Scott Pilgrim is a popular, award-winning indie comic book series about a Canadian slacker of the same name. Scott's comfortable life mooching off his friends and roommate is thrown into chaos when American ninja delivery girl Ramona V. Flowers moves into town and starts using his dreams as a shortcut to other places. To be free to date her, Scott has to defeat her seven evil exes in battle (they have a league) and quite possibly get a life.Did we mention that it's set in a Video Game version of Toronto that runs based on the Acceptable Breaks from Reality used in River City Ransom?The series runs through six volumes:
Anachronism Stew: Minor example, likely a result of Comic-Book Time: for exactly one panel in the fifth volume, released in 2009, Scott wears a shirt with the bassist icon from Rock Band, which came out in 2007, despite the series taking place in 2004 and 2005.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: In Volume 6, Scott unlocks a new T-Shirt by leveling up. This actually works out pretty well, since he spilled booze all over the shirt he arrived in, and reluctantly put on a replacement shirt emblazoned with Gideon's logo right before his fight with Gideon. It was also covered in his own blood and had a hole in it from when Gideon stabbed him to death.
Animated Adaptation: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation is a four-minute short adapting the opening of Volume 2, featuring Scott's relationship with Lisa Miller and Kim Pine in his high-school days. Michael Cera and Allison Pill reprise their roles as Scott and Kim, with Lisa Miller and Simon Lee (neither of whom appear in the film) being played by Mae Whitman and Jason Schwartzman (who play Roxy and Gideon in the film), respectively.
Affably Evil: Lucas Lee (he caters his fight with Scott!), but not so in the movie. There he just offers to get coffee for his mooks while they beat up Scott, though not before telling Ramona that Scott 'seems nice'.
Gideon Graves can come off as this as long as you ignore the fact that his invitation to Scott was mostly to gloat.
Matthew Patel sent a nice email letting Scott know in advance that he was coming, and explaining the situation.
Anti-Villain: The Evil Exes are mostly this (except for Gideon of course, and Todd), bordering between Type II and Type IV.
Arc Number: 7. It becomes a little more obvious in Volume 6 (ironically) when Gideon is revealed to have 7 exes of his own — six of them innocent victims sealed away in tubes (Ramona being the seventh), but anyway... And when Gideon is finally defeated he explodes into $7,777,777.00 CAD (that's seven sevens).
Gideon's initials are also all Gs — G is the seventh letter of the alphabet. (Though co-incidentially all three of his names are six letters long).
Rotate Gideon's Triforce clockwise and it becomes three 7s instead of three Gs.
Appropriated Title: The adaptations take their name from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the second book in the series.
Arc Words: Many variations of the phrase "precious little x". Starting from Volume 1, there are Precious Little Life, Precious Little Ho-Bag, Precious Little Wallace, Precious Little Nickname, and many more. It may be just a catchphrase between all the characters, but the phrase appears in at least one instance of every volume.
Auto Erotica: It's revealed in volume 2 that Scott lost his virginity to Kim in the back of a car.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Near the end of volume 6, it's revealed that Ramona spent her time away from Scott pretty much the exact same way he did — by moping, slacking, and sleeping all day. Scott's friends declare them a perfect couple.
Bag of Holding: Ramona's purse, elaborately lampshading the fact that it contains a hammer (+ 2 against girls), a titanium baseball bat (+ 1 against blondes), and even Scott himself. "Capacity: unknown."
It also serves as a passage to Ramona's head in subspace, which contains a giant Gideon Graves, whom Scott Pilgrim battles.
Banister Slide: Scott does it and knocks out his brother, mistaking him for Gideon.
Basement-Dweller: Sort of. Scott and Wallace's apartment is actually the basement of some house O'Malley was using as a model. Truth In Comic Books in the real Toronto's college burbs.
Scott begins playing this straight for a bit in volume 6.
Scott may have been more of this than he previously thought, due to Gideon tampering with his memories. Especially in the case of Kim, when he beat up her current meek Asian boyfriend in order to go out with her back in high school.
Scott is also like this toward Knives, with him dating her for very shallow reasons, then becoming emotionally unavailable for her the moment Ramona skates into his life, and then finally cheating on her and dumping her in a pretty dickish way.
Battle Couple: Scott and Ramona, particularly in volume 6 with the defeat of Gideon.
It's shown in a flashback that Ramona and Matthew Patel beat up all the jocks at their school together when they were dating.
Apparently Ramona. She experimented a bit, anyway.
Also expresses her attraction to Kim Pine in several occasions.
As well as Kim and Knives, to an extent. They were pretty smashed at the time. Scott is shocked; he leaves without being noticed and there's a caption reading "Let us never speak of that again."
The game makes it a character assist for Kim, and in her ending she turns down Scott to walk off into the sunset with Knives.
And Stephen Stills, who has dated both Julie Powers and Joseph.
Scott Pilgrim recognizes that the beginning of his relationship with Wallace Wells was "quite gay", but when asked for more data, he always answers something similar to "I don't have to answer to that!". We're never shown what actually happened after crashing at Scott's place drunk like skunks, but we're told that Wallace Wells has a gift for seducing otherwise straight men... do the math. Okay, maybe they didn't do much, but if they didn't get hot and heavy that night, they sure were on the brink of it.
Knives gives Scott one, but it's for naught in that he's already met Ramona and doesn't want to date her anymore. Awkward.
Not to mention Scott and Knives' experimental kiss in volume 6. It goes on for two pages. It may be horrible for everyone INCLUDING YOU, but it's the biggest kiss in the series.
Big "NO!": Scott gets one in after being informed by Wallace that his package will not be shipped until Monday.
Also Todd Ingram right after being deveganized and right before Scott headbutts him to oblivion.
Black and Grey Morality: It's pretty obvious from day one that Scott is kind of an asshole, but you still root for him, seeing as how his enemies, with one or two possible exceptions, are way more unpleasant than he is, and because the the trials he faces make him gradually grow out of being an asshole.
Black Bug Room: Gideon's money-maker is a basically a method to induce this chronically within a person. It has the added side-effect of allowing access to subspace.
Whenever someone asks how he and Ramona met, Scott usually says some variation of "it's a long story, go read volume 1". Whenever a Chekhov's Gun from a previous book gets used, someone will usually refer to that book by its number. Scott has also referred to certain friends as "secondary characters".
During Scott's battle in book 3 when he's losing against Todd, Scott remarks that only a poorly set up Deus ex Machina plot can save him. It does.
In the opening of one of the books, two background characters are making comments about the titles.
Brick Joke: Scott is walking somewhere at night in Volume Two, and in one panel we see the moon. But it doesn't look right; there seem to be two big holes in it. It just seems weird on the first read, and nobody in the book says anything about it at the time. Near the end of Volume Three, however, we find out why it looks like that and what it has to do with the story.
In the last volume, Scott asks Knives if she likes Stephen Stills, and she bursts out laughing for no real apparent reason. At the end of that book it is revealed that he came out as gay offscreen in Vol. 5.
Cat Fight: When Scott hears about Ramona's fight with Knives in the library, he's in his bed and gets so excited he spills his cocoa everywhere. Uhh.
In Vol 3, Ramona and Envy get into this kind of fight when their conversation goes south.
Cerebus Retcon: Scott's quirky high-school flashbacks turn quite glum with the revelation Kim gives Scott in the final book. Turns out the boy that kidnapped her was just someone she was friends with that Scott beat up when he saw the two together. There was no major confrontation or epic fight that was earlier described. It's later revealed Gideon "spruced up" the memory when he went inside Scott's mind.
Cerebus Syndrome: The fifth book starts dipping into some pretty heavy territory (such as fidelity), compared to the lightheartedness of the earlier volumes. In all fairness, this is around the same time that Scott realizes he has to grow the hell up and stop being such a manchild in order to save his relationships with Ramona and the rest of his friends. Even moreso in the sixth book, especially with scenes like Scott being killed with his own sword halfway through the book.
Character Development: Scott is slowly — very slowly — growing from a complete slacker to a quasi-functional person. By the end of the series, he comes to accept the fact that he's been a narcissistic jerk throughout much of his life, and now strives to change for the better.
Also applies to Ramona Flowers and Knives Chau (especially in the last volume), and the secondary characters: Wallace is noticeably more care-free after he starts dating Mobile, Stephen Stills is somewhat more neurotic and self-conscious, and Kim is becoming less cold towards Scott.
Scott has superhuman speed and strength and insane martial arts skills without any justification other than he's the main character of a video game.
Chekhov's Gun: The extra life Scott gained in book 3 brings him back to life after Gideon runs him through. Lampshaded by Scott's mom, pointing out the extra life after Stacey notes that Scott just came back.
It always seemed odd how the Lucas Lee movie Scott and Ramona watch in volume 2 was curiously similar to Scott's rescuing of Kim back in high school... until vol. 6.
Chekhov's Gunman: Nega-Scott, Scott's mysterious doppleganger from Volume 4, reappears in Volume 6, turning out to be a personification of all the problems Scott wants to get away from.
Also The Boys and Crash in volume 3, along with their Chekhov's Skill (manipulating sound waves), which is lampshaded by Kim.
In the movie, Roxie attacks Scott for the first time before he meets Todd.
Played straight at the end of Volume 6. Scott Pilgrim, greatest prep chef in the world. And he still botches the order.
Stephen Stills: Whatever, they ordered at 10:55. They're getting a salad.
Played straight with Stephen Stills, who had his cooking moment with the vegan shepherd's pie scene in book 2, and is seen later working at the same restaurant as Scott and being complimented by customers for his cooking.
Christmas Cake: Played straight in a bizarre fashion. In Vol. 4, Scott is sitting on a bench looking for some drink money right before he meets Lisa. Two girls walk by, one remarking that Scott is kind of cute, and the other responds, "Ew, he's like 25."
Wallace: Can you be serious for one second? Scott (drooling): I like elevators.
Combination Attack: How Scott and Ramona finish off Gideon. It's a slash in the shape of an "X". An X-Slash if you will. The twins Kyle and Ken also do this with techniques like the Double Hurricane Kick, and Simul-Punch.
Also known as the "Ex-slash" if it's possible not to notice.
Comically Missing the Point: The Vegan Police rush in to remove Todd Ingram's vegan superpowers for eating gelato. Someone notes that Todd also ate chicken parmesan, but the police aren't sure whether parmesan is an animal or not, so they don't punish him for that one.
Comic-Book Time: Lampshaded and mocked in the fifth volume, as the Real world and the Scott Pilgrim world take on the last Sex Bob-Omb show collide with hilarious results.
Sandra: A whole generation of bands have come and gone since you guys opened for the Demonheads in '05! Scott: That was this May!
Continuity Nod: Scott's love of the X-Men, shown in volume one, is shown again in volume 5 in full force. He tells Ramona the storylines of the demon Belasco kidnapping Colossus' sister Illyana and the time the X-Men set up base in Australia.
Continuity Porn: The series is loaded with little details, some of which speak to each other over separate books.
Conveniently Timed Attack From Behind: Knives leaps and attacks Envy right before she's about to finish Ramona. Subverted in that it doesn't accomplish much and Knives ends up hitting the wall.
Cosmetic Award: Scott unlocks an achievement for defeating the Katayanagi twins at the same time.
Hey, they also give a $2.00 "twin bonus"... no, wait, that's likely independent of the achievement.
Gets a Shout-Out in the video game, where defeating both of them at once earns you the 'Twin Dragons' Achievement/Trophy
Lampshaded several times: For example in Volume 2, when Ramona rips a metal pole off the ground to fight Knives, Stacey exclaims, "Are you crazy? You can't just tear up giant metal art objects like that!"
Critical Existence Failure: Scott gets thrown through brick walls, beaten up by a giant robot, etc. and manages to come out relatively unscathed.
Crossover: Scott makes a one panel cameo in another Oni Press graphic novel entitled PENG (which is NOT by Bryan Lee O'Malley, but rather by Corey Lewis, who also did the graphic novel series Sharknife, which takes place in the same continuity as PENG).
Dark Is Evil: Both Roxy and Envy dress in a dark, somewhat gothic-inspired style, the latter to accentuate her Femme Fatale persona.
Dark Is Not Evil: Nega-Scott. His purpose is to make Scott accept and learn from his mistakes instead of ignoring them all the time and going through a cycle. Rather than beat him up like the Exes, Nega-Scott is absorbed into Scott, so he can stop tuning out the negative impacts he had on Kim, Lisa, Envy, Knives, and finally, Ramona.
Darkest Hour: In Volume 6, ironically titled "Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour"; the entire first half of the story is devoted to the aftermath of Scott's breakup with Ramona and his attempt to forget about his past and move on. The finest hour comes at the end of the story.
Deadpan Snarker: Just about everyone, but especially Kim Pine and, to a lesser extent, Wallace.
Death Glare: Just about everyone in The Clash At Demonhead gives one to Knives when she tells them what a huge fan she is of them.
Deface of the Moon: Todd Ingram punched two craters in the moon with his Vegan powers, one for Ramona and one for Envy.
Distressed Damsel: Kim Pine is found captured by evil-doers two times. They are keeping her trapped, in shackles or otherwise, and waiting for a contender to show up. Although the first time, she may not have been captured at all, considering she was dating the guy. Scott is just an Unreliable Narrator. Given the constant references to video games, it is natural that Scott Pilgrim has to Save the Princess.
This trope is subverted with Ramona. It's not often in a work of fiction that the girl being fought for is a more capable fighter than the guy fighting for her, but Ramona just might be. She's a true Action Girl, at the very least, though this isn't really revealed until Volume 2.
Double Standard: Ramona chews out Scott for dating both her and Knives Chau at the beginning of their relationship, despite the fact that she cheated on several of her evil exes in the past, and making out with Roxie while Ramona and Scott were going out in volume 4 (not to mention her dating Kyle behind Ken's back and vice-versa). Ramona is aware of the double standard, and everything that it implies about her, and most of her story arc is trying to distance herself from the bad stuff she's done in her past.
Dramatic Wind: When Scott goes to find Ramona in subspace in volume 6, complete with tumbleweed.
Dynamic Entry: Knives jumping down to fight Ramona in the library. With knives, appropriately enough.
Early-Bird Cameo: In Volume 3, Gideon slips in a cameo (shrouded in shadows) during Todd's flashback sequence at Honest Ed's and right after Scott defeats Todd. He also slips in another one in Volume 4 when Scott crashes Ramona's subconscious.
The colour version sort-of confirms that Envy has an Early-Bird Cameo in Vol. 1. Scott writes a white-washed version of her into his dream of Sex Bob-Omb being an actual famous band. She's the redhead on the keyboard (the same instrument played by the real-life Envy).
Enemy Mine: Wallace and Ramona become friends because of their shared hatred for Envy.
Enemy Without: Nega-Scott. Has the "fusion" resolution, as Kim points out that if Scott killed his darkness and forgot about it, he would just make the same mistakes over and over again.
Even Evil Has Standards: For all of her insults towards Scott & Ramona in the preceding five volumes, Julie is visibly shocked & horrified when Gideon kills Scott & runs Ramona through with a katana, a reaction shared by Envy. Averted with Joseph, as he simply doesn't seem to care.
Evil Is Petty: Possessiveness and jealousy are the main motivations driving the League of Evil Exes. Especially Gideon, who just happened to have founded the group in the pettiest of ways: by posting an angry rant on the internet.
And the reason why Gideon had six girls in People Jars and wants Ramona to be the seventh? He wanted to go on a date with all of them at once.
Fangirl: Knives Chau towards Sex Bob-Omb and Scott, especially Scott.
Knives: I'm a Scottaholic!
Fanservice / Fetish Fuel: A few to count, namely the saucy romantic sessions Scott has with some of the girls as well as some fanservice scenes. The rather hot and heavy moment in Volume 5 and not to mention the part where he jumped into Ramona's mind. Although pre-art change Scott Pilgrim had at least one sex scene per volume, relatively work-safe of course
Faux Affably Evil: Gideon. He calls Scott buddy, and compliments him on his shirt (both sarcastically). Also, when he kills Scott, he buys everyone a drink.
Gideon's compliment on the shirt relates to the fact that it bears Gideon's initials: GGG
Femme Fatale: Parodied with Ramona, Envy and Knives. Scott seems to be a magnet for the type. Though it should be noted that Envy and Knives didn't fit the trope when they first started dating Scott and only became that way later.
"What kind of idiot would knowingly date a girl named Knives?"
Fetish: Wallace has a big fetish for guys wearing glasses.
Gideon also tells Envy something along the lines of "you know putting you in those outfits is sexually fulfilling for me". Envy replies that that's all that he finds sexually fulfilling. See Living Doll Collector.
Finger Gun: The Vegan Police fire their de-veganizing beams out of them.
Kim mimics shooting herself in the head whenever she's feeling bored or exasperated.
The Brute: Lucas Lee, who appears to be the tallest and strongest of the exes, and is the Wake Up Call that the rest of the exes are not going to be as pathetic as Matthew Patel was. That said, he is unusually friendly and uninterested in fighting for the role of The Brute.
The Dark Chick: Roxanne Richter, the only girl of the team and who seems to be more off doing her own thing as opposed to the rest.
The Sixth Ranger/Tagalong Kid: Matthew Patel. He gets a spot on the team because they kinda have to include all of Ramona's exes, despite the fact that the rest of the League seems to dislike him or think he's useless.
Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Parodied when two clubgoers remark "Oh my god, she's evil!" when they see Lynette lighting up. Though when Ramona's attitude starts changing, she starts smoking more than she used to...
Pretty much all the girls except Kim Pine smoke at some point in the book, but the one time Young Neil smokes, it represents his absolute low.
Gotta Kill Them All: The premise of the series. In order for Scott to start building a real relationship, he's got to deal with her seven exes — and by "deal with", he means annihilate.
Grand Romantic Gesture: Todd (evil ex #3) proclaimed his love for Ramona by punching a hole in the moon. He also does it for his current girlfriend Envy — since she thought he'd only done it for her, this comes back to bite him in the ass.
Have I Mentioned I am Gay?: While we do see Wallace kissing quite a few guys, some readers got a little tired of him being referred to as Scott's "cool gay roommate" constantly. But that's the joke, and Scott's an idiot.
Heroic BSOD: Starting Volume 4, the development of Scott's relationship with Ramona turns him into a poster-boy of this trope as he suffers from this repeatedly with increasingly brutal aftermath every time. This is also what summons Nega-Scott. By the end of Volume 5, there are many hints of Scott turning clinically insane, and finally in Volume 6, the half of, if not, the entire storyline could be summed up as "Scott's quest to get away fromthe increasing brink ofDespair Event Horizon".
Hot-Blooded Sideburns: One of Ramona's many hairstyles invokes this. Obviously, she doesn't have actual sideburns.
Hypocritical Humor: When Ramona gets annoyed about Scott staying with Lisa for a night, it turns out that Roxanne stayed at her place for the night. She defends herself by saying that they didn't even make out that much.
When Wallace is complaining about Scott calling him at work. You can see that he is playing solitaire on the computer.
Informed Attractiveness: Scott and Ramona. Several characters have the hots for them -including each other- but due to the art style's Generic Cuteness they don't look any different from everybody else in the comic.
It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Defeating enemies causes them to explode into coins. Also, being a vegan gives one telekinesis.
Stephen: "Uh... Hey. How does not eating dairy products give you psychic powers, anyway? I've been wondering."
Todd: "You know how you only use ten percent of your brain? Well, it's because the other 90 percent is filled up with curds and whey!"
Scott: "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard!!"
Todd: "Maybe if you knew the science..."
Item Get: When Scott defeats Lucas Lee and gets a skateboard. He can't use it though, because he never acquired a skateboard proficiency.
It's All About Me: Gideon lives this trope. His mania doesn't just stop at acquiring things (and people), it's all about injecting some aspect of himself into it like he's marking his territory. See: his triple-G inverted Triforce, dressing Envy in costumes according to his tastes, implanting a fragment of himself in Ramona's head, and in The Movie, retooling the newly-professional Sex Bob-Omb from a quirky garage rock band to a generic gothic My Chemical Romance-style punk band.
Scott himself is another good example; although he eventually grows out of it.
Jack of All Stats: In the Free Comics Day comic, Scott tries to select drinks based on their stat boosts being complimentary.
Jerk Ass: Todd Ingram qualifies as this one, as he is very insensitive towards people, claiming that because he is a rock star, he is better than other people. He even cheats on his girlfriend Envy Adams with the drummer of their band. To top it all off, he telekinetically throws Envy across the room when she confronts and lashes out at him over his infidelity. (Although to be fair, she did successfully Groin Attack him immediately before he did that.)
Gideon Graves. A manipulating, sexually domineering creep. His first subtitle is even "Gideon Graves (31 Years old) Occupation: Asshole".
Gideon stole the Power of Love! What a dick!
Played with in the case of our almost Jerk Ass protagonist. Scott is undeniably likable and sympathetic, but a big part of the story is exposing and dealing with the fact that he's also kind of a dick.
Julie Powers. Her main personality quirk is being an absolute bitch to everyone.
Minor character Monique is one too. Her behavior is kind of like what Julie would be if she were an extra.
Jerk Ass Woobie: Envy. Especially in Volume 6 after she reveals that her and Scott's break-up was a mutual occurrence and Scott simply whitewashed his role in it out of the flashbacks seen by the reader in Volume 3.
And Scott himself.
Jerk Jock: Subverted with Lucas Lee, who turns out to be quite the decent fellow, and is easily the nicest of Ramona's evil exes, going so far as to offer to throw the fight (for a fee) when it becomes clear that Scott is completely outclassed. However, played completely straight with Todd (who, if he isn't a jock, at least dresses like one...)
Lucas (calm): Okay, look. Give me all your money, and I'll let you live. I'll tell Gideon you beat me up. Scott: Wow. You really are a sellout. Lucas (advancing threateningly): Kiss Ramona's sweet ass goodbye, Pilgrim.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Scott Pilgrim himself, of course. Being charming and sweet in an Adorkable way doesn't hide the fact that he's shallow, self-centered, a shameless mooch to everyone of his acquaintance, and willfully oblivious to the damage his "precious little life" causes others. Through Character Development, he... doesn't exactly rise above this, but undeniable that there's a little less Jerk and a little more Heart of Gold by the end. Kim Pine turns out to be one in Volume 6 as well.
Also Ramona, who admits to being a bitch in the past and also tries to downplay her own responsibility in the failure of her relationships, but is actively trying to be better since moving to Toronto.
Envy too turns out to be one towards the end of the story, as she starts talking to Scott again and the events of their break-up are revealed not to be entirely her fault - at least, not so much as in it was Scott who started their argument. In the end, after realizing the kind of person Gideon was ("He was an asshole" - her words), she mends her fences with Scott for good.
Light Is Not Good: Gideon is glitzy, glamorous, and wears a snow white suit jacket. He's also a major dick.
Todd exudes white Vegan energy.
Limited Social Circle: Highly averted, as the characters have a subclique of main characters and then they each have their own little circle of friends, and you've got friends and friends of friends — most of which add some realism, but don't really contribute anything aside from confusion. Because of the black and white art, it can be hard to tell all the Loads and Loads of Characters apart. Luckily, we get little captions reminding us of names on a regular basis, and in the front of the third book, there is a helpful graph explaining the characters' relations to each other.
Lampshaded a number of times: Some minor characters have captions like "I don't know this girl" or "Who cares?" In Volume 4, when Scott walks into Wallace's apartment, he finds Wallace in the company of two friends - a male and female - neither of whom are named and instead have giant Question Marks floating over their heads.
Living Doll Collector: Gideon keeps all of his ex-girlfriends in People Jars and plans for Ramona to be next. A big part of the reason the reader is still cheering for Scott in spite of his occasionally dysfunctional personality.
Loads and Loads of Characters: There are a lot of tangential background characters who are "friends of friends", who pop up for a panel or two or are discussed but have no impact on anything and then disappear. This was lampshaded in one cast scene where the captions pointed out a few minor background characters, and one had "I don't know this girl" over her.
Subverted with Knives, who in Volume 2 appears to make a Face-Heel Turn by ambushing Ramona in a jealous rage, but she later settles down and goes back to being simply a little bit Yandere.
Also, it might be hinted that Ramona's other six exes weren't really evil so much as Gideon manipulated them into singling her out as the sole culprit of their failed relationships (though the episode with Kyle and Ken was a dick move on her part, if we're to believe them).
Love Redeems: The reason Scott undergoes Character Development at all is because of his newly discovered love for Ramona, and his journey- dare I say "pilgrimage?"- to attain her love, and Ramona develops once she reciprocates these feelings too. By the series end, although both are still far from perfect, they resolve to be better people to each other and to their friends.
Magic Skirt: Averted. Ramona's skirt flies up and reveals her tights in one panel.
Man Child: This is Scott's principle character flaw. While the first few books seem to embrace and even flatter his childishness, it's only upon looking back after reading the whole series and witnessing his entire character arc that you realize how harshly it was actually mocking his immaturity.
Made of Evil: Comeau's skull ring, which he apparently got "from the future".
There is a debate on whether this is a straight example, deconstruction, or subversion. See this blog post, which lists Ramona as being similar to Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of the more famous subversions of the concept.
Meaningful Name: Kim Pine is pining for Scott and Knives Chau fights with knives. Heck, Scott Pilgrim is another: the book is all about his pilgrimage from self serving slacker to... well, someone approaching a responsible adult, anyway.
Medium Awareness: Scott apparently learns that Knives has turned 18 the same way that the reader does: by reading the caption above her head.
Mecha-Mooks: The first two robots the Twins deploy against Scott.
Money Spider: The villains explode in a shower of coins, for no apparent reason other than that's what happens when someone gets killed. Lampshaded when people comment on how it ends up being barely enough to handle cab fare, a coffee, etc.
Mysterious Past: Ramona, though each volume fills us in on things, she never really explains exactly whathappened between her and Gideon in New York. In a way her mysteriousness makes sense in light of what she reveals in volume 6, how she's afraid of becoming "stuck" in her life, so she constantly reinvents herself and keeps her past at arm's-length in order to try and outrun her fears. Her past is a mystery because even she would prefer it that way.
Interestingly, Scott is the same way, though in his case, it's less about being stuck than simply not liking his past self, so he constantly reinvents himself in an effort to be a better person. Except he's actually kind of a terrible person, which he eventually comes to realize and deal with.
Most of the characters are named after a famous song or band, as the bonus materials at the end of volume 3 show. Scott himself is named after a song by the band Plumtree.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: As Ramona herself puts it: "What kind of idiot would knowingly date a girl named Knives?" Possibly Envy Adams as well, but in her case it's only a nickname (though a self-applied one... which might make it worse).
Envy's is a pun on her initials, though — her real first name is Natalie and her middle initial is V. N-V Adams. Ramona Victoria Flowers jokes that she should change her name to RV for the same reason.
Not Helping Your Case: When Ramona confronts Scott after finding out that he's been double-timing between her and Knives, she asks if he's been cheating on her with Knives. He immediately replies, as if it would help things, that he's been cheating on Knives with her. And that's the straw that breaks the camel's back.Good going, Scott.
Not So Different: Scott realizing he shares a lot of the petty qualities (such as infidelity) that Ramona's Evil Is Petty exes had. Comes to a head in volume six when he finally fights Gideon. Scott thankfully comes to realize he doesn't like it.
Scott: Gideon.. .I think I understand you, man... And now I have to kill you.
Knives dates Young Neil for shallow reasons and then dumps him abruptly, just like Scott did with her, and Ramona did with almost all of her exes.
Not What It Looks Like: Scott tries this multiple times when his past transgressions with other girls are brought up.
N-Word Privileges: Knives casually mentions that the Asians at her school are "fobbish".note FOB is an acronym for "fresh off the boat" and refers to Asians who act uncool and old-fashioned.
Obviously Evil: The Big Bad appears in silhouette in the first four volumes, and his last name is, of all things, Graves. His 'emblem' is also the video game equivalent of an inverted cross, and his three names each have six letters. Yep.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The "Knives Chau: 17 Years Old" joke lead many to believe that something important had to occur when her eighteenth birthday finally happened. Turns out, it happened a week before Volume Six started.
Older Than They Look: Young Neil is the biggest offender of this, and the Running Gag makes a huge deal out of the fact that Scott finally acknowledged him as simply Neil in Volume 6; however, thanks to the art style, just about every single character in the series can be mistaken for mid-to-late teens unless you've read the comics or their bios. The Art Evolution doesn't help this.
Even more noticeable is when we finally meet Scott's parents, late in Volume 5. We only know Scott's dad is supposed to be older because his hair is receding a little and he has some lines on his forehead; otherwise, he'd be nearly indistinguishable from Stephen Stills.
Olive Garden: Scott's fairly ridiculous impression of Italy. For one thing, he seems to think the Leaning Tower of Pisa is in Rome. Also qualifies as Anachronism Stew.
People Jars: Gideon keeps his ex-girlfriends cryogenically frozen and hooked up to some sort of ominous-looking machine that he draws his power from. There are seven tubes attached to the machine. Six are occupied, one stands empty and waiting for Ramona.
Scott: You think you're so great, but you're missing the point. You gotta have friendship and courage and whatever! Matthew: That doesn't even rhyme! Scott: Shut up!
The Power of Love: In the form of a flaming sword... Subverted in that it's not enough to surmount the last Evil Ex-Boyfriend. That requires the far more important Power of Understanding, which allows Scott to see how similar he is to Gideon, and how that is a very bad thing.
It might have protected Wallace, Jimmy, and those in the immediate vicinity from the effects of "Last Song Kills Audience" in book 1 as well, although they weren't in as much danger as the name implies.
Precision F-Strike: Perhaps surprisingly for a series about the relationships of a group of twentysomethings, there's almost no swearing in the series. When somebody does swear, you know that things are serious.
Pizza Pizza, Second Cup, Shoppers Drug Mart, CIBC, Honest Ed's, and many other well-known Canadian brands. Note that these companies didn't actually pay to be advertised in the book; O'Malley included them to add local colour to the story.
Psychopathic Manchild: Gideon. His psychopath and manchild sides are quite firmly divided, and it's only near the end, after he reveals his ex-girlfriend-containing People Jars, that they start to bleed together.
Punch Clock Villain: Lucas Lee. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, engages in small talk with the group, and even offers Scott some baby carrots and Ritz. Right after throwing him into Casa Loma's tallest tower.note He's actually considered evil because he's a sellout...or he sold out because he's evil...
Reality Ensues: The Rule of Cool moment of Gideon's defeat where he explodes into 7 7/9th million dollars worth of Canadian coins is quickly derailed when ...7 7/9th million dollars worth of Canadian coins come raining down on everyone's heads and mass panic ensues.
Ramona alludes a Reality Ensues moment in Vol. 3 when telling Scott about the time Todd punched a hole in the moon for her.
Scott: And then what happened? Ramona: Uhhh... About thirty pages of explosions and tidal waves.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Bryan Lee O'Malley was dating an American woman (cartoonist/comic book creator Hope Larson, currently his wife) and in a garage band when he started the series.
Really Gets Around: Scott is actually Ramona's ninth boyfriend. Aside from the evil exes, she once dated a guy called Doug, who wasn't evil, but a jerk, so she dumped him.
Retcon: Simon Lee looks remarkably like Gideon in volume 2. Later, this is explained away as Gideon messing with Scott's memories... except that he looks exactly the same in Kim's dream in the same volume, which never gets explained. Looks like the author's original intention was to make Simon and Gideon the same person, but he later changed his mind.
Retraux... About that video-game, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a curious case. It's about as old-school beat'-em-up as you can get. Featuring chiptunes (by Anamanaguchi), 8-bit spriting ,and so on. So much so that it's frequently likened to River City Ransom, and/or Streets of Rage/Final Fight, almost to the point of looking like a Spiritual Successor of them. This on a PS3 (and Xbox360)... only. As a downloadable game. With none of the annoyances of a NES/SNES-era games. There is good reason to why a lot of people are interested in this one game. It's very much an old-school gamer's love letter.
Rogues Gallery: Ramona's league of evil exes are part of Scott's rogue gallery. They are Matthew Patel, Lucas Lee, Todd Ingram, Roxie Richter, Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, and Gideon Graves. Envy Adams also serves as part of the rogue's gallery for books 3 and 6, but makes a Heel Face Turn after realizing how much Gideon used her.
Roommate Com: It opens as a fairly traditional version, being about Scott and his cool gay roommate Wallace as Scott has a comic love life and hangs out with the people in his band. However, things swiftly take a turn for the surreal every time a fight breaks out and Scott has to battle his love interest's evil exes in order to date her.
Schoolgirl Lesbians: Ramona and Roxanne, in the past. "You had a SEXY PHASE?!" Also Knives, who is still in high school, and Kim, who is still taking college classes. Of course, out of the four of these girls, 3 are bi and only 1 is a lesbian.
Self-Disposing Villain: Some of the evil exes end up doing themselves in rather than Scott actually defeating them. For example: Scott challenges Lucas Lee to perform an impossible skateboard trick in the middle of their fight. Lucas would rather take on the challenge than lose face. The trick ends up killing him, as he goes too fast and bursts into coins. Another example is when Todd Ingram is about to defeat Scott (who acknowledges that he could only win via some Deux Ex Machina), and right on cue, the Vegan Police shows up to take away Todd's powers for eating gelato the day before. Could also be a Karmic Death in the second case.
Self-Deprecation: Scott performs one during the early records of the disc ("I know a guy who owns a car?") and the author managed to do it, with Ramona's "It's official, nothing cool ever happens in Canada." Remember, the author is canadian, so he broke the fourth wall and did some self depriciation humour very subtly.
Ship Tease: Here and there, what with Scott's previous exes never having proper closure until about the last volume.
Knives also probably had a short crush on Steven Stills, seeing how he usually doesn't treat her like crap and even lets her drink with the folks. Young Neil even says "she's obsessed with Captain Homo these days".
This exchange from Volume 4:
Ramona: (drunkenly) Where'd Kim go? She seemed pretty wasted...
Sigil Spam: Gideon's triple G inverted Triforce logo appears all over the place in Volume 6. Scott even ends up sporting a triple G shirt (much to his chagrin) for the first round of his fight with Gideon.
The Smurfette Principle: One of Ramona's evil ex-boyfriends is actually a girl. Justified by the fact Ramona is mostly heterosexual and only became bisexual during her "phase", so it's actually a surprise the group even includes a girl to begin with.
Start of Darkness: Envy's plays out through flashbacks in Vol. 3. It begins with her selling all her Anime paraphernalia and culminates with her asking Scott to start calling her "Envy" rather than Natalie. Then she breaks up with him and turns completely evil, showing the reader the exact moment she crossed the Moral Event Horizon that she'd been living on the other side of since she first appeared in the comic.
Envy wasn't as bad as Scott made her to be. In volume 6, it is implied that Scott "wasn't a paragon of virtue either" and the big fight on New Year's Eve was a fight that he started rather than her just dumping him. It's true that she sold out and didn't return Scott's affections when he said he loved her, it's not clear that she was pure evil after volume 6.
The part in Volume 4 when Scott sees Nega-Scott, a darker, more malevolent version of himself, after he learns that Roxanne, Ramona's evil ex-girlfriend, had been staying over at Ramona's apartment could have been this, but gets subverted as he quickly disperses it and goes back.
He confronts it again in Vol 6, realizing it's his own repression working against him and trying to fight it only makes it worse. After he comes to terms with himself and decides to stop running from painful memories, it stops attacking him.
Gideon's is exposited near the end of Volume 6. He always was a bit of a brilliant but psychologically-stunted prick, but when Ramona dumped him, he went right out of his mind. He then went on a bender and posted a drunken ranting ad on Craigslist, which was then discovered by the other six exes.
Ramona's Bag of Holding. Gee, you think this girl's got a lot of baggage? It's destroyed in the climactic showdown with Gideon, showering its contents everywhere. Afterwards, Ramona isn't interested in gathering up her old stuff. It's hard not to interpret it as a good sign for her relationship with Scott.
Straight Gay: Wallace (who is the most prominent gay character shown) but also his boyfriend Mobile, his friend "Other Scott", Hollie's roommate Joseph, and his new boyfriend Stephen Stills.
Suddenly Always Knew That: Vol 4 has this when Scott earns the Power of Love, before exclaiming "Now I'm glad I picked that longsword proficiency in grade 5!"
Suddenly Sexuality: Stephen Stills realized he was gay (and even came out) near the end of Volume 5, but Scott was completely unaware of it until the last pages of Volume 6. Scott then thinks dating Julie on and off since university finally turned him gay.
There Are No Therapists: It's Volume 6. Scott is devastated from Ramona leaving without an explanation. He is moping around, playing videogames, goofing off on the internet, staying isolated, and trying to forget he has a life to live. What does he do? Go into a wilderness sabbatical and fight Nega-Scott!
And Ramona's time apart was not very different.
Those Two Guys: Julie's friends, Sandra and Monique. Lampshaded in that they're not nearly as popular or cool as they seem to think they are.
Training from Hell: Played for Laughs. Before Scott goes to fight Lucas Lee, he studies up on his moves by watching his movies and does push-ups on the floor while Wallace sits in an armchair playing video games.
The Unfair Sex: Ramona becomes incensed when she learns that Scott was dating her behind Knives' back when she herself dated the Katayanagi Twins behind each others' backs. Not to mention the fact that got angry at Scott for staying at Lisa's sister's place when she let Roxie stay the night at her place. (And actually made out with her, unlike Scott, who remained totally faithful).
Unreliable Narrator: Scott Pilgrim. We find that most of his flashbacks are a mixture of his own repression, to avoid his mistakes and past pain, and Gideon 'spicing up' his boring highschool memories. The big fight where he 'rescued' Kim Pine in high school and won her heart? Scott beating up her current wussy boyfriend.
Envy also implies that Scott may not have been as blameless in their breakup as his flashbacks made it seem.
Unsound Effect: All over the place, like STARE! and CLUTCH! and NOD. NOD.
Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Scott has shades of this when you first read the series, due to his extreme manchild tendencies. Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize that this is actually Scott's main character flaw, and him realizing this is essential to his character development.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Kim and Scott. It's pretty subtle at first, but starts becoming more visible by the third volume and comes to a head by the end of the fifth.
Lisa and Scott. They almost hook up after Lisa questions why they never did. Scott puts a stop to it because he realizes that he's in love with Ramona.
The Untwist: In book 6, the final battle has an In-Universe example with a reveal that didn't happen in the way Scott assumed. Hilarity Ensues:
Gideon: I've watched you guys do stuff!
Scott: (realization) You were the cat!
Gideon: I was not the cat!
Scott: THEN WHY WAS IT NAMED GIDEON?!
Gideon: YOU NAMED YOUR CAT GIDEON?!
Ramona: I- I have my own way of working things out!
The Vamp: Inverted. Envy Adams seems to prefer dating evil guys rather than corrupting good ones.
The Verse: Kim Pine started out as a character in series of comic strips that started years before Scott Pilgrim debuted.
To clarify, Bryan Lee O'Malley did three short comic strips called "Style" which featured characters named Kim Pine and Lisa Miller. You can read them at his site under "Best of My Online Comics" here. The Kim Pine and Lisa Miller in the "Style" strips look NOTHING like their Scott Pilgrim namesakes, and aren't really given distinct personalities, so they are probably better classified as Proto-Kim and Proto-Lisa, much like rabbits from Warner Bros. cartoons from the late 1930s predating the 1940 Tex Avery directorial effort "A Wild Hare" are considered prototypes for Bugs Bunny.
Also, Scott made a cameo in Corey Lewis's graphic novel PENG, which is in continuity with Lewis's series Sharknife.
Villain Song: Matthew Patel gets to sing one when facing off against Scott, complete with his fireballs and demon hipster chicks. S-L-ICK!
We Can Rule Together: This offer is made by Gideon to Scott when it's revealed that Scott qualifies to join the League of Evil Exes, on account of no longer being with Ramona. Scott declines vigorously... and is dead three pages later.
Weird Moon: It has two massive craters in it, courtesy of Todd.
Knives: But look at your face! I totally grazed you! Ramona: How appropriate. You fight like a cow.
You Keep Using That Word: The Hatedom loves to use the word "Hipster" when describing the series in a negative light. While it's true that the series has some hipster undertones, people have abused this word to the extent that using the word as an insult is almost hypocritical in itself, as its meaning somehow became simplified to the point of implying trying to be edgy and cool. Hipsters in general tend to avoid any and all mainstream media, including video games and comic books, and as such they tend to shun the Scott Pilgrim series for being a series of graphic novels heavily laden with video game references. O'Malley and various other people working behind the different media of the series became aware of this association come the series' final days and as such lampshaded it frequently in later works of Scott Pilgrim, such as Ramona wearing a hipster shirt in Volume 6, mooks in the game consisting partly of hipsters, and finally, in the movie, the piece that plays during the final brawl being titled "Death to All Hipsters".
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: played with in Ramona's case. Her regular changes of dye and hairstyle hint at her constant drive to run from herself.