“Forget it. She can suck your sorry butt dry for all I care.
While she's at it, she can suck away the rest of your height too.”
- - Risa to Ōtani, Ch.52
Risa Koizumi (小泉 リサ Koizumi Risa, lit. "little spring") is the girlfriend of Atsushi Ōtani. She is the protagonist of the original manga, anime, video game, and movie, as well as a support character in the sequel manga.
Throughout the series, Risa is portrayed 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 struggles with her height and general lack of a girly demeanor. Her height had always bothered her, but it didn't pose an issue until her then-crush Suzuki stated that he doesn't see her as a girl simply because of her height.
Risa boasts an overly cheerful and happy front in the face of anyone that hurts her feelings. Notably when Ōtani rejects her during their class trip to Hokkaido where she smacks him hard on the back of the head and laughs the situation off before running away. Risa feels an intense sense of obligation to help her friends, best seen when she feels guilty for not being able to console Nobu after overhearing Nakao crying about her moving away.
Risa is not a particularly intelligent person and does badly in school, being the last of her friends to decide on a future plan. She is absolutely clueless when it comes to love, often commenting on how she had never really put much thought into being in a relationship. Despite that, she falls hard and fast when she actually finds someone she likes. She thinks highly of Ōtani’s ex-girlfriend, Mayu Kanzaki, and feels inadequate compared to her petite stature and girly personality. Risa bonds closely to her love-rival Mimi because of their shared feelings of inadequacy compared to Kanzaki and a mutual love for Ōtani.
Risa is tall - standing 172cm or 5'7" - with a slender build and shoulder length hair. She has the fashion sense of a stylist, and can be seen wearing an array of fashionable clothing and various hair-do's throughout both the anime and manga. Risa's classmates consider her pretty, but are quick to add that they could never be romantically attracted to her because of her role in All Hanshin-Kyojin.
In the manga, Risa’s hair changes between light red, light brunette, and orange, while her eyes can be seen as both brown and reddish-brown. The summer uniform consists of a short-sleeved white polo shirt that has a brown stripe on the folded collar and a brown skirt with a black stripe around the hem. The winter uniform consists of a mustard yellow, plaid, long-sleeved button-up dress shirt, and a brown tie, suit jacket, and skirt. Although she is occasionally seen wearing her school uniform in the manga, like during the summer closing ceremony in Chapter 01, it is mentioned that their school is uniform optional.
In the game, Risa's hair and eyes are both a light orange color. Her fashion sense is the same as seen in the anime and manga, and the school uniform she is seen wearing is the one from the manga.
In the anime, Risa has light red hair and brown eyes similar to Ōtani. Risa wears a school uniform consisting of a white dress shirt, gray skirt, blue knee-high socks with white stripes, and red shoes with orange laces. During warmer weather she wears a peach sweater vest with red stripes and a star. In addition to her uniform, she wears a peach cardigan with red stripes on the arm, buttons, and a star during colder weather. Risa is the only female character to not wear the uniforms red ribbon necktie. Outside of school, Risa's fashion sense is similar to the manga and she is seen wearing an array of outfits.
The only media Risa is not seen wearing her uniform is in the live action movie. In the movie, Risa is again seen wearing an array of fashionable outfits that are overly accessorized. She has brown eyes and brunette hair that is always in some sort of up-do.
- Elementary - Protecting Haruka
Sometime during elementary school, Risa and Haruka met. Haruka was very "girly" and thus was bullied a lot by the other boys; Risa would often protect him from those bullies.
- 9th Grade - Maido Academy Entrance Exams
At the end of their 9th grade year, Risa and Chiharu studied together to pass the Maido Academy entrance exams so they could continue going to school together.
- 9th Grade - Umibōzu Concert
Risa and Ōtani unknowingly first met 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 that she could go to the Umibōzu concert only if she made it into Maido Academy high school, which she successfully did with Chiharu’s help. Despite the fact that she was supposed to be accompanied by her younger brother, Takato, Risa ultimately ends up going to the concert alone because she waited too long to buy admission tickets.
Having never been to a concert before and being alone, Risa felt unsure of her surroundings until she met a boy who also appeared to be alone. As Risa was walking up to him, she noticed that 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 overhears that it's the boys birthday, and he cries again after ending the call.
The concert begins before their conversation can continue. Risa rushes forward being punched, shoved, and crushed in the moshing crowd before the boy manages to pull her out to safety. She tries yelling "thank you" to him over the noise of the concert when suddenly everything falls silent as she yells again for him to “cheer up." Umibōzu reciprocates telling the boy to cheer up. Risa then yells across the concert hall that “today’s his birthday”, the crowd and, most importantly Umibōzu, wish him a happy birthday!
As the crowd disperses, Risa notices her shoe had fallen off and she desperately searches for it. The mysterious boy finds her destroyed shoe in the trash and returns it to her. After realizing Risa would have to walk home barefoot, the boy offers his shoes to her and she gives him a piece of strawberry milk candy in return, once again wishing him a happy birthday.
That boy was Atsushi Ōtani.
- 10th Grade - Entrance Ceremony
Risa and Nobu first met during the entrance ceremony of their first year of high school at Maido Academy. Nobu was dressed up in an American-looking uniform with permed hair and colored contacts. Risa thought that Nobu was a foreigner and attempted speaking English to her.
Risa 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 decides to go to a vocational college to become a fashion stylist. Besides fashion, Risa has a fond interest in singer Umibōzu and virtual dating SIMS.
- Atsushi Ōtani: Ōtani is Risa’s friend and classmate, and later Risa’s boyfriend. Risa and Ōtani started the series as rivals not wanting anything to do with each other as they were always being grouped together as “All Hanshin-Kyojin" due to their bickering and height difference. Shortly after the series beginning, Ōtani develops a crush on Risa’s friend, Chiharu, and Risa develops a crush on another classmate, Suzuki. Together they create a pact to set each other up with their respective crushes, and Ōtani becomes good friends with Suzuki to pull this venture off. 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's feelings instead.
- After this, Ōtani and Risa begin another rivalry to see who can get a boyfriend or girlfriend first. Risa slowly begins to realize that she really doesn't have much of a chance against Ōtani as he is already popular among girls for his looks and basketball skill. It's at this point that the pair begin to develop a close bond due to their mutual interest in the rock star Umibōzu. Together they plan to attend an Umibōzu concert on Christmas Day when Ōtani’s ex runs into them asking to spend Christmas with him. Risa encourages Ōtani to spend Christmas with his ex. Risa shows up to the concert believing that Ōtani wouldn't show up and begins to feel lonely. Ōtani ultimately does show 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 after that for Nobu, Nakao, Chiharu, and Suzuki to realize that Risa has a crush on Ōtani, whereas Ōtani is completely clueless to this. Ōtani finds out that 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 once again during their school festival and Ōtani finally believes her. Ōtani doesn't give her an immediate answer, but eventually rejects Risa during their school trip to Hokkaido where she passes it off by laughing and telling him to forget she ever liked him.
- After returning from their school trip, Risa 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. Ōtani confesses to Risa that he is “no good without her” only to realize that she had fallen asleep on his shoulder and did not hear him. Ōtani later gives her a bunny necklace for her birthday and kisses her, this being his official confession to her. Risa somehow misinterprets this and does not actually consider them to be dating for a short while until Ōtani is forced to make it clear that they are dating.
- Ōtani does not express his feelings towards Risa well and is easily embarrassed when it comes to showing any sort of affection towards her. Anything considered normal is a relationship usually ends with the pair making fun of each other in their usual All Hanshin-Kyojin way. Despite this, it is still obvious that Ōtani is deeply in love with Risa and very protective over her. He shows this protective 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 it again.
- Kuniumi Maitake (previous): A.k.a. Maity or Maity-sensei (Mighty in the English translation), 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 in one way or another. 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. Although Maity is pleased with the fan club, he is engaged but 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 a rebound and was trying to use him to get over Ōtani rejecting her. Risa eventually leaves the fan club.
- Ryoji Suzuki (previous): 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 a 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. After this statement, Risa figures out that Suzuki has a crush on her friend, Chiharu, and decides to stop pursuing him and give them her support instead.
- Yoshii (previous): Yoshii was a transfer student and friend of Risa’s during her final year of junior high. Yoshii was the first crush Risa ever had and the only guy she liked prior to Suzuki. 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 developed a crush on Yoshii after he let her borrow his Umibōzu CD, but did not come to accept that she actually had feelings for him until after he had transferred out of their school.
- Nobuko Ishihara: Nobu and Risa met their first year of high school (equivalent of 10th grade) and have been best friends ever since. Nobu considers herself to be an older sister figure to Risa, often giving her advice on how to deal with Ōtani both before and during their relationship. Despite that, Nobu doesn't baby Risa and will scold her if she doesn't anything stupid.
- Chiharu Tanaka: 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 that she needs to protect.
- Heikichi Nakao: Nakao is Nobu’s boyfriend and Ōtani’s best friend. Although Risa is not close with Nakao, she appears to trust him as a friend and often informs him of how her relationship with Ōtani is going.
- Kazuki Kohori: Kohori is a junior high student and one of Risa’s coworkers at Ikebe. Kohori develops a massive crush on Risa that she does not reciprocate because she thinks of him as a younger brother. Despite this, Kohori continues to pursue Risa and even goes as far as kissing her while she was dozing off in the restaurant after work. Kohori eventually starts dating their coworker, Abe, but it is unclear if he still has feelings for Risa.
- Haruka Fukagawa: Haruka is a childhood friend of Risa’s that she has known since elementary. 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 still young and recently moved back to Japan to pursue Risa. Although Haruka is deeply in love with Risa, she does not reciprocate his feelings but instead thinks of him as a close friend outside of her main friend group. He frequently, and unsuccessfully, attempts to break Risa and Ōtani up, and questions why she would love a “shrimp” like Ōtani. Haruka wants to be the best boyfriend material he can be for Risa, and has multiple girlfriends dubbed "the harem" that he uses for practicing this.
- Akechin: Akechin is a friend of Risa's from junior high. Risa became increasingly close with Akechin's crush, Yoshii, causing Akechin to become jealous and prompting the two friends to fight. Eventually Risa was able to explain to Akechin that she did not have a crush on Yoshii and that they were simply friends to which Akechin responded that it was unfair of her to be upset with Risa simply because they are a male and female friend pair. Risa and Akechin later run into each other on their way to an Umibōzu concert where she finds out Akechin never gave up on her love for Yoshii.
- Seiko Kotobuki: Seiko is a first year student at Maido Academy that fell for Ōtani after he protected her from a dog, and she is one of Risa's love rivals. Seiko treats her rivalry with Risa as a supportive rivalry, even giving each other advice on how to handle their mutual feelings for Ōtani. Seiko and Ōtani briefly dated before Ōtani found out Seiko is a transgender woman.
- Mimi Yoshioka: Mimi is junior high student who is Ōtani’s neighbor, and one of Risa’s love rivals for Ōtani’s affection. Mimi had initially given up on dating Ōtani and accepted that Ōtani would never like her because of their vast height difference. After meeting Risa, Mimi became increasingly violent whenever Ōtani wasn't around and would threatened Risa to leave Ōtani alone. Risa continued to encourage Mimi to keep her head high despite her violent behaviors. Eventually Mimi came to accept that Ōtani was in love with Risa and decided they were all better off as friends.
- Father: Risa's father doesn't make many appearances, but he is one of the first to hound Risa for her height after they find out Ōtani is shorter than her.
- Mother: Like most Japanese mothers, Risa's mom is a very polite women. She's very tolerant of her daughters shenanigans and is only seen raising her voice when Risa mouths off or does something stupid (like putting her grandfather in a headlock). She often worries about her daughters obsession with video games, but is the first to step up to please her with things like an all-Japanese breakfast every morning.
- Takato Koizumi (brother): Takato is Risa's younger brother. He resents his older sisters antics, often speaking down to her and cannot understand how he could be related to "such an idiot." On the other hand, Takato looks up to her boyfriend, Ōtani, and tries to convince Ōtani that he is too good for his sister. He becomes increasingly more aggressive towards Risa and her friends after he fails entrance exams to his school of choice and has to attend Maido Academy instead, a school he thinks is for idiots like his sister. In Lovely★Complex D, Takato lightens up a little and starts to show a goofier side which is very much like his sister.
- Grandfather: Risa's granfather appears in Chapter 50 - Chapter 54 of the Love★Com manga. He has spent most of his adult life traveling abroad and gathering pictures of beautiful men during his travels as gifts for Risa. After first meeting Ōtani, he hires call girls in an attempt to get Ōtani to cheat on Risa and ultimately break them up. It comes out later that the reason he doesn't like Ōtani is due to his own height complex with his late wife. He was shorter than his wife and she became ashamed of their height difference, which is something he didn't want for his beloved granddaughter. After talking with Ōtani about this and getting reassurance that he and Risa are not ashamed of each other's height difference, he gives his blessings to their relationship and backs off.
- Grandmother: Risa's grandmother is only briefly shown during flashbacks on pages 116 - 118 of Chapter 54 of the Love★Com manga, and Risa looks exactly like her. It is shown that her grandmother was very tall, standing taller than Risa at 6'5" (195.5cm), and constantly hitting her head on things. Her husband fell in love with her because of her confidence, which he thought made her more beautiful than anyone else, a "5-plum." But after marrying, she became bothered by being taller than her husband and would walk apart from him in public or crouch down to appear shorter. According to Risa's grandfather, she was always sickly and died quite young. It's unknown if Risa or Takato ever met her.