Narue, Kazuto, and friends: (foreground) Narue, Kazuto; (Narue's side, left to right) Yagi, Bathyscaphe, Kanaka; (Kazuto's side) Rin
A 2003 anime based on the manga of the same name, Narue no Sekai (The World of Narue) follows the relationship of Narue Nanase and Kazuto Iizuka. Kazuto's a typical boy in middle school. On his way home from school one day, he encounters a cute dog that seems to be abandoned... and it tries to kill him. Help comes in the form of a middle school girl with a metal baseball bat, who tells him that it's not a dog, but a "dangerous space creature". She chases after the retreating dog-thing, leaving behind the bat. The next day, Kazuto uses the name "Nanase" on the bat to find his savior in the directory to thank her. When he finds her, he asks her to tea to thank her. She remains unconvinced of his sincerity. "Even if we're poor?" "Yes!" "Even if I'm gloomy?" "Yes!" "Even if I like to read women's magazines at the newsstands?
" "Uh, sure?"
"Even if I'm an alien?"
Narue Nanase is an alien living on Earth; Kazuto has gained himself an Alien Girlfriend
. The anime follows their relationship, through ups and downs, Spaceship Women
, days at the pool, all under the eyes of the Galaxy Federation.
Rounding out the cast are Maruo, Kazuto's friend and "Dr. Hunkenstein, Guru of Love
", Yagi, Narue's classmate who doesn't believe Narue's story and goes out of her way to prove Narue's just human, Bathyscaphe, the personification of a spaceship, and quite an array of other strange characters. The show likes to go back and forth between Slice of Life
and Science Fiction
, never really settling on either one. Most of the time, the fact that Narue's an alien is played down, and the fact that she's an alien simply... comes up, from time to time.
The series is considered complete, with 97 chapters published and compiled.
This show and manga provide examples of:
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: Earth is the planet under interdiction from alien interference here. Several breaches are tacitly permitted to go on because the damage has already been done (said "damage" coming to include the birth of a Half-Human Hybrid in one case) and the ones with enforcement power are not actually eager to punish anyone, but they really want to prevent further interference in Earth societies and ecology for the time being.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Not the case with the main characters obviously, but library assistant Akira Nitta and Alpha Bitch Kyouko Kudou both experience one-sided attractions to other people. In Akira's case, it's for Narue, while for Kyouko pines for an older sempai. Not surprisingly, the two bond over their similar situations.
- Alternate Timeline: Both Narue and Kazuto get thrown to a future where they've both been missing for years. Surprising changes include Maruo playing as a reserve batter for the New York Mets, Yagi working as an accountant but also being a published author on the side, and Shiki the owner of a booming mail-order book auction business.
- Yet another instance of this happens when both Maruo and Kazuto are transported to what, at first, seems like the setting of Yagi's book, the planet Greenday. It turns out that the setting itself was actually a historical event as far as the people of Avalon and the United Stars are concerned, having happened millennia ago from their perspective. In mitigating the disaster there, Kazuto and his friends pretty much created a new timeline, where the planet wasn't destroyed and there wasn't such a huge loss of lives.
- Animorphism: Kazuto is turned into a cat for a few chapters. Later on, this happens to both him and Narue, except they're turned into mice.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Averted. Maruo and his younger sister Chieko actually get along very well.
- Arc Words: Early on, anything to do with "Avalon" or "Avalonians" means something alien is about to interfere in Narue's life. Expect cryptic hints to be dropped about the significance of her heritage. It's because Avalon's leaders believe that a successful crossbreed means Earth is the homeworld of the Human Aliens.
- Later, anything to do with Snakes/Serpents mean something really alien is about to interfere. Not just the Human Aliens, but something really strange. The Serpents plot eventually overtakes the entire rest of the manga.
- Beach Episode: Two of them, although technically one of them was a pool episode. Still, considering that the entire series was just twelve episodes total, it could be seen as overkill.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: One of the latter chapters reveal that the 'fairy' that figures in one of Sakura town's local legends was actually an ancient crashed Humanoid Battleship, Ama no Murakamo, whose hull remains scattered across the town's rice fields. This foreshadows that extraterrestrial interaction between humans and offworlders had already been happening before the Galactic Union even got into the picture.
- Big Damn Heroes: A few instances, but one of the most notable ones was the rescue of Narue and Kazuto from the middle of a particularly volatile conference held between the Galactic Union and the United Stars by the Kanaka and Bathyscaphe supported by the Surveillance Team trio (Rin, Ran, and Rei).
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kiriri Kaibashira, the voice actress of the main character of Kazuto's favorite anime "Attack! Yongou-chan L70".
- Bland-Name Product: At one point, Kanaka is seen obsessing over an RA 2.
- Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Or at least the fold of his shirt above his belt.
- The Cavalry: Planet Japan's high speed escort fleet, led by Kanaka's mom.
- Chekhov's Gun: Uni's power stone, after it's given to Kanaka. Also the egg-shaped "evidence".
- Cloning Blues: The president of the United Stars is actually one person who was allowed to be cloned five times, due to the work load involved with his position.
- Complete Immortality: The mecha of the series are functionally immortal, and as Satori explains, can only die under two very specific circumstances: the destruction of their central body, or the corruption of their data cores.
- Continuity Creep: While the manga still slips into "episodic" slice-of-life chapters, from chapter 30 onwards hint of an overarching plotline start to emerge, connected to the mysterious entities called "Serpents", who seem to have the ability to mess with timelines.
- Cosplay Otaku Girl: Played with. Narue isn't one, but she cosplays at one point for Kazu's sake. The costumes reappear later for a singing contest.
- Narue willingly cosplays again with Nagi (and this time with Shiki in tow) during the school festival.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Kyouko, the ghost haunting the school library, can be considered this.
- Driven to Suicide: It is hinted that constant bullying in class drove her to this.
- Unfinished Business: The reason why she's been sticking around all these years: to get someone to find the last letter she wrote before she committed suicide, and deliver it to her only friend.
- Disappears into Light: After she helps Kyouko find the letter.
- Cut Short: In America, at least. CPM's shutdown in 2009 means there probably won't be anything past the limited publication volumes 4 and 5, while in Japan it's passed volume 12 and is still puttering along.
- Cyberspace: The Play Dimension 2, a game console, allows access to the galactic version of this whenever there isn't a game plugged in.
- Date Peepers: Kanaka and her two friends follow Narue and Kazuto on their date to the zoo, too make sure that the pair keep things all-ages friendly.
- Later during the Cultural Festival, Ran, Rei, and Rin becomes this to Kazuto and Narue. All as a precaution to keep them from being attacked by Galactic Union forces, of course. It becomes a source of embarrassment when the latter pair find out about it.
- A Day in the Limelight: Many chapters of the manga focus on side-characters, with little to no interference from either Narue or Kazuto.
- Deconstruction: While the series revels in them, it also strongly deconstructs a lot of soft science fiction tropes, like the Artistic License – Biology nature of Half-Human Hybrid and Human Aliens, as well as the Weirdness Magnet nature of the protagonists and their Adventure Town home. A lot of things that might be handwaved in another series are instead built into the manga's biggest mysteries and myth arc, and drive some major conflicts in reasonable, intelligent ways.
- Doppelgänger: Chapter 18 showcases numerous related tropes to this, after a transporter malfunction creates two separate Narues. Hilarity Ensues.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: In one chapter Yagi suffers a spat of bad dreams involving the people around her. When incidents in real life start reflecting her dreams, she becomes depressed, to say the least.
- Distant Finale: The final chapter skips seven years, and shows how everyone is after the Galactic Union and United Stars decided to leave the Solar System for good.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Serpents. They live in hyperspace and apparently once controlled whether ships went through, until Avalon started successfully fighting them. They have control over time, able to erase people completely from history and connect to alternate realities. And they are completely inscrutable. Whenever they show up, the laws of reality tend to start breaking down, starting with improbable coincidences. They're revealed to be a kind of interdimensional archive system meant to contact and preserve a record of all worlds and societies they come across, so that even if a society or a whole world or universe dies they are remembered and "live on" somewhere. This is especially important because it seems whenever alien societies come in contact with one another they end up in open conflict, but the people of the United Stars and Galactic Union believe the Serpents are trying to create this conflict because of their tendency to show up around it. Maybe. It's... sort of confusing.
- Everyone Can See It: Maruo and Yagi. They even spend a chapter acting like a completely smitten couple just to show Kazuto and Narue how annoying their happy-couple act is.
- Fantastic Racism: The people of Avalon distrust mecha, humanoid or otherwise.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: See Human Alien entry below.
- Festival Episode: The whole of chapter 16, as well as much of the last episode of the anime.
- Foregone Conclusion: Yagi's novel will get written eventually.
- Foreshadowing: A very minor case with Rin's wings. Although they only appear in the manga around Chapter 34, one can see them in one of the anime's eyecatches.
- Get a Hold of Yourself Man: Bathyscaphe does this with Haruna... while both are in starship form.
- Ghost Memory: Student librarian Akira Nitta was able to see some of the past of the ghost haunting the school library while he slept there.
- Happily Adopted: Turns out many of the mecha in the series, including the Surveillance Team trio (Rin, Ran, and Rei) started this way, having been raised by human families prior to leaving for Starship Academy.
- Haunted Library: The school library was haunted by the spirit of a student who committed suicide ten years prior.
- Head Pet: Pito-san, the cat of Shiki Nagaoka, Narue's friend, loves to spend its time resting on her head.
- Heel-Face Turn: Sora Amanogawa/Uni Milkyway starts out as a spy for Avalon, but eventually sides with the Nanase family and their friends when they decide to rescue Narue and Kazuto from the United Stars, who are technically her bosses.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: Yagi steadfastly denies there's anything going on between her and Maruo.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Rin, Ran, and Rei, in order to stop one of the clones of the United Stars president from destroying the Evidence remaining on Earth.
- The High Queen: The humanoid mecha surprisingly have one of these, and she personally rules around 840,000,000 of her brethren.
- Human Aliens: Not only this, but their planets are actually mirror images of the countries on Earth, one country to each planet. Which even the aliens find disturbing and bizarre, because they don't understand how Earth has avoided destroying itself in international strife when the various planets have been on a near-constant war footing with one another over their differences.
- Humans Are Special: The aliens' surveillance agency is keeping a watch over Earth trying to figure out how a single planet can hold so many different cultures without utterly self-destructing. Implied to be The Power of Love being slightly stronger in humans allowing them to reach across cultures a little more often, considering Narue's mother (a human) being able to love and accept Narue's father (an alien) unconditionally, and Kazuto doing the same for Narue.
- This gains a whole new meaning later in the manga. As later chapters reveal, the real reason why the United Stars (led by Avalon) are in conflict with the Galactic Union is the former's belief that Earth is really the origin of all known interstellar cultures instead of just a backwater and undeveloped planet that the latter thinks it is.
- Not only humans, but Earth is special. It is some kind of interdimensional axis point, which is why some of the most important events in the ongoing fight against the Serpents have happened again and again on Earth or alternate universe versions of Earth such as Greenday and Blueday.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Rin keeps a lot of stuff on her person, most of which are odd gadgets along with her trusty harisen. Her friends Ran Tendou and Rei Otonashi also have this, but the stuff they keep are mostly weaponry, justified by virtue of being fighters. Humanoid battleships (like Bathyscaphe and Haruna) are assumed to have this by extension.
- Hypocritical Humor: Narue calls Yagi and Maruo idiots for acting so lovey-dovey, when they were only copying what she normally does with Kazuto.
- I Choose to Stay: Narue, Tetra, Haruna, and Uni all decide to stay on Earth, regardless of the decision of the United Stars and the Galactic Union. Kanaka on the other hand, decides to stick with her mother.
- I See Dead People: Although a case isolated to one chapter, Akira Nitta, the student librarian, can see the ghost haunting the school library. No one believes him at first. Later subverted as it turns out that Alpha Bitch Kyouko can also see the ghost.
- Largely Normal Animal: It turns out that the cats are much smarter than what people expect, and perceive time much differently than humans. The latter explains how they get easily bored, however.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Chapter 19 reveals that Bathyscaphe, of all people, is a victim of this, but with good reason though: she was so affected by the news of the death of her first captain, that for her to even continue functioning all memories of him had to be suppressed. She eventually remembers everything (up to and including the First Kiss she shares with the captain), with some gentle prodding and poking care of Kanaka and Kazuto.
- Love at First Sight: Kazuto is smitten with Narue immediately and she agrees to be his girlfriend without a moment's hesitation. They almost instantly drop into "lovey-dovey" couple mode, and never really look back.
- Macross Missile Massacre: One of Otonashi Rei's special attacks can only be described at this. The same goes for the renegade mecha Hu Fu.
- Masquerade: Enforced by the surveillance agency, trying to prevent cultural contamination of Earth. Narue doesn't really care that much about keeping it unbroken, having already told her classmates she's an alien. Nobody really believed her, though.
- Broken Masquerade: Despite the best efforts of all involved, things are close to becoming this mostly due to the Divine Pillar manifesting over continental USA.
- Meet Cute: That stuff above about Narue and Kazuto meeting when she chases off an alien monster disguised as a dog? She swings and connects with the dog-monster's head in a spray of blood by way of introduction. When it still looks like some kind of tiny adorable puppy, no less.
- Meganekko: Yagi, Kanaka's friend Aki, communications ship Shirase, and later on, new teacher Sora Amanogawa/Uni Milkyway.
- Military Brat: Kanaka's friend Chika, in a way. Her dad is a currently-active member of the JSSDF, and their family "car" is actually a re-purposed IFV.
- MindManipulation: Rin Asakura can modify the memories of people through her mind control pulse function. After a single use early in the series however this ability is conveniently forgotten until much later in the manga, likely due to Rin's characterization marching on. Avalonian Perceptors also have it in their skillset, and later on Tetra displays a much more powerful version of this.
- Missing Mom: For both the Nanase siblings, though in different ways: Narue's mother died when she was in grade school, after saving her from getting run over by a car, while Kanaka's mother is so busy with her work as a starship captain that she is never home.
- Mysterious Watchers: The three entities residing inside Tetra. Later revealed to be the equivalents of Yagi, Maruo, and Kazuto from Blueday, which preceded the disaster at Greenday.
- Nosebleed: Eventually heavily lampshaded before finally being toned down.
- No Sell: Mind-control powers that normally work on humans or other humanoid mecha simply fail on Rin. It makes sense, given how she has the same powers.
- Oh, Crap: The reaction of EVERYONE when Tetra decides to create a massive battleship, "to protect everyone", out of nothing, and having said battleship manifest right above Sakura City.
- And a few chapters later, the reaction of the Security Bureau girls when they learned that the Galactic Union fleet were preparing to attack the completely-formed Divine Pillar, after they heard from the Blueday soulbodies that it would be a BAD IDEA to do so.
- Quickly followed by the reaction of the Galactic Union Fleet after they find that the Divine Pillars that they had fired on... had multiplied.
- "On the Next Episode of..." Catch Phrase: It's a direct hit to your heart!
- One Steve Limit: A minor case, over the course of one chapter: we have Kyouko Kudou, the Alpha Bitch previously seen making fun of Narue and Yagi, and Kyouko, the ghost haunting the library.
- Open Secret: All of the students of Narue and Kazuto's school know that the new teacher, Amogawa Sora, can bend spoons with just her mind.
- Panty Shot: Several in Chapter 27, though many are justified as both Kazuto and Narue were mice at the time, which meant that they could see the underwear of anyone wearing a skirt.
- Planet of Hats: Every alien world is a whole planet made up of a single Earth culture. Or, from their perspective, Earth seems jammed full of miniature versions of each planet's global government and monoculture. Earth baffles them as much as their existence would baffle us.
- Pointy Ears: A common trait of the inhabitants of Greenday. Their precursors from Blueday have these as well.
- Power Trio: Ran, Rei, and Rin form one. Depending on how one interprets things, they can be both a Freudian Trio and Beauty, Brains and Brawn.
- Psychic Powers: Seems to be a relatively common trait among Avalonians, as shown by new teacher Sora Amanogawa/Uni Milkyway and even the planet's President. The mercenary sisters Belka and Strelka can use these as well.
- Punch Clock Villain
- Racial Remnant: The prince of planet Turugistan and his people on the ship Ninurta are the last survivors of their recently-destroyed planet. The prince proposes to Narue so his people can become Earthlings under interstellar law via marriage and settle there.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: The various mecha featured in-series, almost all of whom opt to appear as either women or young girls. They even have synthetic DNA, hatch as infants and grow up, must socialize with others, and have to go to school to be educated. This entire complicated process is implied to be necessary to make machine life able to sympathize closely with organic life, or else they start turning cold and hostile, focused only on doing their job with machine-like precision and indifference to consequences or damage.
- Ripple Proof Memory: Sora Amanogawa/Uni Milkway has this. Apparently comes with being a Perceptor.
- Secret Keeper: Maruo in the manga is perfectly aware about the truth behind the weirdness surrounding his friend Kazuto and the Nanase family. Likewise Kanaka's two friends are perfectly content to not talk about her being an alien or the fact that her minder Bathyscaphe is really a battleship.
- Sempai/Kohai: Bathyscaphe's relationship with Haruna is shown to be like this.
- She's All Grown Up: All the female cast, during the final chapter.
- Show Within a Show: Magical Girl Number Four.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: How everyone sees Kazuto and Narue's relationship. Interestingly enough Kazuto himself is often embarrassed at how things are, while Narue doesn't notice the discomfort her lovey-dovey antics make everyone around her feel.
- Hilariously, when Maruo and Yagi pretend to act like one, the impression it leaves with people is just sickening without the sweetness.
- The Slow Path: See Gone to the Future entry below: Rin Asakura buries herself in the exact spot where Narue and Kazuto disappeared in, so she can help them return to the past.
- Spaceship Girl: Bathyscaphe, and others.
- Teleporter Accident: Happens more than you'd expect. You'd think that Narue would take care of her transfer headband...
- Theme Naming: The names of the three mecha assigned to watch over the Nanase family all start with R (Rin, Ran, and Rei).
- Lira and Sonya's codenames Belka and Strelka come from the names of the dogs that were sent into space by the USSR in Sputnik V.
- The administration mecha Nue and Satori are both named after Japanese Youkai.
- Those Two Girls: Kanaka's school friends Chika Ajisawa and Akiko Nakamura.
- Three-Laws Compliant: All of the mecha in the series. Which is why Bathyscaphe was surprised when Strelka and her sister were not only capable at putting people at risk, but willing to do so. This is is quickly explained by the fact that the two sisters aren't mecha, but are cyborgs.
- Time Dilation: The reason Narue's older sister, Kanaka, is physically younger than Narue despite being born first.
- Time Travel: Used several times throughout the course of the manga, using different methods:
- Gone to the Future: Due to an accident with one of Rin's devices, Kazuto and Narue (in the bodies of mice) get sent to a future where, as far as everyone else is concerned, the two of them disappeared years before.
- Mental Time Travel: Went hand-in-hand with Animorphism, where Kazuto sees a bit of Narue's past while in the body of a cat.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: If the theory of the United Stars is correct, then the timeline of the universe of the World of Narue is... complicated, to say the least. Mysterious entities simply called the "Serpents" are usually involved.
- The official timeline at the end of volume 12 has numerous regular intrusions of events from alternate universes impinging on "this" universe. Timey-Wimey Ball might not even begin to cover it. Try Timey Wimey Nth-Dimensional Yarn Snarl.
- Tomboy: The baseball team's manager, Shiho Shinohara, is a very enthusiastic example.
- Training Montage: Yagi and Narue undergo one of these... for a cosplay and singing contest.
- Transforming Mecha: Spaceships are done like this.
- Twelve-Episode Anime
- Weirdness Magnet: Narue, for perfectly good reasons due to the political football going on between the United Stars and Galactic Union over Earth, of which she is a useful pawn. Also, Earth in general as some kind of focal point for alternate universes, repeating history, and the Serpents.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Blessedly averted with the mecha, who are treated as just as valuable and worthy as their organic creators, with families treating the arrival of a mecha child to raise the same as having a flesh-and-blood addition to the family. Their whole development process seems designed to integrate them into life and society from the start so both mecha and aliens can see each other as peers.
- Tetra gets some special focus on this later as a mecha based on Serpent mechanical genes and both Narue and Kazuto's biological genes. Kazuto and Narue don't care what she might be, other than that she's theirs, dammit.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: As mecha can live for a very long time, they are obviously prone to experiencing this. Showcased by Nue, an administration mecha overseeing the maintenance of the region Rei Otonashi grew up in, who in her 300-year long stint as the guardian of the region, has accumulated a lot of regret, mostly due to her outliving the people around her.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Many characters have non-standard hair colors. While it's expected that the non-natives like the Surveillance Team to have them (Rin, Ran, and Rei are mecha after all), there are also Earth-natives that have inexplicable hues, like Yagi's purple and Shiki's dark indigo.
- Zerg Rush: The Galactic Union's answer to the Divine Pillar forming over the Americas is to send every available ship in the Solar System and all combat-ready Mecha under its disposal against it in hope of containing it.