to figure out that Chiharu and Suzuki do not reciprocate their feelings, but instead have feelings for each other. They decided to support Chiharu and Suzuki instead.
After this, Ōtani and Risa begin to develop a close bond due to their mutual interest in rock star Umibōzu. Together they plan to attend an Umibōzu concert on Christmas when Ōtani’s ex comes forward asking to spend Christmas with him. Risa shows up to the concert believing that Ōtani canceled on her to get back with his ex, and begins to feel lonely. Ōtani shows up stating that he had plans with Risa first and that’s all that matters. This is when Risa starts to develop a deep crush on Ōtani.
It doesn’t take long for their friends to realize Risa has a crush on Ōtani, whereas Ōtani is completely clueless to this. Ōtani finds out Risa has a crush on someone and that their entire friend group knows who it is except for him and he becomes extremely frustrated over this. Risa eventually confesses to Ōtani on her birthday and he believes it all to be a joke. On several occasions after this, their friends hint to Ōtani that he is the one Risa has a crush on but he continues to believe it is all a joke. Risa confesses again during their school festival and Ōtani finally understands. Ōtani then rejects Risa during their school trip to Hokkaido where she passes it off by telling him to forget she ever liked him.
Risa then develops a crush on their classes new English teacher, Maity, and proceeds to open the Maity Fan Club. Through a series of (un)fortunate events, Maity manages to make Ōtani jealous enough to admit to himself that he actually does have feelings for Risa, too. Ōtani confesses to Risa that he is “no good without her” but she had fallen asleep on his shoulder and did not hear him. He later gives her a bunny necklace for her birthday and kisses her, this being his official confession. Risa somehow misinterprets this and does not actually consider them to be dating for a short while until Ōtani makes it clear that they are.
Ōtani does not express his feelings towards Risa well and is easily embarrassed when it comes to showing any sort of affection towards her. Despite this, it is still very obviously that Ōtani is deeply in love with Risa and very protective over her. He shows this nature several times, notably when Seiko kisses Risa on the cheek and again when an old man grabs Risa during New Years. Even after a year of them dating, Ōtani still refers to Risa by her given name of “Koizumi” and only once calls her Risa, but vows to never do so again.
Maitake, otherwise known as Maity or Maity-sensei, is Risa’s high school English teacher. He is an extremely handsome man and most of the girls at Maido Academy are infatuated with him. Risa is initially drawn to Maity-sensei because he very closely resembles a character in her video game, Cain-sama, and she forms a fan club centered around him. Maity is extremely pleased with the fan club, but he is engaged. This doesn't seem to effect Risa and she continues running the fan club. Risa later admits to herself that she only liked Maity as an attempt to get over Ōtani rejecting her and eventually leaves the fan club.
Suzuki is a friend and classmate of Risa, and her first crush of high school. Risa meets Suzuki during remedial summer classes (equivalent to summer school) where she develops her first high school crush on him. Suzuki is completely oblivious to Risa’s feelings towards him and states that he can easily talk with her because she’s tall and he does not see her as a girl. Risa eventually finds out that Suzuki has a crush on her friend, Chiharu, and decides to give them her support instead.
Yoshii was a transfer student and friend of Risa’s during her final year of junior high, and the first crush she ever had. Yoshii and Risa’s friendship was purely platonic throughout their time knowing each other due to her friend, Akechin, having a crush on him. Risa started to develop a crush on Yoshii after he introduced her to Umibōzu and let her borrow a CD. Risa did not realize she actually had a crush on Yoshii until after he had transferred out of their school.
Nobu and Risa met their first year of high school (equivalent of 10th grade) and have been best friends since. Nobu considers herself to be an older sister figure to Risa often giving her advice on her relationship with Ōtani.
Chiharu and Risa have known each other since their final year of junior high (equivalent of 9th grade). Chiharu helped Risa study and make it into Maido Academy. Risa often looks to Chiharu as an innocent younger sister figure.
Nakao is Nobu’s boyfriend and Ōtani’s best friend. Although Risa is not close with Nakao, she appears to trust him as a good friend and often informs him of how her relationship with Ōtani is going.
Seiko is a student at Maido Academy that fell for Ōtani after he protected her from a dog, and one of Risa's love rivals. Seiko treats her rivalry with Risa as being a supportive rivalry, even giving each other advice on their relationship with Ōtani. Seiko and Ōtani briefly dated before Ōtani found out Seiko is biologically a male.
Kohori is a junior high student and also one of Risa’s coworkers. Kohori has a massive crush on Risa throughout the series, even going so far as to kiss her while she was sleeping. Risa does not reciprocate his feelings and instead thinks of him as a younger brother. He eventually starts dating another one of their coworkers though it is unclear if he still has a crush on Risa.
Haruka is a childhood friend of Risa’s. Risa often protected Haruka from bullies when they were children which pegged his affection for her. Haruka moved out of the country when they were children and moved back to attend Maido Academy with Risa. Though Haruka is deeply in love with Risa, she does not reciprocate his feelings but instead thinks of him as a very close male friend outside of her friend group that she can turn to when she is upset. He often (unsuccessfully) attempts to break Risa and Ōtani up, and questions why she would love a “shrimp” like Ōtani. Haruka has multiple girlfriends that he is using to practice with to become the best boyfriend he can for Risa.
Mimi is junior high student who is Ōtani’s neighbor and Risa’s love rival for Ōtani’s affection. Mimi had initially given up on dating Ōtani due to her height and felt that Ōtani would not like her because of their height difference. After meeting Risa, Mimi became increasingly violent and often threatened Risa over leaving Ōtani alone. Risa often encouraged Mimi despite her violent behavior. Eventually Mimi accept that Ōtani was in love with Risa and gave up on him again.