->''"Shogun! Shogun! Shogun! Shogun! Shogun! ... What's a shogun?"''

Several centuries after an almost-failed colony attempt, the planet Terra II is a strange place. Its human population is entirely male, born from recombinant DNA and cloning technology, and its hostile surface is home to six widely-separated city-states, each [[HollywoodAtlas mimicking an earthly culture]] ranging from medieval Japan to 20th-Century America. Women have not been forgotten among the men of Terra II, though -- simple-minded automatons called "marionettes" are built in exclusively female form, and act as servants, entertainers, concubines -- and in some cases, infantry troops.

In the city-state of Japoness, which is [[{{Wutai}} modeled after Edo-era Japan]], industrious orphan Otaru struggles to make ends meet. Too poor to afford a marionette of his own, he runs back and forth through the city trying to scrape up enough cash to live on with a series of odd jobs. In the wake of a mishap during one such job, Otaru finds and awakens Lime -- a marionette who acts more like a real person than an automaton, loaded with emotions, curiosity, and an unfortunate tendency to attract trouble.

Otaru soon finds himself the center of a great deal of attention, including (to his shock) that of the shogun. And two more "unusual" marionettes, Cherry and Bloodberry, soon end up in his possession. As a neighboring city-state modeled after Nazi Germany begins gearing up for war with Japoness, Otaru must guide and teach what amounts to three affectionate and rambunctious teenagers -- whom he will discover hold within themselves the keys not only to Japoness' long term survival, but to the secrets behind the failure of the colony mission and to the rescue of the last survivor of the original crew.

''Saber Marionette J'' is a series of light novels that are ''very obscure'', and would probably have remained so, had the creators not made a Radio drama taking place 500 years after in the future, ''Anime/SaberMarionetteR''. ''R'' follows Virrey Junior, prince of [[OliveGarden Romana]], and his Marionettes, named after the ones from ''J''. It was eventually adapted into an {{OVA}}, and most likely lead to the novels getting an AnimatedAdaptation. The anime starts off as a light comedy, but [[CerebusSyndrome slowly turns more dramatic as time goes on]]. It generally has a healthy mix of humor and suspense, and is a CultClassic to those who watched it, [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff especially in Latin America.]]

It was subsequently followed by several sequels, most notably ''Saber Marionette J Again'', an OVA revolving around a new Marionette and ''Saber Marionette J To X'', a second and final season. There's also a videogame for the first Playstation called ''Battle Sabers''. [[NoExportForYou It never was released outside of Japan]].

[[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2015-07-07/saber-marionette-re-anime-project-launches/.90156 A new anime project was revealed ]] by {{Creator/AIC}}. If a certain image is to be believed, ''Saber Marionette J Last Story'' is going to be a lot more faithful to the original novels.

Created by Satoru Akahori, the creator of ''Anime/MonColleKnights'', ''Manga/KashimashiGirlMeetsGirl'', ''Manga/SorcererHunters'', ''Anime/MazeMegaburstSpace'', and ''VideoGame/SakuraWars'', and Hiroshi Negishi, director of several Anime/TenchiMuyo spinoffs.

'''Please move any character tropes to the proper [[Characters/SaberMarionetteJ character page]]'''.
!!''Saber Marionette J'' provides examples of:

* AmbiguousSituation: [[spoiler: It's left unsaid whether or not the marionettes remember their previous lives.]] The last episode heavily implies that they don't, however.
%%* ActionGirl: Several of them.
* AffectionateParody: [[HaremAnime Planet full of men but not women]], good amount of {{Running Gag}}s, [[{{Yaoi}} Homosexuality is considered]] [[DoubleStandard the standard while liking female androids is out of the question]], and yet it doesn't always remain a comedy. Parody of {{Shonen}}? You bet.
* AlienSky: Terra II has about 5 moons.
* AllThereInTheManual: [[StealthPun Jokes aside]], general information of Lime and the other characters are found in their character bios in the DVD sets for the ''J'' series. Among them are full body measurements, as well as code-names and miscellaneous stats.
** Lime: Measurements (83-55-85cm) Height (5'1'') Weight (99lb).
** Cherry: Measurements (80-50-80cm) Height (4'11'') Weight (95lb).
** Bloodberry: Measurements (95-60-88cm) Height (5'5'') Weight (110lb).
* AlmostKiss: Cherry and Otaru almost share their first kiss two times, but are stopped by [[MomentKiller Lime's timing]].
-->'''Cherry:''' (''thinking'') Geez, why does Lime has to be so inopportune?
* AnimeHair: Justified for most of the girls being marionettes and the guys for... it being made in the 90s.
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Terra II's genetic science, "maiden circuits" and marionettes in general.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: The main dilemma of ''Saber Marionette J'' as a whole revolves around the notion that there are no females on Terra II and genetic cloning can only advance the human race to a certain point with no real evolutionary progress. Because the six survivors use recombinant DNA to create all their clones, they overlook the possibility of simply adjusting the sexual chromosome (XY to XX) before the cloning process begins, which would solve the problem of limited birth options. But then that would make the plot [[spoiler: of rescuing Lorelei from inside the ''Mesopotamia'' using the maiden circuits from three lucky marionettes]] completely moot.
* AssKickingPose: Subverted in one episode where Otaru hits a blade-wielding Ronin.
--> '''Ronin:''' ''"[[LampshadeHanging That wasn't fair. I didn't finish my pose.]]"''
* ATwinkleInTheSky: The Saber Dolls end this way in the episode where the Japoness marionettes are competing in a worldwide tournament for Otaru's affection.
* BalancedHarem: Otaru can't decide between the three marionettes and loves them equally. Since they are TheThreeFacesOfEve, together they make the perfect woman he wants. This is PlayedWith later on.
* BambooTechnology: What the six castaways accomplished with just the equipment in their shuttle.
* BattleHarem: All three of Otaru's marionettes are {{Action Girl}}s.
* {{Bishoujo}}: The marionettes, with the Japoness ones having exaggerated Japanese beauty tropes. They're basically walking, talking Toys/{{Figma}} figures.
* BittersweetEnding: The last minute of the first series averted this. PlayedStraight in the OVA and second series, for the most part.
* BreakingTheFourthWall:
** In episode 4 of ''Saber Marionette J Again'' Otaru says:
--> ''"If you guys were any slower to mature... we'd still be doing what we were doing in the last episode."''
** Hangata at the start of the episodes #1 and #3 of ''J-X''.
* CampGay: Hanagata highly qualifies as this, mainly because of his [[StalkerWithACrush obssession]] with Otaru, which naturally annoys both Otaru himself and the [[ActionGirl Marionettes]]. Obviously, he's also used as the series' PluckyComicRelief, among others. The following quote is one of the ''mildest'' of his rather loud declarations. Then there's him playing "He loves me, he loves me not" with a flower... and ''eating it''. '''Twice.'''
--> '''Hanagata:''' ''"I'll never let you go! Today is our day of destiny!"''
* CantCatchUp: The Saberdolls in [=SMJ=] series.
* CerebusSyndrome: [[spoiler:Episode 17: Tiger killing the shogun to then Faust send a giant plasma bomb over all Japoness.]] After that episode, things go FromBadToWorse.
* ClothingDamage: Many times, to different characters.
* CovertPervert: Cherry may act a modest lady but she's frequently seen daydreaming of "the things Otaru-sama could do to her", most of which seems increasingly sexual.
* CustomUniformOfSexy: The [[SensualSpandex rather skintight leotard]] Cherry wore when she was first activated. Lime and Bloodberry's were also whole body suits, but Cherry's was more of a swimsuit with an [[CleavageWindow open patch of nothing in the middle]] and lots of frills.
* {{Determinator}}:
** The Saberdolls, specially Tiger. [[spoiler: Too bad it ends with her being impaled, badly damaged, partially amnesiac and shell of herself for the rest of original ''J'' series. She gets better in ''J Again''.]]
* DesignerBabies: All the male inhabitants of Terra II [[spoiler:except Hess]].
* DistressedDamsel:
** In episode 4 of ''J'', Cherry ''invokes'' it in an attempt of creating the perfect [[SaveThePrincess "hero saves heroine"]] scenario to get a lovey-dovey moment with Otaru.
** [[spoiler:Lorelei]]
* DoAndroidsDream: Otaru's marionettes and Faust's Saber Dolls. They have the ability to replicate human emotions and thought patterns, but they're often treated as though they're simply machines. [[spoiler:Their maiden circuits allow them to feel human emotions, but it also extends to a form of consciousness once the circuits reach full maturity.]]
* DramaBomb: The infiltration into Gartland's episodes. The jolt after almost 10 episodes of seeing Japoness, a peaceful and colorful city, to then seeing [[{{Mordor}} Gartland]] and how bad its social situation is, is quite shocking.
* DudeShesLikeInAComa:
** In an episode of ''J'', the three marionettes fell "ill" (actually their bodies started to overload because they were absorbing a lot of energy from a huge underground plasma cloud, simulating a fever) and Otaru, before going to confront the plasma to protect them, while the three where sleeping, gives each one a "goodbye" kiss on the cheek.
** Gender inverted in an episode of ''J to X''. While they were on a train, Otaru falls asleep and the girls take a moment to talk about how wonderful he is and each give him a "thanks for being wonderful" kiss.
* EekAMouse: All marionettes, save Lime, have a fear of mice.
* EnemyMine: In episode 6 of ''J''; Hanagata, Lime and Cherry ''tried'' to join forces to avoid Bloodberry from having Otaru for herself.
* {{Expy}}: The android assassin in ''J Again #4'' is a shapeshifting assassin made from silver liquid metal and is destroyed by extreme heat is of course modelled after the main antagonist from ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay''.
* ExtraordinarilyEmpoweredGirl
* EyeCatch
* FaceDoodling: Lime does that to Faust's ubiquitous portraits, when they reach Gartland.
* {{Fanservice}}
* FantasyCounterpartCulture:
** {{Eagleland}}: New Texas
** GloriousMotherRussia: Peterburg.
** OliveGarden: Romana
** TheShangriLa: Xi'an
** ThirtySecondsOverTokyo / {{Wutai}}: Japoness, which [[TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse is the center of Terra II]].
** ThoseWackyNazis: Gartland
* GaussianGirl: The three main marionettes at the beginning of the opening song.
* {{Gainaxing}}: Like there's. No. '''Tomorrow.''' Well, save for [[ACupAngst Cherry]].
* GeckoEnding: The Manga and Anime go off in a different direction then the books. For example, the true nature of Hess. [[spoiler: In the books, he's the ''original'' Faust who [[BrainUploading turned himself into a robot]]. In the Anime, he still turned himself into a robot, but he's instead a survivor from a previous expedition to Terra II.]] Averted with the radio drama, which is pretty much a NonSerialMovie.
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: The marionettes at times when using one of their battle functions.
* HollywoodScience: The genetics here are questionable.
* HotterAndSexier: The manga version, which brought up the [[HandWave question]] about why bother making them anatomically correct if you're going to make loving them socially taboo... (Bloodberry's pair of GagBoobs are but '''two''' of many unending examples... and Lime is [[NakedFirstImpression introduced]] ''[[NakedFirstImpression naked]]''.) It makes sense, in a way, because Kotoyoshi Yumisuke is an avid hentai artist, maybe it was on his contract, or just plain AuthorAppeal.
* HotSpringsEpisode: After Otaru, his three marionettes, and Hanagata complete their mission in Gartland, the group finds an abandoned hotel with natural hot springs. [[spoiler:But the episode [[DarkerAndEdgier takes a nosedive in tone]] when a huge plasma cloud forms and threatens their lives.]]
* HumongousMecha: The Japoness' Guard and Gartland's Sabbelberg are the main qualifiers.
* IdiotBall: Possibly every character has one.
--> '''Hanagata:''' ''''Otaru''! Oh, ''dear''! ''How'' could you be such a ''nincompoop''? There's no way in ''Hell'' you can sneak into [[{{Mordor}} Gart]][[GratuitousGerman lant]]!''
--> '''Otaru:''' ''AAAAGH! Stupid, stupid, stupid, so ''stupid''! I'm sorry, I--I...I'M A SUCKER FOR CANDY WITH PRIZES!!!''
* ImpossiblyCoolClothes
* InternalDeconstruction[=/=]GenreDeconstruction: the HaremGenre gets this treatment in ''J to X''. Shirase does not approve when he learns about the situation ''at all''. This causes Otaru to have an epiphany, which almost causes him to ''leave'' the Marionettes behind so he won't deny them their freedom. It gets better, but in the end [[spoiler: none of the marionettes end up with Otaru... at least, not ''[[FourLoves romantically]]''.]]
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: [[spoiler:The ''Mesopotamia'' itself. After the three marionettes' HeroicSacrifice to stop the ship destroying Terra II, in a last act of good will the ''Mesopotamia'' let the three girls return to their beloved Otaru since the maiden circuits simulated Lorelei's personality and the ship does really love her and wants its new mechanical lovers to be happy.]]
* KillSat: [[spoiler:The ''Mesopotamia'', the colony ship can function as one.]]
* KnightOfCerebus: [[spoiler:The Saber Beast Leopard.]]
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: [[spoiler:Happens to Otaru's marionettes in ''J to X'' thanks to severe shock trauma by Hess. They snap out of it, though.]]
* LastOfHisKind: Lorelei is the only female human in the entire series. [[spoiler: At least, until Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry turned human at the end of J to X.]]
* LetteredSequel: ''Saber Marionette J'' is followed up by ''Saber Marionette J Again'', ''Saber Marionette J to X'', ''Saber Marionette R'' and the manga-only ''Saber Marionette Z''. The letters are the initials of the places where the main characters are located: J stands for Japaness which is based on Japan, R is for Romana which is based on Rome, X means Xian which is based on China, and Z is the oddball as it's the initial of a new starring character, Zero. The first series is followed up directly by ''J Again'' and then ''J to X'', whereas ''R'' and ''Z'' are distant sequels.
* LethalChef: In one episode of J, there is a cooking contest involving the Otaru's Marionettes and the Saber Dolls. The only marionette to successfully avoid this trope was Cherry (being a YamatoNadeshiko and all). Lime's unpredictability and Tiger's fan-service were able to obtain points even though their cooking was obviously less than par.
* LoveAtFirstSight: Marionettes with Maiden Circuits experience this with the first [[strike:man]] [[strike:person]] thing they see upon activating.
* LoveEpiphany: Lime was kidnapped in episode 8 of ''J''. When Otaru worries too much for her, Hanagata insinuates that he loves his marionettes and tells him that [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman marionettes are just machines and loving them is wrong.]] After a visit to the pioneers museum, he decides to screw the rules and make his own decisions on what's right and wrong; and for him is right to love his marionettes.
* LoveHurts: Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry, because of all the love Otaru gives to them, they can't understand the pain the Saber Dolls have to suffer through for their love towards Faust, who treats them as mere tools. When they realize it, Lime sees that having a maiden circuit (a heart) not only gives people happiness but also pain.[[spoiler:..so she in a [[HeroicBSOD confused, psychotic break]] ''takes hers out''.]]
* LoveMakesYouEvil:
** The Saber Dolls. Because of their love for Faust, they would do anything (kill, kidnap, help him take over the world) just to have the chance of one nice word coming from him.
** [[spoiler:The original Faust. He would prevent Ieyasu from rescuing Lorelei just to get her for himself. This ambition of his unfortunately continues to live through his clones via BrainUploading.]]
** [[spoiler:The ''Mesopotamia''. It killed almost all the people inside the ship (6 men were lucky to get into the emergency ship and survive) out of possessive jealousy towards Lorelei.]]
* LoverTugOfWar: Inevitably happens to Otaru a lot.
* MarshmallowHell: Bloodberry's favorite method to draw Otaru's attention.
* MarryThemAll: At the end of ''J'', it seems this is the only solution to Otaru's [[UnwantedHarem romantic dilemma]], as he loves the three girls as much as they love him. In ''J to X'' this is subverted [[spoiler:when the marionettes become {{Artificial Human}}s and Otaru takes them as his ''daughters''.]]
* MeaningfulName: The ship sent to colonize Terra II is called the Mesopotamia. In our Earth, that was also the place where the first civilizations were born.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: Gartland, hands down. It is a totalitarian police state governed by a führer, the dictator, his top advisor and marionettes have German names, they attack and conquer [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Peterburg, a Terra II version of Russia]], Faust has a cult of personality centered around him and [[BookBurning even start to burn works of arts they don't like there]].
* {{Mordor}}: Gartland. The fact that it resembles UsefulNotes/NaziGermany don't help matters.
* OneGenderRace: The human population of Terra II, as they're all male except for Lorelei and (by the end of ''J to X'') [[spoiler:the three main marionettes after their revival]].
* OnTheNextEpisodeOfCatchPhrase: "Otaru, I love you!" It's mostly said by Lime, in an informal and childish way. Cherry says it in a formal and respectful way while Bloodberry goes for the informal, slang way. In the preview of the episode when he understands his feelings, [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers Hanagata]] says it.
* OppositeSexClone: Apparently not an option.
* OutOfTheInferno: In both a heroic and villainous manner. The former when Lime rescues Hanagata's brother Yumeji from a burning building, [[spoiler:the latter with Faust's Saber Beast Leopard, once it acquires Cherry and Bloodberry's maiden circuits.]]
* ParentalAbandonment: Whoever Otaru was cloned off never shows up. There are a few hints that it may be [[spoiler: Ieyasu]].
* ThePowerOfLove: Marionettes with maiden circuits mature faster and became stronger, via the love and concern of their beloved.
* PowerTrio: Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry; Tiger, Luchs, and Panther after their HeelFaceTurn.
* ThePsychoRangers: The Saber Dolls for the J series.
* ShoutOut:
** In ''J-X'' #3, Hanagata has TheScream when he remembers, that his father is gonna pay him a visit.
** The rogue Gartland battle marionettes in ''J-X'' #4 had, according to Luchs' readout in bad German, wrist-mounted hydrogen bombs just like the Predator in the film ''Film/{{Predator}}''.
* TheReveal:
** The first of them, at least in the Anime: Why do you think that Lime, Cherry, Bloodberry and the Saber Dolls have emotions? Answer: [[spoiler:they have a maiden circuit]].
** Then, several episodes later, again, at least in the Anime, we discover the true purpose behind the Japoness' (and Gartland's) marionettes' construction: [[spoiler:to serve as a replacement for Lorelei aboard the ''Mesopotamia'' when said circuits reach full maturity]].
** And what about Marine? Simple: [[spoiler:she was built with an anti-plasma system and plasma manipulation abilities, which were given to her to prevent the menacing disaster towards Terra II... [[HeroicSacrifice even at the cost of her life]]. She survives that, though]].
** And finally, who the hell was Hess? Answer: [[spoiler: the first man in the face of Terra II, or the original Gerhard von Faust, depending on the Continuity]].
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: The Ponta-kun's babies.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobot: The marionettes are always built as women, even if they're only capable of functioning as glorified cash registers.
* RobotGirl: The Maiden Circuit marionettes. Every other marionette falls into {{fembot}} instead despite mostly appearing as human, because their behavior pushes them into the UncannyValley.
* {{Roofhopping}}: With super-powered robots playing SamuraiInNinjaTown from the first episode, there's naturally plenty of this happening.
%%* RunningGag
%%* {{Samurai}}
* SatelliteLoveInterest: Enforced on marionettes with Maiden Circuits because of the LoveAtFirstSight programming. However, it's a key plot point that the circuits develop by Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry interacting and forming bonds with characters besides Otaru. [[spoiler:The Saber Dolls were emotionally stunted by Faust, but develop past this trope near the end of ''J''.]]
* SensualSpandex: Lime and her sisters awaken wearing this; Lime and Bloodberry have this as major parts of their normal outfits.
%%* {{Shonen}}
%%* SmallGirlBigGun
%%* SqueakyEyes
* SuperPoweredRobotMeterMaids: The definition of a "Saber" marionette is being either armed and/or powerful enough to use as a weapon, despite being still more or less human in appearance. The Marionettes with Maiden Circuits are naturally extremely powerful.
* TerribleTrio: The Saber Dolls in the original ''Saber Marionette J''.
* TechnoBabble: Anything to do with marionettes, "maiden circuits" and plasma energy.
* ThatCameOutWrong: In Gartland, Otaru had to kiss [[spoiler:Luchs]] to prevent her rebooting the principal CPU. Of course this angered his three own marionettes who demand him to kiss them as well. Otaru then say that of the kiss was on the past and they should accepted it as men. Cue Lime's:
-->'''Lime:''' (''sad'') But I'm not a man.
* ThemeNaming
** EdibleThemeNaming: Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry.
** VehicularThemeNaming[=/=]AnimalThemeNaming: The Sexadolls, Tiger, Luchs[=/=]Lynx, and Panther.
* ThereWasADoor: Lime, and to a lesser extent Bloodberry, when very focused on something, always pass through Otaru's paper door.
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: Lampshaded ''and'' played Straight. In the {{Broke Episode}}, Lime spins ''an elephant'' on an ''umbrella'' to advertise for a burger stand while smiling. Guess what people are paying attention to? The ''smile''.
--> ''"Marionettes can't ''smile''!"''
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Marionettes are seen as mere machines; even three who behave the same as humans are not exception.
* WhatTheHellHero: In the episode when Otaru catches AcquiredSituationalNarcissism from his celebrity as the hero who saved Japoness, several secondary characters -- such as [[CoolOldGuy Gennai]] and [[{{Mentor}} Obiichi]] -- call him out for how much of a jerk he's being to Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry. When Otaru has his HeelRealization and abandons an important performance when he realizes the trio ran away, [[GondorCallsForAid the secondary characters help him to escape his managers]], [[IfYouEverDoAnythingToHurtHer while warning him he's next if he does anything like this to the Marionettes again]].
* WoundedGazelleGambit: When Cherry gets tired of Lime being a MomentKiller in her first episode after awakening, she drafts a random gang of street punks she fought to stage a kidnapping to allow for a RescueRomance moment. The plan encounters some problems with [[BadBadActing poorly staged fake fighting]] and the punks forgetting their lines, and the entire plan collapses when they all stumble across a real gang and their HumongousMecha.
* YaoiGuys: Loving marionettes is considered taboo, so the only "right" love is towards another man. Otaru is the only who finds it creepy and would prefer to continue loving his three marionettes despite (or rather because) of Hanagata's affections towards him.