http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rinkasakuragari.jpg
[[caption-width:312:Souma and Masataka.]]
'''Sakura Gari''' is a Taishou Era romantic story by YuuWatase, ten years in the making. Its nine chapters were published in the ''Rinka'' magazine from 2007 to 2008, then recopilated in three volumes.

It centers around the 16 year old Tagami Masataka, the eldest son of a library owner from a small village, as he goes to Tokyo to try finding his place in life. While getting ready to take the entrance exams for the then-''Teikoku daigaku'' or ''Imperial University'' (now the ''University of Tokyo aka [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Tokyo Toudai]]''), he encounters Saiki Souma, the 25-year-old son of the distinguished Saiki Koushyaku family, and becomes part of the Saiki household as a mix of boarding student and servant. The Saiki household and Souma himself, however, are hiding some very dark secrets, and Masataka unwittingly starts getting involved... and it's even worse when Masataka starts finding out about ''Souma's'' own dark and troubled mindset.

This manga is a rather explicit entry in the BoysLove genere, and is a departure from YuuWatase's usual work in {{Shoujo}} romantic series, with a high quotient of [[HotterAndSexier explicit sex scenes]] and [[DarkerAndEdgier very dark themes]] (rape, abuse, etc.).

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'''This series has examples of: '''

* AbusiveParents - [[spoiler: Sakurako's mother abused Souma physically, emotionally ''and'' sexually, having snapped after her child became TheUnfavorite.]]
** Katsuragi hints that [[spoiler: his mother was abusive too]], during the MotiveRant he sprouts while he is [[spoiler: raping and torturing Masataka.]]
*** For that matter, Katsuragi's wife Asayo suggests that [[spoiler:her father was like this as well, saying that a beating was always a good remedy when she messed up.]]
* AccidentalPervert - Masataka meets Katsuragi...when he walks in on him giving Souma head.
* AloneInACrowd - Souma is constantly in a FriendlessBackground, especially his childhood where he was trapped in a living hell to the extend it almost drove him into GoMadFromTheIsolation territory. That said, Masataka gets his fair share of this as well.
* AlphaBitch - Kanako Kawamori
* AndIMustScream - Souma's childhood is... there's actually not a word to describe how horrible and torturous his childhood was. It was just... [[spoiler: being molested, raped, and tortured daily, isolated, lonely and ostracised, with all the adults turning a blind eye to how horrifically he is being treated. RapeAsBackstory UpToEleven]] He has a ''very'' good FreudianExcuse for his behaviour (though it does NOT double as an justification for the shit he pulls - and Souma acknowledges that as well, [[DracoInLeatherPants though the fandom does NOT]]). In fact, considering what happened to him, it's actually surprising that he is able to function as well as he does. This extends beyond BreakTheCutie and through the TraumaCongaLine; each new hit keeps breaking him.
* AnythingThatMoves - Souma.
* AristocratsAreEvil - Most of the nobles and aristocrats are shown being very snooty and insufferable. Even Souma and his family, although not shown being snooty, are certainly very messed up.
* ArrangedMarriage - Kanako's father wants to engage her to Souma as soon as she graduates from her women's college. Souma refuses at first, saying he's too troubled to get married, but later he accepts as Viscount Kawamori says he actually wants Souma to marry Kanako so he can be his succesor, rather than for the Saiki's money and prestige. [[spoiler: Nothing happens in the end, though, as he's stabbed by Katou in the last pages of the manga and it's not clear if he makes it or not.]]
** Similarly, Lord and Lady Saiki were in one of these too. [[spoiler: In fact, Abigail was supposed to be a mere one-night stand for the then young Saiki, [[LoveHurts but he got unexpectedly hung up on her]] even despite having married the lady and siring kids witrh her. Which explains a LOT about his behavior.]]
* AssShove - A not-comedic example -- [[spoiler: one of Katsuragi's torture methods against Masataka included him forcibly shoving a household object up the guy's anus ''right after having raped him''.]]
* TheAtoner - Souma's father tries to pass himself off as one. [[spoiler: Souma's mother Abigail was a woman he had an affair with in England, but he had to go back to Japan to [[ArrangedMarriage marry his fiancee]]; Abigail was already pregnant with Souma at the time, and she died at childbirth]]. His way of making amends to her? Have [[spoiler: Souma dress up as Abigail and continually apologize to him]]. Yeah, he's messed up.
** Also, [[spoiler: Souma's guilt about Sakurako's situation gets him in huge problems since she's ''literally'' crazy for him. And later, when Masataka snaps horribly on him for all of his sexual abuse [[KickThedog and hiding the info about Takafumi's demise]], Souma feels so guilty that he tries to kill himself to atone. [[TearJerker "Masataka... is this enough...?"]].]]
* AttemptedRape - Subverted: it's believed that [[spoiler: Terashima]] went into the warehouse [[spoiler: Sakurako]] was locked in to rape her, as revenge against [[spoiler: Souma]]; later we learn that [[spoiler: she had called him up voluntarily, then [[FinGore crushed his hand]] and pushed him down the stairs.]]
* BerserkButton - DON'T touch Masataka. Souma will fucking '''KILL''' you, and he will not make it painless.
** And do NOT attract Souma's attention to yourself. Either Katsuragi or [[spoiler: Sakurako]] will catch and torture you, and neither will make their punishments easier.
* BewareTheNiceOnes - Souma is gentle, kind, caring and generally submissive, allowing anyone to screw him if he can get by in life. But you touch Masataka and you've [[BerserkButton crossed the line]].
* BigBrotherInstinct - Subverted and followed in different instances. Masataka and his blood-related [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold big brother]] Takafumi, although they don't ''look'' like they get along, are actually very close (with Masataka always having felt guilty about his older brother suffering while working under a different family). Masataka and his ''younger'' brother Mitsugu, however, are a different story - Mitsugu is clingy and Masataka is actually cold and mean to him. And then there's [[spoiler: Souma and Sakurako]], where their relationship actually goes into BrotherSisterIncest.
* BigFancyHouse - There are two of these in the lands of the Saiki family. One is a Western mansion that seems to be pretty recent, the other is a traditional and abandoned Japanese one used as a warehouse (almost surely the original home). [[spoiler: This is very plot important, as Sakurako was locked away for nine years in the latter, and ''many'' things happen there afterwards. And in the second-to-last chapter, Sakurako burns it down to kill Souma and Masataka.]]
** Katsuragi also lives in a traditional Japanese house. [[spoiler: Which gets burned down, ''[[KillItWithFire with him inside]]''.]]
* {{Bishonen}} - Souma and Masataka.
* BitchInSheepsClothing - Katsuragi seems to be a normal, efficient and handsome doctor at first. Then we see him having sex with Souma, but he still looks like a shady but not ''openly'' evil man, even supporting Masataka when he deals a WhatTheHellHero to a nobleman during the ball. Later, we see [[spoiler: that Sakurako has told him to slowly kill her father via poison]]. And later, there's both [[DomesticAbuser his abuse of his]] [[YamatoNadeshiko wife]] and what he did to Masataka (read: [[spoiler: raping and torturing him out of jealousy.]]). And '''then''' get to find out what he did to ''Souma himself''...
* BiTheWay - Souma doesn't really make gender distinctions.
* BoysLoveGenre
* BreakTheCutie - First, we see Masataka getting horribly and painfully broken in the Saiki household as time passes. Then we learn Souma that became so broken by the end of his childhood that he grew into an EmptyShell StepfordSmiler who allowed anyone to screw him if he could get by in life in return. And then we see ''other'' characters being very broken, like Asayo and [[spoiler: the unnamed maid]] Honestly, the base premise of the entire series ''is'' this trope.
* BrokenAce - Souma. He's handome, affable, rich, intelligent, a skilled businessman. . . and horrifyingly screwed up.
* BrokenBird - Katsuragi's wife Asayo, utterly broken for his abuse. [[spoiler: She ends up killing him.]]
** Souma is one of the rare male cases of this trope.
* BroodingBoyGentleGirl - Or better said ''Brooding Adult Man, Gentle Teenage Boy'', since Souma and Masataka can easily pass as a [[HoYay male/male]] version. Souma may not look like a brooder, but in truth he's got MASSIVE issues due to his horrifying DarkAndTroubledPast, and one of the biggest reasons why he's attracted to Masataka is his gentle, frank approach to him, offering a contrast with how everyone else is obsessively possessive of Souma himself. [[FromBadToWorse And then, shit starts going down for both of them]]
* BrotherSisterIncest - Zig-zagged interestingly through the story. First we see that [[spoiler: Souma and Sakurako]] are the Half-siblings version, with the latter being ''very'' obsessed with the first. Then we see that [[spoiler:Sakurako happens to be Youya, his ''brother.'', who became a CreepyCrossdresser to cope with the trauma of his mother's death.]] And THEN it's further subverted when we find out that [[spoiler: Youya is in fact the product of Kato and the wife of Souma's father (the one he left Souma's mother for), and hence Souma and Youya are actually not related at ALL.]]
* ButNotTooForeign - Souma is half Japanese, half English.
* CannotSpitItOut - [[spoiler: Souma can't bring himself to tell Masataka that he loves him and instead rapes him repeatedly, and then gives him an index of poems to describe his feelings. A straight-out confession would have been much less psychologically scarring.]]
* TheCasanova - Souma is the King of this... except that that he's not seducing anyone. Everyone else just wants to screw him and he lets them.
* CelibateHero - Masataka for the majority of the beginning, claiming that he has no interest in things like love, and that love is simply for people's self-satisfaction. (In fact, once he has a wet dream and goes take a cold bath in the nearest well, extremely ashamed). Which also brings him a bunch of internal conflict when he starts feeling attracted to Sakurako and [[spoiler:Souma]]
* CensorShadow
* ChainsOfLove - More like Ropes Of Love. There's a ''lot'' of centerfold pictures of Masataka and Souma [[FetishFuel tied up together]].
* CherryBlossoms - A constant theme in the manga. I.e., [[spoiler: Sakurako was locked away because of her behavior in a cherry blossom watching party among other things]], [[spoiler: Mitsugu makes many paper cherry blossoms as charms to wish Masataka good luck in his studies]], and later [[spoiler: Katou snaps and stabs Souma, who then collapses under the blossoming cherries.]]
* ChickMagnet - Souma is shown attracting many, many female suitors.
* ChildByRape - [[spoiler: Masataka, who knows it well. He refers to himself as a "dirty child" because of that. That's also the reason why his birth mom gave him away to the Tagami family]]
* ClingyJealousGirl - [[AlphaBitch Kanako]] and [[spoiler: [[{{Yandere}} Sakurako]]]].
* ColdBloodedTorture - Dr. Katsuragi's rape and torture of [[spoiler: Masataka]].
** Also, what [[spoiler: Sakurako]] does to almost every single lover that [[spoiler: Souma]] has among the household staff, and takes pictures of each abuse session. The most notorious cases are: [[spoiler: Masataka (tied up, force fed a meal with glass shards hidden inside, threatened)]], [[spoiler: Terashima (crushes his drawing hand, throws him down a flight of stairs)]], and an unnamed maid ([[spoiler: BoundAndGagged, savagely beaten up -- causing her to lose Souma's baby that she was pregnant with.)]] In the culprit's own words:
--> [[spoiler: Sakurako]]: "That night, I called him (read: [[spoiler: Terashima]]) deliberately... like with all the persons who had a relationship with [[spoiler: Oniisama]]... It's so intresting! Just by punishing them for one night and taking pictures, all of them got scared and became strange..."
* ComingOfAgeStory - For Masataka, albeit a VERY traumatic one.
* CreepyChild - [[spoiler: ''Both'' Souma and Sakurako]], after [[spoiler: the death of Lady Saiki]].
* CutHimselfShaving: Masataka explains away the burn mark on his hand that he got from when Katsuragi put his hand in boiling hot tea with "[[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/sakura_gari/v03/c009/6.html I got these burns when I was helping out in the kitchen because I was careless with the hot water.]]"
** Earlier, when one of the maids [[InterruptedSuicide catches him holding a knife unusually close to his throat]], he claims to be sharpening his pencil. He's a student, so she believes him. [[spoiler:We later discover that she ''does'' know that Souma has been raping him, however]].
* CuteAndPsycho - [[spoiler: Sakurako's mother, who went crazy after Souma was appointed as heir and her kid was disinherited, and soon started abusing him in all senses.]]
* DancesAndBalls - Souma takes Masataka with him to a Dance Ball. Masataka, being a commoner, feels very out of place and uncomfortable.
* DarkAndTroubledPast - Souma and pretty much the entire household. Masataka and his sibling/s as well
* DealWithTheDevil - metaphorical. [[spoiler: Souma, after passing over the DespairEventHorizon the first time when he [[BreakTheCutie is broken]] by his stepmother's physical and sexual abuse, and completely isolated and alone because all the adults turn a blind eye to it, turns to Katsuragi for support. He tells him half-heartedly that if Katsuragi kills Sakurako, he'll let him have him.]] Wasn't the most wise decision.
* DeathByChildbirth - [[spoiler: Souma's English birth mother, Abigail.]]
* [[spoiler: DownerEnding - Souma forces Masataka out of the house, bars him from ever returning or seeing him again, in hopes to have him live his own life freely. Masataka is depressed, but decides to follow his advice and leave so he will fulfill such a wish. And then Souma sequentially gets stabbed by Katou on his way out. Points to anyone who can figure out why, after Katou confessing that he is Youya's father, and that Youya wouldn't want his brother, Souma, to be harmed, he then goes and stabs him. Cue allegorical image of the Sakura tree in bloom.]]
* DepravedBisexual - A big reason why Souma is depicted as being messed up and depraved is because he sleeps with women ''and'' men (ignoring later implications that he causes their death).
** Also, Katsuragi.
* DepravedHomosexual - Some of the men that Souma sleeps with.
* DespairEventHorizon - Both Souma and Masataka get hit with this.
** [[spoiler: Sakurako]] came ''real'' close as a little kid, when [[spoiler: she walks on Katsuragi forcing Souma to kill her mother (Becoming a CreepyChild and then being confined to the old household grounds doesn't help)]]. She finally goes right over when [[spoiler: she thought she had killed Souma.]]
* DeTerminator - Despite all of the trauma he goes through, when Masataka pulls himself together, he can come up with impressive bravery. Like when [[spoiler: he throws the boiling tea on Katsuragi's face so he can escape his torture]] or [[spoiler: saves himself and a pretty much suicidal Souma from dying in a fire.]]
* DrivenToSuicide - [[spoiler: Masataka (almost cuts off his throat with a dagger)]], [[spoiler: Souma (slits his wrists open and puts his bleeding arm inside the full bath tub)]], and [[spoiler:Sakurako (slits her wrists open too, then drowns self in a freezing lake)]]. Only the latter dies from it though.
** Also subverted. Many outsiders believe that [[spoiler: Sakurako's mother killed herself by wrist cutting, but Katsuragi killed her by poison and then forced Souma help him make it look like a suicide.]] This further leads to [[spoiler: the start of Souma becoming a suicidal EmptyShell from both guilt and the heavy trauma he experiences when Katsuragi rapes him the night after this event and continues to sexually abuse him for the remainder of his childhood.]] Wait, wait, wait, we're not finished yet. Then things go FromBadtoWorse. [[SerialEscalation No, really.]] Truth is... [[spoiler: Katsuragi claims that Souma entered [[DealWithTheDevil into a deal with him]], when Souma, desperate and already broken from being abused, off-handedly says that he'll let Katsuragi have him if he kills Sakurako. Unfortunately, Katsuragi takes him at his word, and holds this over Souma's head for years, continuously reinforcing the idea that they killed her together, and driving him further ''beyond'' the DespairEventHorizon into true suicidal territory and making it impossible for him to ever return to a state even resembling psychological stability.]]
* DysfunctionJunction - Between Souma's childhood, [[spoiler: being raped and tortured DAILY, silently and lonely while everyone pretends it doesn't happen]], Matasaka's childhood [[spoiler: as a lonely and psychologically abused ChildByRape]], and the ''entire'' situation with [[spoiler: Youya, and Souma's stepmother]], you have UpToEleven extremes that just keep on climbing.
* EvenTheGuysWantHim - Souma. Souma. Souma. Souma. Seriously, this trope ''is'' Souma.
* EyeScream - [[spoiler: Katsuragi rapes and tortures Masataka, and his last action is putting the other's hand in a pot of boiling water. To free himself, Masataka ''throws the pot on Katsuragi's face'', injuring his eyes and badly scarring his face.]]
** HoistByHisOwnPetard: [[spoiler: Souma finds out. He's NOT happy.]]
* FanDisservice - for all of the FetishFuel and FanService in the series, there's quite a bit of this too. Like Masataka removing his shirt and jacket in front of Souma [[spoiler: to show him the massive scars that came from Katsuragi whipping him]], the sex scenes between Masataka and Souma [[spoiler: when the first has to WorkOffTheDebt to the second]], all the times a 12-year-old [[spoiler: Souma]] gets touched and groped against his will [[spoiler: and/or downright raped]], or when a pretty and half-naked girl is seen BoundAndGagged in a mix of UnwillingSuspension and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibari shibari]]'' [[spoiler: after having been savagely tortured ''and'' phoographed by Sakurako.]]
* FatalAttractor - Every one of Souma's lovers are shown to have horrible endings. He even notices and mentions it himself. Of course, [[{{Jerkass}} this doesn't stop him from continuing to take lovers]].
** He actually believes that its because he breaks up with them that [[DrivenToSuicide they go and kill themselves or get into fatal accidents that may have been suicide attempts]]. ... Despite having a degree from Tokyo University and being a CEO of a company, Souma [[SelectiveObliviousness can be really really]] ''[[TooDumbToLive stupid]].''
*** Or [[SelectiveObliviousness he could be THAT much in denial.]]
* {{Fingore}} - [[spoiler: Sakurako crushes Terashima's hand before pushing him down the stairs.]]
** [[spoiler: And Katsuragi puts Masataka's hand in boiling water.]]
* ForbiddenFruit - The one person Souma finds himself truly falling in love with is the ''only'' person who has absolutely no romantic interest in him. As a matter of fact, it's addressed that the main reason he fell in love with Masataka was because Masataka was "different from the others." And Souma, of course, unaccustomed to not getting sex from someone he wants, proceeds to [[spoiler: tie Masataka up and rape him repeatedly]].
** From a different angle, this borders on a strange inversion/distortion of ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou, where everyone wants to control and screw Souma, treating him like a possession, a "doll", but Souma loves Masataka because Masataka ''doesn't'' try to control or possess him (i.e. Masataka's affection is pure (read: not bound by sexual possessiveness)).
* ForceFeeding - In chapter 6 Sakurako tries to literally force Masataka to eat some of the food she made for him. He's reluctant to do so because the last time she fed him something she had secretly snuck in some glass.
* FromBadToWorse - Masataka's situation seems to be this way with every chapter. As does Souma's backstory. By the end, they've gone ''way'' beyond the DespairEventHorizon.
* GoMadFromTheRevelation - [[spoiler: Happens to Youya, upon witnessing his mother's death. Which prompts him to become Sakurako.]]
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex - Zigzagged all over the way. Souma is ''very'' good in bed and often gets pretty good "action" from his sexual partners in return ([[FanService with Watase offering us all kinds of details]], but while not outright evil, the man has VERY serious issues. And said partners either have their own issues or get hit with misfortune.
** Not to mention, the very kind Masataka [[spoiler: ''never'' really gets "good sex" since he's raped by both Souma and Katsuragi... until the end of the manga, where his and Souma's IntimatePsychotherapy session is very gentle and loving.]]
* GoodScarsEvilScars - [[spoiler: Masataka is ''heavily'' scarred after Katsuragi's ColdBloodedTorture, which includes whipping and [[{{Fingore}} burning his hand with boiling tea]]. In returns, he leaves Katsuragi himself scarred when he throws boiling tea on him.]]
* HeroicBSOD - [[spoiler: Masataka]] has a HUGE one when he learns that [[spoiler: Takafumi was dead in a police raid and Souma kept it from him.]] And we're not counting counting the one the morning after [[spoiler: Souma raped him.]]
** And he has a third one [[spoiler: when he explains his backstory to Souma]]. Souma's reply is [[spoiler: a CooldownHug and a YouAreNotAlone speech]]
* [[HighClassCallGirl High Class Call Guy]]: Souma will let anyone fuck him as long as there is something for him to gain from them in return. One of the detectives even remarks on it, saying that even back when they were investigating his step-mother's suicide, he had the eyes of a prostitute.
* HistoricalFiction
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter - Masataka. Honestly, there are all these horrible rumors about Souma, Souma himself acts ''really'' weird, strange events keep occurring, and... he just thinks Souma is a nice master. Right.
* HumiliationConga - [[spoiler: Katsuragi, overlapping with KarmicDeath.]]
* IfICantHaveYou - ''Everyone'' does this over Souma. And then Souma in turn does this to Masataka.
* IllBoy - Masataka's younger brother, Mitsugu. First, he has a weak heart. Then he gets Spanish influenza (the same one that killed ''thousands'' of people in that same decade) and barely survives. Finally, he catches pneumonia. [[ButtMonkey Yikes.]]
** Also, the reason why Souma leads the Saiki clan is because of his father's very frail health.
* ImportantHaircut - [[spoiler: Masataka gives one to Souma to signify Abigail's definitive passing and his father's acceptance of such a fact.]]
* ImpoverishedPatrician - [[spoiler: Abigail, and Souma until he's aknowledged by Lord Saiki and appointed heir.]]
* IncorruptiblePurePureness - how Souma sees Masataka. What is interesting is that originally Masataka is seen as pure because he's inexperienced and "untouched", however, conversely [[BreakTheCutie the more horrible things he goes through]], the more and more he approaches AllLovingHero, gaining a compassion and ability to forgive love that is almost supra-human, so much so that by the end this becomes his default personality. One interpretation of this is that in the end he swaps one kind of superficial purity for a deeper psychological one. [[note]]It's worth noting that this is one of those cases where this trope is cultivated and deconstructed gradually over the entire series, and isn't used to invoke a PuritySue as Masataka is very pure, but also very flawed (His self-esteem issues are really, really serious).[[/note]]
* [[spoiler: IntimatePsychotherapy: Sorta invoked at the end. When Souma and Masataka ''finally'' have a sexual encounter not involving anything non-con/dub-con, it's as catharsis after their ordeals.]]
* IWishedYouWereDead - Masataka tells this to Souma in the middle of his HeroicBSOD. [[spoiler: Souma tries to commits suicide.]]
** Souma wishes this on his step-mother, [[spoiler: and then Katsuragi steps in to replace her in the abuse-and-daily-rape detail after forcing Souma to be complicit]]. Let's just say, Souma does ''not'' have a good history with this trope.
* JustFriends - Souma and Masataka at the beginning... although the [[ShipTease very strong romantic undertones]] indicate what's to come. Masataka believes they're [[LikeBrotherAndSister Like Brothers]], while Souma wants [[RelationshipUpgrade something entirely different]].
* KarmicDeath - [[spoiler: Katsuragi was using drugs to slowly kill the already ill Lord Saiki. Souma forcefeeds him a high dose of the same drug through a kiss, as punishment for torturing Masataka ''and'' abusing Asayo, then deals a ''brutal'' TheReasonYouSuckSpeech to the immobilized and poisoned Katsuragi before walking away. And after Souma leaves, Asayo (who has [[CuteAndPsycho finally snapped]] after all of her husband's abuse) [[KillItWithFire sets him on fire.]].]]
* KickTheDog - So not only is Katsuragi [[spoiler: a disgusting pedophile]], he [[spoiler: rapes and tortures Masataka because of his jealousy]] ''and'' he beats his poor wife.
** Sakurako's mother and Souma join in with the kicking as well
* KickTheSonOfABitch: It's hard not to cheer at least a little for Souma when he [[spoiler: murders Katsuragi.]]
* LadykillerInLove - Well, not just a [[EvenTheGuysWantHim ladykiller]], but Souma finally experiences real love for Masataka.
* LittleMissBadass - Towards the end, Sakurako handles herself pretty well with a katana as she [[spoiler: attacks Masataka after he discovers her... or better said, ''his'' secrets]].
** She already showed signs much earlier, when [[spoiler: she catches Souma getting sexual favors from Masataka and then calmly threatens both of them with the same katana.]]
* LookingForLoveInAllTheWrongPlaces - Souma is a combination of this and TheCasanova.
* LoveHurts - And ''how''.
* LoveMakesYouDumb - Souma, you are a fucking idiot when it comes to Masataka.
* LoveRedeems - [[spoiler: Souma]]. Eventually.
* LoveTriangle - There is initially a love triangle between Souma, Masataka, and Sakurako. With Souma pining after Masataka, who is attracted to Sakurako, who [[spoiler: is a {{Yandere}} for [[BrotherSisterIncest her brother Souma]]]]. The attraction pretty much ends when she starts force-feeding him glass, though.
* LovingAShadow - [[spoiler: Souma's father, since he heavily idealized his long-lost love Abigail.]]
* MadwomanInTheAttic - [[spoiler: Sakurako, who has been locked in an old warehouse near the Saiki mansion for nine years after her mother died. Everyone else outside the household believes that she died of illness few after Lady Saiki died. After Terashima's "fiery" death, though, she's allowed to return to the main house.]]
* MayDecemberRomance - Souma is nine years older than Masataka.
* MistakenForMurderer - Souma by Masataka, with some GuiltByCoincidence thrown in.
* MisunderstoodLonerWithAHeartOfGold: Rumours are everywhere, everyone calls him the "Angel of Death" or the "Western Doll", or say that he's cursed, but Souma is really a kind person. ... [[GoMadFromTheIsolation As long as you don't push him off the edge of what little psychological stability he has]].
* MySiblingWillLiveThroughMe - [[spoiler: Or more exactly, My Mother Will Live Through Me. Damn, Youya - er, Sakurako.]]
** Abigal and Souma. Nuff said.
* NeverSuicide - [[spoiler: Because Souma hated his stepmother Sakurako for abusing and raping him, Katsuragi takes his words literally and forces a reluctant, young Souma to kill her.]]
** It's worse than that - [[spoiler: because Sakurako was daily abusing and raping Souma, one day he got fed up and casually mentioned to Katsuragi that if he killed Sakurako, he'd let him "have" him. Cue Katsuragi killing her with poison, and then pulling a shocked and horrified young Souma into the room to slit her wrists to make it look like a suicide. Of course, that night Katsuragi starts raping and abusing Souma.]] You have to wonder which was worse: [[spoiler: Katsuragi or Sakurako?]]
** If you account for Katsuragi and Sakurako's actions, the only person in the entire series who was actually confirmed to actually attempt suicide was [[spoiler: Souma]] - although [[spoiler: Masataka]] got close to attempting at one point too. [[spoiler: And then Youya/Sakurako kills themself.]]
* NotEvilJustMisunderstood - Again, Souma gets saddled with this. Of course, he thinks that he ''[[ItsAllMyFault really is]]'' [[DrivenToSuicide evil]].
* NotIfTheyEnjoyedItRationalization - ''Painfully'' deconstructed. Both the rape victim ''and'' the rapist suffer painfully because they think this is true.
* OldRetainer - Several, though Ohatsu and Katou are the ones who fill in the most.
* TheOphelia - The young maid [[spoiler: who actually ''survived'' to Sakurako's torture/murder of Souma's lovers, but lost the baby of Souma's that she was pregnant with.]] The poor girl appears to be a pale and softspoken ShrinkingViolet at first, but when [[spoiler: she sees Sakurako not too far from her]] while she's attempting to ask Masataka about his experiences, she has a ''massive'' screaming meltdown and a policeman has to calm her down. [[spoiler: And it's only later that we find out why.]]
* PleaseDontLeaveMe - Souma asks this of Masataka when he finds [[spoiler: all the pictures Sakurako took of him having sex.]] He doesn't take it well when [[LittleNo Masataka refuses]].
* PornWithPlot: All the sex scenes here have ''very'' important ties to the story.
* PostRapeTaunt: After Masataka is forced to give oral sex to Souma, he tries to wash off at the well. He unfortunately meets Sakurako at the well, who after pointing the stains on his clothes pours buckets of water on him and calls him [[DefiledForever dirty]]
-->Sakurako: Tagami is dirty all over. Terribly dirty. [[DefiledForever So dirty that no matter how much you wash, it will never come off.]] [[CondescendingCompassion You poor thing.]]
* PsychoticLoveTriangle - Masataka/Sakurako/Souma and Masataka/Souma/Katsuragi.
* RagsToRiches: Katsuragi is implied to come from a low-middle class family, and now he works both in a famous hospital ''and'' is the persona doctors of the Saikis.
** [[spoiler: Souma, too. His MissingMom was an ImpoverishedPatrician and his PrincessInRags maternal grandma made him work in the streets. Then he was found by the Saikis and, since he was the most qualified to be the prospect heir (Youya was much younger ''and'' from an unhappy marriage), they took him in...]]
* RapeAndSwitch - Definitely [[spoiler: Masataka]] is going this way. Poor thing.
** Manages to ''just'' scrape through on a subversion in that [[spoiler: Masataka ''was'' turned on when Souma hit on him in the library back in the very first chapter, indicating at least [[BiTheWay some kind of attraction before that point]] ]], but it still swerves close enough to this trope played straight to be a little [[UnfortunateImplications uncomfortable]]. The fact that their relationship before this point was rather more pure and platonic with serious HoYay subtext could also be seen as another way this trope was subverted. It's still not a nice outcome for the poor boy, though.
** [[spoiler: ''Souma'']] on the other hand, has this trope played rather more straight, where he was raped and used for sex by so many people that he eventually came to just not distinguish between genders and would sleep with men or women.
* RapeAsDrama - [[spoiler: Masataka]] getting raped by Souma and later by [[spoiler: Katsuragi]]. [[DarkAndTroubledPast Oh, and Souma]] [[spoiler:being raped by his stepmom Sakurako and Katsuragi]] and pretty much any person who finds him attractive, but that's more because he feels he has to indulge everyone's desires.
** And [[spoiler: Masataka's birth mother, who hates him because he's the product of said rape.]]
* ReallyGetsAround - Souma. Almost ''everyone'' knows that a huge defining trait about him is that he's willing to sleep with ''anyone''.
* SatelliteLoveInterest - Sakurako passes herself off as this to Masataka, who genuinely starts falling for her. Unfortunately for him, [[spoiler: she's a scary {{Yandere}} who actually hates him and is [[BrotherSisterIncest incredibly possessive of her brother]].]].
* SecretKeeper - Sort-of. [[spoiler: As a child, Sakurako saw how Katsuragi forced Souma to kill their mom. She went from TheCutie to CreepyChild and then to {{Yandere}} afterwards.]]
** Another is [[spoiler: the OldRetainer maid, Ohatsu, who witnessed Souma's abuse at the hands of Sakurako's mother, but didn't say anything because it would involve too many problems for the whole household. [[MyGreatestFailure She could never forgive herself for it]].]]
** And [[spoiler: Souma witnessed Sakurako's murder of Terashima, but kept his mouth shut since he blamed himself.]]
** Also, [[spoiler: Asayo overheard the noises coming from Katsuragi raping Masataka in the attic of their house. She didn't say anything because, well, [[DomesticAbuser Katsuragi would beat her]].]]
* SelectiveObliviousness - Yes, Souma, we're ''[[SarcasmMode sure]]'' that the reason why all your lovers keep dying in suspicious circumstances is because [[ItsAllMyFault you break up with them]]. This stretches into TooDumbToLive territory eventually. No, literally, [[spoiler: he never realises that Youya was killing off all his lovers and that he would eventually try to kill him despite him ''threatening to do so'', and he seems to just not take into account the fact that Katsuragi has a thing for torturing, raping and ''killing people and making it look like suicides'']].
* SelfMadeOrphan - [[spoiler: Sakurako told Katsuragi to slowly poison Lord Saiki to death, apparently as revenge for her abandonment. Souma found out and used the same poison in Katsuragi's fatal HumiliationConga.]]
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan - Respectively: Masataka and Souma, Masataka and Takafumi, Mitsugu and Masataka, Souma and Katsuragi, [[spoiler: Youya and Masataka.]].
* SexualExtortion: Masataka [[spoiler: and Souma]] suffers from this trope
* ShamefulStrip: Masataka, when [[spoiler: Souma blamckmails him into sex]]. Later, he finds a picture of a half-naked girl who's also BoundAndGagged [[spoiler: and who was subjected to this by Sakurako, who beat her bloody for being one of Souma's mistresses.]]
* SheCleansUpNicely - [[GenderFlip Gender Flipped]] during the [[DancesAndBalls ball]], with Masataka looking nice in a suit.
* ShownTheirWork - Watase made quite the bit of research on the Taisho period, and it shows.
* {{Shoujo}} - Really. It's NOT {{josei}}.
* ShutUpHannibal - Matasuka gives the non-verbal slap equivalent to [[spoiler: Sakurako]]
* SleepingWithTheBoss: Happened many times before the series starts. Souma is the handsome leader of the rich Saiki family, and he often takes loves among the younger maids and boarding students/butlers [[note]](highschool/college-aged young men who work as servants in {{Big Fancy House}}s during the Taishou Era, in exchange for academic/economic help from the main families)[[/note]]; all of them meet rather screwed up ends [[spoiler: after being harrassed, tortured and, in one case at least, ''murdered'' by Souma's sibling Sakurako]]. This also makes the plot of the series itself, as the protagonist of the series is a boy named Masataka who is employed at the Saiki house, and later Souma starts to make passes at him...
* SlipknotPonytail: Happens twice: Souma's hair ribbon falls loose just before he rapes Masataka and when Souma has sex with Asayo Katsurage to get info about what Katsuragi did to Masataka, her long black hair (until then arranged in the traditional Japanese manner) goes loose.
* SnowMeansDeath - [[spoiler: Sakurako dies this way, slitting "her" wrists open with a katana and drowning self in a pond as the snow falls.]]
* SoBeautifulItsACurse - The readers are constantly reminded in the story of how Souma suffered a [[DarkAndTroubledPast messed up childhood]] due to his gorgeous looks.
* SpurnedIntoSuicide - [[spoiler: Souma's ex-lover Yoshino.]]
* StalkerWithACrush - It's mentioned several times that anyone who starts having a relationship with Souma ends up becoming this. Souma, in turn, starts acting this way towards Masataka.
* StaircaseTumble - Subverted: [[spoiler: Sakurako pushes Terashima down the stairs after crushing his hand, but that's not what kills him. [[ManOnFire Catching fire]] is what gets him done.]]
* StarCrossedLovers - The world certainly liked bending over to make sure Souma and Masataka won't be happy. Souma's own actions and Masataka's issues don't help.
* StockholmSyndrome - [[spoiler: Masataka]] developing feelings for [[spoiler: Souma]] after being forced to stay with him after being blackmailed with [[spoiler: his brother's debt]]. Lampshaded by Masataka himself when he wonders why does he keep coming back to the Saikis, even after all that has happened.
** LimaSyndrome -- [[spoiler: Souma]], in return, develops genuine feelings for [[spoiler: Masataka]] as time passes.
*** [[AMatchMadeInStockholm A Match Made In the Saiki Mansion]].
* StuffedIntoTheFridge - Poor [[spoiler: Takafumi]]...
* TallDarkAndHandsome - Katsuragi. Too bad he's an absolute ''asshole''. [[spoiler: He later is horribly scarred when Masataka subjects him to EyeScream.]]
* TogetherInDeath - [[spoiler: When Sakurako locks Souma and Masataka in a burning building, Souma resigns himself to this. Masataka, however, goes {{Determinator}} and saves them both.]]
* TraumaCongaLine - Souma is the poster child for this trope, although Masataka gets slugged with it a fair few times himself.
* TroubledAbuser - Souma was terribly abused in his past, then grows to abuse the person he loves.
* TheUnfavorite - [[spoiler: Sakurako became this after Souma's arrival. In response, Sakurako's mom starts abusing Souma.]]
* UnwantedSpouse: Asayo and [[spoiler: the first Sakurako]]
* VillainousCrossdresser - [[spoiler:Youya, better known as... Sakurako.]]
* WhatBeautifulEyes - Masataka's "beautiful and honest eyes", according to Souma.
* WorkOffTheDebt - Souma does this to [[spoiler: Masataka]] after [[spoiler: Masataka's older brother Takafumi gets into debt]]. Of course, the method of paying is less than pure...
* {{Yakuza}} - The people that [[spoiler: Takafumi is in debt with.]]
* YamatoNadeshiko - Deconstructed, and how. Katsuragi's beautiful, polite and soft-spoken wife Asayo seems to be one, at first sight; then, Masataka notices [[GoodScarsEvilScars the bruises on her neck and wrists]], and the deal becomes [[DomesticAbuse a LOT]] [[StepfordSmiler more unsettling...]]
* {{Yandere}} - Good god, [[spoiler: Sakurako]]. The girl is absolutely [[AxeCrazy batshit insane]]. One moment she'll be acting all sweet, the next she'll be trying to kill you.
** Souma too, though he mellows out later on. And then we see ''why'' he is like that...
** Katsuragi, for Souma.
** [[spoiler: Asayo, when she deals Katsuragi the last part of his KarmicDeath.]]
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: Masataka has a look of utter contempt when Souma compliments him for quickly becoming [[SexSlave skilled at oral sex.]]
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