"Come on now...give it your best shot! Maybe then it'll be a real battle! SO GET OFF YOUR ASS AND FIGHT ME!!!!"
(Variously written as Scryed, sCRYed, s.CRY.ed or s-CRY-ed)Essentially, the Japanese take on X-Men. With Digimonthrown in.A massive disaster hits Japan, separating a section of Tokyo into a new island, known as the "Lost Ground". The disaster also causes 1% of the babies born there to develop superpowers.Before you pass this off as your standard Mutant story, remember that this is Japan - instead of being born with Stock Superpowers such as healing fast, reading minds or controlling magnets, these "Alter Users" have the power to call upon and use mecha in battles. By dismantling nearby matter (be it areas of landscape, vehicles, watermelons or dead bodies) and reassembling it, they can summon separate, machine-like beings, known as Alters, which personify a superpower of some sort.One subset of Alter Users are "alloy-types", whose Alters form part of themselves, and one or two display the ability to affect other's Alters without summoning one themselves, but mostly the Alters are used like Mons... or, since a given person doesn't tend to acquire more than one, like Stands. The nature of the superpowers varies from typical Stock Superpowers to really weird ideas: "Turn anything into water", "Turn any car into a pink Mach 5", "Summon an enormous gun" or even "Do anything, as long as it involves watermelons".One organization (HOLY) strives to control the super-powered population while rebuilding civilization on the island, while rebels and thugs attempt to resist them, and small communities live independently of the government in the wilder lands.The manga makes a number of changes from the anime. The anime uses subtle characterization and two mutually-antagonistic Antihero leads (the Knight Templar and the Idiot Hero) without overly favoring one or the other. The manga is more prone to Card Carrying Villains and gives a different explanation as to the Meta Origin of the Alters (Evolutionary Levels). Actually, the ending of the manga is very much like a later work we tropers love but with more gore, nudity, and profanity.
This series provides examples of:
All Love Is Unrequited: Kimishima likes Ayase who likes Kazuma who never notices her; Cougar likes Minori Mimori who likes Ryuhou, as does Scheris. (Ryuhou may like Mimori back but refuses to have a relationship because of gult over Scheris' sacrifice to save him.) The only character who gets a relationship with someone is Asuka Tachibana - and his girlfriend Cammy is only a minor character.
Anti-Magic: Kaname has a mild version. She's able to ignore Unkei's Mad Sprict power without even noticing, and instantly deduces that Kigetsuki's Tokonatsu Sisters aren't actually human despite the fact that there's basically no way to tell on sight. Both can be attributed to her being a latent psychic.
Anti-Villain: Ryuhou is a Type III with a dash of Type II thrown in. Urizane, Illian, and Sherise are all Type IV. Cougar may be a Type III or a Type IV; his motives are never really explained.
Emergy Maxfell's Alter basically is this trope. Due to severe trauma he experienced as a child, Emergy's Alter only activates when he feels he's in extreme peril ("a pinch situation", as he likes to call it), at which point a Humongous Mecha bursts from the ground to "save him from the pinch".
More conventionally, Kazuma and Ryuho get plenty of these moments.
Body Horror: Kazuma's arm and eye are pretty messed up by the end.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Biff once captured by HOLY. It's so bad that all he can say is "HAMMER!!" in different volumes and tones of voice.
Bullying a Dragon: When Kazuma ends up at an Alter fight club, he quickly becomes the strongest competitor. Regardless, he's technically a prisoner, the "technically" being the fact that the one and only thing keeping him there is what amounts to a Heroic BSOD. When Kazuma finally decides he wants to leave and explosively releases himself, two regular humans actually think it's a good idea to make him get back in his cell. Kazuma quickly schools them. Then there was the club leader, who tried to shoot him, only to think better of it after Kazuma warned against such an action.
Call Back: When Kazuma first fights Ryuhou, he gets his ass kicked, and tries to raise his arm and form a fist before collapsing. in the final episode, an unidentified arm rises up and forms a fist.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Many of the fights are this. Just about anyone Kazuma or Ryuhou fights between the timeskip and them entering Mujo's fortress gets their ass handed to them effortlessly.
Deadly Upgrade: Upgrading one's Alter ability causes gradual but irreversible damage to one's body. (e.g., the Speedster character walks oddly because when not in his superspeed form, his legs are "seriously messed up".) The unnatural version, as Courgar's is, seems to be more immediately damaging, while "natural" evolution is more gradual. Kazuma and Ryuhou both seem to suffer minor physical deformations from using their Alters, Kazuma moreso since his body-reshaping Alter modifies him at all three stages. Ryuhou has an independent Alter that just becomes a suit of armor at level 3, so his changes are minor.
It seems to be implied that by upgrading one's Alter ability, the damage eventually causes the person to die. Ayase holds on out of sheer willpower, but once her brother dies she loses all of the will to fight anymore and passes away. Cougar goes out in a more peaceful manner, but dies far younger than he should have.
Death Wail: Ryuho does this twice, once at the beginning after his family is killed and again when Scheris dies. Hikaru Midorikawa is excellent with such scenes.
Deliberately Bad Example(s): Lots of characters demonstrate Ryuhou's sincerity by doing what he would do if he had ulterior motives. Several also demonstrate that Kazuma is a lot better than most of the alter-users out in the wild.
Tatsunami demonstrates what a slave-driver in Ryuhou's position would do.
Emargy demonstrates a development-arrested brat's behavior in the same position.
Kyoji demonstrates what a power-hungry control freak would do with the same amount of power.
"Big-Kun" shows the way a lot of the other alter users besides Kazuma use their powers to oppress others.
Other unnamed villainous alter users in one of Mimori's historical flashbacks are shown proudly posing with their alters for the camera in front of the destruction they've just caused.
The villainous behavior of certain normal human crime bosses out in the bad lands also stands in contrast to both Kazuma and Ryuhou's nobler intentions.
Kigetsuki actually demonstrates this trope to Ryuhou by threatening Kanami, reasoning that as a HOLY member the ends justify the means. Ryuhou sees this as cowardly, which allows him to see the world from Kazuma's perspective and realize what he used to seem like to the Inners.
Dump Them All: The Scheris/Mimori/Ryuhou love triangle ends with Scheris dead and Ryuhou rejecting Mimori despite his implied attraction to her because he feels it wouldn't be right. Although he displayed no attraction to Scheris either, she died for him because she loved him. So now that Mimori confessed her love for him, he fears her meeting the same fate so he turns her down.
Evolving Credits: There are at three basic versions of the opening, for Kazuma and Ryuhou and one for when they have equal focus, each with a different verse of the opening theme; each episode mixes elements together reflecting the episode and the plot to date. Only two episodes share the exact same opening credit sequence.
Hero Insurance: Every use of an Alter power causes damage to the surroundings, even if no one fights, as nearby matter is disintegrated to form the body of the summoned Alter. However, since most of the Alter use is done outside the city, which is a total shit-hole, no one cares. They don't care when the city is taken out, either, since the entire island is declared such.
Hot Blooded: Kazuma arguably qualifies. While he may slack at times, if he finds something he really cares about, he really goes at it.
How Much More Can He Take: The last part of the final battle. Kazuma and Ryuhou burn out their alters completely and just start fighting each other normally.
Judging from other characters' assessments of him, however, this applies only to his being Book Dumb; while he has virtually no formal education and isn't very sociable, he's shown to be very street smart and tactically deadly in a fight. As one of the others notes, "he isn't throwing his punches at random."
Or perhaps people are willing to overlook the strangeness when they consider how he can do almost anything with them. He can make them grow huge until they crush you to death, turn an entire building into a watermelon for a second (thus destroying it when it turns back, somehow), and can even teleport, sort of, by stepping inside a giant watermelon, having it shrink to nothing, then having it grow anew in a different location, with him still inside it.
There's also the novelist guy who attacks with paper. Though at least this is a last resort when his More than Mind Control gets broken, and it was horrendously ineffective.
Of course part of that has to do with him fighting unrestrained Zetsuei.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Oddly, Kazuma has to evolve into this from a bipolar personality... but Ryuhou is always like this.
Debatable. Kazuma gives the reward money he earned for saving the mainland official in the first episode to a kid whose father was injured and couldn't work. He's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold from the start, at least up until he fails to rescue the captive Native Alters from HOLY, Kimishima is killed, and he triggers the Second Uprising, and he slips into an epic Heroic BSOD. He gets better, but he's a bit more cynical afterward. It's less him being bipolar and more him hiding what he does/is from Kanami in the beginning.
Lighthearted Rematch: Subverted. After teaming up and defeating the Conflict Killer, the two leads decide to fight it out to see who is best after all - but this takes up the entire last episode and is the longest and definitely most brutal fight in the entire series. It appears to end in a double knockout - but one last shot as the credits start imply that at least one is still moving. A hand rises behind a curtain of dust, and does a gesture typical for Kazuma.
Mutant Draft Board: HOLY. Alter users have choice to either join or become a test subjects.
No FEMA Response: The Lost Ground has been placed under the jurisdiction of HOLY, which doesn't seem to care about civilizing the area in any way other than getting Alter Users under their control.
Not Quite Flight: Kazuma and Straight Cougar's alter ability provide a powerful acceleration for their attacks. Though this effect is used only for horizontal movement, they can achieve a pretty impressive flight time when propelling themselves from an elevated surface.
Potentially averted with Kazuma's second form, which basically tacks a propeller onto their back. Though we're never shown just how long they can maintain flight, it is seen being used to hover for short periods, as well as gain higher ground.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kazuma eventually has at least one of these, most notably midway when Kimishima is killed and Kazuma goes off to utterly wreck the nearest HOLY unit. Which included Scheris.
Running Gag: Straight Cougar getting people's names wrong. Kazuma occasionally does this too which is foreshadowing the fact that Cougar raised Kazuma as a younger sibling figure.. Kimishima's mode of transport getting destroyed by accident is another one.
Shout Out: The Crystal/Crystalline Entity bears a strong resemblance to Star Platinum of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Conceptually, the Alters are more than a little similar to the Stands of the older series as well.
Kazuma gets slapped around by Ryuhou in their first meeting, and again in their second after Zetsuei shows that he's not left handed. Then, after it appears Ryuhou's won their third encounter Kazuma whips out his second form...or at least he tries to. He loses control over it and sends himself and Ryuhou to the Other Side, and causes the Second Uprising.
Ryuhou sees the Crystal after he and Kazuma get thrown into the Other Side, but he doesn't get a chance to fight him before he's blown away. The second time, the crystal kills him, at least until Scheris revives him. The third fight he wins, after fusing with Zetsuei.
Title Drop: Not literally, but the final thing Kazuma punches spells out s-CRY-ed, which is the first thing shown in the opening.
Tunnel Of Foreshadowing: Most versions of the opening sequence, but the opening changes both as the story progresses and acording to which character has the spotlight this episode.
The Remake: s-CRY-ed Alteration Tao and Quan, which add extra scenes that give Kyoji Mujo more presence and alter some of Kazuma and Ryuhou's fights.
The Reveal: In Alteration, we find out Kazuma really did win, since the credits this time around clearly show his fist morphing into the various forms of shell bullet.
The Unreveal: By the time the final episode rolls around Kazuma and Ryuho have fought several times, with no clear winner. The last ep has them indulge in one last, decisive brawl. At the end, we see that only one is left standing...but we never find out which one it is. note however, the victor raises a hand and makes the symbol of the Zetsuei, then curls into a fist the same way Kazuma does when summoning his Alter...
Wicked Cultured: Between his undeniably good fashion sense and condescending attitude towards Native Alters, Kyoji Mujo definitely qualifies for this Trope.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Mimori is one. Several characters lampshade this, some more sardonicly than others.
Word Salad Title: The manga gives it a meaning, but otherwise... Fanon has appended it for the name of Kanami's Alter, which lets her read minds.
Well, to "scry" is to see via magic or clairvoyance which is what she uses her alter for while dreaming, and she does seem to scry out the events of most of the episodes in this way, so it could relate to her Alter even if that isn't its name...