Kodomo no Jikan (こどものじかん , lit. A Child's Time) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by manga author Kaworu Watashiya. The story revolves around a grade school teacher named Daisuke Aoki, whose main problem is that one of his students, Rin Kokonoe, has a crush on him. It was first serialized on May 22, 2005 in the Japanese seinen manga magazine Comic High!, published by Futabasha. At one time, an English language version of the manga was licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment for distribution in North America under the title Nymphet, but the Los Angeles–based company ultimately decided not to publish it due to controversies over its content. An anime adaptation of the series aired on Japanese television between October 12, 2007 and December 28, 2007. While content of the broadcast version was sometimes heavily censored, the DVD releases of the individual episodes remain unedited. A second anime season has been announced, and a promotional video of this season was included with a special edition of volume five of the manga.
The main story of Kodomo no Jikan is centered around twenty-three-year-old Daisuke Aoki, who has just landed his first teaching job as a grade school instructor at Futatsubashi Elementary School (双ツ橋 小学校 ,Futatsubashi Shōgakkō). He is placed in charge of Class 3-1, where one of his students, a mischievously precocious nine-year-old girl by the name of Rin Kokonoe, develops a crush on him and goes so far as to proclaim herself Aoki's girlfriend. She aggressively pursues her efforts to be with her teacher despite the fact that he will lose his job if she gets too close, a situation further complicated by the often complex, intertwining relationships existing between them and their respective friends, families, and peers.
- Daisuke Aoki (青木 大介 ,Aoki Daisuke)
- Voiced by: Junji Majima
- The protagonist of the story, Daisuke Aoki, is a freshly graduated 23-year-old elementary school instructor who has been placed in charge of the third grade class 3-1. Many of the idealistic notions he holds about his job, however, are quickly put the test as he finds himself dealing with unexpected, complex situations, not the least of which is having a shamelessly flirtatious nine-year-old doing everything in her power to win his affections. Aoki's complete lack of previous teaching experience sometimes makes it hard for him to control his class or maintain their interest, a situation further complicated by the ease with which he is flustered by Rin's sexual innuendo and Kuro's barbed remarks about his status as a virgin. His relatively normal, uneventful childhood also complicates his efforts to quickly and easily grasp the hardships faced by some of his students, though this has in no way discouraged him from trying or diminished his desire to help them. In fact, his seemingly unshakable enthusiasm, hands-on attitude, and emotional attachment to his students has often caused him to butt heads with the more traditional Sae Shirai. Almost from the beginning, Aoki has shared a special bond with Rin, one which has deepened and become so complex over time that even he, at one point, was uncertain of what exactly his feelings towards her were.Regardless of the nature of his love for Rin, his protectiveness of her has led him to become increasingly suspicious and mistrustful of the motives of her guardian and cousin, Reiji Kokonoe.
- Rin Kokonoe (九重 りん ,Kokonoe Rin)
- Voiced by: Eri Kitamura
- Rin is a young girl in third grade who has an intense crush on her teacher Daisuke. She has a mischievous nature and has proclaimed herself to be Daisuke's girlfriend; she will go to great lengths to make him fall in love with her. This has resulted in her crossing moral and legal boundaries many times, including blackmail and taking advantage of Daisuke's inability to respond to her forcible advances by threatening to scream that he is trying to molest her, when in fact it is her that is making those advances. Despite Rin's mischievous nature she has shown herself to care deeply for her friends and family, going to any length to defend them. Also much of her bad behavior is a result of trying to hide the traces of the vulnerable little girl she used to be as a result of a tragedy in her past.
- Kuro Kagami (鏡 黒 ,Kagami Kuro)
- Voiced by: Kei Shindō
- A close friend of Rin's, the diminutive Kuro Kagami is not only her frequent "partner in crime" due to their comparable levels of sexual knowledge but also secretly in love with her, although the only one who appears to be aware of her unrequited feelings is Mimi. She is openly contemptuous of Aoki due to his lack of sexual experience, naïveté, inability to consistently enforce discipline in the classroom, and her belief that he is a pervert, lolicon, and rival for Rin's affection, and often verbally — and sometimes even physically — abuses him. The apparent wealth of the Kagami family allows Kuro to indulge her obsession with following the latest, expensive fashion trends, and she often wears clothing in the Gothic Lolita style, sometimes combined with nekomimi ears and tail. Though others may have the impression that she is a show off, bad apple, or spoiled brat, she has managed to befriend both Rin and Mimi and is very dedicated to and protective of them both. Much to the surprise and confusion of just about everyone, Kuro eventually comes to idolize and develop something of a crush on Sae Shirai, possibly due to their similar personalities and temperaments.
- Mimi Usa (宇佐 美々 ,Usa Mimi)
- Voiced by: Mai Kadowaki
- A quiet, bespectacled young girl whose knowledge of adult and sexual matters is inversely proportional to her level of physical development and an astonishing degree of whose wide-eyed childhood innocence has managed to survive having Rin and Kuro as best friends. Surprisingly, Mimi Usa's biggest problem is her struggle to establish a sense of self-identity: since most of her defining characteristics emphasize qualities about herself with which she is either uncomfortable or that make her stand out — such as her intelligence, height, lack of aptitude when it comes to sports and related activities, and unusually generous physical endowment for a third grader — she has become incredibly self-conscious, emotionally fragile, and increasingly depressed. This problem is merely compounded by her shyness, lack of assertiveness, and reluctance to stand up for herself, which have made her a popular target for teasing and bullying — most notably by class 3-1's original homeroom teacher, Nakamura — and made it difficult for many adults, including her parents, to take her concerns seriously sometimes, though Rin and Kuro's loyalty and protectiveness and Aoki's continuing emotional support have benefited her greatly. Her greatest source of inspiration thus far, however, has come from her secret crush, Rin's cousin Reiji: recognizing much of who he once was in her, he told her to never lose hope that she would one day find someone who would understand and love her and also encouraged her to not succumb to anger and hatred at the world like he did.
- Kyōko Hōin (宝院 京子 ,Hōin Kyōko)
- Voiced by: Ryōko Tanaka
- A young, well-endowed teacher who is Aoki's colleague and friend at work. She tries to care for Aoki as he is still new to the job, and seems to have a crush on him. She has asked him out on several occasions, only to be interrupted every time by some incident, usually involving Rin.
- Reiji Kokonoe (九重レイジ ,Kokonoe Reiji)
- Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita
- Rin's first cousin once removed, and guardian. He and Rin share a very close relationship, almost like a father and daughter or a brother and sister. For a short period of time, he was in love with Rin's mother, his own cousin Aki, before she died. After her death he became Rin's official guardian. He is very protective of Rin and does not seem to like Aoki at all because of Rin's affection towards him, which makes Reiji very jealous. It is revealed that Reiji's love for Rin is deeper than just a father and daughter relationship.