[[caption-width-right:350:Florists by day, assassins by night!]]

''Weiß Kreuz'' is the brain child of veteran voice actor Creator/TakehitoKoyasu (''Manga/AngelSanctuary'', ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'', ''Manga/TokyoBabylon'', etc.), which was originally conceived as a star vehicle to allow himself and several other high-profile voice actors to show off their acting and singing talents. He sent his idea to a group of producers, who at first were wary of signing on for an obvious vanity project unless there was something of "substance" to get audiences to watch. Thus, they hired some writers to use Koyasu's ideas to create a series with MultipleDemographicAppeal, which included hiring a character designer to create some rather [[HoYay sexually dubious]] promotional illustrations (in other words, action and intrigue for the boys, and plenty of {{Bishonen}} [[{{fanservice}} eye candy]] for the girls).

The series itself is about quartet of [[{{Bishonen}} incredibly handsome]] [[ProfessionalKiller professional assassins]] with very dark and angsty pasts, who fronted themselves as the clerks of a flower store. They were involved in an AncientConspiracy between the corrupt factions of a very rich family, and had to fight against a group of psychic-powered assassins even more unhinged than them.

To the surprise of just about everyone but Koyasu, ''Weiß Kreuz'' was a success. Everybody won: he was able to demonstrate his dramatic capacity and win some credibility, the female public across the world [[{{Squee}} drooled]], and the executives made an obscene amount of money.

''Weiß Kreuz'' is a multimedia franchise, ranging from radio drama (as it was initially conceived by a bunch of [[NamesToKnowInAnime seiyuu]]), to anime series, [=OVAs=], light novels and manga. The seiyuu themselves formed a music band under the same name and released several singles, albums and concert tours. These releases may also be in anachronic order due to a couple of prequels, and certain releases centered around some characters' pasts (such as the Schwarz drama [=CDs=]).

'''A rough chronological (not release) order of the series, radio dramas, manga, etc. are as follows:'''
* ''A Four-Leaf Clover'': Four audio dramas about Weiß before they were Weiß.
* ''The Orchid Under The Sun'': Kritiker sends Aya to their Tsushima base, where he meets Knight's sister.
* ''Crashers: Knight and Ran I & II'': Two dramas detailing Aya's membership in Kritiker's Crashers unit. This was before [[spoiler: Ran assumes the name of Aya]].
* ''First Mission'': ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, an audio drama about Weiß's first mission together.
* ''Weiß: Forever White'': a light novel, illustrated by Kyoko Tsuchiya.
* ''Weiß - An Assassin and White Shaman'': A two volume manga illustrated by Kyoko Tsuchiya, detailing Aya's StartOfDarkness and recruitment into Weiß. Has been quite thoroughly [[RetCon retconned]] by the anime and [=CDs=], but still very popular among fans.
* ''Eternal Angel I & II'': [=CDs=] which establish the Weiß Kreuz series' love affair with butchering young girls.
* ''Theater of Pain'': Released around the time of ''Glühen'', Weiß chase a target to Italy and team up with another assassin group called Fortuna. Includes a cameo from Knight and name-drops Kryptonbrand.
* ''Holy Children'': Weiß is assigned to kill the nun that raised Ken and Nagi. Explains how Nagi became one of Schwarz.
* ''Flower of Spring'': A SomethingCompletelyDifferent audio drama, in that it's pure comedy over angst.
* ''Kaleidoscope Memory'': Momoe-san leaves for a retirement home, Omi is hearbroken.
* ''Weiß Kreuz'': The original 25-episode anime series co-produced by Creator/{{TMS|Entertainment}} and Creator/StudioDEEN[[note]]With help from Creator/MagicBus[[/note]], and the most famous part of the franchise. Popularly referred to by fans as ''Kapitel'' since the release of ''Glühen''. Weiß fights against Reiji Takatori, Eszett and Schwarz; Schwarz probably wins.
* ''Schwarz I & II'': Dramas focusing on Schwarz. Pure, unadulterated FanonDisContinuity to Schwarz fans.
* ''Endless Rain'': Audio drama divided between Weiß's mission in Sendai and flashbacks to Aya's early days with Kritiker's Aoba Center team.
* ''Weiß Kreuz - Verbrechen and Strafe'': a two-part OVA during the mobile flower shop period, showing [[spoiler: first signs of Ken's madness]]. The main plot concerns the American army hunting down and killing high school girls, then turning Weiß against each other.
* ''Ranjatai'': An illustrated short story which takes place while Weiß are travelling and operating out of their trailer/mobile flower shop, in which Aya encounters a woman connected to one of his earliest missions.
* ''Dramatic Precious'': 4 drama [=CDs=] detailing the [[spoiler: eventual destruction of Weiß (Aya and co. are actually the 3rd incarnation of the unit) as they come up against the 2nd generation Weiß (gone rogue from Kritiker). Yohji and Ken go through {{break the cutie}} events, Omi is recruited as the next Persia and head of the Takatori zaibatsu and Aya finds resolution by fighting his mentor]]. Directly responsible for the huge difference of characterization of the main cast in Glühen.
* ''Fight Fire With Fire'': 2 years after ''Dramatic Precious'', this picks up on where the main cast has ended up and their recruitment [[spoiler: into the 4th generation of Weiß headed by the new Persia. Aya is an assassin in the U.S., Ken is trying to get someone to play Persia so he can kill people without (as much) guilt, Kyo is introduced, Omi has taken up his birth name, and Youji is living off various women]].
* ''Glühen Dramatic Soundtrack II Jazz Me Blues'': takes place before Aya enters the Koua Academy. Aya, Knight, Rex and Queen meet at a bar.
* ''Weiß Kreuz Glühen'': the 2nd anime series. Introduces Sena.
* ''Weiß Side B'': the [[spoiler: final, discontinued]] manga series where Koyasu teams up with a new mangaka. Aya and Ken join a British assassin group with several new characters, while Omi and Youji are DemotedToExtra.

[[caption-width-right:239:The Glühen redesigns.]]

Unfortunately, after the original TV series ended (and accompanying artbooks and {{OVA}}s were released), Kyoko Tsuchiya quit the project and denied the producers the right to continue using her designs. As the story was still unfinished and there was more money yet to be made, they were forced to continue with a new artist, who had to radically alter the character designs to avoid a lawsuit. The OddlyNamedSequel, ''Weiß Kreuz: Glühen'', didn't do as well financially, and [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks the new designs turned away many fans]].

After ''Glühen,'' the series continued with a new manga and artist. ''Weiß Side B'' lasted about thirty chapters before being CutShort. It remains to be seen if Creator/TakehitoKoyasu's project ''Velvet Under World,'' which features a lead character named AYA and several apparent other nods to ''Weiß Kreuz'' continuity, will be set in the same universe or if it will even [[DevelopmentHell make it off the ground]].

!!This series provides examples of:

* AbortedArc: ''Weiß Side B'' and whatever the deal is with Human Interleukin.
* AdaptationDyeJob: The main characters' designs vary, between the Kyoko Tsuchiya manga, Kapitel anime, Glühen anime, and Shoko Oomine manga.
** You don't even have to go that far. Due to OffModel and AnimationBump, Kapitel has the characters changing appearances, from the style they're drawn to their eye colors. Ken has his eyes colored brown, blue and green in many different shades.
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: Throughout the entire series, there are exactly ''two'' romances that turn out anything resembling well. (That would be [[spoiler:Yoji and Asuka Ito]] at the end of ''Gluhen'', and Farfarello and Sally in the Schwarz drama CD, if you were wondering.) Even one-episode background couples are not safe.
* AllThereInTheManual: Of all the content created for the franchise, only the two anime series have been exported. While much of the rest of the material is more or less extraneous, a considerable amount of plot and character development takes place in the OAV and the ''Dramatic Precious'' CD dramas. Fans who attempt to start watching ''Gluhen'' directly after the original anime series without any knowledge of the events of ''Verbrechen / Strafe'' and ''Dramatic Precious'' are likely to find themselves confused by the changes which have occurred between the two.
* AncientConspiracy: Essett
* AnimationBump: [[spoiler:Ouka's]] death scene, the Yuriko episode.
* BadassNormal: Weiß frequently go up against enemies with superhuman abilities in spite of having none of their own.
* BilingualBonus: The title is (bad) German for "White Cross"
* {{Bishonen}}
* BloodierAndGorier: ''Verbrechen'' and ''Strafe'' don't have a particularly higher body count than ''Kapitel'', but the violence is animated with a ''lot'' more blood, especially as compared to the original anime's relatively BloodlessCarnage. ''Gluhen'' settles into a more reasonable medium between the two.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Subverted: [[spoiler: Omi Tsukiyono and Ouka Sakaki]] turn out to be [[KissingCousins cousins]], not half-siblings.
* BrownNote: The music released by Wunder X.
* CastFullOfPrettyBoys
* ChangingClothesIsAFreeAction: To simply ridiculous degrees.
* ContinuityLockout: Try to make sense of ''Gluhen'' without ''[[NoExportForYou Dramatic Precious]].'' Or try to figure out who those weird chess players are without ''Crashers: Knight & Ran.''
* ContinuityNod: Surprisingly often in ''Side B.'' One of the first things Aya says to Ken after their reunion is a reference to ''Fight Fire With Fire,'' asking him about his 'lingering affections.'
* ContractOnTheHitman: In the OVA, Ken and Omi refuse to kill a sympathetic target, so their teammates are ordered to kill them. In ''Glühen,'' Weiß goes against orders and Saijou Takatori orders the Crashers team to eliminate them.
* DeadlyGame: Human Chess
* DeusAngstMachina
* DidTheyOrDidntThey - Ken and Yuriko are a type 4.
* DirtyBusiness: The general opinion that the members of Weiß have about their profession.
* DisneyDeath
* DownerEnding: ''Glühen''.
* DysfunctionJunction
* {{Fanservice}}
* FiveManBand: Crashers becomes one in ''Crashers: Knight and Ran'' after Ran is added to the previously four-person team. Knight is TheHero, Ran is TheLancer, Bishop is TheSmartGuy, Rook is TheBigGuy, and Pawn is TheChick.
* FlowerMotifs: The franchise dabbles with flower motifs and ''hanakotoba''; the four HitmanWithAHeart protagonists work as florists as a cover job and are each associated with a particular flower, and they also use ''hanakotoba'' as a code language, allowing for a OutOfCharacterAlert plot twist in the ''Verbrechen ~ Strafe'' OVA. Additionally, Aya's real name, Ran, means "orchid" and is pronounced the same as the word meaning "war," an association played upon in both the "Ranjatai" short story and the ''Dramatic Precious'' RadioDrama.
* FourEyesZeroSoul: Brad Crawford
* FourIsDeath: Weiß is a team of four. So are Schwarz, Schreient, Kritiker's Aoba team, previous incarnations of Weiß... Also notable is what happens whenever Weiß is suddenly not a four man team: [[spoiler:when Omi leaves and Kyou and Sena both join, it doesn't take long for Kyou to get stabbed through the chest--and then when Omi rejoins, Sena is almost immediately shot.]]
** Furthermore, all of the spoiler text above refers to the fates of the fourth iteration of the Weiß team, which is also the iteration that ended up with [[spoiler:Kyou dead, Sena dead, Yoji completely amnesiac, Ken in jail, Omi abandoning his identity to become Mamoru Takatori for good, and Aya bleeding out on a New York City sidewalk]].
** On the other hand, Ran's inclusion makes Crashers effectively a FiveManBand, and Kryptonbrand is a six-man team. Both are notably less dysfunctional.
* FourGirlEnsemble: Schreient. Weiß would also fit the trope perfectly, if they were girls.
* FromBadToWorse: ''Verbrechen ~ Strafe'', ''Dramatic Precious'', and ''Glühen'' are long, inexorable progressions of From Bad to Worse.
* GratuitousGerman: Plenty of it, beginning with the title of the show. Note that it's actually grammatically incorrect. It should be "Weißes Kreuz" in correct German.
** It was almost GratuitousEnglish, with the title potentially being ..."Cat People". Really.
** It is also possible, that they misspelled "Weißkreuz", a German UsefulNotes/WorldWarI chemical warfare agent.
** GratuitousEnglish: ''Side B''. And then Kurumi tells Aya his English is good...
* HealthcareMotivation:
** One of the reasons Aya became an assassin was to pay for his little sister's medical expenses, also the main reason he joined Kritiker.
** An ill little sister with medical bills is also what drives Jun to join the Human Chess game in episode 2.
* [[HeroStoleMyBike Hero Stole My Skateboard]]: Ken pulls this in ''Side B,'' and then leaves Aya to do the explaining.
* HighTurnoverRate: Kritiker personnel have a high mortality rate; the series goes through three Persias and four [[TheHandler handlers]], and the main characters make up the third and fourth incarnations of the team. At the end of ''Glühen,'' Rex discusses assembling a ''fifth'' incarnation of Weiß.
* HilariousOuttakes: With references to Literature/LesMiserables.
* HitmanWithAHeart: All four members of Weiß.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: ''Kapitel'' uses German words, while ''Glühen'' went with Weiß song titles. The four ''Dramatic Precious'' stages are ''Sleepless Night,'' ''Tearless Dolls,'' ''Hopeless Zone,'' and ''Dreamless Life.''
* ImageSong: "Weiß" is also the name of the singing group formed by the four leads.
* ImportantHaircut: Prior to setting out for the climactic battle in [[OddlyNamedSequel Glühen]], Aya uses his own katana to cut off the waist-length braid he'd grown between series.
* InMediasRes: ''Weiß Side B'' starts with Kryptonbrand carrying out a mission and meeting Kurumi, before backing up and showing how Ken and Aya wound up in England in the first place.
* KarmaHoudini: Schwarz again.
* LadykillerInLove: Youji
* LeeroyJenkins: Aya's response to running unexpectedly into [[PresidentEvil Reiji Takatori]]: attempt to jump on him, run after him screaming his name, then throw his sword at the helicopter he's leaving in. After takeoff.
* LickingTheBlade: Farfarello does this a lot.
** A baddy from the first episode also does this with an axe. In the English dub's outtakes, the character's voice actor made him say"[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFKS4jI-GTM&t=0m49s I need to shave my tongue,"]] as he did so.
* LostInTranslation
** Most notably the title, which went from "White Cross" (the lit. translation) to "Knight Hunters". Because apparently it was too difficult for the translation company to go straight from German to English- they had to bypass 8 other languages on the way.
** It helped that even the earlier Tagalog dub (around 1999, way before the English dub) of Weiß Kreuz was already translated as "Knight Hunters". Whether this was coincidence or a requirement by the original company is still unknown.
* LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler: Omi, your real name is Mamoru Takatori...]]
* MadArtist: Repeatedly.
* MadScientist: Lots of 'em. Specially Masafumi Takatori.
* MarketBasedTitle: Well most people in the North America can't speak German, so Media Blasters brought it over to the US, under the name ''KnightHunters'' (which is TMS Entertainment's international title for the series), and luckily they used the series original name as a subtitle, while elsewhere the series kept it's original name
* MayContainEvil: Employed a couple of times by Eszett, particularly the "health drink" Freude.
* NecessarilyEvil
* NonIndicativeFirstEpisode: The first episode focuses heavily on the girlfriend of one of the victims-of-the-week, following her perspective rather than following Weiß the way that the rest of the episodes do. Though established throughout the episode as an AudienceSurrogate / NaiveNewcomer type of character, the girl never appears again in the series.
* OddlyNamedSequel: ''Weiß Kreuz: Glühen'' ("glühen" is actually the German word for "glowing," and "weißglühend" means, more or less, "white-hot").
* OffModel: Take one of the [[Creator/TMSEntertainment most competent Anime studios]] and team them up with [[Creator/StudioDEEN two of]] [[Creator/MagicBus the least competent]] and this is the result.
* ParentalIssues: Omi
* PowerWalk: Weiß do one in episode 10 of ''Glühen'' as they embark on the final stage of their last mission.
* ''Three'' sets of [[ThePsychoRangers Psycho Rangers]]: Schreient, Schwarz, and La Mort.
* RetCon: Aya becoming Aya. In ''An Assassin and White Shaman,'' Youji gives him the name because he refuses to identify himself and he keeps repeating it in his sleep; in ''Kapitel,'' he vows to take it up in memory of his sister at her bedside, and in the ''First Mission'' audio drama, he makes the decision as he goes to meet the rest of Weiß.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Knight and Pawn of Crashers each put Aya through one in ''Crashers: Knight and Ran''. Bishop also gives him a Secret Test, but in his case it's purely a test of skill.
* StartOfDarkness: Although they're not villains, each member of Weiß effectively has one, as each has at least one episode flashing back to the event which destroyed their lives and left them ripe for recruitment by Kritiker. Aya's in particular is revisited in three different media (and [[RetCon portrayed differently each time]]).
* SurpriseIncest: Omi and [[spoiler: Ouka Sakaki]] begin a relationship and then discover that they are half-siblings. [[spoiler: Ouka gets killed almost immediately]], and then the series reveals that they weren't actually siblings but cousins, for good measure. But the trope is played straight up to that point.
* WaxMuseumMorgue: The "Tearless Dolls" drama. [[spoiler: And one of the "dolls" is actually Omi's ''love interest'', Ouka.]]
* WingedHumanoid: The OP of ''Glühen''.