Short, skinny, and the most dangerous person on the face of the Earth. Samidare is a 16-year-old girl who was chosen to be Anima's vessel and agent in the current round of the war between Princess and Mage. Thanks to Anima's power, she is titanically strong and has stamina to match. She also has a well-hidden dark side, as she intends on winning the war not to save Earth, but so she can be its destroyer. To that end, she has recruited Yuuhi as her secret "Demon Knight" to help her in her plans of global destruction, including fighting off the other Beast Knights if necessary.
Muscles Are Meaningless - Only the younger Beast Knights look weaker. But nobody, not even the Godzilla-dwarfing final golem, is stronger.
Older Than They Look - Hangetsu, Yuuhi, and their partners are surprised to learn Sami's 16 years old at her birthday party, given how short and slender she is due to her illness.
Panty Fighter: Seriously, she flashes them at least 3 times each major fight.
Soap Opera Disease - The details of her illness before she was chosen by Anima are kept intentionally vague, with few symptoms shown other than general weakness and poor stamina (which could also come from being confined to a hospital for long stretches of time).
True Final Boss - Her intention from the start has been to blind-side the rest of the Beast Knights after they defeat Animus, catching them unawares. Would have succeeded too, if Yuuhi hadn't decided to stop her... much to her pleasure.
The Princess Anima is the Mage's mysterious counterpart, a powerful being who provides the power of the Beast Knights and the Princess. Though she is very nearly as mighty as Animus, she prefers to work far more indirectly. Anima and Animus are twin siblings, born with godlike psychic power in the distant future. Animus went mad with power, while Anima has been trying to perform damage control ever since.
Big Eater - She shares energy reserves with Sami, and both of them have some major powers to fuel.
Big Good: She's the leader of the Beast Knights, and is opposing Animus.
Everything's Better with Princesses - Subverted. Only Noi is excited to see her finally manifest, though her appearance does mean the Mythical Beast Knights can now enter play.
Meaningful Name - "Anima" is a psychological term from Jung that refers, loosely speaking, to the "feminine side" of a man's personality and consciousness. The Anima in men is twinned with the Animus in women.
Super Mode: Each Beast Knight can be upgraded to one of the three Mystical Beast Knights; Unicorn, Hraesvelgr, or Invisible. The beast becomes larger and more intimidating, while the Knight becomes even stronger. We get to see the forms of the Unicorn for Horse, Hraesvelgr for Owl and Crow, and Invisible for Snake and Lizard. Makes you wonder what the other beasts would look like...
Theme Modeling: As Anima reveals to Yuuhi, each beast is a reference to one she and Animus though they could see on the moon. Yuuhi is naturally rather surprised to hear this.
Amamiya Yuuhi and Noi Crezant, the Lizard Knight
Yuuhi is a first-year college student who woke up one day to discover a lizard on his bed, who promptly introduced himself as Sir Noi Crezant, the Lizard Knight. Yuuhi is pessimistic and cynical, at best a brooding loner and at worst a cold misanthrope. He hates the world and, when Noi offers him the chance to save it, decides it'd be better to take no chances and sit on the sidelines. That is, until he meets Sami and she makes him a better offer - don't just save the world, but save it for her so she can destroy it.Yuuhi:
The Glasses Come Off - Only for practice against other Knights and the fight with Yayoi over who got to earn the power of Invisible. He's not really Blind Without 'Em but he keeps them on in golem fights anyway because going without them would still be an impairment.
Heel-Face Turn: Ultimately decides to stop Sami from destroying the Earth, which she says she knew he'd do all along.
Shinonome Hangetsu and Ludo "Noko" Shubarie, the Dog Knight
Also known as "Kamikaze" (Divine Wind) or "Fuujin," Hangetsu is a master martial artist and the second Knight to appear. He is 28 and the first of three sons, though his youngest brother is never seen. He is confident, direct, friendly, and essentially everything Yuuhi is not. His partner is Ludo Shubarie, though Hangetsu prefers to call the Dog Knight "Noko" after his childhood pet, who was also his closest friend. Ludo is much more reserved than Hangetsu, quick to criticize and slow to trust.Hangetsu:
The Ace/Always Someone Better - "GENIUS! It's a limitless number of approvals! It's instinct telling you 'It's been decided! I will throw 1000 lucky punches! I am awesome!'" He goes on for a few pages like that during his fight with Yuuhi...
Mikazuki is the second Shinonome son, and second only to Hangetsu in their family's martial arts style. He gets along well with others, much like his brother, but mostly through acting clownish and cheery, always prepared to be the life of the party. This friendly outer persona hides a near-insane bloodlust and battle hunger that comes out whenever he thinks he's found a worthy opponent. Mu the Crow Knight is the boisterous Mikazuki's opposite, refusing to speak and answering everything with a cold, sharp glare.Mikazuki:
Sociopath with a Heart of Gold - He doesn't actually try to kill anyone and he's actually quite friendly when his fighting fix has been satisfied. He's even a perfect gentleman around Yuki and Subaru, even though others are convinced he'd do something sinister. Furthermore, he used his wish to feed a starving child in India.
Worthy Opponent - Desperate to find one, attacking even other Knights if he thinks they'll give a good fight.
Bilingual Bonus - "Mu" is a Greek letter and also the romanization of a Japanese kana character. It's also the pronunciation of a Japanese term meaning, loosely, "nothing" or a lack, which goes well with Mu's lack of characterization (silence and refusal to react) as a form of characterization.
Gender Reveal - In the one time she speaks in front of anyone, is revealed to have a woman's voice.
Super Mode: Anima transforms her into the Phoenix for one last battle against Yuuhi and Noi.
Nagumo Souichirou and Dance Dark, the Horse Knight
Nagumo is a middle-aged former police detective. He is also a potent close combatant, infamous for a "hundred kick" flurry of blows used to overwhelm an opponent. As a former detective, he brings a much-needed sense of order and experience to the Knights, helping turn them into a coherent unit instead of just a group of random fighters with their own eclectic styles. He is also fiercely protective of the younger Knights, considering them "just children" who shouldn't be fighting. Dance Dark, the Horse Knight, complements Nagumo with a similarly serious mien. Dance does what he can to advise and help Nagumo, though there's one line he won't cross - no rides, no way.Nagumo:
Amicable Exes - He is separated but not yet divorced from his wife, and they seem to get on at least politely, if not very closely.
Police Are Useless - He retired from the force due to dissatisfaction with corruption and the feeling that he could no longer live up to his son's view of him as an "ally of justice." Also the whole "invisible horse warning about the end of the world" thing, which notably the police wouldn't be able to help with anyway.
Real Men Wear Pink - Very easy to miss, but every time any of the Knights go out to have coffee or a meal together at a nearby family restaurant, Nagumo gets a very fancy, rather "girly" parfait.
Yayoi is a young woman in her early 20s who hides a terrible secret: she still likes anime and manga, and likes to Cosplay as a hobby. She is gentle and kind in manner, tall and pretty, and in many ways prime material as an ideal Japanese housewife. Just one who also practices swordplay on a regular basis and could probably thump most men she comes across. Many of the Beast Knights look up to her, and trust her combat abilities implicitly. Shea Moon the Snake Knight is far more open and forward than Yayoi, as he tries to encourage her to be open with her hobbies and share them with others... especially a certain bespectacled young college student who ends up catching her eye.Yayoi:
Secret Secret Keeper: She learned fairly early on that Yuu and Sumi planned to destroy the world, but doesn't mention it to the others. She eventually confronts Yuu about it, making her just a normal Secret Keeper.
Kusakabe Tarou and Lance Lumiere, the Mouse Knight
Tarou knows where he's going in life. He's worked hard at learning to cook and intends on heading to a vocational school once he graduates high school, inspired by the cafe that his neighbor Hanako's family once ran. He's not the bravest of the Knights, nor even the most capable, but as one of the kindest he makes friends easily with the others. He agrees to fight for the sake of protecting Hanako, who was also recruited. He also not-so-secretly loves Hanako but is afraid of changing their relationship. Lance Lumiere, the Mouse Knight, complements Tarou quite well - if only as one coward trying to bolster the spirits of another. It's unfortunate for Lance that his partner is so close to the Mantis Knight's partner, as Lance and Kil hate each other deeply.Tarou:
Cowardly Lion: Admits to be this, but has higher morals than Kil,
Irony - Possibly a coincidence as it relies on an English-language pun, but Tarou dies on the 9th golem's lance, and wouldn't have if Lance hadn't drawn him into the war. Either way, a "Lance" is directly and indirectly responsible for Tarou's death.
Sorano Hanako and Kil Sonne, the Mantis Knight
Hanako is an intelligent, talented high school student, and Tarou's next-door neighbor and classmate. They've been together as long as they can remember, and even though they are the same age, she has always been his "responsible older sister." She keeps her own counsel and resists being drawn into the close camaraderie of the other Knights. Her partner is Kil Sonne, the Mantis Knight, who is harsh and cold with an overdeveloped sense of martial pride. Or maybe he's just a bloodthirsty Jerk Ass.Hanako:
Mundane Utility - She used domain control to cool water during summer, and went further to devise her ice attacks.
Karma Houdini - Rather literally, as her wish was to kill a criminal. The consequence of wishing for someone's death is to take the burden of their karma upon yourself, making you more likely to suffer an unpleasant end as a result. Tarou dies to save her, both by diving in front of the blow and using his wish to heal her when that proves fruitless.
Jerk Ass - There's a reason Lance's final words were, paraphrased, "I hate you and never want to see you again. You can't die."
Shimaki Hyou and Coo Ritter, the Cat Knight
Shimaki is a genial man in his late 20s who values knowledge and the joy learning brings him. He's heavy-set and tall, with a smile almost perpetually on his face. He's an old friend of Sami's sister, Hisame, and knew her before Hisame and her mother moved to France. He is a natural teacher, urging others to learn and think critically, and come to their own conclusions. His partner is Coo Ritter the Cat Knight, a polite black cat that likes to help and encourage Shimaki wherever he can, but knows when to stop pushing.Hyou:
Badass Bookworm - Not a direct fighter, but don't think you can take him down easily.
Improvised Golems - His wish was for the ability to conjure golems similar to Animus, since he doesn't have any real fighting ability.
Not So Different - Animus also tries to tempt Shimaki over to his side, because he knew Shimaki's first idea for a wish had been access to the Akashic Records, and considered Shimaki almost kin because of that desire for knowledge. However, Shimaki considers knowledge a means to an end, while Animus considers it an end to itself.
Theme Naming: His earliest golems are named after the days of the week in German, starting with Sunday for the very first.
Tsukishiro Yukimachi and Ron Yue, the Turtle Knight
Yuki is a sweet and friendly girl in middle school with her classmate and best friend Subaru. She is slight and unimposing, but with an eager and outgoing personality that gives her a presence on par with the older knights. She and Subaru were informally apprenticed to the Master after meeting him in a park, and he focused Yuki's education on martial arts. When pressed, she is also ridiculously Hot-Blooded. Her partner is Ron Yue the Turtle Knight, a laid-back turtle that lets Yuki take the lead.Yuki:
Tomboy and Girly Girl - Yuki is much more energetic and physical than Subaru, and when the Master ended up mentoring them, he helped teach Yuki some basic martial arts while testing Subaru with strategy games. She's also much more boisterous and Hot-Blooded of the pair.
Hoshikawa Subaru and Lee Soliel, the Rooster Knight
Subaru is a gentle and quiet girl in middle school with her best friend and classmate Yuki. Subaru is short, skinny, and reserved with a shock of bright red hair that stands out, and she is by far the more sensitive and easily embarrassed of the two. She and Yuki were taken under the Master's wing as young children, and he focused Subaru's education on strategy. Subaru's partner is Lee Soliel, the Rooster Knight, an opinionated and noisy rooster that rides around on her head. Lee has a protective father's attitude when it comes to Subaru, which mostly manages to embarrass the girl whenever he speaks up (which is often).Subaru:
Motor Mouth: Talks constantly compared to his slower ally
The Master Akitani Inatika and Zan Amaru, the Swordfish Knight
Wise, kind, brilliant, humble, and with a flair for the dramatic, the Master is too cool for this or any other narrative. Seriously, this guy was awesome. He lived for over 500 years, knew everything and could do almost anything, but never let it go to his head. You wish that old guy who spent all afternoon in your hometown's park was this amazing. The Master's partner was Zan Amaru the Swordfish Knight, who had the misfortune of being paired with the coolest old guy in fiction and was completely overshadowed. We're sure you were great, Zan, just not as great as Akitani Inatika, the Master.The Master Akitani Inachika:
Akashic Records - Gained access to them in his youth, though the precognition he got as a result of that access cuts out right in the middle of the war, a month or so after he dies.
Akane is a young boy late in elementary school or early in middle school. He is the quietest, most withdrawn member of the cast, whose body language and facial expressions have "don't talk to me" written all over them. He is estranged from his family, and has no friends. Loki Helios the Owl Knight is jaded and cynical, having grown completely sick of the war over its many iterations.Akane:
Parental Neglect - Akane's father avoids him because the child reminds him too much of his dead wife. Meanwhile, Akane's stepmother just doesn't know how to relate to him at all and eventually gave up trying.
Time Travel: He can heal his allies by returning their bodies to before they took damage.
A strange, whimsical figure, the Mage Animus is also the Earth's greatest enemy. He is a being of unspeakable power, a self-described God of Destruction here to annihilate the world... via giant hammer. Despite his affable nature, he is still extremely cold-blooded and one would be a fool to think any friendly overtures were anything of the sort.
Affably Evil: He's actually rather calm and laid back, often seen playing video games or relaxing with a book, and will regularly descend to earth to simply chat to the Knights.
Limited Wardrobe: Played for Drama - ever since the wars started, Animus has only ever worn the one thing. It's symbolic of his mind's failure to mature past the nine-year old little boy who wanted to see what would happen if he smashed the Earth apart.
Only One Name - "Animus" is actually a common name where or rather, when he originated.
Psychic Powers - He's shy on precognition or fine control, but otherwise he can pull whatever trick he seems to feel like out of his hat, and then some.
Reincarnation - Implied near the end of the series to eventually reincarnate into Akitani Inatika after he finally dies, making up for his karma of having repeatedly destroyed the Earth.
Stealth Hi/Bye - Given his impressive powers, which include teleportation, this is probably the least of Animus's tricks.
Villainous Breakdown: Once he loses his pawn in the Owl Knight, he loses it and becomes a flaming Living Shadow, seeing this to his usually casual attitude, is disturbing to say the least
The golems are Animus's minions and his equivalent to the Beast Knights. Where the Knights are granted roughly comparable powers and the ability to work together, the golems are (usually) sent out alone one after the other, as it takes Animus time to prepare the more powerful ones. Even so, the weakest are nothing to laugh at when the Knights themselves are still just learning and at their most vulnerable.The golems are: Gamelion the 1st, Anthesterion the 2nd, Elaphebolion the 3rd, Mounichion the 4th, Thargelion the 5th, Skirophorion the 6th, Hekatombaion the 7th, Metageitnion the 8th, Boedromion the 9th, Puanepsion the 10th, Maimakterion the 11th, and Poseideon the 12th.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil - Noted by how many eyes each golem has, barring the exceptions of Puanepsion the 10th, and Maimakterion the 11th outside of his natural form. As well, when the golems appear, the burst of their bloodlust sensed by the Knights is visually represented by a giant blade sticking out of the ground where the golem emerges. As the golems grow stronger, the blades grow into larger, sharper and more deadly-looking weapons.
Theme Naming - After the Attic months, starting with the first month of winter. We only directly get the names of a few golems, starting with Hekatombaion the seventh (the first month of summer, and also the first month of the Attic year).
The 10th golem, taking the form of a a small one-eyed lump with arms and legs. It's power is that it can clone itself, with each batch of clones stronger then the last. Destroyed by Akane.
Army of One: Can generate an infinite number of clones.
Came Back Strong: As long as one copy of Puanepsion remains intact, it can keep cloning, each new generation of clones is stronger then the last.
Genre Savvy: Since Puanepsion can come back as long as one copy survives, guess what one of them does? It hides in Akane's house, the one place none of the knights would think to look.
Hisame is Sami's older sister, and at 27 years old the two have an 11 year gap between them. They get along well now, but that gap - made worse by Sami's illness - was once nearly insurmountable. Hisame is a professor at a local university, where she also teaches a physics class for Yuuhi and is Mikazuki's academic advisor. She's not very fond of Yuuhi, thanks to his gloomy nature and his increasing closeness to Sami, though she's not party to the real nature of their relationship.
Asahina Shigure is Sami and Hisame's father. He is also a published author of action novels, with a sizable series under his belt. He stayed in Japan to raise Sami for most of Sami's life, but now travels extensively to research and find inspiration for his writing.
Disappeared Dad - He watched over and raised Sami in Japan until Hisame returned, then picked up and resumed traveling for his novels.
Pen Name - He publishes under the name Semishigure.
Asahina Haruko is Sami and Hisame's mother. She is an accomplished and famous doctor, and threw all her energies into solving her second daughter's illness. Unfortunately, the best research opportunities were in a hospital in France, forcing her to abandon Sami and her husband, estranging mother and daughter as a result.
Missing Mom - As a famous and highly-skilled doctor, when she isn't busy with researching a cure to Sami's Soap Opera Disease, she's busy with other patients. She visits when she can, but given her hospital is in France, that's not often.
Yuuhi's grandfather is the spectre that haunts Yuuhi's nightmares. He was once a happy, caring man whose world fell apart when his son, Yuuhi's father, was murdered by his corrupt partner in the police, and Yuuhi's mother simply disappeared. Left to raise the eight-year-old Yuuhi but scarred by paranoia and loss, he became psychologically and emotionally abusive in a twisted attempt to "protect" his young grandson from the dangers of the world.
Abusive Grandparent - "Make no enemies, they'll stab you in the back. Make no friends, they'll stab you in the heart. Including you, including me, all men are trash." Repeated to young and impressionable Yuuhi three times a day for over ten years, sometimes while Yuuhi was bound in chains.
Easily Forgiven - Subverted, Yuuhi is understandably pissed when he asks for forgiveness, and it takes him a bit before he's willing to.
Overprotective Grandfather - Into outright paranoia after Yuuhi's father was murdered, which he took out on Yuuhi in an absolutely nightmarish way. Yuuhi shows several signs of what might be PTSD at the start as a result.
Kanamari is a homeless man in late middle-age or early seniority who lives near the river. He is cynical and gruff, and also deeply depressed. He is also incredibly insightful, but his cynicism mars the usefulness of his advice and makes him unwilling to face his own demons.
Detective Hiwatari is Nagumo's former partner in the police, now left behind by his resignation. She and Nagumo were a capable duo, as she had periodic psychic flashes that warned of various crimes, allowing them to prevent some rather than just clean up afterward. She has a younger sister, also only known by their family name, who is a classmate of Yuuhi's at university.