Conquering the world: a dream every leader of the past wished to accomplish. World domination... a feat that nobody has been able to achieve. Until one little girl by the name of Kate Hoshimiya came along. Kate Hoshimiya will do the impossible! How was someone so young able to succeed when many had failed?! Could this be... the Zvezda Plot?! Let the light of our great Zvezda shine upon this land far and wide!Poor Asuta Jimon has no idea what he's gotten into.World Conquest Zvezda Plot (世界征服 ～謀略のズヴィズダー～ Sekai Seifuku: Bōryaku no Zvezda, lit. "World Conquest: Stratagem Star") is a Japanese anime television series produced by A-1 Pictures, directed and co-written by Tensai Okamura, the creator of Darker Than Black and is co written by Meteor Hoshizora of Type-Moon. It premiered as a part of the Winter 2014 season.
The White Light is this, apparently just the most modern incarnation of an organization whose origins go back to before the Heian era (the Heian Period lasted from 794 to 1185 A.D.).
Zvezda itself, as shown in episode 11, has likely been around for far longer, and likely has its origins in the Ancient Udogawan civilization that Kate apparently ruled (whose ruins have featured in the story's background).
Applied Phlebotinum: Magical udo ('mountain asparagus'), which powers the Zvezda base, is Roboko's power source, and allows Zvezda members to transform. The crisis in episode 4 is caused by the udo suddenly withering en masse.
Artistic License: Deliberately invoked, with regards to the more "adult" proportions of Kate's statue (similar to the one shown in the first episode). Asuta calls out Kate on this, but in this case it's pretty much merited since Kate's body is locked in its grade-school aged state forever.
Author Appeal: Someone on the story team is extremely anti-smoking.
Beneath the Earth: Ruins of Ancient Udogawa Civilization, which allegedly connects Japan with Ukraine.
Berserk Button: Smokers for Kate and Natasha. Calling Kate's efforts to conquer the world a game gonna make her mad, too.
Big Good: White Falcon is the closest thing to it in the conventional sense, being the true commander and top fighter of the White Light organization (outwardly) opposed to Zvezda's dreams of conquest until she marries her conquest dreaming, widowed brother-in-law. At which point she is replaced in this role by First Lieutenant White Egret.
Asuta's surprise that Kate could not only drive a motorbike, as well as the fact that she has a license with no expiration date, is to the first episode, concerning her inability to ride a bicycle.
Drinking milk to help protect from fumes caused by smoke is one to episode 3.
Asuta's flyswatter from episode 9 sees some actual practical use.
Kate's practicing reverse back-flipping on the horizontal bar pays off dividends, when she uses the momentum she gains from the multiple flips to knock the Tokyo Governor's giant robot flat on its arse.
The Cavalry: During the final episode, as one character after another shows up to help just as Kate and Itsuka are rendered helpless, and with Asuta are surrounded by the Tokyo Governor's forces. White Robin, an escaped Natasha, Roboko, Goro and White Falcon, the tank batallion that Kate conquered in the first episode...
Cerebus Syndrome: The series gets progressively more serious after Tokyo Governor's forces come into the picture, culminating in Zvezda's base getting destroyed in episode 10, and most of Zvezda's leadership either taken out, or on the run.
Each member of Zvezdanote "star" has one. Kate is "Venera"note "Venus", Asuta is "Dva"note "two", Itsuka is "Plamya"note "flame", Natasha is "Professor Um"note "mind", "intelligence", Yasube is "Odin"note "one"; pronounced "uh-DEEN", and Goro is "General Pepel"note "ash".
Kate's plush-toy and superweapon is called Galaktikanote "galaxy".
The White Light give their female field agents codenames based on birds — see Robin, Egret, Falcon, etc.
Crapsaccharine World: Japan is under lock down, it's curfew is reinforced by armored jeeps with tanks on standby, and as the end of episode 9 reveals, great swaths of urban landscape look like its been reduced to rubble due to prolonged fighting. And yet Zvezda's antics make it seem a hell of a lot cheerier.
It turns out it's worse than that. The Japan in the world of Zvezda is an oppressive police state and whole swaths of its urbanized areas are in ruins, apparently the result of a civil war lasting more than three years. The only reason why West Udogawa seemed so normal (aka not in ruins) was due to its neutrality, but with Zvezda taking up residence there all bets were off.
Renge, before her temporary defection to Zvezda, claimed that even though Zvezda has committed unspecified "atrocities", the military did a number of equally unspecified war crimes they would've answer for to an international body.
Beyond that, the plot is rife with elements that are quite jarring when juxtaposed. For example, Goro disbanding his gang to join Zvezda caused an uprising, during which his wife was murdered, so her younger sister tries to stab Goro through the heart in revenge.Y'know, for kids!
Dating Catwoman: None among the main cast yet; it's unknown whether Dva and White Robin's relationship will turn into this especially now that Robin as Renge knows that it's Asuta behind the Dva mask, and both of them have shown clear signs of attraction to each other.
Yasu has been shown on two occasions to be accompanying Kaori a.k.a. White Falcon, the commander of the White Light herself. Turns out this less romantic and more about Yasu preparing to betray Zvezda.
A particularly hilarious variant at the Masked Hotsprings. It's managed by an elderly couple. The wife is a White Light veteran, but the husband is a member of Zvezda. Becomes not so hilarious in the episodes climax, when the old lady is sent to assassinate Kate, and her husband takes it upon himself to stop her, with her lamenting the loss of their union in the face of exposed conflicting loyalties as they move to fight each other.
Dystopia: What seems to be the case in the future of the world of Zvezda, but it's important to note that, even in the present, much of Japan seems to be in ruins anyway (due to a country-wide civil war). Averted in how the present-day Zvezda tends to do things, where aside from the Zvezda mark in public places and institutions (like schools), things more or less carry on as usual, though people do politely give the group's hand sign when Kate passes by.
Easily Forgiven: For all the crap Yasu pulls in the last two episodes, he's shown to be part of Zvezda again in the end, and likely just escapes with not having dinner for a while.
Enemy Mine: Zvezda and White Light team up to take down the Tokyo Governor, when White Egret realizes that the Governor's motives aren't as noble as he initially claimed.
Enfant Terrible: Kate may be very young, but she already has far-reaching ambitions for world domination (In later episodes, it's revealed to be a Subverted Trope, since she's actually the ageless former ruler of the Ancient Udogawan civilization and thus in fact very, very old).
Even Evil Has Standards: When Pepel saw Plamya holding Asuta by his collar, when she met him the first time (during an operation to find Venera, who ran off), he wasn't happy about what looked like her harming an innocent. She was offended by his accusation and greeted him with the Zvezda salute (probably to affirm, that harming civilians is against Zvezda's policy).
Expy: Kate looks like an human (sort of), grey-haired, underage version of Melona, complete with her same dressing style. Oddly enough, in her civilian attire she looks a lot like between a younger Takane Shijou and Anzu Futaba. In fact, during the prologue scene in the first episode, when we see Kate's statue as an grown-up, her adult self looks almost the same as Melona. The Tokyo Governor looks a lot like Giovanni.
Eyepatch of Power: Itsuka wears one. The final episode reveals that it's mostly aesthetic, but it also has a practical purpose: it keeps Itsuka's weak and crybaby side in check.
Face-Heel Turn: Implied with Yasu, what with him taking away Galaktika, Kate's plushie superweapon.
Renge's feelings for Asuta and her dissatisfaction with the government's policies and the behavior of the military made her temporarily join the Zvezda organization.
Failed a Spot Check: White Robin keeps just barely missing seeing the "Zvezda" sign outside HQ.
The Fair Folk: They tried to kidnap Natasha in her backstory, but Kate somehow saved her from them. And they are not the Western Europe kind of fairies, they are the dark and disturbing figures from Slavic folklores.
Faking the Dead: After the Pepel and Roboko let Kate and the others escape, a bunch of soldiers are shown callously kicking around Roboko's broken body. Then White Falcon throws the battered robot in with the captured Natasha, who starts crying. Then Roboko shows up in the last episode and explains she is fine, she shed that layer of armor because she outgrew it. Pepel is fine, too, and marries White Falcon, his dead wife's sister (making it akin to a genderswapped version of the livirate marriage).
Fantastic Nuke: The White Light has an obvious magical nuke that only harm people with some degree of evil in their soul. Turns out that Smokers are immune to this bomb since they have lost their soul to begin with.
Fast Tunnelling: This is one of the abilities of Zvezda Secret Society lair.
Foreshadowing: When Asuta was talking on the phone to his father, the governor of Tokyo, he told him that if he loves bossing around people that much, he can go and conquer the world. A short while later, he runs into Kate and joins her organisation, who's aim it is to indeed conquer the world (although, in the last few episodes is looks more and more like it's also the governor's dream to do it).
Friendly Enemy: Asuta-as-Dva is actually quite friendly with White Robin outside of their "work", as shown in their interactions when the two of them run into each other at the hot springs. It is this friendly relationship that makes White Robin question her duties in White Light and ultimately defect to Zvezda, or rather, Asuta's side.
Friend or Idol Decision: If you see the White Light as the "good guys", then White Robin's defection was ultimately this. Their greatest enemies were cornered and on their last legs, but it's just one of those instances where listening to one's heart was far better than following unreasonable orders.
Gas Mask Mooks: Asuta and Yasube. Later on, the rest of Zvezda's footsoldiers at the hot springs have this as standard.
Good Is Not Nice: The White Light have no problem using underhanded methods to beat Zvezda.
Gratuitous Russian: If you have some understanding of Slavic languages (which includes Russian), the anime becomes infinitely more cheesy.
The picture book in the beginning of episode four is in somewhat broken Russian.
Happy Fun Ball: Kate's stuffed rabbit is actually some sort of high-tech superweapon.
Happily Married: Goro and Kaori, aka White Falcon, at the end of the final episode, complete with a honeymoon in Hawaii. It's no wonder Itsuka is stunned, as her new stepmom is also her aunt.
The Heartless: The thing that threaten the udo World Root is the sentient manifestation of humanity's fear. They take the form that fits the beholder's idea of absolute terror, with Natasha seeing them as The Fair Folk that tried to kidnap her.
Whoever or whatever is behind the Smokers, whose powers the Tokyo Governor uses. Given the fact that Natasha notices the silhouettes of her missing parents among the Smokers, it's likely the same faction.
Considering the smoke effects associated with both of the above are identical and Natasha's flashback includes a focus on the smoking cigarette butts on the city sidewalks, they could be the same entities.
Heel-Face Turn: Given how the story is following Zvezda, White Robin, aka Renge, resigning from the White Light to follow her heart and help them, is this. From the point of view of the Tokyo Forces and White Light though, well...
Hypocrite: The Governor of Tokyo claims that world conquest is ridiculous and those that give up their humanity for power to achieve it are clowns. Yet he has turned Tokyo into a militaristic city state that has annexed all of Japan, with no signs of stopping, and is no longer human himself.
Asuta and his mother both hate his father for never paying attention to them or what they want: They both decide to run away from him after only a single superficial and passive-aggressive attempt to voice their complaints, and there was apparently a sister left behind that Asuta himself has never once spoken of or even acknowledged the existence of in series.
Improbable Weapon User: Our protagonist pulls out a fly swatter in a fight in episode 9, which also makes a return in the final episode. Goro uses an RPG On a Stick, as in the projectile itself, as a melee weapon.
White Falcon dual-wields Japanese parasols.
Land of One City: West Udogawa became a independent and neutral state during the "Tokyo Warring States period", which was part of a larger, country-wide civil war. After Zvezda broke the neutrality, Tokyo (apparently a independent state, too) declared it's intent to conquer and annex West Udogawa.
Subverted with Tokyo, since it conquered a big part of Japan.
Renge, much to Asuta's dismay or rather the KuruMI's shock, as he found out while the both of them were on the run from the Tokyo Governor's forces.
Asuta's mom did this to her husband, the governor of Tokyo, to get him to notice her, since he neglected his family to the extreme over his job. He didn't gave a shit about the food being horrible (According to Asuta, he treated his food just as "gasoline" for his body), which was the final straw breaking the camel's back that prompted his wife to leave him.
Made of Iron: Asuta. In Episode 5, Miki aka White Egret throws him out of a third-floor window, with him landing flat on his face. He doesn't seem to have been injured at all (from what we see about their abilities in the later episodes, it is possible for the KuruKuru to have cushioned his fall).
Mask of Power: All of Zvezda's members all have one. Ditto for the White Light agents.
During the Hot Springs Episode, she was so eager to get into the water that she started ripping her robe up in anticipation, then spends three scenes sleeping in the pool with her top half sprawled on the rocks.
Mr. Fanservice: One of Yasu's main purposes is providing a gorgeous picture for the next episode's preview.
Parental Neglect: Asuta Jimon's father, the governor of Tokyo, was rather neglectful to his family which caused first his wife, then his son to leave him.
Neon Sign Hideout: Zvezda's secret headquarters has a sign out front clearly declaring it as such. White Robin still fails to find it (Asuta manages to flip around the sign in the last second).
New Transfer Student: Zvezda does this en-masse into Asuta's school for their latest scheme. Asuta lampshades how utterly ridiculous this is.
Non-Uniform Uniform: Miki wears a yellow blazer and yellow-plaid skirt compared to all the other girls' red outfits.
Oddly Small Organization: Despite allegedly being an "international criminal organization", Zvezda only contained 6 members before Jimon joined.
Subverted as revealed in episode 9, there are more members. Turns out that whoever gets "conquered" (marked by Kate's superweapon) becomes members of Zvezda by default.
Offing the Offspring: The governor of Tokyo wanted to let Asuta Jimon, his son, be killed in a crossfire (to the public it would've been presented as an accident) with Zvezda to create a martyr in fight against Zvezda, but, luckily, he was saved by Renge, who joined Zvezda due to dissatisfaction with the governor's policies and the military's actions, with some of them, according to her, even being serious enough to be considered war crimes to be investigated by an international court or commission.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Nobody at Asuta's school notices anything at all odd about Roboko, as long as she's wearing the school uniform.
Power Gives You Wings: Kate gains a pair of translucent and fairy-like ones (which oddly enough also seem to shaped like the lower half of Zvezda's sigil) when Galaktika is finally returned to her in the final episode.
Protectorate: May overlap with Schoolgirl Lesbians too, as it turns out Maki/White Egret's reason for sticking around White Light was to keep Renge/White Robin safe.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Zvezda's leader is a little girl, and their members include a Robot Girl, a bulky old man who dresses like a campy skull-faced military villain, a psychotic sword-wielding Lethal Chef, a scientist who usually wears only a lab coat over her underwear...you get the idea. Asuta mainly acts as the Straight Man to the crew of weirdos.
Recurring Extra: Flashbacks and photos show that Asuta has a younger sister. She has no lines, no name, no hint as to what affect the abandonment from her mother and brother or her father's descent into apathy had on her, and is never even directly mentioned or thought of by Asuta.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: After Kate is revealed to be immortal, or, rather, ageless, the governor of Tokyo, Asuta's neglectful father started to exhale a strange gas (instead of normal smoke from a cigar) that set Galaktika, Kate's plush pet and super-weapon, on fire, stated, that "politicians can't survive in this day and age without going extreme" and than his eyes started to glow, which proved Kate's a few seconds ago uttered exclamation, that he wasn't human anymore, quite true.
Ridiculously Cute Critter: The squid-thing in the first episode explodes into an avalanche of adorable little colorful blob creatures called KuruKuru.
Robot Girl: One of Zvezda's members is a robot girl named Roboko.note Roboko means Robot girl
The Runaway: Asuta left his home due to a major ideological disagreement with his father (his father is the governor of the now independent city-state of Tokyo (due to a country-wide civil war) and runs it with in many cases rather unsavory methods). It eventually becomes clear that most or all Zvezda's members are runaways of some sort.
Scary Shiny Glasses: Roboko displayed those, when she threatened Asuta with her laser weapons hidden in her fingers for him bad-mouthing Venera.
Sensual Slavs: This trope is definitely invoked by Itsuka "Plamya" and Natasha "Professor Um", even though only the latter is a Slav (Ukrainian, to be exact).
Sequel Hook: West Udogawa is finally conquered, and the Tokyo Governor has been placed under Zvezda's direct control. Everything is back to normal and peaceful at last, right? Nope! Someone attacks Kate's statue just as it's being finished (with a baseball), and based on its trajectory it came from... New York City? Turns out someone else has their eye on world conquest, so obviously Kate won't take this sitting down. Next stop: America!
The shadowy leader of this American organization has an outfit, hairstyle, and stuffed toy similar to Kate's...
Serious Business: Do not smoke near Kate. Or anywhere else in West Udogawa, for that matter. Seriously man, a popular revolution starts because they have had enough of smokers.
Shapeshifting: The KuruKurus are able to form giant monsters together and also each KuruKuru is able to expand to serve as an shield or emergency transport.
Shout-Out: The governor of Tokyo, Jimon Kyoushirou, tries to ATATATATATATA Kate with a giant mecha apparently propelled by the unnatural smoke he uses to enhance himself.
Sleepy Head: Kate, due to running around in a ten-year-old body.
Smoking Is Cool: Defied as episode 3 shows that Kate really hates smoking. Yasube invokes this trope, since he started smoking to cultivate a bad-boy image, but sometimes it isn't lit and he'll even pretend blow out smoke after taking a drag. He does smoke in episode 3, then he gets doused by a pail of water followed by the pail smacking him in the head. Repeatedly.
The Soulless: Smokers. No, really. That's why the big bomb from Episode 3 doesn't work on them- it only targets people with evil in their hearts, and the Smokers don't even have souls to contain the evil that would make them targets.
Split Personality: Itsuka, which surprised many watchers, as there was no sign she ever had one, until its reveal in the final episode.
Completely false: Episode 7 sees her in her high school presenting two fronts: her sweet side to her female admirers that stays on her open eye, and her war face to the boys that displays her eyepatch in blatant if short Foreshadowing. Later that same episode, White Falcon cuts her eyepatch, a split second of her completely fine eye is shown, but Itsuki still frantically moves to keep it covered, another strong hint that something is up.
Helpless Good Side: What Itsuka's Action Girl persona actually covers for: a weak-willed crybaby, who clings helplessly to Kate and calls her onee-chan.
Superpowered Alter Ego: Itsuka's public face and the Action Girl persona that watchers had gotten used to since the start of the show, which she adopted in the wake of her mother Tsubaki's death, and joining Zvezda.
Episode 3: Shows one of the unseen backers of the White Light... who happens to be smoking. Take note, the same episode establishes that smokers have lost their souls so...
Episode 7: The same mysterious backer is revealed to be... the Governor of the Tokyo area. Oh, and he's also apparently Asuta's dad. Yep.
Stripperific: All of the Zvezda female characters wear very revealing outfits.
The Starscream: Yasu takes this Up to Eleven: he not only defects to one of the anti-Zvezda forces twice in a twelve episode period, but the second time around he steals weapons from new employers and intends to make his own faction and overthrow them when they have nearly beaten Kate.
After the defeat of Jimon Kyoushirou, the governor of Tokyo, Asuta claims to be one to Kate. She sees that as a challenge to "conquer" him (fully convert him to her side).
Supervillain Lair: A rather conspicuously designed one; it looks like a funhouse from the outside. There's even a sign saying 'Zvezda Secret Society' hanging near the front door. In a true supervillain fashion, the lair can be moved by tunneling underground.
A member of Goro's old gang became a world renowned pastry chef after getting kicked out. The main group considers his cake delicious even after it got sullied in the fight against White Falcon.
Swiss Army Tears: Natasha's tears over her creation and friend Roboko und herself being captured and not knowing the fate of her other comrades (Pepel was looking dead) form into two KuruKurus, which proceed to help her to break out of her prison.
Tailor-Made Prison: After Natasha resp. Natalia Vasylchenko was captured, they stripped her naked and shackled her to a apparently magic rune-array with lasers and magical barriers around her and tried to force her to reveal the secrets of her technological marvels by dumping the remains of her friend Roboko before her.
Take Over the World: The opening scene seems to indicate that Zvezda actually succeeds at this.
Tears from a Stone: Not tears, but a blush from Roboko the robot (in her schoolgirl-mode).
True Companions: Over the course of twelve episodes, Zvezda had more or less turned into Asuta's second family. It is for this reason that he returns to them at the end of episode 11, when he could have well just run off with Renge.
Two-Person Love Triangle: As of episode 5, Asuta likes Renge, but Renge likes "Dva," i.e. Asuta wearing a gasmask. Blown out in the open after episode 9.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one seems to bat an eye in Asuta's class when what looks like an elementary-school aged girl and a robot transfer into their class.
Episode 10: Zvezda's hideout is destroyed by the Tokyo Governor's forces, and everyone is forced to escape. They are eventually surrounded, and both Goro and Roboko stay behind to make sure the rest escape. They are cornered a second time however, and this time its Natasha's turn to make sure Asuta, Kate, and Izuka escape. However with them is the umasked White Robin, who's about had it with the heavy-handed way the Tokyo forces does things, and joins Asuta in his escape.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Turns out Kate doesn't really like being eternally young, and has had to watch countless friends and loved ones grow old as she remains the same.