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As completely fictitious forms of media, we usually don’t see the characters in anime and manga suffering the physical ill effects of their action-packed lifestyles. Shouldn’t Evangelion’s Shinji have severe whiplash from all the times his scrawny frame gets tossed around while piloting his giant robot? How does Kenshiro, hero of post-apocalyptic epic Fist of the North Star, not get a wicked eye infection after spending the whole of his adult life wandering a desert wasteland without so much as bottle of eye drops?

The answer, of course, is that those aren’t what Evangelion and Fist of the North Star are about (they’re about turning humanity into delicious Tang and making dudes’ heads explode, respectively). But by skipping over these real world problems, are creators missing an opportunity to make their characters more nuanced, relatable, and ultimately, attractive?

At least one artist seems to think so, as a new manga series has just begun featuring a cast of handsome men all suffering from physical ailments such as hay fever and stiff shoulders.

The concept of attractive yet ailing characters isn’t entirely without precedent. Japan has a tradition of beautiful yet tragically ill characters that stretches back to the golden era of samurai films and TV dramas, and any harem-style anime is bound to include one girl with an eye patch once it passes a certain size in cast (the exact point lies somewhere between the appearances of the “girl with twin ponytails” and “girl who talks like an old man” characters).

However, it’s unusual for an entire title to have physical injuries as its hook, which is exactly the case with the web comic Manshin-so Secret Service. The series core cast consists of seven young men who live in the upscale apartment building Manshin-so, which is managed by the general hospital where they all receive treatment.

The youngest of the group is Yuki Natsume, a taciturn 16-year-old high school student with a sty brought on by his hay fever.

▼ In which case, the kid should really learn to keep his finger out of his eye.

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There’s also Nobutora Shitsu, who’s in touch enough with his inner femininity that he works as a florist, paints his nails, and talks like a woman, yet is also a skilled martial artist. Nobutora’s pose isn’t just highlighting his delicate wrist, as he’s also got painful cavities.

▼ We tend to go to the dentist instead of the hospital when our teeth our bugging us, but we’ll chalk this one up to artistic license.

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This tough-talking individual goes by the self-anointed name Pain Mamoru Goto, whose stressful job in the IT industry is the source of his constant headaches.

▼ Maybe not wearing a shirt that says “pain” would help take his mind off it?

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Our second high schooler is Takeru Orikasa. Takeru’s hatred of milk and subsequent low calcium levels mean that he’s broken so many bones that he’s developed a high pain threshold, although the maternal Nobutora is always on his case to drink more moo juice.

▼ His self-introduction quote of “Hahaha! It looks like I broke another bone!” makes us think he also has some psychiatric problems.

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Ladies’ man and professional model Yoji Tamakoshi isn’t slouching to look cool, but rather to compensate for his lower back problems.

▼ Wait, the group’s skrt chaser has lower back pain? Hmm…

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Novelist Tsukasa Kataya suffers from stiff shoulders but still pulls double duty as the apartment manager. In contrast to his outwardly friendly demeanor, Tsukasa has an in-depth knowledge of toxins, which he employs in teasing the other members of the group.

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Rounding out the group is 19-year-old college student Akito Juto, whose testiness stems partly from the pain his case of whiplash causes him.

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Careful readers have probably picked up on a few oddities here, such as the group containing experts in hand-to-hand combat and poisons. That’s because not only do the residents of Manshin-so have meticulously coordinated outfits, they all have special skills that they put to use for the government as a team of secret agents. The seven were hand-picked by the director of the hospital, the mysterious and anemic Mitsuru Oshamanbe, who serves as the team’s handler and dispatches them on their missions.

▼ You can tell he’s reached the advanced anime age of 36 because he has a beard.

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Despite the action-packed premise, though, the focus of its installments so far has been more on its handsome cast having Christmas parties and taking care of cats than stopping mad scientists and saving the world. Still, if you’re looking for character-based entertainment, it’s hard to find a cast more unique than Manshin-so Secret Service’s, who prove that you can overcome your physical limitations, as long as you have perfect hair.

Sources: IT Media, Manshin-so Secret Service
Images, video: Manshin-so Secret Service