Goal: A humorous deconstruction of the Harem Genre and Martial Arts genres in manga. A Battle Harem with young ladies skilled in martial arts styles from all over the world is a given. The deconstructive element is that the harem has not one, but two male leads, who get roughly equal screen time and actually end up competing over the harem's attention. Each one is just enough of a Genre Savvy nerd to realize that they're in a harem story, and each one feels they are better suited to be the protagonist (one feels this way because he's an aggressive pervert, and the other feels this way because the alternative is leaving the women to an aggressive pervert).I'd like to make the plot arcs more Character Development-driven than anything. Will aim for slightly more realism than your average martial arts manga setting, but you can't deny the Rule of Cool. I'd like to avoid "tiers" of power and Can't Catch Up; the only martial artists that will be portrayed as way beyond anyone else's level are over 60 years old and have been training for over twice as long as any of the main characters have been alive. I'd like to subvert and double subvert the Sorting Algorithm of Evil if at all possible.
Main Characters The Guys
The Yang Protagonist
Fighting Style: Based primarily on Karate. Incorporates other styles from the characters he trains most with.
Tropes that apply:
- Chivalrous Pervert - for a loose definition of chivalry. Note: never scores.
- The Determinator
- Fearless Fool
- Foil - to the Yin protagonist. Practices a more aggressive "hard" style. He's got relatively more fight scenes and important development as a martial artist. He's loud, overconfident, and risks injuring himself with vigorous and foolhardy training. Initially, too forward around women.
- Glory Seeker - at first, eventually matures out of caring about reputation.
- Harem Seeker - Ironically, he is viewed more affectionately by the female cast the more he grows out of this behaviour.
- Heroic Resolve
- Idiot Hero
- Lovable Sex Maniac - Note: never scores. Neither of the protagonists do, actually.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours
- Red Oni, Blue Oni - obviously the Red one.
- Spirited Competitor
- To Be a Master - His initial motivation; evolves into something more nuanced.
- Training from Hell - Subverted and parodied. He watches too much anime and always assumes at first that this is the route to true power, so he'll invent some outlandish and nigh-suicidal training regime that won't do much more than injure him at best. The teacher characters in the series have to spend a lot of time beating into him the notion that diligent, disciplined, and intelligent training is the key to development. The Aesop for him is that there are no shortcuts.
- What the Fu Are You Doing? - see Training from Hell above.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl - played straight at first, eventually subverted after the various harem members spend a training arc or two beating the sexism out of this guy.
Fighting Style: Based primarily on Aikido. Incorporates other styles from the characters he trains most with.
Tropes that apply:
- Accidental Pervert - the Running Gag is that he tries to police the Yang Protagonist's behaviour, attempting to stop him from peeking on the baths and whatnot. He's about as successful at this as Lloyd Irving, to similar results.
- Apologizes a Lot - he may appear as an Expy of Keitarou Urashima at first. Eventually gets over this he develops confidence and discipline.
- Brilliant, but Lazy - while the Yang Protagonist's discipline problems lie elsewhere (self-preservation, not getting into idle fights, listening to his teachers), the Yin Protagonist has a motivation problem getting himself to practice regularly. His Character Development arc involves rediscovering his love for martial arts and how he can enjoy practice for its own sake.
- Butt Monkey - See Accidental Pervert and Apologizes a Lot above.
- Dogged Nice Guy - but, like his fellow male lead, never scores.
- Foil - to the Yang Protagonist. Practices a less aggressive "soft" style. He's got relatively more romantic scenes and important development in his relationships. He's quiet, submissive, and occasionally becomes rusty when he doesn't practice enough. Initially, insecure around women.
- Headphones Equal Isolation - he is introverted and really likes listening to music. Gets distracted easily during training when he starts to play songs in his head. Over time, he develops attention and discipline, and while he never becomes extroverted he loses his nervousness in social situations. This transformation is reflected by the headphones appearing less on his head and more around his neck. Late in the series, a resurgence of this trope would indicate a Heroic B.S.O.D..
- Martial Pacifist - becoming this is his goal. Accidentally subverted and played for laughs when an angry opponent takes a throw really badly and breaks their own arm by accident.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni - obviously the Blue one.
- Straight Man
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl - averted entirely. He won't hit anyone, regardless of gender. He makes it a major priority to not injure his opponents if at all possible, and relies on throws and submission holds.
The Dojo Heiress
Fighting Style: Her family's school of sogo bujitsu, covering unarmed and armed combat. Trains more often with the Yin Protagonist.
Tropes that apply:
- Arrogant Kung Fu Girl: At first. She loses a lot of condescension over time, but can still be a little haughty.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She's very icy and aloof at the beginning.
- Kuudere: This is what she "defrosts" into. Though she learns to become more affectionate, she never completely loses the chill.
- Martial Arts and Crafts: Her family's school is a sogo bujitsu, or "all weapons" style that covers striking, grappling, kenjutsu, jojitsu, tantojutsu, naginatajutsu, archery, horseback riding, and all other weapons forms and techniques traditionally considered to be part of a Japanese warrior's training. The catch is that she's also trained to combine the different techniques at any time. Some of these combinations make historical and logical sense, such as mounted archery. It starts to get a little ridiculous when she demonstrates that she knows how to do joint locks from a mounted position or fold a dogi with a naginata instead of her hands, however.
- The Ojou: Not actually rich, but all of the kohais at her dojo treat her like royalty anyways.
- Running Gag: See Martial Arts and Crafts, above. Eventually "[family name] ryu bujitsu is never caught unprepared!" will become her Catch Phrase.
Fighting Style: A combination of MCMAP Close-Quarters Combat (learned from her Marine father) and the 52 Blocks style of Jailhouse Rock (learned from her uncle, who did time in Rikers Island Penitentiary). Trains more often with the Yang Protagonist.
Tropes that apply:
- Animal Motifs: Is identified with dogs (of which she's very fond). Is viewed as The Rival by the Token Mini-Moe, who is jealous of the time she spends with the Yang Protagonist (among her other assets).
- But Not Too Foreign: Completely averted. She's 100% African American.
- Combat Pragmatist: She is quick to employ improvised weapons and sucker punches. In the Yang Protagonist's character arc, she spends a lot of time teaching him not to think about honour in a serious fight ("Would you put honour before your own life? What about if you're protecting someone else's?"). In the Yin Protagonist's arc, she teaches him that if he wants to win without hurting others, he'll need to take every edge he can get.
- Knife Nut: While the Dojo Heiress and the Bodyguard are technically better than her with a knife, no other character quite shows the same care for a weapon that she shows for the K-BAR combat knife she got from her dad.
- Military Brat
- Phenotype Stereotype (and by extension, Dark-Skinned Blonde): Completely averted.
- Sassy Black Woman
- Semper Fi: Daddy's a Marine, and as a military brat she picked up a lot of the culture. Her father's posting on the Japanese bases intersected with her grade school years, which is why she can speak Japanese.
- Tsundere: Type A, played straight with a little twist. She is just naturally bad at expressing her feeling, but is comfortable with physical contact and likes roughhousing with her friends. As she warms to the protagonists, they'll realize that the abuse is actually a sign of her approval. Eventually they find themselves wondering which is more dangerous, her displeasure or her affection.
Fighting Style: A combination of Pa Gua Chang and Hsing Yi Chang. Trains more often with the Yin Protagonist.
Tropes that apply:
- Beware the Nice Ones: She's one of the two nicest members of the combat harem. She can also beat you senseless with ease.
- Chinese Girl: Yes, we should see her in a qipao.
- Eyes Always Shut: Much like Nagase Kaede, she will occasionally open one for emphasis. If they are both open, it is a sign of extreme shock, fury, or affection.
- Mama Bear: she becomes scarily protective of her friends.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Will occasionally fake being unable to speak Japanese to get out of a sticky situation (she's as fluent as any other member of the cast). The Nerdy Girl will exasperatedly call her out on this.
Fighting Style: Yang style Tai Chi. Trains more often with the Yin Protagonist.
Tropes that apply:
- Beware the Nice Ones: Like the Chinese Beauty, she is a much more capable combatant than her polite and unassuming demeanour would imply
- Emotionless Girl: Most of the time, her expression is an attentive poker face. She occasionally smiles, she rarely frowns, and she never looks angry.
- Ill Girl: She originally started training in Tai Chi to recover from a nasty lung infection back in her grade school years. This was a factor in her asocial personality; her friends moved on without her, and she didn't make new ones. (Think Nagisa at an earlier age, without angst.)
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: In a manner that often gets her mistaken for a boy.
- Older Than They Look: Her lung infection held her back a year in school.
- Waif-Fu: One of the few true examples in the series. All the other females have visible muscle tone, but the Quiet Classmate has a diminutive stature (even the Token Mini-Moe has more visible biceps than her) and probably weighs 100 pounds soaking wet.
- Weak, but Skilled: Exaggerated. Having trained for hours every day from her grade school years, she's far and away the harem's most skilled martial artist. She also needs help lifting heavy boxes or moving furniture. It's revealed that she has two copies of every school textbook, one at home and one at school, so she can avoid having to carry the extra weight.
Fighting Style: Karate, as she comes to idolize the Yang Protagonist, with whom she trains more often.
Tropes that apply:
- A-Cup Angst: The Running Gag is that her rants are often interrupted by the Quiet Classmate, who doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.
- Animal Motifs: Is identified with cats (of which she's very fond). Views the American as The Rival (it's a mutual Tsundere-esque rivalry, and they grow fond of each other, up to and including a Sleep Cute scene after recovering from a fight).
- Kick Chick: Given her small size and mass, she requires kicks to get real power and reach behind a strike. She can still punch when she needs to.
- Like Brother and Sister: She's got no luck getting past this stage with re: to the Yang Protagonist, much to her disappointment.
- Mouthy Kid
- Oblivious to Love: On the receiving end. She's probably the most aggressive member of the harem in her pursuit, but the Yang Protagonist fails to see her as anything more than a kid sister.
- Token Mini-Moe: Natch. She's in her last year of grade school, so not as extreme a case as most other examples of the trope, but still.
Fighting Style: Tantojutsu, with whatever Yakuza street fighting experiences that informed her empty handed combat. Trains more often with the Yang Protagonist.
Tropes that apply:
- Badass in a Nice Suit
- Bodyguard Crush: Averted yet invoked. While a fiercely loyal friend to the Yakuza Daughter, the Bodyguard is not attracted to her in any way; in fact, it's her charge's older brother, a famed Yakuza enforcer and heir to the clan, who is her initial crush. Despite this, everyone suspects the Bodyguard of being a lesbian, to her dismay.
- The Comically Serious: Her ward is The Hyena, which inevitably clashes with her stoic professionalism.
- Knife Fighter: uses a weapon more often than any other harem member.
- The Stoic: in public. She loosens up in private around her ward.
The Yakuza Daughter
Tropes that apply:
- Bi the Way: Even her trusted bodyguard doesn't know this at first.
- Bodyguard Crush: Averted. Despite actually being bisexual, she considers the Bodyguard a good friend.
- The Chessmaster: Most of the "protagonists get into fights with organized crime groups" plot arcs are actually her way of giving the rest of the cast warning before said organized crime groups actually start threatening people close to the cast.
- Death Glare: shows it rarely, but when she does, she actually is more scary than her knife-wielding bodyguard...or the rest of the cast...put together.
- The Hyena: Most of the time. If she's stopped laughing, she's either asleep or you've pissed her off.
- Mafia Princess
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Pretends to be The Ditz, but is actually very cunning.
- The Tease: part of the reason people see a Bodyguard Crush relationship between her and her bodyguard. It doesn't help that the original reason she's got a female bodyguard was so that her protector could follow her into places like bathrooms and hot springs.
Tropes that apply:
- Adorkable: female version.
- Book Dumb: Played with. She struggles in every subject except one.
- Everybody Hates Mathematics: Her weakest school subject, although she's not hot in science, history, or PE either.
- Guile Hero: Just because she doesn't fight doesn't mean she can't be heroic when she needs to be.
- Hollywood Pudgy: A lot of this is in her head; she has a bit of a weight complex. But complex aside, she is still the "healthiest" young lady in the cast. This is not always viewed as a negative.
- Non Action Girl: She's more or less the translator.
- Teen Genius: In a world with very mundane martial arts, and characters who need significant time to recover from injuries in serious fights (albeit faster than in real life), the most superhuman ability in the story is the Nerdy Girl's talent for languages. She's brilliant at both the science of linguistics, which she wishes to study in university, and the actual task of learning languages. She's fluent in five languages at the start of the series, surprises the American and the Chinese harem members with her ability to pass as a native speaker of their languages, and knows a smattering of about a dozen more. For the story arcs which require travel to other countries, she will spend a week or two preparing and manage basic conversational skills (and will always return home with at least intermediate proficiency if not fluency). The story function she fulfills is allowing me to depict language barriers realistically when other characters don't speak Japanese.
- Adults Are Useless: Averted. She's the harem's therapist, which is an important position given the various issues of the other main characters.
- Christmas Cake
- Cute Clumsy Girl and Dojikko
- Harem Nanny
- The Heart
- Team Mom
- Through His Stomach: Discussed but not specifically planned: she's a real good cook, and once the other harem members start considering the male protagonists as potential boyfriends, the Manager's head start in this area causes worry in her rivals.
Planned Major Story Arcs
Rogues Gallery Befriendable EnemiesThe Drunken Boxer
Fighting Style: Zui Quan/Suikenpou/Drunken Boxing Kung-Fu, natch
Applicable tropes: Artful Dodger, Dogged Nice Guy, Drunken BoxingThe Thai Enforcer
Fighting Style: Muay Thai/Muay Boran
Applicable tropes: Blood Knight, Boisterous Bruiser, The Hyena, Jerk with a Heart of GoldThe Indonesian Challenger
Fighting Style: Pentjak Silat (not sure which, maybe Tiger Silat)
Applicable tropes: Best Served Cold, Dance Battler, Defrosting Ice QueenThe Avenger
Fighting Style: Kungjung Musul
Applicable tropes: Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, Dark and Troubled Past, Dead Girlfriend, Death Seeker, Don't You Dare Pity Me!, Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Sympathy for the Devil, Troubled, but Cute (in many ways this guy was inspired by Tanimoto)The Unlucky Brazilian
Fighting Style: Capoeira
Applicable tropes: Butt Monkey, Dance Battler, Deadpan Snarker, The Drag-Along, Meta Guy, Snark KnightThe Other Soldier's Daughter
Fighting Style: Krav Maga
Applicable tropes: Action Girl, Badass Israeli, Combat Pragmatist, Cuteness Proximity, Fiery Redhead, Foil (to the Loud American), Knife Nut (gets into arguments over the superiority of her Sykes-Fairbarne trench knife to the standard Marine KBAR), The Rival (mutually between her and the American)The Traceur
Fighting Style: Savate
Applicable tropes: Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster, Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Le Parkour, Satisfied Street RatTropes that apply to all of the above: Heel–Face Turn, Worthy Opponent Non-Befriendable Enemies
Other Characters Martial Arts TeachersThe Karate Instructor
Tropes that apply:The Aikido Instructor
Tropes that apply: Noncombatants
Obviously a work in a sorry state of progress. Yes, I'm a fan of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, and Ranma ˝ before it. You could tell?
To whoever came up with this idea - love it! How's this for a title - Harem of the Flying Fists?
- Whoa, really? I didn't think anybody'd notice it.